My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Twin Mom Math

Due to all of the financial investment to get pregnant, K and I kind of came into parenthood limping financially.  Having two babies to provide for hasn't exactly improved our financial situation at all and we're looking at ways to fix this.

The obvious solution is for me to go back to work.  I'm trying to figure out the logistics of getting a job that would actually earn more income than it would cost in day care expenses.  This is fucking hard!  So what I'm going to do is crunch a whole bunch of numbers of various scenarios and let you watch as I try to figure this out.

The given factors -

  • K's work schedule is not a standard week day work schedule.  This can work with us or against us.  His average week allows him to be home 2 week days and 1 half week day, then being at work during the standard working hours about 4 days (two of those being the weekend).
  • My skills are administrative, and due to a long absence from the work force, I'm looking at entry level positions.  
  • We have 2 toddlers that would require some sort of reliable daycare.
  • After taxes, I estimate taking home approximately $.70 of every $1 I earn.
  • I'm having trouble finding any online pricing for local day cares, but what little information I have found indicates that I'd be looking at roughly $7 per hour, per child. 
  • Just to have a number of some sort, I'm going to say that commuting will cost approximately $1,000 a year in gas.
  • Minimum wage in my state is currently $9.32 per hour.
Here we go.

If I got a full time job, standard 9-5 work day, assuming a half hour of travel on each side.  That's 45 hours per week that I am unavailable for child care.  Let's assume that K can be home for 2.5 days a week.  We would need approximately 25 hours of day care.  So 25x2x7 = $350 weekly daycare cost.  350 / 40 work hours = $8.75 dollars per work hour going straight to daycare.  To put $8.75 per hour in my pocket after taxes, my job would have to pay $12.50 per hour.  That's an annual salary of 12.5 x 40 x 50 (work weeks per year) of $25,000.  

So that's the baseline.  To work full time, a job paying an annual salary of $26k, or an hourly wage of $13 per hour (I factored in gas money) would put exactly zero dollars into our bank account.  K and I would never have the same day off, and I would spend approximately 75% of my children's weekly waking hours away from them.

This is only IF we can assume that K's work schedule would allow him to be home for half of the standard work week days.  If his schedule doesn't work out that way for a week or two (like this coming week where he's covering for a sick colleague), day care will cost even more.

That was so depressing that I was forced to tidy up the living room before coming back to crunch more numbers.

Working full time at my employment level just doesn't seem feasible.  Every time I approach the idea of finding some sort of employment, the numbers just bitch slap me back into stay at home submission.

If I found a job offering $20 an hour, we would only actually see $5.25 of that.  Every day away from the job I actually wanted of raising my kids, and the profit would be $42.  And where in this economy is there a job for $20 an hour???

So I'm trying to find something part time that can work around K's schedule.  Something that would allow me to earn SOMETHING without costing us in daycare.  That allows about 15-20 hours a week.  Mostly on K's days off with a few hours here and there of family watching the girls on those odd days when our schedules would overlap.

I've applied for a work at home position.  I checked it out, it's a legit thing.  They require 4-5 hours of work per day, which I could likely do in chunks of time while the girls are sleeping.  2 hours in the afternoon at nap time and then 3 hours a day once K gets home or the girls go to bed at night.  It's a project job, lasting probably about 4-6 months and pays a few cents above minimum wage.  I interviewed a few days ago and was told that they'd like to offer me the position, that my information would be passed on to the client who would contact me regarding the training.  My parents are on stand by to watch the girls for a couple of days of onsite training next week.  But that was Tuesday, it's now a holiday Friday and I haven't heard back regarding the scheduling, so maybe the next level of weeding out candidates has weeded me out and decided not to hire me.  I don't know.  There are currently three adults (myself and my parents) who are keeping their schedules open waiting to find out more.

Here's what's really got me down.  The Dairy Queen down the street is hiring.  The Dairy Queen I worked at for my first job when I was 15 years old.  Assuming minimum wage, at 20 hours a week that we could somehow work around K's schedule, that would put approximately $130 into our pockets a week.  Gas would be nothing since it's only a mile away from home.  To put that same money into our pockets working a full time job, I would have to earn $16.75 per hour, or an annual salary of $33,500.  I've put in 20-25 years of employment history, have a bachelors degree, and I'm seriously considering the night shift at Dairy Queen to be my best financial move.  And I'm afraid to apply for the job because I'd be competing with candidates who don't have any scheduling complications to worry about.

I don't drink, but I'm seriously thinking of cracking open a bottle of wine and spending the evening crying once K gets home.


  1. Have you considered finding a college age nanny to come to you instead of sending your kids TO a place? I'm a nanny for a family with three kids (including a 3 month old). When it was just two kids they paid $120 for two days per week 7am-5:30pm and that included a little extra cash for gas as I was driving extra to the library, parks, pools, etc for events.

    With the newest little one added into the mix they're obviously paying more now, but he requires much more care (including me dealing with her frozen breast milk for his bottles) AND I have him even during school hours for the big boys.

    It can be hard to find a good match but when you do it works so well! Their parents and I feel similarly about many things in their routine, which makes the transition a lot easier. I actually met this family through their moms post on Craig's list, and I've been with them for well over 2 years now.

    1. Do I find a nanny and then keep them on indefinite hold while I try to find a job so I would know what schedule I would need the nanny for? Find the job and then scramble to find a nanny because they need me to start the next day?

    2. If you have family willing to fill a short gap in daycare situations I'd say find the job first. That being said, I was hired by the family I'm currently with in March with the understanding that I wouldn't be needed until some point in May, at the earliest. In the interim, they used me as a sitter for a few date nights so the kids got used to seeing me around.

      Start looking, see who is out there. Worst case is it doesn't work. Or you have to use daycare for a short time until you find a sitter who works well with your situation.

  2. I read your post and I want to send it to my husband. He says, "We will send our son to his grandparents." Really, because his parents are almost 80 and my parents like to travel still. I don't think that's a realistic plan. And yes, I want to work, part time at least, but I still don't want leave it to someone else to raise my child for that many hours in a day :( And I hate paying someone else to take care of my child. I'm pulling my hair out, right along with you, if that makes you feel any better....

    1. Yeah, grandparents are good for that once a week kind of thing where the schedules don't mesh right, but as a long term solution it's crap. Never hire anyone you can't fire. It may not cost any money, but the toll on the relationship is very costly. I'm fortunate that my parents live so close and are willing to help out when necessary, but if it was more than a few hours a week, they have to turn me down because they just can't physically handle it. And they have lives too.

  3. Stay at home and take in a child (toddler age) and be the "daycare". That could be a potential income of $350 per week.

  4. Don't give up, there are jobs out there.

    My husband works for the WalMart DC for $20 an hour, he works 4 days a week for 12 hours at night and comes home and sleeps until the afternoon so he's always home to help out and spend time with our son and work on college school work.

    Just keep searching, the perfect job will come up eventually.

    1. Oops 10 hours not 12, sorry my laptop is being screwy!

  5. It sucks no matter how you slice it. I didn't get back into the workforce until my youngest was in pre school. We have public pre school starting at 4 years of age here in CT.

    You could try head start. They are on a sliding scale, so you could pay considerably less for child care than you are estimating. But it sounds like it would be most cost effective to just tighten your belts and hang on until pre-K or K. There are so many costs involved in going to a minimum wage job, from transportation to clothing costs, that is why so many working families are on the poverty line and living on food stamps and free lunch. At the end of the day you will be lucky to netting enough to make it worth your while. In our case, it was more cost effective and easier for my husband to work more hours instead.

  6. What about a PRN job at a hospital? I work evening for 4 hrs a lot. Tou pick your schedule. I work around my husband schedule. We have a college girl who covers in 3 hour chunks here and there when I work. It's a beautiful thing.


Please share your thoughts! It makes me feel like I have friends.