My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

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Friday, January 18, 2008

All About my Childcare Arrangements

Yesterday I wrote about bringing the baby to work. Unfortunately I never would have imagined a scenario where I could have done that 12 years ago. Childcare is one of the biggest stressors on a young family. It was very stressful for me through the years, but always worked out.

This is a list of of our childcare scenarios. I tried to categorize them as Sarah has on her blog. I found most were a combination. For various reasons, I couldn't fit most of our scenarios exactly into her categories. We never depended on Grandma for babysitting for when I was at work. We have never had a licensed provider. I also found that no one works just to earn a "little" extra income. The novelty wears off really fast even when its my handsome and adorable sons.

William 3 months old—Young female sitter in my house with her three year old daughter. Met her before the birth through an ad I placed. I didn’t know what AP meant at the time. She was a bf AP mother looking back at it. My days were too long for her, so at

5-6 months old, William was brought to another young girl’s house with a son exactly a year older. I met her through my nurse. She is my nurse’s DIL. She is a loving, nurturing young girl who bottle-fed her first son. She breastfed her next two children.

I took a maternity leave and returned with William and three month old Scott. Shortly after that she delivered her second baby. Watching four kids was too much.

Scott is now about 5-6 months old. We had a young, single non-English speaking live-in M-F. and the occasional weekend hours we worked. She had no other outside responsibilities. She kept the house straight for us, too. She was a relative of another nurse we worked with.

Scott is now 2, William is 4. They need more stimulation. My birth doula with 11 homeschooled kids at that time, alternated weeks she sent her 16 and 15 year old sons to cover the days we needed. (I worked 3-4 days a week). We tried one of her daughters, but my boys liked male input. Mary, a widowed mom of an adult Daughter with Down’s syndrome came to clean my house once a week. Her daughter is a part of the boys life, but not usually over during "working" hours.

Scott is 4 and William 5. We moved to Georgia. The teens baby-sit when we come to Florida for business meetings in their house. Not that they babysat much, but there was a lot of continuity. I didn't work in Georgia (and just so you know I was very restless without a professional outlet).

Now we move back to Florida with 7 month old David and two older brothers. At first they all stayed with me and John at home or office. Eventually, Mary who came back to help me in the house, became the Mon/Tues nanny. Mary’s nickname is “spoil them rotten.” Her Google identity is “I love David.” Wed AM, I am home. Wed PM (1-5) they go to a homeschooled families house with 4 kids, dog, pool, curriculum and organization. The now 14 and 15 yo teens in the homeschool family cover Friday. My kids have a great variety in their daily experiences. When our 1st Wed family couldn’t do it anymore, one of my patients with two sons, 11 & new baby, took over in her house and became our next Wed family. David stayed with me until he was 1 1/2.

The first Wed family bf all her babies, The 2nd Wed family breastfed the new baby. The two Wed families went to cloth diapers after seeing me do it (they are pictured in my tribute to cloth diapers post). Mary changed cloth diapers and promotes them. All these families since our move back to Florida stay in touch, read my blog once in a while, and have honorable roles in my book. I consider them very close friends. I tend to think of our arrangement "as taking care of each other's family." Its not just one-sided childcare. Well, the teens are myspace friends, not blog readers, but they are in my book. The teens mother, my doula, wrote the foreword for my book. The teen boys weren't keen on diapering. My older son chipped in here. My older boys knew the diapering routine.

Thursday I am home or they come with me if I go in. We never had a Thursday babysitter.

For most of our sitters, we were the primary employment. They were/are very dependable and loyal. My boys love them. Most had/have other part-time domestic jobs for women in their neighborhood. These families were available to non-professional families not just “2 physician families.” I also have AP mothers in my practice looking for kids to babysit and don't have any kids to watch. Their skills go under-utilized. Opportunities like this exist for those who want and seek them.

My sons are old enough now that I don’t have to worry about babysitters when I am at work. I don’t want to leave them home alone all the time, but they can manage if in a bind. If I had another baby, I would bring this baby with me to the office with a sling for everyday of the month :) . I could not imagine leaving a baby behind. I have created a work environment where I can do this.

I hope Sarah's thoughtful classification and series of posts and my experiences help you to make informed choices in childcare. Tomorrow I will post on the little things that kept me out of daycare.


Lauren said...

Thanks. I often wondered how you do it. Guess it's just knowing the right people.

Lauren said...

Me again. You said:

"I also have AP mothers in my practice looking for kids to babysit and don't have any kids to watch. Their skills go under-utilized. Opportunities like this exist for those who want and seek them."

I've been wondering how to find a sitter for Ruby should I ever need one for an hour or two. My husband travels a lot, sometimes for a week at a time. We don't have any family in town and my friends are busy people. It's hard to do it by yourself for that length of time. Can you refer me to anybody?

Permission to Mother said...

I will catch up with private e-mail responses by tomorrow and send you some info.

This gives me the opportunity to share another point. "I always had a sitter on deck." That means, even when my sitting arrangements were perfect, I always looked ahead. I kept sitter possibilities (or work arrangements) on deck for back-up. Many times I didn't need my reserve, but good situations don't just happen. I work very hard at keeping my sitter and back-up relations strong.

For any local moms stumbling across this, our local LLLyahoogroups and meetings (and similiar moms groups) are a good place to start.

Jen said...

I think it would be phenomenal for you to come to work with a baby in a sling.
What an awesome way to set a great example.

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