Every job has with it the ups and downs. Sometimes more ups, often more downs. Of course a lot of it has to do with how we look at things. Our opinions or perspectives lend a lot to our attitudes when it comes to our work.
To some their job or work defines who they are. To others it's simply a means to an end - and the end is usually bills!!!
I've thought about this more intently lately in a sort of re-evaluation of what I do. I've asked myself some very hard questions to see if I was indeed meant to do this particular line of work as a daycare provider.
1. Do I do this job just for a paycheck?
2. Do I do this job just because it's easier than going out to a job every day?
3. Do I do this job because it's convenient?
4. Do I do this job because I want to invest in the lives of the children and their families in my care?
In the beginning, it was a combination of questions 1, 2 and 3. Our situation at the time made me working out of the house quite difficult, plus my youngest was not in school, my oldest was every other day at school and paying for daycare myself was just too much. Seeing as I had done my fair share of babysitting from the time I was 12 - as a babysitter for my multiple nieces and nephews as well as some of their nannies for a period of time, and a part time after school job at a daycare - it seemed like the natural way to go. And with the help of a friend who had been doing this for a few years herself, I was well on my way to starting a new chapter in my life.
As of late, my answer has changed. Questions 1, 2 and 3 still play a part, but not the biggest part anymore.
And the reason is really quite simple when I examined it...Family.
This past spring and summer I was blessed to have a brother and sister addition to the kids I already took care of. (I have 2 older, part time girls that have been with me since the beginning that I will elaborate on soon.) I knew our time together wouldn't be very long as the little girl would be going to school full time in the fall. The little boy I was to have a few months longer until mom went on maternity leave again. Well, the mom ended up getting a blessing from a family member to watch her son for her last three months before maternity leave for free. Who could turn that down??? So, the little boys time with me was cut short.
On the sisters last day with me, she cried so hard it took everything I had not to cry in return. The week leading up to her final day she was continually hugging me and telling me she loved me. Three days later, I had to say goodbye to her brother.
It hit me then how important these families were to me. Being with children just seemed so natural that I didn't really think (consciously) of our impact on each other. It occurred to me in that moment how easily they seemed to become like an extension of my family.
It occurred to me again with the other girls that I mentioned prior. Mom had to have surgery, so therefore the girls were not with me for awhile. The evening before their first morning back with me they stopped by. As the oldest came up and gave me a big hug, I realized how much I had missed them. My oldest was still awake and when he saw her he came running to giver her a hug as well.
The girls have always said my boys were like the brothers they never had and in turn they were the sisters my boys never had. It was always said as sort of a joke, but in that moment I realized how true the statement was.
Don't get me wrong, sometimes they fight like family too!!!
It's not just the kids either. I am so privileged to be accepted into the lives of the parents as well. The amount of trust placed on me by them to take care of their most prized treasures is nothing short of amazing. And it makes me want to do the best I can for all of them.
I've also been more aware of the blessing they all are to me. I'm often gifted with cards, pictures and home made presents. I'm invited to games, and concerts and regaled with funny stories. Every day that I get a warm greeting from a parent, or understanding when I have to explain a possible mishap I am again aware of how welcomed I have been made to feel.
Family can be made in any job that we have, if we'll let it. I can only hope that in whatever your line of work, you are as blessed as me to feel the extension of family all around.