Mom’s the Word, Part 2: Daycare Dilemma

For many mothers on maternity leave, one thing weighs heavily on their minds: daycare.

“I’m still looking for that,” said Montreal’s Cindy Dumais, mother of a nine-month old daughter.

According to Jose Galarneau, a Cardio Plein Air fitness instructor and mother of three, finding affordable, quality, daycare is the no. 1 source of stress for new mothers.

“I would say it’s the biggest cause of anxiety,” said Galarneau.

‘It’s a lot’

With waiting lists of up to three years for a subsidized spot, many mothers are forced to turn to private daycares.

“$48 a day, it’s a lot,” said mother Marie-Helene Savard, who’s ready to fork over the cash, since it’s the only reliable option she’s found.

For a family with more than one child, that could amount to more than the cost of a caregiver.

Erica Diamond knows it’s not an option for all working women, but for those who can afford it, she thinks it’s a great solution.

Hiring a nanny has helped the successful entrepreneur and mother of two build her career.

“I wanted to be near him…I wanted to keep him at home, so I could work a little bit from the office, a little bit from home, and I opted for a nanny to try to juggle everything,” she said.

Government action

Quebec’s family minister Yolande James insists she’s working on the daycare dilemma.

The ministry plans to add 15,000 new subsidized daycare spots starting in September.

“We’re continuing to develop new spots, yes, but we’ve also increased the tax credit there,” she said.

The government’s goal is to make childcare more affordable for all Quebecers.

“We’re very conscious of that concern for many mothers that are looking to go back to work,” James said.

But the dilemma with daycare doesn’t stop when a parent has finally secured a spot for their child.

Whether it’s with a nanny, with a public or private daycare, experts say the emotional transition can be painful for any parent.

This is because, for many, it’s the first time they have to trust a stranger with their child.

Learning to trust

“For some people, just the idea of letting a stranger take care of your child is tremendously threatening,” said psychotherapist Vikki Stark.

“Even if the stranger runs a daycare and it’s accredited and well-known, and has been in business for 20 years – it’s tremendously threatening because the child is too young to tell you what’s going on,” Stark continued.

James wants parents to be reassured.

“We have definitely tightened a lot of regulations to make sure that we are assuring quality throughout the whole network,” she said.

And while the transition is often harder on the parents, experts insist working moms need to look at the bright side.

“There are often a lot of positives in daycare- the child playing with other kids, having fun and being in another environment,” said Stark.

With more subsidized spots and stricter safety regulations on the horizon – working moms may find a little more peace of mind on their journey back to work.