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 

This article was originally published on Jul 28, 2016

Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners

I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.