I gave notice to our daycare provider and she freaked out

A reader writes:

My three-year-old daughter has been going to the same in-home daycare provider since she was very young. Her daycare provider, let’s call her Amy, is very good at what she does, has 25 years of experience, and is well-respected in our community. We have always been happy with her as a professional. However, Amy’s daycare is closed for 40 weekdays each year. Most of those days are paid. My spouse and I each have 15 days of paid time off, so it’s always been challenging to cover those closures, but with the help of my in-laws, we make it work.

Recently, Amy came to us and announced that she would be taking on a part-time position coaching other in-home daycare providers in addition to owning her own daycare, and that she would be working four hours each day in addition to the ten hours her daycare is open and would be closed an additional day each month. This is a big problem for us, since we are barely able to cover the current number of closures, and we don’t feel comfortable relying on someone who is working 14-hour days to provide safe and attentive care for our child. We offered to pay her more if she decided not to take the position, but she declined. We began looking for a new daycare and found one.

This is where things get interesting. Amy’s contract states that we need to give six weeks of notice if we are ending care with her. I gave her notice, in person, exactly six weeks before our planned last day. Amy was nice, told us she was sorry we were leaving, but she understood. I was very clear that the only reason we were leaving was because of the schedule change, and that we had no qualms about the level of care that she has provided. She told us that the new daycare center we were moving our child to was a great one and that we would be happy there. I thought we were in good shape.

However, the next evening, Amy texted us a vague message saying that we would be ending care in two weeks because she has a family lined up to replace us, and they want to start care for their child soon. A whole month earlier than we planned. We texted back asking for clarification but didn’t hear back. We tried calling her, and she didn’t answer. We were incredibly worried because a month-long break in childcare would be devastating to our careers. The next morning, Amy refused to clarify the vague text, but told us that we don’t need to worry and that we WOULD have childcare for the full six weeks that we needed it. I again thought we were in good shape.

A few hours later, while I was at work, I got an incredibly long text message from Amy that included the following:

1. Amy told us we were making a huge mistake in moving our child to a new daycare, saying that we would create devastating long-term effects for her.
2. She accused us of being inflexible and not caring about her family’s well-being since we couldn’t make the schedule change work.
3. She said, “We as providers have seen over the years of our business have seen a change in parents. Not necessarily a good change.” I think this is a slight against us as millenials. (?!)
4. She ended the message saying, “Just know I wish you all the best as you tear someone from my heart and I have to accept it.”

I cannot understand the point of this message. It’s wildly unprofessional and has ruined our perception of Amy. We have been told again that we do have childcare until the end date that we originally communicated, but Amy is refusing to talk to me when I drop off or pick up my daughter. Oddly, she is communicating normally with my spouse.

Now for my questions. I am so fired up about this situation and I am having trouble gauging what an appropriate response would be. I intend to remain professional for the next six weeks with Amy, as we approach our end date. However, should I tell the other daycare parents what happened? Should I leave a Google review so that others can be warned? If I had heard of this happening to other parents in the past, I would have wanted to know. That could have led me to not giving any notice, and just paying out an extra six weeks beyond our end date so that we could have guaranteed childcare. Should I forgive and forget? Should I let the childcare coaching agency she now works for part-time know that she is this unprofessional toward parents? (I am guessing that last one should be a no, since I would hate for someone to call my workplace to share stories about me.)

Thanks for any insight you can give. My brain is feeling fried at this point.

Yeah, don’t contact Amy’s part-time job to tell them she’s unprofessional. That would be overstepping in a big way. If you had hired her through that agency, that would be different — but contacting an employer that you have no connection to is a big transgression.

But you didn’t do anything wrong here and Amy’s response is kind of wild.

It’s entirely reasonable not to want to stay with a daycare that will be closing for more days a month than you can handle. Amy is entitled to set her days and hours however she wants them, but she has to know that they won’t work for every family, and she might lose clients over it.

You followed the terms of Amy’s contract and gave the requested six weeks notice. That should have been the end of it.

I don’t know what changed in between your initial notice-giving conversation and everything that happened next, but since it sounds like you’ve always known Amy to be reasonable and professional before this, I’m guessing the most likely explanation is stress. People are under a lot of it, child care providers in particular. Because of that, and since you’ve been happy with Amy up until now, I’d err on the side of giving her some grace.

It would be different if she had a pattern of being erratic and unreliable. That’s the kind of thing that would make sense to share with other parents and/or leave in a review. But if this is one uncharacteristic moment after years of good work, and after two years of intense stress … I’d let it go.

That’s not to say what Amy did is okay. It’s not. And the fact that she’s still refusing to talk to you when you see her is weird. (Any chance it’s embarrassment? Or even just being exhausted by what happened and not wanting to touch it again? That’s not a reasonable way to handle it, and if Amy were the one writing in I’d tell her that, but it might explain what’s happening.)

But because it’s not clear what happened or why … and because stress seems like such a likely explanation … and because she’s been lovely up until now, I come down on the side of letting it go, wishing her well, and moving on. (I imagine you’ll find plenty of people who feel differently, though!)

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t respond honestly if someone asks about your experience with Amy. If someone seeks out your opinion — because they’re a potential client or a current client trying to make sense of their own experience with Amy or so forth — this is something you should share. I just wouldn’t go out of your way to proactively inform people, unsolicited.

It’s worth making a distinction between those two scenarios, and it’s the second (proactively spreading the word) that feels more nuclear than is called for, and where I’d advocate for some grace.

{ 627 comments… read them below }

  1. Miel*

    I know this isn’t the point of the letter, but oh my goodness, as a person without kids: childcare sounds so, so difficult.

    1. Greg*

      It is such a cluster. I’m lucky that my job provides some flexibility to duck out if there are any issues and my wife is a teacher so summers are easier to manage…but between the cost (1.5x my mortgage with two kids!), finding it, and all the closures and health scares of the last two years we are fried. It is one of those things that feels so, so simple when we didn’t have kids (“Oh, there are day cares all over the place, this won’t be an issue!”) that is very much not once we got into it.

      1. TinaTurner*

        It’s surprising there’s not a “Yelp” type of site that reviews daycares the way it reviews restaurants. I’d save the correspondence to show anyone interested. Or if she turns around and sues you. She sounds irrational.

        1. Tin Cormorant*

          Yelp does let you review any kind of business, not just restaurants. I personally found my daughter’s daycare through Yelp! But it’s true that a lot of people don’t think of it for places that aren’t restaurants, so they tend to have relatively few reviews and it’s harder to compare places for that reason.

        2. Mr. Shark*

          Unfortunately I think that Yelp tends to draw more negative reviews than positive reviews, because people who have a negative experience look to find a place that complain, whereas people who have a positive experience don’t always seek out a place to mention the positive experience and praise a place that does well.

          1. Blaise*

            Hi, I’m a Yelp Elite for Detroit- you just have to know how to use Yelp effectively. Yelp Elites are people who post a lot of reviews and have been recognized by Yelp as reliable sources. We have to follow set guidelines, like that we can’t review a business unless we’ve been a paid customer there (since businesses sometimes provide us with free food and stuff), and we have to get reapproved every year. When I’m checking reviews (and I use Yelp for pretty much everything lol), I don’t just look at the star rating- I also take into account how many reviews there are, and I put more stock into reading reviews posted by Elites because it guarantees that it wasn’t posted posted by, say, a disgruntled ex-employee or something.

            Just wanted to share some tips :) Yelp can be incredibly helpful, but you do have to know how to use it right- just going purely off of an overall star rating won’t always give you a complete picture.

            1. Random Biter*

              @Blaise well, learn something new every day. I’ve read Yelp reviews (and think I’ve posted a few) for many types of businesses. There’s always that little voice that wants to know do I think this is a legit review or someone trying to get some jabs in. When I worked at the Tan Chapeau the rule my managers followed were that you’d get 10 complaining comment cards for every good one so don’t let those cards rule your life.

    2. BeezLouise*

      It’s impossible.

      I know that I “choose” to work (insomuch as my family couldn’t afford for me not to do so) but managing childcare is an impossible and exhausting task.

      1. 2 Cents*

        My mom, who is normally supportive, made some comment about me “choosing” work over staying home with LO and I’m like, “Yes, I chose to help keep a roof over our heads and the ability to shop for food and other necessities without as much worry. That was my choice.”

        1. Manchmal*

          And somehow your husband’s/partner’s decision to work is never called into question…

          At some point my mom made a remark about shuffling the kids off to the cold impersonal daycare, and I was like, didn’t I go to daycare? Didn’t you send me to public school? Home come you shuffled me off to those cold impersonal institutions??

          As a women, you cannot win.

          1. S*

            I totally agree that as women we cannot win. My mum would leave me with my grandma when she’d go to work. Fast forward 30 years, my grandma has Alzheimer’s, my mother has cancer, my father has passed on, as have my husband’s parents. I am criticised for sending my kids to daycare, when I’m all I am doing is not saddling my family with more responsibilities. Meanwhile not a word to my husband.

            1. Despachito*

              Oh, I am so sorry about your situation. It is hard as it is, but I was always particularly pissed off that it was always the woman who was automatically supposed to care for the elderly members of family, not only of her own but for the in-laws too. It is clear that it has to be done but it is exhausting and awfully unfair if it is supposed to be tossed just onto one person.

              And all those criticizing your choices can offer their own help… or go pound sand.

          2. QA Peon*

            Yeah, my coworker has this kind of attitude about daycare too – but you know, my son has asked several times in the last 2 years when he can go back. He misses the teachers, he misses his friends there, and he misses the non stop activity lol. Neither cold nor impersonal!

            1. Tin Cormorant*

              I actually did have a choice (my husband made enough money for me to stay home) but when my daughter was 3 I took on a part-time job so that I could afford to send her to preschool, purely because she’s a really social kid and I felt like her social growth was being stunted by just spending every day at home watching me do housework.

            2. The Rural Juror*

              I loved daycare as a kid. We lived in a rural area and my mom would drop me off at a place a couple of blocks from her office in town (20 miles from where we lived). As a kid that couldn’t run around in a neighborhood with other kids, daycare was my ONLY socialization before I was old enough to go to school.

              My nephew and niece are in the same boat now, living in a rural area, and it seems like it really benefits them, too. I don’t have kids, but I always tell my friends who use daycare that they’re making a good choice for their families.

            3. allathian*

              Yeah, this. I firmly believe that most kids over 3 need more social contacts than family can provide, regardless of the number of siblings, although I’ll grant you that this is particularly true of singletons. It’s not healthy for kids to spend time with just adults, they need the company of other kids. How else will they learn to get along with others if they never get the experience of trying it out? For as long as the kids live at home, siblings more or less have to get along somehow, even if they don’t always like each other very much growing up (sibling abuse is something else entirely). It’s a very valuable experience to learn that others don’t have to be friends with you, or even like you very much, and even more valuable to learn that someone can like you a lot as a friend even if they don’t “have to” do so.

              I’m so glad that my son’s been at the “easy” pre-teen age during the pandemic, and my heart goes out to all those who are dealing with small children, or children with developmental issues who need constant care regardless of age, and a lack of daycare.

        2. This is a name, I guess*

          Maybe you should frame the “choosing” to your mom to “choosing to have kids”? It seems like she’s assuming that having kids is a given and working is the choice in her world. I think for most people of childbearing age who have jobs, the choice is more to have kids and the working is was a given in this era. Of course, people sometimes end up staying home unintentionally…sometimes it ends up being the better decision given unforseen circumstances. But, the same goes for kids, too! Usually they are planned, but sometimes you have them unintentionally!

          1. anonarama*

            oh my god if my mom started going on about how it was my choice to have a child they way people do in the comments here, i would legit stop talking to her. people are going to have children and people are going to work so how about we make both of those things sustainable?

            1. Lady Luck*

              I don’t believe that people should be forced to choose between having children and having a fulfilling career, especially women. It’s definitely time we figure out how to make this work without all the stress and judgement.

              1. Despachito*

                This!

                Every child has TWO parents, and while I think that if someone wants kids they have to make place for them in their lives, I do not see a reason why the mother should tank her career and bear the brunt of parenting while the father keeps working late, going to business trips and climbing up the corporate ladder. If each of them sacrificed a bit instead of one sacrificing everything and the other virtually nothing, life would be much happier-

                1. Very Social*

                  Er, biologically speaking, every child has a parent who contributed an egg and a parent who contributed sperm, but that doesn’t necessarily have any connection to the number and identity of the person or people who raise them.

                  (I agree with the rest of your comment! And FWIW, I’m a working mom with a stay-at-home-dad husband.)

            2. This is a name, I guess*

              I don’t mean it like the horrible childfree commenters! It’s just that my mom and I have generational and class differences, so sometimes it helps to reframe problems to her through a more feminist lens.

              Her older worldview: everyone has children, and the wife usually stays home because it’s the man’s job to earn an income and women’s careers are secondary.

              My newer worldview: everybody works, not everybody has kids, sometimes people stay home.

              1. anonarama*

                yeah i just do not think there is any way of framing children as a choice when there is a specific child that already exists that does not result in “well you chose to have a child and therefor you chose whatever annoying thing is happening right now”

                1. allathian*

                  Yeah, this. I don’t think this is a particularly useful or constructive attitude.

            3. CannotHaveItAll*

              Only have children if you want to, not if you are being pushed into it. It’s the hardest job I ever had. And I have a graduate degree. I love my children with everything in my being. But I really do not love other people’s children.

        3. Greg*

          My wife would 100% rather stay home with the kids than send them to daycare. I would as well! When I first met my wife she was on the fast track at a Fortune 100 company and we were having serious conversations about me staying home with our family as she ascended. Then she pivoted to education in large part because of the flexibility the schedule provided.

          But every time someone talks to me about how a two income household is tearing the fabric of society apart and how they wished more parents would choose to be a single income household I go nuts as respectfully as possible, letting them know if it were an actual option I can guarantee you so many more families would be single-income. How many jobs can provide housing, food, transportation, etc. on a single income?

          I generally get stammers and awkward transitions from that one.

          1. Tall Teapot*

            So…just to say, there are some families that can live decently on one income, but that doesn’t mean that they should have to! The earning parent can take off, die, become incapacitated, get laid off, etc. I work not only for the income, but for the security it provides all of us–including my spouse, who doesn’t have to bear the burden of work on his shoulders alone..

            1. Marian*

              Same Same Same Same Same.

              My dad made a great salary… until he was diagnosed with cancer. Legally he could not continue in his job while undergoing treatment. Watching my mom scrabble for work and go back to school in my teen years was formative.

            2. allathian*

              Yes, this. It can work, but only if the earning spouse earns enough to ensure decent retirement savings for the spouse who doesn’t earn anything. Being forced to stay in a marriage because you can’t afford to leave shouldn’t happen in the 21st century.

          2. Irish girl*

            What i love about that is the amount of people in the workforce would drop so fast if half the population didnt work and stayed home. Plus it doesnt take into account all the single parents. Plus see you later to all your teachers once they have kids.

          3. Tin Cormorant*

            I live in a really expensive area, and it’s considered a *luxury* here that I can stay home while my husband works. I always get really jealous looks when new friends find out I’m a stay-at-home mom. I can guarantee you every single one of my married friends would choose to have one person stay home if they could afford it.

          4. The OTHER Other*

            I was about to say most families can’t get by with only 1 income, but sadly there are lots of single parents (especially moms) that are doing just that, along with doing most if not all the parenting, and not all by choice. But while it isn’t ideal, it’s remarkably out of touch for people to get judgmental about parents using day care, as though they haven’t gone over all their options for how they can care for the kids and pay the bills. It’s almost as obtuse as those that scold people for renting apartments instead of buying homes.

        4. Caroline*

          And does your partner – I am assuming, possibly wrongly, that you have one – also get remarks over their choice to abandon their children while they pursue their riveting career in Whatever?

          No?

          Very over this whole thing. Men so, so rarely get queried or judged on childcare arrangements. It’s just not something that comes up. If it does and a man asks for some tiny accommodation or other, they’re seen as absolutely DEVOTED parents and aren’t they wonderful?

          Gaaahhh.

          1. MissBaudelaire*

            It also irritates me when people assume that women want to/should stay home. I’m a better parent when I work. Period. This has been agreed by my husband, my therapist, and myself.

            I don’t want to stay home. That’s Not For Me. That doesn’t make me a bad mother/less of a mother.

            My husband stayed home for eight months and he ended up learning that being a SAHP wasn’t all that he thought it would be. Lots of learning about stuff for him there.

            1. Reluctant Mezzo*

              My mother worked, back in Way Long Ago, because both parents needed the money. Also, given my mother’s temperament, she would have killed us all if she’d stayed home all day.

    3. code red*

      It very much is. I’m honestly amazed LW was able to handle the 40 days (8 weeks!) of closures her provider already had. That’s crazy to me. I struggle with just the few holidays my daycare closes where my husband and I are scheduled to work.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I’m shocked she has customers with so many days (3-4/month) closed. The fact that she does really points the desperation of parents who are not getting half that amount of days off at their jobs requiring them to scramble to find fill in child care on days when she is closed.

        1. code red*

          It’s also the reason so many people need to continue paying the super high costs of daycares for before and after care for school age kids because they stay open a lot more when public schools close. They’ve added more and more days off for school age kids here since the schools reopened thanks to teacher and sub shortages. It’s getting harder and harder for working parents with kids in public school.

        2. NoNotNan*

          She is adding one more day per month, so she is now averaging one day of closure per week, its mind blowing. I can’t imagine even the most flexible of schedules tolerating that.

      2. Greg*

        Not only was the facility shut down…the parents were still contractually obligated to pay for those days!

        1. Juneybug*

          Our kids were in military base day care (who are very strict) and even they gave each parent 5 days off a year where they didn’t have to pay if there kiddo wasn’t at day care.

        2. Marion Cotesworth-Haye*

          You must not have kids in daycare–this is absolutely the way this works at every daycare in my area (with the sole exception of some of the early COVID lockdown closures).

          1. Greg*

            No, I very much do. I just still think it is insane. At least go the Southwest route and roll the cost of those days off into what people are actually paying rather than have them pay for the day on its own while having to make other arrangements.

      3. Antilles*

        And it’s now adding one more day a month on top of that – so it effectively averages out to only having childcare 4 days per week! That just seems brutal to try to plan around.

      4. ChildcareCrisis*

        It’s still less closures than a school schedule, but at least those align (ish! Why is there no camp the last two weeks of summer break???) with other childcare options

        1. Princess Trachea-Aurelia Belaroth*

          In general I think there’s no camp because a lot of counselors are teachers or students. Not all schools and school systems align on start dates, colleges definitely don’t align with primary and secondary schools on start dates, and teachers do usually need to go into school and set up their classrooms/finish prep before school starts.

          Teachers also can’t take vacations except during school closures, so if they want any time off in the summer and they work summer jobs, they need to fit it in around the edges.

          1. fine tipped pen afficionado*

            This is correct. I’m in Parks & Recreation and we recently added those last two weeks but we could only offer them at half capacity because that was all we could staff. There just aren’t enough seasonal workers to cover that time frame.

          2. Birdie*

            Yep, I used to direct summer camps and trying to find staff for August was always insanely difficult. As you mentioned, teachers have to go back before students, college students typically go back before k-12, and high schoolers would typically go on family vacation for at least a week.

        2. dawbs*

          we can’t staff camp. Like literally missing 1/2 the people we’d have as leaders some weeks.

          The past few years being what they are, my organization opened up it’s summer-day-camp slots and some weeks were completely filled before they’d been opened 24 hours. We’ve added as many slots as we can possibly jam into the buildings, and our wait lists are astronomically long…and we don’t have the staff hired for some of these weeks yet. I’ve been being bitched at by parents since March when we opened slots, people who are discovering in May they need camp are literally going to be #100 on the wait list.

          It’s not “NoBodY WanTs to WoRk” BS, it’s “we have undervalued and underpaid people in these sectors for decades, and now they have other options for jobs. We’re a great place to work, if you can handle making less than a living wage doing super fun and grueling emotional and physical labor”
          (I’m not trying to sound bitter. Although I probably am, since I’m brushing up my resume because I don’t know how much longer I can afford to work here)

          1. MissBaudelaire*

            All of this. It isn’t that no one wants to work it’s that no one should be working their ass off and not be able to afford things like–food. Shelter.

            People want to work, they don’t want to be exploited, and this is the first time in a very long time they’re finally in a position to say no more. So they are! And that’s great!

      5. JelloStapler*

        That’s why I did not go with an in-home provider back when my oldest was a baby, too easy for them to have to close at a moment’s notice (and way before COVID, so I cannot imagine now).

        1. Sasha*

          Same here, plus you are completely st the mercy of one person, and if they turn out to be batshit (or horrible, or unsafe) you are stuck with them until you find somebody else.

          At least with Daycare there are a range of teachers, so even if one is sick the daycare still stays open (pre-Covid, anyway), and if you don’t get on with one of them, or your child doesn’t, you aren’t leaving your precious child with somebody you dislike, one on one for 60 hours a week.

        2. American Water Dog*

          Yes, this. I used corporately run daycare centers, and I was very happy with them. The routine closures were limited and generally aligned to national holidays. Plus, more than one adult was present: adults were watching the adults and not just the kids. I coudn’t quite see the appeal of home-based daycare for those reasons.

      6. Avril Ludgateau*

        I quit going to a gym because they had too many closures. It was an expensive membership – $150 a month, about – with limited hours (class-based) in the first place, and on top of the typical federal/school holidays, they were closed a couple random days every month, plus a week in the summer, a week at Thanksgiving, the week from Christmas to New Year’s. The instructors deserve their time off, but at the time, the cost was just too much with all the restrictions, so when it came time to renew, I didn’t. $150 a month was too much for me to justify what was probably about 40, 45 days of closures per year.

        Now consider that childcare where I live averages ~$1600/month/child. Ten times as much! The best discount I’ve seen for additional kids from the same household was 10%. They don’t refund for days the daycare is closed (for weather or illness or plumbing disaster or whatever) and they charge by the minute for early drop-off and late pick-up. I haven’t looked deeply enough to know about if they have x random days of closures per month or year; I know some daycares here follow the same holiday schedule as public schools.

        What really blows my mind is that somehow despite these costs – and bear in mind $1600 is the average, there are places charging $2400+ – the actual childcare providers are paid $15-$17 per hour with scant benefits in a HCOL area where that really is not a self-sustaining wage, to oversee the legal maximum 12-15 kids per caregiver (depends on age). The claim is always that daycares run on razor thin margins but where does the money go? Because the actual childcare providers are getting fleeced.

        1. MissBaudelaire*

          And that is precisely my problem. When I’m coughing up 220 a week for care for my kid, and the workers are getting 9.50 an hour, and they sure don’t get full time, where does that money go? Who gets it? I’ve heard the ‘razor thin’ margin argument before but… I guess I need some sources cited. Let’s see, 12 kids per class, five classes of kids…. Not counting wrap around care. I don’t know, I just can’t make it make sense.

          And of course turn over is high because, you know, those workers move on to places that pay them well. So the parents are like, I am hemorrhaging money here and I cannot get consistent care. And then my daycare tried to get us to black out hours that we wouldn’t be there, but the price would be the same. So we booked their whole day, open to close. I’m paying for it, expect I will use it. They didn’t like that, I didn’t know what to tell them.

          My youngest is speech delayed (and perhaps has some other issues, testing is ongoing), so we qualified for Head Start, which is free. But does not include Fridays, so my husband had to arrange his schedule to accommodate that, so we still lose some money there. Can’t really be helped, though.

      7. Kyrielle*

        Yeah, when my youngest was still daycare-aged, we switched centers to a very good one we had been waitlisted for, associated with / sponsored by my employer.

        And I was *hugely grateful* for the fact it was, in fact, my employer providing it, because it meant that managers were obliged to be understanding about the various times it was closed. I thought the full week at the end of summer (atypical in my experience, here) was a bit much otherwise. I cannot imagine 8 weeks a year.

    4. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

      As a person with kids and also a stay at home partner allowing us to avoid daycare, I can vouch for all the stories I’ve heard that it IS difficult. My poor coworker has had all manner of issues during COVID and plenty of other issues (“I told you that I had eight weddings this year and that I wouldn’t be available those dates, didn’t I?”) before the pandemic.

      1. This is a name, I guess*

        Maybe I just have really nonconformist or chill friends, but I very rarely get invited to weddings. The idea that I would have to attend 8 in one year (likely in a 5 month period in my region – May through Sept) SEEMS ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE. That’s all my vacation! And so much disposable income! And so manylost weekends during the only nice weather in my region. I already get annoyed when I need to be out of town during Pride to go to a super fricken straight very conventional wedding. BUT EIGHT!?!

        1. As per Elaine*

          I think queer communities often do fewer weddings than straight folks, or if not fewer, on a less predictable schedule. Certainly very few of my friends have gotten married, and even fewer of those did a big wedding everyone was expected to go to, but I have straight friends whose friend groups did weddings bam bam bam for two or three solid years.

        2. Person from the Resume*

          There’s likely is an age and cohort thing going on. People who are likely to get married not long after graduating high school or not long after graduating tend to be friends with each other so there are a few years where lots of friends may be getting married.

          But that shouldn’t become the customer’s problem.

        3. NNN222*

          There are many weddings happening this year that were planned to happen in 2020 and 2021. If you’re at a period of life where many of your cohort are getting married, you might be going to three years’ worth of weddings in one year.

    5. Temperance*

      I have an infant. It is AWFUL. I’m lucky enough that we can afford a nanny and my kid adores her / she likes working with us.

      1. Legal Rugby*

        Can I ask roughly how much you pay her? My wife and I are exploring options – we found a day care in the area we are moving to, but they only have three days a week open right now.

        1. Manchmal*

          I’m not temperance, but we did have a nanny. Price is highly dependent on the market (as is daycare). I recommend joining the local parents or moms facebook group for the town, and asking there. You might also get leads on an available nanny.

        2. Yellow*

          Former Nanny Agency office worker here- 15+ years ago when I was placing Nannies, a full time, live out Nanny would be at least 30K a year. They deserve MUCH more than that though.

        3. Dancing Donkey*

          Highly location-dependent, but I’ll say I’m in the suburbs of a major metro area, and I just went through this. Nannies were asking $21-25/hour for one baby. Not affordable for us, but we lucked into an amazing babysitting arrangement (not in our home) and are waitlisted at various daycares. A nanny share can also be fantastic if the nanny is open to it and you find a local family whose needs align with yours. Good luck — it’s really tough.

        4. Temperance*

          We’re paying roughly $28/hour, which includes health insurance, taxes, and unemployment. We’re on a few waiting lists for childcare this fall, so we can swing the higher costs this summer.

    6. anonarama*

      as someone whose kid is just about to transition from preschool to pre-k through the school system, it somehow is getting even more difficult lol. before and aftercare in my major city in the year 2022 seems to be worse than it was in my small town in a small state in the 1990s and it is making me lose my shit entirely

      1. Birdie*

        My kid is about to go from pre-k at his daycare to kindergarten, and the sheer number of days school is closed or had half days is…..crazy. Add to it our kindergarten school doesn’t offer aftercare, and school is outside of the daycare afterschool transportation zone. So we are quite seriously exploring the au pair route. We can only afford it because I just started a new job that gave me a huge ($30k!) pay raise–though hiring an au pair will basically wipe out my earnings gain. But even considering an au pair as the most logical choice for childcare needs seems crazy to me.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          At least it sounds like your kindergarten is normally full day – Kindergarten in my entire state is half day (or three hours).

          Husband and I switched into working opposite shifts (he works an A and I work a modified B) so we don’t have to pay for daycare – but there are other costs to that arrangement too.

          1. dawbs*

            hell, we decided to start our 4 year, 360 day old kid in kindy before 5 (wich involved me having to get special permission because of the age cut-off) mostly because of the cost of ANOTHER year of childcare.
            It was probably the right choice, but I wish it had been more of a CHOICE. (and she is still the youngest, smallest kid in her class. Again)

      2. Re'lar Fela*

        Thiiiiiissss

        My daughter is in kindergarten this year and her school doesn’t offer before/aftercare. Also, for some unknown, godforsaken reason, elementary schools here start at 9am (meaning that beforecare is such a huge need for working parents–especially single parents who don’t have the option to share drop off/pick up responsibilities).

        Anyway, I pay through the nose for an aftercare option through a local community center and arranged with my job for a 9:15 start time, but it’s super annoying because I have to pay for the aftercare AND stay at work until 6 because of it.

        When my daughter was younger, she stayed with my mom during the day and after preschool. We’ve since moved, which is my own fault, but still. Childcare is such a hot mess.

          1. TexasTeacher*

            Yes but a big part of our society’s work life depends on school also being a place that supervises and watches your children. Speaking as someone with kids, who cares for other people’s children, as I teach them.

          2. Hi there*

            THANK YOU! Many parents blame their local school districts rather than their employer for lack of flexibility.

        1. Jora Malli*

          Where I live, a lot of the elementary schools start at 8 or 9 and the high schools start around 7-7:30, which feels backward. The younger kids should start earlier so parents can drop them off on their way to work and the teenagers should start later because they’re more able to get themselves to school without parental help (getting to the bus stop safely, 10th-12th graders may be able to drive themselves or ride with a friend, etc). I have no idea why it’s so backward.

          1. Thomas*

            Here are a few considerations the school district may have made other than making sure you can get to work on time: staff schedules, bus schedules, facility usage, after school programming (more likely for teenagers than younger children), homework (more likely than teenagers than young children, time to provide breakfast to students who are food scarce … I’m sure there are more

          2. H2*

            It’s mostly to allow teenagers to have after school jobs (and activities). When I had elementary schoolers, I thought the same thing, but now that my kids are older, it’s very clear that it makes sense all around. We would be running them around until 11 every night if they started any later (and while that would make sense for their body rhythms, it doesn’t help me get to work in the morning).

          3. allathian*

            Yeah, and this is totally insane, because teenage hormones mean that most teens have a delayed sleep schedule anyway. They’ve done experiments where shifting the high school start time from 8 to 9 improves grades because the kids sleep better and longer.

            That said, I think that the US extracurriculars obsession is insane, and I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with it. Sure, extracurriculars can be fun, but they shouldn’t be an obligation, and what about the kids from poor families who can’t afford to participate? I’m so glad that I’m in an area where only academic achievement counts for a place in tertiary education and where kids have non-academic subjects like PE, art, crafts, and music at school because it’s considered important for a well-rounded education.

            1. pandop*

              I don’t know how schools are in the UK now so much, but certainly when I was at secondary school the earliest I ever started was 8:45, and the day was generally over by 3.30. Yes, there was after school stuff, sports practice, play rehearsals etc, but also by that age I was able to get to school and come home by myself. No parental involvement – unless they took pity on me (and my friends) in bad weather.

      3. Overit*

        Neither our school district nor any provider offered before/after school care. I ended up having to give up my career because my employer would not alllow any flexibility to take a job with time flexibility.

    7. Veryanon*

      It was very difficult 20 years ago when my kids were small. I honestly don’t know how parents of young children do it today. You’d think that this would have improved in the last 20 years, but clearly, that’s not the case. :(

          1. knitcrazybooknut*

            I saw a meme that said:

            Pets are the new kids.

            Kids are the new exotic pets. You can only have them if you are really rich, or willing to take on massive expenses and upkeep.

        1. A Non E. Mouse*

          Not only has it not improved, it seems to have gone backwards.

          Can confirm. I’ve had children that needed care across two decades, and while it was expensive with the older ones, care was much easier to find.

          Now, it’s shockingly expensive and hard as hell to find, with limited spots when you do find it.

          Most parents I know are just kind of scrabbling together care between grandparents, friends, parents of kids their kids go to school with, etc.

    8. Eldritch Office Worker*

      *Puppy care* is a cluster in my area right now, child care is like that x1000 covered in hot sauce.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Same – I was looking at plain old puppy-basics training classes the other day, and noticed puppy daycare is running $375 a week. That is literally more than my mortgage.

        1. Jean*

          That’s insane. It’s double what I paid for full time daycare for my human son when he was a toddler, not even 10 years ago.

          1. Overeducated*

            That IS more than I pay for my human son in a relatively HCOL area right now! (Although I’m lucky we moved to a slightly cheaper area despite the longer commute, closer in to the metro it was $500/week for a toddler.)

      2. FisherCat*

        Yep. No human children in my household but trying to arrange care for the canine resident that can’t be alone more than 4-5 hours has been hard enough and expensive enough that I’m understanding the stress of parents right now (while acknowledging that pets and children are obviously not the same, before someone starts)

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          I’m currently on two waiting lists and the prices are ridiculous, plus all the paperwork we’ve had to get in order, plus the short term arrangements for care while we wait because our puppy is too young to hold his bladder from when I go to work until my husband gets home.

          It’s definitely higher stakes with children and the solution isn’t “pay a neighbor or beg a parent to let them pee in the middle of the day” – but if it’s this hard with dogs I think it can help contextualize that you need to magnify it for kids.

          1. FisherCat*

            If you’re looking for a suggestion on dog/puppy care- search social media for in (their) home providers. (like searching hashtags on IG for example). Found a wonderful dogsitter that way that is better than the corporates and a bit cheaper.

        2. Contracts Killer*

          Parent to a human child and dog child here. Both have at times peed on the floor and run around the house naked and causing chaos. I was actually shocked at how not-different they can be.

          1. SimonTheGreyWarden*

            Had a friend tell us when he had our baby that, “It’s kind of like owning a puppy that will eventually get itself breakfast and tell you about Minecraft.”

            He’s not exactly wrong.

          2. Holding it together*

            100% this. There are similarities. I have two dogs and two young children. Often I can’t keep track of which one I’m parenting, as the script is often the same (what are you eating?! You’re tracking in dirt. You JUST ATE and you are hungry again? Stop that.)

    9. 2 Cents*

      Yup. That is all. And it’s like the system is made to make it difficult. How dare both parents work!

    10. FridayFriyay*

      It’s awful and one of the worst parts is that for the most part in the US child care landscape there are no winners – parents AND childcare providers (of all sorts, from daycare center employees to private nannies) all suffer in a system that is unsustainable. I’m not a childcare worker and I don’t excuse the actions of this provider by any stretch, but as a parent with a young child in daycare it’s hard and getting harder and it doesn’t feel like most policy decision-makers really care.

      1. Greg*

        This is a really good point. It seems like the childcare is making out when I look at it from what I am paying…but then I look at staffing ration requirements/facility overhead/I’m sure the insurance is insane and the OI from these businesses isn’t exactly terribly lucrative.

        1. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

          That’s the crazy thing. We had to go into credit card debt to pay for two kids in day care when we weren’t yet that established in our careers (and these were white collar jobs, making “good” money compared to someone working an hourly job in a service industry, for example). It was so expensive…and I was also the treasurer of our day care (co-op preschool) and saw how little our wonderful, extremely qualified teachers were making.

          Insurance is a HUGE expense–both liability and health insurance for employees–and rent/facilities maintenance costs took a massive chunk. If I hadn’t been maintaining the budget myself, I would never have believed the expenses involved.

          1. Greg*

            My company has scaled quite a bit over the last few years and our employee base has jumped quite a bit, especially focuses on 25-35 year olds, many of whom have kids. We are in the process of building a child care facility on site for our employees (and some other businesses that are in the same business park) and all the costs are pretty crazy. We’re using it as a retention tool and benefit more than a revenue center so the cost will still be much lower for the parents…but taking care of kids ain’t cheap for the provider!

          2. anne of mean gables*

            Yep, this is what guts me. I am one of the least expensive daycares in my area and it’s still more than my mortgage. And, on the flip side, I have a girlfriend on the board so I know that the center’s budget is really really tight, and also know that the teachers are not making that much (and working incredibly hard ten hour days). There are no winners – the economics (within the current system) simply do not work.

            1. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

              It’s so depressing. This country makes it so hard for both parents and for childcare providers to survive, let alone thrive.

              On an unrelated note, with that username, I would not dare pull your braids and call you Carrots!

              1. The Prettiest Curse*

                I was thinking of this thread and the incivility thread from last week and came to the conclusion that both daycare providers and parents are (rightly) losing it because they have realised that they’re screwed and there just isn’t the political will to save them.
                I do not have kids (by choice) and I do not understand why people don’t comprehend that affordable, high quality childcare is essential to a functioning society.

          3. Ally McBeal*

            I’ve seen daycare providers on TikTok talking about their hourly rate compared to the owner of the center who takes lavish vacations. Obviously not every daycare is like this but it is very much a “caretaker” profession where the executives get paid exponentially more than the frontline workers.

            1. Tequila & Oxford Commas*

              I’d be curious how often that’s the case. I’m sure execs at places like Bright Horizons (national chain that some corporations contract with to run childcare facilities on-site) make a ton. At the co-op daycare where I was on the board, the director did make more than the teachers, but not by very much, and that was based partly on experience and graduate education. I’d be shocked if the folks who run in-home childcare saw that much profit, but I don’t know much about the world in between small non-profit centers and the really big guys!

          4. Queen of the Introverts*

            Yeah, my coworker and his wife own a daycare, which she runs, and his response when people think it makes them a lot of money is to laugh in their faces. We’re lucky enough to have flexible schedules, because he’s always having to run to the daycare, or take care of their two kids when there isn’t room for them there…it sounds like a nightmare.

        2. Rocket*

          Not only are the childcares *not* making out, the teachers are all basically making minimum wage while desperate parents are getting increasingly angrier and nastier towards them. We have two camps of parents right now, one who are constantly berating us for being so “reckless” with our safety measures during a pandemic, and the other screaming when we have to enforce any kind of safety policy or close down classrooms when there’s an outbreak. Daycares cannot win right now.

      2. fine tipped pen afficionado*

        This is so true. In Parks & Rec, our most crucial services are summer camps and afterschool, which do not even have the financial burden of needing to be licensed as childcare like a daycare does, and we absolutely bleed money to run these services. Our rates are lower by far than anything else in the area but it’s still around $120/week per child for day camp. Even if every parent paid that full price (and very few of them do; we have income-based discounts) we would still take huge losses to offer day camps. And that’s without paying our seasonal staff nearly enough.

        Childcare is so needed but it’s also really hard to do and I do not know how most daycares break even.

        1. Sasha*

          To be fair that sounds crazy cheap! We pay about £150-250 per week for holiday club in London (about $250-350).

    11. TheRain'sSmallHands*

      My kids are now adults, but we did center based daycare because it was very standard. They had hours, we could drop kids off at those hours and there were very few days they were closed for anything other than standard holidays – we could make the twice a year staff days work for us. I took a lot of flack for not having my kids in a home daycare from some of my relatives (“so much more nurturing and supportive, so much more like home!”) but we couldn’t deal with someone else’s sick days and vacation days in our jobs – and they had good standard care with a professionally developed age appropriate curriculum that was pre-school as they got older.

      But right now even that isn’t dependable because of labor issues. You pay a ton for daycare, and daycare workers make a pittance. Its stressful work.

      1. Sasha*

        “So much more like home” – this was actually what put me off home based care! Have you *met* other parents?

        I’m joking, but the nurseries seemed to have a tonne more stuff/do more activities with the children. My son loved Circle Time, loved all the music and songs, loved playing with all of the other children, loved the massive garden. None of which you get with a home-based childminder with maybe 3-4 other children, but also stuff I can’t provide by myself either.

    12. goldmouse*

      It is! I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult it has been. The number of hours I have spent on obtaining and vetting childcare is absurd.

    13. Ally McBeal*

      I don’t have kids (yet?) but my best friend lives in a “childcare desert” (like a food desert) and her facility is literally a nightmare and she essentially has no other options. They didn’t clean even during Covid, only doing so when they got a tip-off that state inspectors were coming, keeping order/healthy discipline was basically non-existent, the teachers took any inquiry or concern (about any topic) and accused the parent(s) of bigotry… Honestly, seeing what she and my other friends who are parents go through in terms of balancing career and kids is a big part of my decision to delay parenthood (and may never become a parent even though I very much want to).

      1. Jora Malli*

        I’m in this boat right along with you. I’ve never found a person I felt like I could marry, and while I know people who have become single parents by choice I just don’t see how I can manage my rent, food, car expenses, baby supplies, and childcare fees on my single government salary. I’ve always wanted kids but I don’t see a way of making that happen in our current economic system.

    14. Annony-mouse*

      Yep, it’s insane and doesn’t get any better when they start school because you have to scramble to find before and aftercare, summer care, etc. We just got a spot for the aftercare that’s offered by the school district after 4.5 years on the waitlist. I didn’t know that I had to get on the waitlist practically when my child was born. I signed him up for it when enrolling for Kindergarten and he will finally have a spot for 4th and 5th grade. Then there is a separate waitlist for 6th grade which has been closed entirely due to Covid so I haven’t been able to even try to sign up. So I have two years now to figure that one out. Yay.

      1. Annony-mouse*

        Also this was partly the reason I dropped out of the workforce for what ended up being nearly 5 years (I had planned for 2 but then had a hard time finding work again and then had a second kid) and then took another 4 years to rebuild my career to the level it was when I left it.

    15. RabbitRabbit*

      It’s insane. I know one family who would have been able to get by on one salary but the wife chose to go to work to continue her work history / get out of the house and talk to adults, and her salary covered the resulting day care costs. That was it. (And she wasn’t a minimum wage worker, either – she worked a financial-related job at a major corporation.)

      Growing up blue-collar working class in the 70s/80s, both of my parents always worked to try to make ends meet. For a while Mom would work second shift, so that someone would be home. Sometimes we were babysat by a neighbor at their house or by a teenage neighbor at ours.

    16. Texan In Exile*

      In her book “Pay Up,” Reshma Saujani interviews a woman who says something like – The US doesn’t have a safety net – it has mothers. And then they go on to talk about how the majority of the people who have quit their jobs in covid are moms who have had to make sure their kids get online for remote school, take care of kids when daycares close because of positive tests, etc. It’s awful.

    17. Software Dev (she/her)*

      It’s insane. I have two friends who are becoming new parents and are looking forward to paying $1,400 a month to have their child in daycare. For that price you could rent the child its own studio apartment!

      There is a solution to this and it is for the government to heavily subsidize daycare! It is a net good for society. But the political will has to be there.

      1. Pop*

        Honestly, $1,400 is a pretty good deal for infant care. In HCOL cities it can easily be $2k, and that’s after waiting 12+ months on a waitlist.

        1. Caterpie*

          $2k is a pretty good deal! I’m looking at about $2800-$4000 in the Boston area for my upcoming infant.

      2. Ruby*

        At our highest, daycare for two was $25,000/year. This was roughly 8 years ago in a mid-cost of living area.

      3. Rocket*

        Right now, even if you’re a daycare that can take gov subsidies, the gov decides how much they pay. We have students who receive DSHS subsidies, and DSHS tells us how much they will pay and how much the co-pay is for the family, and it’s usually hundreds of dollars less than what tuition actually costs. So the day care just has to eat that.

    18. Kiwi*

      My husband and I recently decided to stop trying for a child, and this was one (of many) of the reasons why. It’s so tough and I feel for my friends and family who are parents and grappling with childcare issues and expenses.

    19. Susan*

      Child care is NOT the problem. The problem is that work and the lack of boundaries around work have taken over our lives. There is NO JOB (short of POTUS) in the world that needs to bee attended to 8-10 hours a day. This is an American creation and instead of addressing it, we think the problem is child care. Or if you are a person who loves your job so much that you believe you need to spend 10+ hours a day doing it, you are a not a person who also has room for children in your life. The problem is not that we expect childcare to be available at all hours, never take days off, AND be affordable. The math does not add up. Let’s get better boundaries or perspective about the value of work in our lives.

      1. Pop*

        Susan, saying that if person needs or wants to work 10 hours a day, they shouldn’t be a parent is pretty uncharitable. And quite frankly, while there are work/life balance issues in America specifically, those aren’t the root of the problem. European countries that work less and offer much more PTO still need childcare: because someone who is working cannot also successfully provide care for a child long-term. Yes, many of us would love if we had lower COL, or higher salaries, so that we could work less and do more things that we wanted, including caring for our children. But this is a far more complex issue than “American work culture is untenable.”

        1. Susan*

          I’m not saying that any child care is problematic. I’m saying the amount of childcare the parents here expect is unrealistic.

          We all have choices – living in a high COL is a choice. Putting your child in child care 10+ hours a day is a choice. “Wanting to care for your children” is not a choice – it’s a decision you make when you choose to have children. If you see caring for your own children as a choice or a want, that might be the root of the problem.

          1. Surgical Fellow*

            Fairly certain that when I get stuck in an 18 surgery, that counts as needing to be done. Or I could just leave the patient open on the table to pick up my child from daycare.

            1. Sasha*

              This. Of course some jobs need 24/7 coverage, and six people each doing four hours a day is not a particularly efficient way of providing that.

              Part time/compressed hours can work well. I worked 0.6 FTE(as 3x 12 hour days a week) before my son started school, which meant I took longer to finish medical training but was a good balance between spending time with my son and still spending enough time working that my career didn’t stall.

          2. iliketoknit*

            I know I’m echoing another commenter, but how do individuals impose these boundaries? Because no, it isn’t always a choice, unless you’re going to declare entire swathes of careers and locations of the U.S. as simply not options for people who want to have children.

      2. Janet Pinkerton*

        You’re part of the way there. Yes, it’s a problem that jobs expect 8 to 10 to 12 hours of work each day. But that is the fault of society, not the individual, and the solution has to be systemic, not individual. Faulting individuals for existing within a messed up society and doing their best is needless blaming.

        1. Susan*

          I agree it’s the fault of society, but our employers are not going to collectively decide to have its workforce work less. The only way this changes is if individuals make different decisions. Complaining about child care and chalking it up to systemic issues maintains the status quo, which ic obviously not working.

          1. MsSolo UK*

            I mean, we’re talking collectively – the only reason the 8 hour days is (was) standard is collective bargaining. An individual can’t force a change. A union can.

            1. Susan*

              Exactly – a union, also known as several individuals making a decision not to accept the status quo.

  2. Bunny Girl*

    I’m wondering if the change in schedule and hours has caused more than just your family to leave and Amy is panicking because of the loss of income/stability. I don’t think what she did is okay – as a matter of fact it’s kind of banana crackers. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to say anything to her. I’d just move onward. She doesn’t sound like she is being reasonable so I don’t imagine she would react reasonably to any other perceived slights.

    1. Umiel12*

      I bet you’re right about other families leaving because of the schedule change.

      1. EngineeringFun*

        My exact thoughts. You’re not the only family to leave. I had a hair dresser that I LOVED. She kept cutting back her hours such that at the end it was only 4 days a month. I had to move on. I can’t be her only client to do so!

        1. Nanani*

          Reminds me of a very conveniently located convenience store that didn’t follow its own posted hours – after coming by so often only to see a “closed” sign – sometimes with an exepcted return time, sometimes not, I started going to a slightly further one that was actually open when it said it would be.

          Shockingly, the closer store is out of business now.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            When I was in college a new convenience store opened near campus, calling itself the . . . we’ll say “Open All Hours”. Except it was only open 20 or 21 hours or something. Of course nobody would care about those three hours in the middle of the night except a bunch of college kids and the name was soon amended to “Open ^Almost^ All Hours”, with “almost” squeezed awkwardly in under the eaves.

            1. pandop*

              There’s a shop in my city called ‘Around the clock’ – but it’s only open 0800 – 2200 most days, and less on Sunday. The name irritates me (and it’s near a bus stop I used to use regularly, so I had plenty of chance to be irritated)

              1. MITBeta*

                Steven Wright once said, “I went down to this store that I knew was open 24 hours. When I got there, the guy was locking up. I said, ‘I thought you were open 24 hours?’. The guy said, ‘Yeah, but not in a row.'”

        2. Bunny Girl*

          That’s how I was with the woman who groomed my dog. I absolutely loved her but her availability shrank and shrank and unfortunately I just decided to move on. I was sad to do so, but I just couldn’t justify being late to work, driving across town, then driving back three hours later then taking my dog back home, then back to work. It happens.

        3. I F*

          I had the same problem with a yoga studio that I absolutely loved. It changed ownership and the new guy started only scheduling classes during business hours (??????) So pretty much everyone who worked full time left the studio. It closed down shortly thereafter.

        4. Esprit de l'escalier*

          I had a babysitter for my younger child where he was the only child she took care of (in her home) from age 1 to age 4. She was odd and unpredictable — I had a list of emergency day-care providers I would phone at 7:05 AM when I would learn at 7 AM that she “was too sick to take Child today” which I very much suspected meant “I don’t feel like it today.” I put up with that there were very few full-time preschool options and I didn’t like the ones I had visited.

          Finally she went too far when she gave me no advance notice that she was going on vacation with her family for a week. I managed to get him into his older sibling’s summer daycare center for the week and he liked it. The next Friday she phoned to say they were enjoying the beach and would stay another week. When she came back I drove over, told her my child was not coming back, and asked her to give me his things that I had left with her. She was furious!

          To me this falls into the “people are weird!” category.

          1. Sasha*

            Unfortunately I have heard way too many batshit childminder stories – I’m sure the majority are totally professional, but a minority really aren’t and as they are self employed you basically have to take it or leave it.

    2. Panhandlerann*

      I, too, think she’s found out she’s losing more than just the one family. I wouldn’t be at all surprising. Not that that justifies her behavior.

    3. The Original K.*

      I think this is it – her income is taking a hit as other families leave and she’s lashing out.

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        I think this is likely. It sounds like it’s a licensed day care but a one person operation. I had my oldest one at one of those for a bit and it was one of those things where yes it was nice he had more individualized care, but she was sick or she’d change her hours. It was always something. I get it, it’s a hard job without a lot of pay, but the unpredictability got to be more than I could deal with and I gave my required withdrawal notice and yeah, it wasn’t revived well. Not this poorly but I feel it’s always personal for them as it’s their business and they do tend to very much care about the child. But I need to work and I need reliable child care.

        We moved him to a large center and didn’t regret it. Now I know this was pre-pandemic times but I find larger centers are less emotionally attached and it’s not a big deal if you decide to take your child elsewhere.

        1. Esmeralda*

          This is the biggest reason why we had our (now college senior) child in centers rather than with individuals.

          Of course, there was the summer that the center went bankrupt and closed, and we had two months before he could start at the next place. (I and another mom hired one of the teachers to take care of our kids for the interim –we each paid the full amount we would have paid the center, he earned a LOT of money. LOL and earned it too)

        2. JelloStapler*

          I said this elsewhere, but I too preferred a center versus a one-person place. We were lucky that the center treated our kids like their own and many of them would babysit for extra money if we wanted to go out and grandparents weren’t available.

    4. KimberlyR*

      I agree with all of the above but especially that she won’t react reasonably so don’t bother reaching out to her. Keep a wary eye out and make sure she seems to be treating your child just as well as she always has, but otherwise, let it go. But absolutely let anyone know if they ask about her going forward. As a parent, I would need to know this before sending my child there. And since you did go there with no issues for so long, another parent would probably assume you never had issues. So if someone asks about her, just let them know all was great until you needed to end your time there and that all this happened as a result.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      I think you’re onto something–an additional 2.5 weeks off per year is too much for a lot of families, so more parents than OP gave notice, and she’s cracking (in the sending unfortunate texts sense) under the stress of her planned business expansion becoming a business contraction.

    6. StoneColdJaneAusten*

      This was my first thought. Maybe LW was among the first to communicate, but Amy’s relative inflexibility means that many families left. But LW and spouse were among the families Amy knew best and felt most comfortable lashing out at bit at.

      It sounds like Amy’s daycare was already closed around one day per week and she was going to be closed closer to two days per week, so it’s possible literally nobody with a full-time job felt like they could stay with her.

      1. MK*

        I am guessing the 40 days per year were during the holidays and in the summer, when the parents could arrange to take vacation themselves and/or to have grandparents visit and help out. An random extra day per month would probably be impossible to cover, or at least prohibitively expensive.

        1. Laney Boggs*

          Well, 40 days a year is 8 workweeks, assuming LW wasn’t including holidays like Labor Day, Thanksgiving, etc. I’m sure some of that was lump time (like two weeks over the summer, one or two over Xmas), but it seems reasonable she’s probably closed an extra day or two every month.

          1. MK*

            Most child-centred activities where I live are closed for at least a month in the summer and two weeks for both Christmas and Easter, so I am guessing most of the 8 weeks were lump time. We don’t know, but it would make more sense for the daycare to close down for holidays and summer than for it to be randomly closed every second Tuesday.

            1. Rocket*

              The day cares I’ve worked at close one week in the summer and one week at Christmas plus normal federal holidays and 3 teacher in-service days required by the state. So…maybe 4 weeks.

    7. What?*

      Yup, I would put money in this Amy has likely lost several clients and is feeling the stress.

    8. hmmm*

      total side note…
      “banana crackers” gave me a much needed giggle this monday morning

    9. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah, my guess is that’s what changed between the first interaction and the subsequent ones. More families gave notice. Which is not LWs problem, but since you have to maintain a professional relationship a little longer and you have a good history I do agree with Alison to try and let it go.

    10. I Need a 9 Hour Nap*

      I get 4 weeks PTO (in the US) and I would be incredibly upset to have it all taken up by my childcare provider and to have to pay double for care on the other 20 days. It was a hardship having my previous care provider only take 5 week days a year (she closed during the start of the pandemic).

      The cost of care makes this an untenable situation. A nanny share is more effective financially and it’s what I’ve had to do for the last two years.

      I would feel safe assuming other parents are giving notice because they aren’t receiving the services they need for how much it’s costing them.

    11. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      THIS.
      And probably her emotional attachment to the children in her care and their families is making it extra emotional for Amy. She sees them as abandoning her and it has become personal, rather than a decision based on logistics.

      1. Bunny Girl*

        That’s a great point as well. I always wonder about that with these smaller in home daycares. I feel like you need to have a certain personality and thought process not to take all of this personally.

    12. Dust Bunny*

      This is my guess, as well. I cannot imagine that she could make such a big change and only lose one client.

      1. pancakes*

        Yeah. I don’t have kids but I can’t imagine many people who need childcare can afford to have regular interruptions to the schedule.

    13. ENFP in Texas*

      That is my thought, as well, but it is still completely inappropriate for Amy to act this way. It is Amy’s decision, and she needs to accept the consequences of her decision.

      If I were the OP, I would get my kid out of there as soon as possible, because at this point I don’t trust Amy to act in a rational manner, and I would worry about my child’s safety.

    14. Elizabeth West*

      That was my thought, that the other family(s) she had lined up backed out. Or she thought she had them but didn’t.

    15. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      That was my first thought reading the schedule Amy was already unavailable, and now she’s adding more unavailable time….I have a feeling OP wasn’t her only recently received notice. So now instead of getting “bonus income” from the consulting company she is dependent on the income from the consulting company. And what happened, Amy is panicking and texting out that panic instead of writing and burning the texts to purge the frustration.

    16. Minerva*

      Agreed.

      Also being closed 40 workdays a year, assuming that she runs a more standard Mon-Fri daycare, that’s 8 weeks.

      Asking parents to accommodate what amounts to 2+ months of no daycare, even if it is spread out, was asking a lot to begin with, and then adding another 2+ weeks is likely going into “completely unworkable” for a lot of parents.

      1. SpEd Teacher*

        So that’s two months of day care you’re paying for and not getting. That’s easily $1000-3000 a month times two.

    17. TiredMama*

      Totally agree. Maybe LW was the first to give notice, and Amy thought she had a new family lined up based on a waitlist, but when other families gave notice and the back up family (families) on the waitlist passed, she realized she was in trouble and decided to make it personal and make LW feel guilty. Nothing to be gained from giving her a piece of your mind until its over and done with.

    18. Evvie*

      This makes a lot of sense. She already takes a massive number of days off that don’t align with most people’s PTO capabilities. (At least regular schools often offer summer school or have counselors/social workers who can help arrange summer programs!)

      If she’s taking in an additional part time gig to begin with, I’d wager she’s had a loss in income recently anyway. And now parents are like “nope.” An average of 3-4 days of closure *every single month* would have been a no for me to begin with, assuming she only works Monday through Friday.

      She directly insulted not just the OP but the parents in general. I see no reason to not leave the Google review after that. The rest of the freakout is just a freakout. That’s a “you’re bad parents,” which is unacceptable.

      And I’m not even a parent. I was a teacher and dealt with dozens of *truly* bad parents. Nothing here screams “abuse” or “neglect;” ergo, she’s totally out of line.

    19. Velocipastor*

      This is my thought too. The 14 hour working days would be enough to move my child to a different facility due to concerns about burnout/quality of care. But the additional unavailable days would just be impossible for most working families.

    20. Dark Macadamia*

      Yeah, and if LW was the first to give notice she may even irrationally be feeling like LW caused it in some way – like “they’re all ganging up on me!” or “Families 2 and 3 wouldn’t have left if they didn’t hear LW was leaving” etc

    21. MCMonkeyBean*

      That’s what I was thinking too, she accepted their notice reasonably in the moment but then maybe a number of other families also started giving notice and she freaked out. If OP was the first to give notice some part of her brain might even be kind of blaming her for it, like her leaving was the start of her business falling apart–obviously that’s not how it works, but I can sort of understand how an unreasonable train of thought like that might start to build in someone’s head in a moment of panic/frustration. Not saying any of that is okay of course, just trying to make any sort of sense out of her totally odd reaction…

  3. Dragon_Dreamer*

    Amy reminds me of those bosses who get mad when someone resigns. I’d leave the Google review, AFTER the 6 weeks are up. I’d also be vigilant and make sure my child has been receiving the same level of care.

    1. Just J.*

      This. I’d also be lining up an alternate day care ASAP in case you do have to switch after two weeks.

    2. Jean*

      THIS. Amy seems stressed, and may well have valid reasons for feeling the way she does, but I would think twice about leaving my child in the care of someone demonstrating this sort of lapse in judgment.

    3. Veryanon*

      Exactly! I’d hope she wouldn’t be taking it out on a child, but she seems unstable.

    4. KHB*

      And those landlords who start treating you like a non-entity as soon as you tell them you’re moving out. And those significant others who act like reasonable people right up until you break up with them. There’s something about the end of a (business or personal) relationship that brings out the worst in people.

      While I understand the advice to offer Amy some grace, I’d also say that the grace doesn’t have to be infinite. She may just be uncharacteristically freaking out under stress, but she may also be showing more of her true colors. And if this is the first interaction you’ve had with her where things didn’t go her way, you wouldn’t necessarily know the difference.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        Yup, nothing wrong with LW being appropriately assertive if Amy takes any other steps. Being understanding and offering grace doesn’t mean being a doormat.

      2. TyphoidMary*

        exactly. Always pay close attention to how people react the first time you set a serious boundary with them.

      3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Agreed – Grace yes, but don’t tolerate any slippage in the quality of care you are paying for. Amy can be stressed at you (within reason), but she doesn’t get to abuse you and she also doesn’t get to mistreat any of the kids in her care.

    5. Insert Clever Name Here*

      I’d also be giving the other parents I’m friendly with a heads-up, in addition to making sure I have care lined up as soon as that two weeks are up (maybe the new place can take your daughter earlier?). Even then, I’m not sure at that point I’d even keep my child there past the two weeks.

    6. ferrina*

      It’s a little different. Childcare has strict ratio requirements that can fluctuate based on age, and very, very thin profit margins. Transitioning kids in and out is a hectic process at best (I’ve been on the daycare employee end of this process- it’s brutal and there are no guarantees). And if the new family wants care right away and isn’t willing to wait 6 weeks (which happens a lot) then there can be a gap in capacity which quickly eats into your solubility.

      There’s also the emotional aspect of this- daycare workers can get deeply attached to their students. For some it can feel like having their grandchild pulled away from them.

      Not justifying Amy’s behavior- it’s def wrong- but this isn’t like any other industry.

    7. Annie Mouse*

      Agree with this. Amy didn’t have a momentary lapse in judgment, she displayed a series of unprofessional and concerning behaviors. Perhaps the text should be ignored in the spirit of grace, but when coupled with threatening to end care early and refusing to speak to LW she’s showing that she’s being vindictive. We’re not talking about a salty interaction with a retail worker; Amy is caring for people’s children. If Amy refuses to speak to LW, it’s really not a stretch to think that she’d retaliate against LW’s daughter as well. Her wildly unprofessional judgment is something that really should be shared in a review.

    8. Avril Ludgateau*

      I’d also be vigilant and make sure my child has been receiving the same level of care.

      My mind went here, too. It’s already so difficult to trust somebody to care for your child. I would be looking for alternate accommodations ASAP. Honestly, a request for 6 weeks notice is excessive in the first place, but around here, most daycares have waiting lists with parents itching for somebody to drop out to get a spot for their kid.

    9. tessa*

      I would not want to leave my children with someone who wasn’t speaking to me.

      Sorry this is happening to you, OP.

  4. DarthVelma*

    I disagree about contacting the childcare coaching agency. The texts Amy sent the OP were wildly out of line and she has no business mentoring others right now. I shudder to think what she might convince them is acceptable behavior.

    1. Stay-at-Homesteader*

      Yeah, I’m super torn on this. On the one hand, contacting another employer is generally a crappy move. On the other hand, it’s explicitly a mentoring thing and she’s showing some incredibly unprofessional behavior. I’d probably come down on the side of not doing it, but I think it’s possible to make an argument for letting them know, especially since Amy is the one who brought up that this was her side gig.

    2. Jean*

      I had the same thought. This person is going to be coaching others on norms of this profession? Yikes.

    3. JSRN*

      I agree 100% with this comment. LW, normally I would say to let it go and move on with your life. However, this woman is showing very unusual, erratic behavior and works with children, many who are very young and can’t talk if she is acting strange or scary to them. People who act this way usually don’t just act this way sometimes, they act this way all the time, you just haven’t seen it up until now. Show this agency the texts and let them handle it however they want. Maybe they will care, maybe they won’t. But personally, I would show them how this woman is acting. Also, after your kid is out of there, leave an honest google review. I would want to know if a daycare provider I was thinking of using for my children acted that way to other parents.

      If you’re able to manage it, take your child out now. I’m not saying she would treat your kid differently, I’m just saying I wouldn’t want my kid there after this type of interaction. Even if she wants you to pay the remainder of the weeks, just do it but don’t send your child. I know you may not be able to do that with work, but definitely try to make it happen if you can.

      1. Observer*

        If you’re able to manage it, take your child out now. I’m not saying she would treat your kid differently, I’m just saying I wouldn’t want my kid there after this type of interaction. Even if she wants you to pay the remainder of the weeks, just do it but don’t send your child. I know you may not be able to do that with work, but definitely try to make it happen if you can.

        Unfortunately, I have to agree with this.

        1. Julie R*

          I agree as well. The red flag I see here is that she stopped communicating with you. I wouldn’t feel safe leaving my kid with someone who suddenly thought it was okay to act that way. It’s too strange even with the addition of stress in the equation.

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            So much this – if you are caring for my child you need to be able to have polite and professional conversations with me. If you can’t/won’t talk to me then I can’t have you caring for my child, because I need to know what my child did that day, how they ate, and any problems they may have had.

            You can’t talk, you can’t care for my kid.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            Childless person here. This is the first thing that jumped into my thinking- how safe would my mythical kiddo be after an interaction like this? I think I might be looking under every stone for an alternative solution here. I can see myself trying to find a way to just pay her and have kiddo go somewhere else.

            The biggest concern I have is her inability to talk to OP. I worked with a person like this and I could really see their behavior (silence) as a safety issue. So if she can’t tell me my mythical kiddo was sick today or had a bad day this would be a huge deal in my mind. But this goes back to my overall thinking that a person who cannot communicate with others is failing to their job, as communicating with others is a key part of most jobs.

      2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        This sounds particularly vindictive. Amy has been looking after OP’s daughter for three years without any problem. She’s sent two weird messages, one which turned out to be a false alert, and one incoherent angry ramble. You say people who act like this, act like this all the time, but the fact is that in three years it’s the first OP has seen it. As others have conjectured, she’s probably had other parents come back to say “sorry this won’t work”, then the substitute parents she had lined up have also said the same, and she freaked out.
        If she really is like that all the time, her new employers will soon notice it, no need to go scorched earth.

        1. TiredMama*

          But it’s not just the messages though. It’s the refusing to talk to LW at pick up and drop off. That’s concerning. I don’t know that I would try to talk her side business clients though because it sounds like she will be working with adults who can speak up and address unprofessional behavior if it bleeds through. I hope the kids that remain in her care are safe.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            Sure, on that I agree with you I would feel queasy leaving my daughter with a person who refuses to talk to me, and I’d be asking to WFH until I could get other childcare organised if at all possible. I wouldn’t bother to talk to her side business employer, that’s the especially vindictive part.

      3. Rocket*

        I mean, OP literally said losing this month of childcare would devastate her and her partner’s careers. So doesn’t look like that’s an option.

    4. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

      Same! I was a professional nanny for years and this kind of behavior is absolutely what ruins the industry. Shaming people because of their generation? That would be like a cleaning lady coming in and shaming you for having an untidy home.

      1. Dobby is a Free Elf!*

        Amusingly, I recently gave in and hired a cleaning service because I finally hit a low point where I realized that I was never going to dig myself out of the mess created by depression/stress/lack of time, and at least one of the cleaners…absolutely has been judgmental about my mess. Listen, if I could keep up with this myself, I wouldn’t have hired you, okay? I know it’s bad. That’s why I called in help. Stop making faces and whispering behind your hand to your coworker and just…do the thing that I am paying you to do.

        1. Jessica*

          Oh no, I am sorry you’ve experienced this. I recently hired a cleaning service despite deeply mixed feelings about it (it was a great decision FOR ME) and I had to just decide to put shame aside to do it. But this would have been really upsetting. Fortunately I don’t speak the language my cleaners mostly use so as long as they’re discreet in their demeanor I’ll never know what they say about me. This could be for the best.

          1. Dobby is a Free Elf!*

            I had basically that problem. My mom and sister are absolutely the kind of people who can make order out of chaos and are neat and tidy in everything they do. I definitely never have been, and hiring a cleaning service absolutely felt like admitting defeat.

          2. Rosalind Franklin*

            Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Marge wins a free house cleaning, and spends all day cleaning before they arrive. She has a fantasy sequence where she imagines the cleaners talking about her house: “and guess what we found in the drain? A hair! And not a fine, upstanding head hair….no, it was a curly whirly!”

        2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

          Ugh, that sucks! I have definitely been anxious about a cleaner judging my chaos.

          I’d be very tempted to do the “oh, did you say something?” or “did you need something?” thing any time I observed this. Or if I was feeling extra spicy “oh, what’s so funny?” At least I would hope they’d be shamed enough into being more discreet.

          Also no shame in choosing to go with someone else who can be a basic amount of polite to you.

        3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          Yeah, cleaners who complain that the place is dirty… suppose I were to complain that the text I have to translate is in a foreign language?

          Another breed guilty of such crimes: hairdressers, who never fail to ask “who cut your hair before?” when you come in for the first time. Because of that, I still haven’t been back to the hairdressers for ages, been cutting it myself for a good seven years now.

          1. Wendy Darling*

            I had a dental hygienist get a little shamey about the state of my teeth when she was also telling me that I needed to have more frequent cleanings because I was developing a gum problem.

            First of all my shitty teeth are genetic. I take great care of my teeth but they are the way they are anyway. If I didn’t take such good care of them I would have like 2 teeth left.

            And second of all, THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO CONVINCE ME TO PAY YOU TO CLEAN MY TEETH 4X A YEAR. I am having them done that often but I requested a different hygienist.

            (Luckily it turned out that some since-resolved health problems and the medication I was on to deal with them is probably what did for my mouth in this instance, so they’ve miraculously recovered. Hormones will fuck up your gums, friends!)

            1. bubbleon*

              UGH I feel this so hard.

              I finally built up the courage to see just how bad my teeth were and almost cried to the first hygienist I saw when I asked her to please not dwell on the severity or stupidity of my past dental mistakes or I may never be able to come back. She was wonderful, definitely put some note in my file for others to back off, and I spent a stupid amount of money fixing my teeth… and then I moved states so I’m trying to work myself up to finding another dentist here.

              1. Emmy Noether*

                I found a dentist that specializes in patients that are afraid of dentists and/or haven’t been in way too long! I was so relieved when I found him, because the shame of not having been for so long kept me from going (my teeth ended up being mostly fine). He actually promises on his website that there will be no shaming.

                It seems to be quite a common problem, there are several dentists like that in my city. Maybe in your area as well?

            2. Anon Supervisor*

              Hygenists can definitely ruin a dental experience for me. You could be the kindest and best dentist in the world, but if your hygienist sucks, I wouldn’t be back. Same with vets and their front end staff.

            3. Tired of dentist upselling*

              +1 that a huge component of teeth is genetics! Every freaking time they make you feel like your weak enamel and TMJ are personal moral failings.

        4. Shiba Dad*

          I feel you. This past weekend I had my nephews come help me tidy up my old house. I have certainly felt shame for being such a slob. In hindsight, I had some of the same issues that you did that let it get out of hand.

        5. Rainy*

          My mum used to do housecleaning while my sister was in kindergarten, and a lot of her houses just had cleaners for the prestige of it, so she’d arrive and further clean a spotless house (her take on that was that she’d take their money but she wasn’t sure why people who had a handle on it needed a professional–and also that it was hard to make enough of a difference to show that she was actually doing the work). The people who have cleaners for actual cleaning are a different population entirely–very busy people who don’t have time to work a second shift keeping up a house, or hate housework and want to outsource it or whatever–and I think that it’s very possible to find cleaners who really relish getting in there and making a difference, but if you’re dealing with an agency that mostly just cleans the spotless houses of class-conscious neat freaks, they’re probably being jerks because they’re having to actually work.

          1. Dobby is a Free Elf!*

            I’d love to find someone like that to hire–someone who would come in and enjoy setting it to rights. I absolutely feel that way about many of the aspects of my job. For example, I *love* taking a super messy outline and turning it into something the client is genuinely happy with, because that’s what I’m good at.

            Remembering that you’re supposed to wipe off the bathroom sink handles? Not so much.

            At some point, I may put in the time to find a local one- or two-person cleaner instead of the agency…but this one let me schedule online and autodrafts the fees out of my account, which was basically all the spoons I had left to handle dealing with cleaning for the time being.

            1. Rainy*

              Yeah, at a certain point you’ve just got to get the thing done, but start asking around for friends who have cleaners and get recs. I bet you can find someone who isn’t going to be a jerk. :)

              1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                (I would totally wipe them, whatever they are, because I systematically clean out every part of the bathroom that I use every time, it’s practically an obsession because I like to get clean in a place that’s at least as clean as I want to be… the rest of the house is a different story though and I have had great trouble keeping up with the housework in the past)

        6. HQetc*

          I LOVE the combo of this comment and your user name! Dobby deserves the freedom to pay someone else to clean his home and feel zero guilt about it!

      2. Just Here for the Free Lunch*

        We once had to part ways with a cleaner because she left us lengthy notes about our untidiness and its unacceptability. What did she think we were paying her for?

        1. Batgirl*

          I would be unable to resist saying: “You’re so right, we can do this; we won’t bother you any more..” Reminds me of an assertive friend who even before she’d got her coat off, had the restaurant saying they needed the table back in under an hour. She started putting it back on and said: “It’s fine, since that won’t work for me, you can have it now.”

        2. the+cat's+ass*

          OMG, I had her too! She lectured me about my brand of kitty litter (sorry, take it up with the cats, this is the only stuff they’ll pee on), disliked my duvet cover and always put it on wrong, and th kicker was when she asked that my developmentally delayed sister be out of the house for her visits. Nope, she lives here, bye!

    5. mreasy*

      I can’t agree with this if it’s truly isolated. I have been having a particularly rough time at work lately and started crying on a call with my boss. Super unprofessional, yes, but also isolated. If she decided I was untrustworthy and alerted, like, my industry association about it, that would be unreasonable. The childcare aspect makes this higher stakes, but I wonder if it would be worth meeting with Amy or just talking with her about her response? If she’s apologetic and admits it was a panic at a time of high stress it’s worth letting go.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        I don’t think crying on a call with your boss is necessarily unprofessional and I DEFINITELY do not think it is the same or remotely comparable to what Amy did here. At all.

        If she wants to leave an honest review (and by honest, I do mean honest, especially about the three years of professional behavior), I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving her the benefit of the doubt and letting it go.

        I’m not sure about contacting the agency either, but I definitely think it would be more reasonable to do so in this case of lashing out at a client than it would be for demonstrating normal human emotions on a call with a boss. (Can you tell I’ve also cried at work before?)

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          If you contact the agency, who presumably think Amy is great since they’ve hired her, you risk coming across as a witch who’s angry that Amy can no longer care for their child.

          1. Despachito*

            And if so, what?

            (Moreover, if push come to shove, OP has written evidence of Amy’s rants.

        1. Everything Bagel*

          And delusional for thinking, even momentarily, that she’s entitled to a continued relationship with a child she’s been paid to care for. Even if she didn’t really think it but said it just to coerce the letter writer, that is pretty bad.

        2. KRM*

          Vindictive AND she was very unclear in all her communications. Saying “well you have to leave after 2 weeks now” and then “oh no you have the full 6 weeks” and her detailing of how personally she was taking LW leaving…I’m not sure this woman should be mentoring anyone. Yes, it must be very hard to lose people from your job. But when you essentially announce that 1-you’re going to be working super long days from now on and 2-you’re going to close a lot more than you had previously, you’ve got to expect that. Sounds like Amy just assumed everything would be the same, but she’s losing clients and (possibly) finding her new hours are making it hard to find replacements. Unfortunately this led to her lashing out instead of reevaluating her changes.

      2. Observer*

        have been having a particularly rough time at work lately and started crying on a call with my boss. Super unprofessional, yes, but also isolated.

        This is like apples and fish. Seriously. The stakes here are not just “higher”, it’s a different planet. And also, this not just “super unprofessional”, it’s genuinely concerning behavior that could reflect or signal bigger behavioral problems. Like, if someone cries at work once, I’m not going to worry that they are going to start stealing, trashing people’s desks or anything really and truly problematic. But in this case, there is a real reason to be concerned that this person is literally going to put a child’s safety at risk / do something truly concerning. Even just the idea that she might be kicking the kid out with so much less notice is a huge step beyond getting a bit too emotional.

      3. Batgirl*

        Crying at work is something everyone has done. Slating clients as flaky millenials, being clingy-attached to a child you care for professionally, not sticking to an agreed notice period dependably, blaming everyone for your business plan being a dud, and refusing to communicate with a client whose child you care for? Not everyone has done that.

    6. BA*

      I agree. Had the question been, “Should I leave a Google review” I might have chalked it up to an unfortunate situation prompted by stress (which others have pointed out upthread) but because Amy is coaching others and being paid to do so, it is probably worth pointing out to the agency that what is happening is not cool. If I was running the agency, I think I’d probably want to know just so I can keep close tabs on the instruction that others are getting from Amy.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Would you really take a complaint about a seemingly great new hire seriously when it comes from a random woman who turns out to be a disgruntled former customer of said new hire? I’m not sure I would. Might get written off as a Karen.

        1. Hannah Lee*

          In this case, there’s no need for “taking the word” of anyone. A simple screen shots of the texts Amy sent would illustrate the problem, wouldn’t it?

        2. BethDH*

          For me it would depend on what the person said. “We had a great experience for three years but then x happened” seems balanced.
          Also depends on what “take seriously” means. I wouldn’t fire someone based on that, but I would make a point of checking in more with her mentees and taking further complaints more seriously.

          1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            Yeah that sounds reasonable, I’d probably do that myself just in case.

    7. kittymommy*

      I think I agree as well. This coupled with, as someone said below, the creepiness of the “…tear someone from my heart…” and the rather personal comment about millennial parents in general and how their decision is going to negatively affect their child. Those are rather concerning as the relate to Amy’s professionalism and judgement.

    8. ferrina*

      I wouldn’t. If Amy is great with the kids, truly nurtures them and helps them grow, has a safe and stimulating environment for the kids….that’s depressingly rare in the childcare industry. More people need to be taught how to do this, and there is very, very little actionable training that’s available. The job is brutal- you need to have eyes everywhere at once. It’s like reffing a premier league game for 10 hours a day.

      I’ve been a daycare provider and I’ve been a parent/customer, and frankly, parents are the least important part of that equation. If this is her only slip up, frankly, it’s minor in comparison with some of the other crap I’ve seen from providers (most of which parents will have no idea is happening). I’ll caveat that by saying it’s still not okay, and if Amy was refusing to communicate with either parent, then I’d be saying something different.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Parents are the LEAST important part of the equation? Genuine question, how does this happen?

        1. Hapax Legomenon*

          Sending an inappropriate angry message to a parent is the least bad place a childcare provider can misdirect their stress, when you think about the endlessly exhausting, difficult, mentally/emotionally taxing parts of the job: making sure the kids stay safe and you’re modeling good behavior and meeting their developmental needs and stimulating their curiosity and keeping them on a routine and having eyes on them at every moment for 8+ hours a day. If professional communication with the parents is Amy’s only failing (and only after they give notice) she could still be a valuable mentoring resource for others. I worked in childcare as someone with no prior experience, and was never provided nearly enough training or advice or oversight, and I burned out so hard it took years to recover from the hit to my mental and physical health.

          1. ferrina*

            Exactly. It may sound weird from the outside, but it’s okay if the parents aren’t very involved with the kid’s daycare. As a daycare teacher, there were weeks when I wouldn’t talk to a parent more than acknowledging that they were dropping off/picking up the kid. If the kid got hurt or we needed to discuss a serious behavioral issue, I’d stop them and talk to them, but other than that I could usually take care of the kids just fine without needing a full update from/for the parents. My biggest challenges were setting up activities for the kids, transitioning them from outside to inside to diapers to lunch to naptime, catching up on my paperwork for the center/state, then back on full time with the kids making sure they were learning, having fun, being safe, not biting, etc.

            Hapax, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. Unfortunately it’s not uncommon. It’s a brutal profession that doesn’t get nearly the resources it needs.

            1. ferrina*

              Clarification: When I say I didn’t talk to the parent, it wasn’t because I was avoiding them. It was usually because the parent had places to be, so they would do a quick drop-off/pick-up without stopping to chat with me.

    9. Not Your Babysitter*

      Yes! I actually had to disagree with Alison on this one. There are times where you should just give the other person some grace and another chance because it’s the right thing to do/it’s not worth spending your energy on engaging, but this isn’t one of those times. We’re not talking about someone who took your lunch from the fridge because they forgot theirs and had a one-time lapse in judgement after working together for five years. We’re talking about someone who is responsible for a child’s life, safety, and general well-being. Someone who’s not only repeatedly lashed out in rapid order when things didn’t go her way, but is now refusing to properly communicate about the child’s life, safety, and well-being with one of the kid’s parents.

      If I were the agency, I’d absolutely want to know about this–this is the kind of thing that would reflect poorly on me-as-the-agency if word got out. And parents *do* talk. And as a parent thinking about working with a childcare giver, I’d definitely not want to hire anyone coached by an agency who seemingly endorsed a person like Amy by taking her on.

  5. Magenta+Sky*

    I suspect the change in behavior was due to finding a new client much more quickly than expected, but needing to take in their child sooner than six weeks but having a legal limit on how many children she can care for. So she tried to subtly convince the letter writer to withdraw early.

    And did so very poorly, for all the reasons you mention.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Possibly someone else did what OP considered–found something new, then left with no notice and ate the 6 weeks costs–and that’s why the numbers worked out… but she’s stressed and lashing out because number of old clients leaving > number of new clients.

    2. Julia*

      I dunno, it sounds more like her feelings are hurt. If this were a business decision, would she be sending long, rambling texts making slights against the LW’s age group and talking about “tearing someone from her heart”? I might even hazard a guess that it’s the new client that is the lie – she’s just trying to retaliate for a perceived slight by making life harder for the LW.

      Re the change in behavior, lots of times people are shocked in the moment and react reasonably, but then as time goes by and they process the event they start to feel more emotions and lash out.

      1. ferrina*

        It’s likely both. Many providers get very attached to the kids that they care for. And the profit margins are very thin so business continuity is a huge stressor. Add that to Amy now working 14 hour days.

      2. Hannah Lee*

        I also am wondering if there is alcohol or other substance involved.

        Not that someone can’t have a drink to try to relax after work. But the fact that the original OTW text happened after working hours makes me wonder if there might be some wine-texting going on. That doesn’t explain the refusing to speak to OP yet still speaking to their SO, though.

        1. Turtlewings*

          This was exactly my thought — that she went home and got drunk, thus the slightly-incoherent and overemotional text. Refusal to speak to OP might be embarrassment, now that she’s sober again.

          Daycare providers do get very attached to their charges; I’ve seen it with my sister, who works in that field. And a lotttt of my sister’s coworkers use alcohol to deal with the stress of their jobs.

  6. Higher Ed*

    I have to wonder if Amy underestimed the effect these changes would have on her business, is losing other clients, and is now panicking.

    1. StoneColdJaneAusten*

      This exactly. She might not have done the math and realized that she was literally becoming a part-time daycare and would need to recruit all new clients.

    2. CM*

      Yes, and my guess is the change itself was tied to a need to make more money.
      I appreciated the empathy in Alison’s response. I had the same reaction — Amy is being unreasonable and too personal, but is probably under a ton of stress, and has been wonderful in the past. Ultimately the harm to the LW is just some temporary stress. They still have childcare, aren’t losing money, and are probably moving to a better and more reliable situation. I’d also let it go and not escalate. Amy might even feel bad — if not now, then at some point — about behaving this way.

  7. Lea*

    I found this ‘ as you tear someone from my heart and I have to accept it’ to be super creepy though…this lady changed her terms she had to know that might not work for everyone. Sure stress but yikes.

    1. Ness*

      Yeah, that line stood out to me too. It sounds like she might have an unhealthy level of emotional attachment to OP’s kids. Kids leaving daycare is normal and expected, whether it’s because they aged out or for other reasons, and while it’s normal for the transition to be a bit sad, describing it as “tearing someone from my heart” is way over the top.

    2. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      Yes, I can totally see how that line can sound suuuuppper creepy. But in this context it’s not as weird as we’re making it out to be. OP states that her daughter has been in Amy’s care since she was very young. Given that OP & OP’s spouse only have 15 PTO days a year each I’m going to take a wild leap and guess that they didn’t have a long maternity/paternity leave option and that OP’s daughter was likely in Amy’s care at about 6 weeks onward. It’s not weird/unusual for a childcare provider to love the children they care for. Especially when they’ve been witness to the child’s growth for a long period of time. Did Amy convey her message in the worst way possible? Absolutely. Would it have been so much better to say “I’m really sad to see you go, I’ve loved caring for your daughter and will miss her very much?” Again, absolutely. But I don’t think this is as creepy as people are wanting it to be.

      1. FridayFriyay*

        I agree the sentiment isn’t necessarily creepy but the delivery is absolutely inappropriate. I had a childcare provider who was inappropriately obsessed with my son (she called him her “work son” and made comments that he preferred her (his “other mom” – note that my child already has two moms) to me. While I appreciated that he was cared for lovingly I did not appreciate the boundary-crossing way that affection was communicated to me or to my child. This gives me similar vibes. You can keep your inside intense thoughts on the inside or confide in a friend!

        1. Mallory Janis Ian*

          That is creepy as hell. I did in-home childcare for a while and I cried when I closed it because of my attachment to the kids — but I understood that I was not their mother. Good grief!

          1. Bad at picking names*

            Yes exactly. As a nanny in opening my own daycare this is how it is. You love them, but it’s still a business arrangement.

        1. Gerry Keay*

          Extremely manipulative, like borderline emotional blackmail territory. I’ve worked at a preschool, I even cried when I changed locations and had to say goodbye to some of my favorite tots and their families, so I get that it’s emotionally intimate work! But this is so ridiculously out of line and unstable that yeah, I’d want to get my kids out of there ASAP.

          1. Bad at picking names*

            As a childcare worker, yes, agree 100%. You care about them, but this is so, so far out of line.

      2. Just Another Zebra*

        If one of my daughter’s day care teachers said this about her, I’d be reporting it. It’s boundary-crossing and creepy.

      3. straws*

        No, this is definitely creepy. My first son was with his daycare at 6 weeks and my second at 8 weeks. While it’s a center and not in-home, it’s a small center with low turnover. Most of the teachers that had my first also taught/cared for my second. They love them both. A teacher recently left (on positive terms and for good reasons) and got teary that she won’t be caring for my third soon. She mentioned that she’d be open to babysitting if needed. All good stuff. Amy absolutely communicated this in the worst way possible (I agree with you there), but it’s also absolutely a creepy way. Her own intention behind her words doesn’t change that they are also the words of someone that is creepy and behaving inappropriately.

      4. ferrina*

        Totally agree. It’s not abnormal for a daycare worker to get unhealthily attached to a kid. Is it good? No, absolutely not. I’ve had to wean a kid off a unhealthily attached teacher- it was an ugly process. Think hour-long cry sessions from just seeing the teacher’s face (I ended up banning the teacher from even walking by my classroom). But kids bounce back quick and due to the age, it usually doesn’t do any lasting damage (in my example, the kid was a normal kid in 3 months who established a more normal relationship with her now-former teacher. The teacher was the one upset by the loss of the codependent relationship).

      5. Dark Macadamia*

        No, it’s extremely creepy. This is a business relationship that was always going to be temporary because at some point the kid would age out of childcare. Of course she has a long-term connection and emotional investment, but she’s not entitled to LW’s child. Someone else’s kid is not something that can be “taken away” from you!

    3. MegPie*

      When my ex husband and I decided to divorce, we pulled our kids out of an in home day care and the provider was “heartbroken” and offered to TAKE OUR KIDS so she could still see them. It was bananas.

        1. MegPie*

          Yes, it was really creepy. I was hoping to still ask her to babysit here and there but it wigged me out so much that I cut off all contact.

    4. JelloStapler*

      Yes, that is NOT cool. Amy is the one that changed the availability, not them.

    5. Greg*

      Yup. I’ve got two in daycare and while the team that cares for them very clearly loves them, there isn’t anything close to that level of boundary hopping. Not to mention…it’s part of the job! Every single kid that is entrusted to your care is guaranteed to leave. My oldest is about to hit preschool and the teachers are literally telling him how great it will be and how much fun he will have when he complains he doesn’t want to go to his new school

    6. Mim*

      Yup. It made me wonder what kind of emotional intelligence and social problem solving she is teaching and modeling on a daily basis. And whether, even inadvertently, she would take out her disappointment/anger on my kid in some way. (I don’t necessarily mean major harm or danger, but I just wouldn’t be able to trust her any longer to be a kind, attentive, and engaged care provider.)

      If it were me that’s the point at which I’d start sending out feelers for other childcare to fill the gap, though decent childcare can be hard enough to find under the best of circumstances that I am guessing there wouldn’t be other options. (Personally I’d start looking for early childhood ed college students, maybe finding 2 or 3 people whose schedules could coordinate to fill in for care for most of the required time before the new childcare situation is able to start. But it would be a long shot, even living in a college town.) I’ve been in a different but also not so great situation with childcare before, and it was mostly us knowing it would be over soon, and checking in more often with our kid at home about what was happening at daycare to make sure nothing seemed directly stinky. (This is also why I was always scared of using single provider in-home childcare instead of childcare centers. But the tradeoff is that you get less control over which specific adult your kid gets to spend their days with.)

    7. Bridget the Elephant*

      I think this in and of itself is enough to raise a safeguarding concern. Added to the fact she won’t communicate with one of the parents directly at pick up and drop off, I’d consider contacting her regulator. She’s working with highly vulnerable children and appears to be crossing boundaries inappropriately. This is exactly the sort of situation where she needs to be checked to see if she is still in a position to be continuing to offer in home care.

    8. mreasy*

      Yeah, I was looking at it per my earlier comment as an isolated thing to be taken as such but this is a good point. This phrasing is SO off base and strange that it would be hard for me to trust her not to panic and say something like that to the kids.

    9. Gumby*

      Absolutely. Also? She has other options if she wants to keep in touch with the kid! Two of my nephews were at a daycare with a wonderful woman who specialized in young kids. (She encouraged my sister to find a good preschool for them when they hit about 4 because she didn’t think she could offer much to “older” kids and she just really dug the itty-bitties and was good with them. Plus anyone who says, “please, give me your toddler, of course I would love to help potty train them” should be canonized.) My nephews are now 10 and 12 and have moved to an entirely separate state and they still get the occasional letter and birthday card from that daycare provider. And they, of course, write thank you notes, responses, etc. That is how you keep in touch with kids you have bonded with. Though in most cases it probably dies down and doesn’t last quite this long.

    10. Emotional support capybara*

      THIS. This is the part where any willingness I had to give Amy the benefit of the doubt would evaporate. Biggest and reddest of flags. That is a super creepy and manipulative and hella inappropriate thing to say regardless of the intent behind it.

  8. CTT*

    I’m going to disagree with Alison and say that if you have an existing relationship with some of the other parents, it may be worth asking them if they’ve noticed any unusual behavior from Amy. Amy’s message of “Just know I wish you all the best as you tear someone from my heart and I have to accept it” set off alarm bells for me and goes beyond a response triggered by stress. And maybe it totally is stress and everyone is going to say they haven’t noticed anything and LW just happened to hit a nerve on a bad day for Amy. But I worry that there are several parents are in their own silos thinking they’re the only ones Amy has acted weird with.

    1. JumpAround*

      Yeah, my immediate thought to that was “what is she saying to this kid when their parent isn’t around?”

      It could be fine and she may remain professional with the child, but she could also make comments to the child that may mess with the child’s head.

      1. Forkeater*

        Yeah I think this is a good point. This is a defenseless child you’re leaving with someone who is not reacting rationally. I’d see if the in laws or someone could watch your kid for the remainder of the notice period.

    2. Dona Florinda*

      +1.
      I’ve worked in daycare and its was a little sad to see them go, but this response is just unhinged.
      OP should also have alternative childcare lined up once those two weeks are over, since Amy might just end care anyway. And definitely keep on extra eye on your child these last days.

      1. I Need a 9 Hour Nap*

        My immediate thought too. This involves a vulnerable population. It’s not the boss being angry you quit who doesn’t have access to your loved ones during your notice period. If the child can’t communicate or advocate then I would be looking into other intermediate options asap and alerting the other parents. This is something I’d want to know about if I were entrusting my young child to her care.

    3. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah I think Alison is discouraging actively badmouthing Amy to the other parents – and I agree with that. But some gentle recon to find out if there has been other “odd” behavior is warranted. I’d try to stay as diplomatic as possible and keep the details light, but if this is a pattern OP might hear something she should know before continuing to leave her child with this woman. She was already concerned about trusting her kid with someone working so much, the stress is obviously showing through already.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        I think this is really fair. The focus here isn’t talking smack about Amy – the goal is to get extra information that will give LW a better sense of whether this situation is just a little weird or if there are other issues going on that need to be addressed. Especially with a young child who probably wouldn’t have the language yet to understand or talk about things that are uncomfortable for them.

      2. Ginger Dynamo*

        I agree about doing some recon here. I understand Allison’s thoughts around not jeopardizing someone’s current client relationships proactively when what they are having could be an outsize response to abnormal stress that had become more common in the industry over the past two years. But these aren’t just business client relationships—they involve very young children, and extreme reactions to stress in caretakers can translate to that stress being expressed to or even taken out on children, intentionally or not. While grace is kind and possibly warranted in this scenario, it should not preclude ensuring that the children this person is overseeing are being cared for appropriately. This kind of manipulative emotional response is very concerning, and safety must come first.

    4. WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot*

      I agree here too. I look at this the same way you would tell your co-workers if your boss cut your notice period short. They have the right to know and plan accordingly. If I were another parent, I would want to know that she attempted to cut the six week notice period by two-thirds. I have three kids and couldn’t swing finding emergency care that quickly.

      And yes, I think that she’s losing more business that she anticipated. I’ve had kids in daycare of some kind for the past 14 years (and am in my final month!) and even without her additional closed days, 40 days a year is a lot for a day care to be closed. Especially if they have to pay for the days. So this must be untenable for most full time working parents.

      Lastly, I’ve been through some crazy stuff with my day care providers over the years and this sort of thing is kind of the “norm”. Its a tough dichotomy because you want someone to love and care for your child as much as you do, but you also have to maintain professional distance from someone who is a service provider. I think its been easier as my kids get older because their needs change. (On the other hand, I might just be over it and so I’ve found the distance out of necessity.)

      1. ferrina*

        Yes on all of this! 40 days (8 weeks?) is so much to be closed! And a 6 week notice period is really long- usually I’ve seen 3 or 4 weeks.
        But daycare is a weird industry. We’re trusting our most precious people to professionals who receive minimal training and are vastly underpaid. There are some truly amazing and wonderful providers out there, some true terrors, and a lot of people in the middle.

    5. Working Mom*

      Yes yes yes, this. We had a center daycare situation go south, and I had former work colleagues who also had children at that center in that classroom. I asked around if their children seemed to be treated differently or if they were concerned. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for us, it seemed to be an issue specific to my child on top of some general structural issues at said center. I did not leave a negative online review – but I also stopped recommending them to anyone, and if a parent asked why we left, I did not mince words.

      OP, I am so sorry you’re going through this. The time when we dealt with the daycare situation and then change was an incredibly stressful one, and I wish that level of concern and anxiety on no one. However, we ended up in a place that I would never have found or considered had all the daycare drama not happened, and that school was a wonderful fit for my kid. I hope your situation ends up as happy in the long run.

    6. RagingADHD*

      If the second weird message had also come at night, I’d assume that Coffee Amy was being reasonable and Wine Amy was being weird. But I certainly hope Wine Amy isn’t showing up during work hours.

    7. Ellie*

      I agree about talking to other parents, and if your children are old enough, I’d gently quiz them about what is going on while they’re there as well. Are there any other daycare workers, or is she working on her own? If she’s on her own… I’d consider moving up your timeline for leaving the centre, if you possibly can. This is quite creepy. I wouldn’t put anything in writing (google reviews, etc.) until after you’re out of there though.

  9. River Otter*

    Neither forgive nor forget, but also don’t take action. You are looking for revenge, not solutions. Just finish out your contract, let your partner handle the communications, and focus on maintaining childcare coverage. Drop it entirely once you have changed providers.

    1. Generic Name*

      I agree. I’ve dealt with shitty people in my career, and generally, the world doesn’t need me to spread the word that those people were shitty. Folks already know. And if they don’t know now, they will eventually.

      1. Ginger Dynamo*

        My only reason for possibly encouraging talking with the other parents in this situation would be to ensure that this outsize stress response isn’t indicative of that stress being taken out on the very young children this person is caring for. If it just affects her affect with the parents, that’s one thing. If this level of stress is being expressed to or taken out on the children involved, that is not okay, and it needs to stop immediately. While the other parents may know eventually if it turns out this stress response wasn’t a fluke, I would hate for that to mean that any of the children were subjected to this kind of manipulative emotional stress in the interim.

        1. aebhel*

          Yeah, this. Under almost any other circumstances I’d say to just let it go, but (speaking as someone who pulled their youngest out of a home daycare because, among other things, the provider was starting to become worryingly erratic towards us) I’d have serious reservations about letting someone who behaved like this continue to care for my young children.

  10. HugsAreNotTolerated*

    I can guess that some of the weirdness from Amy probably came from the fact that she was likely freaking out over losing a significant portion of income when you told her you were leaving. This is going to sound icky because nobody wants to look at their children as a dollar sign, but because in-home childcare providers are limited in the number of children they can accept and provide for, each child represents a portion of income. Imagine if your boss came to you and said “In 6-weeks time we’re going to remove this task from your desk and reduce your pay by X amount.” You’d rightly be a little freaked. It sounds like Amy calmed down a bit when she lined up another child to fill your daughter’s spot, but made another misstep when communicating the timing to you and to the other family.
    Given that quality, safe childcare is hard to come by I do agree with Alison that grace is the way to go here. You trusted Amy with your daughter for a significant portion of your daughter’s life. Amy’s been witness to much of your daughter’s growth and milestones and just made things a little more emotional than they really needed to be.

    1. Workerbee*

      In this case, Amy is the boss. She owns her own business and set the terms: “Amy came to us and announced that she would be taking on a part-time position coaching other in-home daycare providers in addition to owning her own daycare, and that she would be working four hours each day in addition to the ten hours her daycare is open and would be closed an additional day each month. ”

      She made that decision herself and stated she understood why LW has to find other accommodations. So she knew the potential and probability of losing clients ahead of time. I can only conjecture that the new part-time position’s income would have been factored in before Amy chose to do this.

      And then later on, she…ceased to understand? Removed herself from the accountability of making her own choices for her business? Blamed LW and now only interacts with her husband?

      This goes beyond missteps. And if you time in your stressful day to send a wall of vituperative text, you have time to think about what you’re saying as well and decide otherwise.

      1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

        I think your point about Amy knowing the “potential & probability of losing clients” is probably a key point here. I’m betting that this response (which isn’t okay) is because she’s probably losing more clients than she expected to lose. (After all, 40 days a year is ridiculously high, but adding in an additional 12 means that there’s literally one day a week that she’s closed).

        Based on additional comments and clarification from the OP downthread, I’d revise my comment to say that Amy was completely out of line instead of it being a misstep.

        Here’s the thing though. I’ll still advocate for grace. Grace because childcare is hard. It’s hard for the providers, it’s hard for parents. Grace because the last two years have been absolute hell for everyone but especially parents. Grace doesn’t mean being a doormat, but it does mean that OP can be kind when confronting Amy about her behaviour.

      2. This is a name, I guess*

        This is unrelated, but there’s actually a huge push in GirlBoss sphere right now to become a “coach” for other girlboss types. Since 2017-18 really. A lot of people are now coaching other small business owners as their main income sources instead of coaching clients. It’s becoming almost like an ad hoc MLM because people who want to be, say, fitness coaches, now become successful fitness coaches for the purpose of making the real money as a business coach for other fitness coaches. In MLMs, you make the most money by recruiting and coaching other sales people, not by making sales. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if in-home daycare is now part of this trend. It’s adjacent to GirlBoss land.

        Also, there are tons of government programs to increase the number of in-home daycare providers to alleviate a very bad childcare crisis. Should this woman be working 14 hrs/day? No. But, her participation in this program might be helping parents by getting more providers licensed.

        This doesn’t excuse her behavior, but it’s just kind of interesting to think about where this second consulting job might be coming from.

    2. Ccbac*

      Except that business model is exactly how home daycares work… It should not be a surprise to Amy.

    3. TheRain'sSmallHands*

      Anyone that has been running a small business SHOULD be prepared for this – its the normal course of business. I have about a dozen consultants who my partner has place and I handle billing and payment on. We get a small cut of their hourly rate (they are 1099). About two weeks ago, one of my long term guys (he’s been out at the same client for five years) let me know that April 30 was his last day. That’s thousands a year gone from my pocket. But I wished him all the best and that I was happy for him – and I truly was – because two months ago my partner placed three people in a single month and who knows what will happen next month. I could lose another two or three people (its rough right now, these are IT guys who can jump for more money currently) or I could gain two or three.

      We aren’t capacity capped like a daycare (we are capacity capped by our own desire to work – I’m semi retired and she’s a single mom – we make OK incomes for the hours we put in and neither of us needs to make more money or wants to work more), but my contractors are – they can only work so much – and every one of them that has been doing this for a while is well aware that they could get let go in a down cycle with no notice and it might take several months to get a new gig. (I used to be on the consulting side myself).

    4. Annony-mouse*

      The thing is though, the conversation actually started with Amy, the company CEO, approaching her clients to say that she would be cutting the service she sells to them by 4.6% per year as well as reducing the quality (by attempting to care for small children while working a total of 14 hour days) without a corresponding reduction in costs. The client understandably chose to end their contract and followed all the contract requirements while doing so. This shouldn’t have been a surprising outcome for Amy. Also, Amy works in an industry where clients regularly leave because their needs change, they move, they find a better option elsewhere, they age out, etc.

      1. Despachito*

        Exactly.

        I am also wondering why Amy chose to take on more work AND lower the quality of the existing one to the point that it made OP and possibly other parents leave (because if she provided her service at standard hours, OP would be happy to stay). It is weird – it seems that she took on the extra work and extra time because she was losing money but she was losing money because she was reducing the time of her basic service.

  11. Veryanon*

    Many years ago, I used an in-home day care when my son was a baby. In some ways, it was wonderful because he received lots of loving, individual attention. The downside, though, was that I had to scramble whenever the care provider was closed or unavailable for any reason. And when we switched to a larger daycare center, the proprietor was very professional. “Amy” seems unprofessional and unstable.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I’m latching on to the word unstable, because yes. Do not underplay her reaction and conflate, “parents today” criticism and “ripping a hole in my heart” and the nonsense about damaging the child into one big, “she’s panicking.”
      Nope. I’ll say it again, she crossed into crazy city. Crazy town is in her rear view mirror.

    2. NNN222*

      My sister uses an in-home daycare and I’m astonished by the number of times she has no childcare with little to no notice. There are some planned days but the provider also has a child with some medical complications who occasionally has appointments that come up with a notice of only a week or two. Fortunately, our parents live an hour away and are retired and her MIL is a retired school teacher who lives even closer although she isn’t always available due to continuing to substitute and my sister also doesn’t want to take advantage of her in-laws’ proximity too often. It’s gotten to the point where it seems unsustainable. It certainly wouldn’t work for people who don’t have so many backup options and who don’t have some of the flexibility my sister and brother-in-law’s jobs can afford them. Their kid loves their daycare person and it does seem like the care is great when it’s happening but I can’t believe the provider doesn’t have an on-call backup person to step in when she has to attend her child’s medical appointments.

    3. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      Yep. I commented similarly above and we eventually did the same thing. The individual attention was not worth the last minute call that they were unavailable that day. We didn’t have family or anyone else in the area to watch our some last minute so one of us would have to take the day(s) off. We just couldn’t manage it anymore.

  12. long tall D*

    My spidey senses are tingling. Any way your in-laws could possibly step up and provide child care until the new arrangements start? I would hate to leave my kid in the hands of a flake. I hope I’m being overly cautious here…

    1. Missb*

      This. I wouldn’t want to leave my child with her one second longer. She sounds rather unbalanced.

    2. Sue*

      I would find emergency care and move my child immediately. No way would I drop off my 3 year old with someone like this WHO WON’T EVEN SPEAK TO ME. A huge no on all of this. And I would absolutely warn anyone I knew and leave a review. I don’t know if she is stressed out or drinking or whatever, she cares for vulnerable children and this is very unacceptable behavior.

      1. Sue*

        Also, you could pay for the notice time or not. If you didn’t, she would have a tough case to collect it after this behavior.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Even if she’s not drinking or whatever, the refusal to speak to the OP is seriously bad. It’s not like she let you park your car in her garage—this is your kid. Their care provider should absolutely be communicating with you.

      3. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

        It’s stereotypical to send rambling, emotional messages when drinking. I have done it myself.
        It’s unprofessional to send send business-related messages when drinking, of course. The only mitigation is that in-home day cares do blur the line between professional and personal.

      4. Snakebite*

        Yep. If the refusal to speak to LW has continued it is time to cut and run. That is not acceptable for a number of reasons, but doing this in front of her kid is just really low. I would definitely try to get that center to get my kid in early if at all possible and eat the cost to be done. Yes, I am sure Amy will miss the kid, but by acting like this she has made absolutely sure not to have continued relationship in any way. And as a business owner she has to understand that she now no longer runs a full-time daycare and that matters to full-time working parents. She owes you an apology, and without that, she probably shouldn’t be trusted to care for your child if she cannot treat you with respect. Good luck! What a night are situation to deal with, LW!

      5. Not So NewReader*

        I would not leave my DOG with a person who would not speak to me. A child is many more times that.

        We all can be great people when things are going well. It’s how we behave when the road gets bumpy that separates us out.
        There are lots of things here that could change my mind such as if she got up the next day saw her text and said, “OMG. I can’t believe I said such a thing. I am taking new steps and this will never happen again. I am sorry.”

        I had a person in my life write me a letter that said something to the effect of, “I lost myself. I should not have said [Thing]. Can you forgive and forget?” It was longer than this here, but you get the idea. OF COURSE, I can forgive. And I can even forget if you never do it again, Friend. (funny/not funny) Most of us step in crap from time to time. Amy did not just step in crap, she’s still walking around in it with her refusal to talk to OP.

        On-going drama is a different beast than a one time mistake.

  13. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    I understand Alison’s call for grace, I really do. This woman is panicking about her income. OK. So she makes a personal attack on OP. Not ok, but stress. She gets a pass. Even about “parents today.”* Even about “ripping a hole in her heart,” ok, you can have that. But:
    I think the real line she crossed was when she made ominous statements about the mental well-being of OP’s child. You don’t do that.
    Parents are doing the best they can, making the best choices they can with the options they have. Telling OP that her child will be damaged is not stress related hyperbole. It is a vicious attack.
    I wouldn’t tell her new job anything. But I would definitely share it with parents if it comes up, even just to get a reality check, like writing this letter, but in person. “She said WHAT? Totally unacceptable.”
    Then move on.

    *Is she attacking millenials? she’s in her forties, Amy is closer to millennial than Gen X, but I don’t want to split hairs, I just want to say, she’s lashing out because she’s lashing out, not because she is thinking about OP specifically. Although, funny she’s taking it all out on OP and not her husband…

    1. Rae*

      I would assume that comment about the changes in parents these days is more about the collective whole being out of patience, not millenials. But also assuming her outburst is also a sign of the being out of patience after the last 2 years its very hypocritical.

      1. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

        Yeah it doesn’t sound like she specifically mentioned ages or anything. OP just interpreted it as an attack against millenials.

    2. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      I think it’s more likely that Amy’s in her 50s or even 60s. OP states that Amy has 25 years of experience, so unless Amy started her career in childcare immediately upon cessation of whatever schooling she did, she’s likely in the 50s range.
      In many other contexts Amy’s comment about “the change in parents over the years” would be an interesting conversation starter (obviously not the part where she says “it’s not a positive one”) because yeah, in 25 years there *have* been a lot of changes in parenting styles! But in the context of a text to a client, this is just Amy lashing out for some reason.

    3. CM*

      Vicious attack seems like hyperbole to me. Amy’s statement is rude and inappropriate. But Amy is not actually hurting the OP, except their feelings. The child is still being cared for and that’s the main priority for the OP.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Stating that parents today are generally worse than parents a generation ago is rude and inappropriate.
        Stating that OP is making a choice that will hurt her child is vicious.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Amy refuses to speak to OP. Is the child, indeed well cared for? I think not. Failure to communicate is a huge failure. It does not matter the rationale. And the fact that Amy feels justified in not speaking to OP some how increases the problem.

    4. Esmeralda*

      That, and not speaking to the OP at all. That’s unprofessional, juvenile, and NOT SAFE. OP has to be able to communicate w their child’s care provider. That right there would be it for me.

  14. MedGal*

    This is a big part of the reason we are staying with centers and school based care. The requirements for many in-home providers and managing their time off or sick days is just too much uncertainty.

    1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      I mean, I guess the benefit of of owning your own business is that you get to set the boundaries and rules that you want, but 40 weekdays of no care available?! That’s 8 weeks a year that these parents are paying for that they need to find alternate care. Given OP & their spouse only have 30 days of PTO between them that means that literally ALL of their PTO is going towards covering these closures. What happens when the child is sick and can’t go to daycare? What happens when the parent is sick and needs additional days off? It’d be fascinating to hear from OP & OP’s spouse’s colleagues on how this limited care affects them.

  15. The Tin Man*

    As someone who grew up with a parent running a daycare in our home this is absolutely wild to me. Families came and went and, as far as I knew, there wasn’t a notice period or anything.

    I know things are different in professional childcare now compared to the 80s/90s/00s but Amy has a weird dissonance that she expects her clients to jump through hoops for her while being rigid and unavailable herself.

    This is pure speculation but there are signs that maybe she’s struggling financially – talking about “devastating long-term effects for her” in addition to taking on the part-time job. Could be stress from that that is causing her to take things super personally and afraid of losing any business to the point where she lashes out personally. Or maybe she’s just so entwined with her business as identity that she sees leaving as a personal affront and, while she knew the “right” things to say in the moment once she had just a little time she worked herself into a frenzy.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Oh. I honestly thought she meant devastating long-term effects on the child. Like she will have commitment and trust issues because her parents changed daycares when she was four.

      1. The Tin Man*

        I could see where you got that out of it too, I just combined that line with the one about “not caring about her family’s well-being since we couldn’t make the schedule change work”

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          I read it as the devastating effects being for Amy as well but I guess I can see both reads. Either way, way over the top.

      2. NNN222*

        I also read it as being about the child. I thought Amy was trying to guilt trip OP and her spouse into staying.

        1. ferrina*

          Yeah, I did too. Like “You’ll never find anyone as good as me and it will hurt your child forrrrreeeevvvveeerrrr!”
          Which may be true, but still doesn’t justify an outburst. The thing is, not every provider will be the best. But they need to be good. My kids have had bad teachers and teachers that didn’t click with them. The bad teachers immediately had me helicopter in. The teachers that the kids didn’t like because they didn’t click….well, at least it will be over next year? (and there are multiple teachers in the classroom and my kid did click with the others, so it wasn’t a case of being around someone you hate all day. That’s what elementary school is for.)

    2. The Tin Man*

      Unrelated side note, this reminded me some of a landlord who, when we gave two month notice to break our lease, freaked out about losing money because it might be empty for a month between tenants even though he didn’t post the listing for a month and then listed it for $400 (20%) MORE money. With the increase he was actually getting more money out of the remaining time we would have had the lease if we had stayed.

      We ended up super annoyed with him but our most generous read of the situation was to chalk it up to pandemic stress (this was April/May 2020).

  16. J*

    I agree with those who have said Amy is likely losing more families over the schedule change. When my kids were day care age I certainly wouldn’t have been able to absorb 40 (!) paid weekdays without care. That’s 8 weeks–way, way more than my PTO + holiday closures. And then to close for 12 more days (1 more day a month) on top of that? Wow. It would essentially mean having backup child care on call.

    And on Amy’s side, I can see how one of the best advantages of running your own business is being able to set your own hours–she gets to set it up however she likes. But like Alison said, she’s got to be aware that people with full-time jobs really do need full-time care, and she may lose clients over this. Not to say she can’t find families who are happy with her schedule–there are lots of people who need day care 3 days a week because the kids go to Grandma the other 2, or one parent has a work schedule that allows it, or whatever. But she’ll likely need to build that client base starting now.

    1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

      You’re totally right. 52 days a year is literally one day a week that parent’s need to find additional care.

    2. Dust Bunny*

      I mean, do freelance writing or something where a bunch of other peoples’ lives aren’t dependent on your schedule. An in-home daycare is really not the place to get cavalier about setting your own hours. And that’s from someone who doesn’t even have kids.

  17. A Simple Narwhal*

    They’re closed 40 weekdays a year to start? Even if you assume they close in a chunk the week between Christmas and New Years, that’s 35 weekdays over 11 months, which means they’re closed over 3 days a month, which means they’re almost closed once a week most weeks. I’m not familiar with daycare standards, but that seems like a lot to me. And now there’s an additional day each month they’ll be closing, so 52 weekdays a year? That literally translates to the daycare only being open four workdays a week, and she’ll (presumably) still be offering/charging for full-time care? Unless the daycare situation is even worse than I’ve heard (which may be the case!) I bet a lot of people are abandoning ship after this latest change.

    I know that the deal(/racket) with daycare is that if you pay for a certain day of the week and they happen to be closed one of those days, you still have to pay. But I thought that was mostly for like, if a holiday falls on a Monday and you pay for Monday-Wednesday, you still have to pay for three days that week. But I also thought those were relatively infrequent occurrences, not something happening every week. I know friends who said they were essentially regaining a mortgage payment each month once their kid was old enough for school vs daycare, I can’t imagine spending that much money and also still having to scramble for childcare each week.

    1. code red*

      That is how daycares work. You pay for the whole week even when there’s a holiday closure. But they don’t close that often. Yes there are a few holidays they close that my husband and I are scheduled to work (Good Friday, MLK day, etc), but they stay open a whole lot more than the public schools (open all summer, no spring break closures, only close on Christmas Eve/day and New Year’s Eve/day instead of the whole 2-3 weeks, etc).

      1. Dust Bunny*

        Yeah, this is how my brother’s kids’ daycare (a large church-based daycare) is–long enough hours for most parents to get by after work and closed only on the biggest holidays. It’s basically a full preschool/kindergarten with different classrooms, etc. Brother and SIL paid all through the pandemic both to hold places and to help make sure the place stayed in operation even when it was closed or in reduced capacity. It’s been very reliable and they really like the teachers.

      2. Peter the Bubblehead*

        When my daughter was in second grade, I had to place her in an in-home day care for roughly 90 minutes in the morning (between when I had to muster on base, I was active duty military) and her school bus would arrive, then again for roughly an hour to 90 minutes each afternoon (reverse of the morning routine) until a spot opened in the day care center.
        I could understand when I went on leave still needing to pay for the week or so we were away as I was ‘paying for the slot.’ But I got a little upset when I showed up one Friday to be greeted with, “We’re going on vacation all of next week, so there will be no daycare. Oh, and you still have to pay the entire week’s fee.” I had to scramble and get my mother to drive all the way from NYC to watch my daughter for that week.
        Was very happy when a spot at the care center opened a couple of months later and I didn’t have to worry about expensive surprises. At least until 9/11 occurred. On 9/12, the base command decided child care was a non-essential service and closed the care center indefinitely without regard to all the single parents who were active duty military and had no choice on whether they could go to work or not. My emergency back-up plan fortunately worked (my daughter being driven to school and picked up by the spouse of a service member friend and them my mother coming up from NYC again within a few hours – added bonus, it got my mother out of NYC in the aftermath of the terror attacks) but I served with quite a number of other single parents who didn’t have back-up plans or whose plans fell through.

    2. FridayFriyay*

      We ran into this a lot when exploring daycare options and it’s one of the reasons why we ended up using a larger center instead of home based care. I completely think childcare workers deserve better pay and generous amounts of paid sick days and vacation time. But I also work a job where I have limited PTO of my own, and my spouse also works full time and has even less PTO than I do. We just could not absorb that level of flexibility into our own work schedules to work 1:1 with a provider. We spoke with numerous home daycare owners who couldn’t commit in advance to how many chunks of vacation they would take per year. That was especially hard for me. They advertised 2 weeks of planned vacation but when we spoke in more detail it was “somewhere between 2 and 6 weeks depending on the year but you’ll always have at least a month notice of a closure more than a week long.” That’s a hard pass bc it isn’t sustainable with my own employment and because in order to evaluate daycare prices and options against one another I need to know how many days of care I’m paying for annually and I’m not interested in finding and paying for backup care for those long stretches – and if I was I’d need to have a sense of how much was needed and when. The whole system is broken.

    3. MK*

      It’s unlikely that they are closed 3 days each month. Probably the daycare closes for a month in the summer and two weeks at Christmas, plus a few holidays during the year, which is easier to cover (either by having grandparents visit or some summer-camp type activiy or whatever) than a few random days every month.

    4. Birdie*

      Jut spitballing, but my guess is in this particular case Amy closes for week-long (or more!) stretches around major holidays and a couple weeks in the summer. Throw in some random federal holidays to get long weekends, and suddenly you’re looking at 25-35 days where care is unavailable right off the bat.

      In-home care providers wanting time off to spend with their family is understandable (I get it, I really do!)< but it is also one of the major reasons we opted for center-based care. Both centers we have used basically follow the federal holiday schedule, which means those are also usually days me and my husband also have as paid holidays. There's only a couple days a year (Good Friday, Christmas eve) that we need to use PTO for childcare closures.

    5. Miss Muffet*

      And then she probably has at least a few sick days thrown in, which you wouldn’t be able to plan around (at least, I’d hope she’s not caring for little ones while she’s sick, especially now)…. another vote for center-based care, where there’s usually 2+ teachers per room and subs can be hired or some rejiggering of rooms/staff if someone calls in sick.

    6. Felis alwayshungryis*

      40 days is a lot to be closed. We don’t pay for public holidays or days that preschool is otherwise closed (like the Christmas holidays or lockdown), but you do pay if you’re keeping your kid off because they’re sick or you go away. But then where I live we get a portion of childcare funded by the government, so I guess that covers their operating expenses when they’re shut.

      Personally I’m really iffy about in-home care for reasons such as this (though I know there are wonderful providers out there) – there just aren’t the checks and balances, and nobody to say, ‘hey, you think you’re getting a bit attached to Timmy?’

    7. MsSolo UK*

      I wonder if the closure days initially started because she simply didn’t have a lot of clients on those days. When our daughter was in the baby room at her nursery, she was often the only kid in on a Friday, but if you want to get a kid in on a Wednesday there’s a waiting list. A lot of parents go part time to over childcare, but apparently I’m unusually in splitting my week rather than taking a long weekend! If she figured she could get away with charging a flat rate per month regardless (or if, financially, it made more sense to reduce the days than to increase the fees, a la shrinkflation) I can see how you end up with a scenario where you’re essentially providing childcare for people in part-time work.

      That said, the way LW is writing about it, I don’t think it’s a regular day each week she’s closed, because if that’s always been the standard than covering the missing day wouldn’t be a scramble, it’d be part of your routine. If she’s closing random days each week, it’s really hard to see how that’s sustainable for any parent, unless they’re a stay at home spouse (or has the kind of job where flexibility is integral, like an author) who has their kid in daycare for the socialisation. It must be a tough area for childcare if people are able to accommodate this (or they don’t realise until after the kid has already started).

  18. Dave*

    Reading this made me think of my formerly-nice neighbor who went off the rails about four years ago. The thing is, my neighbor stayed off the rails. She is now nasty, spiteful and mean, and lashes out constantly at the people she doesn’t approve of: It’s a large group, and unfortunately I’m in it.

    So that made me wonder if Amy’s freakout is indeed temporary.

    I would probably be inclined to leave the review for this reason, and because I tend to take stuff like Amy’s behavior very much to heart. Some people can shrug this kind of thing off; others can’t.

    But if the child’s been well cared for during the last 2-3 years, I’d put that in the review too.

  19. relaxy*

    Amy’s out of line, but it sucks that neither of you can take an emergency month off without “devastating” your career.

    1. Koli*

      Or, more realistically, find childcare coverage for that month on short notice? Sure it might be expensive, or a long drive, but surely there’s childcare available SOMEWHERE? The “devastating” effect on their careers feels like a false choice fallacy.

      1. Bread Addict*

        Childcare coverage right now is difficult in general with some places still closed. Also most people dont want to leave their small child SOMEWHERE. They leave them with qualified caregivers.

        Additionally to that children like some routine so pulling them out of their routine to a new one for just a month before moving to the new place and a new routine is putting stress on the kid. The notice period is 6 weeks that should have just been it. Not a big issue.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        My kids are now taller than me, but I definitely do not think you can always find a childcare spot for a month, starting in a few days, if you just look around harder. Especially with how many places closed for the pandemic and aren’t yet open again. It’s like saying someone can find a reasonable priced rental (aka what the speaker paid 40 years earlier) that also will accept 2 dogs and 2 cats, if they just look harder.

        And work cares about the reason you suddenly need an emergency month off. Your own unexpected illness, a parent or child’s sudden illness–many places that would try to accommodate that are going to look askance at “my daycare fell through.” It’s something you’re just expected to have handled.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          My kids are now taller than me, but I definitely do not think you can always find a childcare spot for a month, starting in a few days, if you just look around harder.

          Nope. Not even in good times. And we are not living in good times.

      3. DisneyChannelThis*

        At least here, in the Midwestern USA, it would be impossible to find a place with zero notice to take a kid for just a month. Daycare’s here have months long waiting lists. There’s no full day walk in care type situations. Child limits are enforced for in home childcare, and with the pandemic most are maxed out already. Schools keep opening and closing and going remote with covid, there’s very little childcare that isn’t maxed out already. And for a 3 year old there’s a good chance of not being potty trained which limits your options further. Nannies are looking for full time work, not just 6 weeks of work, and with so many parents hiring right now it would have to be very competitive pay to get one in for 6 weeks.

        The opening LW has in 6 weeks is likely when a child is leaving that daycare, opening up a slot for LW kid.

      4. KWu*

        Well, this is likely coming at the end of feeling like they already have a prominent impression in their workplace of using a lot of flexibility and time off for childcare reasons, which is something us working parents worry about normally but then especially so after the last two years of a global pandemic. I would take OP at their word that having no childcare with no notice would be extremely tough for their careers to handle.

      5. Eldritch Office Worker*

        I’d try to give the LW some more credit here. They’re already stretching their PTO to cover daycare closures. We don’t know where they live, or what their situations are. I wouldn’t be able to take a month off to deal with this on short notice. Neither would my husband. And daycare situations are TIGHT – not just expensive, nonexistent for short notice short term care.

      6. Yup*

        No, there probably isn’t childcare available somewhere. Not without a lengthy wait list or sketchy conditions. Have you tried to find good childcare lately? It’s a tall, tall order.

        1. Janet Pinkerton*

          This! Until a week ago, our plan for August was for me to drive an hour to my stepmom’s so she could watch my six month old while I worked from home. We earn a good living and could afford expensive care if it existed and was available. There’s nothing.

      7. FridayFriyay*

        That seems presumptuous and uncharitable considering the state of childcare right now. It was hard before covid and now it’s darn near unworkable. Someone COULD likely find 1:1 in home care depending on their criteria but it could easily run them a huge amount of money. Nanny care in my area starts at $25/hr and goes up from there. For a full time month of care, if you can find someone whose level of experience you’re comfortable with, it could run you an amount that quickly becomes unaffordable for many/most families. Just because it’s hypothetically available doesn’t mean it is affordable or accessible to the LW.

      8. doreen*

        Even if there is a daycare that the OP can use that has an opening in two weeks , what are the chances that the daycare is going to be willing to give that spot to someone who is only going to use it for a month rather than filling it with someone who will use it for an indefinite period of time?

      9. JustaTech*

        When my friend got pregnant, in the very first communication her doctor’s office had with her (like before any visits or tests or anything) they said “start looking for childcare now”, because it is so hard to find *anything* in our city, let alone something in a convenient location or an affordable price.

        Thankfully my friend happens to be a director at a daycare, but even then she didn’t manage to get her kid into her own center.

      10. Peaks*

        I’d say realistically not, unless they can afford a full-time caregiver who happens to be available. My tween and teen no longer need a sitter, but when they did it was $17/hr. That’s around $3000 for a month (and puts you in special tax territory). My kid got booted from daycare. I had to take unpaid leave (had just had a baby and had no paid leave left) and then hire a nanny, which was financially brutal. One of the most stressful times in my life. Daycares had waiting lists 12-18 months long. There was no short term, reasonable option.

      11. Esmeralda*

        My kid is in college now, so I am no longer dealing with daycare.

        But even I know that you can’t just find (even expensive)(even far away) (pray that it’s safe) daycare, full time, for a MONTH, at the drop of a hat.

        It was well nigh impossible two decades ago. Only worse now, especially with the pandemic.

      12. straws*

        I’m currently pregnant with our 3rd, and I told our daycare provider about the pregnancy before I told my mom in order to make sure I was on that list. And that’s with them prioritizing siblings.

        1. Janet Pinkerton*

          Yup, my boss did this and she STILL had to find alternative care for several months.

        2. JustEm*

          Yup I got on daycare wait-list at 7 weeks pregnant– before telling my dad I was pregnant. Didn’t get call I had a spot until my due date. I was on four wait-lists and only one spot was available (luckily at my top choice)

      13. STEMprof*

        Nope. There are literally 0 spots available at centers in our area – every center has a 12+ month waitlist. It is also exceptionally difficult to find nannies currently, especially for short-term positions. If this happened to us, one of us would have to take a month off or we’d have to have a grandparent come stay with us.

      14. aebhel*

        It is absolutely incomprehensible to me that people apparently think that most people could either take an impromptu month off from work no major career damages or find reputable full-time childcare for a month with no notice. It must be nice to live on that planet.

      15. A Non E. Mouse*

        Or, more realistically, find childcare coverage for that month on short notice? Sure it might be expensive, or a long drive, but surely there’s childcare available SOMEWHERE? The “devastating” effect on their careers feels like a false choice fallacy.

        I cannot stress this enough – no. There is really not available childcare, and what is available has long waitlists.

        This is not a case of “any port in a storm” – you can’t just knock on neighbors doors until someone half-sober opens and hand them your child.

        1. Sasha*

          There are short-term emergency nanny agencies. They charge like a rhino though.

      16. yellowbird*

        I started looking for childcare a few months before my son was born 3 years ago, thinking I was being proactive since we wouldn’t need it until he was 3 months old – imagine my surprise and horror when NONE of the more than 30 daycare locations I contacted had availability. Please do not assume that this is a false choice fallacy, it was likely extremely difficult for them to find replacement long-term care, I can’t imagine trying to find temporary care in the current childcare landscape.

    2. irritable vowel*

      Yeah, that caught my eye as well – a short-term crisis, certainly, but devastating their careers seems like it needs a bit of cognitive reframing.

      1. Anonymous for this*

        Hard disagree. I have an excellent boss and a ton of goodwill built up over the years. I could take a month off if I was sick enough, but otherwise that’s unpaid leave and putting a substantial crimp in my boss’s and my colleagues’ lives.

        I took unpaid leave to care for a very sick child several times in the past, once an entire semester, and once intermittent for a year (the misunderstandings about that were terrible — I should have just been off the whole time, then no one would think I was slacking as opposed to NOT GETTING PAID FOR THOSE HOURS). That was the end of the leadership track for me at my employer.

        Yeah, I guess I’m still a little bitter about that.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

        It would be very simple for a married couple to both have coverage-based jobs and both have had a couple of short-term jobs in their resume recently. Add the possibility of a boss who was unrealistic about child care problems during the pandemic, and maybe this isn’t hyperbole.

      3. JelloStapler*

        Disagree. Having to ask to be remote or not come in for a month in many careers- WOULD be devastating. It’s not a re-frame.

      4. Software Dev (she/her)*

        I mean, look at the negative attention having to cover for parents often gets in the comments here. Of course having to try to figure out a way to take a month off would be a huge problem and might risk making their coworkers resentful as well as using most of their PTO and making them look unreliable to their bosses.

        1. Claire*

          Yeah I’d be curious how people here would react if they suddenly had to cover for their coworker for a month because of childcare issues – let alone how they’d see that coworker down the road.

      5. Ginger Dynamo*

        Didn’t Allison post earlier this year about how unexpected childcare closures due to COVID outbreaks and early pandemic issues contributed to large swaths of parent workers, most of them women, having to leave their jobs to do home childcare in ways they could manage and afford? This really might not be hyperbole. Non-family childcare for a whole month but only a month just isn’t found at short notice, especially right now. Even if it were hyperbole, it’s pretty uncharitable to doubt the LW on this, and it doesn’t really change the answer to the question they’re asking.

      6. JimmyJab*

        Nah, plenty of people would face devastation if they had to take a month off work unexpectedly.

        1. Birdie*

          And in this situation, likely there are few to no job protections. I’ve had so many bosses where if I said “Look, I need to take a month off, unpaid, because of childcare issues” I’d be informed I could pound sand and find somewhere else to work, effective immediately.

          Heck, even asking to use 2 weeks of my hard earned PTO, splitting the other 2 weeks with my spouse, would be frowned upon. Maybe not “get out of here” levels, but certainly I’m not going to be in the running for any promotions or coveted professional development opportunities. There would be a lot of side-eye and grumbling and very little grace or understanding for taking pretty much any other time off.

    3. No_woman_an_island*

      But it’s not a one-time emergency month off. They ALREADY have to take 8 weeks off every year to cover childcare. That is insane and not-sustainable, even before the extra month. Not everyone works super flexible remote jobs, despite what the interwebs has us believing right now.

      1. MK*

        They aren’t taking 8 weeks off, the grandparents help out. But your point stands, an extra month without childcare is not sustainable.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          It sounds like they get six weeks off between them and grandparents cover the gap

          1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            And I’d bet they haven’t had a full vacation with the full family in three years as well because it sounds like they were using all their PTO to cover the time Amy was closed. Yeah, with the pandemic there weren’t a ton of places to go – but it sounds like they couldn’t even do a staycation because of how they had to a lot their PTO.

    4. NNN222*

      They might have been able to if they weren’t already covering Amy’s 40 days a year.

    5. JTP*

      I have a great boss, but I can just imagine my his face if I told him I needed a month off, on top of the other 8 weeks the letter writer usually takes. Most U.S. employers get twitchy if you request two weeks off, let alone a whole month if it’s not for something medical or postpartum recovery.

    6. Dust Bunny*

      My workplace has generous PTO and encourages us to use it but I just couldn’t ask my coworkers to cover my work for that long unless there was a serious need (like, a medical need). Granted, we’re a (sane and responsibly-run) nonprofit so funding is maybe tighter than in some places and we could use another person in my department, but I think it’s hardly uncommon for people to not really be able to take an entire month off, even if they don’t need childcare.

    7. Nanani*

      Who among us can take an emergency MONTH off for anything?? What field do you work in where that’s a thing? Its not realistic.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        My spouse is full time remote and I am pretty sure that if I went to my boss and explained the situation, I would be allowed to flex WFH for the majority of the month.

        However – there’s things that I need to be onsite to do. WFH does not mean “cover childcare”. Neither of us could take a full month or even an extra 3 weeks off each to be able to balance in childcare during the time we would have none. Would I call it devastating? No, but I sure would have some setbacks. And I have the most flexible, laid-back, understanding boss I have ever had in my career right now. As in, if we weren’t manufacturing, he’d probably tell me to just bring the kiddo in and send me coloring books (or whatever it is kids like, I don’t have any lol). With previous jobs? I’d be SOL and told to figure it out.

        This is exactly a Big Freakin’ Deal.

    8. SnappinTerrapin*

      Taking a month off might not devastate my career, but it would devastate my budget. No matter how we look at it, LW’s family is in a bind.

      I think you intend to show sympathy to LW, and cast some blame on “the way things are,” but the reality is that some jobs are inherently less flexible than others, although sometimes it’s just because management is inflexible. It does sound like LW and her spouse have reasonably flexible jobs, but from the outside looking in, we have no idea what specific disruptions would arise from an emergency month away from work.

    9. consultinerd*

      Without getting into the weeds, a colleague recently announced they were taking a month leave of absence on short notice. I work for a VERY flexible and family-friendly employer in a very family-oriented part of the country. This is causing a ton of disruption for us as we reshuffle who’s doing what on projects (during a time we’re already short-staffed) and has significantly recast how this person is perceived, and I suspect will impact their career trajectory for some time. In a less accommodating environment I can very much see this being anywhere from an irreversible derailing of advancement opportunities to “your services are no longer required here.”

  20. soontoberetired*

    the fact that she’s closed essentially 8 weeks a year and has a thriving day care business tells you how hard it is to find affordable day care. Before we went to PTO from separate sick and vacation days I received 30 days vacation a year and that’s after 20 years.

  21. Blue Glass*

    I would be super annoyed to have to contract with a childcare provider to give them six-weeks notice before removing my child. What if you’re leaving because you’re unhappy with the quality of care, not the availability? And 40 weekdays off a year seems excessive, and I’m assuming that includes major holidays that fall on a weekday like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Amy sounds off to me, and after that creepy text I wouldn’t want to leave my child with her for weeks on end.

    1. code red*

      The larger centers here will waive the notice period (2 weeks is normal for them) when some type of incident occurs. I’ve heard from a few people who have pulled their kids out of a daycare for one reason or another and the daycare let the notice period go and, in one case, even refunded their fees for the remainder of the week if they pulled them out mid-week. I have no idea how in-home daycare works though.

      1. ferrina*

        Larger centers in my area tend to do 3-4 weeks notice, but will negotiate with the parents depending on how soon they can get a new family lined up (so there’s no loss of income for them). I’ve never heard of more than 4 weeks notice.

    2. Ruby*

      I’m sure you could leave and pay out the rest of the weeks (assuming you could afford it).

    3. Dobby is a Free Elf!*

      We paid monthly for ours back in the day, and the contract said we had to pay for at least a month if we left unexpectedly. But as another commenter mentioned, they do waive that when it’s an incident-related decision. (We had an…incident.)

    4. Rocket*

      Every center I’ve worked at had a 30 day notice. Sometimes it could be waived for particular circumstances, but for the most people knew ahead of time if they were making a change. We can’t pay our teachers if people just disappear and don’t give us time to fill a spot.

  22. the+cat's+ass*

    Yikes on bikes! This is more than a little weird. Second talking to some of your fellow parents to see if she is weirding them out too, during what sounds like a transition period for Amy. And also try to line up some alternative care beyond the two weeks…just in case. AND keep an eye out for any strange behavior directed at your kid. I’m so sorry. Child care before the panini was hard and now it just seems even more fraught.

  23. hmmm*

    I feel like Amy is trying to juggle two worlds and is expecting her client (OP) to accomodate her; and Amy is now upset that she is loosing a client. She provides a service that she is now cutting back on! I think what got to me most is that a contract works two ways. If Amy is requiring 6 weeks, that is not solely for her benefit. OP is entitled to that 6 weeks as well! Maybe a change will be good for everyone.

    1. Lee Salazar*

      Unfortunately that clause in the contract may not work both ways if it doesn’t say so (legally speaking, though IANAL). But if the contract is vague about how much notice the childcare provider has to give the parents, she really should have granted them the same notice period (morally speaking). I would absolutely leave a Yelp review after she’s no longer providing care for my child, with all of the good and bad. And maaaaybe gloss over the weirdness of that long inappropriate text message because Amy is probably under stress. But DO mention getting jerked around about whether the child was going to be pushed out of Amy’s care sooner than planned, because that was NOT remotely acceptable. (I don’t even have kids and I know better than that!)

  24. Critical Rolls*

    In a lot of situations, I’d advocate fully letting this go, since who knows what’s going on. But the lack of communication about your child can’t stand for the next month or whatever. I’d say something like, “I’m not sure what has been going on with communication around our departure, but I hope we’re on the same page now. We’ve had such a great experience with you, and I know you have little Ludmilla’s best interests at heart. While she is still in your care, I need you to talk to me about her like you always have, so I’m aware of how she’s doing during the day.”

    1. Bread Addict*

      This! She cant just blank you when she is literally caring for your child all day.

  25. Stitch*

    I just gave my own daycare about 6 weeks notice. Their reaction was “we will miss him but we understand you have to do what is best for your family” (the location is a bit tough, we got a spot at a closer preschool). That’s more how this is supposed to go.

  26. Clorinda*

    OP, you need to nail down if your kid has daycare for the final four weeks of the six, or if you’re going to show up one of these Mondays and be turned away, so you’ll have time to line up emergency in-home care from one of those hire-a-caregiver-for-a-day places. Expensive, but cheaper than losing your job over this.

  27. H.Regalis*

    How she is reacting is really weird; but if you’ve always known her to be reliable prior to this, and nothing else strange happens, I would let it go, especially since you need the next six weeks of childcare. That said, I think it would be good if you all can put together some kind of contingency plan for if she comes back and says that she can’t watch your kid after all.

    Warning other parents . . . I don’t think leaving a review would be uncalled for. It’s something I would want to know if I were looking at a daycare provider. I wouldn’t contact her new job for the reasons you said, OP. As for other parents, if you know them well, I think it’s all right; but if you’ve never talked to them before and then are contacting them about bad experiences you’ve had with her, it’ll look more like you’re trying to stir up trouble than warn them.

    One thing though: Save the texts. Especially if you do tell others about your experience, it’ll go a long way to have proof of what went down.

    1. K*

      Yes, make sure to document everything just in case.

      I would also recommend finding backup care for those remaining weeks. If this is how she’s acting now, I can’t imagine how she is treating your child. I would be concerned by that. I know daycare is expensive, but any chance you can hire a short term nanny? Or could one of you WFH during this time and hire a babysitter for a few hours?

    2. TPS reporter*

      I like the point about having proof. For me I would send maybe a wrap up email or note after the notice period is over to say- let’s be clear I left because of X and I wish you the best in your career. I have appreciated how well you have cared for my daughter. it’s unfortunate that you chose to shut down communication when we previously had a good relationship.

      I like the posterity of sending something like that and also reminding her- she did hurt your feelings. It’s okay to tell people that they made you feel angry or upset especially if you do it respectfully.

  28. Bread Addict*

    I would not feel comfortable leaving a child with someone who refuses to acknowledge me. Thats your kid. She needs to be able to communicate with you about their care.

    I disagree with Alison on this. This is child care. And it raises questions about how your child (and others) might be treated if their caregiver is prone to passive-aggressive behavior. Especially younger children who cant verbalise or understand the behavior. I would definitely leave a review after the 6 weeks. But also any chance you could chat with other parents there? Its possible you arent the only one receiving this treatment.

    I used to work in childcare and cant imagine behaving that way towards a parent. I absolutely had parents move away and take their child with and its sad but this behaviour is unprofessional.

    1. Koli*

      Agreed that Alison is being too accommodating of the childcare provider here. This is not an underperforming employee. This is someone who is literally in a life-and-death position of responsibility for your precious child. The bar is much, much higher, and the tolerance for erratic behavior much lower (if any).

    2. Hills to Die On*

      Completely. Once they decide to break the professional boundary, they take matters into their own hands and do what they want. I have seen it happen to other friends many times.
      I would not trust her to provide care the way I would want my child cared for.
      I would especially not trust her to care for my child for the 6 weeks and I would be in a flat-out run to get alternative care / get into that new day care asap.

    3. Biscotti*

      Agree, I would not feel comfortable leaving my child in this woman’s care, and right or wrong a copy of the texts would be going to her new company.

    4. WorkingMom*

      Totally agree about not feeling comfortable leaving my child in Amy’s care. I have seen this first hand when my son at 2.5 years old had a preschool teacher who did not like him and the ways she treated him. It was abusive or anything like that, but it was definitely not okay, passive-aggressive type behavior. My son was not old enough to articulate at that time but 2 years later when we accidentally ran into the teacher in a park, he had plenty to say.

      While I wouldn’t go all out on public attack (Google reviews, etc.), I would certainly speak with other parents.

      LW, I personally would be looking for childcare earlier than the 6 weeks notice (if at all possible). I am sorry you are going through this.

      1. ferrina*

        I’ve seen that several times, and I currently have a friend in that situation- a teacher took a dislike to her kid and it was awful. He was known as the “bad kid”, all the other kids told him how bad he was, he was constantly being punished instead of nurtured…..it’s terrible. And that does take a long, long time to recover from.

        I’m not seeing that here. Amy’s line about “you tear someone from my heart” makes me think this is more of an unhealthy co-dependent type relationship, which young kids can recover from very quickly. And if she’s still treating the spouse as normal, this may still be workable (not ideal, not even good, but workable). That said, if there’s any other vibes that makes you doubt her quality of care, don’t take chances.

    5. Susie Q*

      Agreed. Children can be abused and killed in daycare. A baby’s leg was purposely broken in a Kentucky daycare recently.

    6. AD*

      Very much agreed. That would be absolutely unacceptable to me, good prior record or not.

  29. Gnome*

    If I’m reading this correctly, she was fine, then weird, then fine, then weird… In alternating in person/text exchanges… Where Amy is lovely in person and weird via text…is it worth considering that maybe someone else sent the weird texts? Like a spouse?

    Obviously, that doesn’t quite change things, but it might be worth saying something like, “I know there’s a lot going on, but some of the texts you’ve sent didn’t seem quite like you. Maybe I misunderstood something or maybe there’s a lot going on, but I wanted to check in case an account was compromised or something, did you send this text?”. The idea being that you give a way to save face and an opening in case there was an issue (hacker, misunderstanding, family feud gone public).

    1. Bread Addict*

      Except she isnt speaking to the OP in person at all now. So seems unlikely someone else was messaging?

      Some people dont like confrontation but feel comfortable saying it over messaging because its notnface to face.

      1. anony*

        Unless they were embarrassed or frightened. Obviously, not good either way, but worth considering.

    2. Batgirl*

      I actually thought the first text was influenced by wine because it was so different to OP’s experience of Amy and because it was during the evening, but the following daytime flood of Amy’s Opinions on Parents Today make it clear that Amy is just…. spiralling. Look, Amy’s initial plan of working an extra four hours a day, and expecting her clients to help her juggle all the balls she’ll drop, show you straight away that Amy is not the world’s best business planner. Amy, who is probably pretty nice on an easier setting, could handle one set of parents leaving (and she did), but not everyone leaving (which has definitely happened) and instead of going back to her drawing board and saying “What was I thinking?! Of course that plan sucks and everyone hates it” she’s decided to blame OP for being the first one to abandon ship, and somehow opening the floodgates. I don’t think this will affect the children’s care, especially short term, but I’d probably be glad we were wrapping things up with someone so flaky.

      1. Gnome*

        Good points. I wonder if maybe there’s some financial issues going on. A little, “I’ll just take on this thing to make ends meet” without thinking it out and now embarrassment and panic.

  30. catsamillion*

    As a mom, this would make me want to pull my kid from Amy ASAP. This just shakes the whole foundation of the assumption of safe, solid care. I hope we get an update because now I’m worried!

    1. Koli*

      Posted my note below before I saw this: yes 100%. This would make me very nervous and uncomfortable.

  31. Koli*

    No one has raised this yet, but the first thing I thought of was: OP, are you comfortable leaving your child with this care provider for the next 6 weeks? Given the vitriol and instability described in the text messages, frankly, I wouldn’t be. I get that OP may not have a choice, so I don’t mean to be upsetting. But if it’s possible to start at the new center sooner, or use another backup childcare provider in the interim, it might be worth considering.

  32. Jesshereforthecomments*

    I empathize with Amy so much, but this crosses lines for me. She’s running a business. You have to be professional and not take things personally. Someone moving their child should not rip out her heart. And I would worry that Amy’s care of OP’s child is impacted by this, even subconsciously.

    And not the point, but 40 days off of childcare in a year is bonkers to me! I can understand she’s one person and she deserves those breaks, but this is completely unrealistic in her industry in the US. I would have left a long time ago. You can set up your business however you want, but you can’t get mad when that doesn’t work for your customers.

  33. Letter Writer*

    LW here! Thanks so much for all your comments so far! It’s been very interesting to read through your takes on the situation and to hear your solidarity and support for the state of childcare. It’s so much tougher to find childcare than I could have ever imagined.

    I want to clarify one thing I wrote because I think it is sometimes being interpreted differently than I intended. “1. Amy told us we were making a huge mistake in moving our child to a new daycare, saying that we would create devastating long-term effects for her.” The “her” at the end of this sentence is my daughter.

    Here is the portion of the text message that hits on that point, “Again I’m going to be very worried how this will affect [child] not just short term but long term. She’s leaving her friends and going to a place where she has no friends. She’s going to a place that all the children are competing for attention because there is one adult for more children than we have here. A lot more.”

    The interesting thing about this is that the ratio of children:adult is just one child higher at the daycare center she is moving to, and there will be no babies in their group. I think that may lead to more attention. Oh well. Just another example of this situation going off the rails.

    1. rage criers unite*

      extra bananas!! thats insane.
      I’m so glad you found your daughter a new place!! I’m sure she’ll thrive

    2. Gnome*

      Kids in daycare age range often don’t remember their friends after a two week vacation. That is fear mongering. And besides the point. If it’s not viable for you, it’s not viable… No different than if her daycare moved to Mars.

      1. straws*

        Yes! My son literally grew up with another child from 6 weeks until 5 years old. 6 months after the were out of pre-K, they didn’t even recognize each other in passing. They just don’t work the way adults do. Not to mention that in a daycare setting, they’ll be getting more social exposure to children their own age, rather than a spread. There are pros and cons to each daycare experience, so while there may be more individual/personalized care at a home daycare, there is more positive social interaction with peers at a center.

        1. CupcakeCounter*

          That’s funny. It was the opposite for my kid – “met” at 3 months old and were in the same daycare class until they went to kindergarten at different schools. A year and a half later when I was dropping my kid off at his summer daycare, a kid came flying up to us and my son yelled out Friend! They still get together every summer and they are now 13.

          1. Gnome*

            That sort of longevity (that’s 4-5 years) is a bit different. If it’s 1-2 years and non pre-K, that’s pretty unusual.

      2. Accountant*

        Definitely, and at most daycares your child isn’t in a fixed class that’s all going to “graduate” to the toddler room together – Joe, Jane, Jamal, and Juana will each move when they are individually developmentally ready and will leave the younger class behind entirely. Caregivers move around to different rooms as needed as well, to maintain required ratios. It seems to work fine.

    3. DisneyChannelThis*

      I wouldn’t stress about it. A 3YO will adapt quickly to a new place. And meeting more kids is actually great for socialization at that age. Besides, in 2-3 years the kids would have been entering school and making new friends anyway. Daycares often have more rigidly structured days (craft time at 9am, snack time at 10am, nap time at 10:30, lunch always at 12:15, reading time, playground time etc) as opposed to a nanny/in home caregiver. That’s not bad or good, just different. But it is similar to what your child will experience in school and might be good preparation for that.

      1. ferrina*

        As a former daycare worker and a current parent of young uns- this is totally true. My kids switched centers mid-pandemic as a 2yo and 3 1/2 yo. It’s a weird couple first weeks, then they settled right in and are perfectly fine.

        Sometimes teachers want to feel as though they are as important as the parents (often because they see the kid more in a week than the parent does). Teaching is incredibly important but the role of a teacher is very different than as a parent. My goal as a teacher was for the kid to be able to walk away with a lot of confidence and just a little sadness. A teacher gets only a year or a few with a kid to love them and set them up for the next stage on their journey- the parent is the one making the journey with the kid.

      2. Sasha*

        And lots of kids really like the structure! Especially aged 3-4, they love rules and predictability at that age.

        My son looked forward to Circle Time and Afternoon Circle Time every day, and loved explaining to me where you have to put your shoes and waterbottle when you arrive, how you tidy up after lunch, and where you put your mats and blankets for naptime. He really felt secure knowing that this happens and then that happens, reliably, every single day.

    4. Eldritch Office Worker*

      That manipulation is gut wrenching, I hope you don’t let her get into your head.

    5. J*

      Just wanted to say my kids went to a day care center from infancy to kindergarten (older kid) and from infancy to the start of the panini (younger kid). For all the horror stories about impersonal environments, kids competing for attention, etc, etc — it was NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL. We still keep in touch with one of the teachers. She is a lovely person and so were her colleagues. They cared so much for the kids, and being in the center instead of a home meant there were so many resources: a great big playground, a garden that all the kids worked on, big performance projects, etc.

      And about the ratio: the state-mandated ratios are what they are, and no decent center is exceeding them, even for a few minutes. I guarantee your day care center is not dumping, like, 30 toddlers in a room and locking the door.

      (I know you know all this, but just speaking from experience, when my kids were in day care I was met with a fair amount of horror and “how could you leave your babies like that” — the answer, btw, is “I like having a house and food” — and I just wanted to come in and say it’s going to be OK. Evidence: my kids are now well-adjusted, Minecraft-obsessed, soccer-playing elementary school students who are for all intents and purposes indistinguishable from their peers who had other child care arrangements when they were smaller.)

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        When I was young I worked as a sub at a Montessori preschool. I came to view one big plus of centers as the presence of other adults. If little Joey is plucking at your last nerve, you can step back and let Marion handle him for a while whilst you supervise washing the toy cars.

        Plus just the fact of having subs, so if a teacher was sick or out fixing childcare coverage was not passed to the parents.

      2. Bread Addict*

        Oh yeah I worked in a daycare center and the resources we got was a lot better. We got all kinds of art supplies, we had a toy room where we could cycle out age appropriate tous throughout the year to add in new things, multiple playgrounds (one for 0-2 and one for 3+) so the toddlers never got knocked over by bigger kids, and we never used tvs. There was structure to their day but included lots of free play time with friends. And we met all laws for maximum children, balanced meals, etc. And very rarely closed (christmas and new years really).

        There are a lot of perks to centers.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

        On a side note, this is not the first time I have seen autocorrupt turn pandemic into panini!
        I only wish we were in our third year of a panini.

          1. Hlao-roo*

            As far as I know, there were some subreddits (and/or other places on the internet) that were removing or auto-moderating every post with the word “pandemic” in 2020, so a lot of people used “panini” and “panorama” as a work-around, and that substitution has bled over to Ask A Manager and other websites.

      4. Rara+Avis*

        My kid was in a center (part of a chain, even) from 7 months to 5 years. I cried a little when we “graduated” to kindergarten. They had amazing loving care for all those years, and I never had to worry about closures. And I’m sure those teachers were not paid enough, even though infant care was more than half of my paycheck.

      5. Ruby*

        When my daughter was tiny, I brought my mother-in-law with me to pick her up from daycare once (don’t remember why, I think MIL happened to be around that day).
        MIL was *shocked,* “this is a really nice place!” Well, where did you think we were sending her?

        The “impersonal center” trope is just another scare tactic used to try and keep women out of the workplace.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      As an older parent (my kids are in their 20s): Children are resilient, and if the norm is fine, they will bounce back from a weird month of weirdness. I am concerned when parents try to frame an ongoing stressor as a thing that will be done after one more deadline (that won’t be done)–that’s not this.

      Changing schools is a thing your daughter will adapt to, perhaps very easily and perhaps with encouragement needed, and the degree of trouble is going to rest primarily on her personality and where it is that month. (My youngest had a great time at his preschool, then at a camp midsummer, then concluded two weeks before kindergarten that he was never leaving my side again. Eventually he adapted to kindergarten, and then went on to do well at school and sports and making friends and all the rest, and is now doing well in college. But that was a tough few months with him.)

    7. code red*

      I’m sure your daughter will do wonderfully at the new center. We moved my oldest from the daycare he had been at since he was an infant to a new center when he was almost 4. I struggled with it because he’d be leaving his friends. He did great. There was a short adjustment period of course, but he made new friends and loved it. Had someone tried to guilt me with a statement like that when I was already beating myself up, I don’t know how I would’ve handled it and I don’t blame you for being upset.

    8. NNN222*

      Amy was so clearly trying to guilt trip you into staying. If she clearly had your child’s best interest at heart, she would have made sure to make this transition as smooth as possible and probably also wouldn’t have been overextending herself by taking the additional position or closing more than a reasonable number of days than parents can cover. Does she ever expect parents to be able to take a vacation with their child together when they likely have to each use all of their available PTO to individually cover closed daycare days? That’s not caring about the children or their family environments at all. I’m glad you were able to find a new center.

    9. BA*

      LW, Thank you for the clarification.

      Before reading that comment, and now even more so, I was going to ask if you have any opportunity to get into the new center early? Is there a way to just pay Amy the balance of the time while not being there? It feels like she’s crossed a line…with everything, of course, but especially that statement.

      I understand that daycare providers have lives and definitely support them taking time off. That said, 52 days per year is a lot. And her freak out over losing you (and probably others) shows how misinformed she is. While people deserve their time off, families also deserve to do more than use their time off from work to cover the time their childcare provider takes off. Sure you could schedule a vacation or something, but if you and your spouse both work, you’re probably having to juggle most of the 8+ weeks and can’t take them together.

      I speak from experience, having had my children in both at-home and daycare centers, and I can tell you that both pose certain challenges. That said, the more regular schedule provided by a center is going to make your lives that much better and easier. And that’s going to have a much more positive and profound impact on your child than having to make new friends…which the’ll have to figure out how to do when they’re in school too.

    10. Bread Addict*

      That is emotional manipulation right there. Your child will be fine. Kids like making new friends. It will be a new environment with new toys and activities and people. It might be an adjustment but usually at that age its quick and positive. Shes going to go to school in a few years anyway.

      This just reinforces that she is unprofessional. She is trying to manipulate you into staying. I used to work in a daycare (in a professional setting not my home) and the response should have been sorry to see her go, she will be missed, I am sure they will love her. All the best. You arent moving her constantly. Its one time. You are fine. She will be fine.

      I said it above but saying now. You should review after 6 weeks. But also she cant blank you. She is providing care to your child. She needs to be professional and be able to communicate with you how the child is doing.

    11. animaniactoo*

      Well done not going on that guilt trip that you didn’t buy a ticket for.

      Wow was that a blatant attempt at some emotional manipulation.

      Even if it was true that kiddo would be getting less attention, it would still be better than stressed out parents who are job hunting because they lost their jobs because of child care coverage issues.

    12. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      She’s projecting her own feelings and being a concern troll. It’s not much different from someone who harps on another adult’s food/clothing/job/dating/whatever choices because they are just sooooooo worried. She’s really worried your child will forget her quickly and adapt quite easily.

    13. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I don’t have kids but that ‘oh you’re traumatising your kid by moving them to another daycare’ thing is utterly inappropriate and wrong and frankly I’d have no time or empathy for someone who tried to pull that line of bull.

      Being stressed out is one thing. Trying to make parents feel like they’re hurting their kids by putting them into daycare/changing daycare is just bang out of order and very manipulative.

    14. Ms Frizzle*

      I think you already know this, but I’m an early childhood teacher and coach (but not one quite like Amy!) and you are not going to traumatize your daughter. She’s going to have a great time making friends, and a more consistent schedule will probably be easier for her in some ways anyway.

    15. Nanani*

      Ah ok, that makes it slightly less weird; on first reading it came across to me as “her” being Amy, which would make the message incredibly hypocritical.
      Like she was beratign you for not thinking about the consequences to her business even as she made changes with big impacts on your day-to-day and work life.

      It’s still very weird and sus though.

    16. Just Another Zebra*

      LW, I’m so sorry you’re going through all this. With regards to your original question, I would certainly write a review that, at minimum, explains that Amy first changed the scope of coverage (being closed for 52 days a year is a BIG deal; I don’t know any centers that are closed 1 day/ week. That’s insane!), then had an inappropriate reaction to you leaving. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s losing several parents due to this change. As I said, it’s a huge ask of most parents. If possible, I’d take your daughter out early. I wouldn’t trust Amy to not manipulate her, as well. “Oh, aren’t you SO SAD to be leaving? Your mommy is mean and doesn’t want you to come here any more.”

      As for what Amy said – don’t worry about your daughter’s friends. She will make new friends. Switching schools and classrooms, friends moving away, new friends moving in, etc are all part of life. At three, she’ll scarcely remember and will have a new best friend in a week. I say this as the parent of a 3 year old daughter :)

      1. Galadriel's Garden*

        This! This is one of the few times where I pretty whole-heartedly disagree with Alison’s advice. While I’m for giving people grace in times of stress, especially over the past two years, childcare is a very different animal than the corporate working world and lashing out, and yo-yoing parents with whether they’ll actually have childcare in 2 weeks or 4 weeks, is a tremendously stressful burden (especially as the terms were changing due to Amy’s own business choices). I do very much think a review after OP’s daughter starts at the new daycare center is well within reason. Mentioning the positive interactions isn’t a bad idea, but this kind of behavior as a childcare professional is just incredibly Not Okay.

    17. Dramatic Intent To Flounce*

      I changed daycares a couple times as a kid, including one that was run by a neighbor/family friend and in her home. (There were a couple other kids there as I recall, but SMALL.) I was sad to leave friends going from my preschool/kindergarten to the new one, and I did not take change particularly well as a kid, but I was, ultimately, fine. The idea that this will traumatize your child is absurd, unless Amy’s letting her extremely unprofessional behavior towards you carry over to how she treats your daughter. Keep an eye on that, maybe check in with other parents because this is SO far out of line, but know that the person making this weird is 100% Amy.

    18. JelloStapler*

      Hi- just sending you good thoughts and love. Definitely get Amy to sign what the agreement is and get it in writing with everyone’s signatures.

    19. Toddler Teacher*

      Yikes. Every child has to move childcare situations at some point even it’s just due to aging out, and the guilting is both unfair to you and just factually incorrect. I commented this elsewhere too, but I do think whatever may have caused this reaction from her, it’s a good sign to get out of there, because however good she was with your child, she clearly struggles with separating out a healthy and nurturing teacher/child relationship from one that is too personal to allow her to be truly objective in the decisions and education she is giving your child.

    20. Observer*

      he’s leaving her friends and going to a place where she has no friends. She’s going to a place that all the children are competing for attention because there is one adult for more children than we have here. A lot more.

      I’m not sure if she’s lying or just incompetent. As others have noted, the friend transition at this age is not a big deal unless someone makes it a big deal.

      As for the staff / child ratios, those are HIGHLY regulated, which means that it’s just not possible for there to be THAT much of a discrepancy. You say that there are babies at your current provider, which would explain a higher ratio. But as you say, those babies need a lot more attention. Once they are in the crawling stage you simply cannot take your eyes off them. And you can’t feed babies in a group, unlike toddlers. Etc.

      None of this is a big secret. So I don’t see how she thought this was a sensible thing to say. Truly off the rails.

    21. ThisIsNotADuplicateComment*

      Concerned about your daughter leaving her friends and going somewhere new? What BS. Either Amy really thinks every single person who’s ever moved has crippling psychological issues as a result or she is knowingly attempting to manipulate you into staying in an untenable situation just for her convenience. As someone who had three major moves before I was 10, I’m confident it’s the second.

      Echoing the above comments that you should be saving those texts and showing them to people.

    22. Ruby*

      LW, I know you know this, but just to add to everyone else: your daughter will be fine.

      We had to switch centers when one kid was 3 years and one was 4 months. We LOVED our old center, but we were moving so we had to leave. It was super emotional (for the adults), but the kids were fine. We loved the new center too, and they still go there for summers.

      Like other commenters said, friendships among little kids are primarily a function of who they are with regularly.

    23. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      LW, you are giving your daughter the chance to make more friends, because it’s going to be an all the same age group – thus more potential friends.

      As everyone else has said – follow your instincts, keep tabs with your daughter, and keep an eye on Amy and the situation for the next few weeks. A fallback plan with the grandparents may not be a bad idea.

      1. CupcakeCounter*

        This – so much this.
        We needed the stability of a day care center even though there was a fantastic in-home daycare in our neighborhood. We happened to have friends/neighbors who used it and they did mention that it was a one-family show (woman and her adult daughter with some additional help from her teenage kids after school hours and on school breaks) so they tended to close to family vacation and illness.
        A few years in, they ended up moving their oldest kid to our center because he was the only kid his age at the in-home daycare and he was lonely. He thrived from day 1.

  34. Kanye West*

    My unsubstantiated guess is that between Amy’s first reaction and the second, there was a discussion with someone that has her ear and influenced her view on things.

    There is no shortage of terrible advice from parents or other people that reaches this page. My assumption is that somebody convinced her that she is owed more than she was given.

    1. Gnome*

      Agreed. I actually wonder (see above) if that someone had access to Amy’s phone, not just her ear.

        1. Gnome*

          Embarrassment, fear? People are weird. But the back and forth behavior doesn’t strike me as “person by themselves changing their mind” but more as “somebody else got involved and now it’s all FUBAR”

  35. Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss*

    A lot of ppl are talking about the loss of income. That would be true, yes, but since (good) daycares are so hard to find and so many have waitlists, would she really be out of income for that long?

    1. Clorinda*

      Maybe it’s getting hardy for Amy to fill spots if she’s taking over 50 working days off in the year. OP can’t be the only one who finds that untenable. Amy’s moving from a service for working parents to a mother’s-morning-out situation–far less lucrative.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      It’s a good daycare aimed at parents who work full-time, that wants them to have other arrangements about 1 day/week.

      If the provider embraced a part-time 8-2 model–aimed at parents with flexible part-time schedules–that would better match the flexible part-time hours she seems to want. But it would reduce her income, and require a new client base. (I agree with OP’s concerns re working 14 hours/day, too–“I’m a solo daycare provider, and I need a lot of time off for my other job and then personal stuff” is not appealing to people who need regular full-time care. People who need part-time care and can flex the occasional day/week off have part-time options.)

    3. Observer*

      ut since (good) daycares are so hard to find and so many have waitlists, would she really be out of income for that long?

      Quite possibly. Parents are desperate for child care, yes. But, as the OP proves, if you can’t provide the coverage that parents need, they simply can’t use you.

    4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Any daycare that is open full normal hours is going to have a waitlist. I have a feeling Amy doesn’t have that list because of the number of days she was already closed – and now that number is going up – to the tune of Amy being closed the equivalent of one day a week. She is set up for part-time, but wanting Full Time payment, and it’s not long term compatible.

    5. fhqwhgads*

      I suspect that’s what Amy thought when she took on this additional gig. But then OP dropped, perhaps some more families dropped, and she’s realizing that even though childcare is super hard to find and most places have huge waitlists, if you’re not open enough to meet their needs, suddenly you’re not a viable option for people. Something like that may explain her sudden panic-like turnaround. I can’t really think of anything else besides a brain tumor that would have her react calmly and professionally one day 1 of hearing, and then do all the stuff she did so shortly thereafter.

  36. Leloo*

    I get giving ber grace but I would have big issues with my provider not talking to me during pickup and drop off! That communication time is important to discuss needs of my child and how their days went. Amy probably is losing other families because being closed for that may days is INSANE and not normal, even for an in-home provider. Our oldest went to in-home care for a year and the provider was closed on holidays and 1 week a year for vacation which we did not pay for.
    You or your husband need to talk to Amy because she can’t just ignore you for 6 weeks! That’s all you have to say “We love and appreciate the care you’ve given our daughter and are sad to go but the schedule isn’t sustainable for our family. This isn’t personal and I understand it may be causing you additional stress but we need to be able to communicate with you during the remaining weeks.” If she still is acting crazy, call your new center and ask if they can help you put and start early.

    1. JelloStapler*

      Or get on a list in case there is an opening that pops up- I had to change my daycare plans and had a stop-gap (previous plans could cover the gap) but fortune smiled upon us and a family moved, giving us a last-minute spot a month earlier than planned (and the week before I was to go back from maternity leave!).

  37. C.*

    I don’t think the poster should contact Amy’s other employer, but I 100% think reporting erratic and hostile behavior is a legit purpose of an online review! I would certainly want to know if I were deciding between daycare providers.

    1. A*

      Yes, and I don’t think stress is enough to excuse hostility. I’m sure that many managers are under stress right now, but if they handled a notice period like this I don’t think many people would be arguing against leaving a GlassDoor review. As other commenters have pointed out, erratic behavior is a much bigger deal for small children than professional adults!

  38. OrangeBird*

    I’m sorry but Amy’s behavior was completely out of line and frankly unhinged. I cannot stand when people who are offering you a service take it personally when you go elsewhere. I would not be giving her any amount of grace, she was wildly unprofessional. Also 40 days a year? as in 8 work weeks? That you still pay for? Shes lucky she has any business at all.

    1. Workin It*

      Yes, this post prompted me to check my (center-based) daycare’s calendar. 16 closed weekdays per year, for holidays or teacher professional development, which is very doable for working parents. I would expect a home-based daycare to be a bit higher due to lack of alternate teacher coverage, but nowhere near 40 or 52 days!

  39. Office Lobster DJ*

    I’d agree to leave it alone. I wonder if Amy in her enthusiasm didn’t quite realize the impact this new gig would have — “Everything will be fine, I’ll just commit to 14 hr days and the parents will be fine for only one day a month!” — and is now facing the unfortunate reality that there are unwanted effects. Maybe she was getting her head around feeling guilty over unintentionally causing the loss of a relationship with a child she’s cared for (and about!) for years.

    1. Gnome*

      Definitely a possibility. Especially if she wasn’t thinking about all the other days parents are sucking it up. One day a month isn’t much… Until it’s on top of everything else.

      1. HugsAreNotTolerated*

        With this additional 1 day a month she’s closing, that’s 52 days a year. Which works out to one day a week or just shy of 3 full months! Also, childcare is exhausting. Where does Amy think she is going to get the energy to do 14 hour days? 10 hours of childcare and then 4 hours of mentoring? Does Amy not want to spend anytime with her own family/friends on a daily basis?

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I think this is it–she thought of it as only one day/month, and didn’t realize it would be a last straw for a lot of clients.

  40. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    My kids pre-school/private elementary school was like this with everyone who left.

    They were a fabulous school and did so good for the kids while they were there but they got their feelings hurt whenever anyone left and got unprofessional about it. Telling you the kid would not thrive in the new school, bad mouthing the new school, refusing to fill out transfer paperwork for older kids. They went through 6th grade and expected everyone to stay, and got hurt when parents “used” them for preschool and kinder and then went to public school in 1st grade because not everyone can afford private school.

    I confronted the owner about it once because we had a good rapport and let her know how it was damaging their reputation and she backed off a little bit.

    But in short, this was really her only weakness – she took everyone who left as a personal rejection and did not know how to handle it professionally. We still recommended the school to numerous parents and all of us who were there kind of knew what was coming when we left.

  41. ostentia*

    I’m sorry if this comes across as cruel, but I would have exactly ZERO tolerance or “grace” for erratic behavior from someone who is solely responsible for my child.

    1. Flossie Bobbsey*

      Agreed. One strike and I would be done. The erratic texts would have been it for me.

  42. KWu*

    I would wait until you’re out of there, but if I were another parent with a child at this daycare, I would want to know what happened. It seems analogous to whether bosses handle people’s notice periods well and therefore can expect the standard two weeks (or more) or have made their own beds with much shorter periods of notice instead. We had a somewhat similar situation a couple years back with a nanny who quit with zero notice and I took a few days to cool off, but eventually did write a review that talked about her strengths in the care she provided but also how she quit with no notice. She sent me some very long texts accusing me of undermining a choice she made for her mental health, which I only engaged with pretty minimally…and then she used me as a reference for several months afterwards!!!

  43. Flossie Bobbsey*

    I would pull my child out of there immediately, with no further contact with Amy, and deal with arranging whatever emergency short-term care you can until the new daycare starts. Personally, and I understand not everyone has this luxury so I don’t mean to sound judgmental, in this situation I would do this even if it meant taking a career hit because my children’s safety is my top priority over my career. Amy doesn’t sound stable. This isn’t purely a business transaction; this is your child’s safety and well-being, and the comment about “tearing someone from my heart” is setting off major alarm bells for me as a parent.

  44. Barbara in Swampeast*

    No one seems to have mentioned that the weirdness comes in TEXTS! How does the OP know it is Amy and not someone else using her phone and sending the texts? Does Amy have a significant other or child or someone else living with her? And Amy is too embarrased to admit that someone else is sending the looney texts?

    1. Temperance*

      This is a pretty ridiculous take. I highly doubt someone who is not Amy has her phone and sends the unhinged messages unless Amy herself has approved same.

      1. JelloStapler*

        I agree, but stranger things have happened.

        I think it is time to get the agreement on paper and signed by all parties.

    2. FisherCat*

      Well she’s also giving LW the silent treatment in person so it sounds like whether she physically wrote the texts or not (and there’s no evidence she didn’t, btw) she’s on board with the overall message.

  45. Letter Writer*

    (FYI: I commented above a little while ago to clarify one statement in my original question.)

    Thanks so much for all your responses, everyone! Here is a little update, since it’s been about a week since I originally wrote in. Amy is talking to me again, but only about absolutely essential information. One day when I was picking up last week, she said to me, “I think we need to have no personal conversations through the end of May, and keep it professional.” I have always been very professional in my interactions with her, so I think this was her way of acknowledging that she messed up. I would have much preferred an apology, but oh well.

    I few people have suggested in the comments that I should find a different daycare for the ~1 month that is left in our contract. I wish I could, but there aren’t a lot of options near us for interim care. I am also trying to keep the transitions minimal for my daughter. I feel like she is safe with Amy, and I have questioned my daughter a few times after daycare, asking about how the day went, what Amy did/said, and I haven’t heard anything that is a red flag. I will be super vigilant for the next few weeks, though.

    I did tell one other daycare parent about this situation. She was shocked.

    1. New Mom*

      I’m sorry you are going through this, good luck this month and I hope you like the new daycare!

    2. Bookworm*

      I’m glad that your daughter seems to be okay/there hasn’t been any change. That would be my biggest concern–regardless of the right/wrong, etc. I’d just be a little cautious about the care of your daughter and the other children. Agree with the others: if you have a relationship with any of the other parents it may be worth giving them a heads up, etc. but ultimately it’s up to you.

      Sorry you’ve gone through this and good luck with the transition!

    3. BA*

      So glad to hear that your daughter is reporting good things and she’s safe. That’s the most important thing! Here’s hoping the next few weeks fly by for you. :)

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      As a parent, I truly think you are fine trusting your gut re her interactions with your child (probably background noise to your child, and she won’t notice any weird tension, which may well not exist at all and that’s only displayed with you). And that minimizing transitions is often worth putting up with some annoyance.

    5. Stay-at-Homesteader*

      As a parent of a three year old and former daycare aide, I’m really glad to hear that Amy is at least tacitly acknowledging her missteps. Three is definitely old enough that your daughter would be able to let you know if something was really amiss, but my money is on Amy being just fine with her (even after taking it out on you in an utterly bananas fashion).
      Good luck with the transition! I’m sure your daughter will thrive in the new place just as she did with Amy.

    6. Insert Clever Name Here*

      I’m glad you told another parent, and am glad you are comfortable keeping your daughter there until your time is up. That mom intuition can be a very helpful thing!

      I’m sure your daughter will thrive at the new center, and I hope it relieves some stress for you and your husband as well!

    7. yala*

      Sounds like your focus is exactly where it should be in this situation–on your daughter’s wellbeing.

      I hope the rest of it goes smooth, and wish you no further awkweirdness with this.

    8. Observer*

      I think that you are being wise here.

      Lots of luck with all of this. It’s stress central.

  46. animaniactoo*

    I would have some words for Amy about making her choices my problem. And making the results of her choices my problem also.

    Frankly, a day care that is essentially closed for 10 1/2 weeks out of the year (52 weekdays) is not going to be convenient or workable for most people. I suspect the LW is not the only one to have decided the additional 2.5 weeks is more than they can bear, and Amy thought she was signing up to get more money, not lose money via lost clients, and she’s reacting badly to the fallout.

    I might also wonder if Amy is not the person doing the texting, and that’s why phone calls and texts are giving two very different messages.

    1. Nanani*

      I thought the same! The wild change in attitude paired with the fact that spur-of-the-moment saying the wrong thing is waaay more likely in person makes me suspect a third party is invovled. It’s just bizarre.

  47. Observer*

    Don’t feel like you need to proactively tell anyone about this. The number of days she’s closed is going to come back to bite her, even if she doesn’t tell anyone about the extra hours. As desperate as people are for childcare, ANY childcare solution, this is not it. The people who are desperate just can’t swing that many closures.

    And the kind of schedule she’s contemplating is really unsustainable. So that’s also likely to change.

    All of which means that the problem for other parents is going to resolve itself on its own.

  48. New Mom*

    Oh man, daycare… I have an almost two year old and a second on the way. We like our daycare but they are closed a lot too, and if it weren’t for my wonderful mom I truly don’t know what I’d do. But 40 days is so much. I THINK ours is closed almost 30 days and that is hard. I’m glad that my job offers extremely generous PTO, because if they didn’t I would be like the OP and literally take all my PTO to cover daycare close days.
    I’m actually kind of scared to go to a new job because I doubt I would find as good of PTO as I currently have, and just to put into perspective in two weeks my child got sick three separate times and then I got sick too. There is no one to call who wants to come watch your sick child so it’s on the parents and then the parents can’t work.

  49. goldmouse*

    OP, I am sorry that you received such an unprofessional text from this daycare owner. You did nothing wrong – you followed her contract as she wrote it – she is the one being unrealistic here in not realizing how difficult her “career shift” makes her clients’ lives. The text really overstepped about the implications of moving your child, the “shift” she’s seen in parents, and especially that melodramatic last line about tearing someone from her heart. It was inappropriate of her to write it in the first place and it’s inappropriate of her to not be communicating with you now while she is still taking care of your child. I hope the new daycare you are moving to meets your family’s needs better and treats you with infinitely more respect.

  50. Emily*

    So I have had similar unpleasant, weird experiences with several tiny businesses – cleaners, handy-men, nannies… Quite often people will take a minor disappointment or normal business transaction in an incredibly unprofessional way. I’ve had a handy-man call us cheap because we declined to offer a contract after a quote, a general contractor try to get us to deal with his subcon directly because he couldn’t manage him, a cleaner break down and tell me she can’t clean our house because she just found out her husband is cheating on her (and a bunch of other details!), a nanny yell at me when I asked to check her driving license to drive our kids (“you should TRUST me!”) etc…

    We moved to a rural-ish area and wanted to support local small businesses, but it’s exhausting. Nobody at my job would survive long acting like that. Honestly now I’d rather hire people from bigger companies if they are available because then at least you can complain to someone more reasonable (sometimes).
    I don’t know, maybe some self-employed people (who never worked for a bigger business) never learn business norms or something?
    So for children too, yes, I’ve found it much easier to send the kids to a large daycare with proper management you can communicate with if there are issues, even if they are more expensive.

    1. MK*

      I have actually encountered this attitude often in people who used to work at large companies and chucked it to be their own boss. They seem to think being self-employed or having your own business means you get to do whatever you want.

      1. urguncle*

        “Be your own boss” is a draw for a lot of people. Sometimes it’s because they are well-adjusted, well-rounded people who don’t enjoy being at the whim of any of the nightmare-to-work-with bosses that are highlighted on this website regularly. Sometimes it’s because they are the nightmare-to-work-with people themselves.

        1. MK*

          Maybe. On the other hand, when you are an employee, you don’t get to make many decisions, but also you don’t have to make these decisions, so you don’t think about whether they are necessary or to find alternatives. I know a lot of people who complained about the way their boss did things, and then were promoted or became self employed, only to realize that there was a reason behind these decisions.

      2. doreen*

        I’ve encountered it indirectly in many small businesses , regardless of whether the owner used to work for a larger company or not. There’s a certain sort of person who thinks that being self-employed means you can do whatever you want – but somehow doesn’t understand that in most cases, your potential customers have options. You are perfectly free to set inconvenient hours for your pharmacy/hardware store/shoe store – but you have to expect if you close at 6 pm and are closed Sundays , a lot of people are going to pass you by and go someplace with more convenient hours. But it seems like lots of them don’t.

        And I have a feeling Amy is one of them – I can’t even imagine why someone would use a childcare provider that closes 40 days per year, even if it’s two weeks at Christmas , a month in the summer and a few random days unless they really didn’t have any better options. But just because Amy was their best option when she was closed 40 days a year doesn’t mean she will still be their best option when it’s closed 52 days a year – maybe that extra 12 days of paying double or the hassle of finding alternate care for the extra 12 days will be the tipping point that makes non-home based care a better option. And that’s not even accounting for the fact that she is extending her workday by four hours a day.

    2. Nanani*

      Some people never learn norms, some people think they just don’t need to follow them, some people just get away with shit for so long they are legitimately suprised at the slightest pushback or consequence (like, a client dumping them is a consequence)

      1. Sasha*

        Some people set up as self-employed because they can’t keep a job in an organisation where they need to act professionally! My husband has worked with IT freelancers who are basically completely unable to work in a team and have been asked to leave various agencies (his sector is small and everyone gossips). They work as contractors where this stuff matters less, and takes longer to pick up on.

    3. pancakes*

      Whew. For sure there are people who go into business for themselves because they can’t get along with others. Not all, of course, but definitely some. I also think interactions like those get weird sometimes specifically when there’s little competition in an area – there are people who are very at ease about their own lack of professionalism, almost in a self-depreciating, “who could expect anything of little ol’ me?” way.

    4. Box of Kittens*

      My sister owns her own business and I’ve noticed this in her as well (not to this extent thank goodness). She takes regular business interactions pretty personally, and some of it is just her personality, but I do think a lot of it has to do with her never having worked in a big (or white collar) environment. There are so many more norms and boundaries in bigger businesses and white collar businesses that you just don’t get when you work for yourself. (Obviously that’s not to say small businesses are always like this. I also think my sister is doing a fantastic job generally; it’s just that I usually hear the rants before she addresses her clients professionally. I’m genuinely thankful I get to hear that side of working too; I have only had desk jobs so far and without her, I would feel very removed and foreign from the experience so many workers in this country have.)

  51. BlueStarGirl*

    That is a lot of days to be closed! If Amy is getting state/federal subsidies I can’t imagine they’d love that.

    If the daycare gets any government funds, or if there are ANY concerns about how Amy’s treating children, OP should consider contacting her state’s child care licensing board (just Google state + daycare licensing and it should get you close), which will at least trigger some closer oversight.

  52. anonymous73*

    Yeah, I wouldn’t let it go. The “why” of her behavior is irrelevant. You followed her rules and gave her proper notice. If there are other things in her life that are stressing her out, she shouldn’t be putting that on you. I would leave a review and if you’re friendly with any of the other parents, give them a heads up. And I’d also contact the part-time job people. She’s supposed to be coaching others on how to run a daycare and her reaction to you is not a good look on someone who’s supposed to be a coach. Yes people are human and they have emotions. But when you’re in a certain position, you don’t inflict your personal stress on others, especially when they’re paying you to take care of their children.

    1. anonymous73*

      In addition, how can anyone manage this with her being closed 10.5 weeks out of the year (even before the part-time gig, it was 8 weeks/year)? At most I’ve had 5 weeks of PTO for any year. Are you and your spouse supposed to take separate vacations?

  53. BA*

    LW, I’ve been mulling this over and commented upthread about this a little bit, but I do think it is probably worth a call to the agency once your relationship with Amy is over. The odd, aggressive behavior is problematic and isn’t something that shows well of child care providers. I’d hate to think that people who are training to be providers get an incorrect sense of how to handle the family relationships they’ll end up having.

    Also, while it is certainly each provider’s prerogative how they set up their business and what policies they have in place, I’m concerned that someone like Amy, who had 40 work days of closures, is influencing people incorrectly too. That’s a policy that probably doesn’t work for too many families. I’m all for people taking time away. My daughters were at an in-home provider, and she closed for 2 weeks during the year, plus holidays. That wasn’t unreasonable at all. My wife and I were able to manage. But even before this extra closure, Amy is closed for 2 months! 2 months! That seems like a way to teach new providers a way to create real hardships for their clients, or to set them up to not get any clients.

    I wouldn’t address this with the agency now, but it might not be a bad idea just to ask for 15 minutes with them and suggest that policies like 40 working days puts families in a really tough spot. The agency may not want to sign off on that sort of “education” even if you didn’t talk about her erratic behavior.

  54. Richard Hershberger*

    Ah, day care drama! My kids are just barely past that phase of life, and it is a great relief! We did both centers and home care. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Centers are more reliable, but zounds they are expensive! Home care at its best is terrific. We had one who taught the kids and took them on trips. She was serious about taking a role in child development. She had to quit and we had to find a replacement. The replacement was just OK: nothing more than a baby sitter. We were with her a couple of years then Covid hit. As things were reopening we tried to find out her plans, but she ghosted us. It is moot now, but we are still annoyed.

  55. Dancin Fool*

    As a former child care provider I am very concerned about the fact that she is continuing to refuse to communicate with a parent. That is wildly unacceptable, stress or not. What if there is important info about your child that needs to be communicated? Will she just not tell you if something serious happened that day when you go to pick up your child? I would be reaching out to your new daycare asap to see if you can start there sooner…

  56. Not One of the Bronte Sisters*

    I didn’t have to look for childcare until the 1980’s and it was so difficult. I finally, after I had my second child, had to move to a larger apartment so I’d have room for a live-in nanny. Child care cost me a fortune.

  57. Sotired*

    This is a situation that does justify a nuclear option as AAM says. It is not just saying, oh , we will be closing an hour early this Friday. I would wait till I had other arrangements for my child before I gave a google review and stating what happened.

    I would save all emails and make other arrangements as soon as possible. Good luck

    1. Sotired*

      Sorry if I was not clear, AAM not recommending the nuclear option, I am, I am just agreeing it it a severe approach. But Amy’s behavior justifies it

  58. Nanani*

    It’s weird to me that in-person and over text is so different, and especially that the vague and erratic communication is the one coming in through text – you’d expect the opposite since in text, one has time to think a bit more while typing, whereas face to face, slips of the tongue are more likely to happen.

    Is there any possibility there is another person involved? Someone texting under Amy’s name who disagrees with the direction, like another employee or something like that? It’s just so WEIRD.

    1. Malarkey01*

      I actually don’t find this weird at all. It’s the “internet comment” phenomenon where someone who would never have the nerve to say something completely unacceptable to your face has no qualms about posting away behind a screen even when directing it to you. I’ve stopped being shocked at the things I’ll see relatives post in social meeting comments/text that 15 years ago would have gotten a tight smile and little comment in person or on the phone and maybe a “bless your heart” at most.

  59. MizA*

    We had a similar situation- over 50 days off a year that we paid for, massive passive-aggression and guilting when we found new care. There was a stipulation that if we found someone to take our space we’d not be charged for the final month, and she tried anyhow. Which… did not work in her favour.
    I completely understand the costs and risks associated with running an in-home childcare space, but there’s also the profound disadvantage we parents are at. Having zero outside support raising kids is hard, and having providers go kind of weird when one finds a better situation is, unfortunately, not at all uncommon.

  60. MMM*

    To me it sounds like Amy is losing more clients than just OP and the stress from her decision to have less hours is getting to her.

  61. Moira Rose*

    I guess this qualifies as a hot take: don’t rely on in-home daycare if you can at all avoid it. It’s demonstrably less safe (look up stats on daycare SIDS deaths by daycare type if you really want your hair to stand on end) and you have to deal with nonsense like this. Corporate daycares may seem less homey, but they’re safer for your kid and will generally not give you this kind of static when you follow the contract you both signed.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      I know of a study that said the absolute worst type of daycare is bad in-home daycare. Of course, good in-home daycare is worth its weight in gold. But with the bad ones, there is no backup, no second set of eyes, etc.

      1. I Don’t Know It All*

        The first daycare provider I had was an in home daycare provider and she was a Saint. My son was super cranky. He didn’t sleep well and he needed more time and attention. And, he got that. Plus, that daycare never closed unscheduled. All vacations were scheduled 4-6 months in advance. We moved, but we still go back and visit that daycare lady, because she was wonderful. So some home daycares can be incredible. It’s just many are not.

      2. Moira Rose*

        Yes, exactly. Vice has an article called “When Your Baby Dies in a Home Daycare, Who’s to Blame?” that enumerates some of the worst outcomes of in-home daycare. It’s chilling.

  62. AnotherSarah*

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this! Childcare decisions are hard and Amy’s emotional manipulation isn’t helping. I agree re: stress, but I also want to add: you say she’s communicating normally with your husband. To me, this is another check in the column of “yes, she’s emotionally manipulative.” She thinks she can tug at your heartstrings as a mother in a way she couldn’t get to your husband as a father. That sucks, for both you and your spouse!

  63. Recovering journalist*

    Daycare is so tough! I sympathize. I recommend just continuing to be kind and friendly until the end. And then you can decide whether to leave reviews or even just chat with Amy further. Daycare is tricky, because we want (and need) our children to have loving and responsible carers. And so we need to preserve that relationship. I have bitten my tongue many times, because I would never want to become the parents that our daycare providers don’t like and run the risk of that affecting how they treat my child.

    I wish you luck! I hope you will submit an update when you are through this. (And, wow. I admit — 40 days!!! I only get 28 paid days at my Fortune 10 corporate job. I would have a lot of trouble finding 40 days in my schedule. I think I would have to either quit or get a different daycare too.)

  64. Trilby*

    Picking fights is surprisingly common when relationships end. I’ve heard of friends, coworkers, bosses doing this. When you’re sad a relationship is ending, you somewhat unconsciously try to poison it a bit, to protect you from the sadness. My mom is a psychologist, and she told me about this many years ago, and it’s been helpful to keep in mind when I have relationships end like this.

    I’m actually in the middle of this in a different context – I’m selling my condo (in a small condo building), and the condo president (we’ve been very friendly over the last five years), has gotten much colder. She’s cranky that I’m leaving and is creating distance between us now.

  65. Janine*

    I may be in the minority here, but I’d be looking to end this sooner rather than later. I would feel uncomfortable with someone acting this unprofessionally towards me, watching my child. Document everything so that if she tried to sue for breech of contract, you’d definitely win. But if there’s no way to start the new place sooner, I’d be looking for temporary care and then I’d tell Amy exactly why you are ending early. That her unprofessional behavior towards you had called into question her judgement.

  66. yala*

    Ok, I’m just worrying about what Amy might be saying to the KIDS. If she’s referring to a kid being moved to another daycare center as being “torn from her heart” then I get the feeling she might not be handling this well with her charges either. Could be emphasizing how sad this makes her, how much she’ll miss them, how mean the parents are, etc etc.

    I agree with the rest that it sounds like panic mode b/c her new changes just aren’t compatible with most working parents needs. But if that panic makes her react like this, I wouldn’t want my kid with her for a day longer. (Not that most parents in this situation have a choice. Sussing out childcare sounds so difficult!)

    1. Toddler Teacher*

      As a childcare provider myself, her language leaves me a little concerned. She sounds almost too attached to your children (something that definitely happens more at in home care). This isn’t the worst problem as it means she obviously cares for your children a lot, but it does make me worry that she probably struggles to be objective about what your child may need and their development (ie pushing them towards next developmental stages or recognizing when they may need early intervention for a delay). Obviously this is all conjecture without me actually sitting in and doing a formal observation of her center, but what a day in a childcare center actually looks like and what parents see at drop-off/pick-up and such are usually two different things.

  67. GarlicMicrowaver*

    I don’t know if I agree with all of the advice. I would be extremely concerned over the next 6 weeks and do everything I could to find a temporary solution until the child begins at the next place. One-off or not, what the actual f? I’m a parent, and I do know how much stress childcare providers are under, but what about the parents? As an early childhood educator, you cannot lash out like that and make snide comments implying you are damaging your child’s mental health. And purposely ignore one of the parents for the next six weeks?

    Either finish off or find a temporary solution. But when Amy is history to your family, I would consider the exact opposite of what Allison said- report her, contact the agency. Should someone who behaved in that manner be taking another similar job?

  68. Vistaloopy*

    I would pull my daughter immediately from this situation. Even if it meant losing my job (although I think most decent employers would allow for a month off for a childcare emergency, and you could likely take fmla if you’ve been there a year and it’s over 15 employees and you’re in the US).
    You can’t have your child’s care provider refuse to communicate with you. And someone who behaves this way should not be providing childcare, so I absolutely think you’d be justified in contacting that agency and writing a review. Seriously, this made my mom-spidey-sense tingle.

      1. Vistaloopy*

        Fair enough, but I’d still recommend that OP talk to her employer and try to work something out.

  69. Cake or Death?*

    “Just know I wish you all the best as you tear someone from my heart and I have to accept it.”

    WOW. The day someone said that to me about my child, that’s a day there would be some words said, and probably not nice ones.

    EVERY kid leaves daycare at some point; for her to act otherwise is ridiculous. And downright creepy.

  70. higeredadmin*

    We always used the center day care as we couldn’t cope with the hours for in-home day care. (LW hasn’t mentioned the opening and closing hours, but I’ll bet you they are also tight.) I don’t even want to think back about the cost – it’s nuts. (One good point – our day care had a system where you could buy and sell days you wouldn’t use, had long hours and it included all food, diapers etc.) As much of a mess that daycare is, just wait until the darlings are in school. We are lucky that we live close to our kid’s school and have job flexibility so I can stay home until they go to school and then have a slightly late start at work. The school’s aftercare is run by a private provider (which is common), and they have limited slots. It quickly became clear that one of my kids couldn’t cope with the chaos of aftercare – he couldn’t, for example, concentrate on homework in a large study hall. We are lucky to live in a large city with several colleges, so we have had a string of college kids provide afterschool care, along with carefully orchestrated work schedules. (We are basically white-collar shift workers with temp help, with early and late days so we can make our full hours.) We keep our requirements low – pick up kids, feed a snack, make them do homework, keep them alive (no driving etc. needed) – and hope for the best. So all of this to say – childcare for working parents is just a constant stress, even with older kids. I sometimes miss the days where they could be in one safe place all day. (Our personal finances to NOT miss it – I was always grateful that I earned enough to be able to pay for center day care, even if I basically broke even during that time.)

  71. Not A Manager*

    I wouldn’t leave my child for another minute with a childcare provider who says I’m tearing my child from her heart. That’s scary.

  72. Falling Diphthong*

    OP, I want to strongly encourage you to listen to your gut about continuing on with Amy for the next few weeks. Ignore people insisting that they would quit their jobs, or materialize alternate one-month daycare from the ether by concentrating hard.

    It is perfectly possible for Gracie’s parent to pluck your last nerve in one-on-ones, and Gracie’s parent to be quite capable of supervising your child playing with Gracie. You might even opt for Gracie’s parent to cover for an unexpected disaster week because they were willing and you didn’t have other options.

    It is perfectly possible for Amy to be handling your departure very badly and taking it far too personally–like many an AAM manager quit on by an OP in the past–and for that to be irksome but endurable for a few weeks. I would fully expect her to separate her irrational touchiness with you from how warmly and pleasantly she interacts with your child. If you were looking for a NEW center/job/healthclub, these things would be disqualifying. If you’re looking to continue on through the notice period at an OLD center/job/healthclub, that exact same thing can be something you tolerate while making private notes about how you’ll do things in future to try to avoid this situation.

  73. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

    Isn’t there a state board that all daycares have to be licensed through? Couldn’t the OP say something to them about the situation and that Amy is not talking with the OP? Not in a “I want revenge” type of thing but to show that something is not right.

    Also, how does Amy not communicate with the OP? Is she just ignoring the OP completely or does she have another employee who communicates things? What if something happened to the kid like another kid bites her or something. Would Amy not say anything to the OP? I don’t have kids but I know there is usually some sort of conversation between the caregiver and the parent.
    I also find it funny that she talks to the spouse but not OP. Like, I wonder if OP was the one to break the news so Amy thinks this is all OP’s fault?

    1. PostalMixup*

      In my state, as long as you’re watching fewer than four kids who aren’t your own, you don’t have to be licensed (and yes, you can watch three kids plus four of your own without any oversight, because that’s safe and makes perfect sense). But also, as long as they’re not taking state money, for the most part, no one will know unless they get reported. There are some shaaaady places out there. If your in-home provider won’t give you the tax ID so you can deduct your child’s care from your taxes, odds are good they’re not licensed.

  74. Just Me*

    I generally agree with what Alison is saying, but I think it’s a little different when children are involved. Amy’s behavior is pretty unprofessional and upsetting and I’d err on the side of giving her grace in *most* cases, but I’d feel pretty uneasy about leaving my child with someone given those circumstances and would feel like trying to move up the start date with my new daycare if I could.

    Also. I have worked for a few different privately owned schools and a close friend of mine used to work for a privately-owned daycare like this one. People who run schools like this can be uniquely megalomaniacal (they need to be as scrappy and self-promoting as any other entrepeneur, but also have the ego to feel they can teach people and have great control over people who are relatively powerless, i.e. children or adult students). It’s up to you to decide if you feel comfortable with your child staying here over the next few weeks or not.

  75. Ewwwwww....*

    Amy’s response is reminding me of the freakout that came when I let go of my first figure skating coach over her missing multiple scheduled lessons. She would be at her desk, just visiting with co-workers, and then reschedule my lesson when I found her. She was really upset that I let her go, bringing up that I was as much at fault when I cancelled a lesson with at least 24 hours notice in order to go to a funeral. Seems like some people just like to be needed, even if they can’t keep their promises.

  76. SoupSnakes*

    This reminds me of the time I gave appropriate notice to switch daycares, and the provider we were leaving told me she was going to contact our state’s welfare agency and tell them we were abusing our child if we left her center.

      1. Observer*

        That’s wild isn’t it. But it happens. I have a friend who was seeing a pediatric specialist. This specialist may have been good at their specialty, but was dangerously incompetent in other aspects of pediatric care. It would have just been eye rolling except that they were pushing their views in all of these related issues on the mom. After one particularly bad and frankly dangerous demand I insisted that she talk to her kids’ regular pediatrician about what was going on. The pediatrician was very upset and told her to switch to a different doctor.

        Next thing she knows, ACS is at her door. They were pretty sure it was the specialist because they had mentioned calling ACS almost every time Mom expressed any disagreement with Specialist. And also made a comment about it when Mom informed the practice that they were moving.

  77. Safely Retired*

    I’m wondering if Amy is the one sending the texts. It seems possible that someone close to her is acting behind her back. I would make a point that all YOUR communication TO Amy be either in person (preferred) or on the phone. If she reverts to “everything is fine” in person, bring up the text messages and tell her you don’t understand how it can be fine when you are receiving a totally different message via text.

  78. Sick of Workplace Bullshit (she/her)*

    I love how Amy is accusing the OP of “not caring about her [Amy’s] family’s well-being” but doesn’t seem to care about the OP’s family’s well-being at all. What a nut.

  79. Despachito*

    I think what Amy did is wildly unprofessional, emotional blackmail. Alison is very gracious to adscribe it to stress, I personally think that there has be more to it – this seems to me too wild to do for a person even when under pressure.

    Another unprofessional thing – closing the facility for extended periods of time but still letting parents pay for that.

    I am with Alison in that I would not go around and slander Amy, partly because she was so good before that and partly because of myself and not wanting to spoil my karma :-) In her highly unprofessional rant, Amy mentions her family, it is well possible that there is some family drama/tragedy. It is absolutely not my problem as a paying customer, but I would also not want to retaliate more than necessary.

    I’d probably try to minimize the damage done to me – ignore her rants and blackmailing, and just take the high road because I’d not want to “wallow in mud”. But please know that it is Amy who is terribly in the wrong here.

  80. Anon, anon*

    Since some people mentioned Amy is possibly hurting financially, I started to wonder about how the finances of a home daycare business play out.

    In my state, home daycares are allowed to have a maximum of six children below school age, or eight children if two or more of the children are of school age.

    In 2021, the average cost of sending a child to a home daycare in the US was $300 a week.

    I realize Amy has overhead, including meals and toys, but am I wrong in thinking she’s likely to be grossing between $93,600 and $124,800 a year? Including the days she gets paid but doesn’t take kids?

    1. I Don’t Know It All*

      Location is important. In the mid-size Midwest city I lived in until last year most solo providers charged anywhere from $190-$250 a week (the big centers were about $400 a week). Most of the providers were mom’s who decided not to go back to work, so their income was extra. It was a decent enough amount to be a good supplement. And we had providers that offered specialized hours (teacher schedules, overnights for healthcare folks, etc.)

      However, where I live now most solo daycare providers charge between $125 and $160 a week, and many of them are the breadwinner or single parents who want to stay home with their child. It’s a reasonable amount for the area, but once you back out taxes, and your expenses it’s not brilliant especially if you can’t keep six kids full-time year round. Plus, I think there is an added layer of stress knowing you are responsible for paying the rent/mortgage.

    2. Observer*

      You could be right. So? What she’s grossing tells you nothing about what she’s actually earning.

      What is the minimum wage in your state?

      In NYS, the maximum number of infants per adult is 1:4, and you cannot put the babies together with the toddlers and 3YO’s. That means that off the bat, Amy is paying another person full time, since there are babies in the group. At the Federal minimum wage, that’s ~20k right off the bat to pay for the baby care person. In NYS, @13.20 per hour (going up to $15), you’re looking at closer to $25k. (Depending on how many hours a day the care is being provided it could be more, but this is just a ball park.)

      If the provider is responsible for food, that’s another fairly large expense because the provider has to adhere to some pretty strict regulations – you can’t be giving the kids PB&J sandwiches for lunch.

      I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of each possible expense. But the bottom line is that what you call “overhead”, which are mostly actually the direct costs of running the business, can easily eat up half or more of the gross take. Which would mean that someone like Amy would be making decent money but NOT a really huge amount.

    3. Claire*

      Where are you getting $300/week for in home daycares? I live in a HCOL and the center daycare near my house is $300/week for infants. And that’s very high relative to the rest of the country – if you look at department of education statistics families who pay for childcare (which is a minority of families already) average about $6 or $7/hour.

      1. Janet Pinkerton*

        Damn, what HCOL city is this? I find this so hard to believe. We’re about to pay $617/week for center infant care in DC. (Is this my preference? Absolutely not. Is this the only place that had any availability whose location we could make work? Yes. Is it the same price as another center that doesn’t have room? Also yes.)

        1. Rainy*

          I live in a city that has a fairly high cost of living, and while googling “average daycare cost [mystate]” gets me an average of about $1k/month/child, I know that when my coworkers talk about daycare they’re usually paying closer to $1500/month/child. One of my coworkers has three children between the ages of 2-8 and I can’t even imagine how they afford childcare.

  81. I Don’t Know It All*

    Childcare providers like Amy sadly are not that uncommon especially with limited numbers of daycare centers. My home daycare provider closed a lot. She had two weeks of paid vacation every year (which I was fine with), was offer every major holiday (which I was fine with), but she would randomly close all the time. I think she was closed at least 1-2 days a month. And you always paid her whether she was open or not. I am single parent, it just became unworkable. She ended up closing her doors a few weeks after we left, because other parents were also having similar issues, and word got around and she couldn’t find more kids.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Amy was experiencing something similar.

  82. JBI*

    Our daughter’s daycare was fine, apart from the financials… the woman who had different charging schemes, like she would charge more hourly if you went under a certain amount of hours… but that higher rate would kick in if *she* decided to close the place for administrative reasons. And she didn’t see a problem with this.
    I suggested it would be clearer to write a one page table just outlining different cost scenarios so people weren’t ambushed… but in her head it made perfect sense. I was happier not to to deal with the stress.
    On the plus side, a huge bonus was they dropped our kid off at home at EOD (we live in NYC)

  83. ange1ik*

    Wow… Her response was out of line.
    Where I live (outside of the US), home daycares are regulated by an overarching organisation. Educators are self-employed but must undergo regular (surprise) in home visits where the environment and all documents are reviewed.
    If I experienced this issue, I would go to the overarching organisation and let them know. In fact, they would call me once or twice a year to ask me how everything was going. Navigating day care is hard enough without the the above scenario.
    Not sure if this is available in other countries.

  84. L. Miller*

    Even if Amy is stressed by her business and the side business she’s doing ,
    I would be very concerned about Amy telling the parents they are causing “devastating “ long term affects on their child and that they are tearing away someone Amy loves. Those are really emotionally charged statements that are also unprofessional.
    To be honest if it was possible for the parents, I’d pull the child out now and see if relatives or friends could help them out until they sort the new child care.
    Amy sounds too invested emotionally and I wouldn’t want her saying things to the child about how much she’ll miss them or that the parents are causing this.
    I also wouldn’t trust that she won’t just say one day, this is your last day and leave them in the lurch. Since she won’t discuss it.

  85. Betty Beep Boop*

    I’m going to take a probably unpopular approach that I don’t think it was right of OP to offer to pay Amy more in order to not take a new career opportunity. I understand the stress of childcare but that shouldn’t outweigh feeling like you can throw money at a situation just so it benefits you and disregards Amy’s professional goals.

    Now, all of Amy’s ups and downs are still their own off brand of concerning behavior but that’s a whole separate issue.

    1. Letter Writter*

      I should clarify. I don’t want anyone to think we were trying to pay her off. When Amy initially told us about this other work opportunity, we told her the schedule change would probably not work for us. She told us she would have to raise her prices if she didn’t take the other opportunity. We told her we were happy to pay her more so that we could stick with her.

    2. Claire*

      Why not? If LW’s family is willing to pay more, it makes sense to offer Amy the option. She can always choose not to take it, as she did.

  86. SofiaDeo*

    I have to disagree with Alison here. This is not a standard business with standard business norms. This is *childcare*. The health and safety of the children is paramount, and someone who is suddenly changed behavior is alarming and concerning in this sequence IMO. It didn’t stop with the original text, or the second text or refusing to answer the phone (do you know for a fact she was there to answer? Did you leave a voicemail? Was a formerly available voicemail system turned off?). Then texting the next emotional, irrational lengthy text, and verbally (no in writing, so she can point to “2 weeks notice” if she decided to claim there was no verbal agreement past the 2 weeks) reneging then *refusing to speak to the client*. She never responded to your text asking for clarification, and might claim she never got it. I would be concerned/alarmed and pull my kid if possible after the 2 weeks, if not sooner if Amy’s behavior continues to be erratic or alarming.

    I would do a Google review AFTER you are out of there if in a mid sized town or larger. Small towns, as others have pointed out, can be very clique-y and a newcomer “giving bad reviews” might cause more problems. Unless Amy comes to her senses and apologizes. Then I would be inclined to think it’s a stress-related knee-jerk reaction that could be ignored. But not if this behavior continues or escalates. Because “tearing our family apart” and “you will be breaking my heart” and the ilk are concerning IMO. When people DO go off the rails, it can start with behavior like this. Please have your husband speak with her, asking why Amy won’t speak to you at all. And if it’s embarrassment IMO she needs to apologize, it will clear the air *for her* as she continues to process no longer being in the life if a child she obviously cares for. If it’s embarrassment or something similar as to why she won’t speak to you now, fine. Have him try to suss this out, but I wouldn’t have him *insist* on an apology. If his questions start another inappropriate response/tirade, you need to know that, I think. As others have pointed out, you need to find out if she might start saying inappropriate things to your child. Let alone the awful, horrible thought that she might “do something.” Like refuse to let you drop your child off after 2 weeks, while pointing to the text as she closes the door in your face.

  87. Marian*

    I have lots of sympathy (empathy) for the letter writer. Childcare is so, so personal. To trust your kid to someone and then have them lash out at you… ouch. I’m so sorry.

    I think Alison’s advice has merits, but honestly I would write the review. Something neutrally worded but clear, something like: We had a great experience here for X years, but had issues with the owner when following her procedures to remove our kid, including the threat of losing our childcare entirely during the notice period. Would recommend getting an agreement in writing before enrolling your child here.

  88. AnonymousReader*

    While I agree that Amy did not handle this as professionally as one would expect, I think a lot of the comments are way too harsh. Insinuating that she would abuse OP’s child is over the line. Yes, she should’ve told Family 2 that she couldn’t get their child in until OP’s child had started at their new daycare. Yes, things are awkward between OP and Amy but unless there is proof OP’s child has been harmed in any way (physical or mentally), I don’t think it’s right to paint someone who relies on taking care of children for their livelihood as a child abuser.

    I think this is a case in which OP needs to take the high road and smooth things over as best as she can while OP’s child is in Amy’s care. Badmouthing Amy will make OP come across as an entitled parent and while it might feel cathartic, it will not be taken seriously by future parents seeking Amy’s services. I know what childcare is very personal but both OP and Amy could’ve benefitted from treating this like any business agreement.

  89. anonforthis*

    Amy sounds unstable. I would end care with her asap and just move on and not engage with her further.

  90. bopper*

    “Amy, it sounds like you are saying that you are not going to abide by the stipulations in the contract you had us sign. The contract calls for a 6 week notice period which we have provided. We expect you to provide child care as you have been doing for that 6 weeks. We do not agree to a two week notice. Please confirm this will be the case.”

  91. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

    I think Alison is probably right for the most part. I do think it would be good to post an online review if you can, but only after you no longer need her. And honestly, I would wait until you are sure you feel your new option is comfortable and reliable enough for you and is a good fit, because if Amy has clout with childcare providers in the area, she could make them blacklist you, and you do not want to be shopping for a new provider in that situation.

    Most importantly, if you post a review, keep is succinct and matter of fact, stating the facts and not too much emotion. Do not use harsher verbiage than saying the process of the separation was not handled “in a professional manner.” Make sure you use the term unprofessional in reference to the action, not to her as a person. And make sure to acknowledge that you did use her services for a long time and that, excepting the scheduling issues and the way she responded at the end, you had no other issues with her. That way it is accurate and she will have a lot less that she can get angry abo