In so many ways, I am blessed as a single mom. Especially as a single, working mom. I have support from my family, I have support in my friends. My job is not a normal nine to five gig, which gives me the ability to watch my tiny toddler grow during daylight hours. I am blessed in the ability to occasionally take my baby boy to the park in the middle of a work week, and grateful for it.
And yet, I still maintain the same, conventional struggles as every other single, working mom. One of which being the overwhelming expense of childcare.
Because I work, someone has to watch my child. Do I like entrusting my tiny human to the care of strangers? No. Do I like when I realize that my child has learned a new word, idea, or concept from someone other than his mommy?
But it’s done, every day.
So I deal with it.
The first daycare facility Tiny Tot attended came as a Godsend. From seven in the morning, until eleven at night, it remained open. The daycare allowed hourly, part-time, or full-time care, and worked with me when I rushed Tiny Tot in if I suddenly got called in to work. Oh, and it was cheap!! For close to two years, baby boy went probably three to four times a week. Occasionally he had to stay late, but with the help of my family, he never had to stay past dinnertime.
Did I mention I have a loving, supportive family?
Everything was going great with this daycare. I knew I couldn’t afford the full-time expense, but was managing a fine balance between part-time and hourly. Yes, I worked their system.
They probably knew it, too.
Still, it was our system, and working great. Until the day my tiny person came home with large, strange bruises three days in a row. Fearing that another student was picking on my sweet angel baby, I jotted off an e-mail to the school, and received a subpar answer back in response.
That was strike one.
I worked late that night, but I went into the school early the next morning. As soon as I stepped through the door, I asked to speak to the director. Normally I am not a forceful person; treading on toes isn’t my style. Tiny Tot is my only priority, so someone was going to fill me in on why I dropped off an unbattered child, and got a bruised, bleeding one back.
The director wasn’t in, so I did the next best thing, and asked one of the women who worked there if she could give me insight as to why my son was coming home with bruises. She spun a pretty tale, but the story was different than the original response.
Stewed isn’t quite how I handled the situation. I never stew … I boil. And so I boiled during my work day, with my tiny human sitting in a daycare facility in which I was not getting the answers I required. The next day, I decided that Tiny Tot was old enough to answer the question I wanted to know. We walked into the building, and I asked him to point to the child who was being mean to him.
He pointed at his teacher, and ducked his head into my shoulder in fear.
There was no hesitation when I yanked him out, and I refused to listen to the pleading of the coordinator when she finally contacted me. I’m a mom; I don’t give second chances.
My child comes first.
That same day I found a wonderful preschool. Christian-based, low teacher-to-student ratios, and quality, certified staff. Baby boy loves it. I’m pretty sure his teacher is his pretend girlfriend, and she caters to his crazy nature. He has several best buddies that hug him every day, and all the teachers act excited when my tiny toddler arrives.
I swear, every one of the staff knows Tiny Tot’s name.
But now there’s a new problem. Like I said before, I’m a single, working mom, with a single income. And a mortgage, and a car payment, and bills–most of which have been medical this year.
Over the past month, I have slowly come to realize that I simply cannot afford this preschool. Up until a month ago, though, things were going pretty well. Child support nearly covered the majority of the tuition. With couponing strategies, and a few minor cutbacks, the cost still hurt a bit, but after factoring in the quality of the program, it seemed to balance out.
And then the state thought it would be a great idea to chop child support in half.
Now I am faced with a decision: look for a new facility, or beg for assistance from the current school.
I really hate begging for anything. Really, I hate it. Unfortunately I was born head-strong, opinionated, and strong-willed. Oh, yeah … and cowardly. I may think things, and talk a good game, but confrontation is not my forte.
But, this is my baby I have to think about, so stepping up, speaking to the coordinator, and groveling is definitely on the table. Because, children need stability; they need structure. At the end of the day, Tiny Tot is not going to understand if Mommy yanks him out of a place he loves. It hurts that I even have to figure this out, or deal with this problem.
But, I signed up for the single mom gig, and it’s all part and parcel.
Tomorrow I will force myself to complete two tasks. First, talk with the current preschool, throwing myself at their mercy, and begging them to continue teaching my child at a lowered rate.
Should my persuasive attitude, or onslaught of tears, not work, I will then visit a nearby preschool that I contacted today.
Either that, or I’ll devise countless ways in which to make more money. I wonder how hard it would be to win the lottery?