Providers Gone Wild

Question of the week:

“What to do when daycare provider goes bad?”

Looooooove it!!!! I laughed so hard when I read it. It felt really good to laugh like that.

I’m sorry, I know whoever wrote that in is in distress and I’m in no way mocking their concern. I just got the best visual ever.

A woman, hair straggly, dried boogers (not hers) on her shirt, a broken baby bottle in one hand and a poopy diaper in the other, rampaging down the street ranting about “If you push that child one more time you will be in timeout FOREVER!!”

Providers gone bad. Well, I’m not suprised if it happens. Burnout is a serious problem in child care. It’s why there’s a very high turnover rate in this field. You’re usually a lifer (a.k.a. glutton for punishment) or you try it for a while and realize that it takes a very special (a.k.a. slightly batty) person to do this job.

Even the most special person can have a bad day, or a bad week, or just be in a rut. This job is relentless, especially for people who do it at home. I won’t even get into the amount of energy it takes just to get through the day (imagine a lot of demanding, constant, hard work for nine hours straight). Then you finish cleaning up the day care day and it’s time to make dinner, clean that up, throw in the laundry, do whatever you need to with your own kids, put them to bed, then wake up and do it all over again with day care kids coming in at 7:30 in the morning.

Sometimes, while at the park, on my own time, I have a panic attack. I lost somebody! What’s my headcount? Where’s the toddler? Then I realize that for a short while I’m not in charge of little people. I’m always worried about who fell and bumped their head, who’s been cranky, what will I do to improve my interaction with a difficult behavior? On top of being physically exhausted, the job is always on my mind. Usually I hear babies crying in my sleep.

The obvious answer if you think your provider has “gone bad” is to find another one. If you don’t think your child is in a safe place get them out of there.

However, if you actually care about your provider and you’re worried about her, just ask her nicely. “How’s everything going lately?” Trust me, we like adult conversation. We like it even more if someone asks about OUR needs. It happens so rarely. Could be why we go bad in the first place.

The question reminded me of something that happened just the other day while I was working. The boys had their best friend over and they were laughing at some little freakout I had. As they mocked me I imitated them and explained, “Mommy went crazy and had to go to the looney bin and now we have to go live with L.”

Which, of course, they thought was a fabulous idea. I just kept plowing on through the workday until Older commented, “Mommy, why is everyone so crazy today? Is it the full moon?”

Yes! It must be! What a relief. I’m not crazy, it’s all of them!! But later when that moon comes out, look out for me, Were-mom, raging through the town baring my teeth and brandishing my broken baby bottle.

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