I hear it all the time—online, in interviews, in mom groups—parents complaining because their provider took a scheduled vacation day, a.k.a., paid time off. The parent has to find alternate care, but they still have to pay daycare.

I also hear: “It’s not fair!” “If they aren’t providing the service, why should I have to pay?” “I don’t get paid time off—why should they?”

True, you don’t get paid time off when you have to stay home with your child. However, there are plenty of working families who do. In fact, most people who work a career, get paid time off. and let’s face it—you want a provider who sees her job as a career, not a temporary working situation.

So you don’t get paid time off and your provider wants paid time off. You don’t feel that’s very fair. Now, the mom in me wants to say, “Fair is a place where you ride the rides and get cotton candy. Life isn’t fair.” Howeverthis is your livelihood, your child and the person you trust to help raise your child. So your concern is understandable.

Let’s put this into perspective. Here are some “perks” you likely get at your job—that your daycare provider doesn’t get:

  • Overtime
  • Lunch breaks
  • Adult interaction
  • To pee in private
  • To drink coffee—while it’s still hot
  • A 401k

So, here’s the deal.

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We know that when we take time off from work, it inconveniences you. We know. For our family, when we go on vacation, I am well aware that I have five other families who now have to take time off to compensate for my fun. Guilt doesn’t cover it. I used to hate planning family vacations, for the sole reason that I didn’t want to tell my parents that I’m taking time off.

(In fact, to be perfectly candid, I don’t take my vacations paid because of the guilt. I do, however, take major holidays paid. And after four years of running a family childcare home, I finally gave myself a few sick days in my contract.)

Here’s why childcare providers both need and deserve some paid time off:

You value yourself. As a childcare provider, mother, wife and woman, you have value. You have an important job which demands a lot and as such, you need to practice self care. Part of practicing that self care is the ability to take time off to reconnect with yourself and your family—and the same value applies to your childcare provider.

Your childcare provider values their job. It seems like a contradiction—but I believe most moms understand—we are better parents when we have time to fill our own cups. As caregivers of your kids, have this amazing, beautiful honor of shaping and raising your children and we don’t take it lightly. We want to do it well. But it’s nearly impossible to pour out of yourself when your own private cup is empty.

We can’t be the “Mom who smiles” all the time without taking care of ourselves, too. To put it simply, being a good childcare provider and practicing self-care go hand-in-hand. And that means, very frequently, paid time off.

Take it from me: childcare providers need to take time for themselves. Parents, respect the person helping raise your children and understand their need for self-care. It just helps them better able to give your littles all the love and care they need.