Sunday, May 5, 2019

What I Didn't Plan On When My Youngest Started Kindergarten

My youngest is at the end of her first grade year, my middle child third grade, and the oldest fifth grade. It's the last days of elementary school for the oldest, which brings about a full range of emotions and uncertainty (for both of us). As the three minis finish up their school year, I'm at the beginning of my eighth year as a daycare provider. A year I didn't think I'd see if I'm being honest.

When I began the life of a daycare provider, it was spoken about as there would be an end. A definite  stopping point that was assumed would be when all of our children were in school full time. There would be no reason or need for me to work from home anymore. This seemed logical at the time. I mean, my kids would all be in school all day every day, why would I need to be working from home? What could I possibly gain from it?

As I quickly learned: everything.

Years ago, when my middle one was in preschool, I thought about life outside of daycare. I even interviewed for a preschool teacher position. This would entail me doing what I do now, but putting on actual clothes each day to do it outside of my house. We'll just say that interview opened my eyes a lot. I realized not only can I make more money teaching kids in their earliest years from the comfort of my home (this means in my sweatpants), I also didn't have to worry what to do with my three when I was working. Childcare obviously hasn't been anything we've needed to worry about because our three have been in my daycare since I opened.

As this realization set in, I began factoring in all of those breaks from school, random days off, sick days, and everything in between. If I was no longer a work-at-home-mom we would suddenly have all of these new worries. There's rarely been an issue if my children had days off of school because I would be around. I could even think about taking those days off myself if I planned a bit. Suddenly, with the prospect of a new job at my fingertips, all of those times would be a concern. We would have many less options and many more worries.

Up until that point, I had assumed it would be fairly easy to get back into the "working" world once all three were in school full time. I never once thought of all those little things that we never thought twice about. You could say I took for granted never giving a worry about my child falling ill or them being home. I was (and still am) fortunate that these were never worries because of my job. 

Clearly, I didn't (and haven't) stop "doing daycare" when my youngest went off to school with her brother's all day every day. While I had known for a couple of years that I wouldn't be stopping at that point, I no longer have a definitive stopping point in mind. As of now, my husband and I discuss "the end" will likely be when our children are old enough to stay home by themselves. When I don't have to worry about them being home alone (that does happen at some point, right??) while we're at work.

During the time when I realized my "plan" on leaving the work-at-home-life wouldn't pan out the way I pictured, I adjusted to daycare life without my three. I've always loved what I do, but suddenly, with my daycare consisting all of "other people's kids" (I've actually always hated that saying, but I'm using it) my days were less hectic. They seemed much less stressful, way more fun, and I was more laid back than I've ever been (cartoons with breakfast?? I don't see why not). I recently wrote a post about me changing into the type of daycare provider I am and I truthfully believe it's because my own children aren't with me 24/7 anymore (read that post here).

I've learned enough to know not to give a definite age, date, time, to when my daycare provider life will end. I just kind of go with it now because it's working in every aspect. We still have no worries about sick kids, holiday breaks, and any other times the minis are home from school. Those days are actually more special because not only are MY kids with me, so are all of their daycare friends they grew up with.

There have been many, many things I didn't plan on in my life. Keeping my daycare business running long term is just one of them.