Thursday, July 16, 2015

Daycare Shopping

by Meghann on July 16, 2015

I’ve had a few inquiries asking if I plan to continue working after the new baby arrives. Yes, I do plan to go back to work. Our current plan is (fingers crossed) for the baby to arrive in early October, I’ll take my 12 weeks of maternity leave, then Derek will take his two weeks of paternity leave, and the baby will start full time daycare in mid-January.

I would love to stay home with my baby girl full time, but the truth is Derek and I are a team and, as a team, we rely on both of our salaries to pay the bills and make ends meet.  I also really love my job and want to continue to grow in my current role. Both Derek and I grew up in homes with two working parents. To us, it’s completely normal and natural – not strange at all.

I would also love to really rev the blog back up and make this my full time job again, but that takes a LOT of work and dedication, something I do not have the time to devote to at this moment. Plus, blogging full time is tough. I give major kudos to all the kick-ass bloggers who make it work. Rock stars. All of them.

 

When I was about 19 weeks along a co-worker asked if we had started looking at daycares yet. What? I’m barely showing – do I really have to start thinking about leaving my little girl already? The co-worker had recently returned from maternity leave herself and informed me that her #1 daycare choice had an 18 month waiting list. Granted she lives in a different area of town than I do (with a limited number of daycares), but wow. 18 months? Her kid will finally be off the waiting list in August, a mere two months before his first birthday.

That was sort of the kick-in-the-pants I needed to start looking at daycares sooner rather than later and not wait until my maternity leave was coming to an end to make a decision. Luckily I live out in the ‘burbs and drive by multiple daycares on the way to work every day. In my initial research I found 5 within a mile of my house. Apparently living in the ‘burbs has its perks.

Unfortunately I currently have zero mom friends in the area so a lot of my research has been through google and reading online reviews. I did finally join some local mom Facebook groups, which have been helpful, but also a little overwhelming. I recently narrowed everything down to four options based off of location, availability, and online recommendations. Unfortunately finding a time to actually visit each location has been a little tricky thanks to our crazy work schedules and limited touring hours. Since I knew my 28 week doctor appointment was going to be on the long side thanks to the hour long glucose test, we both decided to take the whole day off and spend the afternoon touring daycares after the appointment.

US 28 wks

Baby girl at 28 weeks. What do you think? I think she already has Derek’s nose and my cheeks. 😉 

Talk about an exhausting process. We saw the four daycares back-to-back and by the end I could barely keep my eyes open. There was so much to take in and think about. It’s really hard to try and picture how you’re baby is going to adapt to a place when you haven’t even met them or know their true personality yet.

The first location was on the smaller side with just 36 children in the entire daycare. It’s run out of an old home and focuses on the Montessori teaching method. In my initial research, the more intimate atmosphere really appealed to me, however, the atmosphere felt off during the actual visit. The children/teacher ratio was higher than other places we’d visited and their infant set-up was not ideal. This was the cheapest location we saw (though “cheap” is all relative – it’s still a small fortune!), but also our least favorite.

The next location had my favorite director. She was really bubbly and very passionate about her job/ the daycare. The infant room was large and there were 7 adorable babies enjoying playtime in the center of the room. I thought I was going to like this place the least going in, but it ended up being a favorite.

The third location is one I drive by everyday on my way to work, so the convenience factor is huge. They also have a great infant room and everything met our expectations. However, this daycare closes 30 minutes earlier than the other locations. While we semi-believe we could make the cut-off, if there was ever traffic on the way home there would be no buffer to get there before closing time. Due to this, the daycare was removed from our list.

The last location also had a great director who was passionate about her job and gave a great tour. Unfortunately by this point Derek and I were so exhausted from the other tours that we barely had enough energy to nod and smile. The infant room was a tad on the small side compared to the other locations, but still comparable. They also had the longer hours we needed and met the rest of our expectations.

So at this point we’ve narrowed down the original four locations to our top two contenders. We still have some time to think it over, as both locations seemed to still have plenty of availability in January. While my co-worker did originally spike my nerves about finding a place ASAP, now that I’ve actually been to each location and realize they don’t fill up quite as fast as we had originally worried about, I feel a bit more relaxed about the whole process. It’s just one more thing to check off the baby to-do list.

How did you find your child’s daycare? Did you have to make a decision super early for your infant or did you have some buffer room?

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