How has the cost of child care affected other decisions in the life of your family?

A report released Thursday finds that the cost of child care in Minnesota is among the highest in the country. For infants, child care can be more expensive than college tuition. Today’s Question: How has the cost of child care affected other decisions in the life of your family?

  • Alicia Kropelnicki

    My husband and I have been talking about having a child for several months now. He also has a 7 year old son so we are well versed in the issues of child care cost. For a 7 year old to get quality child care we are paying as much as some of our friends are for their 3 month old. Granted he gets a wonderful experience for the summer but financially it is incredibly painful. We are now talking about putting off having a baby because we don’t think we can financially afford daycare (even though we both have solid good paying jobs) with also paying back my student loans. With the current costs of child care, we are thinking it would be financially better for us to have my husband quit his job, stay home and finish his degree that he is working on now than put an infant in child care. Like my student loans, I think the rising cost of child care is making us think twice (probably three times) about having another baby and may inevitably completely impede out ability to financially afford to have a baby of our own.

  • EAL

    The truly odd thing about this discussion is how so many individuals operate under the assumption that child care is a right and/or it is the government’s responsibility to provide funding.

  • Reality

    Child care is expensive and it largely sucks, especially in the summer.

    My wife and I postponed buying a big house, nice cars, good vacations etc. so that one of us could stay home and raise our kids.

    By the time they were in middle school my wife started working part time, and by the time they were in high school, she was back working full time.

    The rolls could have been reversed, but I was better at working outside the home and she was better at being a full time parent.

    Why should it be “cheap” to have good child care? And how is it the responsibility of government (society) to subsidize it, expecially for 2-parent families?

  • Steve the Cynic

    What’s most important in your life? There’s an old saying: A small house can hold as much happiness as a big house. If you think things like a big house, nice cars, good vacations, etc., will make you happier than having kids and raising them well, by all means don’t have kids. Kids who grow up in big houses, with lots of stuff, being driven around in nice cars, and going on expensive vacations are no happier as adults than kids who grow up in adequate houses, with enough stuff, in reliable used cars, and going on trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house or vacationing at a nearby low-key resort. In fact, kids with too many advantages risk growing up to be spoiled brats, who think they have no obligation toward those who are less fortunate. Some of them even labor under the delusion that they earned and deserve all the advantages they have.

  • Shannon

    After losing my job when I was 6 months pregnant with my youngest child, my husband and I could not afford many of the basics for our family, but we never asked for or received any governmental assistance other than COBRA insurance coverage until I could get put on to my husband’s insurance. After my son was born 6 weeks early, I still struggled to find work, as the dollar amount I could potentially bring in to supplement the family income wouldn’t even come close to covering daycare costs for a premature newborn, so I ended up becoming an at-home mom. I still am to this day, and my son will be entering kindergarten this fall. We have had very hard times over the last 5 years, have had to move into a family member’s home to help reduce the financial burden on all of us, and just now are beginning to get out of the monetary hole that opened up when I lost my job while pregnant. I wouldn’t trade any of my time at home with my kids for all the money in the world, and these last 5 years have taught me so many ways to become more self-sufficient. Now I hope that I can pass many of those lessons on to my kids so they may become more self-reliant, confident adults as well.

  • Albert J.

    My wife and I have made a very specific decision on the size of our family due to the cost of child care. If we didn’t have such a large expense we may very well have planned to have a third child, but at this point the cost is too great to maintain the standard of living we would like to have for us and our two children. We go on one road trip vacation per year and are fortunate to be able to provide our children with good food and clothes. This would become very difficult if we had another layer of child care expense.

  • david

    I live in fear of my fiance getting pregnant before she finishes school. That would be one more devastating financial blow. I also dream of quiting my job to stay home with the kid once she does graduate and is working. That is probably just a dream though, like winning the lottery.

  • Mary

    When I was pregnant with our first child, I had to quite my job because I was put on bed rest. After he was born ( 8 weeks early) the cost of day care was prohibitive. I couldn’t make more than the cost of day care so I stayed home to take care of him. I think it was the best decision we could have ever made for our kids. True I put off going to college until they were both in school full time, but that just allowed my husband to finish his degree and go on to law school. It is now almost 31 years later and I have to tell you we have two of the most well adjusted, highly productive, kind hearted, compassionate adult children that have ever been members of society. I don’t think they would have grown up to be who they are now if they had been raised in day care. Hard decisions sometimes turn out for the best in the long run.

  • Jennifer

    I have two children, spaced 7 years apart, and my youngest is starting kindergarten this fall, and I’ve had so many people ask if I’m relieved to not have childcare costs. So many people think of childcare as only a pre-K need. That’s not the case at all! It’s just as hard — if not harder — to get quality, affordable child care for school-age kids during breaks, before school, and after school. Sure, there’s programs and summer camps and day camps all over the place, but when Mom and Dad both work, they still have to work out transportation for the kids and what to do with the kids outside of program hours (they’re usually not all-day affairs, and some may have before- and after-care hours, but that’s a cost above and beyond that of the program). This summer, frustrated with a lack of options and a spouse who travels for a living, I didn’t enroll my children in ANY programs, camps, or the like. They stayed home (and I thank God every day that they’ve gotten along so well all summer!). I found a college student willing to stop in midway through the day to give the older one a break, and that was hideously expensive but cheaper and less chaotic than sending them all over the place. And mind you, our vacations are stay-cations, we drive beat-up vehicles, we buy clothes and shoes at thrift stores, clip coupons feverishly, eat frugally, lean toward “free” entertainment options, and live in a small and simple D-I-Y home. I personally can’t WAIT for school to start, when they’re in a structured and predictable environment. Sure, there’s before- and after-care costs there, too, but at least it’s a known quantity.

  • suestuben

    I’m impressed with the folks who’ve put off having children because of the expense. (and to David, there are things you can do to not have children–you sound like you’re using the “oops” method of crossing your fingers before having sex) I’m sorry that we’ve come to this situation, remembering that my folks had 7 kids in a decade (the 50’s) without insurance, and we were a middle class family in a nice neighborhood with lots of kids just like us and ‘no worries.’ What has happened that ordinary folks have to pause and think long and hard before having a child?

    It’s our elected officials who’ve run this country into the ditch and become very wealthy while doing it. They make decisions that will funnel money to corporations and the obscenely rich, and thereby get a cut of that stolen resource for themselves. The money we earn is taken from us to enrich the banks, oil cos., and other corps, whose CEO’s have more money than God. (Look at Romney, who has an IRA worth more than 100 MILLION $$$$$$$$$$, when the rules, since the 70’s say that you may only put $2000 per year in your IRA. Mine is worth about $40,000 and I’m the same age as that Republican Liar. Needless to say, he’s using his IRA as a tax-shelter and, because he’s rich, our gov’t won’t audit him or demand an explanation, or, as they’d do to me, fine and jail him.) Today’s so called middle class can probably not find $2K to fund an IRA because they’re busy paying off debt caused by sky-rocketing costs caused by the wealthy few who own this country. (During the last difficult decade, those below the poverty line lost $2000 in income while those who began the decade with $25 Million TRIPLED their income!) They have bought Washington and the laws being passed there are to transfer wealth from the lower classes to the immorally rich. Soooo… you can’t afford to have children anymore.

    Anyways, what really bothers me about this is that the educated populace have consciously slowed their child-bearing, while those who have no true education(not their fault) practice the “oops” method of contraception, producing far more ‘uneducated’ children than ‘educated’ children. Have you seen the movie “Idiocracy”; than you know the end of this story.

  • Kurt

    I stayed home with our daughter for a while after which we paid for child care-a lot. Our children are our priority and that is where the money goes first. Never really regretted the expense I guess. It was never weighed against other considerations.

  • suzie

    My neighbor is a day care provider. She not only has to feed them good nutritious meals and snacks, she has to provide a safe and secure enviroment and feed and change the smallestones. There is also potty training and helping them to feed themselves. There is story time and helping them with their numbers and alphabet and reading. She must teach right from wrong and help with games and fair play. Then there is kissing the little hurts and knowing all the first aid necessary to qualify for a day care license. If all that and much more is not worth a a good days pay, then remember — you get what you pay for. I would like to see some of those who complain about the high cost od day care, take care of a couple of children and do as good a job as these good people manage to do.

  • georges

    4:26 PM

    Welcome aboard, suestuben.

    You are now putting the blame right where it belongs……the govenment.

    One correction, tho. The government isn’t transfering wealth from the lower class to the rich. They are transfering the wealth of the middle class to the rich, and to the poor.

    This isn’t because of any ideological favoritisms by those in control of the machinery of government, but, rather, in order to be successful in their chosen profession of thievery they must spend their efforts digging in the potato patch which has the really big potatoes. The potatoes of the poor are small and insignificant, not worth the effort of any self-respecting government official, elected or appointed, Democrat or Republican. In other words, the middle class is where the money is. Therefore, in order to steal on a monumental level, as the FedGov does, the only homes to burglarize are the homes of the middle class citizens. Nothing personal. Just the way it is, that’s all. Business as usual.

    I appreciate your opinion at 4:26 PM, sue, but do you realize that under a Democrat Federal government you could be put in prison for 5 to 20 years for publically expressing such an opinion?

    Yes, under the heavy thumb of Democrat Woodrow Wilson, and the Democrat controlled House and Senate, thousands of innocent U.S. citizens were put in prison for 5 to 20 years, for nothing more than expressing a negative opinion of the president and/or the Federal govenment. Sad, but true.

    When the Republicans regained control, they repealed the laws that allowed such dictatorial behavior right away.

    Jack Kennedy (yes, THAT Jack Kennedy, the beloved JFK) issued a series of Executive Orders that gave him complete control over every part of life in this country, indeed, made him Dictator of the USA.

    When the Republicans took back the Congress, they immediately repealed JFKs power-mad executive orders.

    Then there was FDR, who imprisoned U.S. citizens for no crime at all, but merely because they were of Japanese descent.

    When the Democrats get control of the presidency AND the Congress… out……government abuse of the Citizens is sure to follow. The definite beginnings of Totalitarianism are on the way.

    And, it will take the election of Conservatives to correct the situation.


  • jockamo

    He was the smart one, that Woodrow Wilson fellow.

    The intelligent leftist. He was president of Princeton University.

    All hail.

  • Steve the Cynic

    jockamogeorges, your posts are so full of post-digestive cattle feed, I seriously wonder if they aren’t lame attempts at lampooning the right wing. (If so, you should keep your day job. You’ll never make it as a professional satirist.) You’re certainly not advancing the cause of libertarian capitalism with your preposterous assertions. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that you’re being secretly funded by a left wing super-PAC trying to discredit the right wing.

  • david

    suestuben we definitely are not the “oops” method of birth control types. But the fact is no method but abstinence is 100%. The issue is my fiance is half way thru in getting her degree. Of coarse her only real option for paying for school is taking out student loans. If she had to drop out of school to have a kid she would be required to start paying those back. Who knows when if ever she’ll would be able to go back to finish, making those loans almost as big of waste of cash as every dollar i sunk into the house we just had to walk away from. Which brings up my predicaments. I am currently going thru cancer treatments, and am a contract worker without employer provided heath insurance. After years of struggling to get by in the construction industry this illness was the final straw, a kid right now would just be too much. I didn’t want to get this personal, you really shouldn’t project your opinions onto others.