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New Members - Welcome to the Forum!>I Have Lost Myself In Daycare
Erma 07:58 PM 03-01-2019
Hi! This is my first post. I have been coming here for a few years, looking through threads and have found lots of great advice reading the posts of others.

I feel really lost.

I have a quality in-home program, degree in early childhood education, etc etc. I just... don't feel like I am anything but a person who takes care of kids anymore. I know my work/life balance is messed up. My husband is supportive and amazing, we have young children of our own. I have everything I need. And I just feel so worn out all the time. It is hard that I can't "punch out" and the daycare just floods into my thoughts so frequently.

It is winter, and cold and flu season and I am sure that has something to do with it, right? I went out to shovel, just to leave the inside of the house. I do volunteer work, also am in other meet up groups. I do not feel connected to anything right now, just like this profession takes more and more out of me. Not too long ago I loved it, and love the kids. It feels like something I don't know how to describe. Like I am merely some mothery child martyr archetype or something- I don't know if that really describes it. I know this has to be a hump, right? I feel so @#$%ing isolated and overworked. I question if what I do is meaningful.

It takes a lot of energy to pull a smile across my face and be chipper to parents, although I still feel silly with the kids a lot, I don't feel happy very often. Is this just- what it is? I want to spend my life with children, and would prefer to not feel this way, however I do not know what I am doing wrong, or need to look at or do differently.

How have you gotten through a hump like this if you have been through it?
Josiegirl 07:47 AM 03-02-2019
Glad you made yourself visible here and it'll help you to know a lot of us are experiencing many of your feelings and frustrations. Care-giving is a strong burn-out profession and I wish they offered more trainings on that very topic. And yes, this time of year is one of the worst for these feelings. It's so very important to make taking care of yourself and your own family, your first priority. Make sure you visit your dr., dentist, whoever else is on your list of health providers, regularly. That was a big mistake of mine. Then schedule time for just you, doing things you love and can escape real life with. Schedule time for your S/O and you, and finally schedule time for you with your own children.
Because this is such a personalized profession, involving ourselves with children and other families, we tend to give, give, give of ourselves before we realize we've given our all and have nothing left. I've gone through ups and down over my entire childcare career, swearing I was going to quit, but then that next month I was re-motivated either by seasonal changes or fun workshops I attended, changing up my dc or buying new equipment, tightening up my contract, etc.
Now I am in the final throes of offering daycare, haven't given anybody notice yet because I'm confused about a final date and not sure if I simply want to get out from under the state's thumb and only take the legal amount or retire altogether.
I do remember the most difficult years were when I was a mom of 3, still living with my dh, and most of the household chores were upon my shoulders. That was hard. I completely lost myself in that time period. Everybody always needed something and it was me they expected it from.
Perhaps you can delegate some of those types of responsibilities to someone else in your household? Can you afford to have a cleaning service come in once a month? Plan easy quick menus. Share babysitting services with a friend or neighbor to get out of the house more? Invite a friend over for coffee?
You said you do some Meet-up groups, good for you!! I wonder if there would be any way you could start one, involving motherhood and challenges or providers who are maxed out. Is there a good provider network you could join to gain insight into dealing with these feelings? Any fun workshops being offered? Can you take some long weekends? (I hope you charge by enrollment and not based on attendance? I learned that here because I never took time off, felt I couldn't afford it so that made it even worse). Find support whether IRL or online because nothing can help like other people knowing what you're going through.
There are so many ways to help alleviate burn-out. But if you've tried everything and it's gone on for far too long, maybe it's time to step back and re-evaluate where you want to go from here.
Good luck and hope something changes soon for you!!!
Cat Herder 04:36 AM 03-04-2019
It sounds like you may be hitting burnout. There used to be a huge sticky here about it. Found it:

You are not alone. It happens to almost everyone. I added some tags below for you to check out.
LittleExplorers 08:47 AM 03-05-2019

Can you find an outside group to belong to? Something to give you some me time? I started daycare 1.5 years ago and the lack of contact with the outside world daily is hugely noticeable. We get outside here if it is 0 degrees or above, even if it's only to walk down our driveway and get the mail.

I do daycare for teachers only so I get summer and all school breaks off. I am open short hours too. My husband teaches so we get a lot of family time this way. In all honesty, I am not sure I could do this year round without quite a bit of time off. I take a pay cut due to my hours but it is worth it!

Maybe you could look at what might interest you in a job outside of childcare and weigh the pros and cons. It might be that you need something else to feed your soul.
Unregistered 09:54 AM 01-28-2020
Thank you for sharing your feelings and thank you sincerely to everyone who has replied to the OP. I am a few months in as a new childcare provider. Most days I am fine. Some days, like today, I am wore out by the level of unceasing and required needs from each child, including my own 2 yr old. Adequate sleep, alone time, and new clothes help. But intellectual stimulation is the game changer.

I do not allow TV in my daycare, so I am interacting with the children constantly through conversation or activities. I feel often like I am flying blind. I feel as though I am filling the gaps in emotional needs for children who do not get much attention at home or who do not have stable relationships with traditional primary caregivers like their moms due to things like mental illness which is beyond anyone’s control. Nearly every child has walked through my doors with a speech delay. (Or is my son just that advanced? Surely not!)

My frustrations are not unique, as I can see. And that makes me feel less like a horrible person for becoming annoyed or feeling trapped by my chosen path. I know what I do is important. The children I watch are each unique. This forum and education opportunities make me feel worlds’ better about myself and my ability to help these kids thrive.

So thank you. Again. Thank you.
dolores 12:01 PM 01-28-2020
Originally Posted by Erma:
How have you gotten through a hump like this if you have been through it?
Your feelings are valid and I think this time of year exacerbates it-seasonal affective disorder is real! There are days when I absolutely love being a childcare provider/entrepreneur and days when I dread it but overall, I get a lot of satisfaction from supporting and witnessing young children meet their milestones so that keeps me motivated. Two things worked for me:

1)Hiring an onsite provider: if you don't have an assistant to help with the kids hire one, if only for a few hours a/day or 2-3 days/wk. It will cost but sometimes the financial sacrifice is worth it. Maybe increase your rates to help cover the expense. This way you will have help with the kids, someone to talk with during the day other than the children and you can take a break during your workday.

2) Having a job in the outside world, even if part-time, in a different field. This will give you opportunities to interact with adults and also acquire/hone other skills that you can bring back to your daycare to improve quality.

Selfcare is a must, and if you don't yet, implement paid holidays and vacation policies with parents so you get time off often to replenish your energy. Also organizing my daycare, especially the administrative part of it, made me feel a hella better.

Lastly, do not underestimate the power of therapy. It helps to be able to express your feelings and emotions honestly, even have a big sob, in a safe space where there is no judgement and you get some insight.
rosieteddy 12:50 PM 01-29-2020
Your feelings are very real.Its winter,holidays are over everyone is cooped up.When my family was young I always tried to do something on weekends.For me nighttime was to hard.I quickly cleaned up daycare ,made dinner and tried to take a minute for myself.I loosened up on daycare schedule.You want more free play awesome.We always went out and everyone ran around ,that helped with naps.After awhile I started taking a third week of vacation.I made it Feb break when kids were out of school.Parents were often home with school age but still brought littles to DC.I loved staying home with my own kids and letting them have the house to themselves .You may not want to take the whole week but wha tabout adding an extra day to Presidents weekend?At least Feb is a short month and daylight savings day early in March.I always joked "don't make any big decisions in late Jan or Feb.Another idea is to make some easy lunches ,maybe Monday picnic day (sandwiches)make before they arrive .I even cut the fruit and veggies plated the meal covered and slid into the fridge.No room put it on a covered porch ect.Friday was Pizza or cheese sandwich day.Made all the sandwiches put on cookie sheet keep cool until ready to cook in oven.Lastly remember go out to work is no bargain.If your own kids need you its hard.They would have to go somewhere ect.Spring will come hang on. youv'e got this
Tags:burn out, finding your smile again, lost, punch out, simplify, winter, work life balance
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