Daycare Conundrum

Things are rolling along for a job for me and I will be starting June 1st (more on this soon, I promise!). The person I will be working for is incredibly flexible, and is okay with me working completely from home the first couple of months. However, since things will become very busy come the start of the new school year in September, I will need to be at the office more days than not.

So, we have started to look into daycare options. We are on the wait-list for two, and we’ve had a tour of one of them (we hope to get a tour of the other soon). They both seem really great, so no issues there.

The conundrum we’re having is whether to enroll Evan part-time or full-time. There are cons to both:

Part-time
– It is more difficult to get into a daycare on a part-time basis (they give preference to full-time children)
– I’ll have to choose the days Evan would attend ahead of time. So, if for some reason I need to be at the office on a day he’s not in daycare, we would have to scramble around to figure something out.
– Evan would not get the continuity of care that the full-time children get.

Full-time
– We likely wouldn’t need full-time care for the most part. My plan right now is to work 3 days a week at the office, and 2 days at home.
– This would be more expensive, of course.
– Both of us would be away from Evan longer.

Right now, I just feel so guilty about sending him to daycare in general! So, thinking of sending him full-time, when he might not need it, is making me feel even worse.

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Comments on: "Daycare Conundrum" (14)

  1. Why don't you enroll him full time and on the days that you want to have him at home, you can simply not take him to daycare. It means a little more money, but the peace of mind of knowing you DO have daycare when you need it and the freedom of opting NOT to take him some days would be worth every extra penny in my opinion. You could even do half-days sometimes if you had personal appointments.

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  2. What WFLK said. Full time FTW! 🙂
    You feel guilty now for leaving him in daycare, but he will be fine, I assure you. You are not hurting or damaging him by not having him at home. You are not damaging him by having him be away from you or your husband. If on some days you have some time to spare and want to keep Evan at home, great! One additional benefit is: when you do have some time, you can leave him at daycare, and can actually do something for yourself, all on your own! Totally worth it.

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  3. What about enrolling him full time and working every day for a shorter period (like 9-2) instead of just going in three days? Then you have the same schedule every day and if you have an afternoon meeting or something you will have daycare available.

    All my kids have been in some kind of care since very early on and it has always been a positive thing for them and our family. Congrats on the job!

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  4. I agree with WFLK, GMP and Becca. Hubby works at home once a week, but we still take advantage of Monkey's daycare those days. He can always pick him up early, or we can use the time to get things done around the house – or even use the time to grab a quick drink and talk (not something available to us all that often nowadays). Hubby was very worried about daycare because he never went himself, but he loves it now. It takes a little getting used to, but really quickly has become something we both appreciate.

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  5. I agree that full-time is the way to go. Everyone else has covered the major points but I do want to especially chime that Evan will be perfectly fine there. In fact he will probably love it. There are so many beneficial things about daycare (for the child); it's too bad it's gotten such a bad rap.

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  6. Thanks everyone! I am definitely leaning toward full-time because it will just be easier if I have to be in the office on random days and such.

    I totally agree that there are huge benefits to day care. When we got a tour of the first place, we both agreed that they would do a WAY better job educating him than we would! The structure would be good for him, and so would socializing with other children.

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  7. Wow, I'm in the minority here, but I'd say save the money and go for part-time DC. If it were me, I'd just tell my work which days I'm not available to work in the office (those being the days that Evan isn't in DC), assuming they are flexible enough to be cool with you working from home on some days.

    I understand the arguments for FT, too, though!

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  8. Ella – I would definitely do that if I could say which days I couldn't be in the office. The problem is that the job entails a lot of event planning, and I won't be able to limit the event dates to only certain days of the week. So, it wouldn't be every week this would be happening, but just in special cases where events would fall on (say) a Monday or something.

    That being said, if that indeed does not happen very often, chances are DH could take the day off, or he could take Evan to work, or we could get someone else to look after him.

    So many factors! LOL!

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  9. It looks like you have gotten a lot of responses, so I will just give you a few options. Could you do 4 days instead of 5? that way you always have that extra day for going into the office and the weeks you don't need to you can just keep him at home? Or pay for full time and switch off the weeks? every other week thing?

    Trust me I know how hard it is to be away from them. I struggle with that all the time, but I know she has a blast there and when she seems me she gets so excited! Good Luck with whatever you decide. I work from home 3 days a week, but still have to send her to DC.

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  10. Alyssa, I'm so happy that you found a job, that is awesome!

    Anyway, I think it depends on your preferences. Would you rather save a little money, but have the occasional scramble for care and more pressure to be productive on your work days, OR would you rather pay more, and have the flexibility to bring him to DC whenever you want, and have more options with your work schedule? If you can afford it, I would say go for full-time, but I like the idea of working a shorter daily schedule. But if you are trying to save money, I'm sure you could make do on three days–it just depends on what you want!

    I can't imagine getting any kind of “work” done at home during the day with James here myself, but I do have ADD so focusing is hard for me . . . but if I were you I wouldn't count on being able to work very much while you are home with him, unless he takes long predictable naps and you are able to jump in and out of work mode easily . . .

    Whatever you decide, I'm sure it will work great. (And if it doesn't, you can change!)

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  11. My thoughts echo justadrienne. It seems like regularly keeping Evan home with you on work days would be about as guilt inducing as sending him to day care. If you're home working and he's there, you won't really be interacting with and stimulating him. Likewise, if you spend time with him, you'll feel bad that you're not working. But that's just me, and I'm terrible at working at home when there's any kind of distraction.

    Anyway, congratulations on the job!

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  12. Jess, Adrienne and EGF – yeah, you're probably right in that it will be tough to get a lot done when Evan is home with me. My guess is that it will be best all-round if we do full-time daycare, but have the option of him not doing a full day or full week.

    I guess I'm just so antsy about him starting DC1

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  13. In my experience full time care is not that much more expensive than part time. You've already got lots of advice suggesting that, but that's what I say too. I just would advise you to write a note by your desk saying “remember to take days off with Evan”. I promised myself I would do that when I returned after my second (since I worked on and off informally during my maternity leave), but I struggle to remember it's OK to do it when I need it! About to take my own advice and write my own little note.

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  14. OK, everyone's covered the FT vs PT issue, because (as usual) I'm late to the party. We did FT, even when I had every other Friday off, and I'm glad I did. Sometimes I sent Pumpkin to day care and just caught up on sleep.

    For the day care guilt, I recommend checking out Sarah Hrdy's book “Mothers and Others”- or at least the review of it in Science awhile back. It will make you feel better. Apparently, humans have always been cooperative breeders! If you can't find the review, go to my blog and search for “Hrdy”. You'll find the post I wrote up on the review, which links to it.

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