It's not easy....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

There's a song I often hear on my work day radio...The words go like this..."I'm falling apart - I'm barely breathing- with a broken heart - that's still beating" and while it's one of those lovey/break up type songs...some of the words totally fit the way I've been feeling this last week or more...I'm trying to keep it all together while trying to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives...and I'm falling apart...

I've talked about this before but now I'm in dire need of some help...(Advice and Comments please!!)

When we were pregnant with was a real struggle to find quality daycare that we could trust. So many things were involved including facts like - we aren't from here so we don't know any trusty old daycare providers - our friends are all spread out across the metro so using providers they have used wasn't an option either, 'back home' in small town North Dakota where everyone knows everyone - you just KNOW where you are going to bring your babies. In the Metro there are daycares on every corner - only some of them - I had to wonder HOW on earth they even get their lisences. There are lots to pick from - but also lots of variance in prices for care. I don't think that a daycare should be chosen solely on price however, if you have to pay more for daycare than you take home in pay, obviously that isn't going to work...Each home provider can only have XX number of kids - and of those kids - good luck finding an open infant spot...

This was our first baby - I think one of the hardest things for ANY new parent is leaving that first baby behind!!

As I mentioned before ~ Lisa came out of no where like a bolt of lightning - I was feeling VERY discouraged calling dozens and dozens of providers...and then there she was.
We instantly fell in love with her and totally trusted her with our baby girl. She was everything we had hoped to find and more. She was affordable, she was only 3 miles from our house, and one huge seller - thanks to her - I made the decision to take Fridays off and spend more time with our daughter. It was still hard, and I cried about leaving H behind lots - but Lisa eased that with daily emails updating me with how H was doing and included pics of her playing with her new friends...

When D was born it was no secret that he was a handful. A grumpy baby on his best days - and I really struggled with how to make him happy and what was going on with him. If the mom can't make him happy, then who in the hell can right? I felt relief knowing that he was in good hands with Lisa while I got back to work and tried to find some sort of balance with our new life - two kids under 15 months of age....etc...

When D was only 9 months old Lisa sold her house and moved to a different suburb ~ one that wasn't as close to our house. We called a few providers near our home but there really wasn't any question that we would follow Lisa to the new house. It hasn't been easy - it adds 42 miles to our round trip commute because we leave our house - head south to her place - then head back up past our house and north to our offices again. It's 22 miles round trip to my office and back from home - it's 60something to add in our current daycare.
It's been a small price to pay knowing our kids are loved and well taken care of - and there have been other things we've loved as well.
We don't have family in town making some things very very difficult...This past winter when one of Rob's friends passed away Lisa offered to keep both of our kids overnight so that I could attend the out of state funeral with Rob and not have to worry about the kids ~ Who does that? No normal daycare provider does - that's a friend right there.
Well - Now Lisa has sold her house again - and is moving farther out yet - not too far - but farther none-the-less. It's been a struggle to get to her place and to work 'on time' with the commute as it is - tack on the Minnesota Winters and heaven help me. I'm not a city girl - I hate commuting...
I don't mind the driving when the kids are in the car with me (well, except when the roads are bad and I worry about them being out in it). Most of the time I enjoy the time in the car with the kids - We sing songs, practice the Alphabet and play I Spy...But there are a lot of days - early in the mornings - where one or both of them are tired and whining all the way to daycare how they don't want to go to Lisa's - they want to stay home, why do I have to go to work, etc etc...That's hard for any mom to hear...

I have to go to work - it's how we afford to have a roof over our heads and food on our table...
And lately - the kid (s) have been falling asleep on the drive home - and then crashing HARD - only to wake up at 6:30 pm...and you know what that means...bedtimes that are 11 pm or so!
ACK. That. is. not. good!

So now - with the new daycare house on the horizon...We figured it as good a time as any to do more interviewing and make the transition to a new daycare home ~ but it's been hard. Emotional and hard. We have found and interviewed a new place that is seemingly perfect and have all but agreed to make the move. I am waiting to talk to two more families about their care there...I spoke with one mom last night and overall liked what I heard but now have concerns again.

She has a 4 year old son and she tells me he spends some time in time outs that she doesn't necessarily agree with - for things like 'not listening to his friends' - ie: if he's standing in front the the TV and they tell him to move and he doesn't...She said that this potential daycare runs a very tight ship and there is no question who is in charge ~ That could be a good thing...but they are kids after all.

Yikes...I'm nervous and scared about how D will do in this new environment - a new, more strict environment. I was told that she feels this new provider is 'getting burnt out' - she's been doing this for 31 years...but she does have her 26 year old daughter there with her - who is a lisenced teacher and provider...So that has to help right?
I worry that it might be too strict and stringent for our kids...they are still just little yet. D is a 2.5 year old little boy - he's still just figuring out his way in the world ya know - heck - so am I!
One of the selling points of making a daycare move now is the fact that the kids can transition together - if we were to continue making the crazy commute for another 2 years til H starts school - then we'd HAVE to move D at that time as well - and then he'd be left to transition and adjust on his own - without his sister and his best friend by his side...sure he'll be older, so maybe it wouldn't be as bad as I'm imagining it will be?

I'm waiting to talk to two more families before I make the decision - I say I because my husband will do whatever it is I want to do. He's good that way - but it also makes it really really hard because sometimes I feel like a lot of the decisions are put on my shoulders and this one, this one is heavy!

I will never forgive myself if something happened to our babies while in daycare ~ I watch too much news and it is always in the back of my mind when I think or talk about daycare...People's lives are altered forever even when they thought they were making the right choice...

How do I know what is right? Does it ever get any easier?


Kate said...

Well, I think you said it before - you want to have more time with your kids that isn't in the car. Maybe if you sat down with the new provider and spoke with her about how things go in your home and how you can work together to make it a good environment for your kids. Be honest with your concerns about how strict she is and what constitutes a time out. Hang in there. I know this has been really hard.

~kris~ said...

My first and foremost advice is to follow your gut! What is your momma instinct saying to you about this provider?

Personally I like the idea of transitioning together - I've always liked the idea that the bigger one can articulate better the environment they are spending their day in.

My oldest son - who is 13 now - went to a home daycare. My two little ones - who are almost 2 and just turned 4 - I have avoided that route. For me, the lack of checks and balances and additional sets of eyes making sure my kids are getting the care they need in a home daycare setting makes me a little nervous.

My little ones are at a church daycare - we do not attend the church and that is not an issue. I'm pleased with their care.

Have you checked the provider's license to see if there are any complaints, when her last inspection by the state was, if there were any issues and if so if they have been resolved?

In our state in a home daycare setting every person residing in the residence must have a background search conducted before the daycare is licensed. Is that a requirement in your state?

The references you are speaking with - does that include former and current enrolled kids?

I do not envy your position - Mom is the hardest job ever!

Andrea and Andy said...

Kris is right- follow your gut feelings. All of references and colorful toys in the world don't matter if you don't trust your new provider. If your gut feelings says to move on- move on! There are so many providers out there, all with different styles and different ways to work with kids! It may take some time to find the right fit, but their happiness and your piece of mind is sooooo important. Take care- let me know if you have any questions!

Amelia Sprout said...

Follow your gut. For totally different reasons we could not find a home daycare we liked anywhere near here. I know your daughter is getting older, and your son is old enough for some pre-school programs. It may be a bit more expensive (which you might save in gas) but you have looked in to a pre-school or center, especially a church program or something that wouldn't be at one of the big centers? Or something closer to your job?

I know how hard finding time with your kids is when you work full time, without adding on a huge commute. I'm not much help for your area, but I could do some checking around work to see if anyone knows of anything.

darcie said...

Thanks for your comments everyone - the problem is ~ my gut isn't telling me that this is not ok. There are no red flags - It's my heart that is breaking because we do love the provider we use now.
Both daycares are good in terms of what they have to offer - a preschool curriculum, the food program, etc
Just that one happens to be 1.5 miles from our house where as the other one is not...
Both daycares are clean with a clean bill of health from the county/other parents, etc
It's just the emotional attachment that we have to our current provider - and I am worried about how our kids will feel being dropped off in a new place, how they will adapt to a new environment. Fear of the unknown - I'm sure after a couple/few weeks in the new place we'll be ok with this - but right now - right now it's one of the toughest decisions we've ever made.

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