Parents Working From Home and Childcare Challenges (3 Options You Need to Know)

For mothers (and fathers) working at any stage of a child’s life is a double-edged sword. You are driven to provide for the kids, but you also miss out on so much while doing so.

I am the mother of 5 kids and I have struggled with this for most of their lives. Three are grown and gone (26, 25, 21), one is about to graduate high school (17), and then there is Little Mister. He is only 4, and he is my Tiny Lord and Master.

Like all of my kids, he was breastfed. When I first went back to work this was problematic because I had to pump for him, but I had no pump. It wasn’t planned that way, the time just got away from me.

This was the first time I had to do this. I usually did not go back to work at all while my kids were small enough to need breastfeeding. I had to rewire my brain for it because it was harder to do emotionally than anything else.

Making It Work

I got a sling and kept him with me as long as I could, but it came to a point where he got too wriggly and I had to pass him off. What you have to understand is this: I went back to work when RahRah was only 4 weeks old, so both of us were forcing the matter, I guess.

My elder kids and my mom came to my rescue. At the time, I also had a live-in on-call sitter who worked for room and board.

And the occasional handful of Hershey’s Kisses.

I miss her a lot.

This is a sweet set up if you can get it. For those that can’t get it, what do you do?

Where Are These People?

Care.com

While I was slinging it with RahRah I did look into other options because you never know when you will need a backup or a Plan B. Care.com is the site where so many people sent me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take advantage of it because I couldn’t guarantee I would have the spare funds to pay the lady.

But for those that do have the funds, it’s very easy and free to register. The site is extremely intuitive. Just click the link you need to get what you want.

Care.com

Moonlighting.com

I also looked at Moonlighting.com. Moonlighting.com is a freelance job site. I interviewed quite a few people listed here, and they were all earnest and easy to talk to. Like Care.com, you can filter for your area and view profiles of sitters and nannies that are looking to take care of little ones.

Moonlighting.com

Facebook Marketplace

I never posted a job on Care.com or Moonlighting.com. Instead, I went to what it seems I always do: Facebook. I know, I know. It should get old but Zuckerberg’s Beast has merit.

Facebook Marketplace: Childcare

I posted this ad in several Facebook groups for people looking for childcare and/or babysitting gigs:

ISO sitter for 2 mth old, 5d a week.

Mon/Tues 1030a-915p
Wed-Fri 1130a-915p.
In my home. Must be comfortable with large dog.

Child is breastfed and I will take him on my breaks/lunch.
Reply with your desired rate.

 

I got several excellent replies from ladies I’m sure would’ve been wonderful with my RahRah. Again, I couldn’t find the room in my budget to properly compensate anyone who needed to make a living at this.

But wait…

Other options are completely dependent on your budget. If you are receiving public assistance, you can contact Human Services. They have state certified sitters that are either in their homes or in a traditional daycare center. You may qualify for vouchers or a reduced rate, depending on your circumstances and what is available in your area.

Note: You can also ask around about the Neighborhood Sitter Lady (historically closely associated with the Neighborhood Candy Lady).

In our area, we can dial 211 for information on options from the Department of Human Services (DHHS). Other states I have lived in (Florida, Louisiana) use either 611 or 811.

Look into it, do some research and do not be afraid to interview and decline a candidate. If you like her/him but the rate is just a bit out of range, you can try to negotiate something that satisfies both parties.

To avoid conflict (and for tax purposes) putting everything on paper is a good idea. Pay with money orders or have your sitter write you a receipt. In many cases, doing both is the best way to keep everything straight.

Note: If you pay your sitter in cash, you absolutely should get and keep your receipts every time you pay.

People that take care of kids for a living usually do it because they truly love being around children. Other people’s children.

All day.

Really.

It is not unusual to find a sitter that will do what s/he can to help you get what you need. Never forget, however, that this is their job. They have bills just like you. Respect their time and their service, just as you would want yours respected.

If you have a problem paying, let them know. Work with them, and uphold any agreements made to catch up.

Tell It Like it Is

Be specific about exactly what you need, meaning:

  • Seeking childcare (age(s), gender, special needs, allergies)
  • Where? Your home or theirs? Prefer a center?
  • Will you (mom) drop off/pick up?
  • Do they (sitter) pick up/drop off? (driving record? insurance? car seat?)

 

Be specific about the person you’re looking for:

  • Smoker/Non-smoker?
  • Vape/e-cig OK?
  • OK around animals?
  • CPR Certified?
  • Nutritionally proficient?
  • Allergic to cats/dogs/birds/fish spit?

 

Include anything extra you might want them to do if needed:

  • Light housework
  • Minimal cooking
  • Walk the dog
  • Daily parakeet duet
  • Fish aerobics
  • Iguana descaling

 

Ask questions about what they offer and what they will and will not do:

  • Breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks
  • Hours and days of operation
  • Charge for late pickup/early drop off?
  • Charged for days child is not in their care?
  • Charge for no-show?
  • Supply diapers/wipes/formula?

 

There should be a form that walks you through most if not all of this if you are going through Care.com, Moonlighting.com or a similar site. It should be no problem to narrow your choices to exactly what you need. You can also set filters and add people you want to contact to a list.

Bottom Line

This is your child, and you cannot be too careful ever, ever with who is in charge of your Most Precious. You cannot focus on work if you are stressed over what’s happening with your tiny one.

Handle this as you handle pretty much anything else you do as a Mom/Dad trying to work -at home or otherwise- and make it work.

 

Disclaimer:

I have not been compensated or solicited by Care.com or Moonlighting.com or any of their affiliates, associates, employees or agents. The above information is from my own experience only and should not be factored in when deciding whether or not to utilize these services. I have not been nor am I now affiliated with Care.com or Moonlighting.com other than registering as a prospective customer

 

Have you been looking for childcare as a WAHM/WAHD, freelancer or remote worker? Do you know of other resources for those that need childcare?

Tell me about it!

Till later,

Gig on

 

8 thoughts on “Parents Working From Home and Childcare Challenges (3 Options You Need to Know)

  1. I found the advice you provided so useful for working mothers with young children needing day care. Your checklist of questions to ask was comprehensive. I wouldn’t have thought about half of them and I am sure others wouldn’t either. Using your own experience with your little boy gave this the personal touch. 

    Excellent job! 

    1. Edwin,

      Thank you so much. 

      After 5 kids, you think of these things automatically. I remember packing a bag full of diapers, wipes. snacks and spare clothes for my kids every day. Now Little Mister runs around the living room in PJs while I work nearby. He is never out of my eyeshot or earshot. 

      I worry that his freedom now may make him a bit unruly when he goes to school but I figure I’ll deal with that when I have to. 

      Thanks again for stopping by. Take care.

      Gwendolyn J

  2. It is hard to think about leaving your child in the hands of a child care worker. A parent must be careful enough in choosing a babysitter or a daycare that can assist you in taking care of your baby.  There are other options as well like asking a family/relative to help but of course, we also have to consider that family member’s availability. Good to know there are options like this available in most parts of the community to help working moms in enabling them to go back to work without compromising the needs of their babies. Of course, you mentioned about things to consider like laying everything on the table – from issues of smoking to doing some menial tasks. I think it’s a good step to establish a good relationship between parents and babysitter/nanny. A working agreement helps both parties to make things work efficient and effective.

    1. I would prefer leaving my kids with family, but most of my family was working as much as I was at the time. In fact, I was helping my mother take care of my baby sister & brother (twins) when I was not working myself. 

      If we still had the insular family units we once did, the childcare industry would not be nearly as big as it is now. Families used to stay together if not in the same house at least close enough to pass kids back and forth easily. 

      Aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents were the designated sitters, and back then, most mothers were able to stay home with the kids and were in fact expected to. 

      Advances in technology are bringing us close to this possibility, and I hope this information is helpful for those parents that continue to work either in or out of the home.

      Keeping everything upfront and on paper can help eliminate misunderstandings as well as clarifying what roles you and your sitter agree will be filled. I have noticed a lot of people in traditional jobs saying, “That’s not my job” or “I don’t get paid for that” when tasked with something they rather not do. 

      So it is imperative that anyone we deal with knows exactly what their job is and what they are getting paid to do. 

      Thanks for stopping by, and take care,

      Gwendolyn J

  3. Wow, I really admire you taking care of five children. You must be super organized in order to achieve that feat. 

    This is the first time that I have heard of finding a babysitter online. I never realized these sorts of sites existed, and I am sure that they will help a lot of parents out now that you have bought it to our attention.

    How do you screen these people though, as it can be a bit nerve-wracking leaving your children with people you don’t know. I love the tips you provided at the bottom of the post. It makes sure that you get the applicant of your choice coming for the interview.

    Your FaceBook ad was an even better idea, and then you can also interview the candidates and specify what your needs are and prepare potential candidates for what they will need to do in addition to child care.

    1. Michel,

      The wonderful thing about Care.com is that they have a screening process in place. They also have a Safety Center where they educate customers on ways they can ensure the person they hire is a good fit and well-qualified for childcare. 

      At Moonlighting I was not able to find any definitive information on a screening process. This is not actually alarming. They are not as focused on care as Care.com. There are all types of freelancers there. 

      On FB Marketplace, I think you have to go on gut instinct. Some of the groups do perform some screening, but I don’t think they do background checks or confirm certifications.

      Having someone else watch your kids is always stressful because it is rare to find someone who will treat them exactly as you do, even within your family. 

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Gwendolyn J

  4. I’m not yet a dad, so parenting kids doesn’t concern me for the time being. The problem though, is I have an online business that I’m going to run in the long-term (talk about ‘decades’). So eventually, I have to read this guide over and over to equip myself with the knowledge to do it.

    Babysitting has never entered my mind if I’m gonna’ take care of a toddler, I’d still prefer taking care of him/her myself or have my brothers look after the baby. But given the demands of my work, I’m starting to imagine right now the serious stress and challenge of doing it.

    For now, I’ll relax and start thinking of ways even if I’m not there yet.

    1. Dominic,

      Hopefully, by the time you are Dad-ready, you will have the resources to allow you to hire wisely to look after the kid(s). 

      If things go especially well for you, you may not even need to do that. You might be one of those fortunate parents who can keep your kids at home and look after them while you work. 

      This is what I’m aiming for. On Kid #5 I just do not have the motivation to sit back and let other people raise him. If I knew 26 years ago what I know now, I might never have put any of my kids in daycare.

      Not that daycare is bad. As with anything I have had pleasant and not so pleasant experiences. It tends to make you a bit antsy about the whole thing.

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

      Gwendolyn J

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