The stresses of childcare are for real. They have had me up at 3 a.m. over the past couple of weeks, ruminating over options, finances and logistics. I surely can’t be the only one, right? The stresses of being a full or part-time working mom due to the realities of dual-income family responsibilities have been a part of my life ever since welcoming our first son to our family in 2014. While seeking out options for preschools and programs that were both affordable and convenient as my oldest turns four and needs a little more structure, I quickly became overwhelmed with my seemingly limited options.
I work part-time, just enough to cover necessary bill payments and can spend most of the weekdays with my littles. I’m forever grateful for that and the hard work my husband puts in so I can spend more time raising our kids right now. That being said, the realities of finding part-time coverage for the littles when I have off-site meetings or need a kid-free schedule to knock out undisturbed work have been limiting, expensive and hard to come by! Through some research and lots of phone calls, I finally came up with some viable options that won’t break the bank and that may offer some great educational structure for my oldest. I thought I’d share these finds, in case you are in the same boat!
Local Columbus Preschools with Full-Day Coverage
Central College Preschool in Westerville offers full-day preschool options as well as ‘a la carte’ options for before- and after-care add-ons for their half-day programs. Half-day programs for preschool are plentiful in the Columbus area and no doubt the best option for littles just entering the school realm. The two and one half hour timeframe (usually 9:00-11:30 or 12:30-3 is what I found offered most) is probably a sweet spot as far as timing for attention spans for these 3-5 year-olds. But, as any working mother can relate, finding a job that allows you to transport the kiddo mid-day and finding another childcare center or in-home daycare that can take the child the rest of the day (while you work your standard 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) can be slim pickings.
Many larger daycare centers flow into preschool programming seamlessly. However, some of these programs are only full-time M-F, so it doesn’t help a part-time working mama! My paycheck wouldn’t make ends meet to cover that type of tuition right now. I did find Goddard had some part-time options, but most aren’t listed on the website and require some phone calls and research. Other similar centers have part-time preschool programs that are full-day, but again, it seems as though options vary by location, including (obviously not limited to!): Enchanted Care, Grace Early Childhood Center, and Primrose.
So, you found an amazing half-day preschool program, but you work typical hours and can’t swing picking your child up at 11:30 a.m. without resulting in an angry boss. Now what? You can always hire a nanny that can do transportation (though my experience has been – again – these are hard to come by since many of them are watching more than just your child and would have to have car seats and schedule interruptions for everyone). An option I considered was local college students who have afternoon availability, can pick up your little and can watch them until you arrive home from work. There are many local Facebook groups titled Babysitting Network where college students post their availability. I love the idea, but the only logistically challenging part is getting them set-up with a car seat.
Sitting Made Simple is a local babysitting service that has a Semester 1 and Semester 2 program, helping to cover the gap in between before and after-school care. They provide CPR-certified, background checked local college students to provide this transportation and babysitting convenience! Unfortunately, for us, the fees were a bit too high for our budget.
SHARE is a new service in the Columbus area, as well, that offers transportation services for schools. Definitely intriguing and certainly something to check out, especially if your kids are school-aged.
So, through all the feelings of panic, I did find a few possibilities that will work for us! I hope that you do, too. If you have a idea that isn’t mentioned, share it below. Hang in there, mama!