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Should I start a home daycare?

Kathy, aka Mama Kat, jokingly refers to herself as an attention craving poodle on her blog, Mama's Losin' It. She was inspired to begin blogging back in 2007, not only because of her life-long love for writing, but also as a way to stay...

Starting your own home daycare

In this installment of Tough Love, Mama Kat from Mama's Losin' It offers tips on starting a home daycare.

Starting your own home daycare

Starting your own home daycare

Tough Love with Mama Kat

The question

I'm thinking about starting a home daycare. My husband is on the fence -- he thinks it's an insane idea. I mean, kids all over our house, all. day. long. – but he's supportive of me as well. I want to be home with my kids and we need a second income right now. What do you think? Should I give it a try? And what do I need to know about starting a home daycare?

Mama Kat answers:

Your husband is right

Home daycare is an insane idea.

But it's insane enough to work and I know this because I've been successfully operating a home daycare for nearly seven years now.

I started researching opening my own home daycare when I was pregnant with my first child. I was teaching high school English at the time and making a first year teacher's salary. After looking into daycare for my new baby I realized after daycare expenses I'd be walking away with maybe $1000 a month to contribute to our family's finances.

God forbid we decide to give our baby a sibling (or two). That would have easily diminished the rest of my meager paycheck. I did not want to separate from my babies so that I could work to pay for us to be separated. The truth is, I really wanted to be home with them.

I quickly discovered that if I took care of three additional children, I'd be making my first year teacher's salary and I would not be paying for daycare. Add two or three more daycare kids to that mix and I realized I could make above and beyond my salary and stay home with my baby. The decision for me was a simple one.

After an internet search for my state's Department of Early Learning site, I found resources to help me through the licensing process. Approximately seven months later, my home daycare was established.

There is beauty in this job

Parents are choosing to leave their precious babies in my home with me all day. They trust that I will take care of them, teach them, support them and help mold them into wonderful people. The weight of that trust is humbling and serious. It is a privilege for me to meet all the quirky little personalities that come through my door.

Are kids running all over my house? Absolutely not.

The trick is discovering what bothers you, and then fixing it. Ultimately, you control who you're around all day, you make the rules and if you're not happy... you change the rules.

I do not like kids running through my house, so I have designated a portion of our home as the "daycare" area. Daycare families are only given permission to access the rooms we utilize for the daycare. The kids stay contained and my sanity stays intact.

My goal was to create a daycare that did not feel like it was in a living room and to maintain a homey environment throughout the rest of the house so that my family did not feel like it lived in a home daycare.

Some things you might ask yourself when making the decision on whether you should consider operating a home daycare are: Do you like kids? Do you have a high tolerance for noise and repetition and whining? Are you okay with sacrificing a portion of your home for kids who don't belong to you and insist on destroying it? Most importantly, can you properly screw a Barbie dolls head back onto her neck?

(The answer to that last question was no, so you may have already failed this test. A Barbie doll is never the same once her head has been pulled from her body. It never goes back correctly.)

The bottom line is this: Only you know if taking care of more kids is a stress you can handle. For me? My kids cry and I am here for them. They have a question and I can answer them. They need a hug and I have all day to squeeze them tight.

The kids I care for in my home are my kids' best friends. They all make me smile. They all look angelic (when they're napping). And they can all drive me crazy. Really crazy. Like any job, some days are tougher than others. Some days I want to pull my hair out. Some days I wonder what it would be like to work outside the home. But every day I know that running my home daycare is the best thing I can be doing for my family and I would recommend it again and again to any woman who desires to stay home with her kids, but needs the extra income!

  About Tough Love

Starting your own home daycare

We're taking your parenting questions and asking for advice from some of the web's most popular mom bloggers. These thoughtful moms are not afraid to tell you exactly what they think. The result? Tough Love.

Looking for some parenting advice? Click here to send your question to our advice columnists. Remember, this is Tough Love - the advice may not always be diplomatic. But it will always be thoughtful, honest and straight from the hip.

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