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pheller PowerDork
1/3/18 5:10 p.m.

My wife and I will be welcoming a new cheapskate to the family in a month, and I'm getting anxious on the life with a little one. My wife and I pretty independent people, and while we're excited to have a family, we'll probably only have one (snip snip for me) and we're a bit scared to lose our independence and flexibility. 

Luckily we both make decent middle class money, and it's totally worth us trying to be DISKs (dual income single kid). We're prepared to give up a quarter of our annual income to attempt to keep working. 

My worry is that if my wife leaves the workforce, she may find it hard to earn income otherwise. She's not a very savy business-person, although she's an excellent employee. That means she usually moves up the chain pretty quick (she's been promoted 4 times and gotten 25k raise at her job in 2.5 years) but she could never see herself being a contractor and having to sell herself. She also doesn't have much interest in working at a bar or coffee shop.

Between the two of us, I'm far more flexible in the types of work I enjoy doing, and I'm not as good professionally (I don't tend to get offered promotions). That being said, I like my job, I get paid well and have little responsibility, so I want to stay on this gravy train as long as possible. 

So, we want a babysitter as early as possible. 

Mom gets 3 months FMLA which she intends to take. Come April, she'll be back at work, but her job is 50/50 office and remote - she gets to work from home. She cannot, however watch children while working from home. She can visit with them throughout the day, but that's about it. She may pop into the office for a few hours some days, or run off to a meeting, but most days she'll be in the house while the babysitter is there.

Any babysitter we hire could potentially have the easiest babysitting job - they get to hang out at our house, while mom is home. 

I'm thinking because of this, that I'd like to pay the bare minimum. $10.50 an hour. Is that unreasonable?

dj06482 SuperDork
1/3/18 5:31 p.m.

$10 an hour is what we started off paying our babysitters about 9 years ago (we're in CT).  Now we pay from $16 to  $20, depending on experience and responsibility.  We have 4 children, but now It's common for the babysitter to only watch our 3 year old, as the others are in school.

Depending on your local cost of living, I think the rate you outlined may be reasonable.

Stefan MegaDork
1/3/18 5:34 p.m.

We're in a similar situation, I WFM most days.  My wife and I work 4x10hr days per week and offset our days off (she usually has Wednesdays off and I have Fridays).

We pay $15/hr and have the nanny in twice a week (I use Dependent Care Spending account to offset $5000 of the cost of the nanny) and leverage grandparents and our day's off for the other days.  Trying to go cheap with a nanny isn't always a great idea, go with whomever best fits your needs.

Sittercity.com was a better option for us than Care.com, but check out both and interview a few people.  Be clear about your wants and needs and pick the best person for the job.  Also look into co-op options as well.

I can say that working from home while the baby and the nanny are also home is great and damned hard.  When they are very young, they are changed quite often, between naps and bottles, that is an all day job.  Once they start getting mobile, its a ton of fun and in some ways easier and in others more difficult.  You'll want to be around them all the time and they will want to be around you.  My 18-month old daughter will cling to me and tell the nanny, "no."  and then have a fit unless we distract her somehow.

Your independence will take a hit.  That's just a fact of life, not just because they need near constant attention (which they do), its because you'll want to be around them all the time.  There's also the increased efforts involved with taking them with you as you will need strollers, carriers, diaper bag, car seats, snacks/food, etc. on top of the lack of sleep involved with a young baby who isn't sleeping through the night yet.  That said, we were able to go on a few trips shortly after kiddo arrived.

A piece of advice:  You only get one shot with them as a baby, they grow up damned fast and it is awesome but damned short.  So if you can't be around them all the time, make the time count.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
1/3/18 6:11 p.m.

The time that a single child at home is short. Most kids are ready for half day pre-k at either 3 or 4 and full day kindergarten at 5. Long term dealing with summers are an issue as well. Spending half (or more) of one income to stay in the workforce is an investment in maintaing a career. Accept it for what it is.

The people I know who have been happiest with their nannies hired women who had very young children of their own. They are essentially being paid to be a stay at home mom to their own kid while they take care of another and they've been very grateful for the opportunity. 

pinchvalve MegaDork
1/3/18 6:27 p.m.

Someone gets to hang out at your house...that's a good thing?  Most people who are offering full-time day nanny or Au Pair services are making WAY more than $10/hr.  In that range, you are more likely to find a stay-at-home mom or dad who will watch your kid at their home, not commute daily to yours and be away from the laundry and dishes and all the other things they can be doing while the kid naps.  (Unless you plan on paying him/her to do those things, in which case, $10/hr is a pipe dream.) 

And the fact that mom is home is a real negative IMHO.  That makes it harder to deal with the kid who will hear and want mom all the time.  And mom will be offering lots of advice to nanny all day long, no thanks.  And mom gets to step in and nag whenever, and take the kid for the fun stuff, and walk away from diapers...again no thanks.  

Around here, at $10 an hour, you are looking at babysitter money...not a nanny or full-time caregiver.  So be careful of who you hire and what your expectations are.  You need someone who is responsible and capable of handling your child full time, all day, every day during the week.  That is a lot to ask, especially if you want to them to travel to your home, for $10 and hour.  

If you are OK getting back to work quickly, I would think day care would be a better option.  Drop the kid off, they are taken care of by professionals and you don't have to scramble if your sitter gets sick or can't get through the snowy roads.  As he/she gets older, there are other kids to play with and interact with, which helps SO much with learning to share and take turns.  One of mine went when she was 1, and the other when he was 3 mos and they are both doing great.  

frenchyd Dork
1/3/18 6:36 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

You’ve got it right, find a stay at home mom who you trust and pay her what she needs.  

 There is another less expensive way, shared day care.  You take care of her kids and she goes to work. Then she takes care of yours and you go to work.   Best if different shifts  but has to live close by .commute time with a load of kids is really intense.  


Sine_Qua_Non SuperDork
1/3/18 6:46 p.m.

Childcare at home cost a lot more than $10.50 an hour. It’s nearly $20 an hour these days. Babysitter rates are all over the map these days however you would need to determine several factors ie experience, age, attitude, basic life saving certification, and so forth. The good ones go for more and inexperienced is less. I suggest hidden nanny cams throughout the home to ensure your child is safe plus making sure the sitter is doing their jobs. I have quite a few friends that caught their sitters doing crap and firing them. Doing that can make it more difficult to find another sitter since the circle of sitters are tight with each other but somewhat competitive. If they find out you fire someone, they will either avoid working for you or charge more. Good luck. 

frenchyd Dork
1/3/18 6:53 p.m.

In reply to pheller :

Congratulations you’re about to spend over $200,000 on raising a kid to 18. Good news? It doesn’t stop there.  Your kid will want college or something to get it ready for the workforce.  It will needs emergency loans and other financial help. Not to mention you will buy birthday presents etc the rest of your life.  

 As you approach retirement you’ll hope to hang onto things like your house and car etc with the money you set aside during your working life.  

The goal aside from paying for your funeral  and other final costs will be to leave something behind  for them



Erich UltraDork
1/3/18 7:06 p.m.

First of all congrats!

We looked at both a daycare center and a nanny/sitter. The nannies that had any references at all around here were well above $15 an hour. Friends who have found cheaper but still good help have hired their friends or family, so unless that's an option, you may have a very tough time hiring someone decent in home at $10 an hour.

We ended up going the daycare center route, flexed around our schedules. The local school district runs a very good daycare, and it preps the children well for school in my experience. Our kids had a difficult time adjusting for the first couple weeks, but after that it's no problem at all. We did three set days a week, drop off was around 7-8am and pickup could be as late as 6pm, though I always ended up picking them up before 5. The other 4 days of the week the kids were the responsibility of me, SWMBO, or family members. I felt like it was a great mix for them.

Daycare centers are usually trustworthy, will socialize your children with others, and they never forget to come over. As a negative, your kid will get sick and have to stay home sometimes, and it can be a little less personal, for better or worse. 

The per-child cost for us ran between $800-$1000 a month for daycare. When you divide that down by about 12 days a month, and 9ish hours a day, you get between about $7-9.25 an hour per child. It's a big chunk of change, especially with two kids in care, but neither of us were willing or able to quit our jobs. The oldest is in Kindergarten now, the youngest about to go into pre-K. I wouldn't do it any differently.

Robbie PowerDork
1/3/18 8:11 p.m.

Wifey and I work from home a considerable amount, and we had an in home nanny for a couple years. At first we did 2 nannies, one mwf the other tth, but the tth one was not that great (and she wanted full time work). We ended up doing regular day care Tuesday and Thursday with a nanny at home mwf. It worked great. Was not the cheapest option. We paid about $150 per day to the nanny at home for our two kids, and daycare was about $100 per day I think.

Keep in mind that good people likely want more than occasional part time work. In our case we lucked out because our nanny was filling in the gaps of her other job with us. Nannies need days off, daycare still expects to be paid if your kids aren't there.

Also, we love our nanny and she is amazing, but we started to have the opposite problem where we felt she was ready to move on in her own career from her other gig and move to a full time role, but didn't want to put us in a bind. So then we felt we were holding her back. Now our kids (3yo and 18 months) go to a Montessori school 5 days a week, and they offer before and after care. It ends up being cheaper than the franchise day create we were using, and is in our minds a lot better. It's also walking distance from home. So don't be afraid to look outside the box for daycare as well.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
1/3/18 8:22 p.m.

Au Pair's are good alternatives for your situation.  They can be cheaper than infant day care and provide cool experiences for your little ones.  You do need a separate bathroom and bedroom for the au pair, transport, and food  but they can come in very inexpensive from a $/hr standpoint compared to local prices.  In Seattle a friend was paying $25K per year for his kid to go to daycare.. then he had a second kid and got an au pair.


http://go.culturalcare.com/  <--- A good friend of ours, in Seattle, was a manager for Cultural Care.  check it out.

dean1484 MegaDork
1/3/18 11:09 p.m.

Freedom and kids. Pick one. Your life is going to change for ever. Thinking that you can have a kid and then things will magically go back to the way it was is just not going to happen. I suggest you and your wife embrace parenthood. You only get one shot at it per kid. Taking a financial hit so you and your wife raise your own child is the wrong way to look at it. Instead look at it as an investment in your child. 

I know not everyone can afford to do this but start looking at other places to save money.  Allowing my wife to be a stay at home mom ment that my racing and other car related descresinary spending had to be trimmed way back. Look at every aspect of your budjet with an eye towards cutting it by at least 20 percent. Descresionary spending has to be the first to go completely.  

Another thing and please don’t take this the wrong way but the way you describe your job leads me to think you could be making more money by being more motivated and taking on more responsibilities.  

It is no longer about you and your wife anymore it is now all about the new little one you are bringing in to this world. 

Klayfish PowerDork
1/4/18 6:09 a.m.
dean1484 said:

Freedom and kids. Pick one. Your life is going to change for ever. Thinking that you can have a kid and then things will magically go back to the way it was is just not going to happen. I suggest you and your wife embrace parenthood.

It is no longer about you and your wife anymore it is now all about the new little one you are bringing in to this world. 

This...absolutely.  Things will NEVER, EVER be the same again.  Parenthood changes everything....mostly in an amazingly good way, but it also presents challenges.  Don't fight it, embrace it.  The life you and your wife have now will die once the child is born, but a new and different (better) one will emerge. 

If you want to both stay in the workforce, I support that 110 billion percent.  My wife and I both enjoy our careers and she had zero desire to give it up when we started having kids.  It's just personal opinion, but neither of us are fans of the stay at home mom thing...we both kind of roll our eyes when we hear people say it's their "occupation".  But that's a personal decision.

For $10.50/hour, Mary Poppins isn't going to show up at your house.  As others said, you may find someone who will be willing to watch your child in their own home as they watch their own kid(s).  Maybe.  I understand the value proposition thing you're looking for...believe me, I do.  When we had twins, our daycare bill skyrocketed to $2300/month, so we went with a live in Au Pair...we hated the experience, but it saved money.  Anyway, back to my point.  As much as you want value, I'd very strongly caution against a babysitter.  You leave yourself open to the issues of "my car won't start", "I don't feel well", "My boyfriend drama..." from the babysitter...and it WILL happen.  Then what will you do?  While they have downsides too, I'd strongly suggest finding a good daycare.  That will avoid all of the lack of reliability issues.  They also wind up being pretty inexpensive when you break it down per hour.  Many will offer flexibility around how much you pay depending on how long they are there.

boaty mcfailface
boaty mcfailface UberDork
1/4/18 7:18 a.m.

^^ What they said. You may think you control your life now but wait till that little one arrives, lol. 

Any reason you are not considering dropping the kid off at daycare? Hard to tell how many hours a week you anticipate needing your child to be watched but it sounds like close to full time at least.

Both my wife and I work, she is the real breadwinner and I have a reliable job close to home and daycare. My daughter has gone since 8 weeks, built up that immune system, made some friends, gets to socialize and play all week. Food included. $238 a week for us currently for 1 kid. YMMV. But that works out to less than $5 an hour when she is there for 9-10 hrs a day. 

RossD MegaDork
1/4/18 8:22 a.m.

We have a FSA Dependent Care Account. It allows up to $5k a year of tax free contribution for qualified care givers. Qualified means they have a tax number or a SSN to report for taxes. So if you're planning to be on the 'up and up' it works, but if you're expecting a 'cash' transaction that won't help you.

We send our two kiddos to the YMCA's daycare facility. As members of the Y, we get a bit of a discount, but it's still $1600 a month. We absolutely love the place and the people who take care of our kids.

dculberson PowerDork
1/4/18 9:38 a.m.

First off, congrats!!

You'll both continue to be able to be fully independent as long as you realize the little one is part of you. What they want, you really will want, within reason. Nothing brings me joy like seeing a smile on my kiddo's faces and I am (or was) fiercely independent.

It's not for everyone, but my wife and I decided to shuffle our schedules so we could take turns with the kids. It's costing us way way more than sending the kids to daycare (in lost income) but we only get a few short years with the kids before they go to school. At most 5 years and then they're gone all day. So if you can take time with them. I love the days I get to spend with my daughters and they are both so comfortable around me in ways that kids that don't spend tons of time with their dads aren't. I wouldn't trade it for money. It's probably costing us >$60k/year in lost income but I don't care.

Anyway, daycare's not a bad option. Figure around $800/mo for a decent one, and the kid will get friends and socialization they wouldn't get at home with a nanny. Nobody worth having at home is going to cost $10.50/hr unless there are other perks for them. (having their kid around, lodging, etc.)

The choice to limit it to one is not a bad one. Our second is only 8 months old and she's already turned me into a husk of a human. Two kids is rough. I think we're throwing in the towel at two. Lord I hope things get easier (read: she starts sleeping more) as she gets older.

SVreX MegaDork
1/4/18 9:44 a.m.

Wow. I am seriously out of touch with childcare costs. 

You are trying to navigate waters through a narrow channel without ever having driven a boat. No offense, but you are worrying a lot trying to make plans about something you know nothing about. 

Your kid isn't gonna need childcare for at least 3 months. Why don't you consider meeting this person before you choose to auction off the child raising joys and privileges to an outside contractor?

Duke MegaDork
1/4/18 9:55 a.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to pheller :

Congratulations you’re about to spend over $200,000 on raising a kid to 18. Good news? It doesn’t stop there.  Your kid will want college or something to get it ready for the workforce.  It will needs emergency loans and other financial help. Not to mention you will buy birthday presents etc the rest of your life.  

 As you approach retirement you’ll hope to hang onto things like your house and car etc with the money you set aside during your working life.  

The goal aside from paying for your funeral  and other final costs will be to leave something behind  for them



Wow.  Seriously, if you didn't want kids, why did you have kids?

DW and I have 2 kids, DD#1 (now 25) and DD#2 (now 22).  It was a lot of work and a lot of expense.  But we chose it, and we've never resented or regretted the decision for a minute.

@pheller:  Congratulations!

Other than parental leave, both DW and I have worked full time since we married.  Unless being stay-at-home parents is truly your calling, I strongly recommend both of you stay working, just for the outside stimulation and maintaining currency in the workplace, if nothing else.  I'm not saying to neglect your child in favor of your career - but your child doesn't have to be your career, unless that's what you really want.

It sounds like finding somebody to split the day with, or an in-home care that will be flexible with partial days, would be ideal until kindergarten age.  Most day care centers while charge you the full-day rate for a partial-day schedule in their infant and toddler programs.

That being said, I know a lot of people who have said "nobody but me is going to raise my kid", and I know a lot of people who have relatively poorly socialized children.  My kids benefitted well from being in a daycare center, making lots of lasting friends they otherwise probably wouldn't have met, and being exposed to a lot of different socioeconomic backgrounds.  We were lucky in having a great center around, but they are there if you look.  There is no shame or stigma in having them spend some time there, as long as you make the time you have at home with them count as well.

SVreX MegaDork
1/4/18 9:57 a.m.

I seriously doubt your wife has any idea how she is gonna feel about this yet. My wife was a corporate exec for IBM until our first born came and had no intention of quitting her job. That was 31 years ago- she hasn't worked since. 

FWIW, there were times it was really hard, but I have absolutely ZERO regrets.  My kids got the best childcare possible, and being a single income family with an at home parent is the single best decision I have ever made.  Don't rule it out yet.

Worrying about money is probably not the best way you can support your wife right now....

May I suggest this book?

Women leaving the Workplace

Its an old one, but the author does a good job of framing the financial pros and cons and showing the cost savings associated with staying at home. 

Im not pushing it- it's not for everyone. But I am convinced it is a very good choice for many people that is not considered carefully. 

Thinkkker UltraDork
1/4/18 10:00 a.m.

Pheller, looks like you are in a bigger city.  If you are lucky, $15/hr.  There are some sites, Care.com that you can go through to find people, it can be real hit and miss.

For one child, its cheaper to put them into a daycare we found.  Look at church's and the like around you.  They can range in when they take the kids in, but 3 months may be doable.  You will be needed to take them home when they are sick, and you must drop off/pickup at certain times.

The only real cheap options I have found is Rural areas.  We don't live there so not a cheap option for us.

SVreX MegaDork
1/4/18 10:01 a.m.

Oh, one more thing...

I got snipped after kid #2. I now have 5 kids. You have NO IDEA how many things can change. cheeky

I think you would be REALLY surprised if you could see how much pheller resembles young SVreX!  wink

frenchyd Dork
1/4/18 10:07 a.m.

In reply to Duke :

Talk about leaping to conclusions. I simply pointed out the economic costs of a child and you assumed I didn’t like it?  

I’m thrilled with my kids, proud as a peacock of them.  

But the numbers are correct for an average kid  


Duke MegaDork
1/4/18 10:13 a.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to Duke :

Talk about leaping to conclusions. I simply pointed out the economic costs of a child and you assumed I didn’t like it?  

I’m thrilled with my kids, proud as a peacock of them.  

But the numbers are correct for an average kid  


I'm not arguing with your numbers.  I've lived them, twice.

Nothing anywhere in your original post expresses anything other than bitterness, even re-reading between the lines.  It was not much of a leap to my conclusion.  Hell, you even complained about having to buy them birthday presents.

xflowgolf Dork
1/4/18 10:16 a.m.

In west Michigan we've been able to find good in home nanny help for $14-$16/hr.  I throw a gas bonus on top of that for running kids around to dance class and picking up from pre-school, etc. since she uses her own car.  As noted, you need some backup plans if you're relying on a single person to show up at your house (sickness, vacations, car problems, etc.).  Luckily we have both sets of grandparents within an hour who can fill in, as well as a flexible job that allows me to adjust as needed.  

My wife stayed home the first 8 years after our first child was born.  We pinched pennies, car projects hit a standstill, and we built our family.  Wouldn't change a thing.  It's not for everyone, my daughter is now 4, and my wife just returned to the workforce, and is enjoying the professional interaction.  It does go by fast, so enjoy it through all the challenges.  

You'll find your fit.  

frenchyd Dork
1/4/18 11:03 a.m.

In reply to Duke :

My post wasn’t  a complaint  simply a summation of costs involved.  

I’m sorry you did assume that because I spelled out costs I was unhappy.  

That is not the case. I went to great lengths to have children. We both needed surgery and that was only after extremely expensive  medication was tried and tried and tried.  

In fact we had given up on having our own  and we were waiting for the birth of  our to be adopted child. When a couple of weeks before that blessed day she discovered she was finally pregnant. 

The group we’d gone through the adoption process was told that out of 120 sets of parents who’d been approved for adoption more than 1/2 wouldn’t get a child.  Most of the rest would get foreign born, special needs, or or older childrenWe were the only parents to get what is called a Gerber baby ( one that looks like it’s adoptive parents and is born to healthy mother and father) 

Because we felt so blessed we allowed another adoptive set of parents to have our place in line. That had taken us 5 years to get to that point from our first application. 

 When 5 years later a second child blessed us we were doubly thrilled.  

We gladly did our best for those kids and you have no idea of how deep our love was ( my wife has since passed).  

 I wasn’t complaining about buying presents, merely stating that it doesn’t end at 18 

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