When two parents work in different parts of town and have two kids who go to different schools in different parts of town, it’s time to take out the calculator.
Warning: this is not interesting. If you want to be entertained, stop reading now. If you want to fix my problem, read faster please.
School starts in a month, and I was so excited when I learned that Zana got a space in a pre-school. On the Hill, applying for childcare is harder than trying to get into the Ivy League. She’s been on multiple waiting lists since March, and is still nowhere near the top of any of them. Finally, two weeks ago, a school in Virginia (between my home and office) called with a space for her. I was so relieved that it didn’t dawn on me, until today, that we had created a new problem: pick up times and aftercare.
Here are the important pieces of the puzzle:
- Zana’s school gets out at 3pm.
- Lira’s school (about 20-30 minutes away at that time of day) gets out at 3:15 pm.
- Aftercare costs about $300/month per child. (My calculator tells me that’s $600).
Dave and I both currently have arrangements with our jobs allowing us to leave early a couple of days a week to pick up the girls. We make up the time by working in the evenings, which has become pretty stressful because of our lack of chill time. Even so, we’ve been making it work Tim Gunn-style. But now that the girls are across town from each other, everything changes.
Lightbulb! I have the solution: we hire a college student to pick up the girls (Zana 15 minutes early each day), and take them home until we get there (around 4:30).
More important pieces of the puzzle:
- We’d need this college student to work 10 hours a week.
- We’d probably have to pay about $15 an hour.
My calculator tells me we’re talking about $600-$700 a month… not any cheaper than the first option, but at least they’d be together and at home.
Dave (always the party pooper) nixed that idea, reminding me that we don’t have an extra $600-$700 a month lying around… especially if I want that new car I’ve been talking about. Why does he always have to be so practical and logical, and all that other annoying stuff?
I asked him for a better idea, and here’s what he came up with:
- He will start waking up 2 hours earlier in order to be at work by 7:30 each morning (Note: he hasn’t woken up before 7am since his days in the Marine Corps). Then he could leave work at 2:45pm to pick up Lira.
- Meanwhile, I would take my lunch break every day at 2:30, go pick up Zana, and then wait with her while Dave drives across town with Lira to get Zana… at which time I’m supposed to go back to work and finish the day.
This is a bad idea because:
- Dave came up with it
- Taking Lira on a round-trip journey in traffic, across the 14th Street bridge, every day to pick up her sister will make her hate us all.
- If I leave work and drive halfway home, I’m not going back.
- Even if Dave does manage to wake up before noon, I’d be solo with the girls in the morning trying to get them to school on time (which terrifies me).
So, my wonderful MomInDCity readers, what should I do??? I’m accepting pity, suggestions, and donations.