What To Do With Preschoolers When You Can't Afford Preschool

It’s Saturday morning, also known as Kids Run Wild Day, when you begin your weekly 48-hour endurance challenge and dream of the relative peace that will come on Monday when you return to work. But what if your kid isn’t school age yet? Preschool “tuition” can be more expensive than a well-groomed drug habit, all but guaranteeing poverty until you can ship the tyke off to kindergarten. SmartMoney notes that on average, preschool tuition now runs $7,000 per year, and they offer a few alternatives for the cash-strapped owner of a 3-year-old.

We should note, however, that their alternatives require a lot more investment of time than the places where you drop your child off each morning. For instance, parent co-ops are “nonprofit organizations where parents take turns working in the classroom with the kids and teacher.” You can save as much as 80% on tuition, but you’ll have to devote at least one full day of work every two weeks–a requirement that can be difficult if not impossible to incorporate with many full time jobs.

Another option is family child care, which requires some extra work on your part to ensure that the family-operated business is properly accredited and monitored (some states don’t have regulations for these businesses at all, so do your research).

With Preschool Tuition Soaring, Parents Seek Alternatives [SmartMoney]

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Another option is Head Start programs, for the truly cash-strapped, and not merely cash-inconvenienced.

    Also, some school districts are offering free preschool the way they offer free kindergarten, considering it of enough importance to make it a public school issue.

    One last option is government assistance, which is like a college grant, but for preschool. You can usually find information on these with public college-related preschools.

    That’s another thing. If you have the time to enroll in a couple community college classes…underwater basket weaving, or Japanese for Otaku or whatever, and your community college has a preschool, you might get priority for government-subsidized child care.

    Come on now, do some research.

  2. timmus says:

    In our town of 20,000 we have a pretty good YMCA that has an upscale daycare/pseudo-preschool program. I can’t remember the cost but it’s in the low hundreds per month. This works pretty good and it seems to attract some of the well-educated families in our town. My wife used to work in a daycare and after that experience she would not leave our kid in one.

  3. timmus says:

    Oh, that program I mentioned seems to be YMCA-wide and is called Y-Kids.
    [www.google.com] It’s not Montessori, but it’s better than the alternatives.

  4. welsey says:

    My brothers and I went to a co-op preschool and it was great. But then my family’s need to budget was because my mother wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, so she was able to volunteer the time necessary. I also remember before that going to a lot of preschool programs at churches, I don’t know if that’s cheaper or what but it seemed to be where I ended up most of the time. Maybe my parents felt I needed saving.

  5. bgeek says:

    Two words: Work Camp.

  6. DjDynasty says:

    Three words. Wear a Rubber! Sorry, I can’t stand screaming howler monkeys at all, I’m very vocal when someone’s brat is running a muck that I’m very glad I’m gay and assholes can’t get pregnant. I usally get this look of scorn from the mom, and this look of “I should have juswt asked for oral” from the dad.” I’m 26 and believe the child abuse laws wrecked the country to the point where people are afraid of striking the fear of god into their child. The reason why I behaved so well growing up was because I knew at any moment, My father would hit me so hard I would wish I was dead if I did a single thing wrong. If I have children, that’s how I intend to parent. As it is, my partner who’s the same age as me always brings his neices & nephews over to my house because they fear me so much they behave. Then again, I’ve got a better video game set up than they do at home, So they always behave to be allowed to have their choice at playing every video game system ever created for North America.

  7. humphrmi says:

    Ah, a topic near and dear to my heart. I swear that daycare and decent preschool is more expensive in Chicago than anywhere else. Even if you can afford it, our school district’s pre-school is two half day programs that don’t work out to anywhere near 9AM -> 5PM, requiring you to set up before and after school care.

    So here’s the breakdown in a suburb near Chicago:

    Preschool, 5-day full time per year: $5365
    Extended Day, Morning, 5-day/wk per year: $3000
    That eight grand gets you to about 2 or 3 PM-ish, then the city’s park district offers an afterschool program that is not well advertised but the last time we used it, it was around $4K/yr. And that program offers undertrained teenagers to watch your kids. So, you’re looking at easily 12K/yr for preschool and all the “so you can work” accoutrements.

    Oh, and forget about tuition savings with co-ops and such, they don’t offer them. And don’t think about arranging your own childcare privately; they won’t release your kids to them.

    You should see their pre-preschool costs. Ugh. My youngest is going into pre-K now and I can’t wait until he’s in 1st grade, where he’s in school all day and at the state’s expense. I’ve easily paid $200K over the last 10 years for three kids daycare and preschool.

  8. chatterboxwriting says:

    @DjDynasty: Do you read “Behind the Counter”? I know BBC American always uses the term howler monkey.

    What is the purpose of pre-school for kids? I’m seriously asking, as I did not attend one. I lived in a suburb with nothing but houses and a volunteer fire company. We didn’t have pre-school — we all just went to kindergarten when it was time. Aside from the value of developing social skills, is pre-school really a necessity?

  9. Amy Alkon says:

    DJDynasty, if more parents were like you, the world would be a less annoying brat-filled place. I, too, was raised by fascists. Loving fascists, but fascists nonetheless. At 8, I thought I could fly, but the idea that I could scream or even raise my voice in a public place or kick the back of another person’s chair in a movie theater did not exist for me in what was possible in the known universe.

    As for the people who can’t afford preschool…if you can’t afford the costs of children…DON’T HAVE THEM!

  10. lil_spastic says:

    What ever happened to the stay at home mom (or dad)? Why aren’t we teaching our own kids? I say baloney to anyone that says they can’t afford living without two-incomes; they don’t want to. It’s all about priorities.
    Don’t think so? How about cutting down on the number of times you eat out all week? Preplan your meals and shop at the grocery store with a list. Take your lunch to work. Turn off the lights in rooms that aren’t being used. Take shorter showers. I think you get the drift. It’s all pretty elementary stuff.
    As a side note, having gone from a double to single income family, I know what I’m talking about. We live comfortably (and happily) within our means and no it’s not with a six digit income.

  11. erica.blog says:

    Uh, the cost of childcare isn’t particularly related to how much you hate bad children and/or bad parents.

    Preschools at churches are indeed much less expensive, but they are also usually co-ops, and you also must be willing to accept that they’ll teach the kids their particularly belief structure. For the majority of people, that’s fine, since they send kids to preschool at their own church :-)

    We recently moved to a new state, and had to give up my daughter’s wonderful daycare/preschool. Her new preschool isn’t nearly as effective at education or discipline, and has more kids, and costs $40 more a week. It’s pretty hit-or-miss sometimes, and you need to do a lot of research to find whether a facility is worth your investment…

  12. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

    @lil_spastic: Do you WANT some of these people teaching their own kids and corrupting future generations? Didn’t you see “Jesus Camp”? I’d rather send them to daycare and I hated daycare as a kid.

  13. paco says:

    @lil_spastic: So what do you say to a single parent?

  14. ellmar says:

    @DjDynasty: the word is “amok”

    amok |əˈmək; əˈmäk| (also amuck) adverb (in phrase run amok) behave uncontrollably and disruptively.

  15. Lordstrom says:

    This conversation is disgusting. Stay home with your child. Simple as that. If you have to give up cable and fine clothing and whatnot to afford that, so be it.

    There should never be discussions about where to dump inconvenient children. Ugh.

  16. Nilt says:

    paco says: So what do you say to a single parent?

    I say the same thing Amy Alkon said above: “if you can’t afford the costs of children…DON’T HAVE THEM!”

    It’s not too hard to wrap one’s member and/or pop a pill daily in order to ensure one doesn’t have children one cannot afford. It’s neither mine nor anyone elses responsibility to pay for other people’s children because they’re too stupid to utilize proper family planning.

    My wife and I managed to not have a child until we were married and able to afford one. We’re not Christian, BTW, so keep your religion bashing to yourselves.

  17. SybilDisobedience says:


    Some people are single parents. I’m not. I’ve managed to avoid pregnancy thus far. But my older sister is one, and though the argument could be made that the pregnancy could’ve been avoided – and she’ll tell you that before anyone – the fact remains that the child is here now, it’s not her fault, and she needs proper care. Which, for a single parent, necessarily includes day care. Sorry, but my sister isn’t independently wealthy, and she’s got to provide food and shelter for that baby before she does anything else.
    It’d sure be nice if she could be a stay-at-home mom, but unfortunately, that’s not always possible in the real world. Sometimes dads (and moms) run out on kids.
    I think these “it’s disgusting to put your kids in day care” arguments are nothing more than thinly veiled moralistic judging of people who didn’t get married and raise their kids in a 2-parent household.

  18. …I make 1000 a month. My husband has about that in take-home. Rent is 1100 a month in our city and that is the cheapest we’ve found. My husband still has an hour commute each way. Neither of us have health insurance. You people who demand someone just stay home with the kids are cocks. We don’t HAVE cable. We don’t HAVE fancy clothes. I live on hand-me-downs while I go through my Masters (on state loans that will be repaid by the state with five years of work) so someday I might be able to make more than 1000 a month. God forbid I should have a kid right now, but if I did, you best be DAMN sure they would be in day care or preschool while I worked.

    A good Consumerist-type book is Nickel and Dimed. Maybe some of you yuppie scum should pick it up and see how people living at or below the poverty line must function.

  19. @Nilt: OK, so what about people who believe that birth control is immoral? What about people who have birthed themselves into a corner, financially? Don’t forget, it’s not just Catholics anymore that consider BC and condoms immoral, and the truly poor are the ones most influenced by church dogmas.

  20. @Amy Alkon, @lil_spastic, @lorddave, @Nilt: It must be nice living in a world where people don’t get laid off or fired; where major illnesses and injuries never occur. A world where disasters and crime just don’t happen. It must be wonderful living in a world where nothing unexpected can happen that would cause financial problems including birth defects. In your world it’s a simple as people who can’t afford children shouldn’t have kids because the ability to afford kids couldn’t possibly change after they’re born.

    But the rest of us live in the real world where illness, divorce, abandonment, and death do occur. If the idea of people trying to figure out less expensive ways of handling things is “disgusting” to you then you’re probably in the wrong place.

  21. SkyeBlue says:

    My family and I live in quite a small town (about 5600 people) and we have a Head Start program, a child care center at our local college for the children of students, and a Pre-K program thru our local school district, all free of charge. There is also a program here called the “HIPPY” program (I think it is nationwide) where a worker comes to your home with books and games for children under the age of 5). One of my daughters who lives in a major city was also able to send my grandaughter to a daycare with a preschool that DHS paid for.

    I am sure those who live in larger towns would probably even have more services available to them.

  22. Clobberella says:


    How nice that you can be so patronizing. However, the real world doesn’t necessarily work that way. Here’s another example to go along with the others. My husband and I both work full time. We’re doing okay. We did recently get cable, after 5 years of no tv whatsoever. We don’t have cell phones. We don’t have health insurance (for both of us it would cost more than we are currently paying for rent.) We rarely buy new clothes, and when we do it’s usually at Target. We go out to dinner or a movie maybe once a month, and the only time we usually buy anything unnecessary is at holidays. We’ve been saving and we’ve finally gotten to the point where we can both afford to go to college this year (I am 26, he is 25.)

    HOWEVER, my husband makes $10/hour. It is the best-paying full-time job he’s ever been able to get. If I were to get pregnant right now (and trust me, we’re extremely careful, but accidents happen) DO YOU HONESTLY THINK that I could afford to stay home until the child was kindergarten age? Maybe if he got a second job, and a third. And then he’d never be home long enough to be a father to his child. So which do you think is worse? Putting a child in daycare or pre-school for a few hours a day, or that child having a perpetually absent and overworked father? And by the way, in this scenario, who’s going to pay for our health care? Cause we’ll need it. Oh, that’s right! THE GOVERNMENT! And you don’t want that either.

    I second SpiderJerusalem’s reccommendation of Nickel and Dimed. I would also add The Working Poor to that.

  23. acambras says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    THANK YOU — beautifully put.

  24. millcitymodern says:

    I love how discussion about less expensive alternatives to private preschool gives some baby-haters the incentive to spew vile. What’s wrong, do you have issues being heard in your real life? Whether you think people should breed is not the point of the topic.

    I COULD go to work to “afford” private preschool for my yet-to-be-born child…but I would prefer to put that money into college savings and utilize the options my community offers. We have public pre-K in many of our schools. I am already researching so when my critter is of-age I will have my options lined up. Oh, and the point isn’t to “dump” my kid somewhere…it’s to give her much-needed social interaction with other children before she heads to school full-time, as well as to provide independent assessments of her strengths and weaknesses so we can make a competent decision whether to send her to kindergarten or wait, since she will be born on the edge of the birthday cutoff.

  25. Lordstrom says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I just want people to grow up and take care of their children instead of handing them around like batons. Even in today’s “real world” it’s not too much to ask.

    @Clobberella: “Accidents happen”? What, there’s a possibility that your husband will trip over something and impregnate you? Being pregnant is never an accident. Please don’t have children. I fear for what you would do with your “accidents”.

  26. Lordstrom says:

    @millcitymodern: She needs more interaction with her mother than with other babies. It’s called parenting.

  27. Clobberella says:

    @lorddave: “Getting pregnant is never an accident”? Darling, do you have any idea how birth control works, or are you of the opinion that even married people should remain celibate? Either way, short of abstinence or complete sterilization THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BIRTH CONTROL THAT IS 100% EFFECTIVE. Look it up.

    I love that that was the only thing you managed to pull out of my post, thereby entirely missing the point. And then you make grandiose assumptions about my ability to raise children. So classy.

  28. welsey says:

    @lorddave: You’re not even making rational arguments to what people have said! Are you just trying to start fights? Regarding your last three points: most people who work full time to take care of their kids (therefore needing affordable preschool/childcare) aren’t doing this to avoid taking care of them; I certainly hope you have never done any activities that could result in someone being pregnant without that being the goal; and socialization is good for kids.

  29. YlimE08 says:

    Where I live, most of the preschools are free. The only one that I know of that charges tuition is linked to a church daycare.

    Hell, when I was a kid we didn’t have preschool. We learned our ABCs and 123s from mom, dad and Sesame Street.

  30. millcitymodern says:

    @lorddave: your comments are troll-like. It’s a big stretch to equate giving your child interaction with other children and the world at large with neglect. You sound rigid and set in your opinion, though, so I am sure the responses to your comments only serve to bolster your assumption that there is only one way to raise a child.

  31. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Oh, I do love it when the childfree show up to an argument. I wish I could be so confident that nothing bad will ever happen to me.

  32. Lordstrom says:

    @Clobberella: I’ll say it again, pregnancy is never an accident. That’s a fact of life. Not an opinion, not an observation, a cold hard fact.

    @welsey: By definition, they are avoiding taking care of their kids by taking them to day care.

  33. jerkasaurus says:

    So anyway . . .

    Just because a preschool is in a church doesn’t mean it’s a religious preschool. My mother used to be the director of a preschool that was housed in a church. She leased the space from the church, nothing more. So don’t be automatically turned off by a church preschool if you don’t want your kids to have a religious education — check it out first.

    Also, what’s with the “sarcastic quotes” around “tuition” in the original post? Preschool is about educating kids and preparing them to enter kindergarten — it’s not a synonym for day care.

  34. Clobberella says:

    @lorddave: Just one more thing and then I give up. Is English your second language? Because you don’t seem to know the meaning of the word “accident.” Here you go: This is what several dictionaries have to say. You will see words in the definitions like “unintended,” “unexpected,” “chance,” “fortune,” and “circumstance.” If you still believe in your cold hard facts of life I would seriously like to see you produce evidence to confirm that.

  35. Clobberella says:

    Quite true. I meant to say something to that effect before I got distracted by trolls. My sister had one of her kids in a preschool for awhile that was run in the Seventh Day Adventist church. Same thing – it wasn’t a religious school at all. She paid about two bucks a day for it. Worked out great. And she lives in a teeny tiny town so I’m sure in a larger city services like that would be pretty easy to come by. You just have to do some research.

  36. Trai_Dep says:

    Whoa. Guys. Chill on the parent hating.

    Simple fact is macro, government policies have shifted the economy so that it’s nearly impossible for families to make it on a single income. Up until the 70s or so, that was the norm. And it’s still our fuzzy expectation. Back in those days, a working Dad (average level of education: high school + 2 yrs) could provide food, a house, a car, save for college and raise 2.5 rug rats. No more.

    It’s changes in government policy that did it. Middle class has to be squeezed, working class has to become Working Poor. Otherwise the top tenth of a percent of US earners won’t be able to own as much as the bottom half of the entire country. Yup. That’s an accurate, although sickening factiod.

    We used to be a beacon to the world because of our fairness and broadly based middle class. No more. But don’t blame the victim here. Show some (self) compassion.

  37. TangDrinker says:

    It’s even worse if you have an infant. I live in Charlotte and pay 200 a week for child care. That’s more than the church day care (which has waiting lists of over a year) and much less than the top of the line ones. Ours is middle level, but I’m very pleased with the caregivers. I don’t have any idea how people with more than one child manage to do daycare, though. If we were to have another, it would make sense for one of us to stay home.

    As for those who say “don’t have kids until you can afford it” – I say, stfu. There is no “right” time to have a kid. It’s not like adopting a puppy (although that does give you lots of great preparation for taking care of a baby). And if your parents waited until the “right” time to have you – you probably wouldn’t have been born.

  38. SybilDisobedience says:

    You hit the nail on the head. It’d be great if middle-class families could return to the old “nuclear-family” standard (in the sense of one stay-at-home parent), but for most, it’s just not realistic anymore. My dad and his 2nd wife pull down a little less than 500K a year combined and have a 9-year-old girl; they live frugally; and still my stepmom could never quit her job to raise her, no matter how much she’d like to. The economy is so unstable in their area, and the cost of living so high, that they couldn’t possibly have one working parent and still save enough to send her to college, like their parents did for them.

  39. rkm12 says:

    @CumaeanSibyl: I also enjoy the childfree stupidity.

  40. rkm12 says:

    I had a stay at home mother and went to preschool. It was only a few hours a day but it was good to socialize with other kids and meet new people. Too say using preschool is neglect is just stupid.

  41. Lordstrom says:

    @Clobberella: The high school you went to must have been garbage if they taught you that pregnancy is some rare unexpected consequence of sex. Seriously, just stop the foolishness.

  42. SybilDisobedience says:

    Wow, it’s getting really trollish in here.

  43. BrockBrockman says:

    Well …. I think parents should be able to afford their kids before having them…
    AND I think that quality, low-cost pre-school should be available for *everybody*, including single parents, low income folk, and even high-income married couples …
    AND I think that preschool is good for kids …
    AND I think that parents should take a very active role in raising their kids …
    AND I think that not all church daycare programs are Jesus Camp…
    AND I hate kids that run around screaming.

    But, after reading all of the comments, I’m pretty sure I just agreed with about seven totally conflicting viewpoints.

  44. theblackdog says:

    @lorddave: So you’re saying that married people shouldn’t have sex at all because “ONOES WE MIGHT MAKE BABEEZ!” What planet do you live on that couples would actually think that way?

  45. Her Grace says:

    LordDave is and always has been a troll. Obnoxious, but just a troll.

    My mom was a stay at home mother when I was little–she did not work from the time I was born until my parents divorced (I was six)–and I went to preschool. Kids need social interaction with other kids, and parents need breaks from their children sometimes. No matter how much you love them, they can still be annoying. No rational adult would expect their wife or husband to spend every waking moment in their presence; it would drive a person mad. The same applies to parents and children.

  46. floofy says:

    Maybe LordDave just wants all of us working single parents to quit our jobs and live on welfare so that we aren’t abusing our children in daycare. Then, the people who work at and run the daycares will be unemployed, and can go on welfare, too so they can stay home. Gosh, that sounds like a great idea! He can help pay me to raise my child!

  47. hobear23 says:

    And this is reason number 185934 that I had Essure tubal occlusion this year. if and when i ever want and could afford a child, I’m adopting. Have some personal responsibility, people. Having a child is not an accident. getting pregnant can be an accident even if using protection, but birthing that child is your choice, and if you can’t afford it, then don’t expect everyone else to pay for your choice.

  48. humphrmi says:

    @lil_spastic: Maybe some people have kids in childcare so that they can work for different reasons than just income. Perhaps they don’t subscribe to your opinions about how to raise kids.

  49. Clobberella says:

    I don’t even think that’s the argument here. The whole point is that people are saying that you should be required to live in a single income family because supposedly sending your kid to daycare or preschool so you can work is neglectful. And yes, getting pregnant can most definitely be an accident and having that child is still a choice, but there are many who would argue in favor of forcing you to give birth to that child and they are usually the same people who don’t want welfare or subsidized healthcare for anyone. I very much admire your willingness to adopt, but bear in mind that you are already paying for those kids who are in the system. Taxpayers will pay either way and frankly I don’t see the harm in my or anyone else’s tax dollars going to help care for children, regardless of the circumstances of their birth.

  50. jrdnjstn78 says:

    Me and my ex have worked opposite shifts so we didn’t have to put our child in daycare or preschool. I worked nights and he worked days, it was tiring but it worked out.

  51. ChiefFamilyOfficer says:

    @ HUMPHRMI – I think I’ve got you beat in Los Angeles. Full-time preschool is about $1000 per month, so $12,000 per year.

    The article obliquely mentioned part-time preschool as a way of reducing costs. I wanted to mention that another way is to barter with the owner – since many preschools are small, private businesses, they can make deals with you. I know one manicurist who got a reduced rate for doing the owner’s nails.

  52. DjDynasty says:

    @spiderjerusalem: I know what you’re going threw dear. I made 6 figures a year pre-9/11 with no college degree needed. My partner made a high 5 figure salary. Since 9-11 I’ve had to return back to college And it’s not cheap! But it really boils down to if you can not afford to have the kids, because of your career, or finances, get snipped or tied, or wear a condom. Strangers should not be raising anyone’s elses child but their own. That way when your little Chucky Manson goes on a killing spree we know exactly who to blame.

    And yes, I read Behind the Counter, I use the term Howler Monkey’s all the time now, it’s much more polite than screaming bitchy expensive poop machine, Or “You should have swallowed ma’am”

  53. DjDynasty says:

    @spiderjerusalem: Carl Marx said it best. Organized Religion is Opium for the masses. I personally think a belief in christian faith gives people an excuse to be stupid. Remember god speaks to bush.

  54. DjDynasty says:

    @Clobberella: Yes there is birth control that’s 100% effective, And still allows fun sex. It’s called Oral Sex, Anal Sex, and Homosexual Sex. If your mouth get’s pregant, I’ll pay for day care :-D

  55. zeus_loves_hera says:

    Frankly, the majority of this whole comments thread seems to be besides the point of the original article. The article is about how to save money on childcare/preschool, not whether having children is immoral in a variety of situations or whether Christianity is righteous or not. If you don’t have/want kids, you don’t have to read the article. Likewise, people who rent homes and don’t seek to buy one can skip the articles about real estate brokerage; people who aren’t students don’t go and post at length about “IF TEXTBOOKS ARE TOO EXPENSIVE YOU SHOULDN’T GO TO SCHOOL, MORON”.

    Really now, who are the real children around here? I think those individuals will be able identify themselves when reading this.

  56. Clobberella says:

    Okay smartass, I’m holding you to that! ;)

  57. JustAGuy2 says:


    If you’re going to criticize people for being “stupid,” you might try to avoid misspelling Karl Marx’s name in your post. Although, in all fairness, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, just ignorant.

  58. Caswell says:

    My sister works for a company that provides great childcare at cost (she pays the cost, but they’re not worried about turning a profit from the operation).

    Honestly, why isn’t this something that’s more common? I’m not talking about free, I’m simply talking about child care provided at cost as a benefit. It doesn’t cost the company anything and you can bet my sister won’t be going anywhere as long as she has young kids.

    I’m in my late 20’s, and frankly I’m far more worried about how to pay for child care than I am the expensive health care plan I have that I use maybe two or three times a year for regular checkups and the odd illness.

  59. kostia says:

    Our co-op preschool is in a church but completely unaffiliated therewith, just a tenant of the space. I’ve never heard a single word about proselytizing going on.

    The co-op hours requirement can be met outside of work hours either with a buyout (a limited number of families can do this) or by serving on the board, which means going to evening meetings and doing fundraising, event planning, newsletter distribution, or other services on your own time.

    Most families do do the standard thing, working as teacher aides in the classroom or driving on field trips to put in their co-op hours, but the flexibility is there. We know some families in our area would not otherwise be able to afford to send their kids to preschool, and it’s a wonderful opportunity.

  60. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I let all the anti-child fanatics and social-work-degree morons frighten me into waiting until “the right time” to have kids.

    Now I’m 40 and perimenopausal. I’ve made above median salary for four years. I have been in a stable relationship for ten years. I’ve been living in my neighborhood for five continual years. I don’t have consumer debt.

    Is it the right time yet, or do I have to wait until I can provide the pristine upper-middle-class lifestyle that passes for “good enough to raise a child” these days?

  61. millcitymodern says:

    @speedwell: by all means, have a child. Just make sure you can afford to pay the maximum amount for preschool on a single income so as to be above reproach. Wait, you should PAY for preschool (to show you aren’t sponging off the Man), but not actually SEND your child there, as that is clearly neglect, and if you were a good parent you would devote your entire existence to the child, but not dote TOO much so you don’t turn them into a “howler monkey”. Again, on one income.

    @Zeus_Loves_Hera: word word wordy word word

  62. uffa says:

    I think the idea of a single income family is better posed this way: If you are ABLE to live comfortably with one stay-at-home parent and one working, you should do so. That is what my wife and I are doing right now. We redid our family budget and cut back a lot and SACRIFICED on many things.

    My argument is that many two parent families don’t even consider keeping one parent at home and sacrificing. They take the minimum leave they can and go back to work, dropping the infant immediately in daycare. They also continue buying the new SUV to cart a baby around, continue to eat out often and make other unnecessary purchases, like an HD TV. They don’t even think it is an option to stay home and spend quality time raising their child.

    Obviously, this doesn’t apply to those who simply don’t make enough money or are a single parent. While I’m sure they would also like to spend more time home with their child, their current environment will not allow it.

  63. SteveXo says:

    For all of those out there who claim that there is no such thing as “accidentally” getting pregnant, please come take a look at my balls… You see, I had a vasectomy almost four years ago. Unfortunately, even that is not foolproof. My wife and I just found out we’re having baby #3 (6 years after we thought we were done having kids). Yes, sometimes people do have kids “on accident”. Or perhaps you think I should have removed my testicles entirely just to be safe?

  64. jrdnjstn78 says:

    great reply! Congrats on baby #3!

    Accidents do happen. What do you say to the lady who got raped and became pregnant?

    How can people turn a subject that asks “what to do when you can’t afford preschool” into something so off the wall. When do you ever make enough money to afford kids? That money can be taken away so quickly. Like having an auto accident or becoming sick (outrageous medical bills).

    The only people who should not be having kids should be rapists, molestors, etc.