Advice for first time parents who work full time

Hello,

We are going to be first time parents (due date April 29) and we both work full time. We are planning to split the parental leaves between us two until our baby turns 6 months old and we will both be going back to work full time starting November 2021. We are having trouble navigating the whole daycare/ nanny situation. Even though we've put ourselves down on the waiting list for a bunch of daycares, there's no guarantee that we will be able to enroll our baby in one in November 2021. What do other parents usually do in this situation? Do you usually find a temporary nanny gig for the gap until a daycare spot is available? 

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

Catherine 

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If you haven’t already, you should consider in-home daycares. We sent both our children to an in-home daycare starting at 4 months old and they have stayed as they get older. I think they can be kind of hit or miss, and you have to do more actual visits since they tend not to have fancy websites, but we loved ours (Alarcon Family Daycare near Fruitvale, if that happens to be close to you). I find that I felt more comfortable with a smaller home-based daycare for my infants because I knew there were fewer kids and they would get more attention, and also because they’re a little more flexible on things like schedules and other issues that may arise. Daycare centers are a little more rigid in their policies. Plus our in-home daycare was a lot cheaper than any daycare centers we looked at, and easier to get into. 

nanny share spots and sometimes daycare spots pop open randomly so in addition to being on a waitlist your best bet is probably to keep searching for a nanny share.  They tend to be more expensive but maybe you use it as a stop gap until a more cost effective option becomes available.

Hi! Great question. When we had our first baby three years ago, we got him into a daycare right when I went back to work at four months post partum. Our little guy had other ideas. He cried all day at the daycare and after two months the daycare asked us to leave. We thought we couldn't afford a nanny but we were able to adjust our work hours so my husband could be home until 10am and I could be home by 4pm, and we found the most amazing nanny who our baby loved and we never looked back. The point of this story is just to say that you can try and plan... And also to expect some wrenches being thrown in your plans and being adaptable, just like everything with babies! Good luck!

I think yes, people find a temporary nanny or nanny share situation if they are intending to enter a day care when a spot opens up. There are frequently situations where a nanny share will be looking to fill a spot temporarily, or nanny shares that are happy to add on another child for a while, as long as they know the context. Having been on the other end of this, sharing a nanny with a family that intended to move on to a day care without letting us know the timeline for their day care situation, I would be up front with your nanny and any other families you share with that you intend to move on as soon as it is an option. In my experience, it's more ethical to look for a share that is happy to add a kid than to go into a split with a family who is invested in a long-term relationship with both their nanny and their nanny share families, and then take off when your day care spot opens up. If you become a primary member in a nanny share, you can put the other family in a situation where they are responsible for the entire cost of the nanny while they try to replace you, which can take a few months, and the costs really add up. When we had to replace the family in our share that moved on to day care, we were careful to ask the new families we were interviewing if they were intending to move on to day care, and more than half actually were, so we were able to let people know we couldn't accommodate that, and ultimately find a better fit for our situation the second time around. Kudos to you for asking about this before committing to something. 👍

I had a late April baby in 2016. At first I was informed that we were not being offered a spot for the Fall, and then eventually a spot opened up. I made do in the meantime with a part time temporary nanny and also looked into nanny shares. The childcare industry is in crisis right now due to Covid, and some centers are on the verge of closing. So this is not a great year to find daycare for an infant, which has always been tough. My advice would be to focus on finding another family to get into a nanny share arrangement.

We gave up on daycare after only even making it onto one waitlist and went with a nanny share. Depending on the daycare provider, a nanny share is cheaper, the same or more expensive. Personally, I'm so glad we went with the nanny share. We found a great nanny (through BPN) and she has been flexible with us in a way that daycares could not have been. We hosted, so we also skipped out on having to handle packing him up and getting him ready in the morning. I found my nanny partner really early, and we started interviewing nannies about 2 months before we needed care, which I think is typical.

This doesn't directly answer your child care question, but since you state that you two are planning to "split" your parental leave, I wanted to be sure you are fully informed of all of your rights.  I am not a lawyer, but I do work with families and try to keep up with leave and accommodation rights. As I understand it, in California, there are no longer any situations where two parents need to split their allotted leave; EACH parent is entitled to the full amount of leave as determined by their own employment situation and eligibility. I suggest you review all of your rights to paid and/or job-protected leave (as well as pregnancy and lactation accommodations).  There are a lot of different programs, and some may be "stacked" to maximize the time.  Many of these rights were expanded within the last year or so, and depending where your employer is located, you may have additional rights beyond state and federal. Every job situation is different, so not every regulation will apply, but it's worth understanding what you are ENTITLED TO so you can then decide what will work best for you.   A great resource, with clear hand-outs you can look at and share with your employer(s): https://legalaidatwork.org/our-programs/work-and-family-program/ 

And this is a good summary: https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/employment/pdl-bonding-guide/

 

You should consider a nanny (if you can afford it) or nanny share (which is often in the same ballpark cost of infant care at a center). Day care for infants is fine but hard - rigid hours with the provider, lots of other kids so your child may get sick, sometimes hard to get personalized attention. If you can make it work try a nanny share. Start taking to other families in your neighborhood about nannies and shares - and look in the archives here for tips. 

Hi, first of all, congratulations on your new baby! 
I just had a baby last May 2020 and was in a similar situation as you. I was stressed out about the wait lists and not being able to tour because of the pandemic. We wanted the best care for our child (like any good parent), yet, a lot of daycares didn't allow us to tour their facility in person. Luckily, my partner and I were able to work opposite shifts in order to care for our daughter as long as we did and for that I am so grateful.
We finally found an in home daycare (Kidsland) that we found to be flexible, friendly, affordable, and a good fit given their small class size. My daughter just started daycare last week at 10.5 months old and she's adjusting really well.
It seems you are doing exactly what I did by contacting daycares/nannies about 6 months in advance. Sometimes it just takes a bit of time to find one that has spots available and is a good fit. Best of luck!