Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Working Mom: Paige (on Finding Childcare)

I am a working mom (and I love it); but, if I'm being honest, I feel like most days I'm more "surviving" and less "making it work."  So... I enlisted the help of some dear blog friends to share their experiences, advice, lessons, and encouragement on all kinds of topics related to life balancing a job outside the home and a family. I think this goes without saying, but please know that this series is - in no way - meant to belittle or undermine the work of stay-at-home moms - you are doing an incredibly important JOB, and I have so much respect for you!  That said, I do feel like working moms are sometimes under-represented in the internet world... So, my hope is that this will be a place for working moms of the blogosphere to unite and feel understood, connected, strengthened, and supported (plus, maybe pick up a tip or two)!   Overall, I hope this will be a reminder that (regardless of your situation), you are NOT alone, and you are doing a darn good job! Please introduce yourself and  "join the conversation" in the comments.  

(More from me on being a working mom and all the posts in this series here.)
And now, I'm proud to introduce you to my blog-friend and fellow working mama, Paige.  Today, Paige is sharing a little about her experience finding (and keeping) good childcare. I know for me, and I think most working moms, this is one of the hardest and most important aspects of "making it work."  A good childcare set-up can, literally, make or break your experience.  (One day soon I'm going to share about our AMAZING Jennifer and the things I've learned about this.)  Hope you enjoy Paige's story!

I was so excited when Elizabeth launched the Making it Work as a Working Mom series and was asking for working moms to contribute. I knew that this time I actually had some "stuff" to contribute since, I am a working mom and I've adopted it as part of my little mantra/motto/personal brand or whatever you want to call it. It goes a little something like this...I'm Paige, a working Mom trying hard to balance life, love and my career — all with a smile on my face. There you have it. Me in a nutshell. Well, there is so much more, but I'll get on with it already!
So, E asked me to write about babysitters, and I thought this would be a great topic for me to share because, in addition to worrying so many [pre-baby and postpartum] nights and days about who would watch our baby when I returned to work after my maternity leave, we also lost our very dear babysitter that I trusted with my life this past summer...

I was due with our first baby on May 24, 2011. I knew that I could depend on my mother to watch our child two days a week, since she had a flexible schedule at her job in the dental office and worked on Saturdays, freeing up days during the week. She was also super excited to do it. My mother in law had a few more years at her job in the elementary school until she could retire comfortably. We deemed her our back up sitter, since she had accumulated lots of sick time working in the schools over the years. We started spreading the word that we needed a babysitter to family and friends. I did the best thing I [felt] I could do — I spread the word to a bunch of friends via Facebook. "We are looking for a part-time babysitter (3 days per week) in our home (insert location) starting this fall. Please let us know if you know anyone interested. Thanks in advance." Our first friend-of-a-friend — after setting up a meeting with us in our home — decided she needed full-time work and pay, so she was out. I started to get upset and then felt silly because after all, things always work out (right?) and for golly sake I was still pregnant and that left me time to find someone. A few weeks later another friend-of-a-friend surfaced. A woman in her fifties who had been watching children for about eighteen years. She lived local and had one grown daughter. Her name was Judy. Judy met with us in early April when I was still sporting my big, round belly. She came with a hand-written resume and a list of references and the names of all the parents of the children she previously watched. I loved that! She explained that she had watched a little boy since he was eight weeks old and his mother went back to work. Now that little boy was heading to kindergarten, so she was looking for a new gig. She was pleasant and once her references checked out and gave her rave reviews, we hired her to watch our baby three days a week in our home. Over the summer {while I was home on maternity leave} Judy visited Molly and I could see how excited she was to meet her. She had watched little boys for the last few years and was so excited to bond with a little girl! We knew, even before Judy started working for us, that she was going to be great. We knew Judy was the right choice. We knew she would fast become part of our family. When I returned to work after a sixteen week maternity leave, Judy started watching our daughter on Tuesday, September 13, 2011. She watched Molly in our home, which was very important to us, and very helpful for me. She was prompt, knowledgeable and as I said before, I trusted her with my life — my daughter. In the beginning I had such anxiety about leaving my baby and going to work, but Judy was so comforting and understanding. She never took my feelings for granted and was always supportive. I phoned in twice a day and Judy assured me things were going well. She even kept a journal with entries of daily happenings with Molly — when she slept, cried, laughed and pooped — things only a mother would love!

On July 23, 2013, our Judy passed away very suddenly while on vacation with her family in Florida. Her passing rocked our world. At first we didn't even think of the obvious — who would watch our child now? All we could do was focus on how sad and devastating this was. Once the initial shock was over, we knew we had to focus on getting things "back to normal" as the fall was inching closer, and Molly was going to be going back to her Montessori school program two half days per week. We needed a new babysitter. After careful consideration and a few very positive recommendations, this time our search took us online to Care.com, a company founded in 2006 that offers care for children, seniors, homes and pets. The way it works is that you create a profile or account (for free) to start browsing people in your area that are available. You can find out their location, their age, see a photo, and see their hourly rate. You can find out their services, as in cooking, driving, laundry, travel, etc. if those are also things you are looking for and they are willing to do. You can see their previous experiences and read their reviews. For a small fee you can upgrade and this service allows you to post jobs with the specifics you are looking for, and allows people on the site to contact you, via the system, not personally, yet. In addition, once you have paid the fee and upgraded your account, you can learn more about their background and see if they have gone though the background check, if they smoke, if they know CPR, if they are comfortable working with children with disabilities, pets, etc. We confidently upgraded our profile to connect with people in our area and start setting up interviews. After connecting with a local woman on Care.com and having a few conversations back and forth via email, we met in person and toured her home, just my husband and I at first. The fact that our daughter would be dropped off at her house was new for us. But, since Molly was now two and a half years old, we thought we would try this. She also watched another little girl two of the days Molly would be there and, it turns out this would be a great thing and very comforting for our daughter.


At first, I have to say, I was a bit skeptical about using the site to find a caregiver for my child, but now that we have hired our babysitter and have been working with her for a few months, it is clear that this site worked really well for us. Molly loves the days she goes to Miss Kerrie's house! I would absolutely recommend Care.com to other people looking for a nanny/sitter, and have. (Note: I am not being compensated by the company. I just like to help fellow mamas!)

Thanks to Elizabeth for putting this series together. I was so happy to participate and have enjoyed reading the other working moms entries!
Read more from Paige at her blog This Little Life.
THANKS PAIGE!

What about you?  What kind of childcare works best for your family?
How did you decide on it? 

4 comments:

  1. Love this one! I'm not a mother, but I'm a babysitter!! I love care.com too, glad to see it get some publicity!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I totally agree that childcare you trust is so important. Our girls go to our inlaws twice a week and a babysitter three times a week. I feel truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life to take care of our little ones.
    I have also had friends (both babysitters and moms) that have had great success on care.com.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post--this is such a critical part of being a working mom!

    ReplyDelete

Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!


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