I hear it all the time- online, in interviews, in mom groups- parents complaining because their provider took a scheduled vacation day- Paid time off. The parent has to find alternate care, but they still have to pay daycare.
“It’s not fair!” They say.
“If they aren’t providing the service, why should I have to pay?”
“I don’t get paid time off- why should they?”
OK, so perhaps you don’t get paid time off when you have to stay home with your child.
However, there are plenty of working families who do. In fact, most people who work a career, get paid time off. And let’s face it- you want a provider who sees her job as a career, not a temporary working situation.
I digress… So you don’t get paid time off, and your provider wants paid time off. You don’t feel that’s very fair. Now, the mom in me wants to say “fair is a place where you ride rides and get cotton candy. Life isn’t fair.” However, this is your livelihood, your child, and the person you trust to help raise your child. So your concern is understandable.
However, here is a list of “perks” that you most likely get at your job, that your daycare provider doesn’t get:
- Lunch Breaks
- Adult interaction
- To pee in private
- Drink coffee- while it’s still hot
- A 401k
So here is the deal:
We know that when we take time off work, it inconveniences you. We know. For our family, when we go on vacation, I am well aware that I have 5 other families who now have to take time off to compensate for my fun. Guilt doesn’t cover it. I used to hate planning family vacations, for the sole reason that I didn’t want to tell my parents that I’m taking time off.
In fact, to be perfectly honest, I don’t take my vacation’s paid because of it. I do, however, take major holiday’s paid. And after 4 years of running a family childcare home, I finally gave myself a few sick days in my contract.
This is why you should cut yourself some paid time off:
- You value yourself. As a childcare provider, mother, wife, and woman, you have value. You have an important job which demands a lot, and as such, you need to practice self care. Part of practicing that self care is the ability to take time off to reconnect with yourself and your family.
- Because you value myself, it’s OK for you to demand that others, particularly your clients, value you too. This means feeling confident when you hand out your yearly handbook with vacation days and paid policies written out. (Side Note: I am that rare unicorn of a childcare provider, because I have amazing families who I get to work with, and I count every single mother as a friend, and every child as one of my own. We respect each other and I have no complaints or the need to assert myself. I just hate confrontation in general.)
- You value my body. When I was pregnant with O, I came down with a cold, which turned into a cough, which turned into an 8 week battle with bronchitis. I was exhausted, racked with braxton hicks, sleepless and very very sick. Not once in that 8 week period of time did I take a single day off. I worked through it, much to my detriment. Because I not only didn’t want to put my families out, but also because I didn’t want to deal with the financial repercussions of taking a day off because let’s face it- babies are expensive. If I had given myself paid sick time in my contract, I would have taken it, and healed much faster. Value your body and health enough so that in that rare circumstance where you are ill and need rest, you can take it with confidence.
- You value your Job. It seems like a contradiction- but I believe most moms understand- we are better parents when we have time to fill our own cups. We have this amazing, beautiful honor of shaping and raising your children, and we don’t take it lightly. We want to do it well. But it’s nearly impossible to pour out of yourself when your own private cup is empty. We can’t be the “Mom who smiles” all the time, without taking care of ourselves, too.
Being a Good Childcare Provider and Practicing Self Care go hand in hand
That means, very frequently, paid time off. When you are constantly caring for tiny humans, you tend to put their needs first. And you should! The children rely on you for their center of safety. Their sense of confidence comes from your care of them. But it doesn’t mean you need to completely let yourself go, as a mom or caregiver. Kind of like I did. Take it from me. Take time for yourself. And parents, respect the person helping raise your children and understand their need for self care. It just helps them better able to give your Littles the love and care they need.
What are your thoughts on paid leave for family childcare providers? Do you think you should pay for when your child isn’t in care? Or would you rather pay a higher rate and not have to pay for vacation time? As a provider, what is your policy? Tell us in the comments!
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