Childcare costs in America are no joke. A 2020 report found that the national average annual cost of childcare was $10,174 per child. That’s more than 10% of the median dual income for a married couple, and more than 35% percent of the median income for a single parent.
With childcare costs so astronomically high (and many salaries so low), some families opt for one parent to stay home because it just doesn’t make sense to have one parent working just to cover the cost of childcare.
But as one working mom of four explains, she’s playing the long game, both for her family and her career.
In a now-viral video, Paige Turner explains why she and her husband (who make about the same) both work full-time jobs and also pay around $5k in childcare a month for their four kids. Yes, you heard that right. Turner and her husband dish out about 60k in childcare a year — a number some of us cannot even fathom.
Unsurprisingly, the mom of four is often met with confusion as many people wonder (with sexist undertones) why she bothers to work when the costs of childcare are so high.
She posted the TikTok to make her strategy crystal clear.
“In our scenario, where my husband and I are similar earners, our on-the-year earnings are very similar, it does not make sense for one of us to stay at home right now,” she explains. “We are spending an astronomical amount of money, and I understand, that on childcare, that some people can’t fathom, and some people don’t even make in a year, right?”
She goes on to say that the question of why her family operates the way it does always being directed towards her is “insulting” and also “negates” any sort of idea of what Turner would do with her life once her kids no longer needed daytime childcare.
“I am not a mother of young kids forever,” she said. “I’m a mother of young kids for 5 to 10 years depending on how widespread your children are. And so for me, in 4 years from now, my youngest child will be in full time school.”
Turner explains there is an “end date” to their huge daycare bills once her kids are all in school and taking time off to be home with the kids would halt her plans to climb the corporate ladder and secure her family’s future.
“I know that where I want to go in my career and the compensation that I’m able to have, it’s there. It’s at my fingertips, right? And me stepping away from work for five to 10 years would throw me back, right, from where I want to go, and the life I want to live after my children are out of daycare,” she said.
Turner explained that for the time being, she and her family are pinching pennies, not going on any luxurious vacations and “doing what [they] can.”
“I’m not just planning for the next four years,” she said. “I’m planning for the next 20, 30 years of my life and my kid’s life, and I know what’s important to me.”
The video, which now has over 300k views, was met with a mixed reception. Some TikTok users praised Turner’s plan for thinking head while other questioned her on the perception of placing her career over spending time with her kids.
In a follow-up video, Turner replied to a comment noting that she would never get the time back that she was missing with her kids while they were little. She replied to the comment noting that the younger years of parenthood were not exactly her “favorite.”
“Some people will love the newborn stage and others will love the toddler stage, and I honestly really enjoy like, now that my kids are a little bit older, like 4 and 5, like that’s fun for me,” she explained.
Turner switched gears to ask a bigger question about motherhood, gender roles, and the pressures put on moms to be present parents that dads just don’t seem to get burdened with. “Why is it that we put so much pressure on women in particular to stay home when their kids are young even if they’re not enjoying it like the most?”
Users were quick to defend Turner with one TikToker commenting, “They act like she lives in another household.”
Another wrote, “they NEVER say this to dads.”
Now that the answer is out there, let’s make it a point to just not ask working moms this question ever again.