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Author Topic: are my kids better off in quality daycare?  (Read 3733 times) Average Rating: 0
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kmm
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« on: November 01, 2007, 09:57:28 PM »

Guess I'm feeling the typical mother guilt plus pressure on a number of sides, but sometimes I feel like my kids would be better off in quality daycare rather than with me. We don't have a yard for them to play in and our place in really small, and many days, especially as the weather gets worse, I just do not have the energy to pack up my 2 1/2 yr. old and 3 1/2 month old to get on the bus to go to a playgroup etc. Plus, after my maternity leave is up I'll have to work, but even if I try to work at home, I'll be spending so much time doing that, that I'm afraid my kids won't get much time with me. I spend a lot of the day cooking too (cooking from scratch saves money on a tight budget), although I do try to involve the toddler in that, where appropriate. Only a small part of me wants to go back to work. I'm a teacher, and it was a nightmare working 60+ hours per week plus try to care for a toddler and household, regardless of how helpful my husband is. We are not allowed to work part-time at my school, otherwise I'd do that, and getting a teaching job elsewhere is next to impossible (there are far too may teachers in the system, but schools are being closed left, right and centre where I live due to lack of enrollment - people aren't having children). My parents are keeping up the pressure with their not so subtle disregard of stay at home parenting, plus they are convinced I cannot possibly be stimulating the toddler nearly enough. My husband is ambivelant - he grew up in the USSR in 24 hour 6 day per week daycare and thought it was really good. I want to be with my kids, and am trying to figure out a way to do it and earn an income too (that's a necessity - we own nothing and live very simple lives, so I need some income to keep our heads above water, plus my husband could lose his job at any time). I guess I'm needing some encouragement - my mothering confidence is a little low at the moment.

What is better? Quality daycare or the kids being at home with me in our current situation?

Thanks!
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Maksim
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2007, 11:41:17 PM »

I can't really speak from experience on this, but it sounds like you are trying to do the right thing.  Regarding the concerns of your parents:  Remember that traditionally, kids have never gotten 100% of mom's attention at home.  There's no problem letting them have some time to rest or play while you do other things, as long as you can keep an eye on them.  The idea that children need constant adult interaction is a recent one, and (from what I've read) it's not even necessarily good for kids.   

With that said, you should probably try to talk to a priest about this (if you haven't already).  Whatever the outcome, it will be a lot easier if you and your husband can come to a prayerful decision about it together.
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2007, 08:42:55 AM »

Kmm, I agree with Maksim above.

What part of the USSR is your husband from? Are you from there, too? My wife and I grew up in Ukraine.

Prayers,

G.
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2007, 04:22:55 PM »

What is better? Quality daycare or the kids being at home with me in our current situation?

It sounds like you have a difficult situation. One thing confuses me: Could you really afford this much-touted "quality" daycare? And, what, exactly, would you be getting for the money? Your parents may think daycare provides more stimulation, but if you can't pay for it, or the actual quality of care at the daycare in your area is mediocre, then the whole dilemma is largely imagined.
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kmm
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2007, 04:58:21 PM »

Hi all,

Thanks for the feedback.

My husband is Russian, but I'm Canadian.

Point taken about cost - I earn a decent living (more than my husband) when I am working, although not enough to say, own a home in our very expensive city, or take holidays, or have any frills, but enough to pay for quality daycare. That said, working the long hours that I do, between the cost of daycare and the extra expenses of convenience foods, eating out, etc. etc., I end up working 60+ hours per week with pretty much little to nothing left over to show for it. We were also working so much too that we ended up in debt with one child in daycare because we didn't have any time to communicate with each other about finances and budgeting. That said, it allows me to keep up my credentials, have extended medical benefits (yes, as Canadians we do have a strong medicare system, but there are many things it doesn't cover such as dentistry), and essentially provide us with a safety net. There is some really good daycare around here, as I live by a university, but the waiting lists for such places are about 2 yrs. long, especially for infants. I'd probably get the toddler in before my mat leave is up next summer, but I'd likely have to put the baby into family-based care (which is probably is better for a littler one anyway, my eldest was originally in that). But then, we'd be having to get 2 kids to separate daycares, Yikes. And, most importantly, I hated being away from my eldest so much when I was working. I felt like I didn't know him.

Also, I agree too that we are probably too much into "overparenting" nowadays - the pressure is really on though. You're made to feel like a bad parent if you're not providing lots of opportunities.

Thank you for the feedback.
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2007, 05:44:57 PM »

From what I have read, I believe your children would be better off staying with you if you can afford not to work.
Your children will be stimulated by you and each other. You, as their mother, would have much to offer them with your teaching background and your motherly gifts. You could set your own schedule and not have to rush your children around so the three of you could take time to bake cookies together, watch butterflies, draw pictures, read books and play together. As you have probably noticed, little one's needs are simple while they are young. No need to over-schedule them with activities. They will enjoy spending unstructured play time at home. Also, you would have time to meet other families with children if you didn't work and there are many places you can take children for free (ex: Parks, beaches, picnics, libraries, public pools, playing in the snow,  etc.)When we visited Canada 12 years ago, I was impressed by the quality of parks for children. Canada seemed very family oriented in its public offerings.

But of course, if finances would be too tight it is understandable that you would need to return to work. It almost seems like it would make sense to do a spreadsheet to see the cost/benefit of working vs. not working. Include items like dentistry coverage and eating out. Perhaps seeing the numbers on paper would help make your decision easier.

This is just another thought, but we have a friend across the street who is a teacher. After she had her babies she quit working full time. But she tutors children in her home who have reading difficulties. This extra income seems to keep her and her husband in the black. He is a elementary school PE teacher so his salary is less than what she earned while she worked full-time.
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calligraphqueen
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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2007, 05:39:01 PM »

I am not in Canada, so I can't possibly relate to the living situation there.  HOwever I am a stay at home mom of many years and obviously many children.

The idea that you have to entertain your children constantly is really a lot of bull. The daycare doesn't just LIVE for the opportunity to minister to or nurture your child every single moment. No matter how you look at it, your children are their commodity. Yes, I know it's a necessary evil and no I am not bashing anyone. I have had daycare fiasco's and I don't believe it's gotten much better, so you really have to look hard for quality care.

You really should look into tutoring in your home for the income. The statistics for autism spectrum disorders are through the roof, and so there would be many children needing extra help in reading, math, etc.
You might have to get creative, and do speak with your priest on this matter. Just because your dh made it out of socialized daycare doesn't mean it was 'optimal'  I had that same discussion with dh about homeschooling, just because we made it out of public school (and private in my case) didn't mean it was the ideal situation for OUR children in today's climate.
Blessings,
Rebecca
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2007, 10:42:39 PM »

Hi and thanks again everyone for the continued feedback.

Yes, I am considering the tutoring thing. In theory I could make considerably more doing that part time than working full-time as a teacher, if I don't have to pay for daycare, provided I do have a regular clientele.

Calligraphqueen - how on earth do you manage with 7 kids? wow! I am exhausted with just 2 kids. By 4pm, I'll be sitting on the couch nursing the baby and have to seriously fight to keep my eyes open. I like to think that maybe I just burnt myself out with the long hours teaching, that and I'm not all that youthful anymore, but I am probably just a big wimp and you must have a whole lotta stamina! Any tips?




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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2007, 01:40:14 PM »

kmm,

It takes more time than we like to admit to fully recover from pregnancy and childbirth.  I believe the current statistics are between 3-5 years, though we feel much better in most ways in just a few months.

While i am not a big proponent of scheduling every little jot and tittle, which I can't anyway due to my dd's Rett, some structure is important. Taking a time to rest/nap with you wee little one, or the older one is good for your body and mind. A lot of it is mental fatigue not just physical, so keep that in mind.
I don't envy you at all teaching and mothering, I can well remember working and finishing some school with my first and I was so incredibly burnt out. Make sure you keep taking good quality vitamins, especially while nursing and drinking a lot. (not alcohol, though there are days...)   I don't have a lot of stamina at all and my youth is spent for sure. I have complete endocrine failure to deal with as well.
  You just learn to adapt to what your family needs at this stage of the journey and you make it work. You can't go back and get these moments at some point, so do whatever it takes to make the most of them.
Blessings to you!
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TinaG
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2007, 11:40:54 AM »

By 4pm, I'll be sitting on the couch nursing the baby and have to seriously fight to keep my eyes open.


I think you need to follow your body's message here.  If you are fighting to stay awake, do you have time to take a nap mid-afternoon?  You'd be amazed at how much you can recharge yourself with a solid 20 minutes of sleep.  Instead of sitting down on the couch to nurse, try laying down in bed and napping while baby nurses.   Your 4 month old is an old hand at nursing by now and can find everything himself.  If you haven't practiced side nursing, it's really very easy and a relaxing position.  Just log roll baby across your chest when you finish one side and you can nurse on the other side.  Good luck and keep us informed.  You really need to give yourself permission to rest and recover from pregnancy, and to adjust to all of the changes.  If you have too much on your plate, there is nothing wrong with recognizing that you need to cut back or reshuffle your life a bit.  Lord knows children have a way of shuffling things up.
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2007, 03:21:52 AM »

Aaahh napping - how I wish. The littlest guy never naps more than 30 to 60 mins during the day, and it takes me that long to fall asleep. Just as I start to nod off, he's up again! Mind you, I can't complain too much - he's sleeps fairly well at night - up once or twice but then right back to sleep. He only sleeps about 12-13 hours a day though - low end of the range. my older boy was the same way (and still sleeps less than many kids). I think they take after my dad who sleeps about 4 hours per night. I know they don't need more because they aren't cranky.  I've always averaged 6 hours (a little less at the moment) with being so busy, although need more. I usually can't try napping anyway - unless my husband is home to watch the bigger boy, because that one is a tad mischievous and gets into EVERYTHING, despite my attempts at toddler-proofing. I don't dare nap while he's up (and he no longer naps). I know I get more sleep than many moms, but I am still very tired.

I probably do expect more from myself than I guess I should. But I feel like everything will fall apart if I don't keep up with intellectual and work experiences. Asides from the child-care/household stuff, I am also attempting to learn Russian (my mother-in-law will be coming to stay with us for 6 months and she doesn't speak a word of English) and review a university math course I took years ago (liberal arts sort of math mind you - I could never do the higher level stuff!) to prepare me for the possibility of tutoring, and maintain my contacts and connection with work while on mat leave. Plus I've written a couple of children's stories, although I doubt I'll get around to doing much more than that with those stories at this point. And I live in a co-op so I'm supposed to be helping out around the complex too. Actually, I'm not getting too far with any of the above! MOre guilt.

Anyway, I do feel blessed with all of your suggestions and input. It does help. I'm also finding that listening to podcasts/recordings from Ancient Faith Radio and other websites while I cook/clean etc. is helping too, because with everything being so busy and crazy, faiths falls by the wayside (which is of course completely backwards!!!!) and I was having trouble being able to focus on it. Actually, if you are not already doing it (especially busy moms who don't have a moment to sit down and read a book, except the Bible of course...I'm weak on this too, sadly), I highly recommend developing your faith further by listening to the various audio resources available.
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2007, 01:57:35 PM »

CalligrapQueen,

what exactly is endocrine failure and how does it affect you?

TinaG - how many children do you have? Sounds like you have some experience too!

kmm
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2008, 08:32:12 PM »

Update - it turns out my employer is willing to give me part-time after all - they've never allowed it before with one exception (because she was a specialist and therefore not a "homeroom" teacher)! My employer is going to move me up to a higher grade to teach the humanities in September. I guess they realized they couldn't keep losing the experienced (relatively) teachers to childbirth (the average age of our staff is early 30's). The Lord really does provide miracles!!! I was all set to try and set up a tutoring business from home, while hiring a mother's helper to watch the kids while I did it, but this is ultimately better because it would be financially FAR more stable. Unfortunately, I can't teach highschool science and math (and this is where the tutoring demand is) and I wanted to tutor out of my home (most people want it in their homes) and so there is a good chance we wouldn't have income coming in at times, yet would have to pay for some babysitting. And I'd have to keep our place really clean all the time (not exactly my forte!). My poor husband was really stressing about it because he knew his income just wouldn't do it, even with mostly just the basics, and it was becoming apparent in his behaviour. So, while I would like to be home with my wee bubs all the time, this is a tolerable compromise.

Thanks again for the ideas and feedback.
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2008, 10:41:28 PM »

Yay!  Congratulations!  That should certainly help ease your mind.
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2008, 12:31:48 AM »

Wonderful news KMM!  Sometimes God just has a way of working things out to an acceptable solution.  At least you might get the best of both worlds now.  How is the breastfeeding and pumping going with your new work situation?


TinaG - how many children do you have? Sounds like you have some experience too!

kmm

Sorry, I never saw your question till now.  I'm only a mom of two boys - 6 yo and 8 yo.  I nursed my 8yo till he was 1 yo and my youngest till he was 3.  I'm certainly less experienced at being a mom than CalligraphQueen (Moms of large families are my heroes and it's a sin but I envy them, though I think I would fail miserably in the patience area.)   I always wanted at least 6 kids, but I didn't start a family till I was 38, so time and the economy were against me.  I used to write a breastfeeding newsletter and was studying towards becoming a lactation consultant, but found I couldn't work full time and complete the massive study requirements, classes, and 2500 practice hours.  One thing I've found is that once you have children, a mortgage, health insurance needs, and all the financial commitments of life, it's very hard to make a career change or go back to school.   
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2008, 01:05:39 AM »

Thanks all,

TinaG,

I'm not having to pump yet as I probably won't start working until Sept., although I may work for May-June (with the summer off) if I can find someone appropriate temporarily. I'll probably be working just mornings 5 days per week though (and I'll just do marking and prep at other times), so may just have my little guy supplemented with formula for the morning and that shouldn't effect my milk supply with such short shifts.

Well, 2 kids is still exhausting, I find, but I agree with you - moms of big families blow me away! I cannot figure out they do it. The crazy thing here is that I don't think we could have a big family anyway - housing co-ops (which is what we live in) have limits as to how many kids you can have per bedroom (2 max.), boys and girls cannot share rooms after the age of 5, and adults cannot share a room with kids (although I'm assuming that co-sleeping or having an infant's crib in your room doesn't count...). But even if we actually had our own home, I know that in some provinces (I'm not sure about mine), social services starts getting involved if too many kids/parents are sharing rooms (if they find out about it - I had a student who shared his bedroom in a small apartment with mom, dad, and little sis so they could afford to send their kids to private school, and most were none the wiser). Since the average detached home in our greater city region now costs one million dollars (I'm Canadian - we have not suffered the US's housing market meltdown), I don't imagine many people with families can afford a home big enough to house lots of kids.

But I digress (which I do a lot - SORRY!). I'm a tad chatty and I type quickly. You should see me  in real life...

I'm almost 35 so my childbearing years are starting to slow down. I think it may help to start having kids younger if you want a large family - my stamina was far better in my early 20's, and I hadn't yet done too much damage to myself. I know what you mean about starting new careers. I did that when I went and did my second degree to become a teacher with a big student loan, but I didn't yet have kids. You're right - it's way too hard most of the time. At least though TinaG you do have the interest and at least some expertise to help out others, on this board for instance, with the whole breastfeeding thing, which can often be quite challenging (it was with my 1st - the second was a breeze).
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2008, 09:05:37 AM »

Thanks all,

TinaG,

I'm not having to pump yet as I probably won't start working until Sept., although I may work for May-June (with the summer off) if I can find someone appropriate temporarily. I'll probably be working just mornings 5 days per week though (and I'll just do marking and prep at other times), so may just have my little guy supplemented with formula for the morning and that shouldn't effect my milk supply with such short shifts.

Well, 2 kids is still exhausting, I find, but I agree with you - moms of big families blow me away! I cannot figure out they do it. The crazy thing here is that I don't think we could have a big family anyway - housing co-ops (which is what we live in) have limits as to how many kids you can have per bedroom (2 max.), boys and girls cannot share rooms after the age of 5, and adults cannot share a room with kids (although I'm assuming that co-sleeping or having an infant's crib in your room doesn't count...). But even if we actually had our own home, I know that in some provinces (I'm not sure about mine), social services starts getting involved if too many kids/parents are sharing rooms (if they find out about it - I had a student who shared his bedroom in a small apartment with mom, dad, and little sis so they could afford to send their kids to private school, and most were none the wiser). Since the average detached home in our greater city region now costs one million dollars (I'm Canadian - we have not suffered the US's housing market meltdown), I don't imagine many people with families can afford a home big enough to house lots of kids.

But I digress (which I do a lot - SORRY!). I'm a tad chatty and I type quickly. You should see me  in real life...

I'm almost 35 so my childbearing years are starting to slow down. I think it may help to start having kids younger if you want a large family - my stamina was far better in my early 20's, and I hadn't yet done too much damage to myself. I know what you mean about starting new careers. I did that when I went and did my second degree to become a teacher with a big student loan, but I didn't yet have kids. You're right - it's way too hard most of the time. At least though TinaG you do have the interest and at least some expertise to help out others, on this board for instance, with the whole breastfeeding thing, which can often be quite challenging (it was with my 1st - the second was a breeze).

KMM - I think those people who say having children in their later years kept them young, are full of it.  With my back and neck problems I don't feel young.  My kids can push my wheelchair one day. 

I'm not familiar with the term housing co-op.  It sounds rather draconian to tell families what they can and can't do, and basically regulate your family size through beaurocracy.  But gulp  Shocked  $1 million Canadian for an average house!  How in the world is a family supposed to earn that.  I'm feeling so much better about our housing market here in South Texas.  You can still buy a very nice 3 bedroom 2 bath home with a swimming pool for $225,000 US.  Basic older homes are about $110,000; low end homes are $85,000.

I always thought there'd be a population crisis in the world, but always assumed it was overpopulation.  Now that it seems developed countries won't be able to maintain a stable work force with declining birth rates, the economy is forcing families to downsize.  It's a viscious circle.  The Canada, the US, even Europe will hold on for a while, but that's only due to immigration.   Don't know about everyone else out there, but $4.50 / gallon milk and $400 a month gasoline bills for 2 cars doesn't leave any margin for an extra child or two.  It's insane.
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« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2008, 06:40:25 PM »


TinaG

Well that explains why every time my husband and I watch something like "Supernanny" (which we don't too often, really!), we figure they've transplanted some family into a large new house with a big yard for the sake of the show. We look at it and go, "There is absolutely no way a garage door repair man, his stay at home wife, and their 3 kids could possibly afford that place." I did a quick look at our real estate listings and for $225, 000 (the Canadian and US $ are currently about on par) you can get a deeded lot in a nice trailer park (trailer not included) about a 2 hour commute from downtown, or you could have a 1000 sq. foot 30 year old townhouse a little closer in, if you don't mind not having a yard. Apparently families who own detatched homes here spend 70% of their gross income on housing (townhouses and apartments aren't quite so bad). Some people manage to afford them with a little help from bank of mom and dad (or GRandma) who managed to purchase their own home before things went totally bezerk. We have a lot of extended immigrant families too who all pool their money together. Also, secondary suites which are rented out are common. Others I know have the parents working their tails off 6 days per week, long hours to pull it off. Not many stay at home moms, needless to say, and people here have fewer kids than you do in the U.S. Food is more expensive too. That said I cannot complain too much, as our lifestyle is pretty nice, even if you don't have much.

A housing co-op is a townhouse or apartment complex that has arranged a mortgage setup with the government (there are various programs). A number of the units are subsidized for low income earners. The rest of the members of the co-op pay "market" rental rates (such as our family). It's actually cheaper than market though due to a combination of a mortgage deal with the government, the fact that there is no landlord looking to make  profit, as we all own the co-op in common through the purchase of shares - really just a somewhat larger damage deposit, but that ownership is not of our own particular unit and it doesn't allow us to sell anything other than the share (and this is not for profit). Finally, while the bigger complexes such as ours does have a management company, the members are all required to reduce costs by participating in the running and maintenance of the complex, without pay of course.

I remember listening once to an audio recording by a priest with a large family. He found it ironic that in this age of great wealth, where we can buy so much more than we could in the past, family insist they cannot afford to have kids. I understand his point, but he also has to remember that basic standards of care and supervision for children (and I'm not talking about the purchase of video games and trendy clothes) are MUCH higher than they were in the past. There are many deprivations in the way of food, housing quality (eg. no central heating, problems with extensive mould, falling down walls),  or laxity in supervision (in the sense of e.g.  sending your small children out to play for hours on end without supervision so a housewife could get things done) that today we would consider child abuse or simply irresponsible that were considered okay in the past.

 
Your point about population shortages here is why I think governments will do what they can to discourage moms from staying  home with their kids, as they need all hands on deck to keep the economy going with difficulties with population growth or even maintenance.
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« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2008, 07:57:21 PM »

TinaG

Well that explains why every time my husband and I watch something like "Supernanny" (which we don't too often, really!)

That's ok you don't have to make excuses  Wink  I admit a double-header of Super Nanny and Wife Swap are guilty pleasures for me.  I even make my kids watch Super Nanny so they can see some that are even naughtier than they are. 

I've complained for years about the explosive growth of my city, and how it's leading to environmental degradation. People like the climate, the cheaper housing and the stable job market.   If 500,000 of those people who've moved here to get away from California and Florida home prices would just go back to wherever they came from, it would be perfect again.  We'd take you though KMM and any other church-going Orthodox Christians that want to move here. 
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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2008, 08:20:23 PM »

Thanks TinaG, maybe we'll have to apply for that ol' green card lottery and move south.  Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2008, 11:21:17 AM »

I am on a group, albeit protestant, that is made up of of moms of many small children.  some have upwards of 13 or more kids, so I am not nearly as talented as they are.  Grin

The topics cover a LOT of frugal living, cutting costs and learning to live off one income.  The idea is that people are willing to live with less 'stuff' in order to have the blessing of children. Seems a very odd concept in today's hateful world, but it's there nonetheless.
My big old suburban sits in my driveway most days for the sake of gas, I send dh or teen out or on their way home for groceries and violin (one fluff item I won't give up on) I only go out if there is more than one appointment that day and I make a plan of attack for it. Like today.
We haven't had a vacation in years, since dh's company paid for it.  The trade off's for some people would be too much, but in the end they won't matter a whit.
FWIW, I said I would neither marry or ever have any children at all. God does have a sense of humor.  Wink

Your endocrine system is made up of your thyroid, adrenal and some other glands that create and process normal hormones you need. Mine flaked out 20 years ago when I had Epstein Barre syndrome, the parent of the mono virus. I had it for 2 years, rather than the 2 weeks everyone lived with mono. I have to do everything over the top apparently.  Wink 
It took a while to heal, and I was okay for years. Maybe I am just getting old, but it's flaking out again. I don't have the EB as you don't get that again. However my endo system is fried and I have to be careful not to stress myself out, or my body reads it as physical pain. Extreme physical pain at times. Not fun.  It stems back to liver function, so I am on a liver cleansing protocol to rebuild that. Odd since I was a teetotaling baptist before conversion.  so if you thought I was a bundle of energy I am sorry to disappoint you.  Smiley  I wish!
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Tags: childcare daycare 
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