In the last couple of weeks I have been researching childcare for little M. I feel grateful that I have been able to stay at home with little M for almost two years now. It has given me the opportunity to nurture, breastfeed and EC him without the added rigors of daily work outside the home. The thought of returning to work has weighed heavily upon me, especially in the first year. My dream of being a stay-at-home-mother is unfortunately not do-able given my present circumstances. As little M approaches age two however, I have found it easier to accept my inevitable return to work.
As my maternity leave was one year paid (and luckily topped up by my employer), I was able to save quite a bit. I knew once little M was born, that I wanted to extend my maternity leave beyond the typical one year. This meant that the period after my maternity leave was up, would be unpaid. My savings have allowed me the luxury of staying home with little M, but now it is time to return to work. Finding childcare is the next big hurdle.
Fortunately, Little M has always been a people person. He curious, and enjoys meeting new people wherever we go. In particular, if there is a large group of children he is in his element. Noticing how much he enjoys being around other children has made me rethink and re-explore different childcare options. Originally, I thought I would want to do some sort of private childcare, either a nanny or another mother taking care of little M. Now however, I find myself researching group childcare or daycare.
I began by taking a tour of a Montessori school which has a toddler program. Montessori is and has always been my preference based on the style and method of learning. Unfortunately due to wait lists, I also have to be open to other programs and daycare. Even as I write the word “daycare” it seems foreign to me. My sisters and I did not attend daycare. My mother stayed at home, full-time to raise us. Therefore daycare was seen as both unnecessary and undesirable. My mother was very deliberate in her own choice to stay home. Even today the word “daycare” for some, carries with it a certain stigma. What I have discovered though, is that there are some really great programs to choose from. This social norm of both parents working outside the home has given rise to a greater choice in different styles of daycare. Who would have thought a year ago that I would be researching, let alone considering, group daycare! It just proves (once again), how predictably unpredictable life really is.