Perfect? You are NOT the perfect parent.

That’s right. You are not a perfect parent.

Perfect parent and child care giver

It really shouldn’t be news to you that you’re not perfect. Not perfect in general, not even a perfect parent. If it is, you may be somewhat delusional.

Guess what? Those other parents. They’re not perfect either. Not even the ones who lead you to believe they are. Especially not them.

Many of us hope we’ll be the perfect parents.

Maybe not perfect to every child, but perfect to our own children. Even though many of us know we won’t come close, we want SO badly to be the perfect parent. And when we come to realize the reality of our distance from perfection. It’s a little depressing.

There comes a day in every new parent’s life that we wish those infants came with a manual. A do-it-yourself guide. At the very least, some sort of a description of what to expect.

Real life experiences…

My oldest used to get these fevers, unexplainably. Two days later, she’d cut a tooth. Doctors always say that there was no evidence that fevers and teething are co-related. Fevers are supposed be indicators of infection. Yet, it appeared to be a pretty obvious pattern to me.

And I remember thinking that I would never ever get my youngest daughter to sleep at night. I was *this close* to bringing her to the doctor to see if she was colic. And one day, things just settled down.

Where is the Perfect Parent manual?

A manual seemed like it would be so helpful, but even when I found a few minutes to read the next best thing – self help books about parenting. None of them really quite cut it. One thing I realized though, more from my previous experience as an early childhood educator… you are your child’s best “expert”. That’s right. No one, and I mean no one, knows your child better than you do. Parents, I repeat… no one knows your child better than you do.

You are your child’s best expert

If the doctor says something that doesn’t sit right with you. Ask more questions. If that doesn’t help, ask for a referral or a second opinion. Talk with people and find out what you can about similar situations. That mom who “appears” to have it all together? She may *not* be your best “go to”. But maybe you’ve noticed another child that seems to be in a similar boat… does dad seem approachable? Maybe he’s going through the same thing, or better yet, maybe he’s one step ahead and has some insights to share that *may* be applicable. Just remember that no two children, no two parents, and no two families are the same. Their “answer” may not be your answer. But it may point you in the right direction.

You’ve got thisPerfect parent

I bet you’d like to feel like you have it all under control. I can almost guarantee that will never be the case, at least not for long. With our ever changing lives, our ever changing children, and our ever changing knowledge and experience this will ebb & flow.


And if someone tries to let on that they *never* hide in the bathroom hoping that everyone in the house would forget how to find them for just 15 whole minutes… they are lieing.

I don’t have toddlers trying to talk to me under the bathroom door anymore, but I do have cats. Can you relate?


Coaching services for parents


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Can a 21st Century Mom find a Balance?


A Mommy Connections Halifax guest post:

After meeting with Karine Ewert of Today’s Parent magazine, I got thinking about what it means to be a 21st century parent. Karine was in Halifax appearing on the CTV morning show talking about just that. How are the challenges of today unique from previous generations? How are they similar?


Karine pointed out a lot of things that are unique to today. Striving to achieve a balance, while trying to do it all and be good at everything, cannot possibly be manageable. There really is no perfect balance. We once fought for the right for women to enter the workplace, but I’m not sure it has been entirely to our benefit. There is a real struggle between the stay-at-home-mom and the working-outside-of-the-home mom to reconcile their choices often under societal pressure. For some the answer is to hire a nanny, for others, it’s child care centres, for others it’s working part-time or maybe even working from a home office and bringing in a child care provider part-time.


When I was at home with my children I often felt guilty for not being a strong feminist in the workplace, and when I was at work I often felt guilty for not putting my children/family first. We do this to one another. We hear it in the voices of those on the other side of the fence, judging us for making the choices we made. We need to cut ourselves a little slack. It is only possibly to achieve the balance we seek if we give ourselves a break. Let’s not strive to be all-things. Lets strive for the happy chaos, as Karine put it. The thing is – that which makes one mom happy is not going to be the same for every mom, and that is okay. It is as it should be.


I shared with Karine my desire for a Mom of the Year award to go to the everyday mom. A mom who is struggling but somehow finds their happy place by simply accepting things for what they are. She agreed that the best we can do as Moms is for us all to recognize that we are doing our best. To take joy in the everyday moments and to celebrate that we’re parents. Not all of us get to be. We have to remember that we’re all going to have bad days – some days are just easier than others.


There is still time to nominate the mom in your life for Mom of the Year. Deadline is July 8th though, so act fast!


There is also one day left to enter to win $50 or $25 in Walmart giftcards on my previous blog entry: Mom of the Year vs Supermom.


Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at ceilidhontherun dot com, or use my contact form!

I invite you to subscribe to my blog using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my page on Facebook, etc.)

If you enjoyed this post, please do like/share it. You can do so using the easy share button below!




United States child care laws and regulations

Knowing a little about child care laws is one of the ways that we can ensure our children are in safe and stimulating environments. As parents, we may not be trained early childhood educators. We may not know what are the best ways for caregivers to promote our children’s progress in their development best. The regulations help to ensure a minimal standard so that we can all have some confidence

Child care is generally regulated by each province, territory or state.

United States, Government links:









District of Columbia




















New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota




Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota






Washington State

West Virginia



For additional info see: National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education

Canadian childcare laws and regulations

Government links to Canadian childcare laws & regulations:

Alberta child care page

Alberta Child care Regulations

Alberta Licensing Act

Newfoundland and Labrador child care page

Newfoundland & Labrador Child care services act

Prince Edward Island early childhood page

Prince Edward Island Parents guide

Prince Edward Island Child Care Licensing and Certification

British Columbia child care page

British Columbia Legislation

Nova Scotia child care page

Nova Scotia guide for parents

Nova Scotia Day care act and Day care regulations

Nova Scotia Facility search (includes licensing compliance reporting)

Quebec child care page

Manitoba child care page

Manitoba child care regulation

Nunavut early childhood page

Nunavut Legislation

Saskatchewan child care page

Saskatchewan Legislation

New Brunswick daycare page

Ontario early childhood page

Ontario Standards

Yukon territory child care services page

Yukon Child care act & regulations

Northwest Territories Early Childhood page

Family child care checklist

*Adapted from Jennifer McMillen, Corner Playhouse Child Care
The Family Child Care Provider

Does the Caregiver…

_____ have a current license from the Department of Human Services?

_____ seem to be someone that both my child I would enjoy?

_____ create an atmosphere where children feel loved and cared for?

_____ interact with children in a kind and gentle manner?

_____ listen to, talk and play with the children?

_____ have time to give each child special and personal attention?

_____ use age appropriate discipline techniques?

_____ participate in child development related training opportunities?

_____ have Infant/Child CPR training?
The Family Child Care Daily Schedule

Does the Schedule…

_____ allow time for children to play both quietly and actively?

_____ allow time for children to play both indoors and out?

_____ allow time for children to play both independently and cooperatively?

_____ allow time for planned activities such as singing, listening to stories, playing

games, cooking and so on?

_____ limit TV time to an amount that I am comfortable with for my child?
The Family Child Care Environment

Do I See…

_____ a home that is safe, clean and comfortable?

_____ a special place for my child’s personal belongings?

_____ a home that looks fun and inviting to children?

_____ a selection of toys and equipment that are appropriate for the age of my child and

that are in good condition?

_____ adequate space for children to play both indoors and out?

_____ a selection of toys and materials that interest and stimulate children?

_____ a menu, complete with meals and snacks, that is nutritious and includes food that

children like to eat?

_____ appropriate and clean eating, diapering and napping areas?
Personal Feeling and Impressions

As a parent, am I comfortable with…

_____ the person who will be caring for my child?

_____ the other children in the home?

_____ the home atmosphere?

_____ the caregiver’s open door policy? (For example: Am I free to stop in and visit my

child any time?)

_____ the caregiver’s contract or policies?

_____ the caregiver’s pets?

_____ the caregiver’s smoking preference?

_____ the daily routine my child will follow?

_____ the location and convenience of the caregiver’s home?

_____ the hours and days care is provided?

_____ the provider’s flexibility in meeting my family’s needs?

_____ the fees and payment schedules?

_____ the arrangement for when the caregiver is sick or on vacation?

_____ the arrangement for when my child is sick?

_____ the amount of time, if any, my child will spend being transported in the

caregiver’s car?

*Thanks to Jennifer McMillen, Corner Playhouse Child Care for permission to publish this

checklist on & For more forms and info

about her home child care centre (link now broken, but I cannot find a current site to

refer back to presently) go to

**After reading this in its entirety, please adapt it to meet your personal needs

Family child care – is it for you?

What exactly is family child care?

I’ve found that this can vary greatly. Some dayhomes, are exactly that – children being cared for in someone else’s home. They receive the same care as the children of the caregiver – in many cases a nurturing, relaxed, environment much like days off at home with their parents. There are also a large number of settings (both licensed and unregistered) that are set-up much like a group child care centre. They may have designated a separate space of their home (i.e the basement) to the child care space. Some are licensed for dayhome purposes, while some are even licensed for a small (single caregiver in most cases) group license.

Not all regions require licensing or registration. In my home province of Nova Scotia individuals can care for up to six children under the age of six without a license, but there is a voluntary registration program for those who choose to participate.

Group child care licensing would apply for any group larger than this maximum.

Some home child care providers are early childhood educators who have chosen to remain at home with their own children and wish to continue their trade in an environment that they have more control over. Many home child care providers are parents without early childhood training, who love spending the day with their children, and have chosen to contribute to the household income by opening their home to other children. They may have a good awareness of child development from personal experience.

Is there a “best” type of family child care? That is a very personal choice. The main thing that licensing and registration provide are some minimal standards and external monitoring of them.

Many parents prefer a structured setting for their children that incorporates all of the traditional preschool programming, while others choose family child care specifically for its flexibility in that their children can feel as much like they’re at home as possible. You can only know by getting out to visit the caregivers and getting a feel for what they have to offer. Use the family child care checklist to prompt questions. Visit the centre on more than one occasion and go with what feels right for you, your child and your family.

Group child care centers

Group child care centers are required by law to be licensed. Licenses allow for additional accountability that give many parents peace of mind. Minimum standards are set for health & safety and child development/programming for both indoors and outdoors that are then enforced by government departments. Results of licensing inspections must be posted and can be viewed on-site, and in many cases the results can even be viewed online.

Most group facilities have separate rooms for different age ranges, for instance: infant room, toddler room, preschool, and school-age. Within each age group are specific standards regarding things like teacher to child ratios, types of equipment and toys, and programming expectations.

Infant centers will be connected to separate nap-rooms where cribs are kept in a quiet, darkened area accessible at anytime throughout the day. Toddlers and preschoolers often have to become accustomed to sleeping on a set schedule, as the playroom will be turned into the nap area each day with cots, nap music and the lights being turned down.

Group child care centers generally have designated outdoor green space, fenced in and secluded from public access, with outdoor toys appropriate for the group.

While some parents will choose to enroll their children in an additional preschool program that meets specific needs (i.e. a particular program philosophy or enrichment available, or offered in another language), it should not be necessary. Group child care centers standards require that all developmental needs be met, with a program that encourages appropriate growth and development.

Most licensed facilities operate according to a particular philosophy of learning. The latest trend is emergent curriculum, which has been touted as the most responsive to each child’s unique needs and strengths. (Check back for updates to learn more about various program philosophies here.)

It must be stated that while licensing ensures that a minimum standard is expected it does not guarantee quality of care. It is still vitally important that parents get to know the caregivers & program and monitor closely the care that children receive. It can also be said that license-not-required care, while not held up to the same minimum standards can still provide high quality care.

Making the right child care choices for you and your family

I have had many people ask me how to go about finding childcare. “What are my child care choices?” “What questions should I ask?” And even what type of care I would recommend.

I worked in most different capacities of early childhood, prior to having my first child. One thing that cemented my decision to stay home with my children is the challenge of finding quality care.

There are basically three options to consider: licensed group care; home-based care (licensed and unlicensed); and in-home care (Nannies).

Questions to consider:

What age will your child(ren) be when they require care? Space is often limited for children under two years of age.

How many children do you require care for? Financially this may almost determine your child care choices for you. Once you have 3 or more children in care, it is often more economical to consider hiring in-home care.

Do you require ‘full-time’childcare (typically Monday to Friday, 7am to 5pm)? Any flexibility required will affect availability of childcare space.

What are your children’s temperaments? Will they thrive in a large group of same-age children? Are they flexible and able to adapt to new routine easily? Do they require an intimate, mixed age-group setting? Do they need their familiar environment and routine to cope well? The child care program of choice will be one that suits their temperament best, if possible.

Once you have determined the type of child care that works best for your family, how do you secure and maintain quality childcare? There are some obvious and some subtle things/questions to help you determine if the child care option you are considering is one of good quality – you can visit Child care options: Top 10 Questions to Ask a Prospective Child Care Provider and Child care choices: 5 Steps To Choosing Quality Child Care for some suggestions.

The bottom-line is that licensing does not equate quality. While it should give you piece of mind that your child care program has met the minimum standards set by licensing, it is ultimately up to the parents to monitor quality of care. I am a huge advocate for childcare licensing, however it is my opinion that the standard set by licensing is 1) difficult to enforce, and 2) a minimum standard that any quality childcare programs should strive to not only meet, but to exceed.

I cannot stress enough: if anything about child care choices do not sit right with you, go with your gut. This is a very personal decision, and one of the most important you’ll ever make in your child(ren)’s formative years. Taking the time to strive toward a long-term arrangement for your family will benefit your child(ren) to the utmost.

Most importantly, observe your children in care! Even after all arrangements have been finalized, be sure to re-evaluate how the arrangement is meeting the needs of your family!

Check back for updates as I add more articles related to some of the specific topics mentioned above!

Click below for information on different types of child care options:

Family child care

Licensed group child care



Child care laws and regulations

Knowledge of child care laws and regulations provides one of the ways that we can ensure our children are in safe and stimulating environments. As parents, we may not be trained early childhood educators. We may not know what are the best ways for caregivers to promote our children’s progress in their development best. The regulations help to ensure a minimal standard so that we can all have some confidence.

Child care legislation regulates such things as minimal standards for health, safety and nutrition; how many children can be cared for and the ratio of caregivers to children; who can provide child care and what qualifications they are required to have; and minimal educational program standards.

Child care is generally regulated by each province, territory or state.
Check back here for updates to our growing list of links to child care regulations and related information.

Government links to Canadian child care laws & regulations

United States child care Government links

The truth about child care costs

Child care costs vary from region to region, as well as between ages of children and then type of care your family requires. The regional differences are effected somewhat by cost of living, but also by the amount and nature of government financial support that is provided to support child care.

Depending upon the type of care you are investigating the cost of care can vary significantly between infant care and after school care, and all ages in between. This is generally due to government regulations and industry recommendations around the ratio of children to caregivers, as well as the requirements surrounding caregiver training.

Today’s Parent magazine offers a good general break-down of child care costs in each province in Canada.

Child Care Costs Across Canada

These do not, however, reflect differences within each province. For instance, you may note a big discrepancy between fees in Toronto, and those in Petwawa, Ontario, or between Kelowna, BC and Vancouver.

When trying to determine what you can afford to pay for child care (if this is even a practical exercise – in many cases as parents we have very few options) some things to consider include whether your family qualifies for subsidy, and if so does the child care arrangement I am considering qualify? In many cases there are strict policies around what types of programs (i.e. licensed group child care) a parent can use their subsidy for.

Some other considerations include what your tax deduction will amount to and what the after tax cost of child care will be. You can learn more about child care expenses and your Canada tax claim here. If you are hiring in in-home caregiver or nanny, it is important to research whether your national/state law requires employers to register and make employer contributions.

Watch for updates as this topic will be addressed in further detail at a later date.