It’s the end of an era with daycare – I feel like I’ve paid off a loan

My baby goes off to big school next year. In 2 weeks we will no longer be a family using daycare. My eldest child is almost 10, and I first put him in to daycare when he was 6 months old. So, for 9 and 1/2 years, I have paid money every single week for 1, 2 and then 3 children to be in daycare.

I’ve used Long Daycare Centres, Family Daycare and Pre-School over the years. At one stage I had 2 children in care 4 days a week when I was working as a Real Estate Agent. In periods over those years I felt like I only worked to pay the daycare.

I’m glad it’s coming to an end. It’s been a hard slog and a very expensive exercise.

I feel like I’ve finally paid off some sort of loan. It’s been a payment that I’ve made every week for almost 10 years, and finally it’s ending.

In hindsight, what did I get out of it? I had a couple of jobs, learnt some new skills and kept my sanity in tact. But this didn’t come cheap. I guess I could go on and on about the importance of women in the workplace, but who am I telling? You already know all of this! The part where I feel bad is for those Mummy’s just starting out with their kiddies. I heard on the news yesterday that daycare costs may rise by $40 a week for some families…

As I said, it feels like a loan families are paying off. You pay it and pay it and pay it, just so you can keep yourself in the workforce and bring home a little extra $ each week.

So, for me, in 2 weeks, that loan has finally been paid off.

There is a new phase coming in our house. 5 days a week I will have my 3 boys all in the same place (not to mention only 1 place to drop off and pick up!).

Share with me your daycare dilemmas.

Do you feel like you work to pay the daycare?


  • Cathy

    I still have one left (debating whether to put him into childcare next year – he’s 2). Congrats on paying off the loan and graduating to big school! School is so much cheaper than daycare, it’s a joke! Arrgghhh could go on and on about this!

  • Bernadette

    Hey Katrina, im now working 8 days a fortnight and i do feel as though im working just to pay childcare its lucky my kids are initally only going 2 out of the 8 days to childcare, its leaving us out of pocket $120 a day its so important us mums do work your right to improve our skills and to remember how to interact with adults not just children haha… Great blog post thanks

  • Elaine

    I felt the same way same way myself when I stopped having to pay childcare fees AND when they didn’t need nappies anymore!

  • Kek

    I’ve always worked, so apart from my maternity leave stints and one time where my husband stayed home with the boys for a couple of years (yay! How awesome was THAT?), childcare or after school care/holiday care was part of my life for 18 years. That’s a LOT of $$.

    The day my youngest finished primary school and I paid the last child care bill, I felt the same way – like a huge debt had been paid off.

    Now I’m counting down the next 2 years till the “little” one (he’s way taller than me) finishes high school, gets his licence and I’m free of school fees, text books and driving lessons.

    If I knew 3 kids would be so expensive….I’d have had them anyway. ;o)

  • kylie

    My two boys go to daycare one twice a week the other one day coz he goes to kinder the other an that still sets me back over $100 a week but we are moving next week to a more expensive house more day care I work from home so can get away with it but having those two days without them under my feet at the busy times made it so.much easier

  • Erin

    I was just having this conversation with my mother the other day as my daughter 4 will be starting Prep next year. She is going to a private school and we were talking about the fees. While at the time the number seemed rather high (but still low compared to most private schools) once I did the math of the money I paid in Kindy/daycare fees in one year I realised just how much money I was going to be saving. I do think daycare is just as important for the kids though. We work from home and in theory could have the kids at home with us each day, but apart from mum’s sanity and my work getting done on time, I wanted my kids to have that socilisation and to be comfortable with time away from mum well before school starts.

    Congratulations on being daycare free. I have 2 years to go 🙂

  • M

    Oh, Katrina, feel your pain! We have one more year of daycare (followed by a year of pre-prep, but that’s considerably cheaper). By the time we get everyone to school, we’ll have done our ten years, too. This year I’ve been dropping off at three different places, so I understand how logistically tricky the multiple drop off is as well. Sometimes I think that’s harder than handing over the $$$!

    I’m still trying to work out what to do with the extra cash in my pocket for 2013…

  • Laura

    Congratulations on paying off your loan you made it!!!

    I have two children in Day care 4 sometimes 5 days a week. my husband myself and parents all try and juggle taking the girls on one day a week just to save $$. Our fees will be going up $40 a week as of next year will bring us to over $500 a week ( for four days). We have two years left 🙁

  • Mrs Savage

    I tried family daycare which didn’t work out, changed to a CBD centre but then my son had a couple of illnesses so I chose to resign. After 7 years in the same job I was sad about it but for me, financially and emotionally it wasn’t worth it. I can understand your relief.

  • Kelly Exeter

    It’s really funny – when hubby and I were looking at private school fees (for waaaay down the track) we were thinking “how on earth does anyone afford private school”. Then we figured out what we were paying for 5 days of day care a week …

    One child in daycare is expensive (but quite worth it for us) – but I am not sure how wonderful two children in day care will be. Might have to wait till #1 is at school before having a #2!

  • Rebecca

    Hi Katrina,
    I remember looking after your then little Cruise all those years ago at Town & Country. I am now facing a double dilema. My twin girls will start daycare with me, while I work in the industry known for its less than adequate wage yet over the top care prices. What to do? Even i’m not sure. Just look forward as you have to ‘paying off the loan’. Congratulations on making it!How exciting a time it will be for all of your children to head off as a ‘band of brothers’ each morning.

  • Lanne

    I am grateful for good quality childcare. I am a qualified primary teacher and have taught every age to year 12, including working as a nanny and early childhood. back then there was some support via CCB but nothing like now. 50% rebates for out of pockets is impressive. The govt heavily subsidise care for children under school age. We were paying 90 a day out of pocket with no rebate at one point. I could no longer teach. The contract rate was $120 a day.. tax it, and I would have owed money on going to work. Instead I had to take a higher paying job. Childcare in Australia is wonderful on the whole. The family day care scheme (whilst it has its issues – and I feel free to say so as someone who monitored carers for a year).. it also offers outstanding care in many homes across the country. Don’t feel you paid off a loan. Feel like you invested in their future by providing excellent care for them when you couldn’t provide it in person. and woooot for big school!

  • Laura

    I have a 2yr old in day care 2 days a week. From January my baby will be in day care too and they will both be there 3 days a week. I have worked out that, before the govt rebate, I will bring in $1 per week after child care takes the payment out of my account!!!
    In the long run it will be worth while, but I am looking forward to the time that my pay is my pay!

  • Petah

    Katrina, It is lovely all of your boys will be going to school together. I am at the other end of the spectrum. I have three children and decided it was not financially viable for me to work with them all close together, so decided to stay at home until the youngest started school. So no daycare fees, but also no additional income. I now work to afford private school fees, but would not change anything for the time I had home with my children. Everyone is different and works for different reasons. There is no right nor wrong. One thing I do find ridiculous though is the amount of holidays they get. Ten weeks at Christmas alone. So then you have to factor in school holiday programs, etc. It just goes on and on, but it is all worth it!

  • Tanya Harvey

    So jealous Katrina! We pay $600 a week in childcare fees for 2 kids and it will be going up next year. With 3 kids under 5 the light at the end of the tunnel is sooooo hard to see….We’ll get there one day!!!

    • Katrina (author)

      There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I promise!

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