Choosing an In-Home Sitter Over a Preschool

Choosing an In-Home Sitter Over a PreschoolA few weeks into working from home as a freelance writer, I began to see that the number of hours I was working from home weren’t realistic with my daughter’s schedule. My husband and I started to brainstorm how we could allow me the time for some uninterrupted writing while not plopping Bella in front of the TV for hours on end. We thought of preschool, a daycare, or an in (our) home sitter.

While there was a Montessori preschool about a half mile down the road several friends raved over, I kept hesitating. The school required 5 days a week, half or full. Nothing less. We didn’t need something every day, even half days. I felt that sending her somewhere that often kind of defeated the “working at home to earn money” deal.

We looked into some home daycare options but ran into the same thing: flat daily/weekly rates. I completely understood this, as they are saving a space for your child and obviously can’t fill it on a whim, but for our budget and flexibility it didn’t seem like a great option either.

With so many of my doctor appointments (I have a high risk pregnancy) more than a half hour away on changing days and times, I needed to know that whatever we chose for Bella was able to allow for the moments I needed to suddenly go in. I also wanted to be able to cancel something without still paying a hefty fee for that day or week.

We’d had a sitter (very part time) when Sam had been gone for 4 months and I was all alone, but she came so I could run errands without having to drag Bella out in the cold. This time as we considered, we knew we’d need anywhere from 12-15 hours a week for both work and appointments, with someone who could help in various ways around the house if I needed to go on bedrest. While part of me was concerned with the peer socialization aspect for Bella, I knew that having someone with a lot of flexibility in their schedule would free up the rest of the time for me to take her on playdates and other outings.

After a few failed interviews and weeks on end of solo parenting while my husband was in another state, I started to feel like I’d made the wrong choice. Finding someone who could be punctual and really enjoy being with children seemed to be impossible. I’d almost given up when we found our current sitter – I contacted her on a whim and she’s been making life around here 100x easier ever since.

By far, an in home sitter was the best choice we could have made for our crazy days and my work schedule. I’m able to have her come at times that work for me – morning or afternoon, add hours as needed, and know that in an emergency she is able to take over for a while. Which she’s done already.

I’m incredibly thankful we’re able to have this option and also that it worked out. In the future, our needs will change as we add a second baby and plan on homeschooling our children. I’m hoping we can keep finding people who are able to work with whatever place and schedule we’re in at the time.



  • Jamie says:

    I’ve done both options — including different preschool options – at different times during my work at home journey. I’ve found my needs shifting and changing — especially now that I’m working full-time (plus two part time and writing) from home.

    Last summer, we had an amazing sitter who I love dearly. It looks like she will most likely be moving this summer and I have to admit that I’m heartbroken. She typically came from 11 to 2:30 each day. It was perfect – I worked and she took them outside, took them to the park, made picnics, etc.

    Previously, Bo attended half-day preschool and the girls went to an in-home daycare for 2 1/2 hours a day 4 days per week.

    Now, they are in preschool from 8:30 to 2:30 (wonderful! Love the school, adore the teacher!). It’s still flexible — if I want to keep them home, it isn’t an issue and with sickness, early release, snow days, etc. it seems that they rarely go a full week.

    I’ve been researching options for summer and I’m thinking an in-home daycare that is nearby will probably work on MWF and then I’ll keep them home on T-Thurs so we can do swim lessons, gymnastics, go to the pool, and go on adventures. I’m sure I’ll have to work at night some, but I enjoy the flexibility of being able to enjoy summer with the kids as well.

    It’s just always evolving and changing — but that’s one of the beauties of working from home — it doesn’t have to be an 8-5 M-F solution — it just has to fit with your life right now.
    Jamie recently posted..Caramel deLites or SamoasMy Profile

  • Mary Beth says:

    it seems like anything where you need flexibility, daycare is not an option many places. they just aren’t flexible because they need the consistent revenue. which sucks! when i was a SAHM for a few months, and was interviewing for jobs, it was a real struggle to find somebody to watch the kids. i can only imagine what it’s like for somebody single, or low-income, or with different struggles. glad you found a great sitter!!
    Twitter: bloombing

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