So You Want to Start a Home Daycare

by : David Leonhardt

I hang out with the other mommies. No, I am not a "Mister Mom" or a "Househusband". I do have one enviable situation, though. I work from home and I have the flexibility to say, "This morning I am going to spend with my daughters. I can play with them. I can sing with them. I can laugh with them. I can clean up their ice cream that drips all over me."

Or I can say, "This morning I am taking my daughters to the play center, where they can play with other children, sing with other children, laugh with other children and spill ice cream on other children instead of on me."

So I hang out with the other mommies.

I've noticed that many mommies want to start a home daycare. The reasoning seams to go like this.

  1. I'm at home within my own children anyway.

  2. So far I have remained relatively unscathed, with few permanent injuries.

  3. How much trouble can a few extra children running around spilling ice cream on the rug cause?

  4. Let's tempt fate.

I have two children, a toddler and a baby. They are enough of a handful, and the baby can't even climb on counters...yet.

Before setting up your own home daycare, consider this: how many more inspiring diaper-changing hours do you want to spend each day? Little Lady is on her sixth month of perpetual toilet-training. If there is a purgatory, this is it. Too old to just carry her treasures in her quick-change diapers, too young to just go on her own, stuck in the middle in a high-maintenance waiting room of sorts. Little Sister has a nickname: Poopasaurus, because...oh wait just a minute. I have to go clean up a mess. Another mess.

I've already written about the challenges of dressing a toddler while she's running bounding over the couch at record-shattering speeds:

Then there is the atmosphere. Now that Little Lady doesn't nap anymore, she can get mighty cranky. I know the feeling. It doesn't take much to get a good wail going. And she has lungs. Or she might break a few rules or a few toys. Or she might just disobey. It doesn't take long for a parent to lose patience.

Crying. Stress. Babies sense it, and Little Sister can get cranky, too. It's a whole wailing chorus. Before long, the tension in our house can get so thick you could almost cut it with a chainsaw. Almost.

Does it get any better in a daycare? Yes. You can take in only children who are completely toilet trained. Unfortunately, those children can climb counters. And chairs. And tables. And balconies.

If you still want to tempt fate and see how many children it takes to cause irreparable damage to your house, your car and your body, here are four tips:

  1. Keep all sharp objects, cleansers and medications in a safe another town.

  2. Laminate your couch. And your carpets. And your clothes. And your ceiling. And your food.

  3. Get a good pair of industrial strength earplugs – the kind they give the guy who pushes the rockets off a Cape Canaveral.

  4. Place Velcro strips along your walls...just in case.

That's about all the advice I can offer. Oh yes, and did I mention to have fun.