The Prisoner’s Dilemma For Working Parents

[twitter]Daycare or Nanny?

Which will you choose as your maternity leave comes to an end and you have to head back into the rat race to put food on the table, cars in the driveway and plants in the garden.

Some of my friends have opted out of this prisoner’s dilemma, and have just sacrificed to keep a parent home. Jen and I’s situation doesnt afford that “luxury” just yet. We opted for daycare and week 1 has come to an end.

That’s a pretty eventful 5 days of extra-parental care. We knew there would be a learning curve for both us, and the daycare staff, but neither of us could have imagined that laundry list in just 5 days.

A recent survey of pediatricians put the question of daycare vs nanny up for debate. For those who landed on a firm side, 50+% opted for “it depends”, the majority chose at home care for those under 2.

Nanny: 35%
Daycare: 12%
Depends on the child’s age and circumstances: 53%
“Nanny before age two. Daycare is better after that, because children are social little beings and love to be around other kids.” — Kim Gush MD, FAAP. Chapel Hill, NC
[source]

And who can argue with that? It’s the biggest problem we’re struggling with as Z transistions to care. He’s a baby. He can’t walk. He can’t talk. He can’t properly express his needs. He can’t follow directions.

Yes, socialization is important, and we really do think Z has a ton of fun scrambling through the playground, or climbing all over their slides and gear – but it really comes down to personalized attention for us.

How did Z’s diaper get so full that it soaked through his pants? Noone was paying attention.

How is that Z’s not sleeping more than 45mins for 2 daily naps? Noone is trying to get him back down.

How is that Z’s socks get soaked when his shoes come off on the playground? Noone was paying attention.

How is that Z’s not eating/drinking enough through the day? Noone is making an effort to sit and feed him.

How is that Z’s getting bumped and scratched and bruised? Noone is there to catch a climbing infant’s fall.

Now I don’t want to be that parent. You know, the extra clingy and protective and complaining parent who thinks their child is perfect and is never getting enough attention – but Z is a baby, in a room full of toddlers, he needs the extra attention.

Jen and I are talking about switching to a nanny, we have friends who have live in care for the same price we’re paying for daycare, but we don’t have room for a suite. So we’d have to go with a live out nanny, and without the accomodation subsidy you provide with live in care, the costs rise quickly – I don’t think it’s doable.

Which means we’re stocking up on band aids, and patience.

(This post was originally written in May, 2008)

Here’s a related post: How Much It Costs To Have A Nanny

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  1. Pingback: Things To Know About Getting A Live-In Nanny | DadCAMP

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