One Hundred Thirteen: The Importance of Childcare

“Spending time with children is more important than spending money on children.”  – Anthony Douglas Williams

Wednesday, April 23rd

I received a confirmation on Tuesday that I was one of three parents chosen to chaperone my daughter’s field trip on Wednesday. Sweet! Except it wasn’t a +1, so I’d need to find child care for my son.

While I live in a wonderfully integrative and often supportive cohousing community, I don’t like to pull the babysitting requests out too often. The last time I took advantage of that was when my husband broke his elbow and was whisked off to urgent care. I put the request out anyway to two homeschooling friends/neighbors with trepidation; they’re teachers during the day – not childcare providers – but I thought I’d ask anyway.

I also put the call out to my sister and mother-in-law, and got an immediate YES from my sister-in-law. She is my kids’ godmother and lives a 20 minute drive away. We had gone a long stretch without seeing her much since her work schedule was tight, so I lost perspective of how valued she is to our family. One, simply because she’s my husband’s sister, but two, because she has a tender heart. She was delighted to play with my son for three plus hours…and that takes an unfathomable patience. It was a subtle reminder that I can put the to do list aside and be there for my child. No matter how many times I hear that little nugget of parenting wisdom, I still need constant reminders to be jolted out of my little daily routine. 

I forget how blessed I am to have family members who will jump to take care of my children. I know plenty of families who have no extended family members or a support network to help with things like childcare. It’s tough enough to find quality caregivers whom you trust, let alone finding the time to get away or the money to employ them. I don’t know how single parents do it. Honestly. I have connected with a single mother in my daughter’s class; I have the utmost respect for her. She’s taking prerequisite classes to get into a nursing program, and yet she is consistently there for her daughter too. She is a kind and gentle parent. It is hard to show up every day and be the nurturing parent that you want to be even when you have all the love and support in the world…and that necessary breathing room.

Are you a support person in someone else’s life? Do you depend on someone else’s help? Have you thanked your helper lately?



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