My stomach is churning from the guilt. I couldn’t even look her in the eye this morning. Can she sense the potential betrayal?
We are considering leaving the daycare lady who has cared for our son for over three years and for our daughter for over one year and instead hiring a nanny. This potential change is not our daycare lady’s fault. We desire a flexibility that daycare cannot provide, most significantly wanting my son to be able to attend a half-day preschool program. I previously wrote about that logistical nightmare here on LWM.
We’re still not certain about the nanny thing. For one, a nanny is more expensive than daycare. Is the added flexibility worth the money? Sure she’d do “light cleaning,” but there’s a lot less “light cleaning” to do when no one is home during the day. There’s also the issue of finding someone I would trust, but I had that same concern with daycare and found someone great. I’m sure that if I decide I want a nanny I’ll be able to find a good one. I actually have a reference for someone already although someone else will probably snatch her up while I wallow in indecision. Additionally, I don’t know if I want the responsibility of managing a person. Issues like taxes and liability insurance are things I don’t need to think about with daycare.
Of all the cost is probably the biggest deterrent, but my next biggest concern is the guilt I’d feel having to leave my current childcare provider. She and her sons (one grade school aged and one in high school) have been like family to my kids, particularly my boy. Enrollment over our three years there has gone up and down, so at times it’s just been my kids with one or two others. My kids have been the constants. Our lives have been intertwined with that daycare. It’s where my kids spend 50 hours each week. Walking away feels significant. I can’t even begin to think how I would tell our daycare lady that we are switching to a nanny. Just writing about this is making me tear up. It would be like firing a member of the family.
And it’s not just her. How will my son transition away from being at daycare and seeing his friends? He still doesn’t really understand schedules, so the first day or two of staying at home with a nanny would probably be fine, but then I’m sure he’d ask about when he’s going back to daycare. A major motivation for this potential change is to let my kid go to preschool where he can be with other kids his own age, so hopefully that would make up for leaving his other friends behind.
I should also consider the girl. It’s easy to think that since she’s too young to articulate her objection that she’d be fine with whatever decision we make. That’s not necessarily true. When my daughter was younger she was very clingy to me. Whether she was being left with a grandparent, a friend, a babysitter or—for a while—even her dad, she would cry when she realized I was going and would be inconsolable for at least 10 minutes after I was gone. The only place that never happened was daycare. She always has huge smiles for our daycare lady. How would she do in the new situation?
Have you ever broken up with a childcare provider? How did everyone cope? Other than the cost and feelings of betrayal are there other things I should be considering in the decision to switch from daycare to a nanny?
Kim Z. Dale is an over-educated IT project manager and occasional playwright. She has a 3 year-old son AJ, 1 year-old daughter Lola, and more ambition than time. Coffee is her best friend, although she’s fond of her husband too. You can find her on Twitter @observacious
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