This post is about childcare! I intend for this to be more informational for those moving to Canada and particularly, Canmore. There’s a lot of different emotions I think any mother goes through when leaving their children in someone else’s care and I’m going to try and not touch on that. We all know the heartache and the guilt. Lets just close our eyes and pretend that’s not an issue.
Before we moved here, I contacted all the daycares in Canmore. All two of them! Yep! Day care in Canmore is hard to come by and the waiting lists are huge. I’m not actually sure how your supposed to get your children in these day cares without enrolling them 2 years before you have even decided to have a baby!
Rocket was 6 months old when we moved here. He was only just sitting up on his own! He was tiny! But, I HAD to work for visa purposes. I’ve mentioned before how lucky I was that Henry stayed home with him for the first 3 months. How amazing! He got to spend so much quality time with Rocket, as well as basically take over as the primary parent. Even in this day and age of equality, Stay at home dad for a 6 month old does not happen very often.
We did however have to find a solution for when Henry had to start work mid-April. As mentioned, the day cares were virtually impossible to get Rocket in to. The waiting list was massive (but you still had to pay to get on the waiting list) Crazy! The two main ones in Canmore ar Mountain Munchkins and Canmore Community Day Care.
We also have three dogs. All Dachshunds, all pretty old. Arnold is coming up to 13, Chopper is 10 and Nacho is 8. Anyone who has ever owned a Dachshund knows they are territorial, a bit yappy and generally just like to be at home. Because we have 4 babies, Henry and I decided that for the first 3 months of Rockets childcare we would get a nanny. Someone who would stay at home with him until he was 1. They could also be home with the dogs and everyone could get settled in.
Anyone looking for a nanny abroad, there are some great website that I would defiantly recommend.
Both give you really good overviews of caregivers. We found ours through nannyservices.ca. You can see their full profile almost like a facebook. There are reviews and recommendations, and to start with it is completely monitored by nannyservices.ca so all conversations are recorded and it feels completely safe. Minimum wage at this time in Canmore is $15 an hour so you can expect to pay that upwards for a nanny. Most range between $20-$25 and hour.
We did not go for the first nanny we found. In face we went through a few interviews until we found someone who we felt was a good fit for us.
Trust is obviously a huge thing with a nanny and I strongly recommend you spend a good amount of time together with them with your child before you leave them alone. We went for coffees, had her over to meet the dogs and chatted a lot on the phone. And she was brilliant. Rocket loved her and we are still good friends now. Honestly if it wasn’t for the (much larger) financial commitment of a nanny I would have kept her on forever.
That is worth mentioning. A nanny is double the cost of day car. At least!
Whilst Rocket was happily at home with Rachel, our nanny, I was constantly, frantically trying to find an alternative for when he turned 1. The cost of a nanny was killing us financially. Basically, all of henrys pay check went to the nanny and he was working for free. Not great for the moral! The alternative to day care in Canmore is day homes. There are a few, most of them full! Most of them would only take on kids who were walking. Rocket was very close to walking but not quite there yet.
I was so grateful when we found the day home he goes to now. The owner was just starting it up and we got in on the first list ready for when she opened. I’m not going to say the name of it incase there are any weird stalkers out there but if you are genuinely interested and looking for a recommendation please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you some details. He started there August 3rd and we haven’t looked back.
Useful fact: Day home average around $1000 a month for full time childcare. So bare that in mind when your budgeting your move.
In hindsight I think having a nanny was really a saving grace for us. Rocket was due to start childcare mid-April. Covid was pretty strong and it was so comforting knowing not only was he safe at home in his own space, but also that she was young and fit and safe and that she was going to show up every day meaning Henry and I could still go to work in what were pretty difficult times.
Rachel did not call in sick once. She was an angel.
As I write this Covid is still very much a thing and it is a worry when you have a small child. You want to keep them safe, and also yourself. If either Henry or I got sick it would be pretty devastating to our little family who are currently living a pretty financially – fragile life.
But I’m happy to say, Rocket loves his day home, he loves his little friends there. And it is comforting to think that these are the kids he might be growing up with and making friends for life. And all the other parents have been some lovely and welcoming to us, perhaps we have new friends for life too.
side note – Rocket started walking 1 week after his 1st birthday and now he is UNSTOPPABLE!
If you are planning on moving to the Bow Valley area with small children, I have been fortunate enough to make lots of friends with babies and would be happy to help with any advice you might need. I’m not an expert but sometimes it is useful just to know someone on the other side.