I’m sure every working mom struggles with this: Do I go back to work, or do I become a stay at home mom?
To be honest, as much as a stay at home mom job sounds “great”, I don’t think it’s for me (granted this baby hasn’t been born yet, so I actually don’t know–come April I may be singing a different tune). For us, in our current situation, I have to go back to work. Even with setting a budget and making the minimum payments on credit cards, car loans, etc, we would be in the poorest of the poor houses if I quit my job and stayed at home. For probably the ONLY time in my life, I am the bread winner in the family.
So then what are our options? There’s daycare (like an actual daycare or an at home daycare), a private nanny, and Nanny Shares. Or if you are really lucky, there’s grandparents. There are pros and cons to each.
1. Daycare Center: These are GREAT once the baby is no longer just a blob. Once the baby is interacting daycare centers are awesome for learning sign language skills, reading, interacting, and having a small teacher to child ratio. I visited one last month and really fell in love. The staff was so courteous and helpful, they knew all the kids in the center, not just the ones from their class. The children in each group were so diverse, and WELL BEHAVED. I mean, it truly was an amazing experience. Except for the price tag, $1200 a month. For an infant. Who will just sit there, and spit up. The daycare center I looked at, in my opinion, was top notch, but compared to the other “Top Daycare” centers, it was priced on the low end. For example, the day care center for MCV, is a little under $700–every two weeks. So. For a blob, this just isn’t the best option for us.
2) A Private Nanny. This is someone who stays with your child in your home while you are away. This is their full time job, to watch your child. On one hand it’s constant personal attention. You obviously have to trust this person, and I mean, if we had the money, I’d honestly look into it. But, I did basic math and even paying a nanny $10 for 40 hours a week is $400, so we are back up to $1200. And a) that’s too little for someone’s full time job, and b) that’s too much for childcare (for our budgets right now).
3) Nanny Sharing: This is where you and someone else share a nanny. It’s a little cheaper, and again, its a little more one on one time with your baby. You can swap homes, you can do whatever. Honestly, I didn’t look to much into this because even though we have 4 friends due right around the same time as us, I’m impatient and wanted to get this finalized. So. It could be ideal. If this interest you here are some links to learn more about nanny co-sharing:
What did we settle on? We settled on an in home day-care, which is sort of a mix between a daycare center and a nanny share. As I mentioned in a previous post, the woman we chose came highly recommended from my co-worker. Because of that, she was basically a shoe in. When Baby Wheeze is born, there will only 3 other kids there. They will be around the age of one, so he/she will be the youngest, but that’s okay. It’ll be able to get use to other kids, and maybe pick up things quicker because of older kids? Maybe? Wishful thinking? Anyway, the woman -Mary–is fantastic. I mean, she’s just a darling. And she fits well within our budget (not really, but she is 3/4 the cost of the $1200 daycare I was looking at, and she’s less than a mile from my work, so she fits).
Anyway–the main reason I wanted to write this post was because, how do you know what you are looking for besides what’s the cost, and what are pick up and drop off times–when you’ve never had a kid and never had to interview a Nanny? There are a thousand lists out there, but when you are like me, and you kind of have already made up your mind, here’s a good list of questions to ask the future nanny/daycare/sitter of your child:
1) How long have you been in business?
2) How many children do you enroll at one time?
3) Do you have space for my child?
4) Do I pay when my child is ill or we’re on vacation? (this is important especially for Nanny’s or in home sitters–our payment to them is their income)
5) How and when do you bill us?
6) What supplies do I need to bring for my child?
7) Do you encourage visits from parents? (i.e. can I come at lunch to breastfeed?)
8) Do you take children on walks through the neighborhood?
9) Will you follow the schedule I have set in place for my child?
10) What is your sick-child policy?
Obviously, there are more questions that can (and should!) be asked: I found most of these from this list.
Either way, it is a difficult decision to make, and definitely not one that should be made lightly. I honestly feel so grateful to have found our Nanny through a recommendation because my biggest fear was turning to Craigslist (which, would just be creepy I think).
How did you make your daycare decision? What did you ultimately choose?