Since returning to full-time work in May, I am often asked how we are dealing with child care. Anyone who lives in the Lower Mainland already knows what a struggle it is for families to find good, affordable care. In our case, it’s even more complicated because we can’t put Addison in daycare of any kind due to her suppressed immune system.
I had considered going back four days a week but to receive the full top-up at work, I had to come back full-time status for six months. The top-up is definitely not anywhere close to the 100% salary match some employers offer, but it’s nothing to discount either – it works out to almost 20% of my annual salary. So the plan is to try full-time for six months and see how it goes. I figure it’s much easier to start full-time and then go to part-time, rather than the other way around.
Aaron and I decided I would work Tuesday to Saturday on the day shift (10am-6pm) and he would switch to the evening shift Monday to Friday (3pm to 11pm). Then we only need child care Tuesday to Friday afternoons for 4.5 hours each day. Here is how it breaks down:
Monday – Elaine home all day, family time until Aaron goes to work at around 2:30pm
Tuesday to Friday – Elaine at work, Aaron home until 2:30pm, nanny comes from 2:15pm to 6:45pm when Elaine comes home from work
Saturday – Elaine at work, Aaron on Daddy duty
Sunday – family day
The most difficult part of the return to work has been finding child care. It is such a huge thing for parents (especially moms) to let go and place their trust in someone who starts off essentially a stranger. This is our precious baby we are handing over! Thankfully, after several interviews, we found a wonderful nanny whom Addison adores. It has made my transition so much easier knowing my princess is at home in caring and capable hands. Of course it isn’t as simple as that – our current nanny is sadly leaving us at the end of July for family reasons. We have a new nanny starting mid-August who also seems like a great fit, but it will be a little bit like starting over. Plus she only wants to work two afternoons a week so we will have to rely on Lao-lao and Gong-gong to help out as well.
I was ready to go back to work. Frankly, I was finding my brain feeling numb on some of those monotonous Groundhog Day afternoons at home with no one to talk to but a baby. So far, the balancing act has been working. It makes for some long days and little sleep, but I am enjoying it. There are moments when I wistfully wonder what Addison is doing and I imagine her little giggle, but I know I will get to see her soon.