Monday, January 23, 2012

Childcare Changes

Henry Jones is about to turn one. Can you believe it? He is almost an entire year old.


In the Montessori community, that means it's time for him to spend a couple hours a day in a community. By spending time with other children every day, Henry will learn how to contribute meaningful to a group (which will build his self-worth) and how to interact with others respectfully. He'll be inspired to continue to develop and grow by watching older children. And he'll have fun!

Although I am incredibly thankful that I was able to stay home with Henry for the first year of his life (mainly by tightening our spending) and wouldn't change that decision for anything, I have to say that I am elated to officially join the ranks of those who are employed outside the home. It's not that I haven't been working; I've actually been working a handful of jobs. It's just that all of my working has been squeezed into Henry's nap times, and it's basically been me, working alone on my bed (watching the video monitor for signs that my work time was about to come to an end).

Don't get me wrong: Henry and I get out of the house every day, and we connect with other moms and babies multiple times a week (through daily walks, baby time at the library, play dates, etc). But it doesn't leave me feeling sated and fully alive, which is why I'm looking forward to the next stage in Henry's development.

Once we move to Austin, Henry will start going to a former Montessori teacher's house three times a week for a couple hours. If Matt takes care of getting Henry ready and taking him there (just a few streets away!), then I can wake up at 5:30am and start working. Once Henry is weaned from his 7am feeding, then I can leave the house at 6am and be to the school where I'm working as the Director of Operations and Compliance at 6:30am. I can get in a full half-day of work before picking Henry up. Once we're home, I'm sure he'll need a nap, which means I'll have some time to blog. In the late afternoon/evening, Henry and I can make dinner together while Matt finishes up his work.

To cover the two days he won't be in childcare, I'm going to start looking for another parent with a child near Henry's age who is interested in a childcare swap. I could watch Henry + their child one morning and they could do it the other day. That would give me four solid days of working outside the home.

From my limited experience with this kind of stuff, this arrangement sounds ideal. Henry will get his developmental needs met, I will get to work part-time (which is good for my sanity/passion/bank account), and I'll still have quality time to be a good mom for Henry (every afternoon and evening).

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Sarah said...

It does sound ideal. Good luck finding that balance (always a dynamic equilibrium) that works for your family.

Amy Harrison said...

I am so struggling with this issue right now! I have a wonderful job to return to (mat-leave officially ends in August) as well as numerous offers and to be honest a little adult interaction boost would be lovely, but the thought of leaving Ollie for so long is scary!

Are there benefits that you know of to continue being a stay at home mom?

I value your input a lot. Your experiences have been very valuable to my journey - Oliver was born just months after Henry so the timing is perfect.

kacey said...

Was it hard for you to find a meaningful part-time job? My next job change will (hopefully) coincide with a new baby and I'm wanting to find something that's part-time/flexible but also uses my talents (aka preferably not data entry or perfume girl at Macy's). Any suggestions you can give for navigating this would be greatly appreciated!

Amy A. said...

I can definitely relate to your mixed feelings about being home. There is a lot of pressure these days for moms to stay home with their babies for extended periods of time, but doing that can come at not only a financial but also emotional cost to us.
I will be returning to work part time in three weeks when my daughter is 4.5 months and then full time when she is around 7 months. Part of me is scrambling to figure out a way to be able to stay home with her longer, (it's just not financially feasible) and part of me is so relieved that I will be getting an important part of myself back.
Then of course, I feel guilty for feeling relieved.
Anyway, since I have no choice right now but to go back, I will have her in a daycare by my work so that I can visit and breastfeed on my lunch breaks. When she turns one, she will go to a Montessori school in the area. Evenings and weekends I will be with her having quality time and giving her 100% of my attention.

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Kacey: I started volunteering first (from home) and then realized that I loved the job and wanted to turn it into a paid, part-time position.

@ Amy Harrison: I think the benefit of staying home is that you get to provide your child with exactly the kind of care that you think is best. P.S. I hope Ollie and Henry can have a playdate sometime!

@ Amy A.: I like what you said about giving her 100% of your attention when you're with her. That resonates with me deeply.

Kerstin said...

My mom and my best friend's mom would child swap with us when we were in kindergarten. This gave them each the time they needed to finish their graduate degrees and do their own work. It worked really well for our families, and my best friend and I are still close!

Kelsey said...

It sounds like this will be a really good schedule/balance for your family! I'm excited for you that it's working out so well.

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