I’ve been a work out-of-the-home (WOTH) mom for more than 12 years, so I would have to say that I have a pretty good grasp on the issues facing most WOTH moms. There’s guilt (Will my kid suffer?). There’s logistics (Which route from the office to the daycare center has the fewest traffic lights). There’s the lack of time to
catch up do household chores (you never really catch up). But the most challenging issue has been finding reliable, affordable, quality childcare.
From birth to middle school, this has been an ongoing problem for me – and as my son’s needs change, our childcare situation has had to change too. When he was an infant, we had a caregiver come to our home. She was a lovely woman, but no matter what time she left her home, she always seemed to arrive 15 minutes late – which meant that I was frequently late for work. When my son was a toddler, he went to a preschool that offered an extended day option – till 2pm – not so convenient for those workers with a regular 9-5 schedule. Finally, when he reached elementary school, we were lucky enough to have an in-house after-school program that ran from 3-5:30. Our middle school also offers an after school program, but as kids get older, they have other interests – sports, music, dance, etc… Practices and lessons for those activities often begin before, or at, 5pm – sort of impossible when you work until 5 or 5:30 – so you’re back to square one – trying to find a reliable babysitter with the added benefit of a safe driving record.
Some families are fortunate enough to have one parent with a more flexible schedule or a relative who is willing and able to help out, but not everyone has this option. For those of us who don’t, it’s always a challenge to find reliable childcare. It seems that there are very few solutions for working parents when it comes to the childcare dilemma and it doesn’t get any easier as your kids get older.
And that’s just day care – we haven’t even addressed snow days, sick days, school holidays, and summer vacations. That’s another post all together.
What are your child care solutions for families where both parents WOTH? Would you like to go back to work but can’t because of the childcare situation? What creative childcare solutions have you found?