Can you tell I am trying to figure out summer care, dance class schedules, and school transportation?
There are plenty of articles out there answering why people are choosing to not have children at all or are having far fewer than they would like.
I did choose to have them even with several of these misgivings, and I am tired of feeling bad for doing so while being a working mom.
I am also tired of a society designed around having one parent that stays at home if you do have children.
Don’t believe that the system isn’t designed for working parents? I know, it can be hard to believe that in 2019 the school system can still think it’s 1953, so here are some of my challenges.
My daughter is in school for a total of seven hours a day. That includes her lunchtime and recess.
I have to work eight for it to be a full day, and my lunchtime is not considered part of my workday. That means even with my relatively short 20 minute commute, I am almost three hours short on the amount of time she’s in school versus the amount of time I am at work or traveling to and from work.
So, I pay for “wrap-around” care. On top of daycare for my youngest, and my youngest’s daycare costs us the equivalent of having a second mortgage payment each month.
And the article linked above wonders why people think daycare is too expensive.
Of course, you could stay home. Always an option. But as many other articles have noted, you’re paying a premium for that both in terms of total lifetime earnings, but also in terms of promotion and advancement opportunities. Being “mommy tracked” in my industry is a career-limiting-move.
And, frankly, I love my kids. I would do almost anything for them, but I suck at dealing with kids. I have no training in it, and even now, I regularly feel sorry for my kids that they got stuck with me instead of someone that has a clue how to raise them.
Do you know how many parenting books I read?
Do you know how many were helpful?
Yeah, none. Because as I learned, kids don’t follow manuals.
They eventually outgrow daycare, so you’re “just” paying for the wrap-around care. Then there’s the extracurricular activities. Back when I was a kid, these were truly “extra”. Now, the amount of pressure to have your kid in everything is amazing.
What do you mean your child isn’t in soccer, ballet, basketball, volleyball, and taking piano lessons?!? What kind of parent are you?
One that works.
All of these extra-curricular activities require transportation to and from them (not to mention the additional cost). Because of course I can leave work at 3pm to fetch my daughter and have her to dance class before 4pm. /end sarcasm.
And I am not alone. In families with both parents still living together, almost 50% are dual income households.
And driving their kids places is a significant stressor.
I need a self-driving car just to cart my daughter to and from her activities. Which, I limited her to two because I truly believe kids need time to play and engage their imagination.
There’s that writer in me.