finding childcare for an irregular schedule - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 03-29-2004, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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My daughter is nearing 8 months old. I was working from the time she was three months until almost six months, but I quit because I did not want full-time work and part-time wasn't an option. Now I may be able to get what sounds like a great part-time job. The only problem is that the hours will be highly irregular. I would be able to do a lot of the work at home in my own time, but one component of the job would be leading training sessions for teachers and librarians on using an educational subscription-based website/database. Each training would last a few hours, but they could be located all over my metro area. So I would need childcare on these days, but how do you find a nanny who can accomodate an odd schedule. The trainings would be scheduled well in advance, but I wouldn't need, say, every Tuesday and Thursday; I'd need say next Monday, and the Wednesday after that and maybe then go a few weeks with nothing and then two days the first week of next month, etc. Is this an impossible situation? I'm just looking for brainstorming ideas in case this job offer comes through.

dd Annika 8.9.03
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#2 of 11 Old 03-30-2004, 12:28 AM
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two thoughts:
1. you might be able to find an athome daycare provider (someone who does it in their home) - search the paper, look at the ads at the grocery/coop, ask everyone you know

2. maybe a sahm you know wants this kind of shift work? you know for extra money, but doesn't want to commit to every day so doesn't take kids full time. Again ask everyone you know.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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#3 of 11 Old 03-30-2004, 02:08 AM
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Yes, I'd sayas well your best bet is another mum who wants to earn a little cash in hand on the side. Your schedule pretty much eliminates the daycare centre option- they're just not set up to be able to do that. And even if you go thru everybody you know, & can't find anyone, try an ad in the paper or something (signs outside the Y, or a food co-op, or grocery store, or maybe at the library) You will always have the opportunity to interview any strangers who are interested in helping you out, & you can weed out the unsuitables that way.

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#4 of 11 Old 03-30-2004, 12:58 PM
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I would look into home based daycare as a drop in. I know they had my dd on "drop in" status for a long time becasue of some health issues which were making her miss a lot of days.

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#5 of 11 Old 03-30-2004, 04:34 PM
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If there is a college or university in your area, it might have an office of student employment that you could contact for a list of students interested in babysitting. If you find one or two that you like, depending on their schedules you might be able to cover all the time you need. They might have like-minded friends too....
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#6 of 11 Old 03-31-2004, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks to all for the suggestions, esp. the home-based daycare drop-in idea. That would be ideal. I'm going to email everyone I know to ask for help and will look into the daycare idea. Also, Depaul University is near me and I know they have a babysitting board.

thanks for the help!
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#7 of 11 Old 03-31-2004, 12:21 PM
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When I was looking for daycare, I went to my city hall and asked for a complete list of licensed day care provider. I visited every one that is close to my home and found an athome one that can accomodate my schedule.
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#8 of 11 Old 03-31-2004, 12:25 PM
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I am kind of in the same boat--I WOH and my husband is a SAHD but there are very irregular days or half-days when he needs substitute care for Isaac. Sometimes 2 days in one week, and then 2 weeks not at all. What I did was to look for a SAHM who wanted to earn some extra money without committing to a regular fulltime schedule. I made up flyers to put up at the Whole Foods near us, I ran an ad in the daily newspaper of the nearby university, I told everyone I knew what I was looking for, and I joined a couple local mailing lists (1 about parenting and 1 for my neighborhood) and asked for referrals. I ended up getting several referrals and found a great person who I feel really comfortable with.

The one challenge I had was that several mamas who were looking for another child to care for did not necessarily want an infant. They had an older child of their own and wanted to take on a child who could be a playmate, not an infant that would need a lot of hands-on direct attention. The person I found a good fit with has a 1-year-old son of her own who seems to really *like* my son and find his presence interesting, rather than being upset by another baby getting his mama's attention. It's working out for now, anyway.

FWIW, I also found a home daycare that did drop-in by the day (not by hour) and we were considering that before we found the mama we like so much.

Good luck! BTW, my flyers/ad said something like this: "Seeking groovy SAHMama to provide occasional daytime care for our 5-month-old son."
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#9 of 11 Old 03-31-2004, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
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to daria and jyanla, thanks for those excellent suggestions. I am also glad to hear that someone had a similar situation and found a solution.
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#10 of 11 Old 04-01-2004, 06:57 PM
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I too think your best bet is an in-home caregiver or a home daycare that will take a drop in. But if you can't come up with any of those, here are a couple more possibilities.

Although I'm not sure of any that take infants, there are "drop in daycare" centers out there. This is one just down the street from us, but they don't take kids under 18 mo. They are not cheap but they specialize in drop-in care for children and are set up for it. The big disadvantage is that the caregivers can be different if your schedule is different all the time, so if you have a highly stranger-adverse child it might not work.

If you can afford it, you could use a babysitting service. Again, you may not have the same caregiver all the time, so if your child doesn't adapt to new people well, this isn't a great option. And the services around our town are expensive. But they will pretty much guarentee that they will find someone for you with 24 hours notice. But you have to be really, really clear about what you want and then very specific about your instructions to the caregiver.
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#11 of 11 Old 04-02-2004, 07:04 PM
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Hi Beth,

Both DH and I were working PT, with tons of flexibility, for the first 6 months of DS's life. We usually arranged it so one of us was home but sometimes we'd both have meetings scheduled for the same time. We found a family who was in a similar situation (actually, one of my colleagues at work who had a baby 1 month younger than ours) and set up an informal co-op. One week, we'd need CC and DS would go to their place for the afternoon. The next time that they needed CC, we'd take their son. We just kept a running tally of who owed whom hours and when one family was owed quite a few hours, the couple would use them for a nighttime date.

It has worked really well for us. I guess the challenge is finding another family in a similar situation, but if you can (think about using the "Find Your Tribe" regional groups on the MDC!), it is a nice situation.

Good luck! Erin
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