LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)— It costs more to send an infant to daycare than it does to pay for a year of tuition at a state university, according to Childcare Aware.
Emily Erickson said she's finished paying for childcare.
About nine months ago Erickson quit her job at a pharmacy to become a stay at home mom.
"Before I quit we were doing ok," Erickson said. "We paid all the bills with my husbands check then mine was whatever else we needed."
They were spending about $500 a month to send their 2-year-old son Elliott to daycare.
When she found out her daughter Evelyn was on the way, she knew they had to come up with a new plan because her pay check wouldn't cover daycare for two children.
"We've saved between gas not having to drop them off and having to pick them up," Erickson said.
According to Housing and Urban Development, the fair market rent in La Crosse for a two bedroom home is about $650 a month.
Nancy Meyers, Young Star Consultant at The Parenting Place said most families pay about $700 dollars a month for childcare; but it's for a good reason.
"Everything is going up, food prices are going up so people in turn are having to charge more because they have to pay more for things."
Meyers said even at $25 a day, that's $2.50 per hour and there aren't very many people willing to work for $2.50 per hour.
"Your child is your most prized possession and you do want to put them in some care where you feel comfortable so you can go to work and be productive at work," Meyers said. "If you're putting them into a setting where you're worried about them all day long how productive are you at work?"
With 40 little fingers and toes to chase around all day, Erickson has plenty to keep her busy these days. But she's glad she gets to stay home with her children.
"I felt like other people were raising my kids and I missed out on so much," she said. "Its been nice to be home with her I've gotten to see most of her firsts. With him I missed a lot of them."
As nice as it is to be a stay at home mom, she said once her children are in school she wants to join the workforce again.
A local daycare told us they have a hard time finding a balance between keeping childcare affordable for their families and being able to pay their staff competitive wages.
More staff are going back to school so they said that extra education means staff should be paid more.
They also said keeping up with Young Star, state guidelines for childcare centers, is bringing extra expenses.
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