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Daycare Center and Family Home Forum>Daycare Provider, Pre-K-3rd Grade Teacher or Nurse?
Unregistered 07:53 AM 09-04-2014

I have been a licensed daycare provider for 1.5 years now, and there are some things I love and some things I hate. I am hoping that you guys can help me get some perspective and make a decision.

I have a bachelor's degree in mass communication and spent 5 years in the Army before becoming a stay-at-home mom with my kids. They are now 4 and 6, and my son is already starting to age out of the daycare. I can tell he is getting bored and a little tired of smaller kids during the summer months.

So, here are my options: I can switch from the 3 days a week I do now to 5 days a week from 7:30 to 4:30 to cater to teachers' kids and have school holidays/summers off with my own kids. I currently make about $600 a week with my hourly rate caring for two babies and drop-off kids just working the 3 days. If I move to a weekly daycare, then I would need to switch to a weekly rate. I only want about 4 kids, so that puts me at about $250 for an infant and $200 for over 2 (we are in the Baltimore/D.C. area). That would be $900 a week, but with more hours. Pros to doing this are that I can spend time with my kids in the mornings/afternoons, and if they are sick, they can just go upstairs and I am not missing work. Cons are that I am working more days, and there really isn't a safety net. I still have to juggle having enough kids in my daycare, and if I get sick, I don't get paid. I also won't be able to volunteer at my kids' school, etc., without getting a substitute for my daycare.

Or...I already have the pre-requisites for my nursing program, so I would just need to do a 2-year program to get either my associates/bachelor's or master's depending on the program. Cons are that I would have to put my own kids in before/after care at the school, and instead of being able to wake up nicely and spend time with mommy before and after school, I would be waking them up really early and shuttling them off for a VERY long day at the school. I have the GI Bill to pay for the school, but the $2,000 a month I get in housing allowance pays for their care ($900 a month for before/after care for 2 kids), gas and a little left over. It would be tough financially to not have my income. But, I would be making about $70,000 a year or $35,000 if I just decided to do part-time. Pros are that I would have a pretty lucrative career with a great benefits package if I decided to do full-time when they got older (i.e. teenagers who don't want their mom around.

Or...I could become a pre-k to 3rd grade teacher in the public school system. Maryland has a grant for the alternative pathway to becoming a teacher. Since I have a bachelor's degree, I can go to school 5 minutes from my house at Loyola University every other Saturday for one year for 8 hours each Saturday. I do a 2-week internship at my daycare and then two weeks at another pre-k/school of their choosing. Then, I have a residency for one year at my daycare and then a 2-year service commitment at either my daycare or another pre-k (Columbia Academy, etc.) Pros are that it is $17,000 to get my teaching certificate, and I don't have to pay for it. I will be able to continue my business, but have this in my back pocket in case I want to become a kindergarten teacher- 3rd grade teacher after my service commitment is finalized. In four years, my kids will be 8 and 10, and I will have summers off with them. I would need to be open 4 days a week from 7-5, so maybe I combine 1 and 2 possibilities so I could have summers off with them. Maryland pays about $50,000 for new teachers, plus a pretty good benefits package. Cons are that I would have to stop being an independent businesswoman and deal with a LOT of testing regulations and 18 sets of parents!

Factoring in all of this is that I started having symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome while in the Army (was actually medically retired because of it), and I am worried that I will not be able to use the restroom whenever I need to in options 2 and 3. I know this may seem like a silly reason to someone who does not have IBS or any gastrointestinal issues, but I do feel limited in my career choices.

As you can tell, I have a lot tumbling around in my head right now trying to figure out what it is that I want to do. Do you have any advice? Especially if you have been in the daycare business for a while and have kids of your own...
Shell 11:30 AM 09-04-2014
In thinking about your health concerns, I would chose option one and do the daycare option. You can always go back to school if it doesn't work out.
LysesKids 11:55 AM 09-04-2014
I agree with Shell... part of the reason I do childcare is because of health issues; I can make my own rules and work how I need - not the best pay here, but I can control my day without worrying about getting fired for not being able to do something an outside job would require. I too have a degree which I haven't used in awhile, but the background helps in ways never imagined ( I have an AAS in Criminal Justice)
lblanke 12:13 PM 09-04-2014
Not trying to cause more problems, but if you are service-connected (and probably are if you were medically retired), you might check out VA's vocational rehab benefits, too. You may have other options besides classes when your kids are out of school (such as part time, etc). I don't know any of the details, but it may give you more options. And Voc Rehab may have $ for computers if you take on line classes, etc. Good luck.
Thriftylady 02:21 PM 09-04-2014
I am restarting my daycare because we need the money and I haven't worked for three years due to a few medical issues, one being IBS. My medical is one of the reasons I am restarting my daycare, and I miss it from when I did it 14 years ago! I quit then because of the parents and my lack of a backbone!
Tags:parental life choices
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