How do you manage child care when you don’t work nine-to-five hours?

Four families share their creative solutions. 

Photo: Chelsea Catton

Photo: Chelsea Catton

The Cattons
Chelsea Catton: Operating room nurse
Marcus Catton: Paramedic, Fire and rescue technician
Kids: Mia, 6, Matilda, 4, and Madeline, 16 months.
Live in: Coquitlam, BC

“Marcus works two jobs and has to travel for both. He’s home for about a week a month. I’m an emergency nurse and I used to work half-time. We had an amazing nanny who would work when we needed her, including evenings, weekends and early in the morning.

That nanny had her own baby and is no longer available for us full-time. After my mat leave with our third, I have only been able to take casual shifts when Marcus is home or I’m able to find someone to watch the girls. My work has had to become less of a priority. We are from Australia, and don’t have any family here.

Needless to say it is quite challenging at this stage of our lives, but we make the best of it and plan lots of fun stuff for the moments we have altogether.” —Chelsea Catton


Photo: Holowka photography

Photo: Holowka photography

The Wolodarkys
Kara Wolodarsky:
Interior designer
David Wolodarsky: Marketing manager
Kids: Molly, 13 months.
Live in: Winnipeg

“I work as an interior designer for a Canadian furniture company and also do freelance design work. I work three days during the week: one full day and two half days, and I also work on Saturdays.

We looked into daycare, but decided to have our parents, who are all retired, look after Molly. When I went back to work at the furniture store my boss was very understanding and flexible when we made my schedule. We arranged it so that the grandparents never have to look after her for more than 5 1/2 hours at a time.

When I’m working in the evenings and weekends, Dave is with Molly. I feel very lucky that I still get to care for Molly so much during the week, and do a job that I enjoy.” —Kara Wolodarsky


Photo: Takako Kimura

Photo: Takako Kimura

The Kimuras
Takako Kimura: Flight attendant
Takeshi Kimura: Autobody refinisher
Kids: Souta, 6.
Live in: Edmonton

“I’m on call about four days a week and I end up working about three days. Sometimes the days are short, around five hours, and sometimes they are longer, around 13 hours.

My son goes to daycare everyday, regardless if I’m working or not. Because my husband’s hours are set—8:30 to 4:30—there is always someone who can drop him off and pick him up. The daycare takes him to and from school.

We are immigrants from Japan with no family here. Because he’s an only child, I think going to day care is really valuable for our son. He has the opportunity to listen to and speak English and socialize with other kids.” Takako Kimura


Photo: Four Bees Photography

Photo: Four Bees Photography

The Griffins
Taya Griffin: Lactation consultant, Yoga and Pilates instructor
Adrian Griffin: Investment advisor
Kids: Amelia, 6, and Mabel, 2.
Live in: Toronto

“I’m on call as a lactation consultant. I see moms day and night and sometimes very early in the morning. My husband’s job has some flexibility, but it requires a lot of after-work schmoozing.

We have a nanny who works with us two days a week. For my evening exercise classes I have babysitters lined up. But if a mom calls and needs help with breastfeeding, I sometimes need a babysitter on very short notice. I have three teenage babysitters, my mother, my mother-in-law, our nanny–and my cousin in a pinch–that I can call on.

I sometimes wonder how my children are handling all this coming and going. But they love the babysitters and I love the flexibility to stay home with them during the day as much as possible. I also love my job and I hope that they see that.” Taya Griffin 

Read more:
Home daycares versus larger daycare centres: pros and cons
6 helpful child-care sites and apps
15 questions to ask on your daycare tour (printable)

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