March 7, 2012

The road to quality, affordable childcare

Our recent search for childcare led us down a few different roads. At first, we looked for a nanny, because that's the economical and convenient thing to do when you have two or more kids, but that was a dead end (lots of sluts, illegal immigrants, and smokers). Next, we looked for dayhomes or daycares with preschool programs, but soon learned that they were so fucking expensive we'd have to take out a second mortgage and sell our stroller collection just so the kids can learn a little French, play (don't they do this at all dahyhomes?) and do crafts (ditto the last comment). Why hand someone else my paycheque when I can teach the girls a second language myself? Pottymouth is a useful language... in certain parts of town... After some number crunching and intense debating, we decided we could take a sweet vacation or enrol the girls in a shitload of classes - music, dance, sports, whatever - for the difference in cost between the bilingual academy and a regular dayhome. I still feel pangs of regret, but feel it was the right choice to avoid that detour (to certain financial hardship).

Pottymouth Shorthand
While I was cruising through dozens of dayhome ads, one in particular caught my eye: Dayhome in ______ Mobile Park. Shaking my head in disbelief, I asked Naked Daddy, "Isn't it our job to keep the girls off the pole and out of the trailer park?!" I couldn't help thinking the worst: I pictured an alcoholic, chain-smoking biker chic with yellowed fingers and a raspy voice directing toddlers to put more wood in the wood chopper (don't ask why she has a wood chopper when most trailers have gas fireplaces, it's my nightmare); a lanky man reeking of B.O. and wearing a stained wife-beater and tighty whiteys asking Junior for a lighter and a spoon; teenage hoodlums breaking and entering and playing soccer with the babies; and a meth lab blowing up and wreaking death and destruction on the whole park. And then I got off my high horse and remembered that my family had had lived in a trailer before (long story, but it was for one year on a farm) and none of us were thieves, drug addicts, alcoholics, or even smokers.
Good place for a dayhome?
In the end, I convinced myself it was a very good idea to go back to work and let the girls learn proper English (i.e. not Pottymouth) in someone else's home, albeit not the mobile park dayhome (it was too far from our place and she didn't have a fenced yard), so we can afford fun outings on the weekend. Getting to that decision took a while and finding the right dayhome took another week and a half, but the ride was worthwhile. Now we won't say, "What if?" because we know we're getting good value for what we're paying. Our girls love their caregiver and the other kids in her care, they are fed healthy meals and snacks, and are engaged in a variety of age-appropriate activities throughout the day including some preschool routines.

If money was no object, what would your dream childcare arrangement look like? Would you even need childcare or would you still want to work? I would love to volunteer part-time and put my kids in an enriched (music, French/Spanish, gymnastics) part-time program if I won the lottery. 

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