Child Care for Infants
A recent article in our local paper told of the difficulties that families have finding daycare for infants. I?ve found this to be particularly difficult in my case as I have had several special needs children. It?s hard enough to find child care, much less care for a child that has health concerns or other issues.
It is best to begin looking for child care options before your child arrives and keeping an open mind about the options. Flexibility is key here! I found it best to take as much time as possible off from work after the birth of the baby. At times, I was able to take 12 weeks off for maternity leave, but once, I got called in for a special project two weeks after my third child was born! I was able to negotiate with my boss, and he allowed me to bring my daughter with me, which was great.
When considering child care options, you might want to think about the following:
- Check into telecommuting options.
Make no mistake about it, working at home is still?work. Nevertheless, if you are very organized and motivated, this may be an option for you. A flexible supervisor is a must if you are looking into this option.
- Check into sick day care options.
Consider what you will do when your child becomes ill when you need to work. A backup plan is a definite when you have an infant. If sick care is not available in your area, make sure to check on the availability of relatives just in case. If you have handicapped children, there are, again in certain areas of the country, providers who just take handicapped children.
- Ask relatives and friends for help.
Although I was able to telecommute for most of my working career, there were times when I simply could not accomplish a project with the children in the house or after they went to bed. I had contracted out with friends and relatives who were at home to be ?on call? for me during these times. You may or may not be able to ask family and friends for assistance depending upon a number of variables. Be sensitive to the needs and feelings of your relatives and friends when using this option. Note that some relatives may expect you to pay for their services! It?s best to discuss expectations openly when you are using this option(for example, your relative might only be willing to watch you child so many days a week for so many hours. They may or may not expect to be paid).
- Avoid the issue all together.
Many working mothers avoid the issue all together by finding jobs with flexible schedules, job sharing, or finding a telecommuting job. Other mothers choose to work a shift opposite than the hours their husband or significant other works. This way, there is always one parent home with a child.
Realize that your child care needs will change as your child grows and develops. As with all things pertaining to parenting, flexibility is a must!