[tweetmeme source=”FrenchNad” only_single=false] While working from home has the great advantage of being closer to your children (and to your household chores…) and avoid a daily commute, that proximity can also represent the greatest disadvantage in the form of a major distraction! While you may be lucky and have 1 quiet, self-entertained baby and have the ability to postpone the need for childcare for a little while, eventually your two worlds may run into each other… So what are some of the things to consider while exploring childcare solutions as a work-at-home parent?
1. Driving: Having to take your children to a daycare or home care in your town feels like defeating the purpose of working from home, which saves you commute time, car usage and the need to get professionally dressed. Having a nanny to care for your children enables you to see a little bit of them during work breaks, while avoiding the morning rush of getting yourself and the kids ready to leave.
2. Schedule: As a work-at-home parent, you may be working for international clients or a national firm requiring odd working hours, including late night conference calls or travel. Your working schedule may also be in shifts that just do not match the regular 8-5 opening hours of the local daycare center. While a local nanny may not be willing to work odd hours because of conflicting additional jobs or studies, your au pair is a live-in nanny dedicated to providing up to 45 hours per week/ 10 hours per day of childcare (including some week-end hours). They are dedicated to your family only and provide total flexibility of schedule, week-to-week or can accommodate last-minute changes when needed.
3. Tag Team: Even while you work, you want to know that you are still involved in your children’s lives and development. Having a qualified caregiver provides you peace of mind that they are well cared for. Additionally, you have the flexibility of developing a plan for your children based on their specific needs, that your au pair/ nanny can implement for you. Although the au pair is in charge, you are able to “check in” from time to time and discuss how the kids are doing with that program.
4. Household Chores: I know that is a big one too… Although you are home, you are so busy in your home office that it is difficult to get to that load of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, taking the trash out, preparing dinner, … these all take more time than they seem! You can assign “light household chores” to your au pair as part of her daily tasks and “tag team” on that aspect of childcare as well.
5. More Than Childcare: While exploring different options, also evaluate the type of relationship you seek to have with your childcare provider. With a daycare, it will be purely professional: you pay for a service, you receive it. With a local nanny, you will be closer as they will come to you, but they move on, have other plans or obligations. An au pair is dedicated to the care of your children for 1 – 2 years, live with you and truly become part of your family. A unique friendship is created that often lasts beyond their stay, and the opportunity for cultural exchange is a wonderful added benefit for the whole family.
6. $$$ Cost: The local daycare or homecare will most likely provide the cheapest option, but as covered in the points above, also requires time driving and a less personal approach to your family’s needs. The local nanny has the advantage of not requiring housing, however, the price tag attached to that option is sometimes twice the cost of an au pair.
Consider your specific needs, preferences and budget, and call your au pair program consultant Nadia at 864-373-3302 to discuss. There are many colleagues working from home who are quite succesful with the au pair program that can provide additional advice.