I didn’t know what to title this. Alternative choices: Why we chose daycare. Why I needed childcare. Why I opted to not have a nanny. Working from home with a baby is not a sustainable option.

In a dream world, I would be able to work from home seamlessly during baby’s long naps… and then pick up the slack after bedtime and on the weekends, while still finding time to work out, cook healthy meals, run errands, keep our house clean, and maybe read a chapter or two of a book.

This is going to be a bit of a word vomit post, but I just wanted to get it all out here. Frankly, I have major mom brain and I am struggling to get all my thoughts out in a coherent way. (Which is apropos considering this post in general… i.e. I’m drowning and needed help 🤣)


So when I was pregnant, Mike and I both started to consider what our childcare options would be. There was so much uncertainty, between the pandemic and the fact that my work life is fairly flexible. While this is a HUGE benefit in a lot of ways, it was hard to know exactly what I would want and need from a childcare perspective. We had never had a baby before! We had no idea… and so I just decided to have the baby and figure it out once he got here.

In the back of my head, I assumed we would go with a part time nanny/babysitter a couple of times a week for a few hours a day. When Jack was little, it was pretty easy to work from home since he took long naps and spent most of the day sleeping…. but, of course, as he got bigger those wake windows stretched out and I had less time to dedicate to work. Mike is also working from home most of the time, which is amazing as I can leave the house while Jack naps since Mike is home and if he has a break during the day he can tag team in and give me a break from watching Jack.

I had also planned on “coasting” this year... and it’s been anything but. Extremely grateful for all the opportunities, but it’s just way more than I planned for.

In November/December, I started to really look into nannies and/or sitters more seriously. With travel and our crazy schedule, I didn’t think it made sense to hire someone until January, but I was actively searching. I was on the websites and in the Facebook groups and on the neighborhood chats asking around for recommendations. A couple of big things stood out to me though. 1) Our area, like a lot of suburban areas right now, had a huge influx of young families leaving the city. Where most families might stay in Hoboken/Jersey City/NYC until their kids approached grade school, everyone was leaving the city during the pandemic. So the demand for everything went through the roof. And the demand for nannies was no exception! And 2) Every time we found a good lead, something in my gut was causing me to hesitate.

I started to think I was losing my mind honestly. Even when we interviewed the most qualified nannies that I’m sure would have been a good fit, I still didn’t feel 100% on board about the choice. It was baffling. I was getting increasingly desperate for help and I knew I was either going to have to figure out a solution or majorly scale back on my work, which I didn’t want to do.

And then, one day, it dawned on me. I didn’t think a nanny was the best fit for our family… The minute I considered daycare as an option, I felt an immediate sense of ease. It was a lightbulb moment and made me realize why I was so hesitant about nannies. It was such a relief to have this epiphany.


1. It’s less of a personal burden. I run a business and already felt like my bandwidth for managing people was tapped out. As an employer of a nanny, you’re, well, an employer. There’s contracts to worry about, schedules to manage, sick time and vacation time to consider. With daycare, I don’t have to worry about vetting people or managing individuals. It’s all done for me!

2. We both work from home. Mike and I largely work from home and our house, while lovely and perfect for us, isn’t exactly laid out to accommodate three working adults, two dogs, and a baby. Logistically, I couldn’t figure out what it would look like to have another adult in the house and it wouldn’t really be fair to a nanny trying to entertain a baby if I was trying to film/shoot content and/or Mike is on conference calls all day. Being able to drop off Jack at daycare where he’s in an engaging safe place where he can 100% be a baby without concern about noise or a slew of toys would be a huge benefit.

3. It’s consistent. This was another huge thing that we witnessed as an issue with our friends who have had nannies. It seemed too stressful to rely on childcare and to plan to have the day to work, only to have the nanny (for whatever reason) be unable to come in. We saw it happen so frequently with our friends and the stress it put on them to scramble to figure out childcare last minute. Daycare eliminated that as well. Yes, Jack has a main teacher but if she is unable to come in, I can still drop him off knowing he’s going to be well-cared for.

4. There’s socialization and enrichment. Of course, this isn’t a daycare-specific thing, but I knew that by choosing daycare, Jack would 100% get to socialize with kids and have planned activities and other enrichments. We learned that Jack is a very social baby and I know he’ll love getting to make friends in his classroom.

5. It felt like the safest option. This is more subjective, but to me, this particular daycare we chose felt like the safest option. Everyone who works there is more than qualified and vetted and trained. If someone is tired or sick, there is backup person who can step in and another set of eyes and hands to help. You never want to think about “worst case scenarios,” but when I did think about potential issues, I felt like Jack would be in the best care somewhere where I know multiple adults are trained to intervene in emergencies.


As I mentioned, our town and the surrounding towns are swamped with babies! I am in a couple of local Facebook groups and read all the reviews about daycares and pretty much only was willing to consider one daycare– potentially two. Since I figured out that daycare was right for us pretty late in the game, by the time I got Jack on a waiting list for our “top pick” (yes, I know this sounds like college admissions… I swear getting into Georgetown was less work….), he was number 71 on the waiting list. Luckily, I’m flexible with my work schedule so I was able to request any availability and they did tell me that he’d have a better chance of getting in since most families need full time, five days a week. It ended up taking about 12 weeks from the day I put him on the waiting list until his first day. Once a spot opened up, things happened so quickly. Lots of paperwork. Meeting the teachers. Getting all his supplies together.


We have two days a week right now and I’ll probably add a third if we’re able to. I can drop him off at any point in the day and pick him up at any point, which I love! He is in a small classroom with a primary caregiver and then a handful of other teachers. Because of COVID, I’ve only been able to meet the teachers outside and peek into the classroom through the window, but it has been SUCH a wonderful experience so far. I feel really good about it and Jack adjusted immediately!


Let me just say that none of these decisions were made lightly. Having to ask for help for myself is not one of my strengths, but to “admit defeat” and say that I need help with childcare brings on alllll the mom guilt.

Having grown up with a stay at home mom and no nannies and no daycare, any kind of childcare feels so foreign to me. (And I did originally feel like a failure, honestly, that I hit a point where I couldn’t do both the mom and the work things anymore.) But I really did hit a point where I needed help. Once I knew daycare was happening, it was about a three week wait between getting off the waitlist and his first day, and I was so relieved. I felt like, “Okay, I can do this. We need this!” And, naturally, Jack’s mobility skyrocketed in those three weeks and I also knew that he’d love going to daycare with other babies and new toys and a ton of safe space to play in.

People had warned me that it would be emotional and I kind of scoffed at that. I was really looking forward to having a couple of days to myself to work. I hadn’t had a break longer than four hours before because of breastfeeding, so I was thinking it was going to feel like a tiny taste of freedom. We dropped him off and I was a little teary, but nothing crazy. I came home, had three major deadlines I needed to finish up, and I thought the long to-do list would be the perfect distraction. For a bit it was and then, out of nowhere, I lost it. It was like someone opened the floodgates and I was a wreck. An absolute wreck. It was a combination of things. Being away from him for the longest stretch. Needing to pump (which makes the DMER 100x more intense). Feeling stressed from the work. Feeling like I was coming out of, like, survival mode for the first time in months. Everything just crashed down on me. I ended up going to the gym to relieve some of my anxiety with a workout, which helped. I just think I was overly ambitious in what I thought I could do on day one and underestimated how emotional the day would really be. Woof.

With that said, it was amazing picking him up from the first day. He was SO HAPPY and excited to see us. And picking him up on day two??? I show up in the middle of snack time and Jack didn’t want to leave. As sad as that was, it also made my mama heart so happy to know he was happy and content. I waited in my car for 15 minutes for him to finish eating his snack and then scooped him back up!

I also went into the weekend for the first time in ages with no work to do and multiple projects completed. I know this is going to ensure that when I am with Jack, I’m well-rested and not stressed and able to fully be present with him.

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Shayla McMurray

So happy for you to have this major milestone. It sounds like a wonderful new chapter’ 🙂


Thank you for sharing your struggles with motherhood. In a world that can be critical, it was brave of you to share your daycare journey.


Ha I know several parents who struggle with picking their kids up from daycare because the kid does. not. want to leave! I am sure Jack loves it there, and I am sure being a mom will be easier to enjoy now you have more time.


Even without kids, I found the thought process behind this decision so interesting! Thanks for sharing something so personal. Sounds like you and Mike made the best choice for your family, and I’m glad it’s been positive for you all so far! Hope it stays that way 🙂


Thank you for sharing Carly 🙂 as a mom of a three month old with maternity leave about to end, I totally emphasize with these feelings and appreciate you sharing. I know it’s going to be an emotional time but am so happy to hear Jack loves daycare and am hoping my baby does too! <3


I am so happy for you! It is such a blessing to be able to devote 100% to Jack when you are with him and 100% to work or working out or whatever is on your schedule! Happy mom is the best for the baby!


I too am a working mom with one daughter. I had all the guilt for using the daycare route while my friends all had nanny’s with children napping in their own beds. Fast forward to kindergarten and my child was SO excited on the first day of school but all these other children were glued to their moms legs and crying up a storm. My only child from a daycare environment was SO confident and excited to be their and terribly confused that other children were not. She knew how to make friends, socialize, problem solve and overall just thrived. I 100% attribute it all to daycare. We loved daycare for all the reasons you stated andddddd had a very healthy child (I feel like that question came up way too much amongst friends about all the germs). It’s so hard to make that drop but I promise you will see the benefits later on when they are older.


Good for you Carly! Sounds like this will be so wonderful for both you and Jack. Any choice a mom makes for work/childcare/etc. is what is exactly right for their particular family. You’re doing a great job.


I’m so glad you have found something that works for you. It is a wonderful thing to relieve at least one stressor of parenthood.

Both my children have been in daycare since they were 6 weeks old (one is 5, the other 2.5). It is a relief to know they are cared for by a wonderful staff. I can honestly say my 5 year old is ahead for his age because of the teachers working with him throughout his time there. Sometimes it is hard to drop them off, but I know I can’t give them the same enrichment and socialization that they get there.


We were the first in my family to not have a stay-at-home-mom AND choose the daycare route as well. I was so nervous but knew in my gut it was the right choice. A member of my family said to me the other day that watching my son has completely changed their thoughts on daycare. My son is SO social, comfortable with others, communicative (or as much as an 11 month old can be!), and is exposed to so many activities and ways of caring.

Denise Groulx

this is also what I wanted to tell Carly. My son made friends at the daycare and kindergarden. One of them is still a friend he has contact with off and on. they are both 45 y.o.! So it’s a good thing for the kids to socialize.


Carly, thank your for sharing this. I loved reading about your decision even though I’m not a parent myself. Even more, I love all the supportive comments from your community on here! So glad you have found what works for you and Jack.


Honestly, I just love this post and appreciate you sharing all of it!


I am 100% team daycare also!!! Our 15 month old has been in daycare full time since 4 months and has such a ball playing with the other kids and learning so much. There are of course pros and cons to daycare and nannies and one con of daycare worth mentioning is that daycare kids do get sick a lot more, particularly in the beginning. BUT everyone assures us that this happens for kids regardless when they enter the world for the first time, whether it’s daycare or preschool! So better to get it out of the way now I think!

Denise Groulx

Dear Carly,
If writing about this decision of yours help you clear your head. Bravo! I did the same in my time (1978). At the time in Quebec, Canada, it still was frowned upon as they considered that a good mother would stay home and not work. But with the $$$ needed in our case, I found out that a daycare and later on a kindergarden were the best options for my family and my mental health.
I must specify that i the 70’s we were not able to work from home. We had to get out each morning, commute to work and then the other way around. There were no computers etc. So in my humble opinion, this is your decision and you are RIGHT to do so. I hope nobody will try to shame you for not staying at home or quiting your job. Hugs and kisses to you dear.


So happy this is working for you! I’ve followed you since you first moved to NYC, and I was in High School! I’m into my career now and getting married in the fall, and seeing you go through so many grown-up things feels like I’m getting a peek into what the future could look like. Thanks for your honesty! You make me feel capable.


Just came here to say I love your line “You make me feel capable”, Gillian. Carly, you make me feel this way too! You really help me imagine what the future can look like in a way that feels honest and realistic. Thank you for this gift, it makes me proceed more confidently! xx


Loved reading your thought process on this! As my husband and I, both full time workers, start TTC, we’ve talked a lot about childcare options. He grew up always being looked after by a family member, whereas my brother and I were in daycare basically as soon as it was allowed (My brother starting at six weeks, which feels crazy to me now as an adult!).

We live in a major metro area which means we have tons of solid options to choose from, but I’m already intimidated by the process.

I’ve loved following your journey as if you’re a big sister, just a few chapters ahead of me 😊 and can’t wait to hear more about it as things move forward!


Thank you for posting this! I also had a stay at home mom, and am considering childcare options for my first this summer and really struggling with what I know will be separation anxiety (for me! Hopefully not her!). Hearing your thoughtful journey on this makes me feel at ease and I’m sure I’ll reread this post this summer when I drop her off. You’re doing great and REALLY appreciate your transparency about the highs and lows of motherhood.


So happy for you! It makes when you are together just that much more peaceful and focused! You’re a great mom 🙂


When we started my first in daycare, one of my closest friends told me “the quantity of time together with decrease but the quality will greatly improve” and I have found that to be 100% true. Having that uninterrupted time to get my work done made the time I did have with my baby so much better – less stress, less distraction, less watching the clock/phone/computer while also trying to entertain baby. It was hard those first few weeks but so much better in the long run!

Shannon Mahaney

Thank you for sharing this with us. I also chose daycare and I’m so glad that I did! It’s hard to drop them off but as they get older, they have little friends and their teachers love them so much.


I feel so many of these same feelings with my 5 month old. I stayed home with my older daughter for 2 years and I felt so much guilt having to find childcare for my son. He is at daycare in a room where he has little baby friends and new experiences and he is thriving. And trust me, as Jack grows up in childcare, he will have some of the best little buddies and a whole center full of teachers that love him. My daughter is 8 now and she still loves coming to pick up brother because she gets to see her old teachers. It takes a village to raise these babes and I’m so happy you found something that works for all of you!


Daycare mom here and I love it! My almost 1 year old started when she was 12 weeks. Not only had she learned and grown so much, but she has made friends! We have made friends with the parents as well which is amazing! Like you, I haven’t been able to go inside her classroom, but her teachers are amazing and one is babysitting her Friday night!


My daughter turned one when covid hit and we considered a nanny because we’re working from home. Even with the cons of daycare (more sickness due to more exposure to other kids), it’s 100% worth it for the socialization alone. Kids learn so much from each other even if it doesn’t seem like it during the “parallel play” stage. They potty train together, try new foods together… My daughter is a bit afraid of going potty and it’s so sweet to hear that her friends encourage her and cheer when she does.


As someone who has babysat/nannied a lot throughout college/post college years, I think your take on this decision is so interesting. Sometimes I wonder if parents think having a nanny will be super easy but then are surprised when it requires a bit more. I have been a nanny with two parents working in the home AND us being in the home (due to pandemic) and it was NOT easy! Thanks for sharing your insights.

Josephine Schulte

Both my boys started daycare at 12 weeks and are did so well with it! My older one turned 2 when the pandemic hit and ended up home for 6 months while daycare was closed, and was so sad to not see his friends (and to have mom and dad working all day, or trying to – it was not great!) He’s been so happy to be back ever since, and learns so much, too! I’m so glad you found what works best for you. I went through the same thought process and am so glad I decided how I did. 💙


As a working mom who put her first newborn in daycare around 5 months (and am putting my future newborn in at 3 months), I can’t say enough good things about the socialization and learning they get there. It’s beyond what you could do while multi-tasking while working, cleaning, cooking, etc. It’s all about balance! And it sounds like you’re finding that perfect spot.


So happy you found a good solution!! I have a 2.5yo and he started daycare around 10 months for many of the same reasons you named here. It was definitely the best decision for our family, and has allowed me to be more fully present in my work AND as a mom!


I hope you don’t really feel like a failure for that long! Where I grew up, daycare was capped in price ($7 per kid per day in the 90s) and MOST mothers chose to work part- or full-time because of this. And we all turned out fine and my mother says we loved daycare, and she didn’t have to take 10+ years out of her career or try to do both jobs perfectly (honestly, this is impossible IMO). Happy that Jack is loving daycare! We never evolved to have careers AND raise our children entirely alone (the old “it takes a village” saying).

Allison s

I was in a similar boat when first going back to work in February 2020 after our son was born. Working from home with a baby was WAY more difficult than i imagined and I had heard too many stories from friends whose nanny’s had family issues, medical issues, or just needed time off. Same sort of issues with home daycare providers too. We found a great little daycare/preschool academy and he’s been in it since 7 months and thriving. I do think being around the other kids really helps their development too – just wait till his “art projects” start getting sent home with him; you may want to go ahead and get some kind of artist portfolio thing soon! 😂


Congratulations on your choice and transition. We’ve gone down the nanny route for childcare for our 4 children. My husband and I have fairly intense careers and we appreciated the flexibility of that option. Funny enough though, our reasons mirror many you mention above (consistency, safety, socialization & enrichment) as well as flexibility. For us, we have been so happy with our decision as it has exceeded our expectations — and now that our children are all in school and we’ve seen how easily they’ve adapted and thrived, as well as the diverse amount of social groups they’ve built through their friend groups, outings & play dates and classes while they were with our nanny and the stability she brought to our family. I think it goes to show you how it is such a personal, subjective decision that just needs to be right for your family.


I love your honesty and vulnerability. I was a daycare + after school + daycamp always, I had better social skills AND the care givers benefitted from their relationship w me and the other kiddos too. My mom needed to work for herself, her pay solely covered my daycare, but retirement contributions were a financial benefit. It’s something she did just for her that I appreciate now as an adult. Mothers are still people. I hope culture continues to change and normalize and verbalize that you get to be a human individual too AND mom. As a past nanny, the relationship goes both ways- I learned so much from my kiddos. It’s such a privilege. I always noticed when doing church care that the SAHM babies are sooo clingy and take longer to adjust compared to daycare kids lol. Those are like “k thx bye gonna have fun now see you.” No offense to either- benefits and sacrifices for both paths.
Sweet sweet memories of the baby room.