I am in awe of work-at-home moms. When I got pregnant, I had grand ideas about doing it all. “It’s so easy!” I thought. “I’ll snuggle my little angel, run the house and work a full-time job at the same pre-preggo pace.”

Yeah. Somebody slap that girl because she’s clearly dreaming. Maybe a version of this fantasy works for some, but it doesn’t work for me for a few reasons:

  • Babies eat/sleep/cry/poop whenever they want
  • Breastfeeding on demand is a schedule-killer
  • Zombie moms don’t make good employees

What’s the solution? A perfect daycare, of course. And you’re in luck! Finding a daycare is about as easy as running a conference call with an infant attached to your boob. Just follow these steps:

  1. Two years before conceiving, call every childcare facility within a 10 mile radius and tell them you are kicking around the idea of getting pregnant. Write a collection of non-refundable deposit checks and put your name on the all the waiting lists.
  2. Give birth and realize halfway through maternity leave that someone will need to, you know, keep the kid alive once you return to work. Shake your husband awake and make some strong coffee. Burn out your corneas by pouring over Yelp reviews and background checks over the next 12 weeks.
  3. Tour the every daycare you can afford with a fresh perspective. Ignore the toddlers wailing on each other with Nerf bats and the little girl eating her own hair. The 19-year-old “teacher” staring at her iPhone is bound to notice them eventually.
  4. Go out to dinner and take turns having panic attacks. Contemplate the idea of moving closer to family in favor of cheap babysitting. Order two fingers of bourbon because now you’re really depressed.
  5. Tear up your budget and visit the daycare with sparkling reviews and baby classrooms to match. Try not to scream when the director hands you a price list. Write another non-refundable deposit check.
  6. Extend your maternity leave without pay. Get a little drunk and email your boss at 2 a.m. to ask for a raise.
  7. Hire an overpriced babysitter who eats all your chips to fill in during business hours. Wait six months to three years for an available daycare spot.
  8. Receive the call you’ve been waiting for on your “baby’s” third birthday. Run laps around your kitchen in celebration.
  9. Refinance your mortgage and cut back on non-essential things like food and electricity.
  10. Congratulate yourself on finding a solution that works for your family.
  11. Bonus step: Resist the urge to research the cost of college in 18 years.