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Currently I live in Belleview, south of Ocala, where I commute three days a week to Shands in Gainesville. I am a single mom of a 5 year old son who starts kindergarten in the fall.

Because of the distance, I applied at the Villages Hospital nearby and have been offered a job there, BUT it comes with a significant pay cut.  Affordable housing options seem to be elusive, as I don't qualify for the rent controlled places, but the other places are equal to what I pay for the house in Belleview - which I do not think I can afford with the pay cut.

SO, my other option is to move to Gainesville when my lease is up, keeping my current job.

However, I have ZERO family or friends in Gainesville and have a five year old son that needs care.  I have to be on the floor at 0630 a.m. and get out around 8 ish. I also have to work two weekends a month.

Housing costs seem to be equal - but without the cost of gas, or the pay cut, I think I can swing that.  I am considering the Hidden Oak Elementary school area - and could use some advice on apartment units there around $800 a month for 2 bedrooms.  

Also - I see prices on what people are charging for nanny/sitter services and can't fathom paying that much when I work 12+ hr shifts.  And I can't seem to find any daycare centers that are open the hours I would need that early in the morning in, til that late, in my school district.

I have to make a decision by 9 a.m. on Monday and I just keep bouncing back and forth between staying near family and praying I find an affordable rent (and dealing with the pay cut and boring position) or keep my job, move to gainesville, and figure out the child care situation.

All input is appreciated.

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There are a couple of apartments by Santa Fe College - The crossing, Santa Fe Trace - that seem to have reasonable rent. They are very close to campus however.  With the new Countryside Elementary school,  I'm not sure if the zoning has changed. 

The closest daycare center times may be with from 630-700.

Good luck!

Daycare centers seem to be out of the question - as I would need weekend care as well.  The next question would be what options are in my neighborhood for home daycare or sitters and cost.

DO NOT go to the Crossings. Don't ever go to the Crossings. Period. Everyone including our son has had horrible experiences with the place and it is most certainly not someplace you want your child to be at. Start calling the churches in the area and see what you can find. Often there are college students and/or stay at home moms in the area that can help out and need the $$ as well. I did that when my kids were young and it worked great for all of us. 

How much do you feel is a reasonable amount to pay someone to watch your child for twelve hours a day so you can work?

I have a 15 month old and Iam a stay at home mom. I used to be a Nanny before I had a child of my own, I have watched kids from infant -13years of age. What are you looking to pay someone and what would be the hours you need ?

Honestly, I have never had to pay anyone to watch my child.  I have always done barter system - trading favors.  I have only done daycare centers and I know what I pay there is going to be alot less than a sitter.  Hours?  Flexible, but I have to be at Shands by 630 a.m. and I get out around 8ish.  I work three days a week, with two weekends a month in that schedule.  As far as income cap, I am an RN, so I exceed most income restrictions, and make too much for any kind of assistance (but not enough to thrive).

What do you have that you can barter with someone willing to work for 14 hour days and two weekends a month?

Have you ever thought about sharing an apartment with another single mom and maybe that might work for lower rent and child care
Hidden oak has after school care but there is a charge.
Paddock club apts are really nice around 700 for a 2/2 don't know if they have after school care but they are real close to the school, (you can walk) Legacy apts are nicer but higher as well.
Child care is anywhere from 20 to 50 a day in this area. I would ask around at shands to see if any other people there have kids at Hidden Oak, maybe you could get one of them to help or they might know of someone.
I would ask the apartment as well they might know of someone in the complex that does child care

I live by SFC. My son is a KGer at the new elem "Meadowbrook" which is an excellent school. There are quite a few affordable housing options in the area. There is a neighborhood across from SFC, behind the apartments, with a safe, kid friendly street that is all duplexes that rent from $600 to $800 depending on the size. There are a fair number of single parents on the street and we all are happy to help each other out. Send me an email if you want more details.

My coworker got together with two other moms and they hired one person to watch their three children together. 

some great options...thanks I get closer to moving, I will look at all of them.  I will check out the neighborhoods as well.  I heard good things about meadowbrook as well.  I am not open to sharing an apartment, simply because I do better alone.  But I may look into sharing daycare with another single parent - as I have four days off, so it could be beneficial to someone else.  As far as bartering before?  I would usually trade babysitting with another mom, or carpooling with another classmate or tutoring (when we were in school)....I am glad there are affordable options for neighborhoods...guess I need to take a drive and get a feel for them.  I have been in the area, as I go to physical therapy at magnolia park...and it's pretty out that way.  Jennifer, I will email you when I have a moment...thanks everyone.  I feel better about my options.

I'm a single mom with the same issue.  My five year old boy will start kindergarten this fall.  Meanwhile, I'm a legal professional and we certainly don't keep banker's hours.  I thought "Brandy's Proud Mom"'s comment above was really on point.  When I first got to Gainesville I considered that as well, (rooming with another single Mommy that is).  Housing was (and still is) affordable and I didn't have childcare problems at the time so I passed on the idea.  But I would be willing to consider it now as my career is going full swing.  Any Gainesville local mommies who have similar advice or even know someone open to the idea of rooming with another single mom or doubling (or tripling) up on childcare, please send an e-mail to:


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