The Hard Truth: Why I Will Never be Just Your “Sitter”
I am more than just your sitter
A sitter is the teenager who comes to watch movies and eat pizza with your kids so you can have a rare night off. She does less work, and most likely gets paid more an hour. I am not a sitter.
I am your Childcare provider.
Which still sounds so static, so cold. Cold is anything BUT what I am. Sitting is anything but what I do.
I rarely sit- unless it’s with a baby, snuggled in the safety of my arms, while I feed him a freshly warmed bottle. I may sit, but it is because your child asked me to read “Guess how much I love you,” for the 12th time today. And let’s face it- lap sitting is the best way to listen to your favorite book. Most of the time, when you arrive during pick up, I’m standing. I’m standing in the kitchen, washing a dish. A baby is slung on my back with my ever-essential Lillebaby, and I’m guzzling the last dregs of my cold coffee. I may be found repeating (patiently but with a muzzled exasperation) “keep your hands to yourself” for the thousandth time.
But the chances are, you won’t find me sitting.
The Hard Truth: Why I will never by just your “sitter”
I do provider for them, though. I provide comfort for boo-boo’s. Providing discipline, I teach your child right from wrong. I show them how to respect their friends. When the time comes, I potty train them. As babies, I help them learn to feed themselves.
Every day, your kids are provided wholesome meals and a happy, clean(ish) home to spend their days in. When your children are in my care, they are stimulated, they play in sensory bins and paint- they learn independence. But most of all, I provide your child love. All these things are provided to your child, when they are with a childcare provider. None of them are provided while sitting.
You see, being a childcare provider is about so much more than passing the time with your child until you come to pick them up. It’s not about finding a way to be at home with my own kids and still make money. I am a provider because I love kids. Because in my eyes, there is no job more vital than raising the next generation to be thoughtful, kind, brave, and confident. You see, I am so much more than a sitter. A Sitter is an insult to the care I feel for your children. Don’t get me wrong- I am not a replacement for you. No one will ever, ever replace mom. But we are a team, your family and mine. Our goal it is to raise healthy, happy children, together.
Last year, one of my daycare Little’s was baptized, and the family asked me to come to the baptism
Honored, I felt so happy to go and sit with the family (who really feel like an extension of my own). But during the baptism, when they ushered me to the front, I stood with his Nana and sisters and cousins and aunts, because “You’re family too.” I grinned awkwardly and inwardly danced with pride while I watched little man be baptized. After the service, their pastor introduced himself. “So, how are you related to the family?” he inquired, his firm wrinkled hands shook mine. My daycare mom stepped in and said,
Oh, well she’s our sitter- but she’s not. She’s so much more than that- sitter doesn’t really cover it, does it? She’s the one who raises our kids when I’m not there.”
She knew, and I knew, how valuable we were to each other. How much I loved her children and how much she respected me for it. But that poor pastor’s face- how do you explain the importance of the woman who helps raise your child?
How do you explain the trust and bond between parent and provider? It’s not an easy choice- the decision to leave your child for much of his day, in the care of someone else, particularly in the care of a stranger.
It is, however, a decision which is made easier by the knowledge that you are leaving your child with a childcare provider. And not just a sitter.
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