When the nanny announces her exit, sheer panic swells from within.
Life, as I have known it, just blew up.
Childcare provides you with the ability to provide for your family. Childcare allows you to run into the store to buy the king cake in under four minutes. Childcare ups the odds that your hair gets washed more than once a week. Childcare lowers the temperature of stress and exhaustion in the house that week. Childcare ensures that I can attend that dentist appointment.
I have been on this rollercoaster before. We have tried family support, babysitters, daycare, and nanny life. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it was a disaster. When I look back, my happiness / stress level directly correlated to whether or not we had reliable childcare. It really was that big of a deal.
I am a planner. I hate change. If someone could give me a sneak peek of how many children we have, where our forever house is, what college our kids go to, where my retirement party is at… I would be much obliged. I like to know what we are doing so I can best figure out how to make the most of what we are doing.
Despite my preference for consistency and expectation, that is not how our childcare story has read. But I am starting to realize that childcare may be more fluid than I like. Maybe the question is not, “What is the best form of childcare?” Maybe the better question is, “What is the best childcare for now?”
With one baby, family support somewhat worked. With one toddler, daycare was great. With two littles, daycare was good enough. With three (in Covid times), nanny life was (expensive but) sanity-saving. As our family evolved, childcare mirrored that.
Nannies are personal and subjective to your family’s needs. This is critical when your husband works offshore, and things inevitably come up. A good nanny is reliable, the kids are not perpetually sick, and things just run more smoothly.
Except for when the nanny quits. Because then life is turned upside down instantly.
Our kids are a little older now. Our little middle is starting Pre-K in the Fall. Our baby isn’t such a little baby anymore, much to my denial. She would probably love classmates… and could possibly tolerate germs a little better.
So here we go on another twist of the childcare rollercoaster. In a few months, we will shift to big kid school and daycare. And despite my distaste for change, I will try to accept the reality that with growing girls, change is ever-present.