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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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:
- 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:
- 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.
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.
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!