My children are now teenagers and child care providers are the thing of the past.  I have to say, I had my fill of child care providers and I’m quite happy that part of my life is over.  Finding a child care provider that suits your lifestyle is a daunting task.

I was talking to a friend the other day about her child care provider needs.  She explained that she wanted structure, learning time, and  variety.  I giggled thinking about the structured babysitter, with all the credentials, who would send my kids off to school at 8am alone until the school made me aware of it.   She’ll regret the day she ever met me and tried to over power me with her “rules of structure”.

I explained to my friend that although her choice of provider is completely up to her these were my credentials for a child care provider:

  1. My kids must be happy to wave goodbye to me when I drop them off.
  2. My kids must be taken to and from school by the child care provider.  Safety was always my first concern.
  3. The child care provider had to be accommodating to my daughter’s ADHD.  No comparing her to others.
  4. The child care provider had to be available for those unexpected moments.

My friend looked at me and said, “That’s it?”

“Yep, that was it.” I replied, “As long as my children were safe and happy, I was happy to take care of the teaching that my children required. In fact, I don’t think any child care provider is paid enough to have that onus on them.  If the child care provider offered that type of structure then it was simply a feather in my cap.”

The Babysitter Who Taught Us All

There was one child care provider who I will always remember.  Her name was Michelle.  Michelle was about 20 years older than me, quiet, and very unorganized.  We had just moved into the neighbourhood but was highly recommended.  She agreed to walk the children to school and pick my son up after Jr. Kindergarten.

Except for the sound of the kids and the television, the house was always deathly quiet.  When I would pick up my kids, I was always greeted with a smile, an update on what they ate, and help to get them dressed.    I was happy that the kids were happy.

As a full time employee, a wife, and mom of two children 16-months apart, I always had frustrations.  Michelle was an excellent person to vent to at times as she was a women with wise words.

One day, I was at my breaking point.  The kids were being rather disobedient as I dressed them at her house.  I started to cry.  I then revealed everything that was bothering me to Michelle as she encouraged me to talk.

Michelle simply looked at me and asked, “Trina, will this bother you a week from now?”

“Probably”, I replied

“What about a month from now?”, she prodded

“Probably not.”

“Will this put your family in harm’s way or will someone die because of these issues?”, she smiled at me ever so carefully knowing my next response.

“Definitely not!”

“Then why put so much of your energy into these problems when they will eventually go away?”

It was like she slapped me in the face and handed me a gift at the same time.   The point that she made that evening entirely changed my thought process for the rest of my life.    When we have children, a job, and a wealth of other issues, we tend to put all of our energy focusing on the negative aspects of our life.  We tend to have increased expectations of those around us because we only want to be the best rather than being our authentic self.

After that day:

  • I no longer ironed sheets and the ironing went in a pile.
  • I no longer worried about supper.  In fact, I created “Fend for yourself night” so I had one night off.
  • I no longer worried whether my house looked like my moms.
  • I relinquished the expectations I had of others.
  • My children were free to be opposed to what I wanted them to be.
  • My marriage improved drastically.
  • I quit my job to pursue other opportunities.
It was amazing what an exceptional child care provider can provide to a family besides structure.  A child care provider should also be your friend because they become a huge component in your family.  I know I will be eternally grateful for Michelle’s wise words that day and every other day that she looked after my children.
Be grateful for who you have in your life and don’t sweat the small stuff.  If it doesn’t kill you, accept the lesson and forge ahead.

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