Outsourced: Paying For Childcare When You’re An At-Home Parent

Our budding WNBA star.

At 4 a.m., I saw my husband off to work. I made him a cup of coffee to go, and watched him drive away on a 1.5 hour commute to his job site. A job site where he would be outdoors nearly all day in 100 plus degree heat, only to take short breaks in the air conditioned job trailer before heading back out into the blistering sun. He’s a hard worker, as hard as they come. I’m sure he would have loved to outsource part of his job today…like I did.

That’s right. I took my toddler to her old daycare, and kept the baby home with me. So technically, I outsourced half of my job. Why? Because I felt it was the best thing for my family, to give her much-needed social time, give me a little breathing room to work on a few projects, and give the baby some one-on-one time with momma.

When my former (amazing) childcare provider notified me of a temporary part-time opening, I jumped on it. It’s probably only going to be one day a week, and that’s just about right. She misses her friends there, and thrives on interaction with other kids her age. Besides, when you’re seven miles from any community, opportunities for regular play dates don’t always work out.

Even though our provider is very affordable, and I’m doing what I can to make up the difference, I still feel a bit guilty. My husband tells me he’s okay with this arrangement, but my wifey senses tell me he struggles with it, too. We’re on a tight budget, and can we really afford to pay for supplemental childcare?

I feel like I need to justify this decision to anyone and everyone who’ll listen. But why? If the girls are happy, I’m happy, and the bills are paid, what does it matter? If it all works out, I think I’ll be quite happy with this arrangement.

One-on-one time with a good book. Well worth it.

Why I’m okay with outsourcing my job once in awhile:

1. I loved the one-on-one time with Erica. She thoroughly enjoyed playing with any toy she wanted without fear of repercussion from big sister. I was able to watch and observe her without any distractions. Anna doesn’t really nap anymore, so I really can’t remember the last time I spent quality time with Erica like this. Bonus, I found out she loves playing basketball (and she’s quite good).

2. I actually got some things done. Now, instead of piles of paper and other oddities spilling out when you open the computer desk, things are neat and arranged. And there were five loads of laundry done, some freelance projects completed, dinner was cooked, and I even got to watch some daytime TV! (Watched while sorting paperwork. I’m not missing much.)

3. I miss my daughter. Now, I look forward to spending the entire day together tomorrow, and going about our “normal ” routine. She’s a hoot, and I have a blast with her (despite her toddler mood swings).

4. Anna is no doubt having an awesome day with friends. She’s reunited with her beloved Micah and Ian, and it’s like old times again. I’ve explained to her it won’t be every day like before, and she’s okay with that. I only had to ask her once to put on her shoes and brush her hair and teeth this morning. Once I told her we were going to Nelle’s, she was up and at ’em!

A Stinky Turn of Events:

I wrote most of this post (up to this point) before I went to pick up Anna today (dare I say while it was “quiet”). She was happy to see me, and had all sorts of stories to tell about her adventures. Once we got home, things got, well, interesting. Wrestle Mania started five minutes after we got in the door, and I was soon in my “nagging mom” routine, warning the girls to “Be careful or someone will get hurt!” And soon, it wasn’t the sound of the wrestling that was bothering me, but the smell. That’s right, wrestling has a smell…when the baby has a blowout. Poop. Everywhere. Covering the kitchen floor, Erica, and miraculously, not Anna. It was epic. Towels were sacrificed.

And then I had a brilliant idea. What if we could outsource this part of parenting? The poo part. Genius.

So, what is the arrangement in your household? Is it all parents, all the time? Or do you spring for an in-home babysitter or daycare provider? Do friends and family pitch in? I’d love to know! Also, if you’d like to come clean up the poo-tastrophes around here for a nominal fee, let me know.

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8 thoughts on “Outsourced: Paying For Childcare When You’re An At-Home Parent

  1. My sainted mother has come one day a week to “play” with the twins since they were born. I often leave for at least a while during that time, but often stay close by and get things done and enjoy seeing them play with my Mom. For about a year we also had a college aged sitter come for half a day. I was taking grad school classes at the time. Between the two I was able to get some of that classwork done, but honestly it was much more about not being insane. I think every parent needs to do what makes the most sense for their family. It is critical that everyone be sane and that everyone feel cherished. Sometimes that means we need to let other people enjoy our children and empower them by helping them learn about others. And yes, really, farming out the poo part would be wonderful. But then we might just keep having them…. ;-)

  2. With a somewhat long history of parenting, we’ve used every available source of help: mother’s helpers, family, babysitters, older siblings – whether I was at home or back at part-time work. You don’t have to justify anything to anyone. You just have to do what works for your family. The mom guilt will be there, no matter what. The poop duty, on the other hand…….it doesn’t last forever; it just feels like it does :)

  3. Oh my. I needed to outsource poo duty this a.m. So I did. Cleaned the child, then left all pooey items on the child’s bed for my housekeeper (read: husband) to launder. Outsourcing is great…if the smell is gone when you resume duties.

  4. Mom’s Day Out programs have saved my sanity! And I think they’re amazingly good for the kiddos, too. I figure if I need a break from them, they just as likely need a break from me. So good for you, momma, for taking that difficult step. The money is definitely worth it for all involved.

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