I dreaded this moment for quite some time. I was blessed enough to have my mom living nearby when my princess was a baby. She literally lived less than 10 minutes away. It was such an awesome setup. I would drop her off in the morning and her grandparents would spoil her rotten for 8-9 hours until I got home. Literally!
Life was good!
Check her out lounging on Grandpa (my dad) – the perfect sitter.
She was the apple of their eye and since she was my mom’s first grandchild. She could do no wrong. My mom whipped up delicious homemade baby entrees from scratch just for their little princess. She ate well, slept well, and lived it up with her grandparents.
I had a great thing going and thought it would be the same deal whenever baby number two would come around. Well, within that 6-year gap, my parents moved to another borough – Far Rockaway, Queens – and life has thrown them some curve balls that have made it impossible for them to babysit the way they did with my firstborn.
Not having my parents babysit my prince was a hard pill to swallow, but I found a light at the end of the tunnel or so I thought. We knew an awesome daycare owner from our church and we decided that she would be our main choice to care for our new prince. Unfortunately, she passed away a few months after he was born.
I began to panic and feel anxious.
Trust is a major concern for parents. Leaving your little ones with anyone other than yourself is already nerve-wracking, but leaving them with a complete stranger can throw you for a loop. Heck, you might even lose your mind. Finding a quality sitter or daycare center takes time and loads of research. The process reminds me of the research it took to choose an elementary school for my daughter. I shared a bit about my school hunt in the blog post – Public vs. Private.
After scouring reviews and setting up interviews, etc. I decided to ask around. Luckily for me, my cousin jumped right on in and told me about her amazing sitter that has been watching her son since he was 2 months old. She raved about this sitter’s attentiveness, loving vibes, etc. She gave her such a 5-star review that hubby and I decided to meet with the sitter.
First Day Of Daycare
From the moment I met Mrs. B, I fell in love. She was so welcoming, her space felt like home, she answered all my questions AND my prince took to her immediately. She fell in love with him instantly and I knew from that very moment we found our new sitter.
It’s been three months now and we are still very happy with our decision. I have no concerns about my baby being there all day and that sense of peace is priceless.
I’ve always heard horror stories about daycare centers and babysitters which made me extremely nervous. My anxiety about this was so bad that I even considered leaving my job and becoming a stay-at-home mom. I’d willingly drop an income stream in a heartbeat then to entertain the thought of some crazy person hurting my prince.
As parents, we have all gone or will go through this experience and for the most part will make the right decision for our babies. However, there are some new moms out there wondering where to start in the search for a caretaker. Below, I’ve shared some of the things I did and looked for during my search.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! Check online, read reviews, follow them online, sign-up for their newsletter, check for violations, etc. Do whatever you have to do to obtain as much information about any center or babysitter.
Schedule an Interview IN PERSON! I don’t care how tech-savvy you are, if you are going to trust anyone with your child you need to see them in person. I am not settling for text message interviews and I’m not down with the phone interviews either. I’ll ask you a few questions in my initial call, but after that, I NEED TO SEE YOU. GOT IT! Good!
There’s this inner voice that every mom has that just speaks to you. Trust me, you will know whether to stay or bail. When I met Mrs. B, all of my anxiety just went right out the window. She didn’t get annoyed by my thousand questions. She was accommodating and open.
ASK QUESTIONS! – Listen, don’t be cute! Ask every question under the sun. How many employees do you have? How many infants are enrolled here? How do you split your time? How do you keep track of developmental milestones? Ask the questions that you know you’ll stress about if you don’t. Do your due diligence now so that you’ll have no regrets later. If you’re a new mom and don’t know what questions to ask, check out this helpful list from Babylist.com.
Side Note: When you do decide to work with a caretaker, don’t stop asking questions. Call and check in! How many times did he have a diaper change today? Did he drink all of his milk? etc. ASK, ASK, ASK! If it’s not a good time to speak, ask when you pick up your munchkin.
Ask other parents for referrals! Speak to other parents and get their insight. More often than not, parents will be open to sharing what they think about their caretaker. Ask friends, relatives, and even some of your coworkers. You never know where that awesome daycare referral will come from. Honestly, I prefer working with someone that was referred to me than dealing with a complete stranger.
Check out the space! – Your child will most likely be there more than in their own home. If you don’t like the space, neither will your baby. Don’t be afraid to ask about their cleaning routine, safety measures, etc. It is your right to know. When we stopped by our sitter’s space, she had all of the children’s items washed, sterilized, and wiped down.
P.S. – We purposely didn’t tell her what time we were coming over. (that was our little trick)
Look around and assess if there is enough room for your baby to move around. Is there a play space? Is it cluttered? Are there items that make you uncomfortable? How long has that spider web been there? Look, Look, LOOK!
These are just some of my tips to help guide you through the search for a daycare/sitter. As always, there are many other important things to consider so buckle down and research your life away. In the end, finding the right daycare center or sitter will be worth all the time and effort.