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How I Knew Childcare Was Right For Me

Childcare is not an easy decision to make. You know it. I know it. We all know it. This decision can involve several factors from practical considerations to the emotional realization that someone else will be spending their days with your baby. For me, it was a fairly easy decision to make because I was able to connect with my own personal values and priorities. While being a stay-at-home mom might be the best decision for some families, I had to be honest with myself and admit that it was not the right choice for me and my family. For me, that personal time to myself allows me to be more present, and more able to be the parent I want to be when I am with my kids. If you are considering childcare for your family, here are some things to consider that will help you make the best decision for you.

Happy Parent, Happy Child

“Happy Wife, Happy Life” holds a timeless truth when it comes to parenting too: a mom’s happiness is a key ingredient for a happy home. Let’s look at this concept, but through the eyes of a parent and child. “Happy parent, Happy Child.” From both a personal and professional standpoints, I strongly believe in the profound impact of a parent’s well-being on a child’s overall happiness and development. Which is why, I questioned the idea that promoting a healthy life for my child requires becoming a stay-at-home mom. 

Back in the day, having close-knit communities and families, and keeping children at home may have been the ideal situation. The support network of families being a walking distance meant shared responsibilities, company and a more manageable caregiving load. However, the reality for many families today varies significantly. Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom often means navigating through solo responsibilities with limited support. For me, the idealized notion of spending every moment with my child, especially in their early years, honestly, made me cringe. I love my children to death and at the same time staying true to my professional aspirations is equally important. Having the time and space to practice self care is also essential for my mental and emotional fitness.

 Putting aside the societal norms of requiring a parent to stay home in order to be “good”, I focused on quality over quantity. That means that the time I spent with my children was focused on being present, connected and content. Through therapy, I discovered the awareness that I was unable to provide them this presence when spending all day and night together. This shift in perspective highlighted the importance of creating meaningful moments over many moments.

Finances & Family

Canada and the US don’t have the same maternity leave durations. In Canada, maternity leaves last between 12- 18 months with some financial support from the government and work, so it is a no brainer to stay home for this time. In the US, you get unpaid time off and you’re considered super lucky if you even get 6 weeks off. As a working parent in the US, that may mean that childcare is your only option. For other families, childcare costs are larger than mortgages, so choosing to designate one parent to stay home is the best option. Depending on your financial situation, if you have to go back to work, your income, availability of quality childcare, and family support, you are more likely to need childcare if you live in the US.

Which brings us to talking about everyone’s favorite topic: finances! 🎉 (Aren’t you excited?!). Finances are one of the biggest influences on decisions regarding childcare, especially in the US where childcare averages $1100/month for infant care and $5925/month for toddlers. Financial circumstances can dictate your choices on childcare. And it’s not something we can easily say, if this family meets criteria “A” then do “ Scenario A”. It’s way more complicated than that. And it’s important for you to look at your own family’s financial needs and resources during this decision making process.

My Time At Home Helped My Journey To Our Childcare Decisions

As someone who lives in Canada, I had the option of staying home and spending more time with my children. If I was honest with myself about what I needed.; 12 months was a good amount of time for me. This is something you should always aim to be doing– being honest with yourself. At some point, I came to an understanding that staying at home longer affected my ability to show up as the parent I want to be. I considered what arrangement would meet BOTH mine and my child’s needs. By doing what would be considered ideal, based on developmental expectations (keeping them home) , I was compromising what was personally important to me, and what I needed – which was to return to work. So I came to the conclusion that childcare was the right choice for my family. 

Whichever choice you end up going for, is THE right choice for you and your family. There is no “one size fits all” type of answer . Coming to the realization that childcare was the right decision for me, helped me let go of the expectations of what it means to be a “good mom” and the guilt over not doing what may be considered ideal, from some perspectives. 

Is Your Family A Potential Source Of Childcare?

Are you a person who has a network of family members you can rely on for childcare? People who are able, available and align with your values and essentially feel like the perfect fit to care for you child? If so–this is a solid option for childcare within your family. 

Now, as fantastic as that idea is–it’s not an option for many families as your family may be physically away or unable to care for your child or aren’t people who you would like to provide this care with. Many younger families are finding connection in chosen families vs. related families. And most chosen families are in the same boat with childcare concerns. Grandparents might be doing their own thing or are physically unable to handle the full-time chasing after your little ones. So what’s left?  Well–for many this is where childcare options come back into play.

Finances VS. Family

My own childcare decision making journey involved weighing the financial aspects of childcare. Yes–we had the presence of supportive family members, and it was definitely a weighted consideration. But in the end it wasn’t the choice for my family and so I started my mission to find a childcare centre that ticked my boxes. For me that was making sure they were listening to me, upheld my values, gave me a comfortable feeling, was affordable for my family’s budget, and conveniently located to our home. It’s all a personalized journey, and we’re all just trying to make the best call for ourselves and our kids. Your relationship with the caregiver is essential so make sure you choose someone you feel you can trust. 

Starting Your Own Childcare Decision Journey

Choosing how to care for our children is a unique journey for every family, influenced by their own situation, resources, and values. It’s crucial for parents to navigate societal pressure around parenting choices, while still considering their own needs.

Through my own experiences, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of self-confidence, connecting to my personal values, embracing personal fulfillment, and understanding that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Let’s cheers to not being too hard on ourselves; we’re just doing our best in this adventure called motherhood!✨

We’d Love To Hear From You!

We always love hearing from real parents who are doing their best to build connected, loving families. So tell us more about your childcare decision journey. Did you have other considerations that helped shape your decision regarding childcare? What are your thoughts on childcare? Is your child in childcare? Did you keep them home? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s keep the conversation going!

If you’ve been struggling to navigate all things in toddler world, you may need something else. That’s where our TODDLER SLEEP ESSENTIALS COURSE comes in! Not only does this course help you help your toddler get better quality sleep, but others have reported that it helped them understand their toddler as a whole. If you’re ready to dive into the mysteries of your toddler’s sleep situation, enrol in the course HERE.

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