Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Still Here...

I've been working full-time as an in-home preschool/daycare provider since April 11. I remember this exhaustion and hard work, having done it once before, prior to the girls' births. Using your house as a place of business is an intense practice. There's no relaxing of standards, no leaving things out, no waiting for cleaning until you feel better, or are more rested. There's no going to bed with messy floors or carpets or stray laundry.

There's no sleeping in late, or even getting adequate sleep for that matter.

I care for 3- and 5-year-old siblings who are both handfuls in their own way. I'm struggling to love the 5-year-old, who is extremely strong-willed and snippy. "Please" and "thank you" are not in her vocabulary, and she uses put-downs and sarcasm. While she could never be called sweet, she is fun-loving and sometimes my girls enjoy her company. Often they yearn for the quieter time, before daycare, but at the same time they feel less stressed because we're more likely to make our bills each month.

My kids help a lot and I've taken to giving each of them an allowance.

There are positive things inherent in our new situation. One is that I do enjoy teaching and I'm doing more of that, with two new students on board. Much of what I've done with the preschoolers in science, my own girls have participated in albeit at a higher level. We've done a weather unit, a rainforest unit, and we're now learning about plants and pollinators.

Another positive aspect is that my children are gaining more leadership experience. They're also sharing their faith, their possessions, their food and their home.

The three-year-old has a lot of speech issues, but he's learning his letter sounds, nevertheless. Puzzles are his favorite activity. You might roll your eyes at this notion, but he has what appears to be OCD. He lines up his shoes just so, can't stand any messes, and cries to have his clothes changed when they get even a drop of water on them (for example, from washing his hands). I often feel no wetness anywhere on his clothes. I try to help him realize how dry his clothes really are, but he has fits about this and demands to be changed. There could be other explanations, but even the parents suspect OCD, though for the most part they don't discuss anything about their kids, possibly so as to keep their caregivers.

I have worked hard in the past few weeks to remember boundaries, in that these are not my kids and most of my energy must go to my own children and my husband. It's not my job to transform these kids. or correct what I might perceive to be parenting errors. I'm only making $4.30 an hour, and some goes to food (2 snacks, drinks and lunch) and a bigger portion goes to craft and art supplies. I also had to purchase from thrift stores more preschool toys, since I had given my own away.

Though working on boundaries, I'm still mindful of being a good employee and a loving mentor to them. I'm hugging these kids when they need it in the absence of their own parents, I'm praying for them, nursing their cuts and bruises, filling them with good stories, and reading character-training books in the mornings (from Proverbs this month), followed by daily prayer.

They come from a Catholic family and attend Mass, but they came to us with no concept of prayer, even at meals. The first time the 5 year old heard us pray before lunch, she said:

 "Why are you thanking God, when he didn't even make the sandwiches?"

Her comment made me so grateful that I've been home all these years to disciple my own children. Here was a five year old with little to no knowledge of God. It made me devastated for her and her little brother.

During the first month, she was snippy and irritated every time we prayed. Now, all these weeks later, she often adds requests to our morning prayer time. She looks forward to devotions!

God is using their time here in ways I'm probably unaware of--both for their benefit and ours. My job is to submit and be the Lord's servant. I trust His plan, even if it's exhausting, remembering that many Christians over the centuries have experienced physical exhaustion. What I'm experiencing is nothing novel, and I daresay it's keeping my body fit, being this active.

His promises me everything I need, and I believe Him.

I still want to count my blessing on this blog on a regular basis, but I'm realizing outside of that practice, I can't keep up here anymore. I've tried several times to write in the last 7 weeks, but each time something more pressing weighed on me. I was faithful to the people counting on me here. I need to shift my blogging to shorter blurbs, or give it up. If you're still around checking this blog, I thank you and I appreciate you.

Luke 21:19 Stand firm, and you will win life.


Margie said...

Would you believe I have started working too! Only part time, 2 days a week,at my church as church office help. It is mostly computer work and answering phones, but Ilene there exhausted. It has been a real struggle for me to balance home and working 2 days a week. So glad to hear an update from you! I so enjoy your posts.

Christine said...

Public offices tend to be very busy places, for sure. The pace is exhausting, along with trying to get everything done at home in the evenings. So good to hear from you, Margie! Bless you and your family.

Beth Bullington said...

I am catching up on what is happening. It sounds like you have had some changes but are adjusting and getting into the groove. I am glad it is helping and your children are helping.

Anonymous said...

You're all in my thoughts and prayers. Plus, I don't know how you manage with a sarky five-year-old. I mean, five?! But I am glad you have this opportunity. It is an inspiration. God bless you x

Tesha Papik said...

Wow that is a lot to take on... I have to say that pay seems way inadequate for the hard work you are doing. Well I totally get it about blogging it has been impossible for me to keep up but I print my blog for family scrapbook so I feel really bad to quite. My big boys were so disappointed that they did not get a Birthday post. Im thinking I will try to catch up this year then Reavaluate for next year. I will miss you writing, I really wish you would start an instgram it is much faster and you can just write a small blurb of encouragement (or rant) to your readers. Glad to get an update on you guys!