Struggles and Rewards of Working With Children

Struggles and Rewards of Working With Children

The highs and lows of spending an obscene amount of time with the good, the bad, and the ugly.
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So you’re home for the summer. You pick up a job at a daycare or summer camp, thinking it’ll be easy money. Minimum wage just for playing with some kids for a couple hours? Sounds great.

It is pretty great. Easy, though? Not so much. Here’s what to expect:


Unbelievably difficult terminology/gibberish

Struggle - Talk about endless confusion. By the time you’ve figured out what they’re saying, they’ve already cried about it or forgotten about it. Also, you start using their words in every day life (if you don’t believe me, ask your friends how many times you’ve said, “I gotta go potty,” or, “I have a boo-boo.”).

Reward - Grammar and pronunciation mishaps make for some awesome stories and awesome moments. I mean, everyone loves hearing kids say “ba-sketty” instead of “spaghetti.” Oh, and you can consider yourself bilingual once you’ve mastered the art of child gibberish.


Brutal honesty

Struggle - “Are you pregnant?” AKA lay off the snacks for a while. Maybe hit the gym. “Why do you have bug bites on your face?” Well kid, they’re not bug bites. I hope puberty treats you better than it treated me.

Reward - Is there actually anything better than when a kid tells you you’re beautiful? No. The answer is no.


Cluelessness and clumsiness

Struggle - Instructions go straight over kids’ heads, and explaining what they don’t understand (probably by saying even more things they don’t understand) just digs the hole even deeper. You have to be on your explaining game and your protective game. They’re constantly breaking things, knocking things over, tripping on things, and hurting themselves. Good luck catching a break, especially when it’s time to play what you thought would be a harmless game.

Reward - There’s never not something to laugh about later on. If laughing at accident-prone children is wrong, I don’t want to be right.


Sweet moments

Struggle - There is no struggle. They’re sweet angels sent from above. Kids love to snuggle, they love Disney movies, and they love coloring. Totally angelic.

Reward - Every girl’s brain: Kids are great. They’re so fun and nice. This doesn’t seem too hard. Maybe I should have a kid. I could totally be a parent. *adds 50 pins to baby themed Pinterest board*


Tantrums and mood swings

Struggle - The sweet angel wings start to look a lot like devil horns, and those dreamy thoughts about having kids of your own get replaced by the decision that a dog will do just fine. Maybe your day would be easier without the “it’s time to get out of the pool” meltdown. Maybe your life would be just fine without the drama of offering Cheetos at snack because you ran out of Goldfish.

Reward - Telling yourself “patience patience patience patience” actually starts to work. Self control gets real. You learn to tame your tongue and calm your temper quicker than you knew was possible.


Obsessing and being possessive of them

Struggle - They’re your children now. Their actual parents think you’re a child predator because of the ridiculous way you smile at their children when you see them in public. You refer to them as “your babies” in the endless pictures, videos, and stories that you share with people. How exactly is this a struggle? Because nobody cares. Except you. You care too much.

Reward - You don’t actually care too much. They’re your babies and you love them. Also, you have endless babysitting opportunities and endless childhoods to live vicariously through.


The time FLIES

Struggle - It’s literally the saddest thing in the whole world to watch your babies grow up. You come home for Christmas and they can talk in full sentences. You notice them getting more and more independent each time you babysit. You know that time is passing and life is progressing, but you still find it shocking that they’ll be in first grade when school starts this year.

Reward - There’s something fascinating about seeing children develop. Watching their personalities form and their minds mature is so interesting. The only thing that makes it even better is knowing that you have such a strong influence on their lives. I mean, you’re practically raising them. Right?


So what if they call you out on your fat days or make your blood pressure rise when they whine? Children have a funny way of changing your life just as much as you’re changing theirs.

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Mother Nature Needs Us, Grow A Pair And Help Her

In only 11 years our carbon pollution needs to be cut in half... and we aren't doing our part.

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The Earth is dying.

Did that catch your attention? I would sincerely hope it would, but I'm afraid it's a message that too many of us have become desensitized to. How many times have you scrolled through your Twitter or Facebook feed only to barely skim your eyes over the post after post of messages similar to this one? Exactly.

It's pretty easy to like a few motivational pictures on Instagram about saving the ocean, to retweet a thread showing you images of wildlife we've harmed with our careless waste, or to share that video of Bill Nye setting a globe on fire and yelling at us to get a clue. What's meaningful and useful, however, is actually putting forth the effort to make a change. Actions speak louder than words; so far it seems that we're just all talk and no walk.

You might believe that you can't make a difference, that you making any contribution at all will not help in the grand scheme of things. That's such a sad and pessimistic way to think. Every contribution, no matter how big or small, is a step in the right direction. It's not even just your actions that will help, but you will also be setting an example for others. Your decision to make smarter, more environmentally friendly choices can and will inspire others to follow your lead.

There are a number of small and incredibly simple ways you can become more sustainable and help the planet. Here are a few examples, just so you can get the idea: stop using plastic straws and utensils, use reusable containers/water bottles/travel cups, stop drinking cow milk, try to eat at least one vegan meal a day, recycle, use bamboo toothbrushes, and try using bar soap or bar shampoo in the shower. These may all seem like silly or even pointless changes to some people, but they really do add up. Especially when these small changes turn into a lifestyle.

Want to know something bigger we can do than just recycling and avoiding using single-use plastics? Here are a few examples of policy ideas that governments can start enacting to make a difference: putting restrictions on air conditioners with high global warming potential or requiring a limit/reduction of HFCs, transition to electric only transportation, creating more walkable communities so it is easier to live without cars, create policies that restrict food waste (such as bans on throwing it in landfills or fees if you do), and establish a carbon tax.

There is a multitude of choices that we have to pick from. Big or small, we can make a change to help our planet before it's too late. Start making changes in your own lives, encourage others to do the same, and start getting on legislators to make and push policies that matter.

Mother Nature needs us. We're all that she has and we've let her down for far too long.

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