Today I'm having a hard time with one of the children I babysit. This child and I have gone around and around several times, and some days it just gets to the point where I begin to think to myself, why am I doing this again?
My job is taking care of these children. There are two of them - siblings - and it is enjoyable being able to care for kids here in my home. And while I know that because this is just a job I am free to leave it at any point, I feel a sort of responsibility to stick around for these kids. I feel like I can't just turn in my resignation like I would at any other work place when the situation gets as difficult as it periodically gets here. I don't necessarily want to say that I feel like a parent to these children, but at times that's what I feel like. It's unlike working at the preschool, where children were in my class for just a school year, and then new children came in their place. These children have been in my home for 9-10 hours a day, five days a week, since January 2006. That's a long time.
And because it's been that long of a time, I feel like the problems the oldest child is having are not being resolved in my care. I do not feel like a failure - no, I don't feel like I'm not doing anything right - I just feel like maybe I cannot provide the kind of care he needs.
He's a very emotional child with special needs (as his parents are discovering.) He's going to evaluations to determine if he has any true "special needs" and to help his parents learn how to help him, how to give him the best possible care. And while I am very familiar with some of his issues - my own son had some of the very same issues - I am very overwhelmed with giving him the care he needs while also caring for his sibling and my own two children. And that leaves me wanting to throw my hands into the air and say, "I give up."
Yet this sense of responsibility (I keep using that word) keeps me from giving up. I know that his issues would be worse if his childcare situation were to change. I feel like I, of all people, should be able to provide him with the routine, structure, and most of all understanding, that he needs. It's just difficult.
And then the whole, is this situation best for him question comes into play. And my mind goes in circles trying to figure out the answer. I know what I would do if he was my child, but I also know that that may not be the best thing. It would just be my answer to the situation. And we're all different in the ways we handle our children.
I know that I may go through these days when things are very difficult for me (and him) and I also know that right now I can't quit. I have to see it through.
But, damn, it's HARD.