The Childcare Debate!
There is no right answer here, but we asked some League members to weigh in on why and how they went about choosing their childcare solution
Working Mom with a Nanny, 1 child – 1 yrs old
Why did you choose a nanny?
We chose a nanny for our childcare for many reasons, but primarily it was about our job demands and worrying about having to manage pick up and drops off. A nanny offers the flexibility if either myself or my husband have early or late meetings or if our son is sick. We also love that not only does she take care of my son, but she takes care of our family; she helps with cooking, cleaning and laundry which means we can focus our free time on family time. We also love the one on one attention that comes with a nanny as she spends time daily teaching him his letters, numbers, colours and so on! Finally, though our son follows a schedule; having a nanny also offers flexibility i.e. if he sleeps in or has a longer nap then he can do that as ultimately it is his schedule and not that of a daycare.
Do you feel your child has enough socialization?
Yes! I assume it can depend on the nanny, but our nanny schedules playdates almost daily, plus they participate in drop-ins at the library and other places. We also signed him up for some programs such as dance and sportball which add to his socialization – frankly, he has a busier calendar than I do!
Any watch outs?
The biggest watch out is costs and understanding all the costs that are involved in this type of childcare. Beyond your nanny’s salary; you’ll need to pay taxes, WSIB, some nannies get transit passes and you should consider a year-end bonus. Also, like you get an annual raise, your nanny is your employee and you should consider giving him/her a raise as well. You might want to have your child participate in some programs which can come with an additional cost. When kids reach 2 years old, I am finding that many are putting their kids into a drop off nursery program a few times a week which is great for building independence, but it is one of the bigger additional costs to consider.
Working Mom, 3 kids through daycare – 2, 5, 7 years old
Why did you choose daycare?
For me it was the only option that appealed to me, but of course, it was a personal choice. What I like in Toronto is that all licensed child care centres with a service agreement with the City have access to free supports (educational psychological, speech, occupational therapy) which can be really helpful when your child is developing differently from others. You can find these centres on the City’s child care finder. I have always been a fan of ‘many hands’ – when one ECE is having a bad day (we all do) they are never alone on the job. There is always someone else to support them. I’ve transitioned two kids to school so far and it has gone off without a hitch. I think that is partially because we are in a daycare that’s housed within the school. Another benefit – they have access to the gym and all the school sports equipment on bad weather days!
How do you manage your drop offs and pick-ups?
One word: routine. I drop my kids off at 7:30 so that I can be at work by 8:15. Shifting my day slightly earlier lets me beat a nightmare home commute (although I usually bike), and spend more time with my kids after school. I’m lucky (I can’t believe I just said that) that my kids are early risers. They’re up at 6:15am, so it isn’t actually that hard to dress and feed them within that time window. Beauty tip – I shower the night before so that my hair is dry and ready for styling quickly! One thing I’ve learned is that it is very helpful to get them dressed before they leave the bedroom. When that part is out of the way, it is way easier. Also, now that they ride their bikes, getting to daycare takes about 2 minutes (I’m fortunate to be in a centre on my block).
Pick ups – communication with your employer is so important. I have set a hard line about the time by which I have to leave work. But I have also said that I can always stay late – with notice.
Any watch outs?
Going with your gut is key if you’re in an unlicensed centre (which many families are in Toronto). Our first centre was amazing, but unlicensed. I knew that, but I was comfortable with their approach. Still, they were shut down with 15 minutes notice one day (fastest cab ride of my life!) and we were left without anything for a month (that was my vacation for the year!). Honestly, you really would be hard pressed to go wrong with a licensed centre – the variety of activities and experiences, and exposure to viruses, is great.
Stay at Home Mom, 1 child – 2 yrs old
Why did you choose to stay at home?
This was a really tough decision for our family. Both my husband and I worked in very demanding full-time corporate jobs, and transitioning to being a full-time mom during maternity leave was both really tough, and really rewarding. We spoke a lot during the maternity leave process about what our plans would be for childcare, and weighed numerous pro/con lists. Ultimately, for us, it came down to the fact that with our current jobs as-is, if we both went back to work, neither of us would see our little guy during his waking hours Monday-Friday… which wasn’t something we were willing to compromise. We both felt that for our family specifically, we needed to make a change, and decided that I would stay at home with our babe.
Do you worry about socialization?
Socialization was absolutely something that was important to us, so we made sure to enroll our little guy in classes and playgroups where he’d be able to spend time with lots of other kiddos his age during the day (and as a bonus, I get to be there to see him have fun!). We also decided to start a pre-school program a few mornings a week with him this year (now that he’s almost two) so that he’ll be able to develop a sense of independence from mama before he heads off to school full time in a couple of years – seems like a great compromise that works for us!
Any watch outs?
There will be judgement. Oh, will there be judgement. I truly believe this is the case no matter what childcare decision you make, but in my case, there was a lot of judgement from my working friends who felt I was ‘giving up on myself’ to stay at home. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m committed to making the best decision for my family, and that will in all likelihood, change over time. Nothing is permanent, and in fact I’ve found truly fulfilling ways to work casually from home while I’m caring for him that reinforce the fact that we’re doing the right thing for us, right now.
No matter what decision you make regarding childcare for your kids, know that only you and your partner know what’s best for your family, and feel confident in the fact that your decisions are made from a place of love and wisdom about what’s right for you. If that’s true, then you can’t go wrong!
League of Moms / 03/09/2018