I have been doing home childcare for two years and I am just done. So done. My emotional energy reserves are completely gone.
I have a 2yo DD of my own. I have a 1yo boy, 2yo girl, 3yo girl, and 4yo boy five days a week, 10+ hours a day. I have another 4yo girl one week on, two weeks off as per her parents' custody arrangement.
I am an introvert (albeit a very social one) so being "on" for 10 hours a day is very draining. The noise is overwhelming.
Having the kids here all the time feels very invasive. They are into everything. We have a very childproofed area, but if we leave something out, anything at all - one of DD's personal toys, a book, a piece of mail, garbage, anything - they are on it like ants. It feels like I am under siege, and I have to hide everything in my bedroom or the kitchen (which is blocked off). As a result both places are cluttered and out of control.
They are very hard on the house. Most recently the screens in both our front and back door have been completely ruined by kids sticking their hands through it. I am always asking them to stop jumping on my furniture. All of our kids books are destroyed.
It can be very mind numbing. Yes, we try to fill our day with fun things, but I spend a lot of the time asking the same kids to do/not do the same things all day long. Don't jump on the furniture. Don't hit your friend. Don't stand on the toys.
I am tired of putting my own needs last. I never get to go pee right when I need to go. I am tired of being beat up by 1yos.
A lot of the time I feel like parents are working against me, rather than with me. Like my job isn't hard enough already, they drop off overtired children who haven't been fed and are still in their pajamas. I have been asking and reminding parents ALL SUMMER (and all last summer) to bring their kids in decent running shoes for when we play outside. Kids are still constantly showing up in flip flops that fly off while we cross the road, and crocs that get filled with rocks at the park.
Last Sunday one of my parents (a single mom) went to a concert, so took her kid over to one of my other family's houses for a "play date". Until midnight. The kids are 3 and 4 years old. They both showed up miserable for the whole day. And they are like "My kid is so miserable because he only slept six hours. Have fun! Ha ha ha!!!!" I understand wanting to go to a concert, but couldn't she at least have gotten a babysitter at her house so her kid could go to bed?? And that is just one example among many.
And I am so sick about being stressed over my income. The way our arrangement works is that if I am not open, I don't get paid. Well two weeks ago one of the kids showed up with what turned out to be Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (we didn't know that at the time) and it spread through the whole house. All of the kids came down with it, and then I got the worst case of all (fever of 104, all kinds of blisters, awful sore throat) and I ended up having to close for 6 days.
And then the mom of the 4yo boy just gave me two weeks notice. I think this was the straw that broke the camel's back. She has been trying to sell her house for nearly six months now... at first we expected that she would be gone in September. Then she was freaking out that I would give away her space and that she would still need it, so I didn't do any interviews or anything. Then a couple of months ago she decided she was going to stay in town and register the 4yo for preschool. I don't drive anywhere with the kids (I don't have a van) so she planned to pick him up and take him as she only works a few blocks away. And then at the last minute she decided she was going to switch to another provider that could drive him instead.
Now I understand that it is easier to get someone who can drop him off, and I am ok with that. But the fact that she waited until the last minute and only gave me the bare minimum two weeks notice just really irks me. September is the most active time of year for new placements and I have been fielding calls all summer telling people I am full. If I had known this a month ago I could have filled his spot, but now it will probably take me months. This kid has been with me since the very beginning of my daycare, so I am really disappointed that I am being treated with such disregard. The financial hit is making my husband ill with stress.
Overall, I just feel unappreciated. Parents almost never wish me a good day, or say thank you, or anything. I have an undergraduate degree in business and gave up a career in commercial banking to do this, and I feel like they look at me like "the help." Just not cool.
Thanks if you have read this far. Just getting it all out makes me feel better. I am looking at going back to school, and if I don't get in I don't know what I will do. I don't want to go back to banking either, but child care is just sucking my soul away. I would love to just be able to stay home with DD but I need to bring in income or we will lose our house.
Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).
What does your daily schedule with the kids look like? When I did childcare at home, having a solid routine really helped with the "kids are trashing my house" feelings.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds 11yo dd 9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds
You can't continue doing something that makes you so unhappy. But it's not easy to make a change. Start thinking outside the box and look for other opportunities/options that may work for you. Even if it requires some sacrifice, it's often worth it if you are going to be happier because of it!
DH (34) ~ DDs (14, 11, 10) ~ DS (6) ~ (11/06) ~ DD (3) ~ DS (1) ~ Surpise BFP 7/2011
Yes, I have a blog for moms too
I do not blame you one single little bit for wanting out.
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
|Every now and then I think "maybe I could do this again...." then I pray for sanity and go to bed.|
Maybe I'll sign up as a research subject instead....
So - after reading your post, I thought of a few things that I as a working Mama thought I would share with you:
Number one, I know that a good child care provider is a blessing, and extremely hard to find. As in someone who cares for my children, not just takes care of them. Huge difference, and one that I personally am willing to pay more for. With that said, what my child care provider says goes! As in, if she wants to charge me for the days my kid is not there, I understand. She is a business, and although she loves what she does, she needs to be compensated for the "space" my child takes up - there or not. If I don't like it, she can fill my spot on a permanant basis pronto - she does not advertise and does not need to. She can have any one of us parents give her a glowing reference and she knows it.
Number two, she has a routine in her house, and sets boundaries. She works very hard with each and every kid, but if someone disrupts the flow for everyone, she gets the parent involved. If the parent is unwilling to work things out and support her in her goal of a happy environment for everyone, then that parent is invited to find someone else to watch their child.
Number three, her hours are 7.30 - 5.30 Mon thru Fri. She will work with parents who have to drop off earlier (she had a school teacher that needed to drop her DD off at 7, but she picked DD up earlier too). But she needs her family time. Again - she has great referrals, so if her hours don't work, oh well. I guess she would not be the day care provider of choice for that family.
I know you said you are stressing over the thought of filling the space of the child with hardly any notice given, but I have to tell you, from my perspective the stress is all on parents needing to find safe and reliable child care. So I think you would hold all the cards! There must be parents that you don;t know about yet who are desperately looking for a good spot for their kids. I found a my provider through a referral service.
I think if you were to change your hours, have a policy of paying for all the days whether the child is there or not, you would still have a great business for yourself. And if you have a written dicipline policy, and an expectation of what is and is not acceptable behavior, you would fill your day care with kids from families who support your goals. Kids with parents like me, who value and cherish a caring and supportive day care provider. Who welcomes a provider with high standards and is glad that there are boundaries set, and who supports them.
I wish you luck, and hope you do stay in business. Parents like me just wish there were more like you who care so much for the kids in your care. I thank my provider each time I drop DS off, and pick him up. I buy her gifts at the holidays. I tell her to give prospects my number for a reference. I value her, and I would you too.
Hang in there xxx
Hey everyone, I just wanted to say thanks for all of your kinds words and support. I have been hanging in there, but we have decided that I will be closing my daycare permanently at Christmas.
I am just too burnt out with it all. It has gotten to the point that the bad days have outnumbered the good, and it is just time to throw in the towel and try something else. We are making some pretty big financial changes to make this work, such as trading in our vehicles for older cheaper cars (we just got a 1999 van!) and going to a cash budget so we can't overspend. In the new year I will be doing just a bit of part time childcare in order to make ends meet - I will be watching a 2yo who is the daughter of church friends of ours, and doing it in there home only two days a week. As much as I would rather do no childcare at all, I should be able to handle one kid two days a week out of my home. My DD will be coming with me, of course.
In answer to some above questions, we do have a routine with lots of activities and outings. I have set hours of 7:30 to 5:30 but have one family that is frequently late or is always asking to come early. Sometimes people will be hours late without letting me know. Just last week one little girl was supposed to be here at 7:30 but didn't show. At 9:00 they phoned and said they would be coming at 12:30. Then they showed up at 11:15. I just don't get it.
I am also really consistent about behaviour expectations but have a couple of particularly difficult kids. One 2.5yo little girl is especially challenging - I suspect that she has some developmental delays but her parents aren't taking my concerns seriously. Her language is delayed, she is behind on some gross motor milestones and a lot of the time I don't think she even understands what I am saying to her. So I can ask her to stop jumping on my sofa and she will say "OK" and keep on doing it. I just don't think she understands. So all day, every day I am asking her to sit on her bum, stop jumping, get down, jump on the floor, etc. etc. I physically remove her, I have tried time outs, and pretty much everything else I can think of but she just. keeps. doing. it. I just don't think she is making the connection, and I don't have any other tools to manage her behaviour. And the jumping is just one example among many.
So really... it is time to be done. Who knows, I may decide to start up again in a year or so, but I really need an extended break. I am very grateful for the income this endeavour provided for my family and for the most part enjoyed it for the first year and a half. But now it is time to move on to something else before I completely lose my mind. Can't wait!
Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).
I could have written your post just_lily and I am so glad that I stumbled upon it today of all days.
I am so done with this crap as well. I've been at it for three years and I'm so tired of being walked all over. I'm sick of being taken advantage of, of not getting paid on time, of parents not bothering to pick up their kids, of parents not bothering to drop their kids off on time (and I'm not talking by a few minutes here) tired of empty diaper bags, no snowpants, no boots, no diapers, no wipes, no mitts, no hat......etc....NEVER HAVING APROPRIATE FOOTWEAR no matter how many times I ask, I'm tired of kid's smearing sh!t all over my walls, peeing on my sofa, wrecking toys, ripping books, writing on walls, my screen door is destroyed by kids kicking and poking their hands through it. In the summer any toy we had on the deck would get hurled over the side (and usually smashed) this goes for expensive cameras too, ( I had been taking pics for our summer album for the parents and got distracted by someone crying, set the camera down and bang, gone) as well as cordless phones, our tv remote, a book I might have been reading, shoes, my own DS's remote control boat (heaven forbid he leave a personal belonging on our kitchen table!) and so on. As I walk around I hear my inner voice chanting "never again" , "never again"
......And I'm tired of trying to keep to a strict rythme to our day when it's all for...what?( I have two little ones who really do well, I truly enjoy having them around,) of keeping a peaceful natural enviroment, of carefully selecting toys and books only to have them ruined, of making healthy meals that get dumped in the garbage, of putting on a happy calm face and doing circle time and storytelling only to have the parents 'forget' to pay me at the end of the week. Seriously, I cannot, and I stress CANNOT hold hands and dance around the ring of fairies twice a day with a smile on my face and peace in my heart if inside I feel like my family is flying apart before my eyes due to the stress these families are causing us. I'd be like a lunatic and I'm sure I'd snap eventually. I can just see it, I'd be up on the roof chucking felted gnomes at the parents as they show up half hour late, geez I'd be carted off in a strait jacket!
And I swear, if one more kid shows up doped on tylenol just to get him/her through the door with no fever (I have a no fever sick policy) only to spike up three hours later and suddenly the parent's phones don't work, I'm going to scream. Because quite frankly, it's not my problem if they used up all their sick days going to Mexico. I don't care. Fact is, their child is sick and they need to take care of him/her.
And Monday mornings when I find poopy diapers from weekend outings stuffed in the diaper bag (s) like a fragrant offering to me? No thanks!
If you made it this far....thanks. I've just been so frusterated in the past few months.
ETA, I did let one go within the past two weeks and two more are going, however I have two that are just a great fit, their parents are amazing and I've really not had too many issues (other than the regular childhood things - listening ears, indoor voices and so on...) So they'll remain and I'll slowly rebuild our family lives, and repair the extensive damage to our house and to my sanity - did you know the poop smeared on cherrywood floors still stinks a month later when the heat is on?
Oh Mama, hugs for you!! I just found your reply to this and I am sorry I didn't reply sooner. I hope things are better for you now that you are just down to the two easier kids.
I am a little over two months post-shutdown and I have absolutely zero regrets about my decision. I'm happier, DD is happier, DH is happier, my house is in one piece and it actually feels like a home again. I am still doing a bit of part-time private childcare, just two days a week for one little girl DD's age, and it is at their house instead of mine. DD comes along. It is not my absolutely favourite thing to be doing, but it provides enough to balance our budget and is infinitely better than running a daycare.
My friends keep commenting about how great it is to see me happy and less stressed. DH is thrilled because I actually have enough energy at the end of the day to spend "quality time" with him, if you know what I mean.
Anyways, feel free to PM me if you need to vent some more. I totally get it!!
Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).