My Thoughts on Childcare Explained

While we are attempting to find a new nanny recently I had a few people ask why I’m opposed to putting Baby MPB into daycare or a dayhome (here day home are childcare provided inside a private home with a maximum of 6 kids).  And this sort of came up again last week when I inadvertently put my foot in my mouth by not articulating what I meant very well (ops).

So, I thought I’d take some time to explain my thinking.

First, in Canada the large majority of people are able to take 12 months combined maternity and paternity leave.  (15 weeks are set aside specifically for the individual giving birth and an additional 35 weeks are set aside for either the mother or father or some combination of both).  Families receive a portion of their income (to a maximum) for the year and their employers are required to have a job for them when they return.  I believe this is a great thing that the Canadian government has made possible for families.  Honestly, I wish everyone in the world had the opportunity to take the first year off to spend with their child.

And, I’ll admit, very selfishly I wish we had access to it! As we are self-employed we do not pay into the Employment Insurance program which means we are not eligible.  Yes, we could pay into it, BUT, unlike people in traditional jobs, none of our clients would be required to hold our contracts for a year.  So, the practicalities of our jobs means it’s useless to us because to stop working and NOT have a guaranteed job at the end of the year just makes no sense.

Also, let’s not forget that we are paying for an international adoption – $85,000CAD/$65,000USD in 1 year.  We chose not to fundraise, we received no financial aid and we had no financial support from our families.  We used saving and have some debt as a result.

So, we’ve work since essentially the day we got home with our son.  We hired our first nanny for the first time when our son was about 8 weeks old.  And we have taken a lot of flack from people for hiring a nanny.  By some people we have been judged and deemed horrible parents for our decision to work – the social pressure to take one year off is rather intense.  Most people simply do not seem to understand that we are not eligible for the government leave benefits. We’ve also had some people simply suggest that I, as the mother, should quit working for the next 18 years.  And yet, even when we tell people about not having government benefits and having to pay for the cost of the adoption, they still snub us for our decision and tell us we should just find a way.  Honestly, even if we wanted to, we cannot afford the type of lifestyle we want on 1 income.  And, we definitely cannot afford to live on 1 income until our debt is paid off.  We are not comfortable living with debt hanging over our heads, it’s important to us that we pay it off.

And, so in my mind, I’ve decided that I do not want Baby MPB in a daycare or a dayhome until he’s at least 1 year old.  He is now old enough to have a space at a daycare, which would be a lot cheaper then our current nanny.  But, I’m still not willing to go this route.  It’s not that it’s a bad route.  But, I’ve dug my feet in on this one and I know I’m being stubborn.  For me, it’s sort of my compromise – keeping him at home with a nanny is as close as I can get to taking a year off.  I’m bitter that we didn’t get 35 weeks of government funded benefits to be at home with our child.

Like many things about having a child, I just assumed I’d get to take the first full year of their life and spend it with them, and life didn’t turn out that way.  And so, I’d rather pay a premium to have a nanny in our home so we can get snuggles anytime of day that we want.  I’m hoping that at least one of us will get to hear his first real word if it happens during the day with our nanny.  I’m also hoping that at least one of us will get to see his first steps if they happen during the day with the nanny.

I am not opposed to organized childcare.  Honestly, I think Baby MPB will be making the transition to a daycare sooner then I’d really like as we will lose our temporary nanny as soon as she’s finished university and now looking for a job (and she’s a great person so I know she’s going to get a job).  And, honestly, I’m done with trying to find a new nanny as the search has been beyond miserable and pointless .  So, for the time being I’d rather live with the uncertainty of loosing our current nanny and I’m just hoping she doesn’t get a new job until Baby MPB turns at least 1 when I think I’ll be more ready to put him into some sort of organized childcare.

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18 Comments on “My Thoughts on Childcare Explained

  1. Thanks for posting this, it’s certainly understandable why you’ve dug in on this issue. Not much else has gone the way you wanted it to in building your family, so you definitely deserve to have your little one home with you for as long as you can manage it! Everyone’s situation is so incredibly different, I don’t know why other people bother weighing in with their opinions if they can’t embrace all of the facts that are unique to your family. I got a lot of flack from some family members for returning to work after my son was born. Hello, my husband is in medical school!! How did they think we were going to make ends meet if neither of us were earning an income?? Anyway, I hope you can keep your current nanny around for as long as you want her 🙂

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  2. Moms have enough guilt and worry as it is without adding child care to the burden. I chose a nanny because it gave me peace of mind that I didn’t have after we visited some local infant care centers. That said, as soon as Charlotte started walking, I felt a total shift in things and found myself wishing she was in daycare for the social element. I think my brain just felt like walking meant she was ready. Unfortunately, the place we want to put her in doesn’t take kids until they’re 2, so she’s going to be with the nanny until the summer. I’m just telling you this because you may find that once he’s walking you might actually find yourself choosing the daycare route with some enthusiasm!

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  3. I think that your nanny situation sounds perfect for you right now. I’ve never felt the type of pressure you’re feeling about staying home – that decision was made with nothing but Brian’s and my input, which was nice. I did go back to work but quickly quit after 7 weeks of daycare. It’s about 50/50 here in regards to working outside the home, so people are pretty easy-going about the choices others make. Staying home is not for everyone, and many days, it’s not for me. I don’t understand why some people think that all mothers should stay home.

    I hate debt too… I don’t blame you one bit for wanting to get rid of it ASAP.

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  4. It sucks you have to defend your choices to everyone. Super frustrating. People just assume that mom’s should be at home with their kids. If I could stay at home for the first year I would, but we can’t afford it! I also have debt and we want to buy a house. Therefore we have to make the right decisions for our family. That’s no one else’s choice but the parents, right?

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  5. That is all totally understandable, and not to put any pressure on your daycare search for the future, but have you looked into or contacted any daycares? When I was trying to find a daycare I ran into the issue of the waitlists being years long (for the good ones at least). I also know of an excellent “chain” of centres if you would like there info. They have many locations in your city, and my daughter goes to one where I am and we love it!

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  6. Geez people get their judgy pants on! I totally understand your choices but you don’t need my approval. You guys are doing what is best for your family and that is all anyone needs to know. Keep on being a great mum!

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  7. Now that you explained that most Canadians are home with their children through at least age 1, I think I understand why you have had such difficulty finding a good nanny: it’s not really a common thing in your country to have a nanny for an infant.

    We chose to keep our twin boys at home with a nanny for a variety of reasons until they were 2.5. Each family’s choice is their own to make and really shouldn’t be questioned by others who aren’t in your shoes.

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  8. I understand your position, A is perhaps a few weeks older than baby MPB and I cannot imagime not having stayed at home with him. So yes, I get how you feel about it. Having said that, we can also not afford the lifestyle we want on one salary… So back to work I go.
    I might have my MIL come over to take care of the little one foe 6 months post which he will join montessori. i also have a back up plan. I honestly cannot do home daycare…. i just cannot. I think your having a nanny so far is just perfect, baby MPB has been home and honestly I think its perfect.

    I wish you get a perfect childcare solution Asap 🙂

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  9. I think you are such a good parent to make the decisions you have made for his care! I’m in the same boat with no EI and I am getting the opposite flack from people – they wonder why I’m not continuing on with my PhD while full-time parenting a 2 month old… My social circle would be super proud of you for continuing to work so baby MPB can get a good life. And who wouldn’t want their under 1 year old in the house with them all day if they had the choice? I just don’t get the haters…

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  10. Why do others think they get a voice in what you choose for childcare as long as your child is being safely cared for?! As someone who has worked in all aspects of childcare (nanny, group, and in home or dayhome as you call it), I think having a nanny is a great option, my 2nd option would be a dayhome if I had to go that route because I feel like the care is more personalized and kids learn so much from being an environment with older children. You just keep doing what you’re doing and going with your instincts and don’t listen to what anyone else says. You know what’s better for your family and that’s the most important thing! Although I’m caring for A all day, I wish I could have a year off also or just be a SAHM. I hate that I can’t spend the day snuggling her whenever she and I want to.

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  11. Wow, that really sucks that you are out of the loop on the 1 year off. I think that everyone’s situation and goals are different so you will make the best decision for your family. It is hard because everyone has an opinion when it comes to raising children especially when it isn’t their children. You are doing great!

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  12. I totally agree with you in the nanny under 1 year old. I couldn’t put mine in an in home daycare and in our city you can’t find a center that will take a child under 18 months. I think the nanny is a perfect solution for the situation.
    I’m sure you have but I’ll throw it out there anyways, what about going back to work outside the home once baby MPB is in daycare in case you do try for number two, then at least you can get benefits, pay bills and get that much deserved time…if you want to do that of course 😉

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  13. I think it’s great that Canada supports it’s families so well, but as a Canadian friend pointed out to me when I was bowled over at Canadian benefits, Canadians pay a lot of taxes (i.e. pay for things up front). It’s good that you explained the Canadian family leave system for those of us unfamiliar with it. I completely understand your reasoning all the way through the process. As contract workers debt is a really bad idea, for example. Don’t let others’ judgements get to you or perhaps they would care to contribute to your adoption costs or volunteer to be your nanny at no cost. (Yes, that was snarky, but justified.)

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  14. What you did is perfect and many mothers wish to be the same – to work from home, but have a nanny at home they can keep an eye on.

    Im a stay at home mum now and thank God i have a luxury of choice. I couldnt leave my child with anyone ( my mum and sisters are ok) until he is at least 4 and able to tell me if he was hurt or scared by someone.
    Dont care what others say. You are doing a great joy with your bundle of joy and he is one lucky boy tp have you!

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  15. This whole subject is so hard. It is hard to stay at home, hard to work, hard to choose a nanny, hard to choose a daycare— just hard. That being said- we should all remember that and just support every single Mom’s decision. Know that I support yours. Xo

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  16. As an American who had no income during my maternity leave, I’m blown away. I took 4 1/2 months, which was only because I was in between jobs. Most, obviously, don’t get that here. I can’t believe people would so harshly judge you for not taking a whole year off. How entitled of them! Come here where women go back after 6 weeks because they have no damn option and can’t afford it. You do what you can for your baby and that is what counts. Screw what they thing. End rant!

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