Monday, July 23, 2012

Child Care debates

This Monday was not a good day.  It started off with a 5:50 am wake up with Reagan thanks to lots of new teeth making their way through her gums.  And then we arrived at our sitters house where she told me the dreaded words every working mom hates to hear.  "We are moving". 
We were lucky to find a situation that was working extremely well for us.  Our beloved sitter was on the way to work, affordable, had a daughter the same age as Reagan and a provided a great environment for the kids.  It was a perfect situation and Reagan seemed to really enjoy it.  So now that I face the daunting task of finding a new sitter I am heartbroken.  I literally cried at the thought of trying to find a situation that I would be comfortable with taking my dear daughter to for 40+ hours a week.  I had a hard enough time with it when I was thrilled with my sitter, how could I deal with something else?  I think I am really realizing how good I had it when I am faced with choosing between the other options. 

I started with, which is where we had meet and interviewed our current sitter.  So far I have had a few applicants, all of which were unaffordable, too young, or unprofessional. 
No, I don't think I will choose an 18 year old mother to watch my kid.  In her trailer.
Despite another applicants "years of experience", at 20 years old I fear she is not my top choice.
And how can I take seriously an applicant who contacted me with "Hey girl  I am interested in the job you posted on here.  :)  lemme know".  The only thing I let her know was that we were not interested. 
I briefly got my hopes up for one applicant who later told me her going rate was double what I offered.  Ouch, I knew she sounded too good to be true.
I even called a couple day cares, even though our preference was an in home sitter.  Even my back up plan didn't pan out because even if I could figure out how to afford it, there are only wait lists for Reagan's age. 
So I reached out to friends and church members looking for suggestions and so far I have a whole lot of nothing. 
It really makes me think about staying home.  It makes me dream about it in fact.  But I have tried the numbers this way and that, and it would be awfully hard to make it work.  We certainly don't have an extravagant lifestyle but with student loans and a police officer's salary there is only so far one pay check can take us.  It doesn't help that we bought a new car last month that added a jeep payment into our monthly expenses. Not to mention that Chet's old truck desperately needs to be replaced.  How would I make all those payments? 
Could I make it work if I watched a couple kids?
Could I make it work if I did more photo work?
Could we cut back on everything to trim the budget?

No cable, no trash service, no iphone, no vacations, no flights home, no shopping, no extras ever.... would that be worth the time I spent at home?   Would that even be enough?  What if we needed a new heater?  Or repair?  Or surgery?  What if unexpected bills came up? 

And how hard would it be to get a job again later since my limited job pool at OSU only has positions for me rarely?  Would it hurt my career to take time off work to be a stay at home mom?  Would I be happy?  Would I go crazy?  Would I decide to have another baby? 

Too many questions. 
Too many bills. 

So here I am stuck trying to find a way to stretch the budget or find a great sitter I can afford.  Both feel impossible right now.   Once again I find myself in prayer, trying to hand over a situation to the Lord I know I can not control and ask for him to show me the path he wants me to take.  Maybe the most important question I should be asking is how I can find faith that the Lord has all this in his plan. 

Is this the chance I needed to kick my butt in gear and get the photo business going?  Should I try to find a way to balance photo work and stay home with Reagan?  It could be so risky with no guarantee of work or clients but no change in bills or monthly expenses. 

It feels like I am risking a lot, but looking at options that would change my entire lifestyle.  Is that what I want or should I keep looking for another care giver?  Quitting my job would mean wasting my master's degree and potentially ending my higher education career even if I tried to re-enter the profession later on.  

But staying at home would mean so much more precious time with Reagan.  Time you never get back.  As we face her upcoming birthday I already feel like I missed so much.  Sitting in an office helping other people's kids, mine was growing up fast. 

Monday.. well monday sucked.  Lets hope Tuesday is better.  Tuesday might hold some answers or at least some options. 

1 comment:

  1. Tough questions my friend. I wish I had someone amazing to recommend..... Just keeping praying, whatever God's answer is, just know that He will provide for it. When Lucy was a baby, Brad was unemployed, but I still sent Lucy to a very good / moderately priced daycare. It was tough but we managed, all because it was the best place for Lu.