Family child care providers are a unique group. They’re hard working and creative. Very resourceful. Love kids and messes hardly phase them. They don’t even hear that loud noise any more that’s irritating you. Family child care providers know how to get things done even with a group of toddlers, preschoolers and maybe a newborn. They cook and clean and teach. It’s a calling, a lifestyle or just plain crazy.
You know you’re a family child provider when…
- You can spot any uncovered electrical outlet (and wonder how they can get away with having open outlets at restaurant tables. Just think: toddler+fork+electrical outlet. Hmmm…)
- There’s only Barbie, Cars, or Disney Band-Aids in your medical supplies when you need to cover your own cracked thumb.
- You have 4 smoke detectors within less than 600 sq. ft. on one-floor level due to various regulations. And two carbon monoxide detectors per floor. And they all have to be tested monthly.
- You get texts, phone calls, emails, and Facebook messages 24/7.
- You cleaned the kitchen floor 4 times today but it’s still dirty when everyone leaves.
- All you can think about is storage bins, more storage bins and those cute baskets you saw at Target that you must need.
- Toy shopping is still fun even though your own child is a teenager.
- You think in Early Learning Model Standards.
- You thrill in seeing a baby communicate in sign.
- There are nearly as many daily paperwork requirements as there are breaths taken in the day.
- You multi-task until you can’t think straight.
- You now hate the sound of your own name.
- Your child learns how to disinfect at a very young age.
- You have dreams (nightmares?) about your licensor showing up.
- You have a plan in place for when she actually does. (Good idea BTW. #1 me: put the cat in the basement or bedroom so I don’t have to track his moves too. #2. Get out the play dough.)
- You clean ALL.THE.TIME.
- Your “office” is crammed in a laundry room, closet or similar.
- You get called “Mommy” “Grandma’” or “Daddy” a lot, especially on Monday mornings.
- You’re consistently out of red food coloring. Or your first thought is, No big deal, I’ll use liquid watercolors..whoops, this is food, maybe not!
- You spend most of your “free time” working and planning for the next week.
- Meals are balanced, fresh and homemade for child care. Then your family comes home and you’re exhausted so you eat out.
- You’ve discovered teaching children to turn things “right side out” is one of the most frustrating things you’ve ever attempted.
- You plan a Saturday to “stay home & work all day”. Oh yeah, I do that every day…
- You would bet your next day off it’s not “something the child ate”. It’s a virus.
This is no means a complete list. There’s so many not covered here. Maybe another day.
How do you know you’re a family child care provider?