Our Daycare-Free Story

mother working at home

By profession, I am a teacher.  However, after teaching last year as a full-year substitute, I was worn out.  To be fair, it wasn’t just the school; I was also teaching in an afternoon program.  Shlomo was six months old at the beginning of the year.  We got him a babysitter, because I just couldn’t bring myself to put a six-month-old in daycare.  At least, not after hearing the unending screams from the daycare near my home.  I’ll admit: part of it was paranoia.  But when we tried it for a couple days, it took two weeks until his schedule went back to normal.  Plus, Shlomo got sick immediately afterwards.  Not very encouraging.

Being that Yitzchak is anti-daycare, and I am not pro-daycare, we decided, as I stated, to get him a babysitter.  It went great.  The problem?  Hiring a babysitter took almost half my salary.  And you know what?  I don’t have the energy to put time, effort and resources into a half-time teaching position, including argumentative parents, when I’m only earning about 1,400 shekels a month.  For the uninitiated: That covers miscellaneous, transportation (by bus), and phone bills.  That’s it.  Maybe a bit of the grocery bill, too.  If I’d been keeping the entire 2,500 shekels, it would have covered a regular 1.5 – 2 room apartment’s rent in this city, and that’s it (we live on a college campus, remember, and can’t change cities because of my husband’s studies).

So this year, when I didn’t find a teaching job in early summer vacation, and still hadn’t found one at the end of it, I decided that it was meant to be – and took a job working from home.  An hourly job, to be sure.  One that isn’t always stable or dependable.  But it has a higher per-hour salary than what I was getting, and I can do it from home, which saves me childcare expenses and lots of travel time.

Unfortunately, the person I am working with has been doing some edits for the past two weeks, during which time I have not been working.  And since we do need me to be earning a salary, I have been looking into some additional options:

1. Take a position for 3/4-time at a school.  Not a nearby school, but not outrageously far, either.  So, I sent them a CV.  At Shlomo’s age, I would have to put him in a daycare setting, because we just can’t see me working so much for a teeny salary, when he’s over a year.  Okay, he’s a year and a half.  And I would hope that we’d find a small group.  But honestly?  I hope they don’t want me.

2. To put up signs as willing to do babysitting, and take ONE baby in addition to Shlomo.  Advantages include: Shlomo learning to share Mommy, Shlomo learning to share toys, me learning to balance two babies, Shlomo staying home with me, and it all happening in our cozy little home, with a baby I can give back at the end of the day.  (No, we’re not expecting #2 yet.  I just think it’s good practice for Shlomo.)

Since we live on a college campus, there are always students who had a baby and had to continue the semester.  Barring unusually lucky breaks, such as having a baby just before a holiday or vacation, the baby is usually about a month old when Mom has to go back.  Okay, fine.  Assuming that I asked 18 shekels an hour, which is on the low side, and that Mom is studying at least five hours a day, four days a week (also on the low side), that means 360 shekels a week.  It comes out to 1,440 shekels per month, and again, that’s assuming everything is on the low side, which it probably won’t be.  If I add that to a couple hours a week of the editing I was doing, it’s an okay salary.  Not what I ever dreamed I’d find myself doing, but it works for right now.

3. To market myself as a writer, tutor, translator, etc.  Since I’m not good at marketing, I don’t hold out too much hope.  But it’s still an option, so I’m putting in some effort.

Next up: Why I don’t want daycare for my son.

Update: Soon after I wrote this post, my boss got back to me, and I have been working on one project or another for him since.  However, I still want to find another job to supplement, because both my boss and myself are aware that this is not permanent.

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6 thoughts on “Our Daycare-Free Story

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