A child care provider you can trust is one of the most valuable things you can have as a parent. It may be someone to provide full-time care, part-time care, or just the occasional date night. Whether you need the care for work, or just for a little time off, knowing you can leave your child with this provider without any fear is something to be thankful for every day.
Which is why I’ve been feeling a slight panic over the the past few weeks. My friend L has watched Cordy for me one or two days a week for nearly a year and a half. She and I have been friends for over 10 years, and she has a son slightly older than Cordy. I’d describe her parenting style as just as overprotective, or more so, than me, which makes me feel completely safe leaving Cordy with her. I know that my daughter is lovingly cared for in her home, with her every need covered, with plenty of attention and guidance, and with another child for company.
However, all of that is now changing. Due to some sad events, L and her long-term partner are splitting up. She has been lucky to be a stay at home mom ever since her son was born, but now she must find a new apartment, and will have to find a full-time job to support her son. Her retired mom moved up to Ohio from Arizona just a few weeks ago, and will take care of watching L’s son while she works, but it does mean Cordy is without a babysitter two days a week.
I have been helping my friend as much as possible with getting on with her life – watching her son so she could go fill out paperwork and meet with assistance counselors, finding jobs for her to apply for, helping with apartment searches, etc. And while I am happy to be there for her, I am also mourning the loss of my trusted child care provider.
L’s job hunt has been slow going, and so she is now looking at temp agencies, which means that any day now I could find out that Cordy has no one to watch her. My own search for a replacement child care provider is also going slowly, too. We don’t have any other family or friends we could turn to for this amount of childcare, and while I’m sure there are several in-home providers who are perfectly nice people, I am too paranoid to trust a stranger alone with my child.
I’ve called several daycare centers and preschools (all of the NAEYC accredited ones, of course), but most have no openings for at least 6-8 months. Of the fifteen or so that I contacted, one had an opening, and I’m touring the center on Friday. My other option is to beg Aaron’s aunt for help again. She is an asst. director for an early childhood learning center, and she was the one we turned to when Cordy was three months old and my old job suddenly cut off telecommuting for all employees. We’re hoping she might find a spot for Cordy at her center.
The other issue affecting our decision is the cost involved. The one center with the opening is asking $485 a month for care two days a week. That’s a lot more than we currently pay L, and probably more than we can afford. My mother watches Cordy during the other day I work, but for now can’t help out more than one day a week due to her work schedule. Quitting my job is not an option at this point either.
Somehow, it will all work out. This is pretty poor timing – had it been two months later, Cordy could have stayed home with me during maternity leave, and we would have more time to find more options. But L needs to get out on her own, and I understand the struggle she’s going through. I plan to keep searching out other possibilities, and I know we will find a solution eventually. I’m thankful for the year and a half that L was able to watch Cordy, and I know that Cordy benefited from that time with her.
If you have a babysitter or child care provider you like and trust, be sure to tell them thank you for all they do. Because you never know when you could find yourself without that trusted caregiver, and finding someone else you could put that much trust in is often hard to do.