For Women in Law By Women in Law

Dear LiL – How do you decide on the best form of childcare after returning from maternity leave? Signed ~ Undecided

Dear Undecided:

I do not think there is a right or wrong answer here, and largely it will depend on your personal circumstances. I am happy to discuss my personal experience though.

I am the proud mother of two young boys. After my mat leave with my first born ended, I was able to use my advocacy skills to convince my mom she should commute from the Sunshine Coast (Powell River) on a weekly basis to spend more time with her grandson. I am so incredibly thankful she agreed and I will forever be indebted to her. What is better than having your own blood look after your own child? It gave me piece of mind that when I went to work, the only stress I had, related to my work life. I had absolutely no stress about my young one being at home with my own mother (you know, aside from the guilt of always feeling you are sacrificing your family over your work, and vice versa…).

When my second child came along, we had to make the decision as to whether we would hire a nanny or put our children in day care. For us, we hired a nanny. I considered that if my child became sick and could not go to day care, then I would be on the hook to stay home. That was a huge factor that ultimately swayed my husband and I to go the nanny route (btw, it seemed liked my second child always had a runny nose!)  Another upside is that I wanted to come home to a cooked meal, after working long days at work. The last thing on my mind, after not seeing my children all day, was to come home and have to be in the kitchen, as opposed to spending quality time with them.

Of course, the decision we made came at a cost, and that cost was that essentially we hired individuals to look after our children that we really didn’t know (despite the vetting process). I must say that our first nanny and our present nanny are like Mary Poppins. But they all weren’t like that. I won’t go into the details about my own bad experiences, but bottom line is that on at least two occasions I was very close to quitting my job. The day cares were already full, and when you don’t have any local family to give a helping hand, it is incredibly difficult to take a couple of days off of work, let alone a week or two, so you can find someone who has common sense. I felt like my only choice was to throw in the towel, as I was failing as a mom.

Fast forward, we overcame the obstacles and we have someone now that is incredibly amazing. Now, my children are getting older and so things are a bit different. A part of me longed for this day so that they would both be at school and we could be nanny free! Part of me is sad that I wanted to rush their childhood for this selfish reason. So, if I had to do it over again, what would I do? I honestly don’t know. I think you have to assess your own circumstances and perhaps come up with a contingency plan. Bottom line is there is no wrong answer; the best choice is the one you pick for you. My only piece of advice is to stay strong, and don’t beat yourself up with whatever you ultimately choose; save the battle for your opponent in Court instead. 😉

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