As promised in my previous guest post on becoming a mom, I’m back to share my thoughts with you on work-life balance here in Spain.
First things first. Let’s look at child care options after the four months of maternity leave. There are many things you can do. The four main ones are:
- Leave of absence (“Excedencia”): You can legally take up to a three year leave of absence to take care of your child. You will not receive any pay during this period, but you will have a right to go back to your old job when the leave of absence is finished. For this option, I strongly recommend you consult with a lawyer first to understand all of the nuances involved.
- Nanny: Another common option here. It seems that the average price in Madrid is around 8€/hour. If you’re offering a full time position, you can probably arrange something even lower. I have friends that have a full time nanny earning 950€/month and others that offer 1.000€/month. The problem for me with this option was that I felt it would be difficult to find someone who is properly qualified and trustworthy, although my friends all have positive things to save about theirs and are happy with their choice of having a nanny.
- Relatives: It’s quite common in Spain to have grandparents take care of the baby during at least the first year, sometimes even until they start school at 3 years old. In my case, I didn’t want to impose this upon my parents-in-law as they have a lot on their plate already, but if I had asked them to do it, they would have said yes.
- Nursery school: This is the option I know most about as this is ultimately what I chose. I liked the idea that the staff is qualified and experienced, and it seemed to me to be a more controlled environment for my baby. I’m happy to say that my daughter adapted really well; she started a week before to do the “adaptation period” which consisted of starting just one hour the first day, then two, then three, then six, then the whole period. I leave her at a private nursery school at 7:30AM and pick her up at 5:00PM. The normal hours are 9:00AM to 5:00PM, but we pay an extra extension from 7:30AM to 9:00AM as I start classes some days as early as 8:00AM. It’s a bit expensive, we end up paying around 550€, but the Comunidad de Madrid gives some financial aid to qualifying families to help pay for private nursery school tuition (100-150€ and it’s quite easy to meet eligibility requirements)
There is quite a lot of information online about all of these options, so I won’t go too much more into detail in my next and last post about this topic in which I will share my personal experience in case it can help anyone’s work-life balance in the process of becoming a new parent here in Spain.
Amber Lattimer is the co-founder and Director of the A-Academy.
Links of Interest:
ABC, Cuánto cuesta una Canguro (How much a nanny costs)
Comunidad de Madrid, Becas de Educación Infantil (Primary education tuition)
Cuestiones Laborales, Excedencia por cuidado de un hijo o familiar