I can’t think of a bigger worry most parents experience than childcare. A) there is never enough of it and B) in between availability and affordability a compromise falls. But how do you know what is the right option for you? And what do you really need to know?
I’m due back at work in approximately two months, and my youngest will be one while my eldest will be nearly three (no rest for the wicked). Our eldest is already in a fantastic daycare that we applied to when she was eight months old. The only downfall is that school doesn’t take kids under two years…. had we initially thought that we would have kids 22 mos apart perhaps we would have compromised the daycare we wanted for the ease of having kids in the same place, but we didn’t and we’re not. And I keep reminding myself it’s only for one year.
Our goal is this: be a two income family who can reasonably work a full-time schedule while still managing to pick our children up within the eight hour time limit (inclusive of commute). Oh, and not spend more than the $40K we already anticipate having to spend. And have one car. Ugh.
Oh, hi! Did you pour yourself a drink and ask out loud why we are obviously gluttons for punishment? I know I do. Regularly.
Knowing that we didn’t want to add a second dropoff to our morning commute, we started looking for a nanny-share arrangement that we would host in our home. If you’re not familiar with a nanny-share, it’s basically one nanny shared between two families, and from there the logistics are arranged between the employers/ families and the nanny (hours, days, location, etc). A nanny-share is great as your child is with another child all day and you can split the cost of a nanny. Win!
After a Facebook post to a local group of childcare givers and seekers, a few meetings with potential families, we met a great family and prepared to move forward with them. Ultimately, the other family was able to get into a daycare and no longer required a nanny-share. Great for them. And back to square one for us. I was preparing myself to have to ‘date’ some new families.
Then, out of nowhere the planets aligned and we had an offer from a fellow mama, who had previously cared for our older daughter, to come to our home to care for Baby. BOOM! Done. Best case scenario for us and I don’t have to explore any other options. Childcare is stressful. And truthfully, I didn’t have it in me to meet anyone new at that time as I was still mom-crushing on our nanny-share family that was over before it began. Jokes aside, I am happy to say that things worked out well for both families and we have become friends. We are lucky and for that I am grateful.
I can hear you thinking that we would potentially spend less if we were to have a nanny full-time to care for both of our kids. And we’ve talked about that. But we feel strongly about the opportunities gained for he kids to be among their peers and learn through play that challenges them and introduces new concepts and imagination. So it’s a trade off.
You might wonder why one of us (*cough* me) doesn’t just stay home with the kids. There are too many reasons why that is not an option we even discuss. Sanity being on top of a very long list. And the rest are a post for another time.
Childcare has been a concern since we got pregnant and it’s a concern for almost every other parent I know. Especially for those living in the city where daycare spaces are near impossible to find. And if you are looking at different options, what should you look for? What questions should you ask? How do you know if one option is truly better than another? Is cost the only consideration?
The Mommy Collective is happy to answer some of these questions and more through a series of posts from childcare experts and parents in our community and Collective.
Have a childcare question you would like to have answered?