My mother did in-home child care for quite a few years while her five children were too young for school, so I want to make it very clear that, in no way, am I bashing any kind of child care. No matter how it’s done, they simply are not paid enough for the care they put into our children while we work.
That being said, child care can bring it’s own set of issues for working moms and typically is the first worry after the actual health and wellness of our children.
- What options do I have?
- What can I afford?
- Do I have any friends with children there who can recommend it?
- Are the staff trained? How much? And in what?
- Will my child cry the entire day I am away?
- What if they miss the bus from school to child care?
- What if my child is sick? Or how sick does my child have to be before I have to stay home with them?
- I forgot dress up day again. Do they have back-up costumes?
The craziness I am referring to here is when the best laid plans go awry. You may already have everything set up perfectly and running smoothly when someone gets lice, or fifths disease makes it’s way through child care, or your nanny gets in an accident, or your sitter just doesn’t show up.
Just this last week, I had to deal with a bit of child care craziness and it threw my “perfect schedule” for a loop. If you have children in school, summer throws us all off. My children are too old to be in a traditional summer care program and too young to be left alone all day, so I have cobbled together a mix of days that allow me to get my work done so I can really spend time with them on my days off.
Two days of my child care for this last week suddenly, and at the very last minute, did not pan out. I was left with a full 48-hours with no child care plans, lots of work, and three children who don’t do well with an intense work schedule.
Working Mom PANIC!!!
It did all work out but there had to be some give and take, and some re-scheduling, to make it work for all of us.
- Quickly peek at the summer park & rec schedule to see if their are activities to sign them up for.
- Text some friends for play dates.
- Re-schedule a handful of meetings or made them virtual meetings.
- Take kids to a couple other meetings.
- Drop them at the library for another couple meetings.
- Move some of my scheduled tasks (did you see that I didn’t post this last week?)
- Brought my kids on board with the changes so they could help with some of the meals and cleaning so I could work.
- Worked at the park and indoor playground so my kids could blow off steam.
As with many things, unless you are a working mom who has dealt with child care craziness, you do not realize the work that goes into creating a schedule or situation that you can trust for your children that will also allow you to work without worry.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard, “Oh, well, just call your mom.” Or, “just take a few days off.” Even better, “Don’t you work from home anyway?” (Funny, I don’t think I have ever heard, “Well, can’t their dad take off work?”)
Yes, I have called my mom before. Yes, I have taken days off, especially for a sick child. And, yes, I do work from home. However, I cannot always count on mom, days off, or a light work schedule so I can keep an eye and ear on my kids.
The point I am making here is that child care is not just another item on your task list. It is something that is vitally important to you if you want to be a good mom and a good employee at the same time. It requires mental energy and, even when it is going well, the mental load of “what if.”
(You haven’t heard about the “mental load yet? Check it out here.)
Child care craziness happens more often than people realize and obviously is not planned for (hence, craziness.) Thankfully, I do run my own business so can take the time to rearrange as needed. Not all working moms have the same luxury.