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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: firelight on November 18, 2014, 06:30:01 AM

Title: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: firelight on November 18, 2014, 06:30:01 AM
We recently had a baby and now it's time for me to go back to work. We are deciding between daycare and nanny. Not an option for either of us to quit (though I'd love to - another reason to FI soon).

Daycare:
Costs $1800 (there are cheaper ones available but my husband is paranoid about safety and wants to put our baby only in one with cameras and other bells and whistles) per month
Close to my work but requires further ten minutes of driving
Baby would socialize
Not dependent on one person's availability (biggest advantage according to me)
Head more chances of being sick but can also develop immunity

Nanny:
$2300 per month (added bonus: she also would help with cooking and light house work)
At home (can avoid morning madness and baby can be on her own schedule instead of combining with mine)
No socialization (I would love for a nanny share but not sure we can find a family they would be interested right now)
Lesser chances of being sick
We can monitor through nanny cam but if there is some issue, it would just be one adult with the baby

My husband is also worried about leaving baby with one adult that we don't know much about (we can do background checks but can't monitor her every minute) and thinks day care with multiple adults is better. I think he is being paranoid but am being guilted with worst case scenarios :( Also, we are thinking of another baby in a year or two's time and I think nanny might be cheaper then. But it's too early for that to make a difference now. We've budgeted for childcare so cost takes a back seat for now (unless my husband agrees to a cheaper day care, I can't think of significant savings... We can try for part time day care but our work lives are too erratic to do it consistently)

I'm leaning towards a nanny just to keep life running more smoothly for an extra $500 per month and my husband towards daycare but is there something we're missing in this argument?
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: TN_Steve on November 18, 2014, 07:14:35 AM
One issue to add--what kind of hours do you both work?  Some states limit hours in daycare per day (or, in my opinion, the daycare facilities interpret the law that way).  Back in the dark ages (late 80s), we experienced "10 hour" limits that were a major PIA.  Had to get a babysitter to pick our eldest up and watch him at home--even though the 24 hour facility was on the campus of the hospital at which DW was working as a resident. 

hours didn't improve with Kid 2 (or 3), so we went with nanny at that point for coordination with work hours and price.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: GuitarStv on November 18, 2014, 07:15:11 AM
I've always felt that the socialization a kid gets early on is very important.  I really think that a properly run daycare is probably better for most children.  Getting sick is also important for kids . . . the more germs/bacteria they're exposed to early on the better off they tend to be health-wise over their lifetimes.  Plus it's cheaper.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Neustache on November 18, 2014, 07:19:23 AM
I personally like the bonding that takes place in a one on one setting.  I stayed at home, and the 'socialization' that took place when my 2 year old went to mom's day out for two days a week was NOT a good experience for us.  Suddenly he's hitting/bitin...things that hadn't happened until the preschool (and I witnessed how rough the other kids were in there!) 


Personally, I'd pick Nanny if the numbers worked out.  A good one will take them to the park/library/kid museum/zoo on a regular basis, so there will be some socialization there. 

ETA:  I'm about as paranoid as someone can be, and I have reasons for that, but I don't really consider hiring a nanny as a 'risk'.  Get nanny cams, sure, there's a few bad eggs out there, but if you have multiple references, plus maybe cameras, plus dropping in randomly (which you should do at a daycare, too) you will more than likely be fine. 
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: zhelud on November 18, 2014, 07:19:55 AM
IMHO, the most important thing to look for in a day care for a baby is the infant:caregiver ratio. It should be no more than 3:1.  If you are paying $1800/month, you should definitely be getting that ratio or better. All caregivers should have some formal training as well. And a high turnover rate for caregivers is a bad sign. None of the other "bells and whistles" really matter (but usually those are not the things that drive costs- daycare costs are all about staff salaries and benefits.)

One of the disadvantages of day care is that when the baby is sick (and not just really sick, but "daycare sick," meaning that she is totally fine but isn't allowed to come in because of some weird rash, or she barfed yesterday, or something like that), the baby has to stay home, meaning that you have to stay home too. If you and your spouse have lousy bosses, that could be a problem. On the other hand, you don't have to worry that the nanny is going to get sick and leave you without care. 
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: MooseOutFront on November 18, 2014, 07:22:25 AM
We went daycare first and then switched to nanny.  The pick-up / drop-off routine for daycare was soul crushing for us.  A nanny at your home lets your child sleep in, is much more conducive for naps, and keeps you from having to gear up twice a day to load and unload the car in addition to the more flexible work schedule it allows.  Granted we had the luxury of knowing our nanny and sharing her with a close friend's similarly aged child.

Now after 2 years of nanny, we don't have a single regret as she's able to keep both of our kids now that we have 2.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: mrsggrowsveg on November 18, 2014, 07:40:12 AM
In my opinion, a perfect scenario would be nanny and then daycare.  One on one bonding is very important especially under the age of two.  Also, common daycare illnesses are harder on young babies than toddlers.  Daycare is great for structure and socialization.

We sent our lo to daycare at about 8 weeks.  We had a great center and he was able to bond with his caregivers.  He did get sick very often at first.  He is almost two now and has an excellent vocabulary.  I believe it is because of things he has learned from the older children at his daycare.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: GuitarStv on November 18, 2014, 08:04:03 AM
Woah.  I forgot that in the US you guys hate to give new mothers time off work with their kids.  We get a year of parental leave, so I was thinking that the age of the child would be closer to a year, not 8 weeks.  I can see a lot more benefits for a nanny with a very young baby.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: cynthia1848 on November 18, 2014, 08:07:52 AM
I would do nanny if you have a reliable one, ESPECIALLY if your sick days are limited.  When kids go to daycare they get sick all the time for the first couple of years and if they are sick, you can't bring them in! - so then you have to stay home with them.

We have had a nanny since our first was 6 months (I had a long maternity leave for the US) and it has been great.  It is also automatically cheaper once you have kid #2 (and #3 in our case).
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: dios.del.sol on November 18, 2014, 08:32:07 AM
I've always felt that the socialization a kid gets early on is very important.  I really think that a properly run daycare is probably better for most children.  Getting sick is also important for kids . . . the more germs/bacteria they're exposed to early on the better off they tend to be health-wise over their lifetimes.  Plus it's cheaper.
+1 to this. We sent our kids to a daycare because of the cost of a nanny. I was a bit concerned about it, but right away it was great to see him playing with all the other kids. Yes, he got sick, but just colds, and that really makes him stronger, right? The one caveat to this is that I was a stay at home dad for the first 9 months. We transitioned him to daycare around 7-8 months, starting part time. I know people who have taken their kids to daycare right at the end of the 6 week leave, and it all seemed to go well. I would have been sad to do that.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: dios.del.sol on November 18, 2014, 08:34:55 AM
I would do nanny if you have a reliable one, ESPECIALLY if your sick days are limited.  When kids go to daycare they get sick all the time for the first couple of years and if they are sick, you can't bring them in! - so then you have to stay home with them.
This is a good point. One thing that at first I didn't like about my daycare but later came to appreciate, is that they have a "no fever = OK to come" policy. Kids may get sick more often, but it's more convenient, and I don't think the increased illness has been more than a slight nuisance.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: skunkfunk on November 18, 2014, 09:23:33 AM
If you can get rid of a car (bike or public transport or whatever) by getting a nanny, you can justify the extra 500 pretty easily.

Personally, my wife doesn't even net $2300 a month so no way that would be happening.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: CommonCents on November 18, 2014, 09:44:42 AM
Have you looked in the vacation policies?  My coworkers have issues with some daycares closing for ~4-5 weeks over the year.  Of course, a nanny would expect some time off too, so you want to figure out a backup plan for that as well.

I have friends doing both.  They're all satisfied, but it doesn't make financial sense until you have 2+ kids to do a nanny.  Nannies do often meet up with other nannies, so the kids get socialization there.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: MayDay on November 18, 2014, 09:57:41 AM
I'd do a nanny at first, but look hard for a share- even if the other baby is just part time. 

Socialization is important, but a good nanny will socialize your kid once it is age appropriate (probably closer to a year old although before is ok too). 
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: justajane on November 18, 2014, 10:07:48 AM
Whatever you decide, be sure you discuss safe sleep practices with the caregiver. In my city, a 7 month old baby died this year in a very reputable daycare because the caregivers covered his legs (while on his tummy) with a weighted blanket. The parents had no idea they used those in the infant room. You'd be surprised how clueless people can be.

Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: historienne on November 18, 2014, 11:53:56 AM
I just want to throw out some pros for a good daycare:
-they deal with backup care, so it doesn't close if your nanny is sick
-much less risk that your caregiver will decide to quit on short notice, leaving you scrambling for a replacement
-they usually provide food
-they have a wide range of toys and activities, and possibly also great playground equipment
-your kid will get to know other children (not a big deal initially, but after a year old or so, this is very nice)
-having a mix of age ranges lets your kid model themselves on the bigger kids, which can help for transitioning to solids, learning to walk, potty training

So, while a nanny is easier in some ways (no morning rush to get out the door), it can also be harder in others (you have to plan the lunches, even if the nanny will do the cooking; if you want a wide range of toys/activities, you will have to arrange for them, at least to the extent of acquiring the right materials).

My parents watched our daughter until she was 10 months, which was great - at that age, I think that individualized care has real advantages, although of course kids also thrive in daycare settings.  After 10 months, I was happy to have her in a daycare center.

In my experience, the price difference will also be a bit greater - with a nanny, you will have utilities going during the day, you will be buying the food, etc.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: HairyUpperLip on November 18, 2014, 01:08:41 PM
Question - Where did you find a nanny? Any good sources? My wife and I haven't had any luck finding one.

I'd pick a nanny over daycare. More personal care and a lot of shitty kids are in Daycare that will hit, bite, punch, etc your kid and then your kid will learn these things as well.

You can request the nanny to participate in Mommy and Baby clubs. My wife and daughter do this and they meet with other babies/kids during the daytime and do different activities - reading at the library, finger paints, etc.  Simple way to get interaction with other kids.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: socalwkr on November 18, 2014, 01:19:23 PM
I would try really hard to find a nanny share.  My kids go to preschool two days out of the week now and the others our nanny comes to our house.  If you could find a nanny to watch another child or two it would cut costs and provide socialization, and also another set(s) of eyes coming and going at different times to keep a good look out.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: bogart on November 18, 2014, 02:02:52 PM
Daycare:
Close to my work but requires further ten minutes of driving

I have no idea where you live or what you and your DH do, and I can tell you that my kid went to an in-home (but commercial, rated) daycare the first 3 years of his life, so our preferences may be different enough that this is not relevant.  But.  One thing that I got really right when I picked our daycare was that it was close to our house.  This had two implications.  One, I could drop our son off, go buy groceries, go home, shower, and get dressed and then get to work on time without having to navigate the groceries/shower/dressing with an infant/toddler around.  Two, it was not (usually) more logical for me or DH to drop off or pick up DS -- either one of us was equally capable and it was equally convenient for each of us.  So we shared responsibility for that and were both involved with interacting with DS, the daycare provider, etc. 

There may be great reasons for picking the daycare you are considering, but I just thought I'd mention this, as the effect of that proximity on my happiness in those early years really cannot be overstated (we were, also, very happy with the quality of the daycare itself, obviously -- proximity would not beat "good.").
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: firelight on November 18, 2014, 02:10:15 PM
Thanks everyone. You given us more things to think about. My baby is three months old - at this point, one on one care seems way more important.

Also we live in bay area - so the cost of day care is equally high. Both our work schedules are not crazy but we might have to work late at times and my husband travels a lot for work. That is one reason why I'd find a day care closer to my work place than his.

I hadn't thought of mommy and me classes or library meets. I'll check if the nanny can take the baby there once she is a bit older.

We found our nanny through care.com. There are some nanny finding agencies as well but we didn't have much luck there.

Dropping down to one car might not be feasible in the short term but I can bike more often to work if the baby is at home saving fuel costs and getting some exercise. For utilities we live in an apartment. So not sure how much utilities would increase with baby and nanny at home. We'll have to do a trial.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Allie on November 18, 2014, 05:32:37 PM
All child care centers can make mistakes or hire a bad seed.  The more oversight and accountability the better.  If you decide on a nanny, do lots of reference checks.  If you decide on home based care make sure it is someone you trust.  I was sometimes amazed by the people I used to meet at work who describe their job as daycare/childcare provider.  I wouldn't trust some of them with a fully capable adult, let alone a child. 

My kids attended a center day care when I was working and we dealt with negative behaviors as learning moments.  All kids are going to have tantrums, bite, etc.  If you and the caregivers are consistent in your response it will be a good opportunity to encourage positive social skills. 

As long as you have skilled, caring, loving, and committed adults helping you with your children, you really can't go wrong.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: DMoney on November 18, 2014, 07:10:05 PM
Our daycare option is significantly cheaper than the nanny option because daycare is subsidized by my employer.  And we love the daycare.  Walking distance to our home so kids aren't ever in a car M-F, clean, tightly regulated, close circuit television, no adult is ever alone with kids.  All the workers get lunch and bathroom breaks.  Nannies (and Moms!) don't get those sanity-saving breaks. 

That being said we were on the wait list for a while and had to have a nanny for a few months.  It was a nightmare. 

Lots of good pros and cons have been laid out already.  Here are a few more to add to the pile. 

1. You are someone's sole employer.  You are fully responsible for his/her everything.  This is a huge amount of additional responsibility.  Pay check, car problems, "I need time off to vote but I don't want to wait at the polling location in the dark and cold after work", personal life problems, tearful sessions because a friend of a friend died, healthcare, financial woes, vacation plans, social security, tax withholding, etc etc.  If you get a professional who has her shit together, than hopefully this stuff won't become your problem.

2.  A nanny isn't the 100% solution people make it out to be.    Sure, your kid can't go to daycare sick and that sucks.  But nannies get sick, go to doctors appointments, have car trouble, think they don't need to come in because it's snowing, etc. 

Clearly we had a bad experience.  Many people find fabulous nannies and can't imagine doing things any differently.  But the stress of handling her problems for her (this was an adult who was older than us) will make us awfully wary about ever going down that path again.

Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Krnten on November 18, 2014, 07:35:44 PM
A couple other options:

1.  In-home daycare.  Each state regulates these differently, and I'm in NY so that's my perspective.  But it's home based, smaller # of kids.  My daughter goes to one started by my neighbor (and now friend).  It's a great fit for us.  I love that my daughter gets to be in a home during the day, even if it's not ours. 

2.  A nanny who has a kid of her own whom she brings.  While my neighbor was getting her daycare off the ground, my daughter was her first and only customer for a while, so it was a nanny-like situation.  My neighbor has her own daughter who's about 6 months older than mine.  The girls are now great friends. I sometimes "borrow" her daughter when I come home because the girls entertain each other and it's less work for me than with just one kid, if that makes sense!  I also think that it keeps accountability up.  You can expect the same standard of care that the nanny would give her own kid, because that kid is there too.

Also, the closer to home the better. 
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: burly on November 18, 2014, 09:13:12 PM
I'm not sure where you live but these prices seem exorbitant to me... we pay $576/month for 4 days a week at our day care that is state regulated and is rated the highest rating.

I am shocked at all she learns (first time parent).. Started with sign language, excellent manners such as cleaning up after herself... We're also surprised when we start singing a song and she's doing hand motions that are involved.

I am pro-daycare as I see how my daughter interacts with others.. My wife is in charge of nursery at our church and we can clearly tell which children are not socialized as much. In addition, we are supplied with our child's curriculum (she's not even 2) and has set learning goals and is evaluated on her development to ensure she is on track.

But I definitely agree that you must be comfortable with the center... I know when I walk in there that these people treat my daughter like they were theirs. The love and care is quite abundant.

This post just came to mind:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/12/avoiding-ivy-league-preschool-syndrome/
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: NorCal on November 18, 2014, 09:32:57 PM
My daughter has been in daycare for about 6 months.  I am 100% confident that the decision was right for us, but I completely get that the nanny works better for others.

I found that the socialization is good.  Not just for my daughter, but for us.  We get to interact with other parents with kids around the same age.  Our daycare also provides meals and snacks once the kids are old enough (this is far from universal) which is a huge time saver for the whole family.

She's only gotten sick twice while there, so I guess we've been pretty lucky.  We also have access to a backup daycare, who will send a nanny to our house on sick days.  We've only used it once, but it was a lifesaver.  See if there's something like this in your area.

I know a number of people where the logistics of a nanny turned ugly.  Sometimes a nanny will quit with short notice.  You'll also deal with overtime for late work nights, sick nanny's, vacation, and other issues.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: historienne on November 19, 2014, 09:16:52 AM
Thanks everyone. You given us more things to think about. My baby is three months old - at this point, one on one care seems way more important.

Yeah, I get this.   Remember, too, that you are not making a decision for all time.  You can have a nanny for the next six months and then switch, if the extra cost stops seeming worth it or you decide that you do want more socialization.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: mm1970 on November 19, 2014, 12:06:10 PM
I just want to throw out some pros for a good daycare:
-they deal with backup care, so it doesn't close if your nanny is sick
-much less risk that your caregiver will decide to quit on short notice, leaving you scrambling for a replacement
-they usually provide food
-they have a wide range of toys and activities, and possibly also great playground equipment
-your kid will get to know other children (not a big deal initially, but after a year old or so, this is very nice)
-having a mix of age ranges lets your kid model themselves on the bigger kids, which can help for transitioning to solids, learning to walk, potty training

So, while a nanny is easier in some ways (no morning rush to get out the door), it can also be harder in others (you have to plan the lunches, even if the nanny will do the cooking; if you want a wide range of toys/activities, you will have to arrange for them, at least to the extent of acquiring the right materials).

My parents watched our daughter until she was 10 months, which was great - at that age, I think that individualized care has real advantages, although of course kids also thrive in daycare settings.  After 10 months, I was happy to have her in a daycare center.

In my experience, the price difference will also be a bit greater - with a nanny, you will have utilities going during the day, you will be buying the food, etc.
This is pretty much what I was going to say.

There are pros and cons to each of them.  Both my boys were in at-home childcare.  2 year old still is.  They started at 12 weeks and 9 weeks.  (My younger son started 1/2 time at 9 weeks, at a friend's home care, and it was just him and her own children for the first year).

Advantages to a center or a more established home care is back-up: our first home care for my elder son was a woman who never got sick.  She was local, and had a huge family.  So in the case where her helper (her mother) was sick or in the hospital, she had a long list of siblings, nieces, cousins, etc. to help out.  Centers are even better, and they often have fewer "closed" days.

With our current in-home care, she's more lax about runny noses.  Basically we keep our son home if he has a fever or has had vomiting, etc. within the last 24 hours.  This means when the stomach flu went through the daycare this year, we were off for a week - 2 days as preventative, and then 3 days when we got it anyway because my husband passed it around.

I have had friends with nannies - those can be hit or miss.  My one friend went through three nannies in a year. One graduated from college and moved, and two just quit - as in, just didn't show up one day, no call, no nothing.  (All college-aged girls.)  In that respect, my kids have a lot more "bonding", because they each had the same caregiver for 3+ years before preschool.

All that said, I totally would have had a nanny if it were financially about equal.  But nannies are about $15-20 an hour.  Even at $15 an hour, 40 hours a week is $600/wk, $2400/ month PLUS you have to pay social security taxes on top of that because they are your employee.  (You can get around that, I think, by nanny sharing).  As it is, it takes me an hour to leave work, pick up both kids at daycare/school, and go home.  Nanny is easier but home day care is $250/week not $600+ per week.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Meggslynn on November 19, 2014, 12:49:52 PM
I haven't read the other replies.

My son is 2.5 and has been in daycare since 11 months old (Canadian mat leave) I also looked at nannies. I am soooo glad I went with daycare. Being around the other kids for 7.5 hours a day has helped him in so many ways. Naturally a shy child he has made huge progress in proper socializing with other kids. I love love love the relationships he has made with the other kids. Z is his best bud and they go everywhere together. E is like a big sister, she looks out for him. R is a mentor, the big boy of the place and teaches him all sorts of stuff.
The only downfall in my opinion of daycare over a nanny is that yes your kid will get sick quite often in the first bit. They either go through that in daycare or when they first enter school which ever comes first for that kid. The morning rush really isn't that bad with only one kid. Everything is prepped the night before and the morning is smooth sailing as long we wake up on time.
However, if my son needed care at a very young age I would be more inclined to go with a nanny.
Good luck in your decision.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: firelight on November 19, 2014, 09:51:20 PM
Thanks everyone! We finally decided to give nanny a shot because my baby is still in the phase of needing one on one care. We are having one start in Dec.

That said, we are planning to transition her to home daycare at around 8 months of age for socialization. At that age, they can at least express themselves better than infants.

@burly, we live in bay area... These costs are average. I can definitely find a cheaper day care but my husband wants one with all bells and whistles.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Rage on November 19, 2014, 10:44:32 PM
There's also the nanny-share option - share a nanny with another set  of recent parents whom hopefully live near by.  We do this.  Roughly cuts the cost in half.  We switch homes every other month.

Related to some comments earlier in the thread, it seems to me this "kids getting sick is good for them" stuff is frighteningly unscientific.  I think people haven't been reading those headlines closely enough (and certainly not the articles), they generally refer to "germs" or more specifically, bacteria.  Getting viruses like colds and flus in no way makes your kid better off.  This aspect of the human immune system does not benefit from practice, it does not get stronger from repeated exposure to nasty viruses.  You won't be able to fight off herpes or HIV or smallpox or ebola because you get a lot of colds as a kid in daycare.  But lots of viruses are what kids get in daycare, they come down with colds and flus all the time and everyone pats themselves on the back at how they are building their child's immune system. 

(I probably sound anti-daycare, but I swear I'm not, just anti-nonsense)
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: JustTrying on November 19, 2014, 10:57:14 PM
I'm speaking up as a former nanny AND a former daycare head teacher. Hands-down, I'd hire a nanny. It makes me sad to say that, because I LOVED the babies that I took care of as a daycare "teacher," but in that environment, they simply didn't get the attention that they needed.

That being said, I'm very supportive of daycare settings for children 3 and above, just not for infants/toddlers.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Goldielocks on November 21, 2014, 11:23:24 AM
Look into live in nannies for cost reduction, plus with only one child you will get a little light housekeeping included, at least everything related to child including all floors they crawl on, some dishes, kids laundry, etc.etc.   time permitting around baby needs.

The bonus for us was that many if the 'can't work today' reasons are eliminated, and need to have emergency help on short notice was terrific.

Bigger bonus was being able to get to know and trust the nanny a lot faster.  Working from home a day or two a week, while nanny was there for first month was great.  I also had DH stay home with baby first week back at work,  trusting completely in the child care was important to my transition the first few days.

Live in nannies actually don't want to hang around outside of their work day, ( or they end up working all the time!) so very minimal change in our personal family time together..other than always having a tidy family room when I came home, of course!

If you have a spare room, this may be a cheaper, and better option.

We have used every childcare option, except extended family and live out nanny.  There are very good and bad days with each.. But live in nanny was by far our best experience.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Dee18 on November 21, 2014, 01:25:58 PM
I first had a nanny--checked references etc. She was highly recommended.  One day I ran home in the middle of the day to pick up papers I had forgotten. My baby was strapped in high chair wailing, with a messy diaper, while the nanny was in another room talking on the phone.  I switched to a fabulous daycare.....but then my daughter did seem to develop a lot of ear infections despite their best efforts to prevent the spread of germs.  If I had a nanny now, I sure as heck would have a nanny cam.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: kkbmustang on November 24, 2014, 05:36:22 PM
Please don't forget that when you hire a nanny, you will be considered an employer of an employee. There's no "independent contractor" status with nannies. You will be obligated to withhold federal employment tax, FICA/Medicare, and any state income/employment taxes applicable. You will also be required to issue the nanny a Form W-2 and send a copy to the IRS. (Generating a W-2 is a simple add-on in TurboTax.) You will need to get an EIN for your household (for using on the W-2), which can be done by going here: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online

Make sure you require the nanny to complete a Form I-9 and a Form W-4, both available at www.irs.gov.  You should also make sure you have her keep track of her hours if you pay her hourly (1.5 for any time over 40 hours per week, 2.0 on holidays). Also, if you reimburse her for any expenses (say a quick run to the grocery store or whatever), make sure she provides you with a receipt. If you keep receipts, you do not need to report reimbursements in her taxable income. If you do not, you will need to report it.

Also, even if it's just a page with bullet points, make sure you both agree to her terms of employment, what she is obligated to do in addition to caring for your child, how much notice either party has to provide when terminating the employment relationship, how many sick days or vacation days and whether they are paid. State law may require certain minimums with regard to sick pay and vacation pay.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Zette on November 24, 2014, 06:15:50 PM
Children generally start to parallel play around age 2.5.  There's a good reason Montessori usually starts at 30 months.  Before that age I wouldn't worry about socialization with other children.

My vote would be nanny until age 2.5 or 3, then preschool/daycare.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Firefly on November 24, 2014, 07:58:54 PM
From my personal experience (i have 2 kids, one is 7, another 18 mo) - at this age they need one on one care more than socialization. So I support your decision to try nanny. One more reason I would do with the nanny is when you are hiring a nanny, you are hiring the person you like. In a day care teachers change all the time. You might like the day care center and the current provider, but they might leave right after you enroll and you might not be too crazy about a new one. Besides, one one kid gets sick - they all get sick :). We hired a part-time nanny with my youngest one when she was an infant, but I was working from home so I could nurse her any time and check in on her. Around 14 mo we switched my daughter to a home based day care with only 4 kids (2 of the kids are the caretaker's) - I absolutely love it! She gets socialization in a small caring setting.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: scrubbyfish on November 24, 2014, 11:04:31 PM
I forgot that in the US you guys hate to give new mothers time off work with their kids.  We get a year of parental leave...

Unless we're contract workers :(   Or self-employed. I worked until Kid popped out very early, and worked with him in my arms from that point on.

Lots has been covered here, but I will add that daycares have popped up in my newsfeeds several times in the last few years while nannies have not. I don't want to get into the details, because it makes me cry and will make everyone else cry. My point is that I don't think daycares are safer than nannies (or vice versa). Yes to detailed references, criminal record checks, nanny cams, and surprise visits either way you go. I don't love a "spy" nation, but I think caring for kids is an exception, especially when they are too young to have a strong voice. Of course, the vast majority of care -nanny or group- is entirely safe, good, and wonderful, but I can certainly understand a person's fears.

Personally, I would go nanny, for all the reasons stated -ease of morning, sickness not derailing things, comfort for baby, baby on baby's own schedule, parents determining Baby's nutrition, extended and flexible hours, etc. How wonderful for you two to be able to go out for an evening now and then with Baby in the same caregiver's arms.

I don't feel that socialization is an issue. For one, introverted or sensitive kids will prefer a quieter, lower stimulation, one-on-one environment, so group stuff is only going to fit for some. For two, all babies with sane parents end up interacting with people. Nanny can take Baby to the drop-in singing circles at the library, out with other neighbourhood babies and their caregivers, etc.

It's definitely a concern about Nanny suddenly becoming unavailable. Do you have parents or friends that could step in if there was a lapse?
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Rylito on November 24, 2014, 11:25:54 PM
Definitely recommend going with a nanny for the first 18-24 months or so.  I put my son in daycare from the age of 9 months (grandma watched him before then) because cost was a huge factor for us and we didn't think we could afford a nanny...but I really regretted it.   He was sick ALL the time. 

Sure, he has great immunity now, but he suffered then.  It's so hard for little ones when they can't blow their nose or tell you how miserable they're feeling (especially if they're going through teething at the same time).  Later on I looked into it and realized that it wouldn't have cost that much more to do a nanny share then what we paid for daycare.

As others have pointed out, socialization doesn't really become important until about age 2.5 or so anyways.  Plenty of time to start daycare or preschool around that age and start getting exposed to lots of outside germs.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: MrsPete on November 25, 2014, 09:30:11 AM
Things you don't think about 'til you're an experienced parent:

- Bells and whistles aren't important to the child, but cool toys are!  I'd pay especial attention to the playground.  I'm mid-40s and can still describe to you the playground equipment at my elementary school; my girls can tell you exactly what playground equipment they had at day care and at each of the two elementary schools they attended.  However, this won't start to matter 'til a little after two years old.  An at-home provider is unlikely to provide a great playground. 

- Babies don't socialize.  They aren't ready for it yet.  At most, you might see side-by-side play until around age two.  At that point, yes, socialization is a positive. 

- Don't worry too much about books in a group.  Babies can't really appreciate books until they're maybe 5 months old, and then it only "works" one-on-one.  Trust me:  I've raised two who'd rather read than eat when they're hungry.  It starts with cuddle time, feeling secure, and just looking at colors and pictures -- then it turns into pointing to the color blue or the duck -- then it turns into you reading sometimes and the child "reading" to you.  This isn't something that "works" in a group.  You could pull it off with two babies at a time. 

- What type of crafts, parties, and organized events will the day care kids share?  I remember how our great at-home provider used to whip our kids into a frenzy over something like Arbor Day.  They'd plan together for a week, talking about trees, baking cupcakes . . . and in the end, the party was something quite modest, but they LOVED IT. 

- What type of food does the day care serve?  Is it healthy stuff, or processed junk?  Where do the kids eat? 

- Regardless of what type of care you're using, ask about how they put the babies down to sleep.  Do they rock them to sleep, do they use a cry-it-out method, or something in between?  I'm not telling you what you should do, but be sure your provider's methods meet your own. 

- If you're depending upon one person, yes, it is a problem when that person gets sick.  We used a GREAT at-home day care for a while, but in the last year we used her, I missed a ton of days because of our day care provider's sicknesses!  From a logistical point of view, it was a bad year. 

- What about when your child is sick?  Will your nanny still care for her?  Will she take her to the doctor for well check-ups?  For sick visits?  Will she give medicines?  These are all questions to ask.  Day care will do none of these things; typically you're not allowed to bring the baby back to day care until he or she has been fever-free for 24 hours. 

- Are you expected to pay day care when you're on vacation?  When you're off for a week at Christmas?  Some day cares give you "two weeks vacation" when you don't have to pay -- others expect you to pay 52 weeks a year, even if the child is with you at DisneyWorld. 

- What's the day care's policy on late pick ups?  At some point you're going to be late.  I'm remembering the time my car broke down. 

- An at-home provider is able to provide a more quiet, calm experience for your child; but that person can also spend her days sitting her butt watching TV while the baby kind of does his or her own thing.  You expect that a one-on-one experience would include lots of books, singing, and block building -- but your nanny may or may not do these things.  In day care, where more people are watching, you're more likey to get those enriching activities -- but you're also going to lose the one-on-one concept.

- In day care you're going to have one or more providers whom you just won't like.  I'm remembering one day when I went in to pick up my youngest, and one of the providers stepped out for some reason.  A little girl walked up to the other provider . . . and projectile vomitted all over her.  Kids do that stuff.  The provider said some bad words and walked out, leaving me -- a mom -- with a room full of kids!  I understand she was disgusted at being covered in vomit, but the kids have to come first.  I spoke to the office people about this situation on the way out the door, and I never saw her again.  I mean, leaving the kids -- that's kind of rule #1.  The point:  If you work with a number of providers, you're going to like some and dislike others. 

- Day care will make potty training easier.  When the child is two, they'll start all the kids "training" at the same time, and the other kids' success will be motivating for yours.  They also have those little bitty toilets that kids love. 

- Finally, I'll echo what someone else said:  The decision you make today isn't forever.  What's right for a newborn may no longer be right when that newborn becomes a busy two-year old.  You'll find that your options will expand (and become cheaper) when the child is three.  Kids tend to "move up" to the next age group in day care when school starts.  It makes sense:  The oldest kids move off to kindergarten, and the others all "move up" together.  Thus, it's easiest to "get a spot" in late summer /early fall. 

Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Bob W on November 25, 2014, 11:40:17 AM

Sound like both of you are making pretty good Jack.  I would chose the third perhaps less comfortable route and have whichever one of you who's career will be least impacted take a year or 12 off.   Is there any part time work at home option in either of your fields?   

Barring that,  I'm going with Nanny and I would pay a little more than that to assure high quality and one that sticks around.   

Most of the folks around here with nannys are stay at home moms.  So this is an unusual choice.  BTW I'm blown away at the daycare cost!
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Dicey on November 25, 2014, 11:57:51 AM
Wow! I was getting pretty sad until I got to Bob Werner's comment. How is it that not one person even suggested the stay-at-home-parent option before him? This is a forum on frugality/early retirement and not one person has considered suggesting doing a cost comparison to see if staying at home was an option? Sheesh! Your child deserves to have mommy or daddy at home if humanly possible, and it is possible. C'mon people, your children are only babies for a very short time, think about it, please! Why have them at all if you're going to ship them off to daycare or hire a stand-in mommy? Things to think about before you have even one baby, let alone multiples. Get a copy of "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" if you want to learn how it can be done, even on a limited income.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: historienne on November 25, 2014, 12:50:01 PM
Wow! I was getting pretty sad until I got to Bob Werner's comment. How is it that not one person even suggested the stay-at-home-parent option before him? This is a forum on frugality/early retirement and not one person has considered suggesting doing a cost comparison to see if staying at home was an option? Sheesh! Your child deserves to have mommy or daddy at home if humanly possible, and it is possible. C'mon people, your children are only babies for a very short time, think about it, please! Why have them at all if you're going to ship them off to daycare or hire a stand-in mommy? Things to think about before you have even one baby, let alone multiples. Get a copy of "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" if you want to learn how it can be done, even on a limited income.

Diane C, we've had this conversation before.  Last time you claimed you had no idea it would be taken as offensive to suggest that parents who choose to work outside the home are depriving their kids of the stay-at-home parent their child "deserves," or that using child care is the equivalent of hiring a "stand-in mommy."  Perhaps you've forgotten?  For the record, it's still massively offensive!
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: GuitarStv on November 25, 2014, 12:52:05 PM
To be fair, being with your kid is like . . . the worst part of having a kid.

:P
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: KCM5 on November 25, 2014, 01:32:33 PM
Why have them at all if you're going to ship them off to daycare or hire a stand-in mommy?

I'm sure you've already found that this statement might offend a majority of people on this forum. Also, not to be too pedantic, but perhaps referring to it as a stand-in parent would be more correct. Men can and do raise their children, too.

To the OP, I think the nanny to day care/preschool plan is excellent.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Goldielocks on November 25, 2014, 01:51:34 PM
Wow! I was getting pretty sad until I got to Bob Werner's comment. How is it that not one person even suggested the stay-at-home-parent option before him? This is a forum on frugality/early retirement and not one person has considered suggesting doing a cost comparison to see if staying at home was an option? Sheesh!


...Things to think about before you have even one baby, let alone multiples.

Diane c. Should have stopped at sheesh!

As to your second comment, I had someone comment on another thread  that I should have thought about and provided for after school activities, before having a baby, that I was not a good parent because I don't intend to spend well over$25k per kid on that alone in their lifetime.   That I was depriving my child. 

Your second sentence above reads just the same.   

We need to assume that parents posting here are making choices in their families' best interests.

Edited for clarity.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: firelight on November 25, 2014, 02:37:03 PM
Thanks everyone for your valuable insights. At this point, we've chosen to go with a nanny. She is a mom of two and had her own day care before moving to the current place. She is very good and we hope she suits our family well.

Diane c, at this point SAHP would not work for us, even though that is a good option to consider. I strongly believe that both parents working is a great model for kids. It would teach them that both sexes are equal and that women can succeed in their careers (esp in science) while men can contribute to home chores. So we plan to work together and FI together if possible.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: skunkfunk on November 25, 2014, 03:02:28 PM
Wow! I was getting pretty sad until I got to Bob Werner's comment. How is it that not one person even suggested the stay-at-home-parent option before him?

I'll refer you here ...
Personally, my wife doesn't even net $2300 a month so no way that would be happening.

As to a child "deserving" a stay at home parent, I'll mostly hold back here, but what the fuck.

To be fair, being with your kid is like . . . the worst part of having a kid.

:P

Don't tell me this, my first one comes January! And here I was trying to figure out a way to become a SAHD. For the record neither my wife nor myself actually like babies, so, um, crap.

Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: historienne on November 25, 2014, 03:11:31 PM
Don't tell me this, my first one comes January! And here I was trying to figure out a way to become a SAHD. For the record neither my wife nor myself actually like babies, so, um, crap.

Congratulations on your impending arrival!  Prepare for the first six months or so to be rough - you may be pleasantly surprised, but that's pretty common, mostly due to the sleep deprivation.  I'll say, though, that every month my daughter has been alive so far has been better and more fun than the previous one. 

OP, sounds like you have a good plan. 
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Firefly on November 25, 2014, 06:27:56 PM
As a working mother, I am offended by some of the comments. Any working mother knows too well how hard it to "ship them off to daycare or hire a stand-in mommy". Leaving them to go to work is not the easiest decision - every morning you feel like your heart is being ripped apart - but in a lot of cases it's the most responsible decision. I am a perfect example - I worked for the same company for almost 14 years, while my husband has lost his job several time during this time. In addition to job security, I have better health insurance family coverage. But he earns more. We financially support my mom. So which one of us stays home? I am also lucky - after the arrival of my youngest one, my company allowed me to step down to a lower position to work on the projects that require less interaction with internal customers, thus allowing me to work from home a lot and to have a flexible schedule to be with my baby. As a result, I go into the office 2-3 days a week for 5-6 hours, come home to pick up kids from school, and work additional 3-6 hours after they go to sleep. I work my ass off so I can spend as much time as possible with my kids. And shame on anyone who thinks that working moms "ship off" their babies just for fun.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Firefly on November 25, 2014, 06:38:17 PM
Historienne - my solution to the sleepless nights (although it's not for everyone) was to sleep with my babies. They nurse - I sleep. Everyone is happy.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: scrubbyfish on November 25, 2014, 06:40:47 PM
How is it that not one person even suggested the stay-at-home-parent option before him? This is a forum on frugality/early retirement and not one person has considered suggesting doing a cost comparison to see if staying at home was an option? Sheesh!

Well, I didn't because when I come to this forum, I absolutely believe I am in community primarily with people who are very bright, intelligent, caring, conscientious and thoughtful. Thus, I feel I can trust their process and their question. So, when this family asks us "daycare or nanny", I understand they have considered their family and concluded that some form of care is their best option at this point in the family's life, and now they just need help narrowing down which form is best.

It totally works, of course, to kindly and respectfully pitch a "third option", if we believe they haven't thought of that yet. But some of us feel we can answer the question itself, and don't feel the need to direct the lifestyle. i.e., Some people choose additional care (the more the merrier! extended family, a paid neighbour, whatever) when their kids are infants, some from when their kids are 5 (school), some never (homeschool). Different things work for different families.

Also, I can see how it would get confusing if you view this as a forum on ER and frugality. There are some forums on those specifically, but this one isn't actually strictly about either of those. This one merely incorporates ER and frugality as two of many options in whatever best supports the family's truest values and long term vision.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Dicey on November 25, 2014, 08:36:45 PM
Dear Scrubbyfish,
That's the nicest rebuttal I've ever seen. I thank you profusely for your courtesy.

It frightens me that so many young people think that these are the only two options. IMHO, it's far more badass to figure out a way to stay home with your offspring, and badassity is what it's all about. How many times on these forums does someone offer a different option that changes the OP's thinking? We both know it happens often. That's kind of the point of asking for opinions on a public forum.

I'd also like to emphasize that I completely understand it's simply not an option for single parents, but that's not the OP's situation.

I respect your opinions and writing, so I guess we'll just have to respectfully and profoundly disagree on this one. Fortunately, there are a lot of other threads that we can and do agree on, hooray!
Kindest regards,
Diane
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: urbanista on November 25, 2014, 08:56:57 PM
Your child deserves to have mommy or daddy at home if humanly possible, and it is possible. C'mon people, your children are only babies for a very short time, think about it, please! Why have them at all if you're going to ship them off to daycare or hire a stand-in mommy?

May I inquire for how long would the child deserve to have mommy or daddy at home? Like, 6 weeks, 3 months, 10 years? Also, I don't know about other people children, but my child absolutely deserves to have both mommy and daddy at home, preferably all the time. Shall we both quit our jobs and stay home with him forever? We can afford not to work a day in our life any more and still not die of starvation.

Thing is, mommy and daddy have needs too. Mommy needs to work a job where she is mentally stimulated. If mommy stays home any longer than 12 months, she is doomed to low-skilled admin jobs for the rest of her life. Daddy is just not willing to be a stay-at-home dad at all.

Really, why did we ever have a baby?
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: wileyish on November 25, 2014, 09:40:37 PM
Lots of good coverage in the comments already, but I just wanted to add a few points from an ex-nanny perspective (I was a nanny for a fantastic little guy from when he was 8 weeks to 3 years old while I was in college).

The insistence on having a nanny cam is disturbing to me. This person is going to be in charge of your kid for 40-50 hours per week (if you have a full time career plus a commute). She is essentially part of your family now and should be treated as such. Sure, drop by unexpectedly on occasion if you want to check on the daily routine, but trust has to be part of this relationship or else you are going to be spending many unproductive hours glued to the video feed.

Now that you have a kid your circle of friends is going to expand. There will likely be lots of opportunities to co-op the nanny with neighbors if she is willing to care for more than one child. This is especially common in San Francisco.

Invest in a good stroller! My nanny family had heavy mustachian leanings (long before this term existed) and had a cheap used stroller for the first two years. Nannies spend A LOT of time on walks and I think I still have bruises on my shins from that piece of crap.

I think you are going to love the in-home aspect of this arrangement. Many days when I arrived the mom was still in her pajamas or when something urgent came up at work she could stay late, no problem. Plus the nanny can get the house in order before you get home, do the baby's laundry, etc.

What is your stance on television? Since I was being paid to help raise a person I felt like using the TV would be stealing, so we had zero screen time. Might be something to discuss with your nanny if you havenít already.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: scrubbyfish on November 25, 2014, 10:01:51 PM
The insistence on having a nanny cam is disturbing to me.

I appreciate your sharing this perspective, wileyish (I'm one of the people that said nanny cam). I've been a caregiver for infants through to elderly and, for what it's worth, I still support the use of these. Personally, I'd rather not be watched 24/7, because that feels creepy, lol, but I would totally support the use of a cam until trust has been earned/established. Ideally, we get to hire someone we already know and trust, but too often we don't get to. In that case, I can see a nanny cam having a place for the first while. Normally we wouldn't watch it all day long, but checking in now and then could give us a good sense of the tone, language, activities, etc, happening while we're away.

I absolutely dig all your other points, too, especially the one about the quality stroller for the caregiver's use! I had a great one with an adjustable handlebar. Made all the difference when a 5'3 sibling would transfer stroller-duty to my 6'2 friend. Any one of us could navigate that stroller for hours with no problem. Those little umbrella ones? Killer on too many backs.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Dicey on November 25, 2014, 10:11:00 PM
[1] Shall we both quit our jobs and stay home with him forever? We can afford not to work a day in our life any more and still not die of starvation...

[2] Thing is, mommy and daddy have needs too. Really, why did we ever have a baby?
#1. Uhmmm, sorta sounds exactly like what the MMM's did, so it must be doable. And you can afford not to work? Doubly so.

#2. Uhmmm, methinks the baby's needs always come before the parent's needs, particularly in the early years. They didn't ask to be born. Deciding to become parents automatically means sacrifice. I think your question is asked by every single person who has a baby at one time or another. There are no easy answers, especially when the baby is crying inconsolably in the wee hours of the night.

Something that I've been thinking all along with this thread is that it's probably easier if people try to figure these things out before they decide to have children. Waiting until the baby is six weeks old is simply not great planning.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: urbanista on November 25, 2014, 10:30:02 PM
Ever heard of depression? Some people must regularly spend time apart from their children and their spouses, otherwise they will go nuts.

Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: historienne on November 26, 2014, 08:56:09 AM
I respect your opinions and writing, so I guess we'll just have to respectfully and profoundly disagree on this one. Fortunately, there are a lot of other threads that we can and do agree on, hooray!
Kindest regards,
Diane

Diane,

I would love to be part of this "respectful disagreement."  However, respectful disagreement does not include telling people that working outside the home is bad for their kids (there is a mountain of research evidence showing this not to be true, but that's beside the point here).  There is a profound difference between pointing out (as another poster did) that staying at home is also an option and strongly implying that a poster shouldn't have had kids if she doesn't want to stay at home. If you are sincerely interested in respectful conversation, you might try starting from the assumption that all parents are trying to do best by their kids.  For many of us, that means working outside the home. 

In general, I find it sad how hard it is to discuss choices related to parenting on the internet without sparking another outbreak of the mommy wars.  I usually find this forum to be an exception, and I would respectfully ask your help in keeping it that way.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Rage on November 26, 2014, 01:01:28 PM
I have an infant (8 months old) and we hired a nanny (as I mentioned upthread).  I actually think she's better with our son than we are.  She knows how to get him to take naps, she teaches him all sorts of things I wouldn't think of (how to get down from standing without hitting his head), she does these week long lesson plans where they go outside and play with snow or with leaves or with sand, or with the nearby stream.  They do finger paints, they do tactile games where they play with fuzzy things and hard things and what have you.  It's amazing, I would never think of this stuff.  She takes him to the playground, he's too young to do anything much there but he loves to watch the other kids.  When I do this stuff I'm like an amateur.  The time I spend with him - which is plenty despite having a nanny - is a different sort of time, we rough house and I read him books, feed him, diapers, whatever, but I don't feel like he or I need even a minute more of it.

When the nanny knocks on the door in the morning my son is super excited to see her.  I don't think I'm a bad parent, we have lots of fun with him, but our nanny is a trained professional, she's amazing with kids.

So I think this whole stay-at-home-parent is better stuff is silly.  There are bad daycares and bad nannies, sure, but our arrangement works great and I'm sure that's the case for lots of people. 
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: bogart on November 26, 2014, 01:30:52 PM
As a working mother, I am offended by some of the comments.

Me too.  And none of what I'm going to say below is directed at Firefly, quite the contrary.  But I think it's important to say it.

Any working mother knows too well how hard it to "ship them off to daycare or hire a stand-in mommy".

This working mother doesn't.  This working mother has very happily used paid childcare since her kid was two months old, and now that he's in elementary school, looking back a key thing I clearly could have done better would have been to use more of it (and I do, now).  We have great options available where I live, we can afford them, DS loves them, and using them would have given him more opportunities to interact with other kids and pursue fun activities he enjoys while marginally reducing the juggling we do in our family/household/work lives.  And my DH has been RE'd for the past 4 years, but we still make use of good, paid child-care and -activity programming, and happily so (for all of us). 

I love my kid, and I love spending time with him.  But I really don't need (and neither does he) the more than ~60 hours/week (~8 hours per day) that are available to me to spend with him during the typical workweek, after he gets his 9 hours of sleep/day and I get my 9 hours of work/workday (allowing for commute) in. 

Good heavens.  There is really no one I want to spend 8 hours/day with.  No one.  If there's one thing parenting has taught me, it's how much of an introvert I am:  how much I need time on my own to recharge.

Is the time I have to spend with DS sometimes too "lumpy?"  Sure; there are days I'd like to have more hours with him, and days I'd like to have fewer.  Are there times I have to drop everything to be with him simply because he needs me there and not because I want to be there?  Of course.  Am I fortunate to have access to and be able to afford great programs (and care) that he loves?  Obviously.  But my working is a positive part of my relationship with my son (and my life), and anyone who imagines that this isn't possible or is always an inferior alternative is only seeing a small slice of a large and interesting world of human needs, wants, and choices.

@Firefly, it sounds like your wants are less closely aligned with the options available to you, and I'm sorry about that -- I certainly think parents should have the option of being home with kids and don't intend to imply otherwise.  But I also think we should (within reason) have the option of making use of paid childcare and that it's important to embrace and advocate for that.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Neustache on November 26, 2014, 05:37:35 PM
I'm a SAHM who sometimes thinks a nanny would be better than me.  Just throwing that out there.  LOL.  I feel like if I was hired on at someone's house I'd make a better nanny than SAHM.  I don't know why that is.  Getting paid?  Having someone over me with high expectations?  I don't know. 

I'm not super down on myself...I don't think I'm a bad mom or anything, but I'm definitely not excelling at this whole SAHM thing.  I'm an introvert and kids are super draining - I find myself retreating into in my own world more often than not. 
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: bogart on November 26, 2014, 07:54:34 PM
I'm a SAHM who sometimes thinks a nanny would be better than me.  Just throwing that out there.  LOL.  I feel like if I was hired on at someone's house I'd make a better nanny than SAHM.  I don't know why that is.  Getting paid?  Having someone over me with high expectations?  I don't know. 

I think (for me at least) it's being able to "punch out" at night or whatever.  I've never been a nanny (exactly, though I did work one job with somewhat similar expectations), but I have e.g. been a camp counselor where I was "on" all day with a bunch of kids.  And then ... I got to (in effect) punch out and have my night to myself (even if just to get enough sleep so that I could get through the next day!).  It was a world of difference from parenthood, and I love each in its own way (and parenthood more).  But I am very grateful that I am able to WOH -- it provides a sort of an equivalent "punched out" feeling, ironically.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: firelight on November 27, 2014, 12:10:24 AM
I'm starting to appreciate the 8 hour break from parenting that I get on weekdays. I'm happy with the sleepless nights and occasional sick days. I don't need the extra charm of sleepless/restless days with an active infant/toddler.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: MrsPete on November 27, 2014, 12:43:27 PM
As a working mother, I am offended by some of the comments. Any working mother knows too well how hard it to "ship them off to daycare or hire a stand-in mommy". Leaving them to go to work is not the easiest decision - every morning you feel like your heart is being ripped apart - but in a lot of cases it's the most responsible decision. I am a perfect example - I worked for the same company for almost 14 years, while my husband has lost his job several time during this time. In addition to job security, I have better health insurance family coverage. But he earns more. We financially support my mom. So which one of us stays home? I am also lucky - after the arrival of my youngest one, my company allowed me to step down to a lower position to work on the projects that require less interaction with internal customers, thus allowing me to work from home a lot and to have a flexible schedule to be with my baby. As a result, I go into the office 2-3 days a week for 5-6 hours, come home to pick up kids from school, and work additional 3-6 hours after they go to sleep. I work my ass off so I can spend as much time as possible with my kids. And shame on anyone who thinks that working moms "ship off" their babies just for fun.
I'm never offended -- I just figure anyone who's going to make negative comments about other people's choices in this regard is just too stupid to realize that this isn't a one-choice-fits-all question.  Saying that a kid "deserves" a stay-at-home parent is an emotionally-laden word choice intended to start controversy. 

My own experience with giving my kids less than they "deserve": 

After relatively long maternity leaves, my kids were in day care.  I was often tired in those first years, but they were never shortchanged.  The real test, of course, is how they turn out.  At 17 and 20, my kids are both extremely kind, considerate kids with great moral compasses.  They're both good students; my oldest was the second-highest scholarship winner in her graduating class -- we'll see how my youngest does in a few more months.  They have a great work ethic, both in their classes and their part-time jobs.  Somehow we bypassed both sibling rivalry and teenaged angst.  I think a whole lot of that is because from a young age, we interacted with them at their level:  We've camped a great deal, we've sat on the floor playing board games, and so forth -- we've limited electronics.  And because I've worked, they've traveled more, we've had no problem paying for expensive teen items -- braces, cars and insurance, and now college. 

If I could do it all again, I can name a dozen or so things I'd do differently, but I'd still take the same path regarding working. 
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: scrubbyfish on November 27, 2014, 01:44:34 PM
Totally loving these happy posts about positive nanny experiences! Beautiful. I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments in those, and in those wishing they could have one for their family :)   I find the humbleness of recognizing what a third individual brings to a child absolutely gorgeous.

I guess I'm a huge believer that it "takes a village", and that isolating, getting too nuclear, "doing it all solo", etc, can be seriously dangerous.

I'm wildly grateful for all the people who've shown up in my kid's life. He adores his respite worker, his speech therapist, his counsellor, his teachers, his group leaders, his super-involved auntie, his grandmother, his close friend that just turned 67... All of these awesome human beings have made it possible for me to parent him well -giving me breaks, and letting me see him through their energized eyes- and have infused his life with different perspectives, ideas, activities, as well as with genuine affection and respect for him, and joy in him. He so benefits from all of that, as do I.

Go Villages!
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Firefly on November 28, 2014, 08:39:22 PM
@bogart - point well taken :). I guess I was making an assumption based on my own feelings and on the fact that most of us here would rather not work, but retire early (kids or no kids). I struggled a lot with the decision to go back to work with my first child, but since my second was born, I was able to negotiate a perfect situation where I can spend as much time with my children as possible, while still making good money. Honestly, from my son's perspective I could be a stay at home mom - I drop him off at school and pick him up with all the stay at home moms. I just go to the office in between and work after he goes to sleep :).
@MrsPete - I wish I had your cool:). But honestly, I am just so sick and tired of mommy wars. And I am done feeling guilty. My kids DO have a full-time mom and a full-time dad. I do hope that we put to rest all the comments about how people who go to work don't raise their own kids or how being a SAHM is the hardest job in the world (no offense to any SAHMs - I would be one if we could afford it). We don't stop being parents when we go to work.We still go shopping, clean, do laundry, make their lunches, help them with their homework, get up at night when they need us, play with them, take them to parks, listen to their storied, read them books.Being a parent the most difficult job in the world, regardless of whether you work or not. Let's move on and support each other.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: mm1970 on November 28, 2014, 09:01:25 PM
From my personal experience (i have 2 kids, one is 7, another 18 mo) - at this age they need one on one care more than socialization. So I support your decision to try nanny. One more reason I would do with the nanny is when you are hiring a nanny, you are hiring the person you like. In a day care teachers change all the time. You might like the day care center and the current provider, but they might leave right after you enroll and you might not be too crazy about a new one. Besides, one one kid gets sick - they all get sick :). We hired a part-time nanny with my youngest one when she was an infant, but I was working from home so I could nurse her any time and check in on her. Around 14 mo we switched my daughter to a home based day care with only 4 kids (2 of the kids are the caretaker's) - I absolutely love it! She gets socialization in a small caring setting.

"In a daycare teachers change all the time".

That has not been my experience.  It depends on the child care.  In fact, I have a friend who had three nannies in 1.5 years because they kept quitting, while my son had the same caregivers for 3.5 years.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Firefly on November 28, 2014, 09:09:13 PM
@mm1970 - wow, you got lucky! My son's first daycare had the same teachers, some of them worked there for 20+ years, but after we moved to a different state and enrolled him in a different daycare center and he had so many teaches changing. With my daughter we found a home based daycare and it's perfect for us - best of both worlds. Unfortunately, we have to move again and I am dreading starting the search for a perfect daycare all over again :(
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: mm1970 on November 28, 2014, 09:10:35 PM
Wow! I was getting pretty sad until I got to Bob Werner's comment. How is it that not one person even suggested the stay-at-home-parent option before him? This is a forum on frugality/early retirement and not one person has considered suggesting doing a cost comparison to see if staying at home was an option? Sheesh! Your child deserves to have mommy or daddy at home if humanly possible, and it is possible. C'mon people, your children are only babies for a very short time, think about it, please! Why have them at all if you're going to ship them off to daycare or hire a stand-in mommy? Things to think about before you have even one baby, let alone multiples. Get a copy of "The Complete Tightwad Gazette" if you want to learn how it can be done, even on a limited income.
I am assuming, really, that the OP has done the math already.  As the original post said "staying at  home is currently not an option".

If the OP wanted to stay at home, I assume that the question would have been phrased differently, like "or is there any way you think I could swing staying at home?"

I love my kids and I am still raising my kids, as is my husband.  24/7 is not required.  And never actually has been.  My children know who their parents are, and always have. 

What % of othercare is okay?  Date nights?  One day/week of work?  Gym day care?  Or none at all?

Ridiculous.


Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: scrubbyfish on November 28, 2014, 09:17:42 PM
We don't stop being parents when we go to work.We still go shopping, clean, do laundry, make their lunches, help them with their homework, get up at night when they need us, play with them, take them to parks, listen to their storied, read them books.

Beautifully said.

I homeschooled my kid for 2+ years while I worked, and am an only parent, and had almost zilch child care in that period...and I certainly feel like I'm as much a parent to him now that he's in school 24 hours a week as I was then! Whether we're providing direct contact for 168 hours per week (24/7), or 144 (24/7 minus public school hours) or 128 (24/7 minus a 40 hr work week) ...it's still a LOT of contact/care/support/parenting!

I feel sad when parents are asked to do everything solo, especially when others are so HAPPY to be involved in their growing!

What % of othercare is okay?  Date nights?  One day/week of work?  Gym day care?  Or none at all?

This ^.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: MicroRN on November 29, 2014, 04:27:14 PM
Nannies, if paid legally, are definitely the more expensive option.  You need to pay federal and state taxes, some states require worker's comp, and if they're going to drive your child you need to do something about car insurance.  It's a lot of paperwork, with hefty fines for not doing it correctly.  However, you get the benefit of care in your own home.  No scrambling to get the kids out the door in the am, no worries if you're running late.  Most nannies will watch sick kids and will work flexible hours.  My sister's daycare will call social services if you are more than 15 minutes late without notifying them, and charge an enormous late pickup fee.  Vomiting more than once within 24 hours, fever within 24 hours, or current "excessive" drippy noses mean you have to keep them home.  My sister has missed a lot of work for various reasons.  Meanwhile, our kids both had pinkeye and fevers, but our nanny came in anyway.  Our last nanny worked for us for a year and a half and never took a day off.  She was amazing, and if anything our new nanny is shaping up to be even better.  Nannies also have more freedom to do trips.  Our kids went all over the place, to the library, parks, indoor gym, hiking, playgroups, and so on.

Daycare is MUCH cheaper here, and I think especially for older kids the socialization and structure is good, IF the center and teachers are good.  We're hoping to be able to move to doing daycare instead of a nanny soon, but right now our schedules are too unpredictable.  We need early mornings, late evenings, and often have to work weekends and holidays.

You can also look for an in-home daycare situation.  I took my older child to a lovely lady in CT.  She was not licensed, but she had extensive experience with multiple daycare ages - she had just decided to stay home when her 2nd child was born.  She only watched 2 additional kids at any given time, and stuck to kids around the same age as her older child.  She had a nicely set up kids room, fed them healthy home cooked meals, and was flexible with her hours.  I know quite a few SAHPs who watch an additional child.  If you find someone you like and trust, it can be a fabulous experience, and is usually very reasonably priced.  I paid a whopping $5/hour.                   

Whatever you decide, remember that full-time care of any kind is a temporary situation.  It's expensive, but that's one thing that will decrease the older they get.  I also think that excellent childcare is a worthwhile expense.  You're talking about people who help shape who your child is.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: firelight on November 29, 2014, 07:24:47 PM
OP here, daycare is definitely cheaper than legally paid nanny ( which we ended up choosing based on our baby's age) by $1000 or more. However, at this point, one-one care trumps cost for us. Further there are nanny payroll services that make the payment process and w2 generation easy. PM me if someone is interested in it.

SAHP taking care of an extra kid is a good option we'll consider once our baby becomes a toddler.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: justajane on November 30, 2014, 06:43:35 AM
From my personal experience (i have 2 kids, one is 7, another 18 mo) - at this age they need one on one care more than socialization. So I support your decision to try nanny. One more reason I would do with the nanny is when you are hiring a nanny, you are hiring the person you like. In a day care teachers change all the time. You might like the day care center and the current provider, but they might leave right after you enroll and you might not be too crazy about a new one. Besides, one one kid gets sick - they all get sick :). We hired a part-time nanny with my youngest one when she was an infant, but I was working from home so I could nurse her any time and check in on her. Around 14 mo we switched my daughter to a home based day care with only 4 kids (2 of the kids are the caretaker's) - I absolutely love it! She gets socialization in a small caring setting.

"In a daycare teachers change all the time".

That has not been my experience.  It depends on the child care.  In fact, I have a friend who had three nannies in 1.5 years because they kept quitting, while my son had the same caregivers for 3.5 years.

Not in mine either, but I recognize that I may be lucky. All three of my kids were cared for by the same two women when they were infants, but this is a Parent's Day Out facility geared towards SAHPs who want a break during the week. These ladies are older - one is in her sixties. I imagine actual full-time facilities might be staffed more with younger care givers? I'm on the board of this part-time facility, and every time we hire a younger care giver, they usually only stay a year or so and then move on to something else.
Title: Re: Daycare vs nanny
Post by: Firefly on November 30, 2014, 09:11:07 AM
Another thing I would recommend (regardless whether you go with a nanny or a daycare) - build a network of baby-sitters you can trust and can call in a pinch (nanny is sick, child is feeling fine today, but had a fever yesterday and cannot go to a daycare). We have a college student and a neighbor who are willing to babysit on a short notice and inexpensive.

On the daycare providers changing - I wonder if it has anything to do with where you live. When we were in a small town - the caretakers at school were the ones who worked there for years. But after moving to Boston area, it was a revolving door with them. Maybe because there are more job options for the teachers? Or maybe just luck.