Well…Sometimes in life we make the choices and sometimes the choices get made for us.
Back in January I started talking with my kids about cutting back my childcare hours. I was easily working than more 50 hours a week. It was too much. As life was passing me by I kept being sad that I was having great grandma experiences with Carver, Gannon and Georgia but the other grands I wasn’t seeing much-even then, most of experiences with them were childcare related. I know that is partly because of where everyone lives and, of course, I realize it could never be fair but I don’t think it’s unrealistic for me to see them once a month.
I found myself feeling frustrated when our own kids did come home because I couldn’t get things done that I needed to get done. I was always feeling behind. After talking with my kiddos and looking at my finances I had made plans that in the fall I would cut back and only do care Monday through Thursday. I didn’t announce it but I had plans in place to do that. I thought having the one extra day to do my “stuff”, I could take a Saturday and enjoy life a life a little including seeing the grandkids that live further away. My kids were all so happy about my decision.
Well then Covid-19 hit. I’m high risk and ended up having to close my childcare in an effort to keep me safe. Here in Iowa schools ended up being closed from March 16th through the end of the school year, I opted to stay closed during that time.
In early May I contacted my doctor and told her that I was wanting her advice. I wanted to know what she recommended for me. I told her I was already considering cutting back. I told her I want to do what is best for me and for my families telling her I can’t keep them hanging. I asked her, “If I was your mother, what would you recommend?”
She said: If you were my mom, I would tell you, if you can figure out a way to make a living financially without childcare, I would close your childcare.
She went on to state so much of Covid-19 is still so up in the air. Will there be a vaccine? Does a person have immunity? How many years will pass before we REALLY know the details of this virus?
I talked with my kids…yes, I didn’t want to get it, but I also didn’t want my home and environment to be the spread of it either. I know kids don’t get it as often but…they can and I didn’t want the responsibility of keeping them all virus free. So my decision was in part to keep them safe…and in part to keep me safe.
So…I made the decision to close my childcare. I talked with my childcare families and let them know my decision last week.
Kalissa got a new job. Kelli changed hours. Both of them are on a schedule that they will need childcare on Monday and Friday. I’ll still be taking care of Kalissa’s boys and Georgia but happily, that’s Grandma care which is completely different. I can put cribs upstairs in the bedrooms and the kids can nap upstairs. I can sew in my sewing room while they are napping…it will be so different. I can put one of them in the car and go do what I want or need to do if I only have one of them. I’m thrilled with the prospect of being more of the grandma and less of the childcare provider.
The financial part will be okay…perfect, no, but okay. I think the trade off of time and freedom will be worth the financial considerations. I paid off the house in March (what perfect timing) so without a mortgage to pay, that really helps. We’ve not had credit card debit for years so that really helps too. All in all, I’m a fairly frugal, low maintenance person so I think I can tighten up a bit and make it all work out okay. Goodness knows I have cross stitch and quilting things I can sew or stitch on for years to come and happily, I like the stuff I have so I’m happy to work on it. Besides, you all send me stuff too so I’m sure I’ll be in good shape.
I think what pushed me most in making the decision is this…I have thyroid cancer. I don’t have any idea how many more years I have. I’m hopeful we’ll get it all figured out, but realistically, I don’t know if they will. I might only have a few years to live. I don’t want them to spent on the hamster wheel. I might not ever get to retire if I don’t do it now. So I’m committing to a more frugal life and taking my chances and retiring now. No worries…I’ll still be here blogging.
If I end up needing more money, I can pick up a job that doesn’t involve a lot of people contact down the road and do it a couple days a week. For now, this is going to be okay.
That’s all the financial part…the people part of this decision is all so much harder.
Oh Sawyer..I miss you too!
Having the kids all here kept me so busy. Seriously, I believe they are what got me through the first initial really hard month of grief after my husband died last June. They had me smiling even when I didn’t want to-even when I didn’t think I could. They gave me something to do rather than dwell on grief. They asked hard questions and got me talking about Kramer’s passing. Even though they are a needy bunch, they really helped me through it all.
Telling the parents is for sure, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I have wonderful families. They are the kind of childcare parents that have opened their family and their hearts to me. I can’t say enough of good things about them. They were always very respectful of me…kind to me and just great people.
The good news, is that even though they were sad for themselves, they are all happy for me. What a blessing to have good people in my life. I so hope we can stay connected. Once things have calmed with covid, I have offered to do some drop in care for them should their new regular provider need a day off. I really do still want to be a part of the kids’ lives. They all have been so special to me.
I feel bad as there is a serious shortage of childcare in our area. If anyone is looking to start a new job, in home childcare is a real option in this area.
So…here’s to a new chapter in the life of Jo Kramer. It’s not one I intended on writing. This chapter is going to still be filled with kids…my grandkids though. This chapter is going to have cross stitching and quilting and gardening…oh my. I didn’t think I was ready for this, but now that it’s here, I’m really excited.