Daycare Conundrum

When I saw this article all over the wires this weekend, I felt it would be remiss if I/WMAG didn’t write about it.

But I don’t know what to say.

Maybe because it hits too close to home? Or it has the potential to hit too close to home?

Because I’m one of those families. Almost.

For reasons I don’t necessarily want to detail on a blog, my financial situation has changed for the worse. Money is definitely tight. And an evaulation of my childcare situation might be forthcoming.

So what’s a family to do? What can a family do?

The fact that people feel they are driven to put their children in unlicensed facilities—or leave them in their car and check on them periodically, as the women mentioned in the story did? Things have gotten so bad that the care of children is put on a back, back, BACK burner, and that’s just unacceptable. Not to mention frightening.

Plus we have to think about the children. They most likely have friends and attachments to the people at these daycare facilities. To suddenly yank the kids from a situation they are familiar and comfortable with and put them into a completely different circumstance is likely tough on them.

I know the media, and the fact that this problem might not actually be as widespread or dire as they might like to perpetuate. But there’s one message I come to on my own accord after reading this article: Our country’s attitude toward childcare needs to improve. It’s imperative.

17 thoughts on “Daycare Conundrum

  1. oy, i know, this is sad. money is very tight for us right now too, and preschool is a huge expense for us, so i feel for these people!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Last week my sister went to withdraw her son from his daycare center for a move to a home daycare that’s closer to work.

    What she didn’t expect was that the owner called later in tears to ask if there was anything they could do to keep my nephew. Turns out the center is privately owned by this couple, and they are afraid that they will have to shut down. She said too many parents are being laid off and so kids are withdrawing left and right. So scary.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s during times like these that family and friends have to pull together and help each other out.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think the message we can send to the powers that be is to not be that consumer society this holiday season…and make the season about priorities like love, togetherness and and quality time spent together…NOT consuming…

  5. Oh wow, Tela – this could be the topic of SEVERAL posts. There are so many angles to this story that infuriate me. For a country that claims to be about family values and care about children, we really do very little to help families and kids. It’s so huge, I don’t even know where to start…

  6. Lori–It is so sad, isn’t it? My heart broke reading about the families. Especially that mom who left her daughter in the car with the sandwich. To feel like there was no other option! Horrible.

    Anonymous 1–Yes, it’s effecting both sides, isn’t it? Did they work out a way to get your nephew back to daycare? How are things going?

    Anonymous 2–I agree, but it’s sometimes easier said than done.

    Anonymous 3–Interesting take, and I agree, but then does that hurt the economy, and in turn, hurt us more? I’m not saying go spend your ass off–and I’m definitely not DOING that, but…

    Sara–I know, I KNOW! I had such a hard time with this post because I wasn’t sure what to say! I’d love for you to tackle it, too, if you wanted. You write about such matters much more eloquently than I!

  7. Anonymous says:

    No, my sister withdrew him. She’s a teacher, and the home daycare is near her school. The sitter charges nearly $50 a week less, and closes (no charge) on school holidays and breaks. She felt really bad for the daycare owner, but she (my sis) has to think about her own finances too.

  8. BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) says:

    It’s ironic that you posted this today. My husband is a small business owner and people are NOT paying their bills or are very late. My 3-year-old is in full time daycare and has only been two days both this week and last because she’s been sick (because of daycare.) We need my income (I work 30 hrs a week) and my health insurance coverage. But daycare is so so expensive for us. Ugh! It’s frustrating. I’ve actually thought of begging my boss to let me work from home this winter to we can get well (and save $.)

  9. Amy in Ohio says:

    This is one of the major reasons I voted for Obama. Until working families are made a priority, this next generation we’re tasked with raising is going to fail.

    Child care is disturbing on so many levels – it’s a national epidemic and it must be addressed.

    If we’re to call ourselves a nation that truly values and prioritizes education, we can’t let those precious preschool years fail because people can’t afford to provide proper care for their kids.

    It’s shameful in this land of plenty – and despite the economic forecast, we do live with tremendous resources (we just don’t use them wisely in my opinion) – that children have to suffer the consequences when we’re f’ing bailing out Wall Street!

  10. FreshHell says:

    What isn’t mentioned here, perhaps because it’s not happening?, is childcare providers lower their fees. I realize the implications of this but really, it’s that or lose your business. And why are childcare centers not set up as non-profits? Why can federal agencies help support these businesses (and again, my socialism streak is showing) or….it seems wrong that these businesses are for-profit! Childcare is, I think, an essential service and high-quality childcare should be available for all children, just like public schooling. It is really a shame that childcare and preschool can’t somehow be rolled into the public system to support these very families who have to make such difficult decisions. I’m seeing it at my daughter’s preschool. Her branch is being bought by another company. The rates are going to go up. I am counting the months until she starts kindergarten. I think I can make it until then. Fingers crossed.

  11. FreshHell says:

    I meant to say “why can’t” federal agencies…..

  12. Tough choices all around.

    I pulled my guys out of preschool this summer. The timing was right: The older one had just started kindergarten and was bored with “the babies” in the afternoon, and the younger one was irate all morning because his brother wasn’t there. Plus I lost my full-time job.

    I hated to do it, because their day care/preschool was a great place, with loving teachers. We’d been there for four years, since Big Guy was a baby. Plus it’s a church-based nonprofit that I know has been struggling to cover costs. For years, the congregation has had to chip in to keep it afloat.

    But there was really no other choice for me but to shed a $660-a-month expense. And it was that cheap only because Big Guy was down to half days when kindergarten was in session. When it wasn’t I was paying $800 plus. At peak, I shelled out $966.

    It’s tough to try to scrounge up freelance work with a 3-year-old clinging to my ankles, but there’s no other option right now. Honestly, I can’t wait until I’m earning enough again to send Little Guy back. He needs more stimulation than haranguing me for snacks.


  13. Emily from Mommin It Up says:

    I’m with Amy – this issue is a huge, huge reason that I am so in support of Obama. One of my favorite blog posts ever ( was a review of each primaray candidate’s views on family issues. Suffice it to say, some of the candidates were slightly lacking in their consideration.

    The article from the Wash Post was so, so sad for many reasons. I am so hopeful that things will turn around in 2009.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This is wide spread across the country. Coming from a full-time working mom I feel lucky that I can afford to have my husband stay at home with our baby. Although we may not have 2 brand new cars, new house, all new toy/baby stuff etc. we can afford to live within our means and make it. Just a thought for the people that might possibly try to have a parent at home instead of daycare. Of course all the people that are single parents and don’t make enough to live off of one income we can all only pray that this bad economy will come to an end soon so we can all have provide better lives for our children.

  15. It is scary to think about having to change what you want to do based off the economy. I wish companies wouldn’t take advantage of people’s situations, it’s like insurance companies not wanting to pay out when a hurricane hits.. geeze already!

  16. Anonymous says:

    i am a late poster. Actually the article has been pulled. I couldn’t open it, but i get the jist from the comments.

    just want to encourage all of the other working or not Mommies to think outside of the box.

    my company came to us two months ago and asked for ways to cut costs. I went back to my desk, played with my calculator and figured out if i cut my hours to 30(from 40) each week. Arranged my hours so that I could be home in time to get the kids off the school bus each day, I would save the $500 a month preschool bill.

    I proposed it to my boss and they took me up on the offer. Two weeks later, they laid 4 people in my department off. I was not in that batch. I think a lot of it was because I was able to come up with a solution to a problem.

    As it turns out, i am coming out ahead now each month because the cost of preschool was way more than what i lost by giving up those 10 hours a week.

    It was a win for both sides.

    Don’t hesitate to ask your company for a flexible solution. With the crappy economy right now, they certainly want to keep quality employees, but they have bottom lines to meet too. If you are seen as a solution finder, you won’t be on the cutting list, i would wager.

    HUGS to us all, this is a trying time, but we will come out on the other side.


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