Our Child Care Decision

Child care is strangely a hot button topic for a lot of moms which baffles me beyond belief. I will always be of the mindset that unless a child’s life or wellbeing is in danger, there’s no need to judge other parents, but it happens on a daily basis. I remember a lot of my friends telling me to be careful when writing about Amalia’s child care because they knew I’d get shade thrown at me no matter which direction we chose. Now I totally get it, they weren’t kidding.

While our decision is the best choice for my family, I understand that it might not be the best for yours and that’s great! So note that when I tout the benefits of day care below, I’m sharing why they’re great for us and not, by any means, bashing other forms of child care.

When it came to this monumentous decision, Anel and I figured there were three routes that could work for us:

  1. Part time daycare
  2. A part time nanny
  3. No help at all

As a kid, both of my parents worked full time, and my sister and I went to day care and were picked up by a babysitter until my mom got home from work at 6:00pm. We both ended up being socialized at an early age and loved being at school. It helped us developmentally and emotionally, so I always knew that was what I wanted for my kids. Anel grew up being taken care of by his mom and other family members, but ended up agreeing with me which was great.

But when push came to shove and I ended up with a job where I can work from home most days, that decision was made a little harder. Daycare is insanely expensive, so we had to weigh the cost with the benefit. After both crunching numbers and talking about my sanity at length, Anel and I agreed to start Amalia in daycare at five months for only two days a week. If we think we need more, we’ll add a day, but for now it works for us. I’m able to get a ton of work and errands done during those two days, and I still get a lot of time with my baby which I appreciate even more now that I’m not with her every day.

This was our list of pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Learns how to socialize with other kids from an early age
  • Learns how to nap in a loud environment with other kids
  • Mix of activities throughout the day
  • Amalia is out of the house so I can really focus
  • Introduced to germs from other kids which builds her immunity
  • Dependable care: With a nanny or babysitter, if they can’t make it you’re stuck. With daycare, they have back up plans

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • She’ll be sick a lot at the beginning
  • Not one-on-one care (there are multiple kids per teacher)… But in the end we decided this was actually a pro because it will help her become more independent.

How we picked a school:

The vetting process for a daycare was easy. A few of our good friends used one and highly recommended it. We toured the facility, met the teachers, and immediately fell in love. They are all about the kids’ development from day one and have an art room, a great outside space for playing (when she gets older), and all kinds of fun activities. There is an app where they share her daily details and photos, so I feel like I can check in whenever I want. The teachers are warm and loving, and we felt at home right away.

Getting started:

Amalia’s first day was earlier this week. Dropping her off was very tough, and my tip for any moms doing this is to schedule a packed day so that you don’t think about it too much. Also ask one of the teachers to give you a call with an update if they can. One of ours called us halfway through and put my mind at ease. She’s in her second day today and I’m hoping she actually naps this time. She came home exhausted because she couldn’t nap on day one, but the teachers assured me that’s normal and that she’ll be sleeping in her crib there in no time.

Ok so now it’s your turn! What child care did you decide to go with and why? Remember this is a safe place and there are no wrong answers.

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  1. Ryann Carter said:

    I think there’s also a cultural difference. Anyone of means would not consider day care in the South, because more often than not they are overworked and there are more kids per adult than there should be.
    That being said, I love your reasons. We’ve talked about (when we have kids) a nanny coop where a couple of us would hire a nanny for our child and several others and we would rotate houses (I actually nannied briefly and would have 1, 2, and once 3 little ones). He or she would take the kids, when they’re a bit older, to social things (I actually took a set of twins I nannied to a gym group a couple of times a week). And we would start preschool ASAP.
    It sounds like up there, day care is more socially acceptable though, probably because there are nicer options.
    What’s most important is that Amalia has amazing parents. You are her parents.
    http://www.holycitylife.com

    1.4.18 · Reply
    • Oh wow that is so interesting. Definitely a different view up north! I love the idea of a nanny coop and we’re thinking of that for when we have a second kid to save some money. And thank you so much for saying that!

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    • Samantha said:

      In our circles in the Northeast (NYC and Boston area suburbs and cities), it’s sort of similar as your area, Ryan Carter. Most everyone we know does nannies which are more $$ than daycare but preferred for a number of reasons. That’s not to say there aren’t good daycares around here (i’m Sure there are some…it’s really not an option I ever considered since we knew we would have a nanny) but I would say it’s not as much a regional difference as social circles since, as I said, we’re in the Northeast and everyone we know has only gone the nanny route.

      1.4.18 · Reply
      • You know, now that I think about it, all my NYC friends have nannies and almost all of my CT friends use daycare. It’s funny how it changes depending on where you are/what your social circle is!

        1.4.18 · Reply
  2. Jeanie Marie said:

    This is great! I happen To do something similar. At the time I had My first, I worked from home majority of the time. We lucked out and found a lady that had an “at home” daycare really close to our house. He went from 2-6m 2 days a week, 6-12m 3 days a week then at a year everyday 8:30-4:30. I liked the ability to ease into it. he was socializing and not only wanting me. Turns out he loves everyone! The act of dropping off gets a little easier, but the missing them NEVER stops! ☺️ Your doing what’s best for you and that’s all that matters!

    1.4.18 · Reply
  3. Kristin Zelesnik Tarlazzi said:

    Can you link the bag the you are using for your daughter for daycare? I need a bag like that for when I send my little one to daycare. PS. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for your decision!

    1.4.18 · Reply
    • It’s actually old from Sail to Sable but we just bought her an LL Bean Boat and Tote with her name on it because we needed one with a zipper!

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  4. Samantha Dempsey said:

    We did a nanny. Where we live (NYC area) it’s extremely common and while way more expensive than daycare, afforded us the flexibility and other priorities we had when considering our options. For me, i wanted my children to do activities/classes and have play dates as they would if I were home with them full-time and a nanny has given us that since there is no shortage of socialization with classes, outings around the city and to the park, and numerous play dates. I am glad you’re comfortable with your decision but also don’t believe all the “pros” you list are unique to daycare but maybe you are comparing them to if she remained home with you watching her?

    1.4.18 · Reply
    • That makes total sense! And you’re right. I think for us the idea of a nanny plus classes was just too expensive. But that would have been our other choice for sure.

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  5. Allison Marble said:

    I work from home full time and am due with my first in three weeks! Our plan right now is to send him to daycare 2-3 days per week next fall. I am actually surprised at how much guilt I feel about not being able to “do it all” by watching him AND working from home. At the end of the day I love my job and know that it’s important to me to do it well for my family.

    1.4.18 · Reply
    • Oh my gosh congratulations! Don’t feel guilty, it’s really hard to do it all. I learned that in the 5 months that I tried. I was driving myself insane!

      1.4.18 · Reply
  6. Awwww I can’t wait for that. I love missing her a little because the reunion is so sweet 🙂

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  7. Anne [A Squared] said:

    We started our girl in a nanny share when I went back to work at 12 weeks. Leaving her was SO hard but she loves our nanny and now at 20 months she refers to the other child as her “best friend” and it makes me so happy! Childcare is so expensive and leaving your baby is so tough, but when you find the right fit… it’s amazing!

    1.4.18 · Reply
    • Awww that is so cute! I can’t wait for the day when Amalia has a bestie.

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  8. Sydnie said:

    My almost 9 month old starts daycare on Monday. I’m an elementary teacher and up until now he’s been at home with a nanny.. I’m so nervous about all of the germs this time of year, though. I do think the socialization part will be wonderful. I think he gets bored being at home all day/

    1.4.18 · Reply
  9. Whitney said:

    My now 11mos daughter started full-time (8am-5pm/5 days a week) at daycare when she was 3mos old and I went back to work. My husband had to take her the first day because I was such a wreck! We had no “easing into it” time, so it was definitely hard to rip that band aid but I knew we’d picked a great daycare and she would adjust well. We picked our daycare after looking at several and it was the most affordable (+ they were the only one that provided diapers and wipes!), clean and had great teachers. We have not been disappointed. I know that daycare provides her with the socialization and growth she needs and it’s so fun to see how she’s blossomed there!

    1.4.18 · Reply
  10. I’ve found the loophole in not being judged: be a teacher 🙂 It’s perfect because I’m working but the daycare judgers will focus on the holidays & summers I have with my kids. It makes it easier because it seems to be an “acceptable” situation for most people, ha! But you’re right- there is a LOT of judgement out there.

    Our kids are in a full-time daycare for 10 months, since I get summers off. It’s an in-home daycare that’s catered to teachers right now but next year my son will go to a bigger center while my daughter will go to kindergarten.

    It’s a snow day today & I’m trying to do some work while they play. These little glimpses of working from home just reinforce that working from home parents need childcare if they actually want to do any work! I’ve maybe graded two things in between making snacks, checking on them, changing diapers…..

    1.4.18 · Reply
  11. Britta said:

    Both my husband and I work full time so we ended up enrolling our daughter in daycare at 3 months when I went back to work. I work at a prosecutor’s office, and have unfortunately seen abuse and death cases from both daycare workers and nannies, so I had a lot of anxiety about leaving our baby with these horrible cases in my head. I liked the idea of daycare better than a nanny because I felt the more eyes on her the more accountability and less likely something would happen.
    Daycare has been such a blessing for us for many of the “pros” you mentioned. Our daughter is now 2 and knows shapes, colors, numbers, and spelling because of the daycare environment. I am convinced if she were with me 24 hours a day or with a nanny one on one she would not be at the same level.
    The sickness was the biggest con for us as well. Colds and fevers lead to ear infections and we ended up having to have tubes put in our daughter’s ears. So far so good this cold season, but fingers crossed!
    I wish you the best at daycare or whatever your child care plans entail for the future. It’s all about finding the right fit and being comfortable in the decision. Being a mom is hard enough without shaming and judging!

    1.4.18 · Reply
  12. Anne Fahlgren said:

    We had a full time nanny because we needed the flexibility of someone who could work late when needed. With our work and work travel schedules, having a hard and fast pick-up time that would come with daycare would not work for our family. We also needed to have childcare, even when our daughter was sick, and we could get that with a nanny. We lucked out and found an amazing nanny who was with us for our daughter’s first 5 years. When she went to Kindergarten, we switched to her cousin, who just need part time work, and our old nanny now works for close friends. We live in Brooklyn, and nannies tend to form their own playgroups that rotate around to different people’s places, which is awesome because the kids still get socialized, which I was worried about. Glad you all found a great childcare situation for you! It makes such a huge difference. I have SAHM friends who have a nanny one day a week, so they can get errands done, etc and stay sane. We don’t need to be martyrs to be good moms; often we are better when we’re not 🙂

    1.4.18 · Reply
  13. Hyelim C said:

    I used to be a preschool teacher up until a year ago! I think it’s great that you’re sending Amalia to school for a couple days a week. When parents enroll their infants for full time right away it’s a whirlwind for the babies but when you ease them in with a couple days a week it’s great. Now, I was never full time in the infant classrooms but I did cover the teachers a lot (when they call out, sick, etc) and I have to say, it’s amazing what they can sleep through. Eventually all the babies go to sleep around the same time and it’s honestly really adorable when all the kiddos play together during tummy time. Even if it is just snatching each other’s toys back and forth haha.

    Even in my own classroom I feel as though the kids behaved a lot better after being enrolled. Perhaps it’s because of the structured daily routine? (Not saying stay at home moms don’t have routines for their kids, but im thinking more of a school structure could possibly help). Our school also made the teachers update through the app with pictures, activities, bathroom, how much they ate and what they ate, etc etc. and it was great because the parents were very much in the loop.

    And btw, kids usually stop crying about 5-10 mins max after parents drop them off for the first time. I know it’s heart wrenching for you guys to leave but the kids honestly adjust so fast especially with all the new toys and friends to check out!

    1.4.18 · Reply
  14. Alyssa Thomas said:

    Good for you for doing what you felt was right for your family and work. It’s so sad how much mommy judgement there is!

    1.4.18 · Reply
  15. Michelle Geralyn Fusco said:

    My grandson goes to day care two days a week and I watch him the other three days. His daycare is great. Sounds like yours a lot of art and daily updates and photos. I think it’s good for him to be with other kids. I stayed home full time raising my sons. Everyone needs to do what works for their families.

    1.4.18 · Reply
  16. Kourtney said:

    Mama has got to work! You can’t do it all and the fact you know that now is amazing. Kaylee started at 1.5 for 3 days a week in a full time day care. She is very well socialized, speaks clearly, was potty trained by 2, and is extremely independent. Bravo for you and I know she will do so well in this new venture.

    1.5.18 · Reply
    • Wow, potty trained by 2? That’s pretty amazing!!

      1.24.18 · Reply
  17. I just love this post! It is crazy what a hot button childcare is, I was surprised. My little one goes to daycare 5 days a week from 9-5 because my husband and I both work full time. I own my own social media agency which, yes, I could technically work from home with, but I do have a small office. Mamas sanity is key to everyone’s happiness :). We did ease in with a nanny share when we lived in DC when she was 4 months – 14 months, but then jumped into “school” full time when we moved to Charleston and she LOVES her school. It’s amazing to see her knowledge level, vocabulary, skills and how fast she potty trained. Kudos to you for doing what works for your family, no matter the shade! 🙂

    Erin, Attention to Darling
    https://www.instagram.com/erinnicolep/

    1.5.18 · Reply
    • So crazy and surprising, who knew? I love hearing how well your daughter is doing in “school”!

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  18. Kelly D said:

    We started our oldest (2.5) at a local church “playschool” one day a week when she was not quite 2. I like that it’s a full day (9 – 2:30) rather than just a half day like MDO programs in the area. It was helpful to have her in “school” when my youngest (now 11mo) was born so I could give her undivided attention one day a week, but it’s still been soooo hard to work from home with such limited childcare. I am very fortunate to have my family nearby so I occasionally will have help from my mom when I need it, but still — the balance is ROUGH.

    1.8.18 · Reply
    • You are so lucky to have your mom nearby! That is my dream. Good luck with the kiddos!!

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  19. Too mom said:

    You can’t handle your own child already.

    1.24.18 · Reply
    • Shame on you! What a horrible thing to say to a new mother. We should be lifting each other up, not tearing each other down.

      1.24.18 · Reply
    • Holly said:

      And by “handle,” I assume that you mean you are able to stay home with your children. Congratulations on being able to make the choice that many are not able to make because they have to – or want to (gasp!) – work. Will you shame them too?

      1.25.18 · Reply
  20. Mama Bear said:

    You can’t handle your own child already and you can’t handle criticism either……your advice is for upper middle class white people not rooted in the real world at all. Your newborn advice was ‘ give up and get a nanny’ after only two weeks with your child. Now day care after only five months. You make me sick

    1.24.18 · Reply
    • Holly said:

      You are absolutely right: upper middle class people do have the ability to “choose” what to do for childcare. But just because you have the choice doesn’t mean you should choose not to have it. There is a lot we don’t know about Julia’s situation and for you to judge based on a post seems rather misinformed.

      1.25.18 · Reply
  21. Evelyn Graham said:

    You are amazing! You make me feel good as a new mummy every day (mine is a few weeks younger than Amalia). Love your stories and your blog. I think I would be lost without it. Don’t listen to that terrible mom shamer. We are all just doing our best. Big love to that gorgeous little angel.

    1.24.18 · Reply
  22. Momma Bean said:

    thank you for standing up against mom shaming! all moms want the best for their child and that means different things for different families. i am pregnant with my first child (early 2nd trimester). i am not even showing yet and already felt mom shamed about my plans after my baby is born. keep being the encouraging and strong mother you are!

    1.24.18 · Reply