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Weighing the Cost of Daycare

Today's topic is a sensitive issue to many mothers; the issue of whether it is possible to stay home and raise one's children, or return to work while a day care takes over after a pregnancy leave. Many moms are blessed to have a paid pregnancy leave while others must take unpaid leave, prompting them to return to work as soon as possible. Factors affecting that time line include pregnancy complications, difficulty finding day care, the family's personal savings, and several other conditions. It helps to have a support staff in the family, but that can only continue for so long. Eventually, families must calculate whether it makes sense to have mom return to work, or if the costs of weekly day care will nullify a paycheck to the point where it makes sense to just stay home and raise the children oneself.

With the birth of twins, the cost calculations become even more important; while costs are not doubled (as there are many day care plans with twin discounts), it is still a lot more expensive to purchase supplies and command the attention from day care that two children will need.

Depending on your location, day care costs somewhere between $150 and $300 per child per week. The addition of a twin may or may not double that (or come pretty close) depending on the facility. Factors that affect the rates may be the ratio of day care staff to children, whether or not the facility provide meals, or the level of services they provide. Parents should find a provider that they can afford, while also comfortable with the level of service they provide.

While child care costs are tax deductible, the fact remains that the fees are still being paid every week, and that affects the family's income. If a family is paying just $300 per week for a set of 3 month old twins, that family is shelling out almost $15,000 of their disposable income. Using these figures, families must decide whether a second salary outweighs the costs of the day care, and also whether the family feels it is worth it to have the job of raising the children left to others for a portion of the day. I have spoken to many families that felt that tightening the spending belt was worth staying home to raise the children themselves, while other moms felt that the day care was the correct choice as not to interrupt their careers.

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