Would you do in-home daycare? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-18-2007, 02:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't usually post here, but I'm really struggling with this decision and would like some outside input.

A friend of mine wants me to watch her five month old ds. Full-time, until he's in school or preschool, I assume. I have a 4 1/2 yo dd, a 2 1/2 ds, and 8mo ds. I was recently feeling like I was finally coming up for breath, and then ds2 started crawling. Ds1 is feeling very threatened by ds2's mobility, and I'm having to stay on top of them all the time to prevent violence. Of course, a clean house is being sacrificed.

So I guess I know it would add a fair amount of stress, but it would also alleviate some financial stress. I just can't decide if it's worth it, and I don't want to just "try it out" and then make my friend's little guy get bounced around again if I change my mind.

Anyone BTDT?

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Old 09-18-2007, 03:15 AM
 
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I don't think I could, but my friend does, all the time. She can somehow handle five, six, seven kids at a time. I'm not sure how she does it! I think the key is LOVING what you do. She loves taking care of all the kids. Before she did it for money, she was interested in parenting everyone else's kids! So I think it helps if you have the desire to do it from the get-go. That way, when the going gets tough (which it undoubtedly will), you will have that satisfaction regardless.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:56 AM
 
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I've done it! I mostly enjoyed it! But it all REALLY depends on the family or families you are working with. If you have great communication, common goals, and great respect for one another then it can go well. But it can also go south quickly if some of these things are lacking. When I did it I only had on child of my own. I took on 1 full time who was 5 months younger than my DS and I occassionally had another was about 4 months younger than mine.

I didn't do much cleaning. My goal was to maybe move a load of laundry and just generally keep up with the messes we made.

I only stopped because the parents I worked with found new arrangements since I'm soon to have number two.

BIGGEST drawback to it for me....? Being restricted by someone elses schedule. Drop off in the morning and pick up time varied by at least 30 minutes. So I had to make sure I was up and dressed and ready and then I'd pretty much sit by the window every morning. Then every afternoon I had to be sure we were home and again I'd sit by the window waiting. (If we were in the play room or my sons room or I couldn't hear mom arriving). It felt like lots of waisted time.

Also, if you do decide this sit down and talk A LOT! Hammer out the schedule, discipline guidelines, what to do if the baby gets sick. What do you define as sick, what does she define as sick. What if you have an emergency or one of your kids is sick etc etc etc. I'd recommend writing these things down too.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:08 PM
 
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I've done it before and while the family was great and the pay was above average, I wouldn't do it again. The amount of attention and cuddling the baby needed really affected DD'd behavior and I was so burned out by the end of the day I didn't even want to see my own kids.

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Old 09-18-2007, 12:15 PM
 
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I just gave up on home day care last week. I really really tried. I have DD(6), DS(4) and DS(17m) - I started watching a 4YO boy and 2YO boy (brothers) part-time - the family was a terrible match for me and the 2YO was downright awful to my little guy. Then I picked up a 6YP girl - she was here full-time int he summers and continues to come before/after school and will be here on school holidays. She is "easy money" because she is not here long and plays nicely (most days) with my DD. I just had taken an 8-month-old as a trial, and stopped after the 2-week trial period because it was too much for me.

I love my kids - and I love being able to do things with them. I thought I could easily extend that love to other kids as well - afterall, I had babysat all through high school and college and generally love kids. It just didn't work for me. I hated having to share my time with other kids. It pained me so much when I couldn't hold my baby because I was holding someone else's. Even with the good 6-year-old girl we've had issues - my DD feels very put out sometimes when she constantly has to share with this girl.

I am sure some people are able to do this very successfully - but with my own 3 busy kids (and one still a baby!) I just couldn't share myself.

We are opting to do "without" a little longer - my sanity wasn't worth the little money (but big headaches) the child care business brought to our home.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:45 PM
 
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I personally wouldn't, but I know some people who are great at it. If we were struggling financially, I suppose I'd consider it, but I'd have to stop if I were unable to give my DS or the other children in my care all the attention/patience they deserve.

Can you talk to your friend about the fact that you're not 100% sure how it will work out, and agree on a certain time period (say, 2 weeks or so) to give it a try? That way she'll know that there's the possibility that it might not work out and she can decide whether she still wants to go through with it.

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Old 09-18-2007, 01:41 PM
 
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I do it four days a week. I have a 3.5 yo ds and a 2 yo dd, and I babysit for my cousin, whose baby is 13 months. I have watched her since she was 6 weeks old. Some days are a joy. Some are not. But I didn't want baby A to end up in a mass daycare because there are not really any quality ones around our area.

My cousin and his wife are great about it. They let me practice no CIO, AP stuff and actually like it that way. They also are fine with the food that I feed her, etc.

There are only two things that I can even complain about. One is that it is more difficult for me to get my errands run, such as going grocery shopping, etc. so I try to do that on weekends or in the evenings after she goes home if I can squeeze it in. There also are some things I'd like to do with my son that I am just not able to do with baby A around. DS loves to play checker, play with counting bears, etc., all of which are too small to get out while A is here. I just try to plan somekind of craft (i.e. fingerpainting w/ pudding, etc.) that they can all do after lunch. Then I put the girls (and sometimes ds, too) in the bathtub. That usually takes up several hours in the middle of the day.

I say, give it a try. Give it a good three weeks to get used to it all, and then if you decide it isn't working out, just say so. It actually might not end up being so bad.
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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I used to watch my nephew, but he just wasn't a good match for our family. DS and him are very different and my DN is a bit of a fighter.
That said, if I could find a more compatible kid, I would be all over it! Right now, i am actually to find a compatible SAHM to watch DD so i can go back to work a little bit.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the replies, it's great to hear input from different perspectives.

I think I'm in the same boat with those of you who say you couldn't do it. I actually did watch a little guy who was the same age as ds1 when they were both babies, but his mother was in school and skipped class so often that I hardly ever had him. But I did hate it. And I think I would hate this, too. I know that we'd be a good match, as I have worked w/this friend before and have known her for quite awhile. But I think it would drive me nuts. I can totally see myself being resentful of the poor baby. And if I wanted to leave the house, I'd have to buy a minivan, as we now live to far away to even walk to the bus stop.

So, yeah, I think I'll have to say no. We're not exactly "struggling", though a little cushion would be nice. But I just don't think it's worth it. If I'm totally honest with myself, I have to admit that there are lots of times I'm pretty much totally worn out just by my own kids, when they cry and instead of feeling normal sympathetic concern, I just want to run away screaming. I guess I needed to hear other people say they couldn't do it either!

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Old 09-18-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by natensarah View Post
I was recently feeling like I was finally coming up for breath, and then ds2 started crawling. Ds1 is feeling very threatened by ds2's mobility, and I'm having to stay on top of them all the time to prevent violence. Of course, a clean house is being sacrificed.

So I guess I know it would add a fair amount of stress,
That part of your post makes me want to advise you to RUN AWAY and not take on babysitting responsibilities. I babysat earlier this year for my brother's child. It was amazingly stressful for everybody involved and in the end, I wish that I had not agreed to do it. I had to sacrifice the needs of my own children to meet the needs of my nephew, and I discovered that I do NOT have the temperament for caring for somebody else's child, not even a beloved family member. I will never do it again.

If you suspect that about yourself, don't do it.

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Old 09-19-2007, 01:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That part of your post makes me want to advise you to RUN AWAY and not take on babysitting responsibilities. I babysat earlier this year for my brother's child. It was amazingly stressful for everybody involved and in the end, I wish that I had not agreed to do it. I had to sacrifice the needs of my own children to meet the needs of my nephew, and I discovered that I do NOT have the temperament for caring for somebody else's child, not even a beloved family member. I will never do it again.

If you suspect that about yourself, don't do it.
Thank you for this affirmation. I guess I felt like kind of a crappy person for NOT being able to care for other's needs, because theoretically I believe that it "takes a village" and that it would be really nice if I had a group of friends who I could share-parent with. But in reality, yeah, I really hate taking care of other people's kids! And I'm not afraid to admit it anymore (at least to myself).

I called her today and told her no. She took it wonderfully, because she's a wonderful person, and I felt so, so relieved. Definitely the right decision. Thanks everyone for your help!

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Old 09-19-2007, 01:13 AM
 
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If someone I knew really well, whose children were very comfortable with me, etc... was in a major bind I might agree to babysit for a little while. Like a week while they figured out what they were going to do. Or I would watch a kid in a last-minute emergency kind of situation (death in the family, er trip, early labor, something like that). But I would never take on the responsibility of a long-term care situation like that.
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Old 09-19-2007, 06:05 AM
 
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If it would drive you nuts, don't do it.

I do childcare, but I have a pretty high threshold for dealing with chaos. Even as a teenager, I couldn't decide between being a teacher and a Mom of Many. I always wanted a bunch of kids in the house.

Plus, I have a mother's helper (homeschooled teen) that comes once a week to play with the kids and dh's mom comes every other week to help me clean the house.

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Old 09-19-2007, 11:30 AM
 
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I briefly tried it for about two weeks when DS was around a year old. I watched two children from the same family - one was preschool age and the other was around 10 months. They were fabulous kids and I enjoyed my time with them, but I felt horrible for them.

They rarely spent time with their parents and an aunt usually came to pick them up and she was often late by an hour or more.

I finally told the parents that I wouldn't be able to care for their kids any more. The parents weren't following our agreement regarding pick-up times, leaving carseats with me, etc. and that really soured me on the idea of in-home daycare so I haven't tried it since.
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Old 09-19-2007, 11:46 AM
 
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Natensarah, sounds like you made your decision and it is probably the best one for you. I just wanted to pass on my experiences with home daycare.

I've had it really bad and really good. When I was deep in the throes of morning sickness, I was watching a 2.5 year old boy along with my 2 year old DD. Their personalities clashed and they argued over toys constantly. I seemed to spend the entire day trying to mediate disputes and keep them apart. Needless to say, I didn't keep that up for very long.

Right now, my DD is 2.5 and I am watching another 2.5 year old boy and his 5 year old brother also comes for half days, after kindergarten. It is going sooo well! DD and the toddler boy get along great and play and laugh together. There are occasional toy sharing disputes, but probably less than a half dozen per day. And none of them are hitters/pushers. When the 5 year old comes, he is like having a little mother's helper taking care of his brother.

It is actually easier for me to have the three of them, than just my DD alone! I am cleaning the house more and cooking better meals without feeling guilty, because DD is so happily occupied playing with her friends. When it's just her and me, she wants me to play with her during every waking moment.

If it wasn't working this well, I definitely wouldn't do it, though. In my pre-baby career, I would have earned more money in a day and a half than in a month of babysitting. But my life has different priorities now, and it does feel good to be earning something.

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Old 09-19-2007, 12:29 PM
 
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I would not. Just not my thing. I love my kids and I love my friends' kids, but not for extended periods of time :

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Old 09-19-2007, 12:30 PM
 
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I have a 1yo and babysat a 3mo today and couldn't keep up with it and dh had to help me...... so to have potentially 4 kids in my house at 1 time would be a no go for me not even to "try it out"
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:44 PM
 
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No. I'd never consider it. Dh wanted me to a few years back, but I just couldn't. I strongly believe that my home should be a sanctuary against the rest of the world. Somewhere we can all feel loved and safe. Somewhere that is a haven for us. Bringing "work" and especially other kids into our home just felt like an emotional violation of my space. Plus, we have a teeny tiny house, so I could use that as an excuse too. But even if we had 2,000 sqft (is that a lot) I still wouldn't consider it.

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Old 09-19-2007, 01:03 PM
 
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I'm watching a friend's baby right now...TORTURE!!! I've been watching him since he was 3 mos. and he's now 8 months. I can't stand it. There are days where I just want to strangle him--and sadly, those times are becoming more and more frequent now that all he does is cry. His mom is really trying to make it so she can stay home, and I hope she does it soon because I don't think I can handle it much more.

I think it would be fine if you have LOTS of patience and your children aren't very high needs like my DS is. I love this baby that I watch and I love his family, but I don't love my inability to cope with him these days.

 
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Old 09-19-2007, 01:44 PM
 
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I watched a little boy who was just a couple days younger than DD. I started right after they were born and went up until they started being mobile. It got to be too much. Having two babies was way too much for me. I wasn't able to give either of them as much time as I would have liked and I felt horrible for both of them. It was too stressful and the money didn't make up for it.
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Old 09-20-2007, 02:11 AM
 
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I wouldn't. I did it for 8 months when I had a baby and a toddler. It added extra stress to our day, and I hated being stuck at home when I had the extra baby. In the end, it just wasn't worth it for me.

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Old 09-20-2007, 03:46 AM
 
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I would on a low key scale like not every day but maybe on the weekends or when someone wanted to go out, and probably only friend's kids.

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Old 09-20-2007, 10:44 AM
 
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3 days a week, I keep my friends 2.5 year old. She's my ds's best friends and they get along really well. Because she is a close family friend, I have other family backup that can take her (and ds too if needed) if I need a break or have something I need to get done. For the most part is actually a relief when she is here, because then ds doesn't need me as a playmate.
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Old 09-20-2007, 12:00 PM
 
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Sounds like it would be a bit much for you. You have to think of wethere or not you would be happy with it or not. I for one would not be up for it.

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Old 09-21-2007, 07:10 PM
 
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I do it... I love it but it takes time to get into a routine.
good luck with your decision
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Old 09-21-2007, 07:23 PM
 
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I wouldn't. At least not unless there was no other way to make ends meet- I would rather work on weekends or at night outside of the home. I really struggle daily to keep my cool for 10+ hours with my daughter. I have a volatile temper and get frustrated easily. I would feel bad putting someone else's kid into the mix and potentially yelling at them for doing normal baby things.

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Old 09-21-2007, 08:51 PM
 
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No.

Unless you have the credentials and the mobility to demand high pay (like no kids) *to me* it is not worth the stress and the risk to the friendship.

I would so totally never recommend entering into a business relationship (especially one as emotionally wiggy as providing childcare) with a friend unless I knew them REALLY REALLY well and we both agreed to call it at any time no harm no foul if the friendship was starting to get squicky.

A lot of times, in childcare situations you have to be tough or else you will be taken advantage of. A lot of time parents don't mean to do this (oh, I was only 15 minutes late! Every day. For 3 months. Hmmm, now it's stretching to 25 minutes...) but as a care provider you need to be able to set firm boundaries.

Are you capable of doing that with this friend? Do you feel comfortable asking for more money should the need arise? Do you really want to do this? Are you prepared to deal with the fallout (or can you be reasonably sure there won't be any) if personality conflicts arise between the children and/or you decide that it's better for you to concentrate on your own family?

If you're the type of person who can handle that, give it a whirl. It might be fun! If, however, you are a stuffer or a conflict avoider...I wouldn't recommend childcare, especially in-home. It's likely to only add to your stress level and may detonate the relationship you have with this family.
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Old 09-22-2007, 02:21 PM
 
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I watch a 2mo in addition to having my 4mo at home. It is SO hard. : There are some days I feel so guilty because I cannot pick up my LO or play with her as much as I would like to. When I am able to love on her I feel guilty, like I am ignoring the other baby just because he's not mine. It's hard taking care of another baby, since you don't have that same love for them they tend to become more of an annoyance when they fuss or cry. It's terrible to say that, but there are days when I am nursing my DD and the other one will start to cry and I find myself becoming angry. We have to do this because we need the income. If you do not need to do it, then don't. It is very stressfull.
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Old 09-22-2007, 02:56 PM
 
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I've done in-home childcare and felt very lucky that I was able to get a paycheck and still be home with my kids. So as someone who needed the income, it was great. But it was very tiring, and my family is glad that now I am able to work from home in another capacity.

FWIW, I think that it was much easier since my kids were not infants, and the kids I watched weren't infants either.
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Old 09-22-2007, 06:36 PM
 
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I've done in-home childcare and felt very lucky that I was able to get a paycheck and still be home with my kids.
Yeah, if it was my only option for staying home I'd do it. Since I don't have to do in home daycare I wouldn't choose it. Just so much work for so little pay, I'd much rather find other ways to make additional income. Some people are really suited for it though and like having a busy house. Not me!
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