Child Care Options: The Search Begins

Child care is one of those funny things for mommies-to-be. Unless you’re one of the fortunate few who, by choice, get to stay home and raise their children, child care is a necessary…I hesitate to use the word evil here, because it’s SO not…but, it’s necessary to say the least.

I read blogs and have thebump.com’s list that tells me to begin considering child care options.

Way ahead of you, bump friends.

Contemplating child care has been top of mind since I found out we were having a baby. I travel for work — too much — and figuring out just how this was going to work has always been a point of anxiety in my world.

Today, though, some of that anxiety may be relieved.

Today, I went for my first visit to a day care about two miles from our house. I had intended on going Friday, when I had scheduled a 10 a.m. meeting with the manager of the facility. However, my boss scheduled a call for she and I to discuss maternity leave at 10 a.m. that same day — about 12 hours before my appointment at the day care was to occur.

Cue guilty feelings about how the manager and the workers would think of me, this mom-to-be who can’t get it together enough to organize her life to NOT have two meetings at the same time. I thought up every option…go to the day care a half hour early and risk the manager thinking I was off my rocker as she has a job to do. And, what if the meeting at the day care would take longer than 30 minutes. I couldn’t be a mommy who ‘sorry, have to run’ with a blackberry attached to my ear.

Shit, I really need a weeklong vacation just to determine where I can sign Minnie up for her first day care. That’s not going to happen. So, I called, explained the situation and – get this – Brandy (the manager, I just finally remembered her name, which is why I wasn’t refering to her by name earlier…blame the baby brain) was TOTALLY understanding. She said I’d probably even feel more comfortable talking to them after talking to my boss about maternity leave.

So, today at 10 a.m., I rolled into Peyton’s Learning Place. Here’s a picture:

I know, right? It’s a little, um, impersonal looking, right? A little office building-ish? I was hesitant – in spite of the fact that I went to high school with the owner of Peyton’s Learning Place (PLP) and her husband. Which is why I scheduled the visit. Needed to know what I was getting into, at the very least, and to make sure that child care is NOT one of the things I’m freaking out over immediately after she’s born.

So, I arrive. On a conference call. I was on mute and left the call early. A mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do. The place that will be caring for and concurrently help to raise my child requires my attention, folks, and I was willing to cut out of the conference call a little early. Besides, I have all of the information they were discussing in a spreadsheet and can get the cliff notes version from a co-worker.

And…my fear of what I would find? Well, there was nothing to be scared of. The facility is new and updated. The infant room is completely separate from the toddler and older kids areas. There are cameras everywhere, so as a parent you can sign in and watch your kids from your desk. They accept eight infants at a time. The four who were there today seemed very happy, well cared for and the teacher seemed like she really enjoyed the babies. And they enjoyed her…the one little girl she was holding and rubbing her back was rubbing the teacher’s back too. It was obvious they had a bond – which quite honestly scared me a little bit.

I looked at that cute little girl, all five months of her, in her little pink onesie with brown polka dots, and felt the tears welling up. I was going to LEAVE my child here in just six short months (I know, get a grip, right?). And hopefully she’d be as healthy and as happy as this little gal. (Sidenote: I’ve started having the ‘what if’ thoughts rushing through my head about ‘what if’ she’s got severe allergies; ‘what if’ something goes wrong during labor/delivery, etc.).

But, I let that feeling pass and really tried to pay attention to what Brandy was telling me.

Food – after formula – is included in the daily rate. Snacks, lunches, etc. It’s all state-sanctioned food programs, which is nice. All of the state laws seemed to be being met (not that I know the laws, but it was nice to know THEY were knowledgable of them).

It took me less than five minutes to get there as it’s two-ish miles from our house. There’s outside play areas specifically for infants, toddlers and the older kids.

As I talked through this with my Aunt Jill, she mentioned how nice it would be to not have to look for child care options year after year (like how it could be if you went with someone in-home). And, she mentioned that you can write off a percentage of the cost of child care on your taxes, but only if you use someone licensed (not something you can do if you go with an in-home, unlicensed option, one option that has presented itself to us).

So, we’ve got six months before Minnie will start at Peyton’s Learning Place – assuming we decide to truly go that route – and three months until her arrival. I feel like we now have that part covered — and it’s extremely affordable, so I feel even better about that. And they run a really, really nice location that I’m comfortable with.

In short, the people that Minnie might meet at Peyton’s Learning Place could end up being friends of hers for her whole life. I have to say, it’s nice to see how there are other babies out there, meaning there are other parents out there in the same boat as you…dropping off and picking up their kids each day.

At least that’s one thing checked off the list and one less thing to think about.

Congratulations, self, you’re making mommy-to-be progress!

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