Yesterday we went on our first daycare tour and it was … amazing. But I’ll get to that in a second.
Within the first month of knowing I was pregnant, I was already thinking about doing daycare research. I have heard crazy stories about daycare waiting lists, and some of those crazy stories turned out to be actually true! Most of the places we called to inquire about had a year waiting list (meaning, at the time, their first availability wasn’t until August-ish of 2013, when we need daycare starting in June). Those places also happened to be insanely expensive. More than our rent – expensive. And! They were incredibly unhelpful, especially for first time parents. They only had appointments for tours at 10am on a Wednesday or 2:30pm on a Monday or some such nonsense and who can go to those appointments when we work for a living? Which just so happen to be the whole point of daycare in the first place!
We looked into nannies organizations, we looked into craigslist nannies, we scoured yelp for reviews and tried to find something that we could afford and that didn’t feel shady-Mcshadytown. Initially we were really against in-home daycare. We thought it wasn’t well supervised, and I had seen a few terrible exposes on 20/20. You know how they go: someone is scamming the in-home daycare perks and they leave babies to fend for themselves or in unsafe situations or just basic neglecting. But! In real life, they also seemed the most friendly and the most affordable – and for an infant, they also seemed to make the most sense. My baby does not need a “curriculum” beside naps, feedings, and snuggles.
So all this week Kamel and I have been in budget negotiations. Our free time has turned into excel spread sheets with with charts and graphs and shit I don’t care about, google docs with bill scheduling and payment forecasting, and blahblahblah. There were definitely times when I thought Kamel was going to have a total stress-ball meltdown, but he didn’t. And there were times when I would have much rather stomped off to the bedroom, plugged my ears and just had Kamel hand me an allowance every other week like I was back in high school, but I didn’t. Instead we compromised on our money approaches and figured out a game plane.
So Kamel and both get paid about twice a month. Rent sucks up one of his paychecks and a little bit more every month. Daycare will suck up almost 1 entire paycheck of mine. And then there is bills and student loans and all the rest of life stuff. Basically, we will be back to how it was when we were saving for the wedding: no eating out, no movies, new clothes only at birthdays and Christmas. Which sucks… because ugh such a pain, so inconvenient, no wiggle room, more stress… but we will be fine. We can do this. We can afford everything by scheduling when to pay what with what money and how.
And beyond sharing a space, getting married, getting pregnant, yadda yadda yadda – this budgeting stuff? This has been the most adult thing I think I’ve ever done. Partly because it’s not really fun spending, it’s necessary spending… but mostly because I was able to not be a dick about it, and Kamel and I were able to strategize together without tears or throwing things or hating each other.
The best news ever though, is that the daycare we were hoping for, which is also an in-home daycare, is awesome! We made an appointment for 6:00pm so both of us could go, the house is huge with a baby-gated giant front room right off the entry. Everything was ridiculously clean and organized with little toddler tables and stools, baby toys, a changing table, nap and feeding schedules on a white board, and a no-shoe policy. This place is cleaner and better organized than my house, and the carpet was so plush I could have napped on it right then and there. There are between 7-8 kids with two adults at all times, and all the kids are under 3 years old. I was hoping for a place where someone would feed and change my baby and make sure he doesn’t die. So, this place far exceeds my initial expectations!
When planning and thinking about possibly having a kid (and only because we were fortunate to not be totally caught off guard by a surprise pregnancy), we first sort of figured out we could afford one. Then we had to try and make one, then we had to navigate the wonderful world of pregnancy (joy!), and now we actually have to know the nitty gritty of what this kid is going to cost us. It seems that there is a never ending list of things we still need to figure out, and it seems that nothing goes the way we thought it would, but we just keep tackling one thing at a time. It really is useful that pregnancy takes so long. Being able to spread out expenses and not wait until the last minute to buy it all is key. Plus the part about not killing each other when we talk about money – that has been a welcome development.