Choosing The Right Childcare For Your Family
Let’s be honest, no one will ever care for your child the way you do, but unfortunately we live in a society where we are not fiscally able to stay at home for 1 year after bringing life into the world or just having completed adoption. In other societies around the world this is almost the norm, who knew!
When I worked for a breastfeeding consumer Products Company (several years ago) I learned that in places not too far away from America, like Canada, parents can take up to 50 weeks of paid maternity/paternity leave…AND can be split between parents. Talk about a progressive stance and model for other countries! This chart I found to be super powerful, it illustrates the maternity leave time by nation…
Anyhow, when I worked in the breastfeeding industry it was such an interesting difference with regards to breast pumps and breastfeeding accessories sales between American & Canadian markets. In Canada there was virtually no milk storage bags/bottles or double electric pump demand as those mothers didn’t have the pressure of feverishly preparing a supply of milk to go back to work in 12 weeks or less like American mothers. This was such an awakening moment for me; it was then that I knew if I were to ever lobby for a cause greater than me, this would be among my list of ideas.
Fast forwarding to my experience as a new parent preparing to go back to work, I was very nervous about looking for childcare, it was legit the hardest decision to date we had made as parents.
Around month 1 of my 3-month maternity leave we started researching what we wanted Bella’s childcare to look like for the first year of her life. Many would probably argue that that’s a little late; some parents chose to put their baby’s on waiting list for childcare facilities in their area while they’re still in utero. Well, we knew she [Bellamy] wasn’t going to daycare until she was at least one year old so we weren’t pressed.
[I will caveat with it really depends on the market you live in, major cities tend to be very competitive with good daycares and often times require you to get on a waitlist more than 1 year before your child is born.]
We started off our initial arrangements by researching independent nanny services, agencies and nanny-share options in our neighborhood. Let me tell you right now, plan more than 3 months for interviews and trial runs if you go the nanny route.
Out of the gate I thought I’d prefer an older, more-experienced woman coming into my home and being with us 5 days out of the week for 5-7 hours – let me share why I was wrong.
We had three different trials before we found the perfect fit for our family. The older lady that I had so comfortably envisioned and nestled in my head as the best option was so darling AT FIRST, then she would come in and sit at my Kitchen counter and drink her coffee and eat her biscuits while Im trying to pump my breast milk or be on a conference call. It was almost as if she thought she was my grandma or something, just odd – Strike 1. Stairs then became an issue for her as our laundry room was on a different level than Bellas Nursery – Strike 2. And the last strike was when I caught her sleeping with my 4 month old on her lap with no support to my baby’s body or neck! And why was she napping with the baby anyway??? Needless to say “Grandma” was DONE.
The bright side to this story is that we found a nanny that came from another family in our area that had experience caring for multiples, so she was great at balancing the day of play and attending to my house needs; a win-win. When it was time for Bella to increase her socialization we parted ways with her, and it worked in both parties favor as she was relocating back to her home state. Im grateful for our experience overall as it really opened my eyes to how overwhelming finding good child care truly is.
It’s been exactly one year since we put Bellamy into daycare at a facility and it was a struggle at first, not being able to lay eyes on my child whenever I had time in my day to do so or simply step away for a snuggle when my job was getting my nerves was an adjustment to say the least. But now, this Mama looks forward to the hours in the day that I can attack my To-Do list freely and feverishly, without distractions or interruptions!
I thought this was an important topic to share as I get how incredibly difficult it is to release your babies into someone else care, especially for first-time parents but it’s what a majority of us American moms have to do so have your plan outlined when youre ready.
3 helpful sources to use when researching childcare of any kind in your area:
Nanny Share.org – nanny sharing is a great option if you’re interested in your child have some socialization but limiting it to one other family. It involves one Nanny caring for the children of two families at once. It can be done at your home or the other family’s home that is a part of the share.
Care.com – online search engine for childcare in your area, there is a monthly membership fee that applies should you want to have access to specific information such as Background Check, Driving Record, Employment History and Contact (definitely worth the investment). We booked our nanny that we had for a year on Care.com and it served as a helpful tool to our family.
Local Children/Family Magazines – typically printed monthly and have special editions focused on daycares, preschool and grade schools in your area. They can be found in your local grocery stores, pediatrician offices and malls. These books are a great reference tool as the contact is tailored to your market, they have sections that advertise available childcare, grade school listings and weekend activities that are great for families and more!
I hope this post was informative and relatable! Let me know what your approach to finding childcare is/was.