One of the most common questions I get is, "How do you balance work life with home life?"  I always respond saying the key word is balance.  Balance means to keep things even, but in reality, it's a juggling act.  How do we juggle to keep the teeter totter in tack?

We have to do research to find the resources and options that make our own lives work.  If you've decided to go back to work, now you have to find childcare that works with you AND your pocket book.

Do you do a dayhome, daycare, nanny or a sitter?

With our first child, we hired a live out nanny.  She showed up at 8am and finished at 4pm.  Her duties were to take care of our child and tidy up after themselves, plus maintain the baby's laundry.  Since her duties didn't include house cleaning, we also hired a housekeeper to keep up with what I couldn't get to (IE: the bathrooms).   But it got too expensive for us.  So, after 7 months we moved my son to daycare.

That kept the costs down, but still had the housekeeper to tidy up as we both worked.  Daycare was GREAT.  My son loved it, they loved him, and he had great interaction with other children.  The only downfall, which was a big one, was when my child was sick, he couldn't go to daycare.  And, we all know that you can't really stay away from the germs that spread in a daycare.  No matter how clean and tidy it is, there are germs.  And once one child gets a cold, it will eventually spread to your child.  So now what?  Where are you going to take your child?  You can't miss out on work.  You don't want to use up your vacation days.  You can't always use family and friends every time your child has the sniffles.  And you don't want the guilt of taking your child to the daycare, pretending you didn't know they had a cold and being THAT parent that always gets the other kids sick.... So FIND A SITTER.

But you'll have to do your research.  Not all sitters can work during the day.  Where do you find one?  There are several resources for you.  One is to get to know your neighbours.  Perhaps there's someone who is retired, and wouldn't mind helping out.  Or, look in your local community news letter.  Maybe place an ad looking for someone who would be willing to "occasionally babysit" during the day.

OR... go online and sign up with Canadian Sitter (Known as Canadian Nanny)  This is a great website where you subscribe to find the best sitter for you.  You place an ad looking for someone who is available during the day for occasional babysitting.  Only the ones who are interested in your ad will email you.  You meet with the sitter, and decided if she/he is right for you.  Now, know that Canadian Sitter does not screen the people who sign up, that's up to you.  You should always ask for references.

In the end, we had a list of 4 sitters who were willing to work during the day.  One was a fight attendant who was available when she wasn't in the air.  Another was a retired preschool teacher, who was looking to keep herself busy.  And the other two had part time jobs who may be available.  This way you have other options that will reduce your stress when your little one needs a day to recover from the sniffles.  Plus, the sitters even worked out to babysit during the evening when Mom and Dad needed a date night.  There's nothing wrong with having a "List of Sitters".  If one isn't available, try another.  I had a great experience with Canadian Sitter, and hope you will too.

Now you can work towards that balanced teeter totter.  If there is such a thing!  But it's going to take a bit more juggling than a sitter, but it's a start!  And you are just working towards what's best for you and your child!

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