I've talked a lot about the things I did for Henry that I want to be sure to replicate with Tate and the things I'm willing to let go. So far, I've been really happy with how it's all played out.
The one area where it's been a struggle, however, is the length of time I'm able to stay home with the baby after birth. With Henry, I stayed home for 14 months before enrolling him in daycare. I was still working during that time (e.g., I wrote a book and did some educational consulting), but I was his primary caregiver the entire time.
With Tate, I wanted to be able to do the same thing, but I just can't. If my second pregnancy would have gone to term instead of ending in miscarriage, our baby would be turning 12 months in January, which would have coincided perfectly with when I start back to work full-time (My work load is actually more than full-time already, but I'm only on the payroll part-time for October, November, and December.)
But instead (and gratefully!) we have Tater Tot who will only be turning six-months in January. I am itching to be able to focus on my work, but I still want him to have the benefit of being breastfed every three to four hours and to spend his days in the calm and quiet of his own home. A nanny seemed like the best option while he's so young, especially while we're waiting for the school's temporary facilities to be set up (P.S. We purchased on 9 acres of land!) and I'm working from home.
However, nannies can be expensive, so we had to get creative. We decided to try and set up a nanny share with another family so we could split the cost. I posted a message on three local neighborhood list-servs and was able to find a family with a baby just three months younger than Tate. I was looking for a baby around the same age because I wanted them to have the same developmental needs. Birth to crawling, crawling to walking, and walking to running are all very different stages.
I signed up for a month of Care.com and interviewed a couple candidates. We settled on one and she starts this week! The other family will bring over their daughter at 7:30am and the nanny will watch both of them from 7:30am-2:30pm, Monday through Friday. Then the nanny will bring their little girl to their house and continue watching her until 5pm while I take Tate to go pick up Henry from school.
It's funny how easy this whole process seems as I write about it in hindsight. The truth is it was anything but easy! It was stressful trying to find another family with similar needs (many families wanted part-time care, wanted to pay daycare prices instead of nanny prices, wanted to start later in the year, wanted different hours, or had older children). Then it was stressful trying to identify, interview, and hire candidates. There was lots of back and forth among the other family, the nanny, and us. It was so hard to give up work time to focus on this process. The irony! I had to give up work time in order to create more work time for myself. Argh.
At many points throughout the process, I thought, "This isn't going to work. I should've just signed him up for daycare. But now he's not even on any waiting lists. What are we going to do?!?" However (knock on wood), I'm so thankful I persisted and pursued a more creative solution that works better for our family. I'm crossing all of my appendages that it goes well!