20 Comments
Apr 17Liked by Bonnie Kristian

The good news - if there is any - is that $20K per year is a temporary expense until you're ready to send the kid off to school. (I'm assuming public school here.) I was the stay-at-home dad for much of my kid's pre-K years. We sent him off to part-time care for A) socialization and B) so I could have some semblance of a career on the other side of it. But the money I was making freelancing on a PT basis barely covered the care, if that. It was a temporary investment in his development and my own viability.

How temporary that is depends on how many kids you have, I suppose.

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True! Our 4-year gap just about doubled our costly years, alas. It is what it is.

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founding
Apr 17·edited Apr 17Liked by Bonnie Kristian

You are spot on that daycare costs (5-yr old and below) are what they are due to state/city-regulated teacher-student ratios usually around 1:4 - 1:6. Usually a head teacher makes $20-$30/hr, but the assistant teachers/helpers are closer to minimum wage... the mean is definitely close to the math you laid out (though I don't know if the teachers who make minimum wage are getting paid holidays and insurance...). And totally agree that just going from a ratio of 1:4 to 1:5 is a HUGE JUMP in causing more disruptions for the teaching and classroom -- the biggest complaint of parents in my child's daycare is that there aren't enough teachers. There are usually 2-3 administrators too, who are paid more than the head teacher.

Another big reason for high costs (not including aftercare costs and other supplementary costs) is that RENT can be very high for daycare in high-cost areas. I know the Gothamists' #s are for childcare in a year, but for DAYCARE in the NYC area (I live across the river from Manhattan), I am paying $3,000/month for 1 child. (I'm assuming it's close to $4,000+/month in Manhattan, at the very least.) I don't think the daycare is banking it with high margins, and I think rent is the highest cost factor.

Then there's summer camp -- for a 4-week summer camp that's 5-days a week (8:30 am - 5:00 pm), it's $1,250/week.

I have family in San Diego, and they are paying $2,200/month for daycare. The summer camp options are much cheaper there, though...like $600/week.

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Whew, yeah, as I said, my facility costs estimate was conservative, and I'm sure laughably so if we're looking at NYC specifically. Summer day camps in my area are more in the $600 range or maybe even cheaper, I think. Demand is so high, though, that I honestly haven't even had the chance to decide if I'm willing to pay for that -- they're always already sold out.

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Apr 17·edited Apr 17

On the summer camp note, definitely supply-demand dynamic in the NYC/NJ/CT areas as you note for your area...granted these camps have all the bells and whistles (pools, slides, fields, arts/crafts, etc.), but it's still a day camp at the end of the day. There are only like 5-6 of them trying to serve the whole Greater-NYC area so they have crazy waitlists and can charge what they want.

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I am clearly in the wrong line of work, dang

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Apr 18·edited Apr 18

Solution-wise to reduce costs, some school districts offer FREE Preschool for 3-5 year olds in my area (Pre-K3/Pre-K4) before Kindergarten. I don't know how the back end looks math/cost wise with taxes (guessing higher property taxes...my city has a lot of businesses/corporate companies, so that helps negate higher property taxes that i woukdve thiught we'd have with a free preschool program)....but up-front/per-person costs will probably seem a little cheaper...

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I loved Apostles of Reason. What do you mean by "pastoral authority"? I may be able to help you out.

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Apr 19Liked by Bonnie Kristian

also now I want a sandwich.

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I’m interested in the question of what people think their pastor should be able to tell them to do. I’m not thinking about questions of core doctrine or clear sin, like “You should stop committing adultery.” More like, if your pastor said “You need to quit Twitter,” would you do it? (Obviously there’d be denominational variation in any post-Reformation sources.)

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Apr 19Liked by Bonnie Kristian

I don’t know this answer! I’d start with Martin Luther’s table talk- but I’m going to send this to Myles, he might know

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Anecdotally, so much of those questions get scooped up under the heading of prudence, a kind of self-directed notion as opposed to someone speaking into your life from outside. But asking how spiritual direction (which is how this kind of deliberation occurs) happens in a post reformation context would be really interesting.

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Yeah, I mean part of the question is: Is spiritual direction a separate job from pastor? I mean, I know it is and have benefited from a spiritual director myself, but is it supposed to be? Maybe all pastoring includes spiritual direction but not vice versa, I dunno.

This question is partially inspired by the comment I ran into from pastors over and over while writing Untrustworthy, which was that they got congregants one hour a week, but Fox News or Twitter or whatever got them 10, 20, 30 hours. There's an imbalance of influence (or you could say "discipleship" there), but it also very much has to do with authority.

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Apr 19Liked by Bonnie Kristian

I was sort of thinking the framing might be “pastors have always given circumstance specific guidance, it is just not usually binding”

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Right, and the question of whether it should be in some sense binding is part of what interests me.

Obviously, post-Reformation, without an established church, nothing a pastor can say is "binding" in the way it would've been in a small, premodern village on the parish model. If you really disagree with pastoral guidance today, you can just bounce. But assuming you don't want to leave the church and don't think the guidance is theologically or ethically wrong -- but maybe it is unwanted, unpleasant, difficult, etc. -- should you feel some real obligation to heed it?

I was talking this over with Erica Ramirez (witter.com/EricaBryand), who is very sharp, and she suggested an analogy of a trainer at a gym which I think may be apt: They can't literally force you to take their exercise and nutritional advice, but when you hire them to be your trainer and help you work toward a mutually shared fitness goal, you have to do what they say if you want to remain their client.

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Excellent analysis. I'm troubled by the entitlement I hear in calls for "universal daycare", and how it's framed as a requirement for female empowerment / feminism. The majority of daycare workers are grossly underpaid, as you note, but they are also disproportionately likely to be immigrants from poorer countries. It strikes me as deeply screwed up to out-source caring for your children on less privileged and exploited women ... I realize it's not financially feasible in many cases for families to have a stay at home parent, I'm lucky to have been able to make that choice, so not trying to "shame" anyone, just lamenting the situation. Studies find a majority of mothers would choose not to work or only work part-time when they have young children, if they could afford to. If a government investment were to go anywhere, I wish it would go to helping mothers (or fathers) be able to afford to stay home with their children.

If you haven't read it already, you might find this essay by Laura Wiley Haynes on the negative impact of daycare on babies / toddlers interesting -- https://wesleyyang.substack.com/p/universal-early-childhood-daycare. Erica Komisar also has good work on this.

Glad this popped up in my feed so I could follow you here! I read your review of Abigail Shrier's "Bad Therapy" a while ago and was relieved that SOMEONE ELSE noticed how sloppy, misleading, and questionable many of the citations and research were in that book. (I also wrote a review pointing this stuff out, and other problems, and mentioned yours in mine a couple of times -- https://thecassandracomplex.substack.com/p/bad-journalism).

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Thank you! I'll take a look at that essay and am intrigued to see your thoughts on the Shrier book, too. And yes, I'm all about part-time work becoming a much more normal thing; I mostly don't want it myself, but I wish it were a widely feasible option for everyone, as I wrote a few years ago: https://web.archive.org/web/20210602052025/https://theweek.com/articles/982118/normalize-parttime-work-parents

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Thanks for sharing, will read now :-)

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founding
Apr 20·edited Apr 20

https://www.economist.com/united-states/2022/02/03/a-new-study-finds-preschool-can-be-detrimental-to-children. I found this article to be helpful. At the end of the day, preschool is not mandatory, so if you don't want to send your kids to it, then you don't have to.

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Is this is full time preschool though? They have part-time preschool here (I'm from Vancouver) and I thought 6 hours per week would have some benefits for 3-5 year-olds. I signed my daughter up starting at three (I mean, I have another one due to arrive around then so yes a little because it'll be easier on me!). I don't expect her to learn much (compared to at home), but she's loves playing with other kids, music, and crafts so I figure she'll have fun at least. I wouldn't do FT preschool though ... I don't even like the idea of FT elementary school! Wish they had a half-time, accelerated option (learn the same stuff in half the time).

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