I have two children in childcare, and while I found the center I wanted by asking my friends where they went, I had to be on a year long waiting list, signing them up while I was pregnant. The center dictated my working days and hours (I am 3x/wk) and the cost for childcare, even 3x/wk is more than my mortgage payment! Finding early learning care is significantly easier than finding back up care (virtually nonexistent unless you have family) or school age care. I have to take my vacation days to find back up care, which makes it difficult for work and personally. In child care centers there is high turnover, which is particularly challenging for young children who need stability - yet there are few stable options for those that prefer 2 teachers instead of 1 nanny. For my entering kindergartener, I had to again get on the waitlist a year in advance, and then I was #32 on the list - and this was for before/after care only IF I got into full day Kindergarten. There were 200 families in the lotter for FDK fighting for 20 spots!!! I ended up about 100 on the waitlist, so then had to find a third option for care - one that would bus from the school. All that makes early learning look like a cake walk!