How working moms find childcare that works for them

This week will be my kids’ last day of preschool.

Of course, Henry will return this fall, probably with his baby sister Audrey in tow. Daphne will head off to Kindergarten.

For the first time in their lives, they will be home for summer.

find childcare

The funny thing is, neither of them are exactly sure what this means. They don’t understand what taking a break from school is, because they’ve been in childcare for as long as they can remember.

As a working mom, I’ve always had to drop my kids off in someone else’s care so that I could go to work. Even when I made the decision to go out on my own a few years ago, I still relied on part time care in order to build my business with some kid-free time.

Since we’re counting down the months until Daphne starts “real deal” school, I thought it was about time my kids experienced a “real deal” summer. I want their skin to wrinkle from so much pool time. For them to lose track of what day of the week it is. And to {hopefully} sleep in, wear pajamas at lunchtime, and feel what it’s like to be bored from time to time.

That’s not to say that I won’t still need help.

This summer, we’ve hired a nanny who will come over every day so that I can keep consistent office hours. I’m thankful that we found a sweet college girl who can offer my kids a fun summer, while allowing me to get my work done and spend more time with them. After all, that with my motivation for working from home in the first place!

Over the years we’ve used daycare centers, in-home care, traditional preschools, grandparents, and now a nanny. Each of them have had their benefits and challenges, ranging from affordability, stimulation and personal attention. I’ve learned that childcare is hardly one size fits all!

Finding help with my first was one of the most stressful parenting decisions I’ve ever had to make. But over the years, I’ve uncovered several resources and tips that make choosing a childcare solution much simpler.

I’m going to share some of my best ideas on how to find childcare that works for you now.

The hybrid

When you begin your childcare search, you may think that a Monday through Friday option is the only way to go. But when we first had Daphne, we were super fortunate to find some part time care at an in-home facility that we loved.

To fill some of the gaps in our full-time work schedules, we had help from family, which was wonderful. My mom watched both Daphne and Henry at least one day a week for the first several years of their lives. Not only were we able to save a little bit of money by relying on family, but the bonding that my mom was able to do with her grandchildren was invaluable to them all!

This left us with one additional day to find help. I turned to where I was able to research people online, look at their references, and narrow down the search pool. I got several candidates on the phone and luckily we found someone that we felt like would be a wonderful fit for our family.

By using a variety of resources to meet our childcare needs, we could save money, spend additional time with family, and know our children were in trusted hands getting one on one attention. It did take extra attention to detail to remember the different daily routines.

Ask for exactly what you want

We’re living in the age of influence marketing, and what better way to review testimonials than from other moms we know and trust!

I found my kids’ latest preschool from word of mouth. After touring, I felt like it would become a good fit for our children. I told them that full time care Monday through Friday was simply too much for us. By telling them what would work for us, we were able to negotiate a schedule that met our needs.

If you don’t have anyone to ask in person, there’s tremendous support to be found in local Facebook groups. When we moved to Texas, I immediately joined several neighborhood Facebook groups so that I could ask for recommendations on everything from pediatricians to repair man to things to do when it’s raining. If you aren’t already a part of some, try searching for the name of your neighborhood or city in the search bar and set the results to groups only.

When we decided to pull our kids out of preschool for the summer, this was just where I turned to find our summer nanny. In a local Facebook group, I posted an “ad” for exactly what our family was looking for – I listed our pay range, the hours needed, and even described our family and what I’d like the nanny to be doing with my kids this summer. In a matter of hours I had over a dozen people interested. I was able to narrow the inquiries by requesting that they follow up with resumes and referrals to my email. From there I interviewed a handful in person until we found the best fit for our family.

By setting the expectations up front, I only interacted with serious candidates who were willing to go above and beyond our family’s needs for a predetermined pay. While we are shelling out a little more cash per hour, I no longer have to worry about getting my kids ready for school or preparing meals in the morning. Plus, I know they’re having a blast doing fun activities planned just for them!

Think outside the childcare center

One of the things that was frustrating for me when we switched to a more traditional childcare facility was the lack of flexibility. I had to pay for the full day and the full week regardless of my intent to use this full time. And any working mom knows, childcare is expensive!

If you’re struggling to find exactly what you need from a preschool or daycare, consider setting up a co-op with friends, family or neighbors. This sort of arrangement is perfect for moms who work from home or work part-time. It’s a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” agreement in which both moms take turns watching each others’ kids while the other one works.

No matter what route you go with your childcare needs, it’s important to remember two things: trust your gut, and you can always change your situation.

Finally, try to remember that your child will be just fine. This is probably the hardest one to get over as a working mom, but it’s true! You are a fabulous mother and you are doing wonderful things for your family by working.

How did you find childcare that worked for you?

“We shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves or other moms”

stay at home moms turned working moms

Q & A with Katie Galicia

I am so excited that Katie agreed to do today’s Working Mom Wednesday interview.

Our paths crossed after I reached out via email about a collaboration with Femfessionals and was invited to a meeting to discuss the possible partnership further.

I was a tad disheveled and didn’t want to be late after forgetting the rules of downtown parking {a massive SUV without a single quarter in it for the meter! I finally gave up a valet parked at the hotel across the street. #suburbanmom}. Katie made me feel welcomed and at ease. She is an amazing listener and incredibly kind, both of which make her great at her job and a great mom!

When I learned that she had four boys and was new-ish to the workforce, I had a million questions running through my mind. Luckily, she let me ask a handful of them and shared her answers with you all.

Self-promo time. Tell me what you do.

I started working full time last May as the Membership Coordinator at Central Exchange; it is a non-profit organization that provides a venue and voice for women seeking to reach their full personal and professional potential. I provide support to the Chief Membership Officer along with managing and maintaining over 1,100 memberships. I am usually the first person that a new member hears from and I work closely with them to ensure they are utilizing their membership to the fullest.

Along with membership I oversee Emerging Leaders; it is a yearlong female focused leadership development program; it gives me the opportunity to meet and learn from high profile female executives.

If that wasn’t your gig, what do you think you’d be doing ?

I’ve secretly always wanted to be a police officer. The thrill, the rush, helping people in our community and making it a safer environment not only for my boys, but the community. Yet, I’m also scared of what comes with putting your life on the line. I’ve never shot a gun, let alone held a gun!

What is it like working with a bunch of women?

It’s not what most would think or imagine; I wasn’t even sure what to think when I started. I am a mom of four boys with two brothers, so I am not use to being around women. I love it though. I’ve always wanted sisters and this is as close as I will get! I work with an amazing group of women. We are here to support, help and build up each other in so many ways! I have built what I see will be long term friendships with these women and can’t imagine not being around them.

You took a hiatus from the workforce to raise your children. Why did you decide to go back?

My youngest was 9 years old {oldest 16} and I started to notice I wasn’t needed as much as before, whether it was at school or at home. I guess you could say I raised them too good! They were very independent, which was hard for me to face.

I found things to do {don’t get me wrong, because with four boys there is always something that needs to be done}; however, I was starting to feel that I was missing out on something and needed to do more for myself. I had given so much of my life and time to my boys and the household that I knew my time to venture out was near.

What was the biggest challenge when starting the job search again?

My biggest challenge was where to begin? What had I missed out on and what I was lacking compared to others that had been in the workforce the entire time I was away. I needed to find out what I liked to do, wanted to do and what were my skills. Realizing all of this and what I was up against definitely busted my confidence bubble! And it was scary.

How did you tackle it?

I started looking at job posts, doing some research and seeing what was out there, what caught my eye. From there I decided on easing my way into the workforce by working only part time. Finding what worked for me and still allowed me to be involved with my boys’ lives, because that was still a huge factor for me. I knew that this was a major change not only for me but for my boys, as well.

What was the best part about going back?

Meeting new people outside of my boys’ lives.

What is a typical day like for you now?

I get up around 5/5:30 a.m. to shower, get ready for work, and listen to the news as I prep breakfast for my boys. It’s what I’ve always done and want to continue doing. I sometimes prep dinner in the morning depending on what our evening looks like.

I wake my younger two up around 7 and that’s a job in itself! My older two are great about getting up and ready on their own. I’m at work by 8:30 and right away I check emails and see what is on the calendar for the day, whether it’s programs at our office or I’m needing to attend a meeting, event or program outside of the office. This is a major part of my job, meeting new people and informing them about CX.

Around 3:30 I call home to chat with all four of my boys to see how their day went, if they need any help with homework and assign them their daily chores. My older two sons are a huge help in taking turns to pick up their brothers from school. {If they can’t then I will take my lunch around the time they get out and pick them up from school and either bring them back to work with me until I get off or drop them off at home with my dad or one of their brothers.}

We make it a point to sit and have dinner together as a family no matter what! It can be over take out, dinner on the go or us sitting at the dining room table. It’s the important part of our day that allows us to catch up on each other’s lives and know what is going on. We live busier lives now that I work and they are involved in so much.

Most nights one of my sons has either soccer practice, soccer game or an activity that we need to attend. If help is needed with homework we fit that in as well. Showers are usually on a nightly basis with four boys! This process begins around 8:30 and works its way to bedtime which is somewhere between 9:30 and 10 for my younger two. My older ones have a rule they follow, they can stay up as late as they want as long as they get up and are at school on time.

Once my younger two are in bed, I tend to the house whether it’s sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, starting the dishwasher or finishing the load of laundry I may have started that morning, ironing and anything else that may come up from living in a house with four boys and a dog.

And usually by 11 or midnight I’m ready for bed and start all over again the next day.

You have four sons. What’s the best part of being a boy mom?

There are so many good parts I could go on and on. My boys are all mama’s boys! I’m a tad bit overly obsessed with them. They are easy going, fun, happy, energetic, and loving and there is never a dull, boring moment in our home! Each one is different in their own unique way and I love it, I love being a mom to boys. I don’t have daughters so I don’t know what I’m missing out on, but I do have nieces and I can honestly say I don’t regret not having a daughter. {I have two boys that love shopping and shoes as much as I do so that fills that void!} Even at their ages they will still hug, kiss me good night and cuddle with me without feeling embarrassed.

Speaking of shoes, what is one product you couldn’t live without?

This is probably very silly but I have really thick hair and it is a pain to wash, blow dry and fix on a daily basis. I have had to find ways to ease the time. I even chopped off my long hair {total regret}! I’m a huge fan of Tresemme dry shampoo! If I don’t wake up at 5 a.m. I won’t get a shower in and that time in the shower is my time to re-energize and trust me I’d rather take a long hot shower than to spend that time on blow drying my hair. So I will go days without washing my hair thanks to dry shampoo!

What’s your best piece of advice for other working moms?

Being a working mom doesn’t make you any less of a mom. I have always commended working moms, especially when I was a stay at home mom. I was blessed to have that opportunity and I do miss it, but I also enjoy working too.

I have realized that I’m not super woman and finally coming to terms with it. I have missed field trips, school programs, class parties, being able to care for my sons when they are sick, not able to spend days off of school with them and I felt so guilty because I attended everything and was with them all the time in the past. My boys know that I am working and that it’s to better our lives. They have seen me as a stay at home mom and a working mom. I value the time with my boys so much more now because I’m not as accessible as I was before and thankfully my job is understanding of my family and putting them first.

As moms we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves or other moms. Support each other, it’s not easy. It may look like we have it all together, but trust me we don’t. We are doing the best we can!

I’m on a quest to having it all. Do you think you have it all?

I felt I did at one time, but it was time to expand my “having it all” to something bigger. I feel like I’ll have it all once I know that my boys are happy, healthy, and successful and doing what they love. For me, then I know that I have done my job and I can then focus much more on myself and changing my definition of “having it all.”

What a strong, brave, hardworking woman! I learned so much from Katie about how us moms are constantly reinventing ourselves. {She also confirmed that a mom’s job is never really done!}

Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.