Our new series, Family Tales, is an honest peek into the daily lives of families across the country who are on this crazy ride we call parenthood! From divulging childcare costs to breaking down family finances to managing bedtime routines with multiple kids, we tap into the Red Tricycle army of parents to find out how they’re making it work. This series is a judgment-free zone.

Interested in telling your story? Start by filling out our questionnaire here. All stories are anonymous.

I Suck at Living in the Moment: Are My 3 Kids and $30K in Childcare Costs to Blame?

 

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My age and occupation: 40, grant writer
My partner’s age and occupation: 41, data analyst
Annual household income: $250,000
City: New York City

Childcare costs per year: $30,000 paid over the table
How we found our childcare: word of mouth
Our kid(s) ages: 5, 7 and 10

photo: edwardhblake via flickr

A household income of $250,000 may get you far in other places of the country, but NYC is different. It’s expensive. I mean, everything is expensive: mortgage, groceries, after-school care, you name it. This price tag for living in one of the greatest cities on earth has taken a toll of my sanity.

We have three kids who are all young enough to need supervision 24/7 so we’re financially (and emotionally) stretched thin trying to make it all work. Sometimes I feel like I get bogged down in the challenges of the day-to-day. Sometimes I feel like my kids are professional whiners, fighters and procrastinators. They seriously drive me nuts and it’s easy to get lost in the daily chaos, but they’re also adorable and they’ll never be this little again.

Even though it’s not easy I tell myself all the time, enjoy your kids because we don’t get this time back. And try to be gentle with yourself. Another thing I tell myself often. I suck at both, but I try.

Morning

With three kids, mornings are a team effort. My husband and I work together to get all three kids up. This requires multiple trips to their room and always starts from gently asking them to get up to sometimes shouting because nothing else will work.

photo: Pexels

One of us will usually carry our five year old downstairs and put him on the couch where he continues to sleep (what a life, huh?). But even though he’s still snoozing, he’s actually a step ahead because he puts his school clothes on to sleep in at bedtime (that’s one battle we don’t have to deal with in the a.m.). My girls (the older two) are a little better. They’re older so a bit more self-sufficient at this point.

Once everyone is dressed and ready, we gather the lunches and remind everyone to make sure they have their homework folder in their bags. Then we’re off to school….usually late.

Mid-day

I’m working at home and my husband is at work. We sometimes text about things related to the kids, but I try to use this kid-free time to concentrate on my job because I know once everyone is home there is no time for anything else.

photo: pexels

Afternoon

I pick the kids up at their after-school program, which we spend $30,000 a year for. They have made a lot of friends at this program, which makes me happy. There are less expensive programs, but the programming and staff at those places are kind of mediocre, which is why we enrolled all three kids in this one and pay top dollar for. I know soon my kids will be older and we won’t have to spring for such a pricey program.

photo: Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Once we get home, we finish homework but that sounds a lot easier and straightforward than it actually is. It’s a lot of repeating myself. It’s a lot of telling the kids to stop fighting. I start to think about what to make for dinner, aka my daily nightmare.

Evening

I hate cooking. My kids are so unappreciative. I throw something easy together like frozen ravioli (again), my kids complain and then I tell them to have a few more bites at least a few times. After dinner I let them watch a show on TV and they begin to fight over what show or whose turn it is to pick. 20 minutes later a show is picked and usually one of the three is whining or sulking in the corner.

photo: alanagkelly via flickr

If I had to do it all over again I might have waited a few years to have kids. I feel like we could have been a little more established financially in our careers. But you’re never really ready to be a parent.

Bedtime

Finally, it’s time to get ready for bed. Every night I can expect a ton of protesting about teeth brushing. They only shower twice a week: weekend and one mid-week. Except in the summer when they are sweaty and sticky from running around and slathered in sunscreen. Showering twice a week eliminates any further bedtime battles and musical bathtubs we end up playing with three kids.

It’s 8:30 p.m. and bedtime! I relish all the hugs and kisses I get at bedtime—it makes me momentarily forget all the bedtime shenanigans that were happening five minutes earlier. Once in their rooms, there’s a 60% chance they’ll all actually stay there. Usually they come down to tell me something they forgot to tell me before. Or they want more milk. Or to ask us what we’re watching on TV. If only I had a dollar for every time one of my kids procrastinated going to sleep.

photo: Jacqui Boland

But, by now I’m on my second glass of wine and debating if I can stay up to watch Netflix or if I should just go to bed. I decide on the latter. I head upstairs and my husband stays downstairs and falls asleep on the couch watching bad TV and will come to bed around 3 a.m.

I fall asleep thinking that we have so much to be grateful for, but I also wish I had more breathing room. We have $100K in student loans and we’re both 40 years old. I wish we could save more for our kids future and our own retirement. Raising kids in NYC is expensive. Our kids have zero for college.

I soon drift off. In just a few hours, it will all start over again…

 

Our new series, Family Tales, is an honest peek into the daily lives of families across the country who are on this crazy ride we call parenthood! From divulging childcare costs to breaking down family finances to managing bedtime routines with multiple kids, we tap into the Red Tricycle army of parents to find out how they’re making it work. This series is a judgment-free zone.

Interested in telling your story? Start by filling out our questionnaire here. All stories are anonymous.

 

featured photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

 

 

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