Childcare is not a job for the weak.
Working day after day with young'uns takes a very special type of person. After spending a lot of time in the position, there are some pretty specific indicators that almost never fail to identify these individuals. Here are 10 qualities that are very likely to be shared by childcare workers alike:
1. They go from being single to "having" about 15 kids.
Even if they don't have actual children, a spouse, or even a significant other, they will shamelessly refer to the children that they watch or teach as their very own kids... and probably treat them as such, too.
2. You'll find them perusing the kids' section during a shopping trip.
Even if they set out on a grocery or personal shopping trip, once they've spotted a new book or toy that they know their kids would love, you've lost them for a solid 15 minutes. It's best to just leave them be at that point.
3. If you're having trouble describing something to them, they'll encourage you to "use your words."
If that condescending phrase wasn't enough, they'll probably accompany it with a baby voice and a pat on the back.
4. Every single person they meet is automatically their "friend."
5. They’re almost TOO comfortable with talk concerning bodily fluids...
...and are probably covered in at least one after every shift. Spit up, snot, slobbery tears, urine, feces. You name it; they are probably low-key saturated in it and hoping that no one looks too closely at the clothes that they didn’t have time to change out of after work.
7. They always pause for a second too long before saying "bathroom" or "restroom."
They are well aware that saying "potty" would get them a really odd reaction and/or a judgmental stare (as it probably has in the past when they've let it slip into normal conversation), but it has been conditioned into their vocabulary and takes a LOT of willpower not to say.
9. They are always finding some excuse to burst into random song.
In response to any conversation involving trains, bumble bees, teapots, the alphabet, or buses, they probably have a full, choreography-included musical number for ya.
10. They have the utmost patience.
Listening to a two-year-old [try to] tell a story will test your patience unlike any other circumstance in the world. And let me tell you, childcare workers have LOTS of practice...
Now, let’s be real; kids can be a nightmare. The fact that childcare workers have to deal with their ridiculousness nearly every day astounds me, especially knowing that they will probably not receive the recognition they deserve. I have had the privilege to work part-time as a student helper at the Vanderbilt Child Care Center, and just a few hours with those energy-filled little ones leaves me exhausted. I could not imagine doing it full-time every day, but there are so many that do. Shout out to all you awesome childcare providers out there! You are seen, appreciated, and loved.