to the daycare mamas

To the daycare mamas, especially mine, because she’s amazing and today is her birthday…

I wouldn’t doubt there have been arguments about who has the toughest job out there… Is it doctors? Surgeons, maybe? Deep sea fishermen? Police officers? Lumberjacks? Graphic designers (no-brainer)? 😉 Some say stay-at-home moms have the hardest job. While I don’t disagree with any of those jobs being tough, I might believe that it’s YOU, daycare mamas, who have the toughest job. But could it be more than just the toughest, and be the best at the same time?!

I know I can’t be the only working mom who feels an indescribable, deep appreciation for you. You think the Caramel High Rise from Caribou is generous on a Monday morning? If I could give you a million dollars, I would. What you do for me, for my daughter, is invaluable.

There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you drop off your 3-month old baby to be taken care of by someone else for the first time. I cried the entire drive there, regained composure, only to break down when I tried to tell you how much milk she drank that morning and at what time so that you would know when to feed her next. You just kindly smiled because you had been there yourself at one point and because you had seen it a million times from the other mommies on their first days. So, I went out to my car and ugly cried all the way to my office. I left my baby for you to care for. And you did. You became her second mommy.

Not gonna lie, there have been times when I’ve been jealous [of you] and felt sadness. When I handed her back to you after my lunch break visit that first week and watched you hold her while sitting on the couch, but I had to go back to work. (Best job in the world: snuggling newborn babies?!) Or the phase she went through when she automatically said “More please, Heidi” instead of “mommy” every time she wanted more of something. Or when she took her first steps there instead of at home (Best job in the world: Seeing happy babies do awesome things!). Or when I picked her up after work and she fought getting into the car seat, crying “Heidi! Heidi!”. While it is bittersweet at times, the sweet part outweighs the bitter by a mile, because how awful and heartbreaking would it be if she cried every time I dropped her off?! I’m unbelievably grateful she gets to spend her days with someone as caring as you, someone she loves, when I’m at work.

I’m still “jealous” you get to be with my baby every day, but my feelings have also shifted. It’s almost a deeper appreciation for what you do, because God knows how frustrating it can be dealing with kids some days. I feel for you when I drop Finley off and you have eight little kids at your feet, mine included. And I feel bad when Finley is already bickering (in a toddler “bickering” way) with the only boy there before I have even left, but I have to walk out, leaving you to deal with it. While I am at work, in my “grown-up” office (wah-wah), enjoying my coffee, going to “lunch meetings” or getting in a quick workout (which all can also qualify as the most dreadful things ever. Except the coffee.), you are at your home, watching your house get torn apart by kids day after day, caring for the little ones who mean the most to us. You don’t get a “lunch break” and a few minutes to yourself during the day. You are busy teaching them right from wrong, teaching them to share and be kind, tending to their needs, kissing their owies and giving them hugs, throwing awesome dance parties, making them healthy meals, and even potty training them. You are helping shape them into who they will become. You alone are doing all the things we do for just our own children in our own homes. Completely selfless.

You, daycare mamas, have the toughest (but the best!?) job in the world.

A Caribou Coffee and “thank you” will never be enough.



30 thoughts on “to the daycare mamas

  1. I am a daycare mama myself….and it warms my heart to hear a simple “thank you” from my parents. This is the hardest job I have ever had and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!!

    • Thank you for what you do!! I don’t think you daycare mamas get as much credit as you deserve. I know all of us who bring our kids to you really appreciate you, but maybe just don’t voice that enough. 🙂 Also, I was wondering what lead you to my blog post? Did you see it posted on facebook somewhere? If you wouldn’t mind letting me know, that would be so great. Thank you!

  2. This is such a heartwarming post! As a “daycare momma,” I can say that this brought tears to my eyes and gave my heart such joy at the same time. This is a wonderful post and I plan to share with other daycare mommas. (And just so you know, Minute Menu on Facebook posted the link and I’m going to share too, thank you! )

  3. Hi, just saw your post via Minute Menu on Facebook. It’s so wonderful when parents see how it is and how some days we really wish we had time for a lunch out and a workout in the same day!? 😀 It’s really nice when parents are appreciative and say so or show their appreciation. It is busy, exhausting, fun and rewarding but we are helping raise and teach other people’s children. It is important!

  4. As a daycare momma myself I. Feel in love with this post! It made my cry. It’s so nice to feel appreciated in this field. You would be shocked how you can care for someones kids for years and rarely even get a thank you, it’s like they pay you and you are expected to raise their kids and that’s it. I also have sone wonderful families who are like family to me. The kids are the best reward, watching them grow each day is so amazing. It’s an emotional job also, the hardest thing is when a family moves on and you’ve watched them grow for so long, they truly take a piece of your heart every time. But I wouldn’t trade my job for the world!!! Thank you for the recognition!! BTW I just read this blog on minute menu Facebook page 😉

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment, Nicke! Ohhhh, I bet it is heartbreaking when you have to say goodbye to the kiddos you have helped raise and seen grow over the years! 😦 When I think about the day when my daughter no longer goes to her daycare, I get choked up because it will be so hard to leave there! I think our kiddos and us as parents get just as attached to our wonderful daycare providers as you probably do with the kiddos. 🙂 xoxo

  5. I don’t want to offend you, but you don’t get it. You are jealous of me? How do you think I feel about you? We “daycare mammas” are not “daycare mammas”. We are business owners who work out of our homes, and yet you talk about us like we have the life of Riley. The truth is we spend all our time with the daycare kids and our own children see us in the same room but cannot have our attention. We wish we could go to the gym, and we watch our clients show up in gym clothes when they should have come straight from work to parent their child. We hate the fact that most of our moms will keep one child home sick but send the other one to us instead of parenting both children, because when one of our children is sick we not only have to keep our other child but we have to keep yours as well or risk losing clients for closing to care for our sick child. Why don’t you call us childcare professionals? And why don’t you look at us as experts in our field instead of making it sound like we are Maria VonTrappe dancing over the hill in clothes made from curtains? I don’t think you do your childcare expert justice calling her a “Daycare Mamma”.

    • I think you may have misunderstood the context of my entire post and I am sorry you took it that way. I am PRAISING AND THANKING “childcare professionals” for what you do. Referring to my childcare provider as a “daycare mama” is not out of disrespect in any way and is not my way of trivializing what you do. Just like I don’t refer to myself as a “professional mother”. I’m Finley’s “mama”, and that just so happens to be the most important job of my life but that doesn’t mean it needs a fancy name and it also doesn’t make me an “expert” in raising children just because I have one. I am definitely certain my childcare provider was NOT offended by me calling her a daycare mama.

      My entire post was to give “childcare professionals” credit for what you do because I believe it has to be one of the hardest careers. I am not jealous of what you do every day. It takes a very special+amazing person to be able to do what you do for a career. There are days when parts of me are “jealous” (for lack of a better word) that my “childcare professional” spends more time with MY DAUGHTER than I do. But it’s my choice to work an office job and her choice to be a “childcare professional”.

      Again, I’m sorry you read what I wrote in a negative way. I was only intending to show my utmost gratitude for what you and all “childcare professionals” do. SO, THANK YOU. Thank you for being selfless, sharing your attention and giving your all to care for the little ones who mean so much to us.

      • I think the distinction your previous poster made is relevant to the extent that their our people who perceive their role differently than the true “daycare mamas” out there. I have a daycare mama that I wouldn’t trade for the world. But she doesn’t see her child care as her “profession”. She sees it as her “calling.” Neither is wrong, some of us just prefer the latter. Excellent blog…and for the daycare mamas out there…they get it. and for those of us lucky enough to have those…thank you God.

  6. I have been a daycare mom for 24 years and this story brought tears to my eyes. While I love taking care of kids, it is wonderful to be acknowledged by the parents of the kids I love. After a really rough Friday yesterday, my last mom came to pick up her little boy and talked about how much she appreciated me and my husband and how much her 3 boys loved us and what a difference we made in their lives. That totally made my day. So let your daycare provider know how you feel!

    • That is such a heartwarming story to hear! It’s true, you really do make a huge difference in the lives of the kids you care for (and the parents!)!! What would we do without wonderful people like you!? Thank you!

  7. I’ve been doing in home daycare for over 26 years. The parents and children are like my extended family. I love what I do! My husband retired 7 years ago and helps me. He us a blessing too and the children love him also! Thank you to the many families for trusting me and letting me love their precious children!♡

  8. What a wonderful article! Thank you for getting why we do what we do 😊
    Some of us are happy to be daycare mama’s others not so much 😕
    I found your article from a Facebook share.

  9. Thank you so much for this! As a Childcare Professional myself I was not offended in the least by you referring to us as “daycare mamas”. I see it as a term of endearment rather than an insult. Although I have felt in some ways at times like the negative commenter (above) I did not feel that way at all when I read your article and your response to her was very kind. I have been in the childcare business for 20 years and although I have never felt as though it is the hardest job in the world (pretty sure brain surgery would top it!) it is one that is often unappreciated and sometimes not even acknowledged as a real job. You are obviously very appreciative of your daycare mama and you see it as the difficult work that it is. Thank you for for giving us a mom’s perspective on what we do and what it is like to leave your precious little ones with us… This article came across my daycare licenser’s FB news feed and she forwarded it via email to all of her providers.

  10. this letter was the best. Thank you for sharing. I’ve had the longest two weeks ever as a daycare mommy. All my littles have been passing bugs back and forth and all 5 of them have been sharing germs and bugs. Reading something like this makes it all seem worth it. Or the special moments when one of my little ones hugs me and tells me he loves me or blows me a kiss!!!!

  11. My grandmother for as long as I could remember took care of kids within her home. She always loved kids and cared for them all as if they were her own. I know the parents had a sense of appreciation that their children were being taken care of someone who was more of a grandmother to them than a care taker. Many continued to have more children and begged her to watch their new family additions. She made many attempts at retiring, but as new siblings were born she felt the need to give grandmotherly care to these other children. I believe it took her about 5 or 6 years to retire by only taking care of the children until they entered grade school and not taking on new families. I know everyone who came through her home appreciated her kindness and greatness, but I feel the most privilege because I get to call her my own. I now have an overwhelming urge to have children before her passing so that they may experience how wonderful of grandmother/care taker she is.

  12. this is amazing!! I cried while reading it because I am a daycare mama! I have 2 kiddos of my own and I watch 5 others! It’s always nice to hear a nice little thank you! I very much enjoy my crazy daycare life!

  13. This is the best ever! I am a daycare mama I read this a while ago… I just came back here today to read again because it fuels me. Watching children is very enjoyable and extremely difficult at the same time. The only way I am able to handle the stressful moments is by having parents who say thank you and are appreciative of what I do. Before I became a daycare mama myself I was slightly naïve to how much work it would be and I definitely didn’t say thank you enough to those who cared for my children. I’ve seen other daycare providers become bitter and angry over the lack of respect and acknowledgment they get from parents and it makes me sad. The parents really do make or break this experience!

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