When I was a little girl playing house, I was always the mom. When we played school, I was always the teacher. I think it was always in my blood to work with and nurture children.
I attended Augsburg College in Minneapolis, where I entered as an Education major. But the timing wasn’t right – I was graduating during a time when schools were closing all over the country, and nobody was hiring teachers. I did student teaching on the second grade level as well as high school social studies, but in the end I added a second major in Sociology/Urban Planning. But as it turned out, I did not work in either of these fields. I got married, and stayed with the job I had held since high school at the now defunct Snyder Drug. I worked my way through the management program and was on track to becoming a general manager in my own store when I became pregnant with my first child and everything changed. I found the rotating day, night, weekend, and holiday shifts required by retail work less appealing all the time. I felt like I was missing out on everything when I dropped my baby off with my retired parents as my husband and I both headed to work. I knew she was being well cared for, but….
I took a short-lived job at a bank, thinking the regular daytime hours would help. But it didn’t. I wanted to be with my child. The seed of doing daycare in my own home began to plant itself. I will admit that when I started doing licensed home child care, it was for purely selfish reasons. But that quickly changed as my business began to grow. I was able to use the skills I’d acquired through the years and turn my daycare into something really special. I loved that I was making a difference in so many lives. My original plan was to do this for a few years, and close when my youngest went to school all day. But I never experienced the burnout that many providers speak of. In fact, it was 13 years later, when my oldest was heading to high school and my youngest to middle school, that I finally closed my doors, and then only because my family was moving from South Minneapolis to Lakeville, and didn’t like the idea of starting over.I found a job through the mom of one of my daycare kids, working in Accounts Payable at Mesaba Airlines. I worked there for nearly 12 years, until the company was sold and relocated out of state.
Suddenly unemployed, I found myself looking for work half-heartedly; because even though I loved my job at Mesaba and most likely would not have left it voluntarily, the thought of re-opening my daycare had niggled at the back of my mind often. I missed it terribly, especially when I would think of a fun craft, or when I would see kids at the playground, knowing I was missing out on all the fun. I loved my job in Accounting, but I was missing that feeling of really making a difference. So, the idea took root. After making sure my family was on board, and after lots of positive feedback from family, friends, and former clients, I decided to go for it. I am currently licensed for 12 children.
I have been married to my most wonderful husband John since 1984. We have two adult children: Lisa, who now lives nearby in Burnsville with her husband Ryan, and Jeff, who lives in St Paul with his wife Abbi. We recently lost a very important family member, our border collie Cassie, so currently have no pets. Eventually we will add a new dog to our family, but we plan to wait quite a while first. When we do decide it’s time, he or she will be kept separate from the daycare children most of the time. John works a very early shift, so is home every day at noon. He will take care of the dog’s needs, and if the children want to play with him or her, John will keep them under close supervision.
I spent the spring and summer of 2013 transforming the lower level of my split-level home into a daycare facility. I’ve now been open since the fall of 2013 and loving (almost) every minute. I know now that child care is my calling, and I’m excited to be back in business!