Seriously. I’m not trying to sugarcoat it – this job is challenging and frustrating. But today I’d like to sing the praises of running a home child care business. I met somebody who told me, “You must like the job if you’ve been doing it that long.” And I agreed. So here’s why I like it:
1. I work at home! What’s better than that? Pam warned me that if I wanted to do this, I’d have to be a homebody. I hadn’t considered myself one before, and in fact I’d been a commuter for years. So I admit I did get a little claustrophobic at first but now I don’t even notice it. In the winter when it’s cold and I don’t want to get a chill on my little bones, sometimes I don’t even leave the house for days.
2. I am my own boss. Nuff said.
3. I don’t take work home with me. OK, that sounds silly because half my house is dedicated to my work. But at 5:15, I’m done worrying. Of course I have to do a lot of cleaning and upkeep on my personal time, but it’s busywork. No worrying about meetings, projects, deadlines, office politics, who stole my stapler…
4. When my “co-workers” are acting like jerks – it’s because they’re 3.
5. And the flip side is that when they’re not acting like jerks, I get unconditional love.
6. I used to spend a lot of time worrying about how having this job makes my boys suffer. Oh, they have to share their mommy and their time and their space and I can’t give them enough undivided attention and they have all these kids around touching their stuff… blahbiddy bloo. The beautiful (and definitely unexpected) thing that has happened is how much they’ve learned. I cannot tell you how nice it is to see my boys around little ones and see how GREAT they are with them. They are kind and patient and know how to get everybody involved in something. They know how to set boundaries and recognize if someone needs help. They know how to identify their feelings and diffuse tension with laughter. They know that part of being a good person is caring for others. I can’t imagine any other job I could have that would teach them this much about life?
7. I am providing a service. Every day I help other families function. I used to sit at a desk and type on a computer, which was great work, and a hell of a lot more relaxing, and damn, the paychecks were nicer. But it didn’t give me any sense of purpose or personal fulfillment. It just gave me eye strain. And, as a friend told me, I am raising kids, and that is a very important job.
8. I am a better mother. Bottom line. There is so much I’ve learned on this job that I definitely wouldn’t have anywhere else, and I’m so so grateful every day for it. I learned how to relax and stop making such a huge deal out of everything. I can see what’s normal behavior – all the annoying, ridiculous, puzzling, unexplainable things that kids do that are actually normal behavior. And now I know that all kids do them, so I don’t have to worry that mine have brain damage. I can tell when something’s a real problem and amazingly, sometimes, I know what to do to fix it.
I have a friend (and client!) who says, “The universe will provide.” So thanks Universe, for giving me exactly the job I needed, just when I needed it.