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Four Months Pregnant and Looking for Child Care

The moment I became pregnant with my first child, my husband and I placed our names on the day care list at his then-government office. The day care was well-thought of by other parents and a simple solution. And it seemed fine during our initial visit. Throughout my pregnancy, that day care was our child-care plan, after all, we were first on the list. And then, our son was born. When he was 3 months old, I took him in for a few hours to see how it would work for him.

By then, I was starting to get to know my baby and my mom instincts were far different than before he'd come into the world. I saw babies propped on boppies with bottles balanced into their mouths. Even worse, while my son seemed intrigued and comforted by one caretaker, another one sparked constant screaming. He clearly wanted nothing to do with her. When she insisted the reason was the color of her skin, my mind was made up. This was not the place for my child.

And so, with three months left of my maternity leave, I set off on a mad scramble to sort through who would take care of my son when I returned to work.

New mom-to-be Tracy is just beginning on that path, and she's looking for advice from all of us. Here's her story:

"I'm not a parent yet, but will be in early August if things go as planned. ... I'm only 4 months pregnant and already stressed out over how to find quality child care for an infant that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I thought it might be a good topic for you to discuss tips and Web sites out there for finding quality child care. I'd love to find a good site that compiles information on child-care providers in the area and ranked them or allowed parents to rank and comment on them. The county government sites don't really give a good guide, just a basic list of licensed childcare centers and home care businesses. I'm probably jumping the gun a bit and letting my wild pregnancy hormones get me stressed out, but any sharing from you and your many blog commenters would be helpful."

Tracy tells me that she lives in Fairfax along Braddock Road, not far from George Mason University. She works in the Courthouse area of Arlington and her husband works in Alexandria along I-395. The family is looking for either home child-care or a larger day care center. "Some of the day-care centers can get pretty pricey, but I feel with a home day care I need to be really careful in choosing a good fit. I've heard both good and bad things about home day-care places."

Tracy's got plenty of good places online to start on her search.

First, Virginia is one of several states that now lists information on child-care facilities, including detailed violation reports. Those can be found on the Virginia Department of Social Services Web site. In addition, Northern Virginia has an active moms community online from which to solicit advice on such child-rearing issues as child care. Two active forums to solicit the opinions of other moms are the NoVa Moms Group on Google Groups and DC Urban Moms and Dads.

In looking for good child care, trust your instincts. Even if you can't pinpoint an exact reason why a place makes you feel uncomfortable, trust your gut. And make sure that whoever your caregiver is, the person or people are the kinds of folks who put your child's needs ahead of theirs. For instance, I'd avoid a day care that forces kids to potty train at a certain age instead of letting them develop at their own paces.

What about the rest of you? What advice do you have for Tracy?


Do you have a request for parenting information? Please send it to parenting@washingtonpost.com.

By Stacey Garfinkle |  February 24, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies
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Comments


We have a service at our government agency that looks into child care for you. You give them your criteria, location and they give back their top three choices. All of the choices come with back round checks. If you don't like the first set of three choices, you can request an additional search. They will actually give you 9 choices (3 for nanny type care, 3 center care, and 3 home care).

After getting our first set of nine, we read all nine profiles and decided to look at home care. We went to visit all three places and decided on one. We have been very happy with our choice.

Number one, not all home care is unlicensed. This is a full licensed day care with five workers and a maximum of 12 children. An infant ratio of one adult to two babies. Not all five workers work from 7-6. But there appears to be significant coverage.

One thing to think about with nanny care or home care with one worker is what kind of coverage do you get when the child care provider gets sick or goes on vacation? I also liked the idea of multiple workers because unless they are all in some sort of scam together, they are a check on each other.

I would go with gut instict first. But visit the place, talk to people have used them currently and in the past. Not just names on the current referral list. Ask the parents on the referral list to give names of other parents that have used their service.

That being said, our day care was bought out by new owners 18 months ago. We have since had our second child and have grown a little unhappy with our current day care.

Next year our kids will have their own baby sitter who is a current worker at the day care.

Oh you also want to check worker turnover. Our day care has had very little turnover. That is a good sign that the children have constant people in their lives and the employer treats the staff well.

One thing that I was unhappy with the current day care is that the new owners never say anything nice about the kids. They don't tell you little things about how my child was doing. This is big to me. When you visit during operating hours, visit at different times. Do one smack in the middle of their planned day, another during pick up times. Listen intently in how they talk to the parents picking up the kids. Watch and observe the kids.

Even though we are less then thrilled with my current day care, I feel they are totally safe and the kids are well cared for. They are just missing that warm personal touch that it used to have.

Remember day care choices also do not have to be permanent. If you feel it isn't working for you and your family, you can always switch. Unless you feel your child is unsafe or ill cared for, you can make a switch on your time schedule.

Good luck, it is one of the most important choices you will make.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 24, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

For my kids they started out in an at-home daycare because I wanted the smaller more home like setting for the babies. When they were nearly 3 we moved them to a daycare center to get more socialization and more structure. Before the 2nd was born we moved but continued to use the at-home daycare near our old home because we couldn't find somebody we liked better near our house. My husband had an 1 hour commute for a job that was only 3 miles from our house because of this. He was a trooper!

The 2 best pieces of advice I got were - if you don't love a place, it isn't right and it won't be, just leave. And one time I was complaining about the cost of daycare (it is a lot, no way around it). My friend told me to divide the cost by 40 hours and consider that a kid at McDs is getting a better hourly wage to flip burgers than the sitter is to watch my child.

And anyway, it is only until kindergarten! Good luck.

Posted by: BurkeMom | February 24, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Finding a day care that you feel comfortable with takes time, so set aside time over the next few months to make lots of phone calls and a few site visits. I think I called about 30 places (mostly to find out if they had openings) and visited 6 before I made my choice.

Unless you are willing to pay a lot, you probably won't find a day care solution that you love. Safety, providing my girls a loving, stable environment, cost and convenience is more important to me than the number of hours the tv is on and how spotless the house is. I would also recommend to take a little time to build a good rapport with your chosen day care provider to build trust and fend off any future communication problems.

Posted by: lwood321 | February 24, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Check with parents in your neighborhood. The good ones don't have to advertise and rely on word-of-mouth for a steady stream of students. That's how I found first our in-home daycare and then my daughter's preschool.

Consider nanny-share.

Talk a lot with the teachers at the potential school/daycare. How long have they been with the school/center? You should have the sense that they will care for your child as if s/he were their own.

Posted by: mediajunky | February 24, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Infant care that "doesn't cost an arm and a leg" will be tough to find- babies are expensive to care for because you need more staff. Ideal is no more than a 3:1 baby:adult ratio, which is expensive. And a good child care center will have extra staff to fill in when teachers are having lunch and breaks, which ups the cost even more.

Posted by: bubba777 | February 24, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Above all, make sure you check out the condition of the bathrooms.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | February 24, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

ITA with lwood321 that you won't find a place you totally love without paying a lot of money (which we ended up doing). Our preference was a center over an in-home location because we felt there was much more oversight at a center. With an in-home situation, you don't know who else is going to have access to your baby. Maybe the provider has a psycho ex-boyfriend who drops by occasionally or something.

And it is totally a gut feeling. We looked at several places and knew there was no way we were leaving our baby there. The place we ended up with we knew right away. You just had a great feeling about itas soon you went in, and you could see how the providers were intereacting wtih the babies.

Also, visit the older kids rooms as well. You want a place where you can stay for a while and maybe you see a place that has a great infant room but then they seem to fall apart in the 3 and 4 year old rooms or something.

Posted by: dennis5 | February 24, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

And look for something closer to home rather than closer to work (I don't live in the DC area so I have no idea how close she and her husband live to where they work). It has the advantage that if you work in different areas, it's easier for either one of you to drop off and pick up the baby. There will also be days when you aren't going to work but want to take the baby to daycare. Before the baby comes, everyone says they would never do that, but the reality is every once in a while you need a day to get some things done child-free.

The counter-argument is that if daycare is close to work you can get there much faster if something happens. But having had 2 kids in full-time daycare for 5 years each, we never had a time when they got hurt or sick or something where they couldn't have waited an hour or two for one of us to get there.

Posted by: dennis5 | February 24, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

We really liked Infant Toddler Family Day care - it's based in Northern Virginia and is basically a network of home day cares (regulated by the state and the organization standards). The biggest plus to this was the small size and the ability to go to another of the home day cares in the network if our provider was sick or on vacation. It was great for the first two years, and then we switched to something with more of a pre-school atmosphere.

Posted by: mdem929 | February 24, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Agree with most of the other posters - look for a situation that you really like and are comfortable with; make sure they have reliable back-up when somebody gets sick; check with your neighbors; and let google be your friend.

Make sure that the center is following all rules; e.g., in Maryland the maximum ratio of kids-under-two to adults is 3:1. If they're at 4:1 or 5:1 they're breaking the law. Virginia appears to be 4:1 for infants and 5:1 for kids from 6 months to two years; don't accept more than that.

I hate to echo this as well, but I will: expect to pay A LOT for quality childcare. Don't go cheap on your kids, especially babies. Just calculate the cost per hour and ask yourself whether it's worth it to you (and if it helps remember that future "date nights" are going to cost you at least 10 dollars an hour for a sitter. :-)

Over the years we had in-home care, a large day care center affiliated with our Government agency, and a set of au pairs. The au pairs were the best solution for us - and the cheapest given that we had three kids. The Agency day care center was by far the most expensive but it was the most reliable and had the best preschool programs for the kids.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | February 24, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

How about this for an alternative: stay home with your baby!

Oh, too much strain on your budget? Then why are you having a kid, you can't afford it.

I have to work to feel fulfilled? Then diapers and colic aren't for you!

I want it all! The collapse of the housing market should give you a big clue about having it all.

I need a baby for personal fulfillment? Then make sacrifices now, trust me you will be sacrificing for the next 25 years or so anyway, just get use to it!.

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

My baby's due in May (our first) and as a teacher I'll be going back to work in August so I asked around the school as to who used what services. I also asked around my online group - Cafe Mom which has local groups that know about these. I wanted to find an at home person who was close to where I work not necessarily close to where I live. That way I can get there if there is a problem a lot quicker. Also hours were really important to me. I need someone who's open well before school starts (unless we go on this High School SLEEP schedule) - 6am is what I was looking for. We think we've found the person we're comfortable with, and her prices for an infant in this area seemed comparable. I went to visit her facility and checked her online to see about violations as well (VA has a great website for this!!!) I also read and researched her references and a fellow teacher is using her right now. Lots of things to check into but worth it. I'd love to chat with you further on this as we're in similar boats...

Posted by: annwhite1 | February 24, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

How about this for an alternative: stay home with your baby!

Oh, too much strain on your budget? Then why are you having a kid, you can't afford it.

I have to work to feel fulfilled? Then diapers and colic aren't for you!

I want it all! The collapse of the housing market should give you a big clue about having it all.

I need a baby for personal fulfillment? Then make sacrifices now, trust me you will be sacrificing for the next 25 years or so anyway, just get use to it!.

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Nurse!
Restraints and a hypo!

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 24, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

to annwhite1: If you send your e-mail to parenting@washingtonpost.com, I'll connect you to Tracy.

Posted by: StaceyGarfinkle | February 24, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Why do I need to be restrained? I presented a valid alternative. One which many families decide to pursue after looking at options. Anecdotally, the choice many make near the end of the maternity leave when the mother decides that she just can't leave the care of her child to anyone but her.

I am just saying, think serious about this alternative before pregnancy.

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Most of the posters have covered the bases, so I won't waste time repeating it all. My contribution would be to pick a center/provider that accepts credit cards. Infant daycare is expensive; no way around it. We pay with cash/check as often as possible, but there have been a couple times where money was tight (emergencies happen) and it was a life-saver to have a center that takes credit cards.

Posted by: gypsyrom1 | February 24, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

To anonthistime:

Working mothers are a reality. Get behind us and be supportive or get out of our way.

Posted by: gypsyrom1 | February 24, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Why do I need to be restrained? I presented a valid alternative. One which many families decide to pursue after looking at options. Anecdotally, the choice many make near the end of the maternity leave when the mother decides that she just can't leave the care of her child to anyone but her.

I am just saying, think serious about this alternative before pregnancy.

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

The hypo must be kicking in. I won't call the Grammar Police.

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 24, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

You are a legend in your own mind, Jezebel3!

Love the simplistic comment, get behind us or get out of our way. More support might come your way if you quite whining about childcare, you actually come back from maternity leave ready to work and suck up some inconvenience that comes your way while we are here. After all, who did your work for you for the 10-12 months you were out?

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Love the simplistic comment, get behind us or get out of our way. More support might come your way if you quite whining about childcare, you actually come back from maternity leave ready to work and suck up some inconvenience that comes your way while we are here. After all, who did your work for you for the 10-12 months you were out?

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Nurse!
Another hypo! Stat!

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 24, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Not only is Jezebel3 perfect but also a doctor who can prescribe some unknown, unspecified medicine in a hypodermic needle.

Or maybe she is just A-Fraud injecting "the clear".

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

For once I agree with jezebel. Take yourself on over to the "living in the past" blog if you want to whine about working mothers.

Posted by: snuggie | February 24, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey anonthistime-- I only took 2 weeks of maternity leave-- do I get a pass from your vitriol? Or do i get even more because I placed my child in a loving, yet not family, day care situation?

You seem to have a lot of issues-- just wondering where your priority is exactly.

Posted by: captiolhillmom | February 24, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

To anonthistime:

I was only on maternity leave for 8 weeks. In addition, I got so much work done before I had my baby that the work to be done during that time was minimal. I know because I was checking email from home on a regular basis.

The simplistic comment was to assist you in staying on topic. The topic is how to find affordable, quality daycare for an infant, not whether or not to stay home with the baby.

In this economy, staying home with the baby is not a valid option in my opinion. If I was at home, I would worry every day what would happen if my husband got laid off or even died in a car accident. How would we pay the mortgage, buy groceries, etc? How long would it take a stay-at-home mom to find a job with a decent salary? What would we do for income in the mean time?

Not working is not an option.

Posted by: gypsyrom1 | February 24, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

gypsyrom brings up another important preparation-for-baby topic: wills and life insurance, which are just as big a mountain to move as finding good daycare, in my opinion.

Posted by: snuggie | February 24, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"assist you with staying on topic..." Not only do I have a new doctor but a news life coach! (or is that censor, I forget which.)

I am not anti-working woman, I am just anti whining woman who request special privileges because they have children.

I would hope that any couple would examine their financial condition (got laid off or even died) before having children to include enough cash or insurance to mitigate any unplanned dire circumstances.

I would ask you what if you were laid off or died unexpectedly? What is the plan for hubby to cope with additional responsibility?

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Snuggie,

I must disagree with you on the effort required to obtain life insurance and wills and other legal documents.

Group life insurance is widely available at a reasonable cost through many, many employers. As to the will matter, it is just a one time effort and expense for the most part. A good attorney can draft a will with enough flexible clauses to automatically include new children, providing alternate guardians, executors etc. Leaving moving to a different state or getting divorced as probably the biggest 2 reasons to have a will redone.

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

To anonthistime:

We were in a good financial condition before we had the baby for your information. However, nobody could predict that our daughter was going to be born with craniosynostosis and require neurosurgery at 6 months. Our health insurance covered 80 percent, but 20 percent of pediatric neuro- and craniofacial surgery at Johns Hopkins is still quite a chunk of change. Like I said earlier, emergencies happen.

And my husband makes twice the salary I do, so it wouldn't be as big a problem if I got laid off or died. Not that it's any of your business in the first place.

Posted by: gypsyrom1 | February 24, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why the original poster drew your ire, anonthistime - she simply asked for advice in finding childcare. No whining or asking for special privileges there, you self-involved, judgmental doofus. (Oops . . my New Year's resolution was to be polite to nitwits I encounter on the net. Oh well.)

Posted by: dcd1 | February 24, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I should add that we had to pay daycare costs in full during the time our daughter was in the hospital and recovering at home.

So something else to look for in daycare would be a clause that lets you not pay in those types of emergency cases. For example, our current center lets us have a 1-week tuition "vacation" per year. However, you had to be there for a minimum of one year before the "vacation" kicked in, so we couldn't use it during her surgery.

Posted by: gypsyrom1 | February 24, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I have to disagree with your disagreement. My group life insurance, which I set up years ago when I first started working, rarely allows for adjustments. So, I needed to go through a whole new process to get more. And setting up a will required a lot of discussion on who gets the kids, which was NOT easy in our case.

Posted by: snuggie | February 24, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

It was a rhetorical question, gypsyrom1.

But since you brought it up " husband makes twice the salary I do, so it wouldn't be as big a problem if I got laid off or died" would it really be as easy? Have you asked him about it?

One I posed for all to think about.

What you do if you lost your spouse?

I an not asking about divorce but loss of spouse by other means.

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Snuggie,

I can appreciate how hard it would be to name guardians of children. But as you stated by your action, you wanted to decide, not the courts. I hope that you feel this was worth your efforts.

Most employers do open a window once a year or so for revision of all benefit plans, yours apparently is not one of them.

And dcd1, I am only judgmental when people give me something to judge by their actions.

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

One I posed for all to think about.

What you do if you lost your spouse?

I an not asking about divorce but loss of spouse by other means.

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Since your so set on changing the topic, more than once, here's my take.

When my husband died, we had in place the stuff that would financially protect me and the kid still living at home. I was emotionally devastated and took off 2 weeks from work. I was very glad I had a job and routine to return to help me recover from my intense grief.

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 24, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

gypsyrom1-who says stay-at-home moms aren't working?

We weighed the options before our first child was born, and after crunching the numbers, determined that my paycheck would be going for day care, vehicle maintenance, and gas. Result: we'd have no money left from my pay to help us "get ahead," and our kids wouldn't have much time with either one of us! The other catch was that the secular daycares/preschools in our area are ruinously expensive, and the church-based daycares/preschools were out because of our religion. Being non-Christians, we'd either be targets for harassment from people who insisted that we convert, or we'd be about as welcome there as itching powder at the beach because we're quite happy with the religion we have and therefore cannot convert!

That having been said, we're doing fine with my being a SAHM. My husband makes enough to cover the necessities of life, and the fact that we refuse to buy into all that keeping-up-with-the-Joneses crap is helping out too. Do kids really need brand-new brand-name clothes? Do they really need the latest technological gadgets? Do they really need after-school schedules filled with tons of classes and sports? We've got a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our back (thrift stores and yard sales are wonderful things, and much better on the budget!), the utilities are paid for, and the kids have running-around space in the backyard. There's a library and a park in town, and there's activities, both community and cultural, in the county at various times of the year. And when the time comes that I do go back to work, it's going to be an occupation that I can do from home so I can still be there for the kids when they come home from school.

Contrary to popular belief, the time when they're most likely to get into trouble is not when they're little, but when they're teenagers left home alone while both parents are working. I'm just trying to prevent my kids from becoming part of those statistics!

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | February 24, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"I was very glad I had a job and routine to return to help me recover from my intense grief."

another very good reason to be a working mom, jezebel

Posted by: snuggie | February 24, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

My mom never had a job but was never home after school for me, since I was really young, cause I had older sisters. So it's not always that someone is there. My mother would have shot herself long before I was a teen if she was home every afternoon.

re: what happens if something happens to spouse...we discuss, but I think my DH doesn't really get it. Right now, I'm not working (but might be soon - then DH will get to quit). But seriously - I don't think people think half as much about what happens if something happens to SAHM (or D) - cause they don't realize the things she/he were doing. I.e., if there was a spouse to take care of everything, now after care/day care is needed, etc.

The other thing re: 'I'm only working to pay for child care' is that that's not necessarily the case. There are a zillion benefits to working, one of them being saving for retirement, etc...and the day care cost is only a few years, so after those few years, to start back into the workforce, you are lucky then to make what you made when you quit. Whereas if you continue on at a position - then you keep getting raises/promotions/save for retirement/get all the other perks, until you then send your kids to school.

I'm not saying money is the ONLY reason, it's by far and away NOT (one reason I quit working last year), but there are things to look at past the next year or so.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 24, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

dragon: I think it is fine that you choose to stay at home. One question I have for you is this, did you factor in the loss of your retirement income when you decided to quit working?

From a purely financial perspective, I think a lot of women undercut themseleves when they don't remember to factor in the loss of retirement income. If I stopped working at a job away from home I would stop contributing to SS, stop putting into my TSP/401K and stop earning money towards my defined benefit pension. In total that would be a loss of more than 2million dollars? Can you still say that you would be working away from home for nothing?

Also did you assume you would never get a promotion as well?

I am not at all implying that it is wrong for you to stop working. I think being a stay at home parent is a wonderful thing. I just think professional women lose sight in the whole picture and forget to factor in future losses.

My daughter goes to a Christian day care that does not discriminate based on religion. There are some out there. You just have to look around to find them.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 24, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Not to diminish the therapeutic benefits of work but having a job to deal with grief if my spouse dies is not one of the "very good" reasons I work.

The flip side of this is what do the people whose daily job is dealing with grief do to relief the stress of their jobs?

I just may have to apologize for changing the subject here, no one have ever done it before me.

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Routine sure is a good reason to work. A lot of people find comfort and sanity in routine.

Posted by: snuggie | February 24, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Not to diminish the therapeutic benefits of work but having a job to deal with grief if my spouse dies is not one of the "very good" reasons I work.


Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse


"re: what happens if something happens to spouse...we discuss, but I think my DH doesn't really get it. Right now, I'm not working (but might be soon - then DH will get to quit). But seriously - I don't think people think half as much about what happens if something happens to SAHM (or D) - cause they don't realize the things she/he were doing. I.e., if there was a spouse to take care of everything, now after care/day care is needed, etc."
Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 24, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

All of the widowers I know (under 60)continued to work, whether or not they had kids. No darts were thrown at them. The widowers and some widows with young kids tended to remarry quickly, with the clear intent of finding a mother/father for their kids. Some widows/widowers can't deal with the grief and enormous loneliness and get involved or remarry on the rebound to their regret. Sometimes to their kids' regret.

NOTHING can replace the emotional support of a loving spouse anonthistime, this is the biggest shock to widows and widowers. Even the ones with financial problems. There is no way to plan for it, even if you have been through it before. But there are ways to learn to live with it and move on.

Yes, every person is an individual. But it is interesting that anonthistime puts a dollar sign on the value of a spouse and little else.

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 24, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

jezebel: I just meant that everyone just seems to think we need to have gobs and gobs of insurance on the 'breadwinner' but no one thinks what would happen when/if something happened to SAH. There are financial implications to that as well.
I have a friend who INSISTED that they pay for an ENORMOUS amount of insurance on DH - but they have nothing on her. She seems to think that's okay...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 24, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

jezebel: Of course they'd continue to work -but if you had a SAHS, then now your costs go up, and people tend not to think about it that way...

Posted by: atlmom1234 | February 24, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Correction to my previous post:

Spouse includes committed partner.

Please excuse the dumb oversight.

Posted by: jezebel3 | February 24, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

puts a dollar sign on the value of a spouse and little else.


On the contrary, Jezebel3, I am the one that proposed staying home with baby in the first place. If it were all about money with me, I would have said spouse back working as soon as doctor released her to work. No additional maternity leave for her.

And yes, I do have life insurance on spouse as well.

Posted by: anonthistime | February 24, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I just have to say, most of you are concerned more about yourselves than your kids. Most of you are allowing someone else to teach your children the values of life. Why don't you spend a couple of hours in the institutionalized child rearing place that you have put your children and see how great they are fulfilling your dreams for your children. Most of you would be horrified.

Posted by: tweb53 | February 25, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

So tweb53, I take it you are homeschoooling your kids then? After all, school is just and "institutionalized child rearing place".

Not directed at you specificially since I don't know enough about your situation to comment, the hypocrosy of a lot of stay-at-home parents just kills me. They say they don't want someone else "raising their children" and then when the kids turn 5, they send them off to school where someone else "raises their children".

Posted by: dennis5 | February 25, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

"Why don't you spend a couple of hours in the institutionalized child rearing place that you have put your children and see how great they are fulfilling your dreams for your children. Most of you would be horrified."

Posted by: tweb53 | February 25, 2009 8:21 AM

Shhhhhhhhhh! Don't anyone wake her up! Let's all tiptoe away and have an adult conversation absent the contribution of someone willing to reveal the scope of her ignorance by referring to "institutionalized child rearing places."

Step back from the talk radio shows preaching stupidity. There are as many different environments, teachers, playgrounds, facilities, and teacher/student ratios present in paid childcare as there are parenting and family styles.

Don't get hurt by

Posted by: anonfornow | February 25, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

foamgnome, I was working in security, so the hours were not your conventional 9-5 hours, not to mention long commutes were the norm. Day care is hard enough to find when working conventional hours, let alone second or third shift, and second or third shift hours are the most common! And no, we don't get promotions in that line of work, unless you count working at a different job site for a raise that can be counted in quarters. The pay is anywhere from $8 an hour on up ($10-12 is considered "good" in that line of work), depending on the company you're working for, and the closest we got to bonuses is overtime. No benefits to speak of, and very few of them offered a 401K or anything like that. So like I said, after we crunched the numbers, we discovered that my pay would be going for child care and car maintenance/fuel. Savings? HAH.

The few times I tried to find another line of work, even with a college degree I was limited to jobs that consisted of slinging fast food or sucking up to overprivileged mall rats, neither of which paid more than security work. (I spent five years in college for that?)

Thirdly, I mentioned that I want to be able to work from home after the kids are in school. Since I won't have any commuting expenses, the majority of that pay can therefore be socked away for the future.

It's good that you have Christian day-care centers where you live that don't proselytize/evangelize. However, we live in a small town (population 3200) in a largely "red" county, so the church people around here tend to turn green and spaz if you dare to think outside the box. I'd even get a "No Proselytizing/No Evangelizing" sign made for our front door, but with the large Mennonite buffer around the town, the number of times we get those door-to-door preachers is minimal. When we do, it's usually Mormons with the occasional stray Baptist, and if you tell them you're happy with the religion you have, they'll at least shut up and go away.

One final thing to mention; I happen to be a volunteer firefighter along with my husband. One benefit of that is a little something called LOSAP, or Length Of Service Award Points. You get those for running calls, helping with fundraisers, attending meetings, or just being at the firehouse putting in time. You get 50, you end up with a $3500 tax deduction. Keep that up for 25 years, you get a pension out of it for when you retire from the firehouse. And all that for volunteering your time to help your community....

So believe me, I did not merely "abandon" my job. Frankly, it was burning me out anyway. I call being with my children "my investment in the future." Sometimes I get to grumbling that I'm being taken for granted and that we deserve a paycheck because what we do IS in fact work, but I have no regrets about opting for it. My mom stayed home to raise us, and I wanted my children to have the same good memories about time with their parents growing up.

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | February 25, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I honestly wish more parents looking for childcare would choose the au pair option. You can save some serious money. And personally, the screening process is pivotol in my search for childcare. With an au pair you must go through an agency that does a secure screening so you know you're getting the highest quality. I went through AuPairCare and my au pair is like part of our family. I'm saving a couple hundred a week using an au pair over a nanny, since they work for room/board and a small stipend. Its about 300-350 a week, no matter how many kids you have, and this includes over 40 hours of work. love it love it love it.

Posted by: dgrove1 | February 25, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I know the au pair works for a lot of people, but a friend of mine had an au pair who had an affair with her husband. So no matter what option you go with, there are always risks.

Posted by: dennis5 | February 25, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

All of you need to go back to the beginning of this comment page and reread what is being said. It is mostly about the adults. What about the poor children that are caught up in all of this? They don't have a say. They are harmed by all of this. Just ask them.

Posted by: tweb53 | February 25, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse


"Why don't you spend a couple of hours in the institutionalized child rearing place that you have put your children and see how great they are fulfilling your dreams for your children. Most of you would be horrified."

Posted by: tweb53 | February 25, 2009 8:21 AM

Shhhhhhhhhh! Don't anyone wake her up! Let's all tiptoe away and have an adult conversation absent the contribution of someone willing to reveal the scope of her ignorance by referring to "institutionalized child rearing places."

Step back from the talk radio shows preaching stupidity. There are as many different environments, teachers, playgrounds, facilities, and teacher/student ratios present in paid childcare as there are parenting and family styles.

Don't get hurt by

Posted by: anonfornow | February 25, 2009 9:13 AM
anonfornow, you seem to be angry at anyone suggesting that a parent should "parent" their own child. There is no substitute for mom.

Posted by: tweb53 | February 26, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

There is no substitute for mom.

Posted by: tweb53 | February 26, 2009 9:04 PM


Unless of course, it's Dad, or the other mom (in the case of same-sex parents-yes, they're families too!). Dads can be stay-at-home parents too, you know!

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | February 27, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

There is no substitute for mom.

Posted by: tweb53 | February 26, 2009 9:04 PM


Unless of course, it's Dad, or the other mom (in the case of same-sex parents-yes, they're families too!). Dads can be stay-at-home parents too, you know!

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | February 27, 2009 4:43 PM

Yes, dragondancer1814, Dads too. But I don't think in the case of same-sex partners you can say that. After all, it would be two dads or two moms. To balance out the way animals deal with life you need a male and a female. without that the child's life will be out of balance. And it doesn't matter how many studies are done. Depending on which way the study is leaning will be the outcome of the study. We as laymen can do our own objective observations and come to the truth.

Posted by: tweb53 | March 1, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

tweb53, studies of children growing up in households with same-sex parents show that the kids are just as well-adjusted as those growing up in hetero households, so that argument makes about as much sense as nips on a bull. And different animals have different methods of rearing their young besides merely pairing off, so that argument doesn't fly either. Biases against same-sex couples are based on religion, not science.

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | March 1, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

dragondancer1814, as I said, depending on what side of the fence you are on will tell you how the study comes out. If YOU will make an attempt to pay attention to what YOU have observed over time YOU will see the truth of the situation. We don't need $100,000.00 studies to know the truth. I don't know how old you are but in the late 60's and the 70's there were alot of studies about pot. Depending on what side of the fence you were on there was proof for that side. Very confusing for us laymen. So staying away from both religion and science We can reason out that the human race does best with what nature has given us.

Posted by: tweb53 | March 1, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

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