I actually lose money to work. The childcare expenses for my two kids cost me more than my salary.
This is a country where there are no social safety nets, where I’ll be hindered in my career for having children, and there’s no affordable childcare for most folks.
It just wouldn’t make any sense for me to work. So that’s why I’m going to have to leave my profession, even though I really like it.
When we did the math, we realized that it comes out to about $22,000 a year. I’m in my late thirties now, but could I have afforded that if I had had kids younger? I think maybe not.
Those were the voices of some of our listeners who called in to talk to us about their child care expenses. And that last person you heard was Claire Suddath. She’s a senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.
And I write a lot of, I guess, what you might call gender equity and how it relates to work and women’s economic potential.
Thinking about women in the workforce is pretty much Claire’s entire job, but she hadn’t spent much time considering the cost of childcare until she needed it herself.
I knew in the sort of like general, nebulous kind of way before I had my daughter Kate, who is now two, the childcare was expensive, you know, you hear that. But it’s sort of like college is expensive.
Hey, sometimes the numbers are so big, you want to avoid thinking about them too hard. She and her husband started looking at daycare options in Brooklyn while she was pregnant back in February 2020.
So we saw a few in person before the world shut down, and I think we saw three and then we couldn’t see anymore. So we picked our favorite one of those three.
Claire mentioned it earlier, but I’m going to say it again because it blows my mind. Sending their daughter to this child care facility would cost Claire and her husband $22,000 a year. That number is higher than many places around the country, but cheaper than some cities like Washington, D.C. In most places, sending a kid to daycare costs the same as sending a kid to State College. If you have more than one kid in daycare at once, it can be more than your entire paycheck. Which puts women in a difficult position. Yes, this cost impacts families. But so often it’s women who take the career or financial hit here, even though I’m not a mom. I recognize that this is a fundamental feminist issue. It’s something that is holding many of us back. So …….