expecting

An Unexpected, Oh-So-Important Pregnancy Task

Posted by Kate Drummond

The woman at the daycare centre answered the phone with a spirited hello.

"Hi, I'd like to put my daughter on the waiting list," I said.

"Great. When is your baby's due date?"

The fact that this was her first question–that she somehow knew that I was calling to put an unborn child on a waiting list, and that it wasn't at all absurd–made me feel simultaneously relieved and terrified.

"One month from today," I answered, fearing I was already too late.

Turns out, I was. Rumour on our local playground has it that the waiting period at this particular childcare centre is two to 2.5 years. Even if I had put our name on the waiting list when our child was the size of a poppy seed, I still would've been too late to secure a spot before I returned to work a year after giving birth.

I mean, is that crazy or what?

Depending on where you live, finding a spot at a licensed daycare centre can be harder than snagging a waterbed pod at the rooftop bar of the Standard Downtown hotel in L.A. While large, licensed childcare centres aren't the only option (and while no option is inherently better than another), it's good to cast a wide net when it comes to securing trusted childcare. So, pick up the phone and get your name on those lists!

Other options include a nanny or nanny share, licensed home daycares, informal (unlicensed) home daycares, and maybe, in some cases, Grandma. Sit down with your partner and educate yourselves on all of the options, and choose which one is right for your family, depending on your income and when you'll be returning to work.

In the end, we got a spot at a different childcare centre where we had been on the list for almost a year. Maybe one day we'll get into our top-choice daycare.

Image(s): iStock