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Day care or not to day care

suicidexcusesuicidexcuse Registered User regular
edited June 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So I'm a university student with a working wife and a one year old daughter. I've been going over this in my head for a while now and I still can't come up with an answer. I have 2 options and I must pick one within the next 3 or 4 months.

The first option is for my daughter to join a daycare program at my school at the end of the year. It would cost us about $1000 per month. She would be looked after for about 8 hours a days while I go to school and her mom goes to work. The benefits to this choice are my wife and I could get some alone time now and then. I could graduate on time. Also this would allow me to attempt to get an intership for next year. While there's no gaurantee for the internship the chances are decent as my GPA is a solid 3.65 and I'm in a city which offers lots of interships for accounting majors. I'm just not sure how much benefit this would give me when looking for a job when I graduate.

The second option is for me to continue being a stay at home dad while going to school at night. Since my school only offers night classes 4 nights a week I would be forced to graduate a semestor late. As well I couldn't join any intership as I would be watching my daughter. And time alone with the wife would be hard to come by and I don't want our relationship suffering. The big bonus to this is that we could save an extra $1000 per month.

Another factor is the fact that I may not be able to get an student loans next year as my wife makes $60,000 a year. So that'll probably exclude me from any assistance. And I don't want my wife paying for all my schooling with our savings, so that extra $1000 a month could really help with my tuition.

I just need an outside opinion. Is saving $1000 a month for 2 years worth more then an intership, more time alone with wifey, and graduating on time?

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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2010
    Day care is pretty good for socializing a kid, but your wife's employer should offer something. I assume you've checked?

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Hahaha, my employer doesn't offer jack shit. You'd shit if you knew what it cost to add a child to my health care plan.
    Speaking as a now single father who wound up having to take his one year old to class a few times because of his horrible ex...
    Not having breathing room will slowly feel like dying. If you can afford the day care, well, do it. But is it worth not raising your kid as much as possible? Does not being there that much for the early years even matter? Might not.
    Graduating on time isn't worth shit if you can afford to stay in school. More time with the wife is nice, but you can get a babysitter and go out a few times a night. Why couldn't you join an internship later? Is an internship really required in your field?

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    Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2010
    Well, for what it's worth, you're married and have a kid and are currently in school. Alone time with the wife isn't going to be a priority for a while. The real question should be $12,000 vs. 3 months and no internships.

    What are your living costs where you're at? $60,000 for one partner is quite decent, and dropping a fifth of that on day care to make life a bit easier would be worthwhile to me were I in that position.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Seriously man, I'm a single parent on half that. Thats nice as fuck.

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    suicidexcusesuicidexcuse Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Ya I'm actually not all that worried about the money. We actually live in her aunts basement suite so we only pay 800 for rent then everything else is paid for minus our small credit card debt and phones. I just don't want us to start neglecting our daughter as she goes to day care because we'll both be exhausted form work and school. On the other hand I don't want to burn myself out going to 4 classes a week while watching my daughter the rest of the time.

    I just can't seem to figure out which option is best.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    You're going to be burned out

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    DodgeBlanDodgeBlan PSN: dodgeblanRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I am no expert or anything, but mightn't 1 year old be a bit early to be spending the majority of the day with strangers?

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    DodgeBlan wrote: »
    I am no expert or anything, but mightn't 1 year old be a bit early to be spending the majority of the day with strangers?

    Perhaps one without kids or one who isn't an "expert" in the field of child rearing shouldn't be commenting at all. Not only do one year olds forget who you are within a few weeks, but they don't give a shit if they know you or not (unless they're crazy attached, and then its not so much they don't like strangers but that they don't like not-dad/mom) as long as their needs are met.
    Seriously man, what the fuck? Babies lives are filled with strangers, and in a week they won't be strangers. Kids need love and attention, they aren't programmed to only need it from their parents.

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    DodgeBlanDodgeBlan PSN: dodgeblanRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    DodgeBlan wrote: »
    I am no expert or anything, but mightn't 1 year old be a bit early to be spending the majority of the day with strangers?

    Perhaps one without kids or one who isn't an "expert" in the field of child rearing shouldn't be commenting at all. Not only do one year olds forget who you are within a few weeks, but they don't give a shit if they know you or not (unless they're crazy attached, and then its not so much they don't like strangers but that they don't like not-dad/mom) as long as their needs are met.
    Seriously man, what the fuck? Babies lives are filled with strangers, and in a week they won't be strangers. Kids need love and attention, they aren't programmed to only need it from their parents.

    okay, okay

    I'll leave this one to the parents.

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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2010
    DodgeBlan wrote: »
    I am no expert or anything, but mightn't 1 year old be a bit early to be spending the majority of the day with strangers?

    Perhaps one without kids or one who isn't an "expert" in the field of child rearing shouldn't be commenting at all. Not only do one year olds forget who you are within a few weeks, but they don't give a shit if they know you or not (unless they're crazy attached, and then its not so much they don't like strangers but that they don't like not-dad/mom) as long as their needs are met.
    Seriously man, what the fuck? Babies lives are filled with strangers, and in a week they won't be strangers. Kids need love and attention, they aren't programmed to only need it from their parents.

    I think he means that spending insufficient time with the parents might cause some problems with the parental bond, kind of like how Freud wanted to bang his mom because he was raised by a matron.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I think that's up for debate and comes down to your personal parenting style. As long as the child is in a loving environment, day care or with grandma, the kids going to be fine.

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    SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Tough spot, but to answer one of your other questions, internships are invaluable. Absolutely critical in this economy. You get practical experience, resume fodder, and contacts in your field. How do people even question if they are worth it? They are at least as valuable as your regular course work, and perhaps a smidge more practical.

    That being said, sounds like you still have some cost/benefit to weight. Just wanted to comment on the internship thing.

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    MulysaSemproniusMulysaSempronius but also susie nyRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I would say go the daycare route. Kids learn a lot being around other kids, and their immune systems get nice and healthy. I would recommend not keeping her there for a full 8 hours every day, though, if you can. Try to schedule your classes as best as you can to spend breaks with her or take her out early. My son was in daycare when I finished school, and I usually made as many little visits as I could when he was little.
    Besides finishing school early, it also keeps your schedule a little more sane. Finishing school on the evenings means less family time with your wife as well, which could put a strain on things.

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    suicidexcusesuicidexcuse Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I've read a few studies on children in day care and it seems that it doesn't cause any ill effects. I'm not questioning whether it'll be good for my daughter, I'm asking about myself and if i'll be able to take care of her when going to school at night or during the day. As for the burning out going to class at night. I already did it for one semestor and although it was hard at times I did alright.

    I'm kinda leaning towards day care.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Then try it man. You can always pull her out after a semester.

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    VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Then try it man. You can always pull her out after a semester.

    This.

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    Count FunkulaCount Funkula Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    My son has been in daycare full-time (8 hours a day, five days a week) since he was six weeks old. Yes, that is all the time my wife got for "maternity leave". I took all of my vacation time, so I could be home with her and the baby for two weeks. That's how things work in the U.S. It was really hard leaving him there at first, but we struggled through it and now that he is two, things are much better. He is still a little clingy some mornings, but once I hand him off to his teacher, he warms up pretty quickly. Other days, I just plunk him down and he is off and running.

    I think daycare is good for kids in the long run. They get socialized with other kids, they build their immune systems, it prepares them for school, etc. My son doesn't have any trouble distinguishing between home time and daycare time. He knows when he is at home, the toys are his, he can nap on the couch, watch his videos, etc. We play with him, interact with him, take him to the park, the zoo, museums, etc. It's not like he forgets who we are or hates us or anything.

    I wish daycare wasn't so expensive, but if you are like my wife and I and you don't have anyone in your family that can help you with raising your child, it's the best (and only) option.

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    meekermeeker Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Shop around for Day Care, $1000 seems high. We had our daughter in Day Care at a home with a wonderful grandmother for $125 a week. Interview tons of people until you find the right one. We liked private homes so much better then Centers.

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    PandionPandion Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    One of the disadvantages of daycare, especially when the weather turns colder, is that kids like to carry disease. Your kid will too but it's all part of parenting. BTW my son has been in daycare for the last 1.5 years and he loves it.

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    Bigtoy_JBigtoy_J Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I just don't want us to start neglecting our daughter as she goes to day care because we'll both be exhausted form work and school.

    Both my wife and I work while our offspring is in Daycare. We sometimes have the "are we neglecting" guilt associated with him being in daycare so much.

    That being said daycare has been an awesome experience for everyone involved. We spend as much time with our child outside of daycare as we can, and he loves us for it. When I pick him up in the evening he wants to "stay more and play with friends".

    Choosing the right daycare is also important. We use Primrose and I feel bad even talking about it like it is a daycare. His teachers constantly keep the children engaged and active. He is constantly blowing us away with the information he has learned, and the social skills he is developing. (Of course every child is different.)

    On top of all that our social network has grown a lot since having our son in daycare. It is amazing the people you will meet that are in the same situation (raising a child) and how as a community that can help.

    So please do not worry about "neglecting" your child. The fact that you are concerned about this speaks volumes and means that no matter what decision you make you will do well.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    meeker wrote: »
    Shop around for Day Care, $1000 seems high. We had our daughter in Day Care at a home with a wonderful grandmother for $125 a week. Interview tons of people until you find the right one. We liked private homes so much better then Centers.

    It really depends where you live.

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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    If she works a traditional 9-6 while you're taking care of the kid and you opt to take day classes while putting the kid in child care then it's likely that child care will not give you any additional time with your wife unless work/school/internship scheduling permits that. That said, that personal time can be important and even if you are Mr. Mom you should have a sitter you can call so you can take some time off or have a date-night at least once or twice a month.

    After having kind of a stay-at-home-dad role for almost a year I can say that I really miss the time I had with my son when I was serving as primary care giver. We had to opt for childcare since we need both incomes.

    I'd say if your schedule and finances permit it then take advantage of that to spend this time with your daughter while you can. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. You could stick to night classes for another semester or 2, save that money, and when you hit that time when you no longer qualify for student loans you can opt for child care and do regular courses and/or the internship.

    I don't have anything against daycare. This pre-schoolage childrearing time is of finite length though, and I've found once we enterred into childcare we were more likely to structure our working/social lives in such a way that moving away from childcare would be difficult.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Can we not call it Mr. Mom? Its stupid gender role nonsense.

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    suicidexcusesuicidexcuse Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Actually we've already done the night classes thing for one semester and it led us to very little time together. She goes to work 7:30-5. I go to school 5:15 to 10:30. Both those times include travel time. She goes to bed when I get home. Then take into account homework and there's very little time left.

    As for the cost of day care, I'm actually getting a deal as I'm a student. But its not the costs that are insane its the waittimes. You have to sign up a year in advance in order to get in. I've even heard of people signing up before they get pregnant.

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    ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I'm not a father, so I'm not necessarily voicing a strongly held opinion here. But coming at this from a different angle than money/job future, I would make sure you pay attention to how the kid reacts. Some anecdotal examples from my own family:

    My mother was stay-at-home. I was barely ever in day care. The only exceptions were during some air force moves (one in specific happening around the same time as my grandfather's death and my brother's birth...clusterfuck). I did not do well with daycare. I was on a different level than the other kids...slightly farther intellectually, slightly behind emotionally. There's always been a question on whether I am/was mildly mildly autistic. Anyhow, day care was a struggle for me, and it was always a huge relief when I could come home.

    My cousin had to do daycare. He did not do well with it. Unfortunately for him, he had to deal with it. He cried and cried and cried every day he was dropped off and begged to come with his mom. Now you never know exactly what makes a kid wrong, but the generally held belief in my family is that this repeated event over his early childhood led to deeply seeded anger and a sense of betrayal. This manifested itself in his teenage years and beyond to a complete disrespect for his parents, specifically his mom, who he repeatedly treats like shit.

    Another of my cousins didn't give a fuck about day care and had no issues.

    Granted all these stories were a couple years older than 1 but I think the point holds...if your kid repeatedly screams everytime she's dropped off and it's never getting better, reconsider just how important the benefits are.

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    Moses555Moses555 Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    For the value of the internship (I don't have kids and don't feel qualified to give advice on that):
    In accounting you'll probably have a pretty well paid intership. It's not unreasonable to earn $7000 (pre-tax, but child care is tax-deductible, I think) for 12 weeks work. So this pays most of the years day care costs. The value of that internship in job offers and opportunity after you graduate will be more that enough to cover the remaining costs of day care.

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    thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    for me, the opportunity to stay at home with my son would have been a no brainer. Sadly I'm the breadwinner so my wife gets to stay home.

    you'll have plenty of time to work on your career.

    /cat stevens/

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    for me, the opportunity to stay at home with my son would have been a no brainer. Sadly I'm the breadwinner so my wife gets to stay home.

    you'll have plenty of time to work on your career.

    /cat stevens/

    Harry Chapin

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    thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    for me, the opportunity to stay at home with my son would have been a no brainer. Sadly I'm the breadwinner so my wife gets to stay home.

    you'll have plenty of time to work on your career.

    /cat stevens/

    Harry Chapin

    oops. that song is so sappy i have a hard time believing it isn't cat stevens.

    my stance remains that i personally would deeply regret not taking advantage of the opportunity to spend time and bond with my kid in their formative years. they grow up fast.

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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Can we not call it Mr. Mom? Its stupid gender role nonsense.

    Touchy much?


    From a cost perspective, childcare is tax-deductible (but has a low limit, like $3K-$3500/year I believe), but pay-for-schooling is not. Not that schooling is really available for kids as young as this one..

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Djeet wrote: »
    Can we not call it Mr. Mom? Its stupid gender role nonsense.

    Touchy much?
    As the primary care giver of my son, yes. Any idea how insulting it is to be asked, "playing mom today?"
    "No, I'm his father."

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    suicidexcusesuicidexcuse Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Just so people know I'm in Canada if that makes any difference. I'm pretty sure child care costs are deductable but I'm not sure whats the max.

    suicidexcuse on
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    mellestadmellestad Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    If the daycare is a good place, with good reviews, good parents, the other kids are doing well, and it gives you a warm fuzzy, then I would recommend that and get a leg up on your career.

    I'm pretty sure our daycare does a better job than I would being a stay at home parent.

    If you can't find a good daycare you trust, then don't screw the kid for your career.

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    AsiinaAsiina ... WaterlooRegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Just so people know I'm in Canada if that makes any difference. I'm pretty sure child care costs are deductable but I'm not sure whats the max.

    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/tf/t778/t778-09e.pdf

    That's the tax form if you want to check what you'd get (I just happened to have my tax book in front of me).

    I say go for it if you're confident in the daycare. It's not like improving your career is only for yourself. Finishing school and getting a good internship will only help your family in the long run.

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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2010
    Do you have any empty nester neighbors who work from home? Not only is that an option, but you'll have trouble getting them to give your kid back (my mom takes care of the neighbor's kid when the daycare is closed, and dotes upon him constantly).

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