A Single Working Mom’s Worst Nightmare – Summer

February 26, 2013

in Confessions

There are a lot of things that single mom's dread. Having two sick kids and being sick yourself. Missing out on important school assemblies. But summer has to be the worst.

At the end of May both of my boys will be released for summer vacation. That bright spot in their lives that means no schoolwork and lots of swimming for 3 months.

summer break

Which is great, except that my job doesn't have summer vacation. I still have to go to work. So these kids have to go somewhere. At 5 and 8 (or he will be by then) they CAN NOT stay home alone.

The extended day program they currently attend once school is let out is very reasonably priced during the school year. $280 a month for both kids from the time school gets out until 6:00 at the latest. They get a snack. They get to play. They have a good time.

Once summer starts, the whole game changes. First there is a two week gap between school letting out for the summer and the start of summer camp. Then the cost is $120 per child per WEEK plus a $20 transportation fee. So my cost goes from $280 a month to $280 a WEEK. That's $1,120 a month. For two straight months. That is more than half of my take home pay in a month. Once summer camp lets out, there is another two week gap before school starts. Did I mention they don't even feed them? I still have to provide lunches. That reduced lunch cost we need during the school year doesn't apply during the summer break.

Don't even suggest looking elsewhere. The prices just go up.

Did you know that the cost of infant child care is more expensive than it would be to put that same child through college right now?

So what do you do?

My mom, fortunately, does get summer break at her job. But how rude is it to say here, my job is more important than anything you wanted to do this summer. Here are my kids for your entire vacation before you go back to working as hard as teachers work.  Hope you didn't actually want to go on vacation or anything.

I am hoping, in this case, that my boss is understanding. He generally has been, and that I can work from home a few days a week. I get a knot in the pit of my stomach just thinking about bringing up the subject though.

I'm sure it will all work out in the end. Something will get figured out. There needs to be a much better option though. There needs to be a better system that isn't so broken that $3.38 too much income means you can handle these extremely high child care costs.

What do you do with your kids for the summer?

{ 3 comments }

Lynsey @MoscatoMom February 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

Gosh I remember this!  I worked from home but still HAD to have childcare during the week – and I paid out a FORTUNE.  One year I had a friend who was a stay at home mom and she actually kept my girls for the summer.  It was a win-win because it was cheaper, she made some income, plus she fed them – AND her kiddos had extra playmates so they didnt drive her quite as crazy with the "I'm bored" routine lol

Beeb Ashcroft February 28, 2013 at 8:46 am

The cost of childcare is astronomical! I seriously know married couples where both parents are working full-time, and one parent will end up quitting their job because the cost of daycare is higher than their salary. I really feel for you! You sound like such a nice person, you're so considerate of your mom's time even though you are facing such a huge challenges.

Mandy March 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm

I hear you! Up until my separation, I worked for a school district on the ten month schedule and was off during the summers. Now, of course, I work 12 months a year and summer is a headache. Not just because of trying to find childcare, but because I really WANT to be home for things like swim lessons (which we skipped last year because I couldn't figure out a time I could go) and beach days and fun trips.
Instead, I cobble together childcare with friends and family and hope the increase in expense doesn't send my account below zero.

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