Well, today officially marks the last day of summer vacation and the end of my maternity leave. Cue the tears, second guessing my decision to return to work, and the worry that I’m going to miss my jellybean all.day.long.
The decision to get to this point was not an easy one. My husband and I had many conversations about what was best for Ainsley and for our family overall. It was a hard choice…it still is a hard choice.
When we started researching our options for daycare, we considered two choices: a commercial daycare and an in-home daycare.
- Commercial daycare was the first option we started to research…and yes, I mean research. We have several commercial daycares in our area, but the two that were on the top of our list were U-Grow and Chesterbrook Academy. Both daycares were close to home and had a solid curriculum which is VERY important to two teachers. 🙂
- Put your name on the waiting list as soon as possible! Infant rooms fill up quickly in our area so we scheduled a tour of the facilities when I was 5-6 months pregnant.
- Come prepared with questions: On the tour, we were able to meet the teachers and see first-hand how they cared for the children in their classrooms. We also had an opportunity to meet with the daycare directors, which is when I asked all of my questions. (Here is where a pulled most of my questions from.)
- Take notes: I’m blaming it on my pregnancy brain, but I had such a hard time keeping track of the prices and options for each school. I found it to be really helpful when I jotted down a few notes that I could reference when we got home from the tour.
- In-home daycare was our number one choice from the start, but we struggled to find one that had openings for an infant. It took some digging, but we’re happy we invested the time and energy.
- Ask family and friends for suggestions or possible leads. Searching for an in-home daycare can be challenging. Care.com is an option, but we lucked out and found someone through a connection at my job.
- Again, ask questions! When we scheduled our visit, I was ready with my notebook (yes, I took a notebook) and a list of questions/concerns. I pulled questions from this list.
- Call references: I can’t stress how important this step was in our decision making process. We asked for 3 references, past clients AND current clients, that we could call for feedback. They were very open to answering our questions and provided honest feedback about their experiences.
In the end, we decided that an in-home daycare was the best fit for our family. Ainsley’s caregiver is a retired teacher who has three children of her own. Her two oldest children are in school full-time so Ainsley will have one 5-year old playmate to spend her days with. As an added bonus, her son attends the preschool program where I work. This gives me the opportunity to see her for a few minutes in the middle of the day….something that really puts my mind to ease.
Returning to work is certainly a hard, but I have complete faith that Aisnley will be well cared for. She spent a half day at daycare this week and loved it. She’s still adjusting to the added activity level of a new home, but she’s happy when I leave, and even happier when I return. 🙂