If you’re anything like me, you’re no Carol Brady. So, do we really expect our childcare providers to be Mary Poppins? Um, YES!?!

More than 64% of Canadian women with children under the age of 3 are in the employed workforce. So, with 54% of our children between six months and five years in some type of non-parental childcare, we had better be placing the highest of standards on our childcare providers.

Despite the number of working moms and children in daycare, statistics reveal that non-parental childcare is the least desirable option according to Canadian parents. In fact, 77.9 percent of parents of young children, when offered the choice between having one parent stay home to care for their child or place them with a competent caregiver, chose the former. But the reality is, for most families this just isn’t an option.

And it’s hard enough leaving your child to go back to work, whether you want to or not; but on top of the guilt and heartache, we now also worry about whether our child will be mistreated or neglected (or worse) by their caregiver.

What’s a mother to do? We know no one can care for our kids like we do; our only hope is to find someone who comes close, who genuinely cares. But once we’ve selected a caregiver, how do we know if we’ve made a good choice? Do we simply trust our instincts or seek definitive proof? With access to high-tech nanny-cams and GPS tracking, as well as old-school background checks and unannounced drop-ins, how far do we take our paranoia, or rather due-diligence? Whether we call it spying, monitoring or parenting, can we ever take it too far when we’re talking about our kids?

I’m planning to go back to work in a month, it’s a financial necessity, and I’m terrified about leaving my baby. I have a responsible caregiver and Meebs really likes her. She’s been “shadowing” me and getting to know Meebs and her routine; I’ve been watching her interact with Meebs, looking for red flags. I’m probably as comfortable as I’m going to get and there isn’t much more I can do; once I head out the door it pretty much comes down to trust. Or does it? 

Let’s hear from you. How far have you gone, or would go, to ensure your kids are safe with their caregiver? Would you play the spy game or just trust your spidey-senses?