Family portrait 2.0 #mirror #notinstagram #merrychristmas

[twitter]Jen has been back in the workforce for 19 months and we are on to Nanny number 4. Not fun.

You can read the drama about Nanny number 1 here. Nanny number 2 stayed with us for more than a year and gave us a 6 month warning she was going to leave to go traveling. She was great. Nanny number 3 lasted 2 weeks when she quit after realizing that the riches of Alberta’s oil industry provide more income than a live-in Nanny.

TRYING IT AGAIN

So, after 2 Canadian nannies bolting for greener pastures, we decided it was time to try and hire a foreign Nanny again. We were looking for someone who saw the greener pastures here, in Canada, and wanted a chance at a better life for their family.

Canada’s Live In Caregiver Program works like this: families sponsor foreign nationals (usually Filipina women) to come and live in their home as caregivers. After they collect a quota of hours worked, usually around 2 years, they can apply for an Open Work Permit that will give them access to other jobs in Canada. They can then become landed immigrants, and full-fledged Canadians if they wish after that.

M has been with us for a month now, and it has been fabulous. Her older sister did the live-in caregiver program a decade ago, and now lives in Calgary with her husband and 2 children. M’s sister suggested she come over and do the program to bring her own husband and 2 children here in the same way.

LIKE FAMILY

When we interviewed M, her sister and brother-in-law came over to the house. Their 2 kids played with our 2 kids and it was like we had friends over. It felt like family. That’s what we were looking for.

M has a little girl, around the same age as Charlie, and she has taken to him quickly. If you ask her about her kids in the Philippines, she will tear up a little as she talks about how much she misses them. Some will say what we’re doing is terrible, taking a mother away from her kids. But the reason M is here is for her kids. She sends much of the money we pay her home to her husband. She is here making more money than she would in the Philippines and, at the same time, she’s earning credit to bring her family here in a few years.

Jen and I look at it as we are sponsoring M and her family to have a better life. We love that she feels like a part of our family, and her family feels like a part of our family. They’re great people, and we’re thrilled to have finally found a permanent solution.

MAKING THE CHOICE OF STAYING HOME, DAYCARE, OR NANNY

When you have kids there is a certain reality parents must face: will you both continue to work, or will one of you drop out of the rat race to stay home with the kids. When you choose B, be certain that ceilings and obstacles will present themselves in your career development. In fact, even if you choose A, blockades still present themselves.

With both of us in the workforce, childcare became the next hurdle to overcome. Dayhomes in Calgary are a popular option. A dayhome is simply daycare in a home. Sometimes the person is trained, more often than not it is a stay-at-home mom/dad who decides to hang a shingle on the porch and look after 3, 4, 5, or more kids in their basement for $600-$1000 a month each. Dayhomes, for the most part, are an unlicensed industry in Alberta.

When we saw the conditions of a few dayhomes and did a cost-benefit analysis of having a Live-In Caregiver, we realized a Nanny was the best choice for us to have. It gives us flexibility, familiarity, and affordability as a childcare choice.dadcamp fire

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