Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Being a Child Caregiver

When I was 11 I took the Red Cross babysitting course to learn the basics of childcare. Having lived with a baby brother for 4 years, at that point, the fine tuning of my skills kicked off my future babysitting career. I do not use the term career lightly in this regard because it is as challenging as any other full time job if not the most consistently demanding!

While living in Chicago, my babysitting immediately shifted to nannying. I met one of the most strongest female figures in my life, Leslie. She worked, high up, for Wrigley Gum Co. and needed a full time caregiver for her toddler and little boy. I spent the next 4 years with her family, including their new addition, a baby boy, who I helped care through infancy. Why did I stop? Well, Micah and I found out we had a little blessing on the way and life changed pretty speedily at that point! It's hard to express how truly rewarding and educational my experience as a sitter/nanny was. I don't think I could have better prepared myself for motherhood if it wasn't for the years spent with Leslie's children. The way we fell into each others lives and the way my daughter happened to come at the time she did was simply another perfect example of the plans God has for us.
Michael, Leslie's son, several years ago

Leslie's older kids, Peter and Jacqueline, years ago

Here I am - it's been four years since we left Chicago to build a family in upstate NY. Addison is now three years old and doesn't need me at her beck and call. With my husband working so hard and the extra time on my hands, I decided to look back into doing some sitting. We've been actively trying for a baby for almost two years now and I'm really faithful and trusting Him to give us another baby if it's His will but I can't deny that I miss a baby around, especially since over 10 people I know have just had baby #2 or are carrying #2!! How does that happen?! Well, after weeks of posting ads for my childcare services and looking at wanted ads I finally got a response. A very sweet woman contacted me about caring for her 5 month old son. I can't tell you how overjoyed I was! I've always seen childcare as an opportunity to help others. It's not simply watching a little one but assisting parents, relieving parents, allowing parents to do what they have to do. If I could watch children for free, I would! That's why my mom friends and I swap watching each other's kids at no expense, because helping each other and knowing our children are in good hands is the cost! The financial side and the caregiving side are completely separate to me. If you need me to help take care of your child - I'm there. If you are able to pay me for my services I am happy to supplement our income. I am NOT someone who will deny a childcare seeker because they're not willing to meet a specific rate. When someone's in need, you help them. That's my style.

Well, everything worked out and I've had the pleasure of caring for Hunter for the past two days. I am not sure how else to explain it but the more children I have in my care the smoother my day goes. I feel more active, perhaps because I'm meeting separate needs of different children?? My day feels more organized, believe it or not. Somewhere in all the chaos, one seems to maintain a general routine to keep the day moving. Bottle here, reading stories there, naptime, lunch, walks and so on. I love it. I can only pray to expand my family in the coming years. In the meantime, I am delighted care for others' children and providing that help to families!

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