For a mom of eczema child, probably one of the toughest decisions is whether to entrust others to take care of your child. Will another caregiver remember to moisturize? Will he/she decide to try out his/her own eczema cure? Will a caregiver be so stressed with the incessant scratching and abuse your child? Will your preferred caregiver even be willing to take on the difficult task of caring for a child with eczema? In this post and the next, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on different childcare alternatives and what have worked for my baby.
Childcare Alternatives (Singapore perspective)
Different countries understandably have different alternatives, for instance, a live-in maid from Indonesia, Philippines or Myanmar is common in Singapore while part-time babysitter is less common. In Singapore, when a mom decides to return to work after her maternity leave, a few choices are available:
- The most obvious choice is not to return to work immediately after maternity leave. Most companies are open to extending no-pay leave and that’s what I did for a month before deciding to stay-at-home for my baby’s first year. Taking care of the child yourself is no ‘cappuccino’, it’s a lonely time fraught with anxiety and stress. Read my post ‘Can You Prepare to be a Mom of Eczema Child’ to have a sense of life as SAHM.
- The next alternative is to enlist the help of parents. Parents are the closest family who are not working and will love your child. However, not all parents these days are willing to shoulder the burden of ‘grandchild-care’. They have their own considerations – failing health, distance from your home, comfort retirement mode and may not understand eczema, its triggers and skincare regimen.
- The other alternative which has worked for my baby is childcare. Many preschools in Singapore offer classes with childcare services, from 7am to 7pm. The government subsidizes working mom for the childcare fees, as part of initiatives to encourage mothers to return to workforce. (This is debatable as some countries, though very few, don’t discriminate between working and SAHM.) My preference for childcare is because it’s an environment which the caregiver, being the teacher, is working with other teachers and there’s support inherent in the school environment. They can at least have a decent lunch break as teachers take turn to catch a breather. Preschools are also regulated and therefore, basic cleanliness and conduct is ensured.
- The next alternative common in Singapore is leaving the child with a live-in maid (with a grandparent overseeing). This is not an option for me because my husband and I closely guard our family privacy and view live-in maid as intrusive. Moreover, both sets of grandparents also don’t want to be the ‘manager’ of maid. My concern for this option is that both the maid and the grandparent may not be knowledgeable in terms of eczema care, moreover, it’s a perfect setting for conflicts.
- The last alternative is hiring a babysitter. This option may turn out to be the most expensive in Singapore because it’s not subsidized by the government and the fees of a babysitter can be S$1000+ to S$2000 compared to a live-in maid of under S$500. A babysitter usually takes on more than one child, on top of her own children, and is not regulated. Again, I wouldn’t trust anyone to be patient and loving enough to care for a child who is scratching and crying so much if she’s not the mother of the child (If I cry and break down so often, what more of a babysitter?)
My personal journey in this is deciding to stay at home for the first year and when my baby can crawl and learn about the world around her, I feel it’s easier for preschool teachers to manage as well as it’s a time for baby to make friends. My baby is blessed to have wonderful teachers who love her and friends who enjoy playing with her. I’ll be sharing more in the next post, meanwhile, do share your journey in the comments or drop me a line at my support group page.