Thursday, February 9, 2012

Work


I run a day care out of my home. I've been doing this for about five years now and it's been a true blessing to be home when my kids get home from school, to be able to get dinner started at a decent hour, to get little things done around the house before I'm completely exhausted and to get the kids' homework done at an early hour. Having my day care also lets me work with young children, be there to facilitate their learning and to be apart if their lives and families. (I've been working in field of Early Childhood Education for the last 20 years)

Like everything, day care has it's downside too. I work 60 hour weeks,  don't go anywhere that we (me and five kids) can't walk to, my grocery bill is a little insane, I feel guilty when anyone gets sick, and I have very limited adult interactions and conversations through most days. But overall, it's the best job for me and it's about as close to being a stay-at-home-mom and I'm going to get. I wish I could be more involved with my kids' school and go to events that happen during the day or take Samantha to ballet but this wonder job just doesn't allow for that. At least while I have a small sedan.

I think if I could change anything about my job it would be to be able to afford an assistant who could come in and cover for me for and hour or  two a day. I could go to my kids' school and volunteer in the classroom, go for a daytime run, go to the doctor's office, go out to lunch with my husband, to just have some free time. However, to do that, I would have to raise my rates and trust another person with the health and safety of my day care angles and my livelihood. I don't think I could do that and it's not worth a couple hours of freedom.

I have had one opening in my day care for a long, long time. I've had ads out for months on craigslist and I'm on a referral list for a local agency but I get very few calls. A couple of days ago I got a call from a woman who was looking for a child care for her son who is 21 or 22 months old. She said she saw my ad online and wanted to know how firm I am on the age of the child. (The spot I have open is for a child between two and five years of age.) I told her that the child had to be at least two years old. Licensing allows me to have two children under the age of two and those spots are already full. Then she said, "it'll be okay because he's really big and looks like he's two". I explained that it was a California State regulation and when licensing comes in every year for my "unannounced visit", they go through my files and check by hand to make sure I'm in compliance. I apologized (I don't know why) and said told her to check back with me after he turned two if she still needed care. I really hope she doesn't' call me back. She seems like one of those people who feel that the rules don't apply to them. I don't want to work with someone like that if I can avoid it.

I meet a lot of... interesting people in my line of work. Years ago I had family who felt day care was a waste of money if they didn't use my services to the full extent. This family would drop their kids off as soon as my door opened in the morning and wouldn't pick those kids up till exactly closing time. Even if they had the day off their kids would be with me from opening to closing.

When I first got licensed I had a family that was made up of a single mom, her two daughters and the father. The girls would see their dad on the weekends but if he was mad at the mother for whatever reason he would intentionally pick the girls up late. On a Friday. I'm not sure how that was was going to teach the mother a lesson, he was the one who was charged the late fee.

For me, the worst part of having an opening (other than the money that's not going into my bank account) is the interview process. I really don't like strangers in my house and a lot of the people I meet are not people I wish to ever see again but they know where I live. I've never had any problems so I guess I'm just paranoid. What can I say, I watch a lot of Law & Order. On the other hand, I've had to tell people over he phone that I will not enroll a child until they come in and meet me face-to-face before hand. Those people scare me. They don't know me, have never seen my house and they're ready to just hand their kid off to me. Those are the kind of parents you hear about running away out of town and no one knows till it's closing time and their kids are still at day care.

I have really lucked out when it comes to the families I've had. With only a few exceptions, I would say I have, both now and in the past, a group of world class parents. To make it even better, they truly appreciate me and what I do. I feel spoiled. I swear, I'm not kissing ass either. I don't even know if they read my blog. That's how I truly fee.




If your kids go to some sort of day care let the provider(s) know how much you appreciate them. It's not an easy job.



  

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I know who that single mom was at that time. HMMM It was me...Crazy how I paid the whole daycare cost and he fought over a late fee when he was the one late to get them. I loved having my kids in your daycare. My kids are now honor roll kids and I truly believe having them in a great home one on one daycare helped them be so great at school when they got bigger. If I had the money I would enroll nylan a few days a week to get the benefit from it with the other kids and auntie time the other kids got. Jaidens almost ready to go to pre school and I have to start looking around for her. She will be 4 soon. Keep doing what we are doing Anna. You are playing a key role in those childrens lives.