The Great Part-Time Child Care Search

Happy Friday!

This weather has been playing hot and cold with us here in Northern VA lately — literally! Temps in the high-sixties one day, the low-thirties the next… it’s crazy! January in the DMV has always been really unpredictable though. Sean’s and my wedding anniversary was a few days ago, and it was 66 degrees! For contrast, this was our actual wedding two years ago…

At least the nicer days have given me the chance to get out of the house with Penny, you know, give her some mental stimulation, show her the sights…

Lulz. It seriously never fails: put her in her carseat or stroller and she’s out like a light, and can sleep for hours! Try to get her to nap at home, of course, and she is apparently incapable of sleeping longer than 40 minutes at a time. Go figure.

Speaking of Penny’s sleep, we have, alas, backslid a bit after her incredible week of sleeping through the night, as she has been waking up multiple times at night again, wanting to nurse at night again, etc. It’s not really that terrible, I’m just evidently terrible at dealing with it since we were teased with those five wonderful, wonderful nights, lol.

I think this is just Penny’s way of making sure I don’t take anything for granted when it comes to her. I’ve been finding that with the uncertainly and lack of schedule that comes with a new baby, you really end up glomming onto any glimmer of regularity you can identify. Penny does something two days in a row? It’s a pattern! So imagine how attached I got to the fact that she actually did sleep 11 – 12 hours five nights in a row. That sixth night was… well, yeah.

Anywayyyyy, outside of the continued unpredictability that the nights tend to bring, we are also still trying to get into a good routine when it comes to our days. Things have been going pretty smoothly on Penny’s “Grandparents Days,” when she’s with either my parents or my mother-in-law for most of the day. I’m really grateful to have both Sean’s and my parents close by so they can spend regular quality time with our little Foxlet.

 
And, of course, those days work out particularly well for me on the work front, since I’m actually able to get all of my work done, lol. I can pop in and out, run out to meetings, make phone calls, and tackle my inbox without incident. On days when it’s just her and me, I have to say it can be very tough to tackle my to-do list. (Even if I don’t have any tasks that involve meeting with or talking to other people.) Which is hard to admit, really, because I absolutely love getting to spend as much time with Penny as I do (I mean, obviously! She’s the best!), and I feel so lucky to be in a job situation where I’ve been able to at least attempt to balance working full-time and being a full-time mommy simultaneously.

Buuuuut, I also can’t deny the obvious, which is that it’s just going to continue getting increasingly more and more difficult to allocate my time and attention to both things as she gets more mobile, more alert, and more interested in the world around her. After all, there’s only so much patience you can expect a 21 week old baby to have! And truly only so much guilt one mama can handle before she’s no longer being a good employee or a good mom, lol.

I mean, it’s like, okay, sure, there’s still plenty of time to get work done sporadically, because the baby’s playing quietly alone or napping or because your husband is home, or whatever. But even though you know you have work to do, you still feel like you should be (and want to be!) paying attention to your baby. (Momguilt.) But then you feel guilty whenever you are playing with or entertaining or just spending precious time with your little one, because you also always feel like you should still be working! You just don’t feel like you can win either way — which is why I finally (much belatedly) came to the realization that we need a little extra help.

SO, all this is to say, I’m finally looking into some part-time childcare options. I know this is probably long overdue, as I do realize most people don’t have the luxury to wait until their baby is almost 5 months old to figure out their childcare needs, lol, but hey, whaddya gonna do? I was naive and overly optimistic about what I could handle, and I thought that because of how flexible my job is and how supportive my family is, that I really could do it all. And while my job IS flexible and my parents and mother-in-law ARE amazing for helping us out as much as they do, I obviously still want to be able to perform well at my job. And even moreso, I would never want Penny’s grandparents to get to the a point where she feels like a burden or obligation. Plus, my parents are set to do quite a bit of traveling this Spring, so that’s just another reason we need to start getting our ducks in a row now.

Anyway, hopefully this doesn’t feel too out of touch. I’m very aware that my life doesn’t reflect the reality of what many working moms have to deal with, (going back to work much sooner than I did, having to enroll their child in full-time daycare, etc.) and I feel very fortunate that I do have the time and freedom to explore part-time options. The ideal would be for Penny to be able to keep her Grandparent Days, and for me to still be able to spend lots of quality time with my favorite little person, but to just get some more stability and support. So we’re on the waitlist for a nearby daycare center that offers partial week enrollment (a rare find in this area!) and I’ve got some nanny interviews set up over the next few days as well. A part-time nanny/nannyshare is what I think we’re leaning towards right now, but I’ll keep you posted on how things go! First step: narrowing down my list of literally fifty questions that I have for these poor, unsuspecting potential nannies, hehhhhh.

‘Til next time!

18 Comments

  1. Oh man, I understand this. We switched my daughter to three-day daycare weeks last year because of something you said: I didn’t want her to become an obligation to her grandparents and my aunt (her great aunt). We waited, though, until she was over 2 to do it though, so I also understand feeling disconnected from reality a bit (I worked part-time until she was 15 months and onmy 4.5 days a week until she was as over 2). Its a push and pull. I know my daugher’s caregivers aren’t getting any younger and I want them to enjoy her … not be overwhelmed or exhausted at the end of the day. Good luck on your search. One of the questions I asked was about what my daycare would do if my daughter got hurt (would you hold her? Soothe her? Tell her to suck it up?) and the answer I got was incredibly tender and thoughtful. That’s when I knew I found the right place.

    • That’s a great question, thank you for that! Since Penny is a baby I’d hope that the answer would be to soothe and calm her, but I definitely can see once she’s older that being a very important thing — and ideally it’d be great to find someone I can see working with us long-term!

  2. Katiesays:

    you should nanny-share with Fantastic Anne!

    • Aw, I wish Gretchen and I lived closer together because this would be really fun and a great solution for both of us! Sadly, we are about 30 to 45 minutes away depending on traffic so it’s not really feasible though… boo!

  3. Your wedding photos are so stunning!
    Good luck with the child care search. You’re doing a great job balancing it all.

  4. Katiesays:

    Just a FYI: Penny doesn’t look properly supported in the wrap in one of your above pictures. It’s really not recommended that you forward face in stretchy wraps because of the improper hip placement. Her knees should be parallel at least with her hips. My guess is she is probably over the weight limit of forward facing in the wraps as well. I would try FF in an ergo, although it’s really just not the best thing for an infant in general.

    • Thank you for looking out for her! The weight limit on the Baby K’tan (which is a little different than a normal wrap) is 35 pounds and I can’t find anything that specifies a different weight limit for the “Adventure” position (forward-facing), but I do think you’re right in that her knees aren’t up as high as they should be in that photo. Luckily she was only like this for the 8 minutes it took to film the scene I was working on, and I don’t really wear her very often actually, lol (she’s too squirmy!). But I definitely would never want to do anything that jeopardizes her development!

  5. Your baby is ADORABLE! She is so beautiful. I just had to write and say that and also I love how you obviously love her so much.

  6. Good luck with the nanny placement. You’ll do great!

  7. I know this is the last question you’ll want to hear, but I’m really interested from the point of view of somebody who will hopefully be having a baby and working and writing a novel next year… but do you foresee having any time for your second novel while Penny is still a baby?

    • Megansays:

      yes! novel, novel, novel!!! 🙂

    • That’s the dream! I would really LOVE to get back to writing and hopefully getting some regular childcare will be help me be able to reprioritize that in my life as well!

      • You are such a Superwoman! I love reading your blog and it will be great to see how you balance everything… I feel like so many people don’t talk in their blogs or on social media about how they get things done, but just act like it was all a piece of cake. It’s really refreshing that you talk about the juggling act, and inspiring for people like me who are about to head down this path too!

  8. As one of those moms with less flexibility, I really appreciate you acknowledging that situations are different and yours has probably had more flexibility than many working moms’. There are many bloggers who do not acknowledge this and it can be frustrating at times. So thank you!!!
    More importantly, though, WHERE is Penny’s Harry Potter top from?!

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