Coming to Terms…
As a member in a family childcare home, remember you are a representative of the business, and very much represented BY the business. The success or failure is not the sole responsibility of the lead caregiver. A husband's tasks in a childcare home vary with each family, but the one constant need is for husbands to embrace a supportive attitude towards the creation and sustainability of a healthy business model.
"Husbands who accept this responsibility and participate in the duties of operating a successful business create strong lasting partnerships with their spouse."
Get to Know the Job:
Wives wish husbands understood that 7-8 hours a month doing yard work is no comparison to the time they spend daily on routine chores. Sometimes the same task needs to be repeated 2-3 times a day! Most of that work goes unnoticed unless it is not done at all. Remember as demanding as your day job is, keep in mind your wife's is likely 100% as much, and probably more. Become familiar with your wife's share of duties, ask questions and observe so you fully understand specific demands placed on childcare providers. Be flexible, long days and mounting responsibilities cause great strains on families. Don't ruin a perfectly good day over a few minutes of poor communication, remember Rome wasn't built in a day, and a sink full of dirty dishes isn't the worst thing in the world.
If your own children attend the daycare home do not make the mistake of counting them as daycare children. Even if the daycare is open you are fair game to assist with messes, disputes, and parenting responsibilities-perhaps even more so than your spouse whose attention is needed elsewhere. Don't rile the kids up. We've all been there and it can fun to wind the kids up or slip them some candy and retreat while your wife reigns everyone back in. Each family is different and sanctions vary, but if your wife's asked you not to, she feels pretty strongly against it. During your wife's work day don't be too demanding of her attention. It may feel perfectly normal, you're both at home, but that doesn't mean this is the best time to ask for a hand with something or to discuss important matters. Remember at the beginning and end of the day your wife is very busy preparing for pick up or drop off. Ask yourself if there is a better time to discuss something, or if it can wait. Husbands and wives don't always see eye to eye on the necessary expenses to operate a home based daycare.
Monies spent on purchasing supplies, equipment, toys, games, field trips, advertisement, or subs can be a source of great friction. Remember running a successful business requires routine investments. A good way to minimize conflict is to set a small portion of income aside for business related expenses and operate within that budget.
Levels of Support:
Remember the family home gets messy during the evening, spend a few minutes picking up before bed, you don't want your wife to feel like she's at work 24 hours a day. Needs change and things break, if you have the capability and means to repair or create something that improves the business then offer that support. You may have a good excuse to get that new tool you've been wanting. One of the biggest ways husbands can support their spouse in family childcare homes is to provide encouragement. Let your wife know the things you see her doing very well, running a business is challenging, to hear she's doing a good job from someone whose opinion is important to her means a lot. Family childcare is a very personal, yet professional service, if needed support your wife's confidence to keep parents in line with the contract and pay late fee violations. Be receptive to your wife's communication needs, childcare provider wives usually don't have anyone to complain to about parents, or the day. The typical day is surrounded by children and sometimes they need an outlet.
You don't always have to fix everything, sometimes just listening is enough. Also pay attention to what your wife is communicating, sometimes after a long day of dealing with parents and children she may just need a silent retreat. Give your wife some space to shake the day off and have some alone time if that's what she needs. When you get home from you day job, you may not feel like going anywhere and that's okay even normal, but be flexible and make compromises. Remember sometimes your wife just needs to get out of the house. The all-day work from home filled with cooking and cleaning breakfast, lunch and snacks for multiple children can be too much at times. It's okay to go out to dinner. The little things you do to support your wife go a long way towards the health and success of the business. Be proud to have a wife who is professional in her work and contributes to the success and upward mobility of your family. Relax and take time to celebrate both of your hard work and successes.
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