I have so many things to share and most are so unrelated to eachother, so it makes it hard to decide on what is the appriopriate please to start.
Needless to say, I will get to everything eventually.
I guess the biggest event that we are going through right now, and I actually get a decent amount of questions on that I thought was odd, was what to have.... home daycare, Nanny, Mother's Day Out, or Daycare. The only other option is being stay at home. Well I wont be talking about that because I only stayed home with the kids while on maturnity leave. ~Actually I will at some point talk about working mom vs stay at home mom. just not today.
So to give you a brief background, I made a commitment that if daycare was going to cost me more than my months pay I was going to stay at home. For my sake I am thankful I had an option that did not cost as much as my month's pay check, but I am very glad I was lucky enough to have a friend that not only had three kids, but also has experience with daycares, and had her own in home daycare.
*A side note story, I actually met her through a fertility forum and introduced her to my doctor, and it does sound a lot worst than it was but I gave her my left over drugs. (If you went through, going through or know someone who has dealt with infertility treatments, you would understand giving someone your unused drugs)*
In finding what to do with your kids, before they are born, is a tough choice. If I can give parents to be one bit of advice, have a back up plan. First decide if you want to stay at home, then decide if you can stay home, or if you want to do a full time daycare or a part time, such as a mothers day out program. Once you figure out what is best for your family, start doing your research, if you need to. And visit as many places as you can, because if it doesn't feel right, it wont ever feel right.
The twins are nearly 27 months old, and here is our timeline;
1-3 monthsstayed at home, maturnity leave, recovering from c-section and extra time off.
3-14 months, in home daycare
14-16 months, nanny 1
16-19 months, nanny 2
20-current/ 27months nanny 3
20-current MDO, tuesday and thursday only.
And yes as you can say we went through 3 nanny's. Maybe at some point in time I will write about picking the best nanny for your needs, but for now nanny 1, had to commute almost an hr to and from our house, so it was just getting tough to be on time and expensive, plus needed a lot of time off during the summer for her prior church engagements. Nanny 2 lived close and was very high energy, a little too high and loved the idea of family a little too much (trust me it can be a bad thing), Nanny 3 we LOVE she and her husband just want to move back home to be around their family in Michigan and her husband got a job opporunity they couldn't refuse.
Here is how and why we did what we did. Let me also say that the hubs has opinions but didn't want to do any of the research or leg work, so ultimately since I would be the one dropping off and picking up and dealing with the workers, etc it was my decision. Plus momma knows best ;)
Also a thing you must decide, and you will figure out very quickly if you didn't know before your kid(s) got here, is what type of parent are you. Are you the one that needs to read ten books, before making a decision because you aren't sure whats best. Are you the one that goes off instinct and needs no information to tell you how to raise your kid, Or are you the one that knows enough to get by and listens to people who give you advice, but really dont have time or care to read books.
Well I am the one who has little time to read books, but I want to make sure I make the best decision, and I look way to deep into things. What this means is that I know I want my kids to be in an educational enviornment, but as babies I didn't need them learning how to read before they were 2,etc. As a baby my primary concern was that they got individual attention and love, but also wanted them to have social interaction.
I guess another thing I need to say is that you need to know what type of person you are. OCD, Anal, laid back, etc. Also how will that impact your parenting skills? I am slightly OCD and anal-I prefer to call myself very organized :)
I knew that I did not want to stay at home, although I loved my kids, it was hard for me to stay at home while on "bedrest" pre kids, I couldn't stay in the house, and with twin babies you need to decide when is it worth the 5 minute run to the store once hubs gets home, or you get off work, versus the hour long trip and everyone staring at your at the store for your 3 items. Also I knew as the kids go older I wanted to make sure they had a schedule for activites, and had a decent routine, that was a combination of educational, creative, and relaxing. I knew I could not provide that to them daily. Although I love routine and structure I am horrible and doing something all day long every day, including weekends.
Because of having twins it was extremely important to me that the kids were on a schedule and stuck to the schedule, so I wanted to make sure they were in an enviornment that would keep them on a routine, but also could teach them things, that as a first time mom I would think about.
With that being said, as I mentioned earlier I had a friend who was helping figure out daycares and options, what to look for, the good and the bad, and long story short she offered to bring my twins in. Although she had not had her in home daycare open the year prior, she was debating on opening it back up (she closed it because she didn't need the income), so I went with her. It was the best thing ever!
In home daycare was great because they got fed balanced, nutritionist approved meals, got to socialize with kids slightly older then them, and best of all she got the "daycare" ready. What I mean by that is she taught them to sleep in pack n' plays not cribs, and to put themselves to sleep. And because she knew I was very "organized" she had daily sheets but made sure mine were detailed. Becuase they started there so earlier I think it really helped with their seperation anxiety. I believe all kids go through it at some phase, but how extreme varies by kid and preperation for the seperation.
I know most are probably wondering why I left in home, well she primarily watched teach kids, so they were they at 7:30 in the morning and gone by 3:30 and my work schedule didn't really allow for that and I didn't want to be a burden, because she had her own family to spend time with. Also she had taken on two babies roughly a year younger than the twins that were extremely needy (their siblings were already at her daycare) and although she didn't neglect the kids, I could tell they were starting to "act out" slightly because of the shift in attention. They also started to "regress" a little because they weren't old enough to understand that all a baby can do is cry for everything, so they thought they needed to cry for every little thing. So just after a year we decided that a nanny was the best way to go.
The kids were going to the church nursery three times a week, so that social interaction we felt was there, so now it was time to give them more individual, and together attention. The in home daycare had help establish a routine and schedule so we just continued that with the nanny.
Now I want to make it very clear that most people think nanny's are extremely expensive, well we have been EXTREMELY lucky to have nanny's that took very little pay, because they didn't need the money. To help put money in perspective, our in home daycare was 250/wk, and we paid the nanny the same. (not much money at all) so for you budget people you are looking at roughly 1k a month and a regular daycare for twins, was gonna run us about 1800. huge difference.
With a nanny, she was great with the kids, had a nice routine of learning video's, learning , sign language, play time and reading time, and art time. With this nanny we only asked her to clean up after the kids, make meals for them and keep track of their day. We did not have her do any extra things, like dishes, laundry etc.
Nanny 2 was great as well. She had just graduated college and was engaged and getting married in July, she had so much energy it was great because she would wear the kids out, and although our requirements were the same for her, she would do the kids laundry, all the dishes and make meals. -we were very spoiled. But nanny 2 liked family a little too much, she would have her fianc'e/husband come over when he wasn't working (and yes we said that was ok) and she would teach the kids to call him uncle mike, which doens't seem bad except my brother's name is michael.... slight problem. And they were taking pictures of the kids and posting them on their facebooks, which occasionally no big deal but often I didn't like.
Some of you ladies know what I am talking about when you can tell what time of pregnant woman a person is going to be, for example; you have the "Im pregnant I cant do anything even at 4 weeks, others are the ones that you cant stop them no matter what they are going to continue doing life as people." Well nanny 2 was the first example, and so I knew if she was thinking of getting pregnant that I would have very little time to get a replacement, so I continued to ask her, and she would tell me know what her facebook status would contridict that. Anyway, end of August she said she needed to get a job that had insurance because they were thinking about starting a family. So that brought us to Nanny 3.
Nanny 3 has been great, she and her husband actually went over seas for a missions trip to teach kids, so she had some experience and loved the thought of watching twins. She has been wonderful. She not only has them on a schedule and keeps track of their day but keeps the house picked up too. She is very timely and even can with her built in back up, if she ever got sick -her husband, who the kids LOVE. From the beginning she had told me that she was going to move back home before they thought of having a family, but also were semi actively looking to move back home. With that, she also pick and drop the kids off at mothers day out on tuesdays and thursdays.
Although Nanny 3 has been great it was getting to be too much running around and juggling people and schedules and payments to do mother's day out and nanny, plus MDO was only during the school year so we would have to go nanny full time or a daycare full time this summer.
I had said from close to the beginning that about age 3 I would put them in a daycare/pre-K and since the ideal school I want them to go to is out of our price range right now and wont take them till they are 3, and again going back to me being "organized" I want them to start out on a school year calendar, so I wont start them in Jan. it wold have to wait till they were 3 1/2. but that doesn't help me now. so daycare is where to go. Plus on the money side of things we went from paying 1k a month to 1100 when you add up nanny and MDO. Then the additional cost in utilities, and groceries, it only made since that paying 1200 for daycare will save us money. Plus the kids aren't stuck in the house all day.
Next step is daycare. The kids dont start till the 21st of this month so I will keep you posted.
I know this is a little lenghty so I apologize, but a quick recap
Nanny- The comfort of home, a mommy fill in.
In Home Daycare- a little more control for mom, and a little more personalized with a homey feel, with the benefit of social interaction
Daycare- less mom control, social interaction, and more emphasis on educational guidelines.