Hey Wonder Moms!
I am so so sorry that this article isn’t out on our normal date! Unfortuneatley I ran into some technical difficulties, but here we are and I am tickled pink to have a very special article for you all this month! My good friend Mari Cates is joining us this month for an inside look at Childcare and Motherhood. A lot of you guys are working moms out there like me, and you need to know how to pick a good Daycare or Childcare Provider. Ms. Mari is here to shed some light on the subject with her 25 years of experience in this field!
I first met Mari on an outing with the Women’s Ministry from my church to the Women of Faith Conference. We hit it off immediately and became fast friends over the weekend. She is SO talented in many areas not the least of which is her AMAZING voice! She is a true servant of God and just a wonderful mom, wife, and business owner. I am inspired to know you Ms. Cates, and I can’t wait to share you with all my friends!!! Here we go!
Interview with Mari
Tell me your story, did you always want to be a mom?
I have always had a love for children but didn’t really have any thought about being a Mom until I was around 17. I was told I would most likely never be able to get pregnant or have kids, due to severe endometriosis and a cervical cancer diagnosis 2 years later. My doctors advised me that it would kill me if I had kids after 25 and if I were to get pregnant it would be dangerous. I was never really a “white picket fence” type of girl. But once I was told I wouldn’t be able to have kids I actually sat down with God and prayed about it.
Wow! To see you now with three wonderful kids is SO amazing!!! You are a living testimony and hope to the power of God for women facing these kinds of diagnosis everywhere!
What are some of your “Mom Hacks” especially for Newer Moms?
A.) As easy as it sounds, BREATHE! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in being these “perfect” moms that we just forget to take a breath and give ourselves some grace. We are all doing the best we can and we’re gonna mess up sometimes. IT’S TOTALLY NORMAL!
B.) Always have snacks! Snacks can be a life saver. Lol
C.) Take a break, rest, relax! It is imperative to give yourself a break. You have to take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of self, you can’t properly take care of your kids.
I totally agree with all of these!!! I caught myself many times when my sweet girl was a newborn holding my breath! Sometimes you don’t realize it until you exhale. For more on finding balance don’t forget to check out this article! There is only one of you, and if you are empty you can’t give anything to anyone else! We all need that time alone with God and with ourselves to recharge and refill, so we have the love we need to give to our families and friends. 😊
How did you get involved in Childcare, and for how long?
I was kinda born into it. My mother was a childcare provider. She took care of kids and cleaned houses when we lived in Georgia. When we moved to Texas she first started working in a daycare and didn’t like some of the protocols, procedures, nutritional guidelines as well as other things. So, she decided to open up shop in her house. She got registered through the State of Texas as a licensed childcare provider and the rest is history!
I started assisting my mom with the kids when I was 7 and was legally recognized as an assistant at 13. I would assist other in-home providers that were in the Flower Mound and Lewisville Childcare Association as well. At 18 I started working in the summers at a large-scale public run daycare. It was definitely an eye opener. I felt how my mom did.
After a stint in Corporate America in the medical and pharmaceutical industry I came back to daycare because I was missing my kids. I worked anywhere from 12-15 hours a day. My mom and I became business partners and worked together for 10 years until she retired and then I continued for another 4 years until I closed in June of 2019. SO, I have actively been in childcare for almost 25 years.
WOW! That’s an awesome story! You can really see your heart for children and how God uses all our experiences in life even when they don’t seem to make sense to us!
Romans 8:28 NLT-And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.
How to Choose Your Childcare
What are some of the main differences between a Home Run and a Public Run Daycare?
The amount of kids is one of the biggest things. Ratios are lower for in-home facilities. In-home daycare lends more opportunity for one on one time for children.
Caregiver turn around in large scale facilities are higher, especially in the after-school age group.
Quality of care. Now don’t get me wrong, there are many wonderful larger scale daycare facilities out there. But, in-home daycare allows for a more personalized care experience. Many of the children that I watched were in my care for 8-10 years of their life. Myself and their parents were able to develop a relationship that allowed me to be able to better suit the needs of their children.
This is wonderful info for parents to consider when choosing the right place for their LO. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and truth with our readers! If you are looking for a childcare facility in Texas you can use the following website. It also has many other resources for Family and Youth Services!
What are some key things parents need to be aware of when looking for a Childcare Facility?
See if they are registered through the state. See if they have deficiencies and if so what for.
Ask around. See if you know of anyone who has used that daycare and see what their real experience was.
Ask to do a walk thru and interview. If a daycare or a provider is unwilling to do an interview, then run!
So true!!! If you are trusting someone to watch your precious baby, you need to know what their approaches are and get comfortable with the facility and the caregiver. If they are not willing to answer your questions and do a walk through now, they will not be communicative in the future when it counts either! ☹
Do you have any tips for First Time Parents about choosing a good Daycare?
Find a daycare or provider who is transparent, has the proper certifications (i.e. infant CPR and FIRST AID, Child nutrition certification. Continued education for childcare) and you feel will be a good fit for your parenting style.
Listen to your gut. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, know you’re not crazy and listen to it.
This is such solid advice, one thing I have learned over the three years raising my beautiful little girl is that my gut is usually right. Some of that I learned the hard way…the sooner you let your mom intuition take root the better off and more relaxed you can be! Also listen to your Higher Power, He will lead you in the right direction, and is a wonderful judge of character! 😉
How Can you make sure you’re setting up a mutually beneficial relationship with your Childcare Provider?
One of the biggest things is open communication. Your daycare provider should have an idea of your parenting style and what the needs of your child are. Each child is different, so it is imperative that open and honest conversations happen regularly between you and your childcare provider.
Mutual respect is also huge. If you do not have a true respect for the person caring for your child and them have the same for you there will always be an issue. Realize that your childcare provider is human and is going to make mistakes just like you will as a parent. So much of how we handle those times will set the tone of the caregiver- parent relationship
SO TRUE! I have watched several of my friends struggle with their Daycare Providers to get basic communications much less communications on important issues or exploring solutions to problems that their child was facing. Communication is the key to every relationship, and this one is no different. No matter how well you know the person, make sure that you have working communication with them and you will save yourself a lot of future headaches.
I also agree that you have to remember that your Childcare Provider is a human being that is fallible just like you and me, giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming the best of that person is also very helpful to help you navigate those difficulties that arise.
What tips do you have for Parents when preparing a Child for Daycare, or Changing Daycares?
Start getting them in a routine. All of us typically function better with a routine because it takes the guesswork out of what is happening next. Kids understand more than what we give them credit for, so also talking to them about what is happening will help ease any anxiety they might have about the transition.
For infants, if you are breastfeeding, make sure you start trying to transition to bottle feeding sooner than later. It’s hard for anyone to learn something new on their first attempt. Have some grace for your little one and your provider by giving it some time prior to the first day of childcare.
Yes! Talking about things with your child is SO important and they are never to young to start! The more you talk about something the more you normalize it, and this can help them feel secure that this isn’t something to fear. I tell my daughter well in advance when we are going to be out of town, go to the dentist, or other changes to her normal routine are coming so that she can be prepared at least mentally for the change to occur.
Childcare Stories and Encouragement
What are some of your favorite Stories from your Daycare?
Wow, there are so many. I guess one of the cooler ones is when you run into these kids when they are teenagers and young adults. I had one kid I took care of almost 15 years ago run into me at a grocery store. He gave me a big hug and asked me “Hey Ms. Mari, do you still read the The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear.” the way his face lit up in the same way as when I used to read it to him was priceless.
In my last group of kiddos there was a daily discussion for almost 2 years with a child named Memphis. For some reason he felt that one of the other children, named Zion should be called Y. I never really figured out why he came to this notion, but he was determined his name was Y!
So, the daily conversion would be like.
Memphis: “Ms. Mari, Y is done with his food can he come play with me?”
Me: “Memphis his name is Zion, and he can come play with you once he asks to be excused”
Memphis: “OK, Y ask to be excused so we can play cars”
Me: “Memphis his name is Zion, not Y”
Memphis: “No, he’s Y, Y say may I please be excused, I want the blue car, you can have the yellow one Y”
That is to FUNNY!!! Kids get so determined once they make their minds up about something! LOL!!! And watching them come up with names for things and people is more fun than actually telling them what the real names are!!! (I know we have to tell them the correct names so they learn, but it never fails to make me laugh out loud to ask my daughter what the name of objects are and seeing what she comes up with!) 😊
Do you have any encouragement for New Moms that are getting ready to Return to Work?
Know that working should not make you feel like less of a mom. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty for providing for your child. Do not allow anyone else to make you feel this way either. Provision is an important part of your child’s development as well. Kids need love and security, but they also need stability.
You working helps to provide that for them. Help is not a bad word! We all need help, that can be as small of an ask as just having someone listen to you vent or as big as asking someone to watch the kiddos while you take some me time. Never feel bad about either and do so more often then you really feel you need to.
Working moms often feel like they have to be Wonder Woman and conquer all fore fronts of being a Mom, Wife, Employer, Boss, Friend etc. Know that balance is the key. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed and to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you stronger!
Well there you go ladies! Isn’t she just wonderful?! I have so enjoyed our time together and sharing you and your knowledge, expertise, and anecdotes with my lovely readers! Thank you again for taking time to do this interview and give us moms some encouragement and permission to just be ourselves.
Until next time, TTFN
Hey Lexi! Signing Off!
As always, if you’ve enjoyed this post please share this with your friends, and don’t forget to leave your questions in the comment section below! I am here for you friend, let me know what you’re struggling with. What are your fears? Together we can face them, find a solution, and encourage one another along the way! Keep up the good work, you’re an AWESOME Mom and don’t you forget it!!! 😀