One of the reasons for moving to Luxembourg was that I got to stay at home with IP. I am of the belief that if you can afford to stay at home when you have children then you should. However, I am also not necessarily naturally maternal so know and believe that if you want to return to work for a few days a week or similar, then that makes sense. I was trying to arrange to return to work part time just before we moved. Then having moved discovered that finding part time work in Luxembourg, especially if you don't speak French, is very difficult.
But, bizarrely, the government provide a system that pays part of the childcare costs even if you don't work, so what should be about €400 a month is about €200. It's not quite this simple but basically there's a service provided that refunds the creche the additional money. And as a result, a lot of parents here use it, even if they're not working. I wasn't going to be one of those parents...
I was taking IP with me when I ran a Rainbow Guides unit (5-7yo girls) and it was getting harder and harder, as she started to walk. So we made the difficult decision that she could maybe benefit being away from me a bit (my mother told me of a grandmother who has sole custody of her grandchildren after both parents were killed in a car accident and the children had previously been solely looked after by their mother so it was a massive shock).
It took a long time and a lot of searching to find the right creche (or nursery as they are referred to in the UK). There was 2 within 2 minutes walk of our home, right next to bus stops. But they insisted she had to go a minimum of 2.5 days a week and I didn't want to send her for that long. At 3 yo, they have a system where they start a Luxembourgish preschool, so I wanted a Luxembourgish creche but couldn't find any locally. There was an English Montessori creche nearby that some friends recommended but then another hated it and when I visited it I understood why. I then went to another English speaking creche and again, hated it. Firstly because they were not native English speakers which I didn't understand the problem initially but when I witnessed them reading a book I realised that IP would speak better English than the person 'teaching' her! They also told me that she had to be potty trained or in pull ups by 2 years old to graduate to the next 'class'. As it happens she was potty trained but that was coincidence and in DP's words 'no one tells us when we do things with our child'.
So which creche did we eventually go with? One that is nearby, but not the closest. IP also likes music and this creche is music themed. It is French speaking so I have found it hard work to translate but they said last week that she was speaking more French there now and there hasn't been any issues with her communicating as far as I am aware. They weren't happy that she potty trained so early and they wouldn't use cloth nappies but she only goes 3 afternoon's a week so I'm not too worried about it all.
I can't remember how long it took her to settle but of course, the week she was fully settled and happy there, was the week that I decided pregnancy and running a Rainbow unit didn't mix for me. So having discussed it with DP we decided she got more benefit from going, especially as it's only a few afternoons and when I have 'boring' medical appointments it's easier to have somewhere I can leave her quickly (scan appointments she comes with us).
So IP will almost certainly speak far better French a lot quicker than we will! I am in 2 minds about this. I have been told it'll be good that she can translate. However I do find it weird and hard to swallow that she'll be better than her parents and probably able to say rude things about us without us knowing! It is also an incentive, though.
Of course the other benefit is that she gets to dress up for occasions and they make presents for Luxembourg mother's day, etc (see above).
So not all my friends send their children to creche and yes, I do find it hard when I'm not working but while we can afford it and we feel she benefits she's attending. I did ask about Munchkin (thinking I could have some time with just IP) but the minimum is 3 days I think and I don't really want to do that.