I've decided on the "Caring Provider" title because I think that's what describes the majority of family child care providers:
In fact, we CARE about everyone and everything....our child care children, their parents, our spouse, our own children, our grandchildren, our own parents, our siblings and extended family.
We care about our homes and its cleanliness, or lack thereof; the balance in our checking account and the status of our bills;
We care about the food we buy and serve; how safe and healthy it is, and how much it costs; and maybe even how much weight we can lose by not eating it. We care about how long it takes to cook it and if it's credible on the Food Program.
We care about what we teach the children in our child care homes and how ready for kindergarten they become; if they behave and what to do when they do not; how our own children feel about sharing their home, mother and everything else with the children in our care.
We care about how promptly the parents pay, sometimes, even IF they're going to pay.....Will they pick their children up on time?....Will their children still be enrolled this time next month?.....Will we get calls, have parent interviews (that show up at the appointed time), meet the parents' expectations......Will we fill the empty spaces in our enrollments?
We care about passing the next licensing inspection, food monitor inspection, quality rating observation and accreditation observation. We care about filling out all the paperwork correctly for all the various agencies and turning it all in at the correct time. We care about the food reimbursement check coming on time and if the CCDF payments will be the correct amount or if the parents are still qualified to participate in the voucher program. We care if congress or the governor decides to keep funding those programs that we depend on. We care about the economy, because parents who need us, first need jobs....
Lastly, do we care about ourselves? I'm afraid that many of us just barely squeak by....if we really CARE about all the above listed situations and circumstances, there's precious little time to do a lot in the area of self-care. Take a shower, brush our teeth, fall in bed....or fall asleep on the couch, then stumble to bed....if this is the norm of our self-care, then that's not okay. We have to take care of ourselves FIRST and do it to the ultimate power! Because we give so much of ourselves everyday by caring about everyone and everything, we must begin by caring for ourselves: physically, mentally, spiritually and any other way that restores us. There's a reason why during the flight emergency demonstrations the flight attendants instruct us to put on our oxygen masks before putting them on any dependents with whom we are traveling. We have to nurture ourselves so we are able to nurture the children in our care. Taking good care of ourselves is very important.
The journey officially begins....