Before I became a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom), I knew that I didn’t want my children in daycare, and I can’t quite recall if my husband and I had a thorough discussion about me staying home once we started a family. Our first child was born December 23, 2005. I thought I had two more weeks to relax and prepare for her arrival but she had other plans. She knew Christmas was in two days and wanted to come home Christmas day. The day I went into labor was also the first day of the MTA transit strike in NYC and my husband decided to stay home. Thank goodness he did! Our second child was born June 27, 2008. He was due July 7th,on my grandfather’s birthday, but wanted to make his grand entrance on my father’s birthday instead.
We started the Thomas family in Brooklyn where it seemed like everyone had a nanny. After speaking with friends and neighbors about nanny referrals and possibly nanny sharing, we inherited our neighbor’s nanny and I went back to work in April 2006 after a four month maternity leave. When I told friends and family that we hired a nanny, people were a bit taken aback because where I was raised it wasn’t the norm. You send your kids to daycare if family can’t watch them. I still don’t know anyone who had a nanny back home. I didn’t know they existed outside of Mary Poppins and Fran Drescher on “The Nanny.”
I am not totally against daycare nor do I look down on others who place their children in daycare. I am just not comfortable with it. My husband’s job provides emergency daycare up to 10 times each year. We used the service once and dropped our daughter off. When we picked her up, her nose which had been running earlier in the day looked as if it has not been wiped all day. She’s never been back or to any other daycare since. A few friends have had children this past summer and two of them placed their children in day care after returning to work. Each placed their children in a home-based daycare owned and operated by a friend and the other by a sister. That was truly a blessing for them. I was not so fortunate. Had I decided to raise my children in Toledo where I too was raised, I would have followed in my sister’s footsteps and taken my children where they took theirs with no questions asked. However, I moved to New York in 2003 and I don’t have personal connections to any daycare facilities in the city. Other friends and coworkers were blessed to have in-laws, family members or retired grandparents available to watch their children. Our children’s grandparents are STILL working not to mention they live in Ohio, Wisconsin and the closest one lives in New Jersey! One is due for retirement next year so I am already plotting to fly her in for a month to take care of her grandbabies. Hope she doesn’t see through my scheme!
While I was living in Detroit, I knew a woman who had an in-home daycare which I would have considered sending my child to had I had children then. When I went to visit her, I was totally appalled at what I saw. She was upstairs visiting with a former client while the children were downstairs in cribs or in high-chairs unattended. I can’t remember the city, but just last year a child died from choking on a carrot that legally should not have been in the daycare due to the child’s age. Children who attend daycare also get sick four times as often as children who do not attend childcare.
So, since the birth of my children, we have employed three different nannies. We had a full-time nanny after the birth of our first child. She was with us almost eight months until I left my job at Time Warner working for the President of one of the divisions. My boss wanted someone who didn’t have “a life” as he stated. Someone who wasn’t married or had kids. No strings attached. Refusing to be shoved aside after another “unattached” woman was given my job, we had to find another nanny because the nanny at the time needed to keep full-time employment to support her daughter. When I quit my job in2006, I negotiated a nanny two days each week, a bi-monthly stipend, and a Black Berry from my husband. Why does a SAHM need a nanny? Alexis, the new girl on Real Housewives of Orange County has two and she’s a SAHM. But she’s very wealthy, or appears to be. But we’re not. My husband makes a very good salary and we are blessed. But it never made sense to employ a full time nanny if I was going to stay home with the kids. Why she needs two I don’t know. But I have one part time so I can run errands, take time for myself away from the kids to pamper myself, and to do various projects in order to keep myself from losing myself in the hustle and bustle of motherhood. Nanny #2 stayed with us for two years and left earlier this summer. After we moved to Long Island in 2007, she continued to commute from Brooklyn which made her even more expensive. We paid her to work two days, round trip train fare on the LIRR from Brooklyn, and she had to be picked up from the train station or else it would have been an additional$20 per week in round trip taxi fare. I felt like I worked for her! Like everyone else, we had to scale back a bit financially this year and the choice was given to me to either take a pay cut or to find a less expensive nanny who was more flexible than she was. That was a no brainer. I cried when I dropped her off at the train station for the last time because I and the children grew attached to her. She was an excellent nanny and took good care of our children. She cleaned the kitchen, did their laundry, cleaned their rooms…cleaned my kitchen, lol! But it just made sense that she seek employment closer to home. My daughter still mentions her name which tells me she made a major impact on her life. The current nanny lives just a mile away, rides the bus to the house, is very flexible and our kids love her. I love that the kids love her. This is what is most important to us. It makes me feel extremely comfortable to know that our children are happy when mommy and daddy aren’t around.
My mother has always worked. Daycare has never been apart of my life. My grandmother watched my sisters and I when we were growing up in Fremont. When we moved to Toledo, I was just starting½ day Kindergarten. I don’t remember who was home to receive me after I came home but I don’t ever recall going to daycare. At one point, we went to neighbors who had three children of her own and watched us during the summer until my mother quit her job and went to work for the Department of Education so she could be home with us during all holidays and summers. Ugh...
With the economy the way it is as of late, we may have to consider child care and I actually have one in mind. I haven’t checked it out but if it’s good enough for my friend who is very meticulous about her child, as every mom should be, then it may just be good enough for me too. Lord, help me…