I would love to stay home with the baby and be just a mom for a while but that wasn't really realistic for us. I get 8 weeks maternity leave which means I would be going back to work sometime in September.
I knew from the start I was probably going to be on my own when it came to visiting and subsequently choosing a place. Not because Ryan didn't want to, he just works in Bentonville and he couldn't take the time off to go with me.
Once we started talking about it, we did not care if it was a private home or a large center. We were going to look into both options. We also were going to look into both full time and part time because Ryan's mom will be retiring.
So I first started with recommendations from friends - 12 different centers and 3 private homes were on the initial list. Once I got that list I devoted 4 hours on a Saturday to researching each online. From that, I was able to find prices, accreditation, parent testimonials, opening/closing hours, etc. I also called all 3 private homes and found out that none of them would have room for an infant in September. That really started to stress me out. Was I that far behind?
After my research and discussing with Ryan, we were able to knock the most expensive places off the list. No matter how good they are, if you can't afford it - you can't afford it. After that we looked at our remaining options and we were pleased to see that the ones closest to our house were actually in the running.
So we got it narrowed down to 4 that I would visit and tour. Since none of them are open on the weekends, I knew I would have to visit during the week so I decided to take a morning off of work on Wednesday and do all at once - a whirlwind daycare tour. I was hoping after my visits, I would "just know."
The first I visited, Daycare A, was ok. I had never been to a daycare before so I wasn't sure what to expect. Because of that I kept my scoring method at mediocre. It got the best marks for price - the cheapest of our 4 options.
Daycare B opened my eyes. I liked it so much more than Daycare A and knew immediately Daycare A was off the list. Daycare B made me realize that Daycare A was missing SOOOOO many essentials. I really loved the director at B - she was a sweet small town lady. Daycare B is also in closest to our house.
Now down to 3 options. Feeling good so far.
Daycare C is brand new and had a bunch of fancy gadgets. I really liked its security measures and the people were nice. I liked them just as much as Daycare B but this one was more expensive and a little bit further away.
The 4th and final stop was Daycare D. They were a little newer but I wasn't a huge fan of the director there - nothing wrong with her I just got a weird vibe. It was a solid option, offered full time and part time but was the most expensive full time option.
Three hours later I was done with my visits and could confidently rank them:
- Daycare B/Daycare C tied for 1st
- Daycare D
- Daycare A
We have to make a decision quickly because all of the centers basically told me they are booked through August - Yikes! Such a hard decision. Trying to determine who your child will spend half of their day with, who will teach them, who will protect them, who will make sure they are developing correctly. Just thinking of that makes me sad but it is something that has to be done and therefore it shall.
We are praying about it and hopefully we will find a peace about this decision -our first decision as parents. Ahhh!