The Cost of Motherhood

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I’ve spent the last several weeks scouring the internet. Desperately searching, calling, and meeting various child care providers in preparation for the long awaited and dreaded moment in this journey of divorce and single motherhood that is all too fast approaching. The moment in which I will have no choice but to hand over my heart to a stranger for 50 hours a week so that I can go to work. The moment I’ve done everything in my power to avoid since my twins were born 2 1/2 years ago.

I’ve worked full time and part time since their birth, as well as been a stay at home mom. When I worked, I was blessed to have either a sweet woman who just loved my boys take care of them in her home for a very small cost, a friend, or for a while, my husband watch the boys while I was away. It was still painful every time I left them, but it at least didn’t cost me my heart AND my whole paycheck.

The reality and the weight of being a single mom has finally started to sink in and I can no longer avoid the inevitable. I have to go back to work. I have to go against my natural inclinations and fight my very being in order to someday stand on my own two feet as I provide for myself and my 3 boys.

I’ve been like a scavenger trying to find the perfect mix of quality, trustworthy care for my boys as well as an affordable option for me. The fact is, often the numbers don’t match up. Even with a master’s degree, social workers just don’t make much money.

I find a great deal of irony in the fact that while I want to save and heal the world, I’m struggling to take care of my own. It causes a literal ache in my chest.

Today I spoke to someone who asked $4,000 to watch my boys in my home. AND she asked if I’d be providing health insurance.

I honestly have almost no words for this.

Once I got over the shock of such a number and politely as I could replied, “I don’t even make anywhere near that much. We clearly aren’t going to be a good fit for you,” I thought about what those numbers mean.

The thing is, my boys would be worth it. They’re priceless. You can’t put a number on knowing your children are in good hands if those hands can’t be yours.

The other thing is, someone requesting $4,000 a month plus benefits for watching my sons 8-10 hours of the day reminds me the value of what we moms do each day. Our presence is priceless. You can’t put a number on the value of a mother in the life of her child.

Trying to place a dollar sign in front of motherhood feels impossible. There simply isn’t one. What we do cannot be matched. It cannot be measured.

Motherhood is a 24/7, often thankless, no breaks, no holidays, no PTO job. There are no benefits in the career world of benefits. There is no pay and no compensation. At least not in the traditional sense.

What we get is worth so much more.

Mothers pour their whole selves into their children day in and day out. Whether we work in the home or outside of it, we give all we have to our babies. Some of us have to seek outside pay in order to fully care and provide for these people we created, while others work without pay at home. Regardless of the situation, moms get no breaks.

The cost of motherhood is high. Too high. If we got paid what we’re worth, I don’t even know that Hollywood could handle it. We are simply priceless.

But unlike the childcare providers we often have no choice but to rely on for a portion of the day, we don’t do it for the pay. We do it because we choose to. We do it because our heart beats for it. We do it because God called us to it, and because we can’t imagine not doing it.

I look at my boys and I see my soul. My purpose. My destiny and my legacy. How do you place a number on that?

I now have no choice but to surrender both my heart and at least 1/3 of my paycheck to someone else. If I think about it too long, my heart stops beating for a few seconds. There is an indescribable connection mothers have to their babies and when I’m away from them longer than a few hours, my body feels it. I don’t just miss them, I yearn for them. I feel like a piece of my body is missing and I am walking around incomplete. Skinless.

The ache of that coupled with the financial burden of being away is almost too much to bare. But I, like so many other women, both single and married, have no choice. Moms do whatever we have to do to take care of our families. Even if it means we have to sacrifice our heart and our income to someone else.

Maybe there are people out there who can afford $4,000 a month for child care. I cannot. Thankfully, there are cheaper options that I can manage. I may not be able to eat anymore, but hey; I’m breastfeeding my youngest still so worst case, maybe I can up my supply enough for all of us and we’d survive. 🙂

Motherhood is an expensive calling. The most precious gift in all of life. I haven’t started work quite yet, but I already feel a gnawing sense of jealousy for the people who will get to be with my boys each day while I work. I feel angry. I feel a sense of injustice. The social worker in me wants to rise up and speak out about it. I want to advocate for something to be done about this cruel exploitation.

But it’s the reality of a working mother. Moms never really leave their children. We take them with us in our hearts forever. We feel the weight of them every second, whether they are physically in our arms or in someone else’s for a time. The cost of motherhood is great, but it’s worth everything. Even if it means my heart bleeds for 10 hours a day while I pay someone else to love them while I’m away.

So here’s to finding an option that costs me less than $4,000 a month. And here’s to us, moms! To pouring our hearts out everyday. To trusting other people with the most sacred thing we have so that we can provide for those precious people. To sacrificing everything for their well-being, even if it goes against everything we hoped we’d do as mothers. To knowing that even though we may hate leaving our children, we will always be their home base and no one could ever take our place. To paying the high cost of motherhood each and every day, and to thanking God for the chance.

You all are my heroes.

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43 thoughts on “The Cost of Motherhood

  1. Rachael, my heart goes out to you. Throbs, in fact. Knowing you even just a little bit, I feel I can somewhat understand how torn you must be feeling about going back to work. But, you described it perfectly in this post. You articulated motherhood and how I feel when I’m away from my boy for longer than a couple hours. We do feel almost “skinless” without our little precious kids. While at times we may need a break from the chaos of raising kids, our hearts are always tugged back to those chubby, stick fingers, those handsome crazy kids. I will be thinking of you and praying for you and your boys, Rachael. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That means so much to me Marla! Its the hardest thing yet about this whole situation, but honestly, I’d be in it regardless of a divorce or not. So I gotta just buck up and do what I gotta do. God always provides a way so I just have to keep having faith through it and I can already see it’s going to be ok! Not maybe my ideal dream, but good nonetheless. God always has a plan. ☺

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  2. My son’s kindergarten also takes infants. When I drop them off together (which is only once a week while I search for other jobs), I am so thankful they take kids 4.5 years apart. They are wonderful with my kids and make it easier for me to drive away leaving my heart behind … most days. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally feel you! It is crazy what we have to pay someone to take care of our kids, when really… we are the ones that just want to be with them!! I hope you find a daycare that is a good fit for you and your boys soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rachael, I’m so sorry you have to go through this. It seems like we should be paying people who take care of children a lot of money, because it’s such an important job. However, at the same time, I wish there were more affordable, quality childcare options out there for working parents. Prayers to you and your boys.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly Melissa. I realized we are literally just swapping money and services… I’m paying a chikdcare person as their job while I go Work at my job… If America would get it together and pay moms to be moms, at least for the first few years til they’re in preschool, that’d be great! Haha. It makes sense if you ask me!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. very moving post, and so difficult- I’m so sorry! I was able to work part time while my children grew (are growing up- the end batch anyway). It’s tough being a momma- but you’re obviously one who really cares!

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    • Thank you Samantha!! I was able to work part time when there were two incomes, but now as a single mom, part time work would only pay for child care and nothing else, so I’m really forced into full time. It super sucks, but I’m trusting God will make it all smooth and ok.

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  6. Ahhh. My heart aches for you and every mom and possibly my future having to drop our children off so we can make a life for them. I wish mothers could be paid their worth. I mean, in money. We are rich in so many other ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah! My heart aches for you because you are surely trying to find the best in this new life situation. I often think of how much life would change around here if I were faced with being alone in caring for my children. It’s a tough thought to process. I wish you the best of luck through this new journey! *I stumbled across your blog and couldn’t help but read since I too am a momma to three boys 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thank you so much!!! Its a tough situation but I’m so appreciative of so much support and prayer and am happy to say yesterday I found a wonderful woman for a wonderful price. God is good!!! So glad you found me and I’m heading to check out your blog as well! Yay for moms of 3! ☺

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  8. I feel for you. Being away from my kids is hard enough WITHOUT having to pay anyone. The childcare thing is so tricky, because as you said, they are worth > $4,000 + benefits (by the way, ARE YOU KIDDING ME with that price tag? In what world would a normal person be able to pay that. No offense to the lady, but that number is through the strosophere). They are worth any price, but we need to work to make money. And we don’t even want to leave them in the first place 😦 this is where France, the scanadanvian countries, etc have it right: childcare covered by the government makes so much sense. Not this each man for himself sort of thing… I feel for you. Please keep us updated. Sending you lots of love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry im just now reaponding… I agree alana, its sad that the US doesnt seem to value motherhood the same way other countries do. Thankfully, things have worked out, as they always do… Ill update on that soon! Thanks for your encouragement and support! 😘

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  9. This was a beautifully written post – you express your feelings (and many of our feelings about being away from our kids) so very well.

    I hope you find a good (and more affordable) daycare match for your kids. For what it’s worth, we’ve been with our provider since my eldest was a year – so over four years now – she watches both our kids and really feels almost like a member of the family. I know it’s a business arrangment, but we’re a good fit; I know she really cares for my kids and I know they are happy with her which makes everything easier all ’round.

    Good luck on your search.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much louise! Thats encouraging! I found a wonderful woman who i think is already becoming a surrogate family member, so i feel very blessed and thankful. I just hope it stays and works out long term! Thanks again for your kind words!

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  10. Hi there, I was wondering whereabouts you were located. I’m asking because I am in a similar boat of being 29, having three small ones (5 yo boy, 3 yo boy, 1 yo girl), and am recently single (and receiving zero child support). In order to survive I obviously have to get back to work, but am absolutely overwhelmed with the thought of making enough to afford childcare. And I am currently staying with family, so having someone come to my home to watch the kids is not an option. Any advice on how you went about the process/ where you were able to find something affordable/ etc would be greatly appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Kate, i feel your pain. Amazing how similar our situations are!! I am staying with family too (which is the only way i was able to stay home with my boys a little longer during this insane transition of life.) First of all, i am so sorry youre going through this. Its very difficult. I am receiving a small portion of what im supposed to receive from my ex but have come to realize i have to set my life up independent of him and his “support” because even if it comes, its not consistent or reliable. Im so glad you have family support right now and i would say to you, take your time. Dont rush yourself out of there unless you have to so that you can have time to get your footing first.

    Making enough money to pay for child care and still eat each month is almost impossible it seems. I have avoided daycare like the plague, for several reasons, but one of them is how expensive it is. I went the craigslist route and ultimately that is how i found my person. It was difficult and took me about a month of phone calling, checking out places, and meeting people…and then i had a last minute change (which im sharing in my next post) so its been hard, but there are good people out there with affordable rates. Luckily some of your kids are a little older and may be able to do school/preschool which will make things cheaper. Feel free to email me and i can talk to you more about it all because its been a hard journey….but you can do it!! Have faith and dont be afraid to receive and ask for help! My email is 65taylor@cardinalmail.cua.edu. you’re in my thoughts and prayers!

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