Should You Hire a Nanny or a Daycare?

Stay at Home Working Momma

Quote of the Week
“It takes a village
to raise a child.”
~ Africal Proverb


Last week I wrote about about your options when it comes to going back to work or deciding to stay at home with your Lo.

Either choice may lead you to the next question, of do I need help? How much and how often?

If you’re going back to a full time work position then you’ll probably need full time child care for during the day. You can either opt for a nanny or daycare. Either are good options and both come with their own challenges. Even if you only need daycare or a nanny part time the same pros and cons would apply. You just need to decide, based on your lifestyle, how much help you already have with family (if any at all), and what type of person you are to see which option or options are right for you.


In my very limited PNW experience this seems to be the go to choice for working mommas. Here are the pros:

  • Schedule: They create a schedule that all kids stick to that you can then use at home. No guessing or wondering when to put them down for naps or when to feed them. Just follow the schedule. I actually asked my friend who’s son is in daycare for their schedule so I could just recreate it at home for our nanny.
  • Friends: It’s a great place for both kids and moms to make friends. When your child makes a friend at school you can look to set up weekend play dates to also get to know the other moms.
  • They don’t call out: Sometimes daycares have days their closed, but you know those days way in advance. They don’t normally call you the day of and say you can’t drop them off, not unless it’s a state emergency like Hurricane season.


+Sick: Your poor kid will be sick all. the. time. On the plus side they’ll be building up a killer immune system. When a child has a fever they are not allowed to attend school until it’s gone. Sometimes daycare will call you midday to say your child has a fever and you need to come get them. Behavior: Your little sponge will be susceptible to other children’s behaviors - both good and bad. There’s hitting, bitting, pushing, and more as kids learn to cope with their big feelings. It’s all normal and even happens at home, it’s just more prevalent when you have 8-10 kids in a class rather than 1 - 3 with a nanny.

  • Less adult attention: There are some group activities like learning a language or participating in story time, but true one on one time is way less at a daycare which can lead to children starving for attention when they’re home. When you come home from work, really shut down for the day and be at home. You’ll find your children are much more calm and thoughtful when you’re engaged. Dinner might take twice as long, but having them “help” will make them feel like their spending quality time with them.
  • Getting in: You’ll want to make sure that if you take this route, you plan waaaaay ahead. Schools fill up quickly. I knew some moms who applied while pregnant knowing there was almost a year long wait.


This was the route we took, because with twins it was the most cost effective. About $2,700 month all in for two kids. Some daycares run that just for ONE kid depending on the school you pick and where you live. We’re in Seattle where everything is getting more and more expensive so nanny was a good way for us. We also both work from home so having the kids nearby to have lunch with and go on strolls and not have to commute them to a school in rush hour traffic were all reasons we chose this.

As some other added bonuses for a nanny:

  • Help around the house: Our nanny takes care of laundry, dishes, and light cleaning like vacuuming and mopping floors. She’ll also run to the store when kids are napping (and we’re home) for some quick bits and pieces
  • One-to-one: Our twins get a ton of one on one attention from reading, to imaginative play like dress up, to building things with our nanny out of Lego and blocks. She teaches them numbers, reading, and most importantly (to me) manners - they say please and thank you. They (mostly) use their words. I’m not saying this doesn’t or can’t happen at daycare, it’s just a something I noticed my nanny really pay attention. We’ve also been able to trial and error things that are very particular to each kid on how they calm down, eat, and sleep. For daycare your on their schedule and that may not work specifically for your kid.

Some challenges with a nanny are the following:

  • While they’ll take care of your sick kids, chances are they’ll get sick and you’ll be a few days without help. At least you’ll have your kids when they’re well so a little easier to cope with. They quit: Our current nanny just gave us two weeks notice. She decided childcare is not for her. Which meant we had two weeks to find a new nanny and train them up. Not a lot of time. We got lucky because our previous nanny has a gap and so she’s going to help us out giving us 3 months now to find a replacement. Dodged a bullet there.
  • Age: You have three options with age. Newbie (18 - 20) - Less expensive, but you get to really train them on how you want things done. Just note the training takes time. 20 - 25 - is a little more expensive and they have a good grasp on childcare as a whole, but may be more wiling to keep things how you have them. As you look at nannies that are older you may run into people who think because they raised kids or have been with one or two families for a long time they know how things are supposed to be done and may throw their wait around. On the flip side, they may have some good ideas considering they’ve been around the block. It’s really about what works for you.

The last three years we’ve chosen young newbie nannies. Pro was I got to train them (which took a few months) and they were in our price range. Con is each quit after 9 months to a year because they went to pursue a different career. I think we’ll pony up for a someone in their 20s who have been doing this a few years and know childcare is for them.


I know a few stay at home moms who use daycare a few days a week or have a mother’s helper to help them for a few hours a day. There are pros and cons to both of these. You really just need to think about your needs as a momma and a women and decide which path works for you and what you can afford. A nanny for only one baby maybe more expensive, but you get some help around the house and is that more worth it to you? Do you work at home and having baby there is SUPER distracting and you get nothing done so really a daycare makes more sense for you and your family?

Find your happy medium. Find your village. You don’t need to do this alone to prove your super mom… that’s a given.

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