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Go Ask Mom

Help a Mom: Child care for infants

Posted July 26, 2010

From time to time, I get questions from readers about a variety of things. And I pose their questions here in an occasional series that I like to call "Help a Mom."

Today, it's a question from K. of Raleigh, who was wondering how she and her husband could afford infant care. I recommended she check out the Child Care Services Association and also the state's listing and ranking of child care providers, which you can find on the N.C. Division of Child Development's website.

But I'm sure many of you have suggestions, tips or advice for her. So please include it in the comments below. Here's what she wrote:

"I just found out last week that I'm pregnant. I'm really freaking out about the cost of quality child care. We can't afford for me to not return to work, but the cost of a good daycare center, for an infant, will take one of my two paychecks each month. Is there any guidance you can give me about finding GOOD daycare centers that aren't outrageously expensive, or finding an in-home provider? My degree is in Child Development and I worked in child care myself for several years before getting fed up with the low pay and other issues. I'd love to find a center that has cameras where we could log in during the day to see what's going on and check on things, but I'm quite sure we can't afford that if we can't afford a center that does NOT have cameras."

I'm sure K. isn't the only one out there with this question!

And if you have another question you'd like for me to pose to readers, email me.

20 Comments

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  • KLW Jul 30, 2010

    scottandjackie...I apologize then if I misinterpreted your comments. I thought you were assuming that my husband and I are materialistic without knowing the sacrifices that we have made already, just living frugally and smartly, especially with the economy as it is. My coworkers even want me to teach them how to spend their money more wisely and save more of it.

    stephyruns...thank you for your support

    And thank you again to all those who offered constructive suggestions based on your experience in these same shoes. That's what I had asked for. I want to have my ducks in a row so that when we do conceive again, I won't have the child care issue to stress about.

  • scottandjackie Jul 30, 2010

    Okay, I do not think that anyone is trying to be judgemental! We are simply offering suggestions (working parttime, a different shift, watching spending, etc.), are all reasonable suggestions. I am a mother of 4 boys and work part time while they are in school. We have also taken a hard look at our budget and have made many sacrifices. Please do not tell me that I am living in a dream world as you know nothing about the life style changes my husband and I have made so I could be at home with my kids. It is true that the more $ you make the more $ you spend. We were doubtful at first as well but we have made it work for 11 years. I believe that all mothers wish you the best and hope you find something that works for you.

  • scarletindurham Jul 30, 2010

    KLW - Don't listen to the criticism. Most people understand that you cannot afford to stay home with your children simply by clipping more coupons and shopping at thift stores to make up for losing your full-time job income. They are living in a dream world, and are obviously not the ones signing the checks in their household. Sure, I'd be thrilled to have a husband that made enough to cover the bills, but I don't. Oh well, time to get to work! Good luck on finding child care.

  • hitem Jul 30, 2010

    To the two critical people: What a wonderful world it would be for a father or mother to stay at home and raise a child? Isn't that what most parents want? How DARE you make assumptions and criticize before you know the ENTIRE story! Who are you to quickly judge? How about making helpful suggestions? Just because someone has their child in day care, does NOT mean they are any less of a good "full time" parent. What does that even mean - full time parent? Versus part time parent...

  • KLW Jul 30, 2010

    wow, I didn't expect such judgemental responses when I contacted Sarah for guidance. OF COURSE I've evaluated our spending habits, howdiditgettothis and scottandjackie. We already live frugally, but my husband works for the church and I work for a medical practice (not as a provider). I ended up miscarrying, but we plan on trying again so I checked in here to see what "help" people could give me since I have more time to work on it now, and I was floored to see that I was being judged by people who don't even know me. To those that did offer genuine helpful suggestions because you've been there, thank you.

  • scottandjackie Jul 29, 2010

    howdiditgettothis.... I agree...One would be amazed what they could live without if they take a good hard look! Money is nice, but children remember the times they shared with their families not the "things" they had. I wish all mothers who wanted to stay home with their children could!

  • scarletindurham Jul 28, 2010

    "I am able to stay home during the day to parent my child and my husband takes over in the evening .........isn't that the point of having children? To parent?"

    Good for you. Not everyone has that luxury.

  • jppope Jul 27, 2010

    In Wake County area you can find referrals to homes that are members of the Family Child Care Association of Wake County by contacting  Jewel Lowe and Andrea Ausby. You can contact them by phone at 919-552-9624 or by e-mail at Put FCCA Referrals as the subject of your e-mail. The FCCA has been in existence since 1984. We offer monthly workshops for our members and advocate for quality home child care. As mentioned by another poster, homes are sometimes less expensive than centers. Child Care Services Association is another good source. CCSA has parent counselors that will help you find child care either in a home or center. Their data base lists the fees for the homes and centers so they can give you names based on your income limitations.  I don’t know about centers but for homes the star rating is voluntary. so you might have a one star home that is great but they just haven’t gone through the star rating process.

  • howdiditgettothis Jul 27, 2010

    Wow - where's your excitement in having a baby?

    Have you considered evaluating your spending habits to see if you could stop working full time? What "luxuries" can you do without to stay home and parent your child?

    Your child is only young once. Take the time to bond with your baby, enjoy your time together.....be with him or her, so YOU the parent, can witness their first laugh, first word, first steps.

    Full time parenting is an infinitely difficult, emotional and exhausting responsibility. But - it is YOUR child.

    I drive a 13 year old car, and we vacation locally. I buy everything on sale, or do without. Many of my childs' toys & clothes are second hand. I work a few evenings a week, after my husband comes home, so we don't have to pay for child care.

    I am able to stay home during the day to parent my child and my husband takes over in the evening .........isn't that the point of having children? To parent?

  • crystalnewhouse Jul 27, 2010

    I know how you feel. my kids are 25 and 21 now and I have 2 grandchildren. I could not leave them with anybody and family was not an option. I decided to become certified and licensed and keep children in my home. This has worked well for me over the years. I had to stop work for a few months for surgery and decided to go back to school to pursue a TA position, but now I can not leave my grandchildren, so guess what, I am licensed again and keeping my grandchildren. I love every minute of it and it brings in money at the same time. Is not for everyone. Its not that hard and if you are passionate about children, then you would be a great childcare provider, beccause you know how parents feel. Good luck in what ever you decide and congrats on the baby!!!!

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