Mompreneurship, part 9: Childcare

Mompreneurship Finding the Right Childcare_0153

Previously on mompreneurship:

As far as the mompreneurship series goes, this is the last scheduled post. It’s been so fun thinking through and documenting all that I have done and continue to do to smooth the way for me to be a good business owner and a good mama. I hope this series has been helpful to you if you’re also trying to figure out that balance.

Okay, so last official topic: childcare!

There are several different options (daycare center, in home daycare, nanny, the nap time working mama, etc.) and the cost will vary based on full time or part time need as well as your location. In our area, day care is exponentially more expensive than it is in smaller towns even just 20 minutes away.

I can’t tell you what will work best for you, obviously, so I’ll simply tell you how we approached it and made it work for us.

I should first mention that our son is an excellent napper on a great routine so I can schedule out exactly what my work times will be when I don’t have childcare (currently, 9:30-11:30AM and 2-4PM every day). I don’t say that to sound like I’ve got my act together, but just that I understand not everyone has that kind of structure in place and every child is different when it comes to their love of sleeping.

We decided early on that we would hire an in-house nanny part time. Here is why:

  • We only need someone seasonally. I work from home as a wedding photographer, which has a huge off-season in the Midwest during the winter. Given my son’s napping routine (see above), I knew during the winter I’d be fine watching him during the day and working during his nap times since it’s the slow season.
  • We only need part time help. I put a lot of systems into place prior to having a child and that included outsourcing everything I possibly could (see this post about outsourcing) to ensure that I have time to focus on what I’m good at (photographing & client service). Because of my decision to outsource, I am able to do full time work in half the amount of time. (If you’re not outsourcing your editing yet, talk to me!!!)
  • Part time daycare was not more cost effective than full time daycare. As a result, if we needed 15 hours of daycare per week, we’d be paying 90% of what full time care (40 hours) was. It didn’t make sense financially when we could pay an in-home nanny for the exact amount of time we needed while also being able to fully control our son’s routine.

So after determining that I needed about 15-20 hours a week for focused work, I figured in that Henry’s afternoon naps would equal a total of 10 hours (2 hours per afternoon x5 weekdays) so we only needed a sitter for an extra 10 hours. I work best in the mornings so we ended up hiring someone to come in Mondays & Wednesdays from 8AM to 1PM.

She played with Henry in the main level and I worked in the basement in my office. Some people asked if it was hard for me to hear him upstairs and not go to him and honestly, no, it wasn’t. I knew I was paying per hour for a very capable and qualified person to watch him. This time became incredibly precious to me and I had near tunnel vision with my task list.

What I discovered was that I became hyper productive during those hours. No more lagging around or getting sidetracked on social media. I had things to do and a set amount of time to get them done in, therefore, check, check, check, check. I got more accomplished last wedding season in 15 hours a week than I had before working full time. This is what happens when you outsource and stay focused.

My son is now a year old and I’m getting prepped for my second wedding season as a mama. It’s winter right now so we don’t have a nanny; I’m home with him as a full-time mama/working-during-naps business woman. Once we hit April (when wedding season starts back up around here), we’ll have a nanny again until November. (See now why it doesn’t make sense for us to put him in daycare from April-November?) As he gets older, his napping will decrease (Can all the mamas just be sad about that for a minute? Nap time is so precious!) and we may need to increase our nanny’s house slightly to compensate for that.

As for the actual wedding day (most which fall on the weekend anyway so daycare wouldn’t be option then), both grandmothers take a few days and we hire a sitter (often the weekday nanny) for the rest. By bringing someone in for wedding days, Henry can go to bed per usual at night and we don’t have to wake him to transport him late at night when we’re done.

To summarize:

  • If you haven’t already, determine what you can outsource. This will free up your time. Your time is super valuable (even if you’re not a parent yet!) so treat is as such. This post will help you determine what can or should be outsourced.
  • Once you’ve outsourced everything that you can, determine how many hours a week you need to complete the tasks on your list. (Don’t have a task list? Here’s my monthly task list and my office management system.)
  • Once you’ve determined your weekly hours, you’ll know whether you need full or part time child care.
  • Based on that, you can get quotes in your area for daycare vs. nanny. (For a nanny: if you live in a university town like we do, there are lots of students looking for part time work. Try calling sorority houses, post your need on FB (everyone knows someone!), or use an online site like care.com.)
  • After getting quotes, you’ll be able to pretty easily see what the most affordable option will be. That being said, keep in mind it’s not always the most affordable that wins. For example, with a nanny, I don’t have to pack anything, drive anywhere, or do any extra work. I get Henry up in the morning, get him started on breakfast, then the nanny arrives and she takes over from there while I go to my office. From a time and ease standpoint, it couldn’t be more ideal. We live near a park and lots of walking paths. It’s easy for our nanny to get out without needing to drive anywhere. But alternately, one of the benefits to daycare would be that your child would get to play with other children his/her age and learn to be in a new environment. Social skills, right?
  • Either way, you’ll need time to focus on your job so childcare is necessary. You have to weigh what will be the most beneficial for your situation and for your child.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions about any of the posts in this series!

Power on, mamas! Power on.

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