Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Stop the Madness!

Oh boy, oh boy! Make it stop, please! I'm beginning to think that everything in my life has to be difficult in order for it to be worthwhile. You know that old saying, whatever doesn't break us will make us stronger? This seems to be my mantra. Just when I thought I had life, for the foreseeable future figured out, a few curve balls have to be thrown into the mix of things. Let me explain...
You all might remember that I recently took a job as a circulation clerk despite a decrease in pay, knowing that I'd be making pennies on the dollar after paying for child care X 2. Well, never in a million years did I expect to have this much trouble finding infant openings for Cara. I can't recall how many places we called, even going where no parent should ever go and checking out a few "centers" that are run out of shopping centers. Maybe I'm not current on things and this is the new trend but the few that we've seen have had very small rooms and one in particular smelled peculiar. I did the math and the "play area" in the infant room would allow for about 2 square feet of space per child. What?! Even in our small, awkwardly laid out apartment, Cara has more space than that and we're paying less a month in rent than they want for child care. Are they joking? We are not willing to dive into the realm of in-home day cares because I have lost faith in the Qualistar rating system as well as the state of Colorado's licensing program. The person who signed the license of the provider we originally had (pre-Three Bears) for Caitlin needs to be slapped! Anyway, I digress...we did finally find a early childhood center that we'd like to use for both girls ('cause I'd rather not drive all over Arapahoe county dropping off kiddos if I don't have to). We loved it because it's right across the canal from us and it's a Christian program. They also teach Spanish and ASL starting at the infant level. The atmosphere appeared to be well-rounded and loving. Couldn't get much better, you say? No, it really couldn't. There are just a couple of hurdles or curve balls--
1. They want tuition up front and you have to pay either monthly or bi-monthly. That comes out to $1400. For this financially struggling family, that is impossible to come up with in a week.
2. In addition to tuition, there's an enrollment fee (for both girls) and a materials fee.
3. They close at 5:30pm. That might not seem like an issue but for us, it will be because I do not know my hours at the new job and Ben will have a hard time making it back to Aurora from downtown by then.

So, what we have to decide is whether or not I should go back to work and if so, how on earth are we going to overcome all of these hurdles? I am debating contacting the library supervisor to see if we can't negotiate more money per hour so that it actually, somewhat, makes sense for me to pay 3/4 of my paycheck towards child care. Ben & I are actually considering the fact that it just might not be financially sound for me to return to work just yet...that I should wait until a better-paying offer comes along, preferably when Cara is a year old (no more worrying about her not taking formula or breast milk and also a rate drop if she's walking). We would also have more time to save up for the cost of enrolling the girls. My only concerns are that if I turn this job down, I will be burning bridges and not be able to work for this library system for a long time and may not find anything that pays well when the time comes. In addition, even though it's only a couple more months, I'm afraid that I will go wacko staying home any longer.

I know, I know...Ben & I seriously need to talk. But, when do you find time when your spouse works two jobs and when he is home, he's sleeping or we're jointly taking care of the girls? Late night chats via instant messenger seem to be on the agenda.

Enough venting, time for some strategetic decision making. What would YOU do?


Judy said...

Wow, Laura...I'm so sorry you are going through all that! Infant care here is at a premium as well, and let me just add that the licensing isn't that great here either. However, you might want to do a bit more research and prodding and see if you can find a child-care provider in-home still. Call up a few churches and see if they have recommendations (I know I have a list of about 2 - 3 people who I know personally through church that do in-home childcare and are awesome - I regularly hand out their number!). Ask your supervisor at the library if she knows of anyplace or anyone. You basically have to beat the pavement sometimes to find these places. Another good option would be to ask some of the places that don't have openings if they have any recommendations. We have a childcare facility here that starts at 18 months, but if you have a younger child, they have certain other facilities that they will recommend (not all of the available ones get their recommendation either).

You both do need to talk to each other, and IM might not be the most ideal, but if it is the only chance you have to talk, then that's what you have to do. Good luck - have you moved yet?

Kendra Lynn said...

Man...sounds like a lot of stuff goin' on.
I will pray for you.
Hope all is well.



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