Guest Post Written by Louise Casinelli Ryon

We all love the Holidays – that wonderful time from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. As a working mother however, holidays do present unique challenges like school and childcare closings. What do you do for and the week between Christmas and New Year?

Our son is in second grade and our fabulous childcare provider takes care of him in the morning and after school. It is his former day care which happens to be in the school district so we continued there as he began elementary school.

Our provider is very flexible and accommodating with hours beginning at 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Like most other childcare providers, there are days the facility is closed.

So with the holidays coming the challenge begins. Do you use a week of vacation time during this season? What about winter break and spring break? There is only so much vacation time I can accrue. I work at a non-profit and have earned 5 weeks. My supervisor is very accommodating with requests for time off but there have been a few times when vacation days were denied.

To add to the challenge – my husband started a new job a few months ago and has no paid time off.

If you are lucky to have family nearby they can certainly help ease this particularly scenario. Unfortunately, my in-laws are in Maryland, Virginia and Colorado. As our son gets older, we may have him visit for a week during school closings.

We live in Shelton and I work in Norwalk. My father and step-mother are in Stamford so there is the logistical challenge of getting our son to them for care. In the past, I have met my father at a nearby retail business at 8:00 a.m. so he can take our son for a day and then I go down and pick him up after work. My dad and my step-mother are helping tremendously but it adds to the already long commute.

Babysitting is also an option. My oldest niece and nephew are in high school and have watched our son from time-to-time. He has fun and plays with my youngest nephew and niece. It works out for the most part but I can not burden them for an entire week.

The same goes with friends. I have a neighbor and another friend of 25 years who can work from home. I use them only when necessary as kids can only play together for so long.

Childcare can be tricky during the holidays. This holiday I’ll just be taking some time off from work. What does your family do to fill the gaps?

Louise Casinelli Ryon is a program manager at a non-profit agency in Norwalk which serves people with developmental disabilities. She also works part-time at another agency in Trumbull serving the same population.

Originally from Stamford, she and her husband moved to Shelton 10 years ago. They have a 7-year-old son. She teaches Sunday school each week at the local Methodist church and coordinates Covenant to Care with a social worker from the New Haven area.

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