Dear Reader: Welcome to ParentMap's Money Issue!

Warning: deep breathing required

I am not going to lie; that adorable cover baby is not the only one feeling stressed at the moment. I’m admittedly a little anxious after reading this issue, and you probably will be, too. There is not a family in our midst that does not have issues around finances. Ironically, money worries often hit parents hardest right when they bring that new, beautiful bundle of baby love home.

Most prospective parents are wage earners before baby makes three. The fact that our state is ranked as the sixth least-affordable state for child care for infants is sobering. We see some improvements in our ratings as the 10th least affordable state in the nation for preschool. But still, ouch! The high costs require that parents make numerous calculations to evaluate less-than-perfect, sometimes painful solutions. For instance, does it really pay for both parents to go back to work and leave the infant with strangers, even if they are devoted and caring child-care providers? Should one parent off-ramp given the high costs of care, even when this means diminishing their future earning potential? Are there ways to economize and share nanny care with a neighbor? These scenarios are all confusing. Many parents tough it out in the workforce, which brings its own juggles and challenges. Other times, it simply does not add up for both parents to go back to work, even if they love what they’re doing.

As a former math-averse child, my brain went into instant shutdown mode when confronted with a dreaded story problem; “if you take 25 percent of the cost of the . . . and then divide that by . . . and multiply times 8, you get?” Eyes instantly glaze over!

Math, for so many of us, brings on feelings of tension, apprehension or fear. Our story about math anxiety and today’s math offers tremendous suggestions for what parents can do to break this cycle or even turn the most “mathemaphoebic” youth into a calculus-loving collegiate.

Take a deep breath! Now that we’ve got that precious bundle far beyond his child care, and super confident in math, we better make bank for college! On this one, there’s no magic — just start saving, now! Get help with our guide to college savings.

If all of this math and money talk has you wanting to run “into the urban wild," we’ve got the perfect adventures for you from frog-finding walks to owl prowls.


P. S. Please join us at Village Theatre for Chris McCurry, Ph.D.’s, lecture, The Gift of Anxiety, March 29 at 7 p.m.

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