5 Mothers On Choosing Child Care
I have spoken before about V, our part-time nanny who spends Mondays and Tuesdays and one date night a week with Bodie. The trust I feel with her is more than I could have ever hoped for and I consider myself lucky as it lets me be wholly comfortable taking that time for myself, work or to invest in us, as a couple. When I was considering going back to work two days a week, Dan and I visited daycares/play-schools and met with a list of nannies. Ultimately, while I was tempted by the constant socialization that daycares can provide, I wanted our first years to be about building a sense of calm and security in our home. So, we opted for having a nanny and chose her because of her background in medicine, her calm demeanor and her playful energy with Bodie. Whoever your caregiver or caregiving team is, the relationship and trust is so important that it often comes up often among friends. Given the hot topic, I chose a handful of women to share their experience choosing their means of care, the pros and cons and what helps it work for their family.
Molly, Mother to 1, Portland ME
Teddy started going to the Toddle Inn (day care) when he was 12 weeks old!
I was lucky to have a number of wonderful Mamas make this decision before me so I knew what my options would be: Daycare, Nanny, Nanny share (if it worked out), or family. I was able to pick many people's brains on the positives and negatives of each. As we know everyone's situation is different. We were making the decision between staying in Boston or moving to Portland alongside the decision of what child care was going to work best. This also played a large part.
Best part of the Toddle Inn is the socialization that Teddy has gotten. He has no problem walking into a room full room of kids and not turning back which I think can be attributed to his time at the Inn! By far the most challenging part is how sick Teddy has gotten, more so his first year of going to daycare. It is hard because you feel so guilty that he isn't feeling well, but also that you now need to find back up child care!
Research what is in your area! Talk to as many people as possible about why they love there situation or how they would like to improve it. Also, it sounds crazy, but start as early so you don't have to stress later in your pregnancy.
Jaclyn, Mother to 2, Weston, MA
My first time back at work part-time, Chloe was 11 months and I used family. The following year when Chloe was 22 months, I enrolled her in a school three mornings a week and used family the other days.
I wanted Chloe to start school around 2 so when making the decision on which school to choose I considered the following:
1. The school she's enrolled in doesn't take children under 1.9 which is important to me bc infant care can often drain the resources of a child care center.
2. Chloe is very mature and her language is strong so I wanted a place that would not shut her in a classroom based on her age but maneuver her through activities that challenge her.
3. Being a teacher, I wanted people who care about education and child psychology in charge of my child.
I looked at two schools in the area and found a perfect match to my essential requirements.
The best part is I deeply trust Chloe's educators and they know how to encourage her and push her in creative ways. She is so proud of herself as she becomes more independent and I give most credit to her school teachers.
Most challenging is that the teachers do not spend their time updating and posting pictures of each student's day because their philosophy is to be present with the children. Obviously this makes sense, but I see my friends with children at Bright Horizons who can login and see their kids pictures, read what they've eaten, when they go to the bathroom, how long they nap, etc and I'm often like, I wonder if she pooped at school today: )
Think of three non-negotiable items and go from there. If you're lucky enough to be picky about where your kids go then make it count and really think about what your essential requirements are.
Jacqueline (Founder of Joy), Mother to 2, San Francisco, CA
I chose nanny care right from the beginning for three reasons, 1) that it offered the flexibility in schedule for both my husband and my schedule. With a nanny she can stay late and come early so there's not drop off or pick up coordination 2) I was paranoid about day care germs and appreciated having my baby in the comfort of my own home with my preferences. 3) I chose a Chinese speaking only nanny and really wanted to immerse my kids in that language right from the start.
I interviewed a bunch of nannies and also did some in-home trials. The main evaluation criteria was whether I thought she got along with my baby, was focused on the job and had common sense.
If you're going with a nanny, negotiate everything up front. You want to have a great relationship with this person, and start up on the right foot without having to revisit those awkward things constantly. She/he is taking care of your most precious little guy/gal so it's always good to negotiate things like pay, time off, public holidays, vacation policies etc. before you start. =)
Elizabeth, Mother to 1, New York, NY
When I decided to go back to work part-time, my husband and I started the process of searching for a nanny to care for our son on those days. We were very lucky to find our nanny on a referral from a good friend, which I find to be a very comforting way to hire someone so important.
I love seeing the excitement on my son’s face when his nanny arrives in the morning. It helps to ease the pain of leaving him for the day. (His joy to see me when I arrive home also can’t be beat!) She teaches him new things everyday, and I know they have a lot of fun together. It’s challenging to let go and give the care of your child to someone else (some days less challenging than others :) ).
I think it's important to make sure you, as the mother and most likely the point person to the nanny, are comfortable with the caretaker. Set your expectations of her from the start, and make sure you establish an open line of communication.
Lauren, Mother to 2, New York, NY
We have a part-time nanny and my mom comes 2 days a week- 1 day to help the nanny and 1 day to be with me. I'm home 3 days so at any given time there can be a lot of moving pieces and people. I found it easier transitioning to having help the second time around but for me I've found being super organized and very involved with every aspect of the kids' life to be both, helpful while I'm out of the house to stay connected, and also very draining to keep up with everything. The best part about having the help is getting to work and the occasional day to myself & simply, an extra pair of hands on deck. The difficult parts are other opinions to affect mine and someone else to take care of - I want to make sure my nanny is always happy and also make sure I don't offend my mom when I watch her do things differently from how I like things done.
Do you have help with your kids? How did you choose what worked best for you? Would love your thoughts in the comments xo
Featured Image via Zara