Who’s Taking Care of the Kids?

The Dunn Kids

I had my first child when I was still in my orthodontic residency.  I was only able to take 2 weeks off to recover and then it was back to school.  I know that it’s technically not legal to require someone to come back so quickly, but I chose to suffer early instead of repeating a year of school.   I was very lucky that my mom was able to stay with us for the first 6 weeks and help us out.  Eventually she went back to Arizona and we had to leave Grace in daycare.  It was such a hard decision to figure out where we were going to leave her all day.  Being first time parents, we didn’t know what we were looking for.  After placing a deposit with one center, I got a sinking feeling and so we switched at the last minute (my first experience with mother’s instinct).

So there we were, two orthodontic residents, no money and a new monthly bill of $1400 per month.  Luckily, it was the perfect place to have our precious child.  There were low teacher to student ratios, everyone had a degree in early childhood education, the facility was brand new, and the tuition included food and diapers.  She thrived and we were so happy to have already made the daycare decision when our second child arrived.  People thought we were nuts to pay so much for daycare.  We were told over and over again how we could hire a nanny for that much money, but we were really happy where we were.

Once residency was complete, we made the decision to move out of state and just assumed we would find another daycare just as wonderful as the one we had in Ann Arbor.  I made a few trips to our future home and toured the local daycare facilities.  Many were full and none of them made me comfortable.  I came back to Michigan with no plan for childcare when we moved.

We had a few choices:

1.   Choose a daycare center

2.  Hire a nanny

3.  Alternate hours (have one parent work in the AM and the other in the PM)

For our family, hiring a nanny made the most sense.  As the children are getting older, we feel this was the right decision for us.  We now have two offices that are open full time, and kids who have plenty of afterschool activities that someone needs to drive them to and from.  Unfortunately, we have been unable to keep the same person in the job.  Our first nanny got engaged and her fiancé was transferred to Michigan and the second is going to stay at home after her baby is born.  So, we are searching for a new person to keep the household running.  I do wonder how often this is going to happen.  Only 8 more years until Grace gets her driver’s license!

I hear of so many creative ways to balance it all.  What is your solution?

9 Responses to “Who’s Taking Care of the Kids?”

  1. Hi Courtney. Congratulations!!! What a great blog!! Good luck in your new adventure. You are going to have a lots of fun with it. I call blogging “my stress relief outlet”.
    Talk soon.. Giangi

  2. Dennis McGavock says:

    Sounds like a sweet gig. If Alexis wasn’t college bound she would be awesome for the role.

  3. Kelly says:

    Each of my boys did a three month stint in daycare. We found that half of that time they were home sick. When my husband picked up my second son with his mouth smelling like bleach, that was our last day of daycare. They had been soaking his pacifier in bleach. I have since sold my practice and cut back to part time. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful mother in law and my dad to take care of our kids while I’m working now.

    • Courtneyadunn says:

      I can’t believe they were doing that Kelly! I totally understand your decision to sell your practice. There are so many options out there for us and it’s fun to hear what others are doing to balance life and work.

  4. Leavelle says:

    Thanks for all your efforts which you have put in this. Really fascinating information.

  5. Sandy Arens says:

    With the growing need of child care for working moms, I was wondering if you have ever thought of writing a article about hosting an Au pair as a child care alternative that so many still do not know about? Hosting an Au pair can offer a family an affordable was to have flexible live-in child care. Au pairs come from many different countries and exposing children to language and culture at a young age is wonderful. I myself have hosted Au pairs from Germany, Poland, France, Romania, Finland, Russia, and currently from Guatemala. I have tried nannies, but I have loved the consistency of Au pairs.

    Please let me know if you would like more information. I think a lot of moms could benefit from having an Au pair and have never even considered it as an option.

    Thank you,

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