What to do when childcare falls through?

The stress of a childcare fail? I’ve been there. Nothing throws a wrench into the delicate balance of parenting and working like a sick child (or a sick nanny!). Suddenly, the regular childcare / transportation equilibrium is all out of whack, and I find myself playing chicken with my husband over who sacrificed more lately.

(If you’re keeping score, he’s way ahead because I recently went to Disneyland for 5 days and am currently on the airplane for Mom2.0.)

What to do when your regular childcare falls through?

3 “plan b” options for a childcare fail:
Obviously, these solutions do not work for all professions or families, but I wanted to put the ideas out there in case you can benefit.

Mama does it. Most of the time, I have the flexibility in my workday to pick up the slack. Usually, I can rearrange my schedule to cram must-do tasks within the confines of naptime or (with an older child) TV viewing. This can work for a day or two before too much work and household stuff piles up and I beg for the next choice on our sick-day menu…

Split the day. If I have a morning meeting and Alec can work from home, we sometimes can trade off portions of the day. With this example, he would be on duty all morning, we would both bask in naptime productivity, and I would kick back into mommy mode for the afternoon shift.

Take the baby to work. My friend Alissa wins the prize for creatively dealing with school and daycare closures. She brings the necessary gear to her office and lets the children play or work quietly there. We’ve seen this work with babies in pack-n-plays, preschoolers with handheld devices, and big kids reading books. Expect your productivity to take a big hit (50%?). And it probably does not work at all for the out-of-control toddler.

One time, when none of these options was available, Whitney’s nanny showed up and took Sawyer on a one-hour stroller walk so that I could be on a television appearance. I didn’t offer that as a real solution, because c’mon, that’s ridiculous.

So, do you all have helpful grandmas waiting in the wings when your regular childcare falls through? Or what?

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