Childcare should be expensive because taking care of children is an important job. Keeping pace with children’s continually changing needs and life stages is hard, and those who put in the hours to nurture and guide our youngest people deserve every dollar they earn.
Working parents don’t want cheap childcare and overcrowded, understaffed daycare centers, because they want only the best for their babies. But, childcare providers obtained an education and trained for their professions, so they deserve to be paid a decent wage.
Outsourcing the daily care of children to trained professionals is a choice that many working moms feel obligated to make. They complain when most of their wages go directly to their daycare provider, an issue that is exacerbated when they have multiple young children. Some say that childcare should be subsidized by the state or entirely ran by the state, but that is expanding the reach of government to a degree that jeopardizes our individual liberty. If we value personal freedom and independence, we need to accept responsibility for our children, the nation’s most valuable asset. We can either take care of them ourselves or pay another privately ran business to do it.
Daycare workers serve as primary caregivers when both parents work full-time. Full-time office hours plus commute time equates to about nine hours that an infant or toddler spends in daycare each weekday or the majority of their waking hours. In a single-parent family, childcare is a necessity in order for the household to maintain an income. In these cases, childcare should be subsidized or otherwise made more affordable. But for families with two healthy, able-bodied parents, two incomes are not necessary to procure food, shelter, and clothing.
Most families who say they require two incomes actually mean that they want two incomes to afford a certain lifestyle they have become accustomed to. If a family owns two brand-new vehicles, a house, and takes an annual trip to Disneyland, then they don’t actually need two incomes to secure the necessities of life.
Families with two working parents usually complain about the cost of childcare regardless of what percentage of their income it consumes, because there is a troubling ideology circulating around our society that childcare should be free. But, what of value is free? Raising children is perhaps the most valuable thing a parent will accomplish, and it seems like the last place we should shop for cut-rate service.
Parents who shop for daycare services want one that is clean and up to state regulations; staffed with an appropriate number of nurturing caregivers who engage the children in stimulating, educational games; affordable; and close to home. No matter how many stars a childcare center gets on Yelp, though, its staff will always lack one key characteristic: They aren’t Mom and Dad. Nobody will care for your kids as you do.
Parents need to accept the crucial role that they play in their children’s lives. Kids will have plenty of influential teachers, coaches, and employers over the course of their lifetimes, but they only get one mom and one dad. If parents want to provide their kids with a quality start in life, then they need to pay for that with either time or money.