Cheap or Poor? Ignorant Snobs Weigh In.

Oh, mommy groups. You never cease to piss me the hell off at least twice a day.

This is probably why I need to monitor my blood pressure.

But whatever.

A topic came up today that’s actually something my friends and I have discussed a lot – what to pay a babysitter. It’s been a real concern with my inner circle because until recently, many of us were making minimum wage or just above. I mean, here we are, a bunch of young moms, many of us in school and many of us military spouses. No one has been paying us the big bucks. So when you’re making $8 per hour what’s reasonable to pay a sitter without getting your kid killed?

The topic sort of came up today when a mother asked what she should pay for her two older kids, full time week day care. The quotes and opinions came flooding in. But one stuck out. It came from a in-home day care provider and went something like this, “I personally charge by the hour, or $50+/day if it’s ongoing and it will vary based on the number of kids and responsibilities. People are cheap, and don’t want to pay for good care. I charge this way because I am a certified educator, with years of experience as a nanny. You get what you pay for when it comes to good child care.” (emphasis mine)

Thank you for that, all-knowing-one. All this time my concern over pricing never had anything to do with my own pay check and wanting to have some take home pay after I paid for childcare, but because I’m cheap and don’t want good care.

I feel so enlightened.

Why do I even bother trying to find a provider? I should just lock my kids in a box and have done with it.

The truth is, not being able to afford care in places like Hawaii is one of the main reasons my work history is so spotty. In Virginia and Florida I was fine (or childless), but with two babies? Nope, not happening. So I was a stay at home mom. Because I couldn’t afford it. Because I do care. Because it saves us money for me to stay home and we’d be losing money if I worked as lame as that might seem.

A lot of people don’t have that same luxury, though. They have to work. They just do. And they have a budget. That doesn’t mean they don’t want good care for their kids. It just means they can only afford so much. And I get the caretakers side of it, I really do – I know they’re making a living, too, or trying to. They need so much to get by. But that doesn’t change what’s in a person’s bank account.

And people like Miss Judge-y Nanny just don’t get that. And I see snippy comments like hers in these sorts of threads alllllll the time.

Not everyone is living the same life or pulling down the same income. Luckily we don’t have to depend on people like her, though. I often found decent, hardworking people in similar situations. Together we could pool our resources or exchange care. Work out rates or deals or other exchanges. I’m very wary of caretakers because I had some bad experiences when I was a child that I don’t want repeated, but I hate the idea that a degree in early childhood education and a top dollar price tag means quality and safety for your child. It’s not a guarantee by any means.


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