Oh no, not another post about daycare!

by DaniGirl on February 16, 2007 · 4 comments

in Working and mothering

We seem to have a few running themes around here these days.

Healthy eating / weight loss? Covered that yesterday.

Dead iPod? Replacement for the DOA replacement iPod should arrive today.

And what was that other one? Oh right. Daycare.

Thanks, a little after the fact, for your feedback on my post last week. I’ve spoken to a LOT of caregivers, and people who use caregivers, this week, and have come to realize a few things. First, rates average $35/day for full-time care around here. Second, almost all caregivers now have contracts that stipulate things like paid statutory holidays and paid vacations. Third, you get what you pay for.

I looked into a lot of options this past week. I applied to three home daycare agencies and registered with the City of Ottawa’s centralized waiting list for licensed child care. I applied to two daycare centres. I posted an ad and spoke to a woman about nanny sharing. I spoke to a woman recently owned a pizza shop and when that went bankrupt decided to open a home daycare. I got an e-mail from a woman who offered daycare in my home or hers, whose name appears in Cyrillic characters on her e-mail address and whose e-mail address domain is .ru (I don’t actually have a problem with that; it was just interesting.) And, I brought the boys to meet two potential caregivers and their families.

I think (she said tentatively) I found a keeper. I connected with her on a personal level right away, but most importantly, I loved how she interacted with the boys. I also agree with her philosophy on child care, which she included in her 12 page parent handbook. (!) Her conditions are quite reasonable, now that I’ve realized what the norms are around here. She asks for two weeks paid vacation, plus five sick days to use at her discretion. Her sickness policy is similar to what I posted last week, but less stringent.

She’s open to the idea of trying to find someone to take the boys’ space for the summer, if it works out, and to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to see if her finances permit us dropping down to a day or two a week instead. The thing that I liked most about her, after her interactions with the boys, is her openness to negotiate while still protecting her own interests.

The boys have also approved of her. Simon didn’t want to leave last night after our visit (although I’m sure the new golden doodle puppy had a lot to do with that!) and when I asked Tristan if he’d like to go to her house for daycare, he responded with an enthusiastic yes.

There were only two small problems, and I think we can work through them.

First, her rates are the highest of any caregiver I’ve talked to. I told her my current rates, and we negotiated a little bit to arrive at $35/day per boy, for a total of $70/day (as compared to the $50/day I’m paying now.) It’s a little steep, and finding an extra $80 to 100 in the budget each week won’t be easy, but I am pretty sure she will be worth it. I guess I’ll just have to keep cleaning my own toilets, instead of hiring that cleaning lady I’ve been considering.

(I can’t help myself, I have to point out that the Harper “beer and popcorn” money will only cover half of the increase to our monthly daycare expenses. And you wonder why I say it’s ridiculously inadequate. And that’s pre-tax. In fact, it will probably net out to be less than a quarter of the increase in fees. “Provides choice, support and spaces” my ass.)

Second problem is that she is only moving to my neighbourhood in May. Not a huge problem, as I’m not in a pinch for day care and we can wait, but if we are making the commitment to change, I’d prefer to just get on with it, especially after the disappointment we went through the last time I thought we had found the perfect caregiver and she changed her mind.

So, the news is trending toward good. I still have to check her references, and do the police check thing, and sign a contract, and wait 12 weeks until she actually starts taking care of the boys. I’m not breathing any sighs of relief just yet. And I still have to go through the hell of talking to our current care provider and telling her that we’re leaving. But it’s looking hopeful. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dal February 16, 2007 at 1:25 pm

My fingers AND toes are crossed! Good luck Dani!
Dal 🙂

2 nancy February 16, 2007 at 1:25 pm

After reading everything you are going through and have done in regards to finding the right care for your boys…I just gotta say that you are one helluva mom!

3 Loukia February 16, 2007 at 1:50 pm

Good luck, Dani, I’m sure it will work out for you. What a struggle, it must be hard finding a good daycare, but from the sounds of things, you found a good caregiver – especially since your boys took such a liking to her right away! I’m thankful I don’t have to worry about this right now since my mom and mother-in-law and grandmother take care of my boy during the week, but I can understand how hard it is.

4 BubandPie February 16, 2007 at 2:25 pm

I was just re-reading the comments on your last post, and I get the impression that what you were reacting to was not so much the specific terms (though, of course, you would want to educate yourself about what is standard for such contracts), as the overall approach.
Most of the caregivers I’ve worked with have not had a set-in-stone contract, but the first caregiver I contacted actually gave me a binder full of information. Along with her policies about vacation, sickness, etc., she included sample menus, a daily schedule, her philosophy of child-care… So the overall impression was not of rules and regulations designed to squeeze money out of me, but rather a sense of, “Here are the standards of care you have a right to expect of me – here are the things I can offer your child.” It left a very positive impression, actually – quite different from a mere list of demands.
It sounds like you’ve found a good option. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you!

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