A new study has shown that mothers who receive paid maternity leave are more likely to remain in the workforce a year after their child is born. Of course, if you are a working mother, someone has to be taking care of your children while you build your career. There are a number of different ways mothers secure child care so they can work outside of the home. Historically, women often lived near their immediate family and children would be cared for by an aunt or a grandmother. Many families even lived together to make this communal childcare more workable. It was the work of grandparents to rear the children, while the parents brought money into the household so that everyone could be fed and have shelter. I don't know about you - but as much as I love my mother, I do not want her living in the guest room year-round.
Childcare comes in many forms. Some states have subsidized daycare facilities, or a childcare credit that can be used with specific locations. Every family situation and every work schedule is unique, so there's no way for me to know what will work best for your family. To be fair, I’ll give the most succinct run-down of the benefits of each option.
When I say "daycare facilities" what I mean is a large-scale institution that serves children that are preschool-aged. Many daycare facilities are a part of a larger chain for example KinderCare or Bright Horizons. Each facility can have its own special characteristics, but by-and-large the facilities follow the same curriculum and have to meet the same standards. That makes it easy to find a trusted name in childcare in the instance that your family relocates!
In-home daycare, like traditional daycare facilities, can qualify for state certification. This means that parents with childcare assistance can often access care from in-home providers. Logically, in-home daycare is part of someone’s home! Because in-home daycares are smaller by nature, they tend to offer more one-on-one attention. BONUS: since your child is going to be in someone’s home, their caretaker is probably going to be a bit more diligent about knocking down communicable diseases ASAP. Generally, caretakers who watch children in their home tend to be a bit more flexible in terms of vacations and sick days.
Drop-In Supervised Play
A new form of childcare has popped up with the advent of the remote office. Parents like myself, who work from home, sometimes need a bit of a break. While I can spend most of my day watching my kids, there are times when I need to really focus in on a task. To get my toddler out from underfoot, I take him to a drop-in play facility that offers supervised play. My favorite place had a cafe for parents to plug in and work while their kids ran around and worked out their wiggles.
Hiring a nanny can be either affordable or extremely expensive. Some nannies live with families, while others simply come to the home of the families they care for. Typically nannies are paid on an hourly rate. Be advised - you may need to consider paying taxes or providing healthcare for a nanny - especially if they’re a live-in nanny! Obviously the upsides are huge: one-on-one attention from carefully chosen caregivers that can provide unique talents (piano lessons, math tutors, foreign language immersion). Nannies can become lifelong friends to your kids and truly a part of the family.
No matter what form of childcare is most convenient for you, it’s best to begin vetting it when you’re about 20 weeks from delivery. Yes, I know that sounds way too early! But if you start early, you can edge out other parents who are gunning for the same few openings. Plus - you can make sure you’ve really done your research and feel comfortable with your choice.
What kind of childcare do you use? Have you found other ways to get back into the workplace while your kids are cared for? Share your tips with me on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3.