Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Something New

We are now going on our third day of being housebound--Miss Pink has had a mild fever and a cough--and I was almost wanting to take her to the doctor just to have something to do. But noooo, the nurse said it sounds like she'll be fine and they don't need to see her. So my mom is apparently wrong when she fears that it's the swine flu and calls to tell me what the paper says about the latest statistics. That's so comforting, as you might imagine.

I believe I promised to tell you about the other big decision I had to make last week.

The wonderful lady who has been babysitting Mr. Blue had to give me two weeks' notice. She felt bad about it but she needs to start picking up her other two grandchildren from school and she doesn't have room in her car for five kids. Of course I was stunned and disappointed since it was working out so well, but I understand because I know why she needs to be there for her grandkids (I'd better not mention why since there is a tiny chance they could find this blog and the family is keeping the situation private).

Anyway, I went to work with my head spinning. I decided my options were 1) put Mr. Blue in a full-time preschool/daycare program; 2) try to find other at-home care; or 3) see if my mom and Justin could split taking care of him two days a week as Justin had offered to do before I found this sitter. My mom is not available to keep him very often, and he couldn't nap at Justin's shop, so #3 was the least desirable. I only had a couple of possibilities for #2, and quite frankly I'm not crazy about how unreliable individuals are turning out to be.

At lunchtime, I decided to call the church-affiliated preschool he went to last year, where Miss Pink went for three years; they have a full-time program as well. Now that I am needed to sub as many days a week as I want to, I can afford to put him there. They have the same preschool curriculum for the FT kids as the two-or-three-mornings-a-week kiddos; they just eat lunch and an extra snack and have extra playtime. At the beginning of the school year they did not have a spot in his class, and now they do. The director was willing to apply the registration fee which I had originally turned in for the PT preschool program (before I decided to sub) to this program, so I only have to pay a small supply fee and the tuition, which is due weekly.

So here are the pros and cons.

  • I completely trust the directors at the school. We never had any problems with them during the whole time my kids attended preschool. The center is very clean, the kids seem happy, the state guidelines are followed, the classes are small with a good child-to-teacher ratio, and the food they cook always smells good (a weird positive, but true). This sounds like a lot of pros, but really it is all part of what I have said before: if I have to put my kids in a FT daycare, this one is a good one.
  • It is priced reasonably, only a little more than I was paying per day for at-home care. Which means I will not be working just to pay for day care; I will be helping our finances even though my primary reason for subbing is to make contacts to help me get a full-time teaching job.
  • Mr. Blue is really getting interested in letters and numbers, noticing them everywhere. Of course we read and identify letters and numbers, but he will like learning more about them at school. It's a relaxed, not-too-academic program that I think will be great. I wanted him to go to a school-type program next year anyway, so this is just starting early.
  • I don't have to take him in if I'm not working, or if I work a half-day. (Of course, I still have to pay for it, which I'll discuss in the Con section.)
  • I have to pay for it even if he's not going to be there. So if we have a week like this one, when a child is sick for multiple days, or Christmas, when I can't work, I still have to pay to keep his spot. This pains me. It won't be nearly as much of an issue when I have a regular full-time job. (Because then I will be the teacher hoping not to use up too many sick days. Aaargh, the trials of being a working parent, they are beginning.)
  • The whole idea of having him in a daycare at all. Seriously, I thought about not posting this list at all because of the people who could read this and think what a selfish cow I am to be working when we've managed to survive for seven years with me as a SAHM. But my husband and I really do believe this is the direction we need to go as a family. Still, being able to sleep in and cuddle with the kids is awesome and I plan to enjoy it when it is possible.
So there it is. We are going to try it. Like every change that happens in our lives, we will have to try to find a new way to balance.


  1. NO NO NO Ally, don't feel guilty about this...and the Pro list has it darlin', so I think you can entrust the wee Mr Blue in their hands and just consider the times he won't be there and you will be paying as a gift to his giving is easier to swallow than fleecing!

  2. Some moms stay at home, some work. Everyone wants and enjoys different things for different reasons. Your kids are obviously well cared for, not neglected, and most importantly LOVED. I think they'll be just fine!

  3. I'm impressed with how well you seemed to have held together given the short notice. You seem to have reviewed options and made a solid choice. Nicely done! I would have panicked for a few more days first, I think.

    Never feel badly about a decision like this. Stay at home, go to work, work part-time, etc. All options for moms to consider and sometimes SAHM-hood can work for a while and then it's time for the next stage. It's all good.

    And glad to hear miss Pink doesn't have swine flu. :)

  4. You always have such a great attitude even when faced with rough decisions/situations. I think that's why I like coming back here so much. I hope you realize what a great mom you are and how lucky your kids are!

  5. *Phew*
    At least there is a solution
    But I think the Pros out weighed the cons.

  6. Or you could buy a new car for the first Family Day Care lady so she could fit more kids in...

    Hey, you said money wasn't a problem!

  7. I'm glad it's worked out for you so quickly and you didn't have to search high and low for something. Been there, never want to again!

    Another pro not on your list, and it somewhat correlates with having to pay no matter what, is that for the most part the daycare is open no matter what. With in-home care providers (as you've discovered twice over now), if anything at all arises then they are not available. If they are sick, or need to go to the doctor, or want to take vacation, or want to quit, then you have to make other arrangements. But with full-time daycare, if the teacher needs to do any of these things, they get someone to cover and you don't have to worry about whether Justin will be out of town at the same time as your mom, or some other timing issue.

    I'm glad you have a peace about this. It's the same that I've had (except for my moments of Mommy guilt, which are become fewer and fewer as time goes on) that I'm in the right place for our family. Like I told Livie when she asked why I didn't stay at home, some Mamma's help their family by staying at home, and some Mamma's help their family by working. (I said this in lieu of a detailed analysis and comparison of our socioeconomic status if I work v. if I don't. :-)

    OK, I'll stop posting in your comment section now. Glad everything has worked out!

  8. Oh, tricky. Please don't feel bad or guilty or like a selfish cow. I pray the best solution pops up for you.

    Nice comments above. You must assume my crazy sis is joking any time she opens her mouth though.

  9. Don't feel guilty! Every mom, working or not, goes through this time. You have done such a wonderful job being at home, and now others kids will benefit from the things you have learned.

    I think if you trust the school, it is well worth it. And just think of those three months where you can snuggle the kids all you want! Breaks are a wonderful thing.