Monday, October 6, 2008

It's a sign I have come to hate. FOR SALE. For the third time in as many years we are seeing the FOR SALE sign in our daycare home yard. What's the big deal you ask? Only that where we choose to send our kids to daycare is one of the biggest decisions of our lives. Aside from actually deciding to HAVE kids and choosing where to live ourselves - I can't think of a bigger decision, a bigger investment of both time and our money. The place we send our greatest most precious things in our lives!! This is our children's future we are talking about here.
I called more daycares than I care to count when I was pregnant with H. At first I was hell bent I wanted an actual center. There were a few perks I thought I wanted...and then, as I got going and actually began looking closer at the options available to us, I knew a home daycare was the way to go (for us). Little did I know finding a place that even had an opening for an infant would be next to impossible. We're not in North Dakota anymore - We don't have the luxury of knowing everyone in town and use the same daycare provider we went to when we were kids. When we did get "lucky" and find a home daycare with an opening for the age we needed, there was always something goofy - like "We'll discuss the rates when you come in for an interview." - WHY? Because if I drive a nicer car or dress nice my rates will be higher?? Why can't you just discuss them on the phone?? There was the gal who actually put food in the freezer at the end of each meal and kept serving the same thing to the children until they had finally "cleaned their plate" - There were the folks who barely spoke English - how would I communicate with them regarding my child when I don't understand what they are saying in a basic telephone call?

And a bolt of lightning...We discovered Lisa. There were a few drawbacks - like she was only open four days a week and she lived in the opposite direction of our offices...but she was wonderful. Upon interviewing her we knew immediately that she had the daycare for us. Actually, I knew that based on our initial phone conversation, but the in person interview confirmed that.
We took H there and she thrived and I eventually got over leaving her there four days a week...took awhile...but I got there. Then, when we found out we were expecting baby #2 - Lisa assured us she would have room for the baby - and she actually made room for us by bumping the last family to join her care. Backtracking 10 minutes out of the way was nothing for the safety of our children and the peace of mind for us. Then...she put her house up for sale, took it off the market, and put it up again. RoLLeRcOaSTer!!
She built a house and moved even farther away than she already adds an extra 40 miles a day to our commute and takes me quite a bit longer to get to work in the mornings. It's something I have been willing to put up with because we know her and we know our kids are safe. I hate that it takes me an hour in the mornings from the time I leave my house to drop the kids off and then get to work. I'm not a city girl and never have claimed to be. I despise traffic and it makes me grumpy. Add in some rain or snow and that commute time doubles. It's hard not to think about it when I'm sitting in traffic at a dead standstill wishing I was anywhere but there.

It's not worth bringing up to my husband because we've had this talk a million times. It's not such a big deal to him because as far as he's concerned - the kids are safe and happy - the two things that matter most. But it is a big deal to me...I do all the drop offs in the mornings and at least 2 of the 4 pick ups in the afternoon. It just seems to make more sense as he drives twice as far to work as I do and he has to opportunity to car pool sometimes.
Since school has started this fall traffic is especially worse and I have been dipping into my vacation hours to pad my paycheck to make up for the time lost sitting in traffic - not such a big deal when you consider the fact that we don't ever go on vacation...but sucks.
It's not like we haven't always been looking for a new daycare option - over the past three years while the kids have been in daycare with Lisa we've gone on to interview dozens of other providers. There has always been something not quite right - including one woman who had, according to the state licensor, a "wooden spoon incident that was unfounded" EXCUSE ME? Unfounded or not - I don't feel comfortable sending our kids to a woman who has a wooden spoon incident on her record!

So our daycare provider tries to sell her house so she can move to a house with "more land" read: further out...I begin the search once again for a new daycare provider that affords us the same comfort level we have now...or do I? Perhaps it is time to revisit the fact that I even go to work at all.


Kim said...

Argh. I hear you, and know what it feels like! I was counting on our provider to get all of my kids into kindergarten. I told her she could retire what that happened, but her husbands job is up in the air. If he gets laid off they will sell their house and move to their cabin. I'm devastated and on pins and needles since I don't know if or when it will happen.

Amelia Sprout said...

I could not find a home daycare near me, so we are doing center. I walked out of the first one after five minutes, the next was great until she started needing to have more than just a bottle and hugs. The most recent one is awesome, downtown, where I work, and she's thriving. It is SO hard to find a good daycare. I feel your pain. Have you tried networking with mother moms around here to find something? Good parents will share their daycare's info to get good kids in with theirs, and support their provider.
My job's working parents group is great, but it is mostly people in the burbs, so I can never use any of them.

Marissa said...

ugh. i pray you find something that you're even happier with and look back at this one day and be glad it all happened.

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