A few months from now, things will be looking a little grim — with those dreadful school loans and the fear of searching for a job in the forever changing mental health field. What is there to look forward to? One thing I’m often reminded of is that I said ‘you can have another baby when you’re done’. This is a constant reminder from my 9-year-old son. I regrettably told him he could have a little brother or sister when I was finished with school.
However, the alarming child care costs and the challenge of finding a child care program that fits all our needs as a family is not appealing to me right now. So, is it selfish to say that I changed my mind, I don’t want another child? Let’s break this down.
First of all, I’m a millennial mother living in Texas and the stats don’t look good when it comes to caring for a new baby in my state:
- The median millennial income is $23,063.
- On average, 39% of millennial median income is spent on infant in center-based child care
- On average, 68% of millennial median income is spent on infant and four-year-old in center-based child care
I figure that it could take at least 68% of a millennial parent’s income (in other words, nearly 70% percent of my income) to cover the cost of care for 2 children. I mean, check out the latest millennial map outlining this outrageous problem. Millennials in 19 states pay more than 50% of their income to cover the cost of child care for an infant. I don’t have that kind of money in the bank. That’s more than I pay for housing or food or transportation. How do young parents do it?The sad fact is, I have to choose whether or not to have another child based on the insane cost of child care. How do you explain that to a 9-year-old who’s idea of a sibling would be the best thing in the world? This doesn’t seem feasible to me. To truly take away almost 68% of my income for child care while still paying my student loans and providing for my family seems almost impossible and downright depressing.
So, the question stands. Is it time?
- Is it time to struggle and work just to pay for child care and student loans?
- Is it time to look my child in the eyes and tell him that we can’t afford a family vacation because 68% of our income goes to paying for him and his sibling to be taken care of while I work?
- Is it time to give in and have that child that my family and friends keep hinting that I should?
The sad answer is no.
Daniela will be among the parent advocates at our Annual Symposium and Day on the Hill, April 17–20, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Parents like Daniela are not alone! The cost of child care impacts families, governments, businesses, and individuals and they need to be affordable, especially millennial parents. She is pictured above talking to Julian Castro, former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017.