As the sun sets on a Friday night, parents walk into Over the Moon, Mumbai’s first night crèche, and hand their children over to a trained psychologist who will care for them while they party.
Started on Christmas eve, the crèche is open on Friday and Saturday nights, from 7.30pm to 2am, specifically to give parents a chance to have a social life over the weekend.
“We started the night crèche because, as parents of two-year-olds, we know how hard it is to find someone to take over and give you the night off,” says Tripti Singh, a child counsellor who runs Over The Moon with fellow counsellor Shwetambara Sabharwal and friend Dhruti Lingam.
The three mothers take turns to babysit and charge R750 per night. The centre is situated in the therapy centre of Sabharwal and Singh in Khar.
In less than a month, the crèche, which began with an average of three children per weekend night, has begun receiving at least eight children per night.
And it’s not the only flexible new option available to Mumbai’s pressed-for-time parents.
Across the city, preschools, crèches, and activity and day-care centres — which once accepted only full-time members — are beginning to offer flexi-packages ideal for stay-at-home parents, homemakers and freelancers.
At day-care centres such as Kudos, Jumping Genuis and The Little Company, parents can now turn up at the door, hand over their child and pay by the hour, or buy coupons valid for a month and usable at their convenience. They can also opt for a month-long subscription.
“I drop my five-year-old son at Kudos whenever I need to go shopping or go out with friends once in a while,” says Kashish Vazirani, 34, a confectioner.