In my teens and early twenties, I worked at a daycare. When I was 16, a mom asked me to drive her children home after closing. It turned out she was desperate to attend a "happy hour" at a local restaurant. I immediately told her no, but that answer wasn't good enough. I surprised myself when Dr. Laura words flew out of my mouth: "I'm 16, you don't know how I drive, you don't know if I can properly install a car seat or if the car I use is safe, yet you want your babies in the car with me?" She was dumbstruck and labeled me a "brat." My employer said I had done the right thing, and we were all instructed never to do any "extras" for any mom -- no taxi service, no exceptions to open early or close late, and never attend a birthday party. Some moms would shirk any shred of remaining responsibility, as we were expected to look after their children extensively, including supervising birthday parties while inattentive moms socialized and drank at their leisure. We weren't offered extra compensation, since each mom had the illusion that their child was our favorite, assuming we'd do anything for them.
Little did the parents know that as daycare workers we plaster on smiles because we need a paycheck, and we wait with baited breath for closing time. What I remember most is every infamous woman who darkened the daycare's doorway pretending to be a "mommy." These were the mothers who neglected to change a soaked night diaper before dropping their kid off. They were the women who masked a toddler's illness with medicine, whining about making an inconvenient trip to the doctor's, because they'd rather work.
Today, I am my husband's girlfriend and my children's stay-at-home mommy. I wouldn't have it any other way.
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