Why My Wife and I Chose to Keep the Kids at Home

Wife photo
Photo by The Library of Congress

I want to start by saying that I loved my kids’ daycare here in Effingham, IL. Tree House Too was fantastic for my first two children, Megan and James.

It was April 2008 that my wife and I reached a crossroads. Our third child, Maggie was born. All three of my kids were under the age of five. Megan wouldn’t turn five until 2009 and my son was only 15 months older than my newest baby. At the time, I was doing work as a substitute teacher in the county we live in, but the work was inconsistent, as it always is. The decision we had after her six weeks of maternity leave was this: Do I continue to sub or do I stay at home with the children? Here are the reasons why the decision wasn’t hard.

Daycare prices were on the rise

For us, it was approximately $25 per kid/per day to go to the daycare service we loved. In the summer, I wasn’t working, so there was no extra money to pay for daycare. So with the summer of 2008, we considered it the trial run to see how I could handle a baby and two toddlers at home. After almost three months, I was doing well.

Substitute pay didn’t cover the daycare costs either

While my sub pay per day was a little more than the cost for one day of daycare for my three kids, it didn’t cover days I wasn’t teaching, and unless we made the kids go full-time, the cost was even more. Most jobs in America don’t cover the costs. It would take a person making over $10 per hour just to break even with three kids.

Being a teacher made me the best teacher for my kids

This probably ended up being the deciding factor. My children were getting great bits at the daycare, but that’s educationally what they were. The laws have changed in the past six years and daycares are required to more now to prepare kids for school. Most of this has happened since the pre-school system has been all but wiped out here in Illinois. What I could give my kids was more one-on-one with the basics to have them better prepared for school.

We ended up doing this for four school years. As Megan went off to kindergarten and first grade, we had one more child, our baby Jenna. After the fourth year of having me without a paycheck as a substitute teacher, we received a blessing in the summer of 2012. My mother came to live with us as she recovered from a second heart attack and later breast cancer. So as the 2012-13 school year came, I was able to begin going back to the teaching field and subbing on a somewhat regular basis. My mom stayed home with the baby as my other three kids are now all in grade school.