When my wife and I had her first child, I was smack in the midst of a district wide pay-freeze that put a hurting on the family finances. We discussed my wife staying home, and we could’ve made it work if we had to, but we would’ve been BROOOOOOOOOOKE.

So, we found a nice in-home daycare with a lovely family at a very reasonable price. Kiddo was happy there. They did all kinds of crafts, took walks, went to parks, things were good.

Using an in-home daycare has both advantages and disadvantages. It’s a small intimate group. The kids really get to know each other. The older kids teach the younger kids. They’re also cheaper. The one we chose is also 50-100% cheaper than commercial daycares in our area. The only real problem is that in order for the daycare provider to have a day off, daycare is closed for that day. With pay. Fortunately most of those were on days I was already off anyways. Our daycare provider was flexible with us though, so I felt fine with being flexible for her.

When child numero second came around, we had to recalibrate things. I was finally making a little more money by then, but two kids in daycare, even at the low for the area price we were paying, was more than our mortgage payment. It was also more than 50% of my wife’s take-home pay.

We came to the conclusion that despite the extreme mom-guilt my wife felt (not to mention dad-guilt I felt for not making enough money), it was best for the family for my wife ithin the last six or eight months though. It started after she took on three babies, including a set of twins. If I showed up a few minutes late, I got a lecture about not respecting her time. Same thing if my wife dropped them off early. Literally being four minutes early resulted in my wife getting chewed out ... by the woman who we pay upwards of $20k a year to watch our children. She actually told me once, “I can’t go anywhere until these kids are picked up. You, you can leave work whenever you want.” That comment left me flabbergasted. I’m not sure what kind of fantasy-land she’s residing in where a teacher can just peace-out whenever they feel like it.

A couple months ago something happened at school, that resulted in my being late ... five entire minutes late. The result, she fined me $10. Although the real spark that I’m convinced light that fire happened a couple weeks before that. Her sister-in-law passed away. This was not unexpected, and she admitted that she did not care for the sister-in-law. She decided to close the daycare for a day a few days later for ... reasons ... I guess. No, not for any services, there weren’t any.

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Bottom line, when we paid her for that week, we didn’t pay her for that day. When I saw her a few days later, she said, “So, about the day off last week. I need to check your contract, but I think you’ve only paid for 12 vacation days so far this year.” I suppressed my frustration and told her to check the contract and get back to me, which she never did.

A few points though:
1) 12 vacation days is nearly 2-1/2 weeks of daycare that we paid for and did not receive.
2) If you want we to pay for that day, fine. Then stay open on one of the other days you’re planning to be closed this year and square things up.
3) Either you can get overtime like an hourly employee, or you can have the benefits of a salaried employee, but you cannot have both.

A few days later is when I was fined for being five minutes late. By the way, do you know how many times I arrived on-time, and then sat in the driveway for 5-10 minutes while she chatted with another parent who arrived before me? DOZENS. And you know what else? I didn’t care. I checked emails or cruised Oppo while I waited. Big deal. It’s five freaking minutes. None of us are that important.

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Not long after this went down, I was talking to my principal about things, and I mentioned what was going on. She said, “I hate to break this to you, but it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.”

Since then, the daycare days off have flowed. She’s taken four in the last three weeks alone. Two planned, and two unplanned. My wife had to stay home with the kids today with 12 hours notice. Luckily her dad was able to come over for a couple hours, because my wife had a doctor’s appointment set up for what would’ve been her lunch break.

I’m completely fed up with our daycare provider’s bullshit. I’m tired of burning vacation days and sick time so she can be off. We’ve got two more months before I never have to speak to her again. Our contract requires three weeks notice to terminate our agreement, and that’s what she’s going to get. Not one damn day earlier either.

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RallyMetro for your time.