So I’m going to level with you… I’m a virgin. Well I have a child and this isn’t Jane the Virgin so I’m not thaaaat kind of virgin – but I am a daycare virgin. What?! How is this possible?! Your child is almost two and you have a full-time job! How?! The answer is simple: I have a village (completely composed of my father with assists from my mother and sister on occasion). The problem with this foolproof plan is that when my dad has surgery (as he is in a week) I go into a panic trying to find someone to watch my little angel/hellion.
So- no biggie. Easy fix! I’ll just text my normal sitter who is such a sweetheart and a family friend – I’d trust her with my life (or my son). Wait. What does she mean she has class?! ARGH! I forgot she was off trying to better herself. Okay no problem Stay cool. I have a month and a half to figure it out. Easy peasy. Except NOT easy! All you moms with your children in daycare know the struggle I’m talking about. Hell, those of you with nannies know the struggle. It’s such a crazy common problem that I could laugh about it (except for the fact that my growing anxiety is making me want to cry about it instead!).
Do I sign up for a daycare? Do I hire a nanny? Do I join Care.com? Do I bribe one of my stay at home mom friends? What’s the solution? With the rising cost of daycare/nannies it’s almost impossible for me to imagine how anyone in Los Angeles can make this work… Luckily, I found a gem of a girl on care.com and she’s well below market rate! This is a sign that I have clearly done something right in life right?! Perfect. Up until about a week before she’s meant to show up and I get a text that she didn’t realize that her house was going to be in North Hollywood, not regular Hollywood – a difference that means about an hour+ in traffic and so she won’t be able to work anymore – but could I keep her in mind for babysitting?
I immediately texted my friends with kids in daycare to ask if they knew of an opening, or they had a place to recommend – anything to help me navigate this new hell I was living in. I spend all morning setting up a new job listing on care.com (trying to ignore the friend in my head who told me that she’s heard only horror stories and listen to the friend who told me that she did it and her kids are fine), and calling the neighborhood day care centers to beg and plead for a space for my son.
I finally was able to secure an interview at one place (because let’s be honest – no one wants to take on a child into their daycare for a week and a half) and print off the list of nanny applicants from care.com (only 20 options!). But I get myself all jazzed up because this daycare situation means JL would get to play with other kids AND would save us like $300! Pffft! I won’t even need these applicants – $40 down the drain… People LOVE their daycares. Love them. They rave and write reviews. They won’t stop talking about how little precious snowflake became a mensa scholar only weeks after starting. And here all I was hoping was maybe more kids would inspire JL to be more chatty. So up the driveway of this in home daycare I go. The aide is wonderful, the owner’s husband to kinda, and the owner herself seems knowledgeable and competent. But there’s something not right for me. JL was fine running and playing initially, but when we start talking enrollment and numbers and I start feeling pressured to sign and leave a check lest someone else “snap up the spot” because really she is doing me a “huuuuge favor”, I balk. I can’t hack it. I use my preferred method of deferring something, “Let me chat with my husband and get back to you” and walk out. I can almost hear my MIL exhale a sigh of relief from across the country (“Oh I haaaated putting the kids in daycare – it was just so sad, and they were always getting sick”) as I call my husband and tell him the sad truth: between the enrollment fees, the daily fees, and the supplies we’re expected to purchase and bring for one weel we’re only saving about $75, and that I hope he isn’t planning to work late since we need to go through a pile of applications larger than our son.
While I wanted the idea of daycare to work out, it just wasnt the time for him. Or maybe it wasn’t for me… I don’t really know how to distinguish where he ends and I begin on this one. How did you moms know when it was time? Let me know – since I need something to distract me from this enormous pile of applications.