The Choice Between Daycare and Staying at Home
First off I must say I quite enjoy your pieces. I do however completely disagree with the childcare road your are contemplating. You may say it’s a personal choice issue and it is.
It’s ironic that you would go out and buy a nice big TV and new furniture which does in fact sacrifice the timeline of your “Million Dollar Journey” yet you aren’t thinking of doing it for your kids with one of you staying home and taking a small part of your life (0 – 5 or 6 years, recognizing that it could be 7 – 8 years if you have 2 kids 2 years apart). Yes, you can “care” for your kids but who will care is the best day care in the world? Who will offer them unconditional love, where you will get a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 attention?
Life is long. Your kids are with you for a relatively short time. I hope sooner rather than later you realize that and make the sacrifice… for them. It seems you are creative and determined enough to make it work if you want it to. You won’t regret that choice. I guarantee that.
To summarize the email, the reader is basically stating that we’re putting making money ahead of getting the best care for our children. I guess since I fully disclose everything about my financial life, it may seem that all of our decisions revolve around money. While this may be true a lot of the time, it’s only partially true in this circumstance.
With two professional careers in the household, it is very difficult to drop it completely for 5 years or so and jump back onboard. In fact, there are some professional careers that require practicing so many hours per year or else the license to practice will be suspended. My wife’s career is just the case, which is the reason why she has chosen to work part time following maternity. While we are grateful that her employer has accepted her as part time, they’ve implied that they will only allow it for a limited time (1-2 years max). During this time, the grandparents will care for the bambino on the days that we are both working.
The next option would be for me to take time off to take care of the little one. Personally, I would probably enjoy being a stay at home Dad. However, being an Engineer, it is very difficult to get back on the career path after an extended leave. I’ve also never seen or heard of part time Engineer positions as most positions are project/goal oriented.
Although daycare may not provide the same love and attention that a parent would, we feel that it does provide a social atmosphere that is not available at home. In addition to that, the childcare programs that we are looking at have educational aspects to them such as getting them a head start on other languages such as French.
In conclusion, there is no cookie cutter answer to the childcare or stay at home question. For us, we could probably make it work financially (with all the child tax credits) if one of us were to stay at home, but we would end up giving up our careers, perhaps for the rest of our lives. Even though we are heavily considering daycare, we haven’t completely made up our minds yet.