Why It’s Best To Look For Childcare Before You Can’t Live Without It

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By Stacey Freeman, Featured Columnist - June 19, 2015

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When my children’s caregiver gave notice six months ago, I didn’t make it an immediate priority to replace her with someone new. It was winter, and though my three children were involved in the same school activities they were all throughout the school year, I was not overly worried by her impending absence. In retrospect, that was likely because she wasn’t quite the right fit for my family.

Despite my hectic schedule as a divorced, single mom of two teenagers and an elementary school-aged child, coupled with the fact I am also working full time, I ambitiously believed I could manage alone during the months leading up to summer when my children are scheduled to embark on their own adventures for a few weeks away from home. At the time, I didn’t believe I would need any extra help.

What a big mistake that turned out to be.

As the old saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. But what we as parents tend to forget until it’s too late is that May flowers also bring June chaos: sporting events and playoffs, recitals, graduations, year-end celebrations, packing for summer camp, and whatever else we can and, more poignantly, cannot anticipate.

Today I am not afraid to admit it: I need an extra pair of hands, and I needed those hands yesterday! The problem is, I have been so overwhelmed and over scheduled with work and family obligations that finding the necessary time to look for the help I need has been extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Oh, the irony!

Hiring the right person to care for my family is an important decision, and one that requires careful thought, research and planning. Fortunately, I discovered Care.com to assist me with this seemingly daunting undertaking.

With its extensive database of diverse and qualified candidates, Care.com has suddenly made my job much easier! And even though my children are preparing to leave for overnight and travel camp next week, I registered for Care.com now to begin my search.

You might be thinking, isn’t it counterintuitive to look for childcare when you don’t immediately need it? But if you take a moment to think about the reasons why, you will see doing so actually makes perfect sense. It is a lesson I learned the hard way. You see, when I needed help the most, I didn’t have the time to look for it. Now with my obligations temporarily lightening up, I can devote the time I must to conduct a directed and meaningful search.

Going it alone these past months has been informative for me. Today I have a better understanding of what my childcare requirements are and what skills a qualified candidate should possess in order to fit my and my children’s specific needs. 

Fortunately, Care.com has such a user-friendly website and large database of qualified candidates, I know I will find just the right person for us.

Here are a few things I took into consideration when determining my childcare needs:

  1. How many total hours per week will my caregiver be working?
  2. On what days do I require childcare and during what hours?
  3. How much am I willing and can I afford to pay my caregiver?
  4. Am I looking for a male or female caregiver?
  5. Must my caregiver drive?
  6. Do I desire a caregiver who speaks a second language?
  7. Will my caregiver be assisting my children with their homework?
  8. Will my caregiver be preparing meals for my family?
  9. Will my caregiver be performing household chores?
  10. Will my caregiver be traveling with us as a family?

After registering with Care.com it took me less than 15 minutes to complete my profile. Soon after emails from interested and eager applicants began filling my inbox. Once I finish sorting through these inquiries, I will begin the interview process. The goal is by the time my children return home from their summer vacation, I will be prepared for the next wave of chaos. Except this time around I know my life won’t be so chaotic.

DivorcedMoms has partnered with Care.com to bring you the most easy-to-use way to find better care for you and your family.

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