Life has been filled with transition for my young little twin boys...
We're 16 months in and through the duration of their lives have purchased and moved into a home/commercial property combo, renovated and set up my business (a small child care facility).
Which all seemed well and good. Now we're in a place in which I can still work in the early childhood education field which I loved so much, and raise my children. Eventually we'd like to homeschool, so I foresaw this also as a great opportunity for the business to expand over a few years, and go from operating primarily by myself as an individual to having a few people supporting it, giving me more and more flexibility to make homeschooling a realistic goal.
And now I feel burnt out.
I feel like the grand scheme of this is great- but I am struggling right now. I feel like my boys are getting mixed signals from me, and rightfully so, I'm completely focused on them any other time, though these 50 hours a week with other children in my care the attention's divided once again and I know there are times I find myself so much more impatient with them than I'd ever be with other children.
I'm struggling with my own feelings of inadequacy. Working with children was so important to me in the past and I had and have high expectations for myself and what I do to offer them- though my best now as a sleep-deprived, self-employed twin-momma is much different than my best as a non-parent working elsewhere.
This really looked like a great thing getting into it. I feel I want this to work and being only 3 months in, I can recognize it's only going to improve with time- my biggest hang up though is the fact that it seems to be more negative for my boys than positive. Creative a positive, pro-social, enriching environment that I could share with them and others is the ultimate goal, and I'm horribly off target right now.
For those of you who are still reading on, please throw anything at me- advice, your opinion on what I should do in moving forward... anything. I'm writing this in a moment of feeling isolated and lost in my thoughts, so I'll appreciate whatever you can give me. :)
"Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."
I don't have advice, but hang in there! Life with young toddler twins is challenging enough, then adding more kids during the day and the challenges of running the business...give yourself a break! Most of us working moms would say one of the pros is you get a little non-kid space during the day...you're DEFINITELY not getting that... Do you have anyone helping you during the day? Does your husband/partner help at night? Sounds like you need a break, and to figure out how to get a good night's sleep!
Tracey, mama of 5 beloved children here with me on Earth and one precious son I will meet again in Heaven 6/17/09 - 9/6/09.
Yikes..I work from home, but not doing childcare. In fact, I just babysat for two whole hours this morning and even that was challenging in terms of sharing my attention between my kids and the kid I was being paid to take care of! I can only imagine how hard that would be for the entire work day/week.
If this is really your dream, though, stick wtih it. It will get easier both as your kids get older and as you figure out what needs to be done and how. 16 months is a challening age to begin with, let alone twins, let alone doing childcare for other people as well!
What did you hope the biggest positive would be for your kids? Focus on that one thing and try to get there first-or figure out what the biggest negative is and address that if that is easier for you.
I often feel that working from home is kinda overrated unless your kids are in childcare because I am almost constantly working while the kids or away or exhausted while the kids are awake because I stayed up working all night so I didn't have to work when they are awake, or I am scrambling to get household chores done because I don't have time to do them between working and watching the kids, etc. It is a constant race to the finish line and sometimes I worry about whether it really is best to have me WAH instead of WOH, but in the end is seems to be. I homeschool as well and also feel very lucky to have been home with my kids all this time, even if I have been half asleep for some of it :)
What jumped out at me was "50 hours/week" and "sleep deprived." Sleep deprivation was the toughest thing for me having kids and working - it totally sapped my patience. And that's plenty of overtime on top of young kids of your own, a household (even if you have help from a partner), and perhaps trying to eke out some personal time or couple time. *Been there, done that!* I have been a WAHM since 2001 and definitely found that when I worked that much or more when the kids were little, even though my DH was a SAHD (in school also for the last 3 years of it), I just didn't have enough energy to be the patient, creative super mom I wanted to be. I had this ideal in my head that I needed to let go of to some degree. Something has to give. From what you describe, I think you have a great set-up doing a job you love with your kids in the picture, good plan for transitioning your business so you can homeschool, and you're right that things will only get better. 16 mos. is a hard age, and it will only get easier as your kids become more independent. But for now you have to do something to take some pressure off. I don't know the daycare rules where you are, but would you be able to get a part-time helper to help with your most stressful part of the day (lunch? pick-up?) It may be a financial hit, but sanity counts for a lot. Or conversely, get a cleaning service or get take-out more if it makes your home time easier? Of course, I have no idea of your financial picture, but you get the idea. Try to take it easy on yourself - you're doing great!
Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (15) and DD2 "I" (12) DH "M"
The other thing is what is the ratio of providers to children that you are allowed to have. Are you maxing out? I have never been a child care provider but as a parent I was always wary of the providers who took the maximum allowed by law. I just think it's too high here in Iowa. When I was looking for childcare for my daughter before she was born, I had one woman tell me she was looking for enough kids to get to the max and that adding a baby would be easy because babies are "easier than other kids". I didn't go with her for a number of reasons but it was awkward because she is my coworker's daughter. The reason I am going into so much detail about her is that I still am acquainted with her and she closed her daycare after 2 years. She was burnt out.
I had a good daycare provider for a while that deliberately kept her numbers low and was very active with her family and church. (She would take the max allowable on snow days and school vacations and that worked great for her to get a burst of extra money but not be burnt out.) She had a good balance in her life and was really engaged with her own children.
I work as an assistant at an in home childcare place. Would hiring and assistant help, if you can afford it? The owner of my daycare says that it's made a huge difference.
I love my job, but I can tell you that it's a lot of work. However, hang in there...it's awesome to be a part of these little peoples' lives, and to see them grow as the years pass on.
Married to overworked DH since 2003, happily mama to DD (01/09) and DS (4/12)
Is there any way you could accept fewer children? Or at least not take on any new for a while? I agree with others who suggested hiring help, if that's a possibility. Even if just to outsource some of the chores/cleaning/errands that would take away from time with your own kids (or your sleep!) Could you hire a neighbor kid to come help do dishes and laundry a few times a week? Might not cost much and would take some of the burden off your shoulders. It will get better!
Single student mama to dd 5/04 and ds 11/07.
I agree with thinking about ratios and looking into an asst. In my state, under 2 yo requires 1 caregiver per 4 children. How many do you have? With 2 of your own, another 2 could be challenging. Our rooms are structured with 2 caregivers and 6-8 kids. It's seems do-able that way. Plus we send lunch so there isn't much meal preparation.