My husband Jon and I got a super surprise when we decided to have a baby – we ended up with fraternal twins. In the two hour conversation after our fateful 18 week ultrasound that showed two boys, we said this about one million times:
Two infants in day care
TWO infants in day care
TWO INFANTS in day care!!!!!!
For five years, we wrote a painfully large check to day care every month. Goodbye vacations, goodbye expensive dinners out, goodbye disposable income. As our boys got closer and closer to kindergarten, even the day care employees counted down the remaining payments with us. Kindergarten, to us, was FREE school. It was the holy grail. It would literally be thousands of dollars back in our pockets.
Oh people, if only someone ANYONE anywhere on the internet had talked about how much more work kindergarten is! With day care, we wrote a big check every month and we didn’t have to worry about anything. Meals were provided. Field trips happened. Music , arts, crafts, and sports enriched their daily life so our evenings were all about family fun time.
Then along came kindergarten. Daily packing of lunches and snacks. Insane amounts of paperwork. One evening I filled out 14, yes 14!!, field trip permission slips with the same exact emergency contact information on them. And don’t get me started on homework…. my boys each had 30 minutes of homework every night and it could not be done at the same time.
School also comes with constant requests. Whipped cream for the ice cream party! Exactly 100 items for the 100th day of school! Contributions for a class gift! An extra binder for a special secret craft! Scholastic book orders! Science fair project! Send in a favorite photo! Literally every week there were “extra” things to add to our never-ending to do list, often with no advance notice.
School is rad in many, many ways, but I wish someone had warned us it comes with a significant time cost. From reading tons of LWM posts, an ongoing theme is time is at a premium with working parents. It was a big adjustment to suddenly have a daily to-do list after work, other than just keeping the kids alive. With our rookie year of school behind us we finally know what we’re doing but it was certainly an adjustment year.
Don’t get me wrong though. Even with all the time lost, we are still laughing our way to the beach with some sushi takeout with our disposable income back.