Even 6 pm Pick Up is maddening and impossible.
We can't seem to make this work without one of us sacrficing our career aspirations. We can't get back to East Bay by 6 pm to pick up the kids. As soon as we hire a part-time sitter/nanny, within 2 - 3 months, the sitter/nanny quits. We don't have the option to work from home. We certainly can't afford to live in SF where we work (well, I suppose we could, if the five of us and our dog want to squeeze into one bedroom apartment.) One of us could choose to work things out with work and leave early, but that person will basically be putting the job in jeopardy, because the work considers such a behavior as "not dedicated to the company." We've already received multiple "talking to" from our respective bosses for being late to work or missing work due to childcare issues and our promotions have been passed up because we are not "reliable" and our schedule is not "predictable". The first year when our first born entered preschool, he was sick constantly which made me sick constantly and I was out sick a lot. My boss told me I wasn't getting my bonus because I was out sick a lot.
We make a decent amount of money but barely make ends meet here in East Bay.
I had an honest conversation with my boss. He empathized and said, he, too, had to deal with this issue. His wife also works full time and they have 3 kids. He "kindly" shared his solution which was to hire a full-time nanny and offer an above the market rate to encourage the nanny to stay with his family. I said, "thank you" although I was thinking, "Of course, you could do that because you are a VP - Doctor couple whose parents bought you your first house in SF."
I can't do this anymore. Are things better in other cities? Please tell me we are not the only ones struggling with the 6 pm pick-up. Everyone else seems to make it work somehow. We can't hack it.