We are at a crossroads with our childcare. We have started looking for a nanny, and we are in the process of interviewing someone to take care of our children. Growing up, I never had a nanny, but I have visions of some British-speaking woman coming to our house. Something out of Mary Poppins, the likes of that woman on the show Supernanny, or worse Fran Drescher. We have three children – the oldest is five, the middle is almost two years old, and the youngest just turned eight months. All currently go to the same daycare facility just up the road from my wife’s place of business. Unlike other locations we looked at, it’s convenient for my wife to drop them off and pick them up.
Sending your kids to daycare is a very costly endeavor. For the three children it costs us over $20k annually. My wife’s flexible dependent care helps ease the pain, but it’s only $5k maximum annually.
I will say the daycare is a great environment for our children, and it’s great they are socializing with other kids their age. We notice our neighbor’s child, who was watched by nannies, acts less mature. Without question our children have benefited from going to daycare.
So while we really like the daycare and the people that take care of our children, it’s been a really stressful experience for us. The issues we’ve had are:
- All three children are very often sick. In fact, it’s almost a weekly occurrence. The youngest got so sick in December that we had to hospitalize him for bronchitis.
- When they are sick, I often have to watch them. This takes time out of my workday.
- From this and other issues related to daycare (snow days, vacation days, etc.), it’s been very hard to schedule my work life around their schedule. It seems like they are on vacation more than they are at daycare.
- My wife often has meetings early in the morning and late in the evening. I often have to drop and/or pick them up from daycare. This can suck at least an hour from my work routine.
- The dropping off and picking them up for my wife can be a major chore. Dropping off two children, and picking up three, to put it nicely, is a complex task.
- It’s been very hard to find someone to babysit our children. This is for either times when they’ve been sick or we’ve had an evening engagement. Don’t ask me when was the last time we went out for a romantic dinner. Our relatives have helped somewhat, but it’s not been easy.
The aspect of hiring a nanny that makes me unhappy the most is the cost. A nanny is expected to be at least $5k more than what we are currently paying for daycare. My wife recently got a raise that should cover the additional costs. Though I really wanted to use the money for additional savings for the children’s education and other investments. I promised myself we shouldn’t experience lifestyle creep, but it seems like we have no other viable alternative. From my end it makes me nervous, with the economy still being somewhat unstable.
It will help free up my time to be more productive with my businesses, so I hope I can earn more income to make up the difference in cost. The other aspect that somewhat concerns me is bring a stranger into the household. If we do bring a nanny in, we do want them to feel comfortable with us and our children. I do understand, like managing your money, no one cares more about your children than you do. So as you can see, I’m somewhat hesitant about hiring a nanny.
Readers: What would you do? Do you think hiring a nanny will really be more beneficial to us than daycare?