Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two incomes just to pay for preschoolers' actitivies?!

Seriously, that's ridiculous. I live in a pretty expensive place. Coming from cheap ol' Texas, the cost of everything from groceries to dance class was shocking. I mean, blow my mind shocking.

It's no wonder most families need dual incomes. How can you afford $500- plus per month on preschool? Oh, and that's just until 1 p.m., thank you very much. Back in Texas, my daughter was in a three-day program, 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., with an additional dance class for $180 a month. That was affordable. Parents knew their children were in a safe, wholesome environment, learning social skills while mom (or dad) could grocery shop and go to the doctor before pick-up time. The schools here are all fabulous (so the literature says). But I understand why more parents are opting for the school-run 3-hour, four-day-a-week option. That's free and it's worth the hassle of running through the grocery store when you can save thousands of dollars per year. Just forget any mom-only time. That luxury is too expensive. And what about those parents who work as garbage collectors or janitors? We need those services desperately. Yet, we don't pay many of those workers a wage high enough to afford one extracurricular for their kids. Talk about a gap between the haves and have-nots.

My sister-in-law just moved from - you guessed it- Texas to Washington state. Her son's preschool is hundreds of dollars a month for two-and-a-half hours twice a week. What happened to Mother's Day Out? You remember that from when you were a kid? Your mom dropped you off for a few hours with a bunch of snotty, mean-spirited kids so that she could run to the bank, get a hair cut, try to exercise and all those other adult things without a whiny kid clinging to her leg? What happened to that option?

Unless you've already mapped out little Jimmy's course from that exclusive preschool to (insert Ivy League school name here), you don't want to go into debt for socializing out kids. Or quit putting money into a retirement fund. Can't there be an option in the middle?

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