I wasn’t going to make a big deal about having a resolution this year. Usually I’ll make a least a small one (that I can handle en mi vida loca) but this year I said, I don’t need one. I’m so happy with everything the way it is. Then I had over a week off at Christmas, and spent lots of time in my clean, quiet, peaceful house. On the last day before the kids came back I was finishing up the last of my paperwork. Really – all of it! Done! I wondered, why don’t I ever get to do this normally? Because there’s usually a child sleeping in this room and the simple rustling of papers will wake him up. And normally I have to keep the paperwork hidden because it’ll be thrown all over the floor or torn up or used for coloring.
I thought about how much of my life is consumed by this job. And how over the years I’ve tightened up so much on my rules and how I’ll allow people to treat me. But I still find myself getting into trouble with both the kids and parents alike. Since I’ve been reading Ownadaycare I see how many providers put their clients ahead of their own needs. I remember those days. I know what a long, painful journey it has been to learn how to stand up for myself. As caregivers we’re naturally soft – that doesn’t make us very good at saying “No.”
Even after nine years (and thinking I’ve got every situation covered in my contract) I still run into trouble. I still have to chase after people for payment. I still have a battle when I have to close unexpectedly for a sick day and people don’t have a backup plan. Bigger problems come up too. My husband’s work schedule recently changed and I had to shift my opening time back by ten minutes. People got really upset and fought me over it. I wanted to slip into my old mode of saying, “OK, I was just kidding, I’ll fix it, I didn’t mean it, I’ll go back to my old opening time.” But I remembered my resolution. If I can’t put my husband and children first, after everything they’ve given up so I can have this job in daycare, then where am I? I have to push back and let my clients know that I’m not sacrificing my family’s needs for theirs anymore. Be strong ladies. You owe it to yourselves.
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