What We Worry About Most As Moms May Surprise You

piggy bankWe worry about a lot of things, don't we, moms? It's just that there are so very, very many things to make a mother fret. Contagious diseases, crazy kidnappers, carcinogens hiding in plastic containers ... the list is endless. On the very tippy-top of most of our lists, of course, is money, and with good reason. The latest estimates put the cost of raising a kid from birth to age 17 at about $227,000.

But what do we worry about paying for the very most? What is the Number #1 expense haunting our dreams?

Education. According to a recent survey, the cost of sending our kids to school is the major financial concern for moms.

Are you surprised? Having considered everything from exotic dancing to selling my eggs to fund my children's schooling, I can't say I'm particularly surprised.

And it all starts with preschool ...

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The plan was for my daughter to start preschool at 3 years old. This was what most of our friends were doing, and it seemed to make sense. The big question was, How many days a week? At the preschool we chose, kids could do 5 half days or 5 full days or 3 half days or 3 full days or 2 half days or 2 full days or any combination thereof. (Did you follow that?)

It was a decision I agonized over -- what was she ready for? How much free time did I need? -- until we did the math.

"Huh," I remember saying to my then-husband, tuition forms spread out on the table in front of me. "We can only afford to send her for 2 half days a week."

My daughter is now 10, and I honestly can't remember how much we paid for her preschool (which, while well-regarded, was not the highest-end preschool in town). But I know it was enough to stress me out on a monthly basis. And I know I was hugely relieved when she was accepted into the neighborhood elementary school's free Universal Pre-K the next fall.

By the time my son's turn came along, we were living in the house where I grew up. Said house just happened to be next to a convent of Italian nuns who ran a nursery school. They wouldn't let me pay a dime, which rocked, but my son wasn't a huge fan of the place. (I think it was all the cheek-pinching.) He stuck it out for awhile anyway. Still, the next year I ponied up for a preschool more suited to his personality ... and cringed every time I wrote a check.

For now, at least, they're both in public school, which is blessedly tuition-free. But college?

Have fun with those student loans, guys.

Is your child's preschool crazy expensive?

 

Image via Ken Teegardin/Flickr

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