The cost of child care can vary wildly depending upon what state you are in and the type of specialized care that you seek. According to the National Census Bureau it can range anywhere from $3,000 to $14,000 per year per child. And I'm sure many of the people reading this know of places that charge way more!
Here's a good rule of thumb to go by. If the lowest paid member of you or your spouse pays more than 25% of their take home pay to child care, then you need to seriously think about just staying home (the national average is around 8%). Here's why! State regulations for home based child care vary drastically depending upon what state you live in. Usually though you can watch a few more kids other than your own without any interference from the govt.
If you're paying more than 25% of your take home, then you need to look at opening your own day care.
All that you would need are a few children other than your own and you're at break even level. Judging from what the mothers around me say, it is very difficult to find good child care. If you have friends or family that will pay you for it, they most likely would prefer you to a stranger. Be sure to ask an insurance agent and lawyer about the potential liabilities of doing this. It's all fun and games until a child gets hurt or worse!
If you are part of a family business and can take your child to work, run with it!
Warning: if you bring your child to work and you have a red coffee cup on your desk with a cowboy riding a bucking bronco, then you need to be careful about your child's future occupation. For as the great philosopher Waylon Jennings said, "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys."