Cost of care for children can exceed university tuition

Daycare prices in Metro Vancouver have risen so high that the cost of four years of early-childhood care can exceed that of a four-year university degree. A typical family in Vancouver with a child in full-time care from the end of parental leave to the beginning of kindergarten can expect to pay somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50,000 for child care. By contrast, a four-year undergraduate arts degree at the University of B.C. costs about $31,000, including tuition, student fees and books.

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Do you love yourself?

Nicole Andrews
The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program
nandrews@cridge.org

 

This blog started with a conversation that lead to 3 more, then a few more after that, then a quote I read: “Be WITH someone who makes you happy!”

This is a question that I struggle with all the time. Do I love myself?  Often I make poor choices for myself; ones that if someone else made them for me I would say not to or stop or at least think about what that choice might mean. But no, if it’s me making the decision, I just take myself for granted I guess. So how do we get to a place where we love ourselves, so that we value who we are and try to make good choices for us?

You make decisions all day as a parent that are hopefully in the best interest of your child. Nutritious food to put in their lunch box or wearing clothes that are weather appropriate. You choose a loving childcare arrangement or buy the safest car seat. But what about the choices for you? Do you love yourself enough to make the better choice for you? The better decision for you?

Is it a relationship that you keep going back to? Is it an over indulgence in a food? Is it procrastination from dealing with something or someone? Is it those dreaded cigarettes? Binge drinking? Whatever your ball and chain, do you do what is in your best interest? We all have issues and life experiences that make us who we are. We often make choices based on our history and how things have worked out in the past. But that doesn’t mean that they are good choices. Loving yourself means putting you first. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get up in the middle of the night with a fussy baby because you love yourself and know that you need 8 hours of sleep! I’m just putting out the idea that a lot of personal choices are not really in alignment with what we think or feel.

You go back to the same broken relationship over and over because you think it will change or it will be different this time, but you keep getting burned. You go out with the gang and drink until you black out, every time you go with them.  You eat the whole box of cookies, but you then hate yourself because you are trying to get fit and healthy.

I really don’t have a magic pill or a three-step program that will make it all better. I’m just looking for myself, and asking you to look as well at how your best intentions often get sidelined when the decision is about you and not someone you love. How do you get to a place where you love yourself enough to take a second look before you make that decision? You know that your head is already saying no, but you push that back because what you want outweighs the consequence. Often you know the consequence already, and you do it anyways.

So here is my two cents – today, be mindful. Think about yourself and the decisions that you are making for you. Then switch your lens and ask yourself what your Mom would say or your best friend or your sister or someone else who loves you. If the answer is no, don’t do it. Try it just once. See how it feels. See what the outcome is this time. Live in it and know that you can change it with the next decision, but be mindful of you. Love yourself enough to try it just once. You all have many who love you and you have children who love and rely on you. But, to love yourself, well that actually can have the best benefit of all. It affects every other relationship you have because it’s a better version of you.

 

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Young Parent Outreach is a dynamic resource program providing services and support to young pregnant women, young moms and dads, and their children in the Greater Victoria area.

These services – provided by The Cridge Centre for the Family – are designed to give young pregnant women and young moms and dads the help and support network they need to have healthy babies and to be effective, successful parents. Whether it’s housing, income assistance, food back or dealing with child custody or substance abuse, The Cridge Young Parent Outreach program can help.

Juggling

 

Too many balls in the air.

You’ll understand the title when I explain where this is going. So I’m writing this at home while my youngest daughter is on the couch. It’s 2 pm in the afternoon on a school day. Get where this is going? She is home sick. And not just a runny nose sick, but high, high fever and too many doses of Tylenol and Advil and still a very uncomfortably high fever. And then there are all the other kids in the house whom I assume will be sick within the next 2 days…oh joy. But the point of this is having soo many things to do and yet when life throws another ball into the mix you just have to learn to juggle.

And I am lucky that I have an amazing husband and a great employer and wonderful boss who understand that life happens.  I have priorities and I know what they are: my kids and my family will always come first. I have ways of coping when life gets crazy. I can work a little from home. I can text and email on the run. I can have Facebook chats at night with my clients, and I can field crises from the upstairs hallway while putting kids to sleep if I must. I have a husband who can drive to the store at 11pm to get more Tylenol. But there was a time when I was a youngish’, single mom and I didn’t have those supports.

So juggling is a skill you never knew you had until you have to use it!  Being 19 is a tough stage in life. The world is big and there are things you want to do. Now imagine you have a child. You need food, shelter, clothing, baby supplies and all the other necessities.  You want to finish high school but you took some time off to have a baby and learn about a whole different world while your friends continued on with theirs. How do you come back? How to find that place where you get to be 19 and also be responsible for the loving and nurturing and caring of your child?

You learn to juggle even more balls. Some of you want to finish school because now, as a young parent, you realize that you need to have an education to compete with even the basic jobs. Then, you need to find quality, affordable childcare. Childcare that has hours that allows you to go to school. Add another ball into the air. Then there is the study time. Then transit time. Then chill time at the coffee shop with a friend talking over the latest assignment. But no, you have a child to pick up, on time. You need to get dinner on the table and a baby fed and bathed before 8. Then you can sit down, in relative silence, and study if the dishes are tidy, baby isn’t sick or fussy and you aren’t exhausted!

Not much free time to hang with friends. Cleaning the house? Not always the priority. Making the lunches for the next day? Paying the bills on time so there is hydro next month? You can see how many balls are in the air now. But when you have a partner, a support network, then there are more hands helping keep those balls in the air. But being single and parenting while trying to finish growing up, well that is monumental.

So maybe this is just a reminder to realize that juggling is hard work. Maybe it’s hard, but be grateful for the support system you do have. Look at your needs. Do you need to find more support? What areas do you need support in? Identifying the areas make it much easier for others to pitch in and help. People want to help but often they don’t because they don’t know what to do. So think about what you need to be successful and then ask.  There are more people that want you to succeed than you know! It might also be time to be a better part of a system for someone else you know. Anyway you look at it, the more hands that help, the easier it is to juggle.

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Nicole Andrews
The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program

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Young Parent Outreach is a dynamic resource program providing services and support to young pregnant women, young moms and dads, and their children in the Greater Victoria area.

These services – provided by The Cridge Centre for the Family – are designed to give young pregnant women and young moms and dads the help and support network they need to have healthy babies and to be effective, successful parents. Whether it’s housing, income assistance, food back or dealing with child custody or substance abuse, The Cridge Young Parent Outreach program can help.

Laughter….

 

So I have written a few blogs now and they have been a little on the heavy and emotional side so I decided to try one with a bit of a lighter feel to it. Mothering, after all, isn’t always hard work; it can be hysterically funny and sometimes just downright ridiculous!

You know; before baby when you were too cool to talk about bodily functions when others who may have actually known you were in the room? When a bad hair day meant staying an extra ten minutes in the bathroom to try to rectify the situation? When staying out late meant you could just close your eyes for a few minutes at lunchtime or skip out on a class and catch a few zzz’s? Well times have changed, haven’t they!

Bad hair days are everyday for me, except the first three days after I have gone to the salon trying to prolong the professional appearance. Sunday brunch with girlfriends has been traded for Mom and baby group and Tuesday movie and date night has been traded for laundry night and re-runs of Friends.

Could extra sleep help to de-stress .To help you find humour in a situation? Ha-ha good luck with that! Extra sleep will not happen for a few years and then it’s not the kids who wake you; it is you staying awake to make sure the kids are home safe. But babies keep irregular hours and therefore so do Moms. Sleep deprivation can make you do silly things I tell you! Put paperwork away in the freezer; brush your teeth with the hand soap sitting beside the toothpaste on the sink; forget where you parked the car at the mall. You know you’ve seen that mom! Bad hair, sleep deprived, crying child under her arm pushing the button on the fob on her keychain looking every which way for the lights and sounds from one of a sea of minivans in the parking lot? Funny right? Relatable right?

Mix matched socks, on you. Looking for your sunglasses frantically, then realizing that they have been on your head for the last twenty minutes. Can’t find that baby bottle? Have you looked in the drawer at your computer desk? Or by the front door in a child’s boot? And just wait, it gets better!

The older they get, the more people notice your, um, moments of insanity. The secretary calls from the school because you dropped the wrong kid off at the school. Showing up for a parent – teacher interview thinking it was child A and actually its child B, or, better yet, showing up on the wrong day! I’ve actually shown up at the right place on the right day, in the wrong month! And children, who can talk, can repeat these moments to their friends too!

Ahh, take stock and laugh now because in a few years these moments will be shared with everyone your child engages with and beyond! Every speeding ticket will be announced as if being reported on CNN. Every word you utter will become public knowledge because it’s been repeated on the playground, and darling child tells the teacher that Mommy said that bad word when she spilled coffee down her shirt this morning! Oyi!

Everything you do your child is watching. It fills the ego because you don’t share the stage with anyone else; you are his or her superstar! But it can have moments of paparazzi- filled dread. Not even a moment alone in the bathroom! And the questions they ask when at a public pool! Wow! Nothing prepares you for that!

So while the miss-matched outfits and diapers put on backwards may not seem funny in the moment, take the time to laugh. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at the situation. Laugh because it feels good. Laugh because your baby will laugh at you laughing and that can lead to a giggle fest. Laugh because it reduces stress hormones in your body, which is good for you and your baby. Laugh … because it’s funny! Really! It is! And in this day and age and in our day-to-day grind, isn’t it nice to have something funny to laugh at?

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Nicole Andrews
The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program

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Young Parent Outreach is a dynamic resource program providing services and support to young pregnant women, young moms and dads, and their children in the Greater Victoria area.

These services – provided by The Cridge Centre for the Family – are designed to give young pregnant women and young moms and dads the help and support network they need to have healthy babies and to be effective, successful parents. Whether it’s housing, income assistance, food back or dealing with child custody or substance abuse, The Cridge Young Parent Outreach program can help.