My name is Kate Anger. I recently had a beautiful baby boy and couldn't be happier! However, the impending cost of child care has had my family struggling to figure out what to do. I work in the human services and my husband is a para educator. Combined we make enough to put us right over the income limit for child care assistance.

I looked and looked for affordable in-home care but found nothing. When talking to others I should have been looking before I even got pregnant because of the shortage of decent providers in the area.

I was lucky to find a great daycare that had an opening, but after doing the math, didn't know how to pay for it. After paying rent, bills, college loans, and childcare, we were facing being $100 negative each month. This was BEFORE food, gas, and diapers. My job has an on call rotation so neither I nor my husband can work a second job.

After much deliberation we decided that dad will stop working and watch the kid, take evening classes to finish his degree, and take out loans to pay for room and board. This is really a temporary fix. What we will do once he finishes his associates is up in the air. We simply can't afford child care and pay rent. This doesn't even tackle the issue of wanting to eventually have another child, so that my son can have a brother or sister.

I've talked to some parents that have decided to only have one child, not because they only wanted one, but because childcare is so expensive they can't afford to have a second. This may very well be our reality as well, although I would argue that just having one child with child care costs being what they are, puts us into the do we pay rent or eat category.

This has been one of the most depressing and stressful situations to deal with during a period of time that we should be the happiest. We have a beautiful, happy and healthy boy. All we want is for him to be healthy and well taken care of. However, with the future still full of high, unaffordable costs, we are filled with frustration and resentment at a system that doesn't work and forces families to work two and three jobs or leave the workforce. I hope one day child care is free like k-12. I believe this is a right of all parents out there, so that parents can once again be parents.

~Kate A., South Burlington

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