The daycare dilemma

Picture this… a young couple, just starting out in life, have just brought home their first baby. Both the new mom and dad have full-time jobs. Everyone in the immediate family also works full-time, so they begin to shop around for daycare.

The cost of daycare is more than the cost of a 4-year college

Image their surprise when they find out that infant daycare, in many places around the United States, can cost more than a mortgage payment on a $250k home.

As a matter of fact, according to The Balance, “In 33 states (and the District of Columbia), the cost of infant care is more than the cost of in-state tuition at a public, 4-year college.”

How can anyone afford infant care today, let alone young couples and single parents?

What other options do they have?

Become a Stay-at-Home parent.

For double income households, assuming that one parent can foot the monthly expenses alone, the lower earning parent can stay home.

However, CNBC reports that, “a 26-year-old woman who is earning $30,253 and takes off five years to provide care is losing $467,000 over the course of her career — a 19 percent reduction in her lifetime earnings.”

Create a Private Nanny Share

Private nanny shares, which involve several families hiring one nanny and splitting the costs, is not without risk. You would have to vet the nanny yourself and share the nanny’s time and attention amongst enough children to make this a cheaper alternative.

Not to mention, if you hire a private nanny, you are now responsible for reporting wages to the IRS.

Employer Assistance Programs

Some larger employers offer help, like flexible spending accounts or employer sponsored daycare centers, but these options are usually not available to those who need it the most.

Moving Back Home

Couples are selling their homes, or giving up their apartments, and moving in with the grandparents.

Going back home, when available, allows a couple to cut their expenses and either use the savings to afford daycare or take the opportunity to drop down to a single income.

Split Shifts

Depending on the type of work, one parent may be able to change their schedule to a night shift. This can be very difficult on a marriage. It is also tiring for the night shift parent who must take care of a child during the day, but for some new parents, it is the only option.

Seeking State Assistance

Unfortunately, it is difficult for a double income family to qualify for assistance in many states. This leads new parents down a path of frustration and, sometimes, extreme behavior in order to qualify for help.

Loving couples sometimes get legally divorced. Sadly, it is cheaper and easier for one parent to pay child support and the other to qualify for public assistance than it is to find affordable and reliable child care.

The outrageous costs of daycare for children from newborn to 4-years-old can push parents to extremes, from lying about their situation to qualify for aid to illegal and unsafe home daycares.

Perhaps it is time to address the issue of child care in the United States?

5 Tips for healthy co-parenting

Divorce or separation from your child’s other parent can be extremely emotional for everyone involved.

Couples who split up usually have a very hard time getting passed whatever issue led them to split up. When you have a child or children together, you absolutely have to get beyond that anger for the sake of those children.

You have to love your kids more than you hate your ex. It sounds simple, but it can be very hard.

It is important to think before you react to anything your ex does or says. Especially, if he or she is deliberately trying to provoke you.

Co-parenting is easier when you get along.

Here are some tips to help get you through co-parenting with someone who pushes ALL your buttons:

  1. Divorce Magazine (I didn’t know there was such a thing either) nails the number one best thing that I believe that you can do to keep separation from causing long term emotional issues for your child. Never, EVER, bash their other parent. No matter what happened between the two of you, your child loves their mother and their father. When you talk bad about someone they love, you are hurting your child.
  2. For me, Psychology Today’s recommendation that you “vow to be calm, pleasant, and non-emotional,” comes in at a solid #2. Don’t let your ex control your emotions. The less you react to their prodding, the less power you give them and the better you will feel. Imagine not carrying that anger with you every day.
  3. Never use your child as a weapon to hurt your ex. This seems like common sense, but the in the anger after a separation, sense leaves the equation.
  4. Don’t keep score. Maybe you buy shoes for your kids all the time and your ex never seems to pitch in. Maybe your ex tried to keep you from seeing your child. Maybe you go to every sporting event your child participates in, but your ex rarely attends. It does not matter. The only thing that matters is that your child is taken care of and that you do the best that you can. You can’t control your ex, and you shouldn’t try to. All you can do is be the best parent that you can be.
  5. Be flexible. If your custody agreement says that it is your day with your child, but it is a special occasion for your ex and they ask for some time, do your best to accommodate. Even if they have said no to you in the past.

Every journey starts with one step, be the one who takes that first step and starts the journey to a healthy co-parenting relationship.

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Yes, my baby uses a pacifier. No, I’m not worried about it.

Pacifier use is a hot button issue amongst new parents. Everyone seems to have an opinion about whether or not soothers are appropriate for baby.

 

I for one, believe that parenting is hard enough without depriving my baby of something that comforts her. Not to mention, helps calm her when she is fussy.

 

According to the Mayo Clinic, “a pacifier might help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).” Research has been unable to pin point exactly why, but SIDS deaths are reduced in babies who use soothers during sleep.

 

Pacifiers do have downsides, like creating a dependency or early breastfeed weaning, but in my opinion, these are easily remedied issues.

 

Many mothers believe that pacifiers are bad for a baby’s teeth. While this is true for older babies, it isn’t a concern for infants. Dentists recommend ending use of a pacifier before the age of 3 to avoid dental issues.

 

I have always been a believer that pacifiers help to curb thumb sucking. I have found it easy to break my children of the pacifier by simply eliminating their access to the pacifier. I would not have that option with their thumbs.

 

If you find that a pacifier isn’t right for you, that is great. I am happy for you and your baby.

 

However, I find that it is right for us. So please, keep your anti-pacifier speech to yourself. Moms and Dads are under enough pressure to be perfect parents, we don’t need to worry about pacifiers too.