Congratulations – you are going to have a baby! Where to start? Well if you’re anything like me, you went straight to the BabyCenter app to find out if your baby was a blueberry or a kumquat and then you went to Etsy to surf handmade baby blankets and hedgehog prints for the nursery.
What I didn’t realize during my first pregnancy, while I was busy reading books on breastfeeding and obsessing over every last detail of my child’s birth, was that said child was eventually going to need to be cared for by someone other than me so that I could go back to work.
Those nine ten months of pregnancy can seem to drag on forever sometimes, as you meticulously prepare for the arrival of that little bundle of joy. But trust me, those three months (if you’re lucky) of maternity leave will go by in a flash. And then, you’ll have to go back to work, and leave that sweet little baby with – gasp! – A STRANGER. And believe me, you do not want to start that search in the sleep-deprived haze that is life with a newborn.
A lot of new parents don’t realize this, but it really is important to start thinking about childcare well before the baby arrives. According to the US Census, there are a metric sh*t ton of kids in Denver. And 100% of them need someone to wipe their butt when they are three months old. I’m not trying to scare you, but put down the book on organic baby food, and start your search. NOW.
Where should you begin? New moms especially tend to only think about care when their children are tiny babies, and not further down the road. When you’re looking for care, think about what you’re going to want for your kiddo not only when they are a sweet non-moving three month-old, but when they are eating, crawling, walking, talking, screaming, yelling, and throwing temper tantrums about why you flushed a bug down the toilet.
It’s also important think about what kind of person you are and what you’re schedule is going to look like when you go back to work. What is your budget? Who do you trust? There are traditional five-day-a-week daycare centers, and there are in-home daycares. There are Montessori options, Reggio-Emilia, co-ops and large chains. Can your partner watch baby one day a week? What about grandma, or an aunt or uncle? You could find a wonderful nanny, or even be part of a nanny share with multiple kids. It might seem overwhelming, but trust me, pre-kiddo is the time to start looking.
Book some tours and get on a few different wait lists. Check out Care.com, or your local neighborhood message board. Chat up the other moms working in your department, or on Twitter or Facebook, or even in your pre-natal yoga class. There are some great local nanny agencies like KiddieUpNannies. You’ve got options, but you’ll have a lot more if you start early. I know it may sound intimidating, but you got this. There are tons of great options for childcare out there, you just have to find what is right for you. Try to find at least one or two solid possibilities while you’re still pregnant, arrange visits, ask about wait lists, and know that you may change your mind immediately once that baby is born. But if you have a view of the childcare landscape, making that decision will be so much less overwhelming. Going back to work is hard when you have a new baby at home, but finding someone you feel comfortable with makes all the difference in the world.
So stop futzing around on Pinterest, and go find someone to help you take care of that babe!