Going outside in winter when four of six children have forgotten their mitts is the type of challenge Monique Cloutier1 has to deal with. Forward-thinking, she is always ready with alternative solutions.
“In Chandler, everyone knows everyone. Before entrusting their child to a home childcare provider (HCP), parents ask around. A centre’s reputation is very important in their decision,” she says.
Although they might be conscientious in choosing their childcare centre, Monique Cloutier realizes that some parents also shirk some of their responsibilities.
“A few years ago, if a child arrived without proper winter clothing, we asked the parents to return home to get it. Today, we try to accommodate them. If a child doesn’t have their mitts, I go through my old boxes to find a pair and we head outside,” she says with a smile.
Monique Cloutier is aware of the reality of parents. “The pace of modern life can be tough for working parents,” she says. “Recently, I had a parent who’d had a bad day. Well, I invited them for supper! It the perfect example of the spirit of solidarity that exists in our region.”
This closeness can also lead to unexpected situations. “I have a mother who works in a hospital. She asked me to keep her child for the night because she had to work mandatory overtime. I’m not sure it’s something that happens very often in the city!” she says.
The children, a motivating factor
After 20 years, Monique Cloutier acknowledges the demands of her career. However, for her, making the children happy is what keeps her motivated.
“We’re like a family! Being a HCP allows me to live in the region and community I love. In fact, there’s shortage of workers at the moment, so if a HCP wants to set up in our area, it’s the right time!” she says.
1 Monique Cloutier is a member of the Alliance des intervenantes en milieu familial Bas-Saint-Laurent-Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine.