Today, I’m going to focus on some of the challenges I face as a father to two younger children with a third on the way. Now you might think - this doesn’t have anything to do with me…but the reality is that all of life’s challenges have to do with all of us. The purpose of Generation Bridge is to share wisdom and information across generational lines. The fact is that you may have been a parent at one point and could offer advice, may have grandchildren dealing with the same issues and want to share some perspective, or you may not have kids yet, but may have learned something in your life that could help parents like me.
So let me start by stating a fact. I LOVE my kids. There is nothing better that I have done in my life than to meet my wife and start our family. You want to talk about finding meaning and purpose in life? There is nothing that I want to do more than to be their father. We have two young girls (3 years and 2 years old) and a baby boy on the way in 6 weeks. So here are some things that are going through my mind right now.
I’m an older dad - got started at 40 years old and about to have my 3rd kid at 44. Yup, when he graduates from high school he’ll hopefully be 18 and I will be 62 years old. If they wait until they are my age to have kids, then I will be 80 years old as a new gramps…so selfishly I hope they find people they love and want to start families with when they are younger :) But all in good time - whatever God wills we’ll gladly accept - but God if you are listening…haha.
But in today’s culture with two working adults in a household daycare becomes a HUGE concern. Many factors play into it -
people move away from home towns which can mean that the support network isn’t as large for people to watch your kids. If you are fortunate enough to have a mother or father willing to take the kids for some time - count your blessings! And if you move away from family, know this may not be an immediate consideration, but is one to think about longer term - having family close can make such a HUGE difference in your life as the price of day care goes up and as babysitters cost more.
if you have two working adults, both need / want to continue their careers, but taking time out to raise the kids and keep childcare costs down can put you at a career disadvantage. I know, empathetically we think this shouldn’t be the case, but the fact is that you learn a lot in 5 years, make lots of connections in 5 years, and get exposed to opportunities in 5 years.
daycare can give your children a leg up in terms of socialization, skills, acclimating to a school environment, etc. Let’s make sure we clarify this…it is not a PREDICTOR. There are many more predictors about childhood success that are not related to their “preschool” schooling - things like economic status, school systems / town where living, support systems, etc. But if you do stay home with the kid(s), there are things you need to consider in order to give your kids a chance to hit the ground running when they get into school…
COST - some will look at the cost of daycare and think, WOW, that’s expensive, but in reality we all have to look at the rules and regulations that daycares are mandated to be compliant with, AND the cost of employing staff, liabilities, maintaining a building, etc. If we have three kids in daycare, we’ll be looking at close to $3,000 - $3,500 a month. In our area that can easily be $4,000+. When you do the analysis on that, even with Pre-tax contributions possible in your benefit package, most won’t cover the full cost. That means you essentially have to earn twice as much to fund the daycare - at $3,000 a month that would be $36,000 a year, meaning you need to earn almost $72,000 a year to justify it financially. That’s not chump change, but yet we need to note that daycares are not “rolling in the dough” - when you start looking at the math, the teachers can’t be making a lot of money and the school can’t be making a “lot” of money either as they are all trying to live in the same community as us…
So these are just a couple of the things when looking at daycare as you want to grow your family. There are good tax breaks too for having kids, but the fact is that having kids is expensive, no matter how you look at it. The decision to continue with daycare or bring kids out is a very PERSONAL one. Each family has to look at their own priorities without fear of judgment. We will likely reduce our number of days per week with the kids to keep costs manageable, but that will likely mean that I will be doing more with the kids during the days - which means I have to figure out ways to still do my work while watching kids.
Fortunately, I am a consultant, a REALTOR® and my events aren’t necessarily 9 - 5 dependent. I can work flexible hours in order to be able to do this and allow my wife to be able to stay where she is and not miss out on some of the opportunities yet to present themselves. I know most situations would see the reverse - wife may stay at home and husband being the one to continue in the job, etc. As I said before, each situation is very PERSONAL and individual. The resources you have at your disposal, your dreams and aspirations, etc. are all tailor fit to your own situation, but as I said before, there is nothing that I have done in my life that can compare than the job our Creator has afforded me; to be a father.
Here are some interesting articles to help families looking into the finances and also some resources for building a curriculum for daycare substitutions while still trying to run a home-based business…I am also open to ANY advice from people who may have done this before. As an example, I think my mom got daycare at a slightly reduced amount for me when I was 4 or 5 years old and she was studying to get her masters in nursing at UConn Storrs - I think my costs were less because I was in the child psych building (and being studied) along with other kids. Maybe there are similar programs out there that can help kids get care during the day but be somewhat subsidized by other things - this was EXTREMELY important for my mother who was a single mom with two kids working full time and studying to get her masters. That’s an inspirational story for another time…
Cost of Daycare Or Stay at Home: https://www.moneyunder30.com/costs-of-daycare-vs-stay-at-home (note - the site moneyunder30.com is meant to primarily help young adults - but SEE, the challenges we face are life stage driven, rather than specifically “Age” driven - I have a lot in common with this article and unless I was searching for this specific subject, I may never have found MoneyUnder30…)
It is a Financial Decision - Need to Weigh Pluses and Minuses: Also, are you a business looking for ways to differentiate? Consider offering discounted childcare to employees…https://www.businessinsider.com/cost-of-staying-home-child-care-2017-7
Some Great Tips for Running A Business With Kids at Home: https://www.thebalancesmb.com/running-a-successful-home-based-business-with-kids-2947094
Connecticut 3-5 year old state curriculum: https://www.funshineonline.com/docs/Connecticut%203-5%20Year%20Alignment%2011-27-17.pdf?sdx=q2vsM8pTYBz5dXFaLgvhS5huFs6V8ab4KwdtAh62Ev_a7Ec3X6-Z9HFAlv4KyBM5pgSsHYs
Pinterest is always good. Daddy Daycare Images for Inspiration: https://www.pinterest.com/ajskittles/daddy-daycare/