Even before Little Monster was born, I was already thinking about what would happen to him when I return to work. Child care is a minefield. There are a lot of options and as a rookie to this whole process it can be really overwhelming. Do you go back to work full time? Part time? Are there grandparents who can help with childcare? Do you use a childminder? A nursery? Close to work? Close to home?
You mull over all these options and none of them really seem good enough. Pretty much every day since Little Monster was born, I have craved a little bit of me again. I want to be back at work or have time to myself but at the same time, I can't imagine anyone else looking after Little Monster. He is our baby. Noone knows him like we do and noone else should get to experience his 'firsts' before us. What if he starts giving someone else the smiles that today are reserved for us? What if he needs us less?
Despite my neuroses, child care is a necessary evil.
Initially, I loved the idea of using a childminder...just putting Little Monster with one or two key adults who he will get to know. We definitely wanted Little Monster to be in child care near home because we moved to the country for him. After looking into the options in our village and the local area, we found none of the childminders were viable - they only worked 3 days a week or only during school hours or they wanted a massive retainer to hold a baby place until next January. In the end, reluctantly, I started investigating local nurseries and, after a recommendation from a friend, we went to visit Simba's Den Day Nursery in the village of Bulwick.
Simba's Den only take 6 babies under the age of 2 and 22 children in total - in comparison to a total of over 100 at one of the other nurseries we looked at. As we arrived at Simba's Den, the older children were all going off to an optional ballet class (including the boys!). The atmosphere among the remaining children and the babies was lovely. They operate an outdoors philosophy which very much echos the lifestyle we hope to raise Josh in. The older children have regular trips to the nearby woods, they try to take at least 1 walk per day for each group and they even go Gruffalo Hunting! (Win!)
So, although I'm not happy about the idea of someone else taking care of Little Monster, Simba's Den felt good and I could see him being happy there. Sadly, I guess mum will never be quite as exciting as a nursery full of activities and other children to play with!