Do you use daycare for your children? Or do you squeeze your work into naptime and night time?

The average number of hours of outside care per week used by readers who responded to our survey is 10 hours.

Here are some of your responses:

*My children are in someone else's care approximately 8 hours per week.
I do freelance work at home and live project to project, which means that sometimes I have a lot to do and other times nothing. This makes it difficult to keep a sitter on a regular schedule. I currently have a babysitter ocme in one day a week to make appointments away from the home and when I am working at home, try to do without help. This is beginning to get distracting though, since my 6 mo old is beginning to crawl. But since my work does not require much phone use, I can usually get it done during naps and after meals when the baby is quieter. I'd like to hire someone for half days two or three days a week, but sitters in this area tend to want five day schedules when working part time or at least full days, so it has been difficult to find the right person. I also have a sitter I share with a friend when I'm in a pinch.

*My children are in someone else's care approximately 15 hours per week.
I work twenty hours per week, and 12-15 of them are with childcare (a mom who takes care of her 22-month-old along with my 17-month-old.) I also work during my daughter's nap time everyday. It works out really well! I feel very lucky to have worked out this situation.

*I do not use daycare for my children. In fact, I babysit for a 2 year old part time. Fortunately, my business (candlemaking) is easy to do with the kids running around and most of my business is done over the internet. Now that school has started, my routine is to do running around and computer work in the morning when the girls are in school. In the afternoon when my youngest is home I take time to play with her. If I need the afternoon to make candles, she loves to watch and smell the candles that I am making.

*My children are in someone else's care approximately 15 hours per week.
I work 3 days per week. During those three days, the kids are at the caregiver's. My oldest doesn't nap anymore so there is no naptime to squeeze work into. I am under an obligation to work a specific number of hours per week and couldn't fulfill that requirement by working in the evenings. In addition, my work requires an ability to sustain a level of concentration for a period of time. This does not happen when there are kids in the house. I work on my three days and I don't work when my kids are at home. When my kids are there, I am there 100%.

*My children are in someone else's care approximately 9 hours per week.
I have my 2 young children (aged 2 and 4 1/2) in a preschool program. They go 3 days a week/3 hours per day. It's a nice comprimise with my work schedule. I try to get as much done in that time period...or run errrands. I only work on a very part-time, my schedule is pretty flexible. I think it's great for them too. They LOVE it and have a blast with their friends. I felt tons of guilt, at first. Then, through friends, I learned that my kids weren't missing a THING in life! Preschool was teaching them things and allowing them to have their buddies :-)

*My children are in someone else's care approximately 13 hours per week.
I work in the office one day a week, for 9 hours, so Vanessa stays at one of my two best friends' houses on Mondays. Then twice a week for two hours each time, I have a neighborhood teenager come over and play with her after her nap. As a bonus, Meredith also makes dinner, tidies the family room, folds laundry, etc. These four hours sometimes make the difference in my having no problem getting my 40 hours in, and my having a BIG problem getting my hours in! The way I manage the rest of the time (Tuesday-Friday) is that I let Vanessa (17 months) go to bed at the same time as we do,around 10 p.m. which enables her to sleep until about 9 a.m. I of course, got up and starteed working by 6 a.m. so by the time she wakes up and gets bored with playing with all the toys that I have stacked on the ledge by her bed, I have already gotten 4 hours in. It takes me about 10 minutes to change her and put her in her high chair with her breakfast. Then I get about 25 minutes more while she eats and then throws all her food on the floor. I figure since she drags out the throwing the food on the floor to take 10 minutes and it takes me 1 minute to pick it all back up, it is worth the extra work time. So my day is more than half over by 10:30 a.m.! Then I knock off working and just focus on Vanessa until about 1. We either go play with friends or in our wading pool or take a walk, or even go to the store or make dinner in the crockpot (Vanessa loves to "help"!). We read lots of books, and eat something for lunch. Then around 1 I put her down for her nap, which gives me 2 more hours of work time at least, and sometimes 3. She will play with her toys for another 30 minutes then, so I have 7.5 hours done, and then she plays by mommy's feet on her own computer keyboard, and with the "mommy's office" toys, for about 45 minutes. And my day is done! I try to work a little extra each day so that Friday is a short day- 6 or less hours. Then we can do something fun! (And sometimes I even get a few minutes to myself during her Friday nap! Talk about incentive!)

*I realize that many women feel the need for daycare for their children while they work from home, and I support them. But my daughters are my main reason for being at home, for starting my business, and putting them in daycare would seem to defeat MY purpose. I want to be here for my daughters, and raise them myself. My own mother was a single WAHM, and a great inspiration to me. From the time I was in elementary school until I started high school she was home with us, working and caring for us. Later on her business grew and she rented an office, but she was till very close to home, and always acessable. I always appreciated that, and I hope my daughters will, as well.

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