Daycare costs how much?!?

If you’re a working mom in Connecticut, one thing you are well aware of is the high cost of childcare. According to the stats at 2-1-1- Info, the average price for center care is nearly $13K per year…and that’s middle of the road. Holy smokes.

I’ve been a “graduate student mommy” for the past 2.5 years, and I was fortunate enough to have my mother and my husband care for the boys while I was in class, thus avoiding paying someone else for childcare in addition to paying my own tuition. Having finished graduate school this spring, I’m now job hunting. As an elementary school teacher, I’m not expecting to make a huge salary. I’ve been looking into my options, and with two kids in care full time, I will likely need to spend almost 30K per year on childcare. Adjust for gas and taxes…and there goes my salary!

I came across this article on CNN.com entitled “Moms: I Can’t Afford To Work” which told me I’m not alone. In my case, I’m finding that I will actually bring home more money if I work part-time. Counterintuitive? Yes. But if I can patch together free childcare by splitting kid-duty between my husband and myself and having family members fill in the cracks, I will take home more money than if I taught full time and paid for daycare. I’ve found some lower cost options for childcare in my area, but frankly I was unimpressed with them and wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving the boys there. So after working hard for 2.5 years in grad school…I’m looking for a part-time job. Sigh.

I enjoy the time I am spending with the boys, and I know I will one day look back on these days and miss them, but at the same time, I’m discouraged by this state of childcare costs, especially in Connecticut where the cost of living is so high. I certainly don’t think moms have to be the ones to stay home or work fewer hours- I know several Dads in this boat, too!  But in our family, having me work part time is the logical financial option. Kids really are expensive…sheesh!

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