By Misty Guest Blogger from The Family Math
I knew from the moment I got pregnant that I would become a working mom in nine(ish) months. You would think that would motivate me to get started finding care for my child right away, but just like so many things when I was pregnant, it got put off a little longer than I intended.
Bobby and I hoped to find a reputable in-home sitter so Noah would get a fair amount of one-on-one attention, and we turned to friends to make suggestions of people. I was well into my third trimester when we visited Wendy, a friend of a friend who lived about 10 minutes from our home.
Wendy was basically a perfect fit for us, which was a relief considering the few daycares we made time to call didn’t have spots open. She kept one other child but only part time. Her price was more than reasonable. She had a Master’s Degree in Early Elementary Education. And her references were impeccable.
We started taking Noah to her when he was six weeks old, and everything seemed absolutely perfect. He was happy, getting lots of attention. But you know what they say about things that seem too good to be true: They probably are.
Maybe something should have tipped us off. Noah’s schedule that Wendy wrote down for us seemed off somehow, never the same as what we saw on the weekends. He was mysteriously leaking out of his cloth diapers, and she insisted on using disposables most of the day. She started packing him into his car seat before I arrived in the afternoons to pick him up.
And when he was four months old, she told me she couldn’t keep him any more.
I couldn’t believe it. I was blindsided because it seemed so perfect. And I was completely panicked at the thought of figuring out a new childcare solution for our sweet kiddo.
She said she would continue keeping him until we found someone, but we didn’t want to continue sending him to someone who had basically told us she didn’t want to keep him.
It was stressful. I had just started a new job, and I was not all that far into the whole “working mom” experience. Bobby stayed at home with Noah as much as he could for a few days, I took him to my office (thankfully they were understanding — I was so lucky in that respect) for the times Bobby couldn’t be with him, and I was using any spare moment during the work day to call around to daycares. We found three that had openings and both set aside time late in the workday to visit them.
The only good thing about looking for a daycare provider at that point was that we actually had a little parenting experience under our belts and sort of knew what we wanted and what questions to ask. We’d had the good fortune to have basically a one-on-one caregiver for Noah through the really early days when we had no clue what we were doing, and now we were prepared to find someone we felt really good about keeping him.
When we visited the center he currently attends, everything fell into place, and one of the things that made us feel comfortable was the fact that the director looked us in the eyes and told us that if we didn’t think they were a good fit for Noah to please take him elsewhere. He gave me phone numbers for other locations in town he knew to be good centers. He was confident in his center’s ability to provide quality care, but he also cared enough about children and their parents to encourage them to find the best fit for them. It was also the only one of the three centers we looked at that was willing to work with us on cloth diapering him.
Noah’s been there for a little over two months now, and it’s been great. He loves socializing with the other babies in his classroom. It’s only about five minutes from my workplace and from Bobby’s, too, and we’re able to stop by on our lunch breaks from time to time to check on Noah. I also save more than an hour in commute time per day, and that makes a HUGE difference.
What seemed at first like a major crisis in our lives has turned out to be something really good, and we have found that, even though we thought an in-home provider would be best for us, a day care center has been a fantastic fit for Noah.
Misty is a first-time mama to six-month-old Noah. She is learning how to handle balancing work as a media relations professional with caring for a baby, being a loving wife, dealing with postpartum depression and still making time for the hobbies she enjoys (like blogging! and baking!). You can find her blogging regularly at The Family Math and in much shorter bursts on Twitter as @mistymathews.