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Old 10-15-2011, 09:34 PM   #21
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Been there, done that years ago.

It has been my experience that if you have one child and can take him/her to home based daycare that is the most economical. Next most expensive is day care. Once you have two children in home daycare is cost effective.
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:59 AM   #22
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Sorry. I'm not buying it. We both worked full-time and had kids. We even lived in a high cost-of-living-area and could not afford to buy a home.

Day care does not have to be expensive if you look around at many options. Some parents use the cost of daycare and follow-on private school as a status symbol. You don't have to be that kind of parent.

Also raising kids is easy. You simply teach them to take care of themselves. It is amazing how smart they are and how quickly they catch on. For folks who think raising kids is hard, they must've had some very very very easy gigs in comparison. I suppose if one was more positive about it, then the attitude would be different.

So I wanted to dispel the myths that kids are hard to raise and expensive to raise. If that were true, the poor would stop having children.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:26 AM   #23
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Yes, I encouraged my wife to stay home, but she didn't want to leave the workforce. It can be very hard to get back into it once you leave, so I couldn't really argue against going back to work.
Business Week ran an article a decade ago "proving" that working parents are losing money once you add in all the expenses and taxes.

Their conclusion? If you want to work then you should, even if you're "losing" money for the first five years. Their point was that a working spouse develops skills and eventually higher earnings that they'd never get if they stayed home. They also emphasized that a working spouse wouldn't be a marriage hostage or vulnerable in a divorce.

The challenge is keeping your spending within one income so that if she wants to quit (or if one of you loses their job) then the financial obligations don't lead you into the two-income trap.

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I was more worried about the personal downsides to daycare than the money. Thankfully, it is working out better than I expected. The center we use has people that I am comfortable with now. They appear to be taking good care of her.
Kids probably shouldn't be cared for by the lowest bidder. Maybe you're paying for quality.

Every kid is different. Some are very social while others just want to be left by themselves. You can imagine which type will thrive in daycare and which... not so much. Same with parents. Some do very well with raising families and don't care about the workplace. Others can't parent 24/7 without feeling like they're trapped and going nuts. One could claim that the latter shouldn't have kids, but it's a two-party decision and it's not easy to know how you'll feel after you bring 'em home from the delivery room.

Our daughter was "always on" 24/7, to the point of several wakeups a night for over a decade. I was far more sleep-deprived on parenting shore duty than on Navy sea duty. Even our daughter's caregivers would raise their eyebrows at her energy levels and intensity. By the time she was three years old we were investigating homeschooling because we weren't sure the public schools would put up with her.

One medical "advantage" of daycare is that kids will swap all their viruses and develop their immune systems much more quickly. When they start school (whether that's preschool or kindergarten) they'll have a much more positive experience without so many sick days.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:55 AM   #24
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So I wanted to dispel the myths that kids are hard to raise and expensive to raise. If that were true, the poor would stop having children.
Of course, they do often have somewhat different goals, and in case you haven't noticed the results can be spotty.

If you are poor enough, or can appear poor enough, kids are a profit center.

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Having a Child Exposes You and Your Family to a Profound Loss of Control
Old 10-16-2011, 12:00 PM   #25
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Having a Child Exposes You and Your Family to a Profound Loss of Control

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/op...R_AP_LO_MST_FB

"My son, Ronan, looks at me and raises one eyebrow. His eyes are bright and focused. Ronan means “little seal” in Irish and it suits him.

I want to stop here, before the dreadful hitch: my son is 18 months old and will likely die before his third birthday. Ronan was born with Tay-Sachs, a rare genetic disorder. He is slowly regressing into a vegetative state. He’ll become paralyzed, experience seizures, lose all of his senses before he dies. There is no treatment and no cure."

Ha
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:00 PM   #26
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LOL!: All people (parents and children) are different for some it is easier than others.
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:34 AM   #27
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I nicknamed my two oldest kids: Porsche & Mercedes. I suspect I could have made the bank note on those two cars for what we paid to put them in daycare.
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Old 10-17-2011, 07:38 AM   #28
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I nicknamed my two oldest kids: Porsche & Mercedes. I suspect I could have made the bank note on those two cars for what we paid to put them in daycare.
I can identify with that and also admit to the occasional thought that I wish I had chosen the porsche...
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:14 AM   #29
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Yes, we weren't particulary price sensitive in this exchange :>

This center turns into a Montessori pre-school as she gets a little older. I think that it will be beneficial to have the people there making the effort to try and teach her, rather than just "baby sitting".

It probably costs about $300/month more than the lowest cost center in our area.



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Kids probably shouldn't be cared for by the lowest bidder. Maybe you're paying for quality.
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:12 PM   #30
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$300/mo is reasonable given the difference in programs.
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:14 PM   #31
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Here is a timely blog post from Mr. Money Mustache that also coincides with my philosophy on child rearing: Avoiding Ivy League Preschool Syndrome | Mr. Money Mustache

To summarize the blog post, it isn't necessary to spend a bunch of money on expensive preschools and extra-curricular activities for your kids to turn out above average. Just spend time with them, expose them to different things, and encourage learning.
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:36 PM   #32
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Like most blog things, this is just opinion, not fact. Some things, like steep mountain snow boarding, playing tennis well, riding English, playing the violin or piano and foreign language are learned differently and better from a young age then when you are older and are different neurologically and also have less time to devote to it. He is wrong that instructors for riding and golf and violin etc. have recently sprung up to service this clientele- these teachers have always been around, for hundreds of years, and if they are well chosen you get skilled instruction for your money.

I am not about to argue that these things are worth the money for a money constrained family, but they do make differences that become part of the child's lifetime experience. These things are not stupid expenditures, any more than newer well maintained cars are stupid expenditures. They are also not necessities, and a subtext to many ER sites is that only necessities are worthy expenditures.

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Old 10-17-2011, 01:45 PM   #33
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I nicknamed my two oldest kids: Porsche & Mercedes. I suspect I could have made the bank note on those two cars for what we paid to put them in daycare.
I knew a couple of topless dancers named that...
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:52 PM   #34
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This center turns into a Montessori pre-school as she gets a little older. I think that it will be beneficial to have the people there making the effort to try and teach her, rather than just "baby sitting".
It probably costs about $300/month more than the lowest cost center in our area.
Montessori seems like good stuff. But the attention paid by the caregivers and the parents matters more than any curriculum.

Our kid seemed far more happy with (and challenged by) the AP classes at her public high school than a kid up the street who hated her private school.
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Old 10-17-2011, 01:54 PM   #35
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I was lucky and had access to a child care center at the military base where I work. I also negotiated down the price a bit since my kid was there on 3 days a week. Turned out to be $110 a week.
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:04 PM   #36
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I, too, found the Ivy League preschool blog post to be compelling. I used to think that one of the critical things my middle class parents gave me by sending me to private school and showing horses and whatnot was a comfort level in talking to people wealthier than me, as well as the experiences I had working with (as a teen) people who were poorer than me. I find that being comfortable in both environments has been an enormous part of my work-life success to date.
However, my husband, who did not have these advantages, is also comfortable in both environments, albeit to a slightly lesser degree with wealthier people than I might be. I'd say that given this information, my parents could have saved on the riding lessons and private school, had they been inclined. But these things gave them a leg-up socially as well, so it wasn't all for my benefit.
Fuego, giving your children time with you and a good work ethic may well be the most important thing you do. GusLevy, I snorted with laughter over your description of life with the little one. My brother stays home with 3 boys and I would surely dig ditches rather than spend one day in his life.
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:11 PM   #37
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Like most blog things, this is just opinion, not fact. Some things, like steep mountain snow boarding, playing tennis well, riding English, playing the violin or piano and foreign language are learned differently and better from a young age then when you are older and are different neurologically and also have less time to devote to it. He is wrong that instructors for riding and golf and violin etc. have recently sprung up to service this clientele- these teachers have always been around, for hundreds of years, and if they are well chosen you get skilled instruction for your money.

I am not about to argue that these things are worth the money for a money constrained family, but they do make differences that become part of the child's lifetime experience. These things are not stupid expenditures, any more than newer well maintained cars are stupid expenditures. They are also not necessities, and a subtext to many ER sites is that only necessities are worthy expenditures.
I think his point is that these high caliber child rearing expenses aren't necessities, but are being treated as such by money constrained families (aren't we all money constrained?).

Regardless of cost constraints, there are also time constraints. There is only a finite amount of time that adults and children have each day. When most or all of that time is devoted to pursuing activities (and driving to and from these activities), there is little time left for spontaneous learning, exploring, and creativity. I would rather my children find something awesome, entertaining, and engaging to pursue at their leisure than corral them into an escalating path of training on tennis, golf, equestrianism, etc. It isn't that I am cheap (which I am!), but rather that I don't think I am competent or clairvoyant enough to know what activities to conscript my children into that will lead to increased happiness and success and high levels of social, emotional and academic vitality.
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:12 PM   #38
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I, too, found the Ivy League preschool blog post to be compelling. I used to think that one of the critical things my middle class parents gave me by sending me to private school and showing horses and whatnot was a comfort level in talking to people wealthier than me, as well as the experiences I had working with (as a teen) people who were poorer than me. I find that being comfortable in both environments has been an enormous part of my work-life success to date.
However, my husband, who did not have these advantages, is also comfortable in both environments, albeit to a slightly lesser degree with wealthier people than I might be.
I never did any of that high falutin' stuff. I got used to talking to wealthy people by making a career of yelling at financial institution executives. Way more fun than riding a horse.
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:54 PM   #39
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... so that if she wants to quit (or if one of you loses their job) then the financial obligations don't lead you into the two-income trap.
Those interested in grammar might want to compare the alternatives:
  1. "if one of you loses their job"
  2. "if one of you loses his job"
  3. "if one of you loses a job"
The difficulty with 1. is the failure of number agreement between "one" and "their". The difficulty with 2. is that one of those referred to is surely not a "he", so "his" sounds wrong. The difficulty with 3. is the vagueness about what job or whose job is lost (the job that was had by the one that lost it?).
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:09 PM   #40
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I never did any of that high falutin' stuff. I got used to talking to wealthy people by making a career of yelling at financial institution executives. Way more fun than riding a horse.
In my experience, the middling rich are us. The truly wealthy - who wants to rub elbows with them anyway?
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