Can you remember the moment you brought your baby home for the very first time?

In the thick of that glorious, sleep deprived, rollercoaster of emotions, everything hurts newborn bubble – I distinctly remember sitting on the couch, staring adoringly at the teeny tiny little bundle of deliciousness whose entire length of her outstretched body only extended from my knees to my postpartum tummy and thinking to myself –

“so this is what it feels like to have your heart exist on the outside of your body.”

Once the months of breastfeeding angst, monitoring the colour of poop and adjusting to our new normal had settled enough, the mothers in my antenatal group, my Plunket playgroup and other friends with babies were all starting to think and talk about the same thing – what are my options for returning to work? Who am I going to trust with the safety of my baby in order to enable me to be a confident working parent?

I remember making a point of sitting down one afternoon to look at childcare options while Everly was napping, and being a puddle of tears. I welled up at the thought of handing her off to be cared by someone else for 8 hours. What if I miss her first words? Or her first steps? What if she doesn’t get the attention she needs because she is around so many other kids?

It was hard. Being a first time mother, I had no idea what I didn’t know. What questions do I ask and what do I look for? How can I tell if my child will thrive here or not?

I spent so long researching the options in my area, trying to get a feel for what other parents experiences were. Do I go with an in home service or a centre? What are the pros and cons of both? I navigated my way through pages of information, the websites of private and government subsidised services and Education Review Reports – just to try and help me make sense of it all.

The experiences of the other parents I knew echoed mine.

“I finally shortlisted some options, and I went to visit them, and they had no space for 6 months, 8 months, until next year so it was back to the drawing board.”

Parents of kids under the age of 14 everywhere, everyday need to make decisions about childcare. Whether it’s early childhood, after school or before school care, and for school holidays. If a family is relocating for work or a change of lifestyle, decisions need to be made about what’s going to happen with the kids while mum and dad are at work.

There are over 800,000 parents in New Zealand and there has to be a better way to help them navigate their options, answer the questions they don’t know they should be asking, and start that evaluation process from the comfort of their own home for the care of the little people most precious to them.

What if there was a single place online that could help educate us about what our needs are in addition to what we think they are, and narrow down our options based on the criteria unique to our individual families? What if we could request to be contacted by multiple providers or make appointments using a form from one place rather than 20 different websites – some of which don’t even work or give us zero confidence that the enquiry got through.

Helping parents everywhere to answer these questions and solve these challenges is the goal of My Kids Village, a social enterprise founded by parents, for parents. We are only just getting started and over the next few months we will be endeavouring to help parents answer these all too familiar questions and assisting them to connect with their circle of people that makes up their kids village.

If this sounds like something that would be helpful to you, or someone you know, register for free at My Kids Village to join our village.