Getting Real with Shadra Bruce
Returning to work after having a baby is tough, whether you’re looking forward to going back or not. New York’s pretty awesome maternity leave law just went into effect this month, making it a little easier to face since you no longer have to file bankruptcy to have 8 weeks at home with baby.
“Starting January 1, 2018, New York State’s Paid Family Leave provides New Yorkers with job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or to help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service abroad.”
- paid time off for 8 weeks in 2018, increasing to 12 weeks by 2021;
- job protection upon return from Paid Family Leave; and
- continuation of health insurance while out on Paid Family Leave
New York is one of very few states who offer any kind of protection for new moms, and we celebrate this progress. Whether you get 8 weeks paid leave or not, many women choose to or have to return to work after their child is born, and they need someone competent to care for their child. Unless you have a stay-at-home dad to solve your problems, there are several childcare options for working mothers to consider to take care of their newborns when they are returning to work.
Hiring a Nanny or a Babysitter
One option available for working moms to take advantage of is getting the services of a babysitter or a nanny. Having the budget for an in-home nanny who can handle feeding, bathing, diapering, and carry out other activities throughout the day is not affordable for most families, but for some families, a nanny is a better option than a daycare. If a nanny service is out of your budget range, you can sometimes find the next best thing in a college student or young adult who will care for the child in exchange for free room and board. Do your homework before hiring someone; go through an agency if you can, and definitely do a background check. We recommend Care.com to find qualified care providers.
If you choose to put your infant in a daycare, I recommend choosing one close to your work – or midway between your office and dad’s depending on who will be taking and picking up. Visit multiple daycares to determine the best one for you – and drop in on them, don’t call ahead. The best way to see how a daycare really functions is to see them in action when they’re not expecting you. If there is a daycare near your work, it may allow you to visit and nurse on your lunch break. Check references and make sure there are no complaints with the Better Business Bureau or your attorney general’s office. Talk to other parents, friends, and family to determine the credibility of a specific daycare.
Working from Home
If you want to stay home with your child and you’re able to do so, you may be able to work from home, either with your current employer or for yourself. Many employers will offer flexibility to keep a talented employee, and if that doesn’t work, or, if like me, you had an atrocious boss, sometimes it’s worth switching gears to work from home.
Whatever you do, do not hurry to make a decision – and don’t feel guilty about doing what you have to do to take care of your family, whether that means leaving and going to work or staying home.
You will hear many different opinions about the best childcare option, so the only thing to do is choose one that makes sense for you. The choice is not always easy, but you will find a way forward that works for you.