How Do You Deal with Feeling Unappreciated?

Updated on January 29, 2010
S.L. asks from Lakeside, CA
12 answers

I recently had a child move on from my in-home childcare. For almost 3 years the mom called me a babysitter even though I work my arse off daily to provide a good environment for these children AND I pour back a HUGE part of my income into my toys, learning programs, and fun activities. I NEVER ask for reimbursement for the things we do with the exception of a few times I took donations but hardly anyone ever wanted to help. I provide a state of the art computer system for these kids and enough computers for them to each use one. I teach math, science, some crafts, lots of creative reading, and most of my children learn to read if they are with me long enough. This child is/was no exception. I've been expressing to the mom for the last couple of years how far she is coming. I encouraged her to go online and look at her daughters progress with an online school I enrolled the girl in. I've told her on more than one occasion that the girl is going through Kindergartin for the 2nd time with me. A few weeks AFTER the child has left, the mom tells me in a very excited way that her daughter is reading and might be able to skip Kindergartin. Ya THINK?! Am I wrong for feeling hurt and terribly unappreciated? If I'm not making myself perfectly clear... It seems that mom NEVER understood or even thought that we were doing anything but playing all day long.

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answers from Norfolk on

do you have room for more children? that sounds awesome? i am looking for care? what area? HOW much do you charge? If you dont have open availability do you recommend someone?

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answers from Portland on

S., feelings are never wrong. They are just natural responses to the situations and relationships around us. I do think you might find 3 things in your circumstances that would result in your hurting less next time, though:

1. Market your daycare realistically. When someone contacts you, have a little brochure or email message you can send them describing all the truly AWESOME features and activities you offer. If I had a little one, I tell you truly, I'd want you to be his caretaker, based on what you've told us above. Present those strong points in an organized way (and check your spelling) and you will have parents begging for your services.

And I'd be willing to pay extra for all that conscientiousness. So be sure you are charging what you're worth. If you want to take on children whose parents can't necessarily afford your higher rates, you can always offer a "sliding scale" out of the pure generosity of your heart.

In short, DON'T UNDERVALUE YOURSELF or your services. This is a common trap we women fall into.

2. We have no control over what another person thinks or feels. If we believe we should have, we are deluded and in their business. And it's a perfect setup for feeling hurt and resentment.

If this mom is so oblivious to your contribution, it's her loss. YOU know what you did for her daughter, and that knowledge will forever be there for your own personal satisfaction. While affirmation is nice, it is not necessary for us to be happy.

3. There is a difference between concepts and feelings. Feelings (sadness, joy, anger, weariness, giddiness, etc.) are natural and never "wrong." They are just there, for all of us. When they hurt, they signal needs that are not being met either by our own thinking, our habits, or our relationships.

Concepts are ideas, often about our feelings. "Underappreciated" is NOT a feeling, it's a concept: a complex set of ideas based on sadness, frustration, weariness, etc. You are the main actor in changing "underappreciated" into respected, appreciated, or honored. People will see in you what you project, and if you are feeling undervalued, it's likely that you don't hold a high enough value of yourself.

This is a real problem for women, particularly. If I sound educated on this topic, it's because I've been struggling with the same set of feelings and unmet needs for much of my 60+ years, and have been working hard on changing that dynamic. With considerable success, incidentally.

My best to you, S.. You and your childcare service are worth far more than you believe right now. Start exploring that, and I think you will discover that you'll be happier and need less affirmation from outside sources.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Peg's response covered much of what I had to say. I am constantly thinking that MamaPedia needs more Grandma aged moms like us who've been there and done that!

What I would add to this is something that one of the Grandmothers in my life taught me. Things like trust and appreciation can only be given by those who have it to give. No matter how much one may earn it or deserve it from someone, if that person doesn't have it to give, it is futile to desire it and always disappointing to expect it from those who do not have it to give.

One other thing I would consider if I were in your position is to add virtue education to the curriculum in your IN-HOME EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING CENTER. I am a therapist trained in helping children with learning issues. Reading early and skipping kindergarten are often seen as great achievements in early childhood and we often think of such things as exceptionally advantageous. There are actually other things that need to develop during those early years that have proven to be far more advantageous to a child's life long success and happiness. Training the children in the virtues, those inner motives that drive us to care about ourselves and others and to carry ourselves with a sense of dignity and nobility, are far more important to a child's overall success. One of those virtues is appreciation. We so often think that this is just something that should develop in children automatically, but this is far from the truth. Appreciation, both recognizing it and expressing it, is a skill that must be learned, just like reading and math.

I promise you, others will teach these kids to read and to calculate, but who is going to teach them how to express appreciation or to be hospitable when it is obvious that they are not being taught such things at home? The Virtues Project has developed virtue education curriculum that is being used very successfully in many parts of the world. The Boys and Girls Club of America has adopted their program as well. You might consider looking at The Virtues Guide and The Family Virtues Guide or listening to recordings of the many talks and workshops they have provided over the years. You can learn more about all this at The Family Virtues Guide is one of the books that Oprah featured on her show.

Having raised my son with much of this, I know it is one of the things for which I am most grateful. I cannot imagine raising a child without it. I use what I learned from it with the children I work with and parents are constantly asking me if I can teach them how to do it.

If I were providing the childcare and early childhood enrichment as you are today, I would not only make virtue education the main focus of my work, I would tell all the parents that I require that they purchase The Family Virtue Guide and read it so that their child's home life can reinforce the character education program they are getting under my care. This way, the parents have the chance to learn things like 'appreciation' as well.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Perhaps the moms ego is a bit hurt that all her daughters accomplishments were taught by someone other than herself. Sounds like you run a very accomplished childcare & although it was unnoticed (intentionally) by this particular mom you know in your heart that this girls academic excellence was created by you. Try not to let the mom get to you, you just need to remember what you did for this little girl & that you put her on the right track in her education. Good job!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

unfortunately, this is a case where the parent was disengaged from you....& to some extent her own child. That's her loss, & please don't take it to heart. You were providing a service for her, & that's it as far as she was concerned. This happens frequently when the children are with you through babyville to KG.

How about starting a new policy where the parents actually sit down on a quarterly basis & review their child's progress with you? Or implement some other method to share this important aspect of life? Another idea would be instead of verbally relating this info, have the child create (with your assistance) a chart of goals to be achieved....this promotes autonomy & ownership of the knowledge learned...& we all know that children never shut up when it comes to bragging about themselves! That'll get the parents attention!

Chin up....I wish you Peace.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I don't think you're wrong to feel that way at all. You work very hard and develop strong relationships with these kids. Of course you want the parents to recognize this. I know when I pick my son up I'm usually tired and in a rush to get home. Maybe this mother was the same way and didn't fully realize what all you did with her daughter. In the future, maybe you can do a monthly newsletter that tells the parents what you're currently working on with their children? Maybe print off updates from the online school's site on each child to send to the parents?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

As an older Mom (52 of a toddler), you need to get past your hurt and realize that the bottom line is you have made a difference in the child's life. Whether Mom "gets it" or not, the child has benefitted. As another Mama said, don't undervalue your service. If you need extra compensation, ask for it. Daycare isn't cheap, and you should be asking your worth.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I agree headon with everyone so far, just thought I would add one more idea/comment. It sounds like you are feeling unappreciated from more than just this one child's parent... Not sure if that is really the case, but as a "business" opportunity (that will also help your current mood/feeling unappreciated), it is not wrong to ask some of your other parents if they would mind writing you either a letter of recommendation to be given to new prospective parents or a paragraph or quote you can use on your new brochures/info flyer. This serves the purpose of letting other parent's know what impact you can have, and gives you some positive reinforcement to help put this one particular parent into perspective. Good luck - sounds like you are doing a wonderful job!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

It is really not about the mom it is about the child, that child will remember all of the wonderful things that she did with you and all of the wonderful things that she learned. I have an incredible home care provider as well and you seem to have gone way out of your way for all of your children. Just let go and realize that if you were doing it for the money then you are CRAZY!! HAHA!!, but wouldn't you do anything for the love of a child? That is where your heart should be, that child will grow to do great things and you were a major part of her success.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My answer would have been: Wow, that's great to know that all that hard work I put into teaching her how to read has paid off.

YOU know what you did, and you know the child reaped the rewards. That's the important thing. While the mom might not see it now, she probably will eventually! I know it's hard to not feel we are getting the accolades that we deserve, but some people are just not wired that way. And, while she doesn't say anything to you, the fact that she called to tell you means she probably realizes where credit is due, even if she can't say it!

Keep it up with your other kiddos. SOunds like you are doing a great job with them.



answers from Kansas City on

WOW! your daycare/school sounds amazing!!! Can I get some information from you on where you are located and your number? You seem seriously commited to the kids!


answers from Kansas City on

that is the exact reason why i had to stop watching kids. no matter how many hours i worked, no matter how much i loved the kids, no matter how much i put into them, it was never recognized and the moment i was anything other then my sweet cheerful self or had a concern, then I was the bad guy. i had to start working from home and that has been amazing for me. our team is so supportive and i feel constant appreciation. i absolutely love it ( if you want to check it out at all, we have a lot of girls who run in-home daycares that do it on the side to help bring in a little extra and reduce cleaning expenses and what not) but it is so hard. being a care provider is a very thankless job.

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