A love letter to our daycare provider

In an ideal world, I would soak up every magical moment with my kids — and all the moments would be magical. And I’d stay home with them at least until they were all in school full time. 

Mama knows best, right? 

There’s a real part of me that will always feel that way. But the truth is, there ARE some mornings where I see them out the door and then I take a shower, reveling in absolute silence, save for the water beating down. Or I listen to my favorite podcast, complete with swears that no little ears will overhear, while I actually 100 percent complete a task on my to-do list. 

Or I eat breakfast. Sitting down. With both hands. 

Spending all day, every day with the kids over holiday breaks reminded me how hard it is to keep three tiny tyrants entertained, in a goodish enough mood, and meet all their needs — and mine. Some days there’s a lot of deep breathing — or frustration and eye-rolling — and I think, Man, maybe I really am not the mother I want to be.

I’ve done every configuration of working motherhood — full-time work away from the house; part-time work; staying home, side jobs in the evening; full-time freelancing without full-time daycare — you name it. 

And so I literally, every single day, feel grateful for our fearless childcare leader, who does things I probably never would, with my own kids.

Like the time we forgot to replenish the diapers, so I stopped by on a midsummer morning to drop off a supply, and all the kids were contentedly waiting their turn to TIE-DYE T-SHIRTS. 

I don’t know what witchery our daycare provider — Heidi The Great — practices, but I need in on those spells ASAP. 

Heidi the Great

Or how about the most wonderful thing she does, which is to fill a spiral-bound notebook over the course of a year with my children’s handiwork — letter practice, glitter, seasonal construction-paper art projects, translations of outlandish stories they tell her, dried leaves from fall and whatever other things capture their imaginations. 

I’ve leafed through these journals and cried my face off more than once or twice. One, because there is just nothing more precious to me than kid artwork and watching milestones unfold in front of my eyes — the ones I missed while I was busy hustling to pay the bills and wishing I could be with them, fully present. And two, because of the love and devotion that goes into something like that — something that extends far beyond professionalism and her merely doing her job. 

The truth is, no matter why you need childcare — because of economic necessity or a desire to work while raising your children or just for a break once in a while — the good providers can enrich your children’s lives in countless ways.  

It is said that children need something like six stable, good adults in their lives to be well-rounded people. In other words, we literally cannot be everything to our children, no matter how desperately we want to be or convince ourselves we need to be or how much guilt we heap upon ourselves. 

Our daycare provider is just one in a village of people helping me and my husband raise our children right. And did we ever hit the jackpot. Thank you, Heidi. You are worth your weight in gold and then some. 

Katie Dohman is currently living in the midst of a total full-house renovation with her one husband, three kids, two dogs and one kitten. She is tired.