Until a few years ago I wore my regular, casual clothes for child care: T-shirts and shorts or jeans (depending on the weather). I would buy nice T-shirts and get excited about wearing the new clothes. In less than a month there would be a stain on it somewhere, a bleach spot, or a hole forming. Eventually, I didn't have anything nice to wear in my "off" hours. Many times I wish I could walk into a uniform shop and ask for "The Daycare Uniform", buy a week's worth and go from there. I was so tired of my "good" T-shirts getting ruined and wearing out so quickly!
I heard from my online friends that some child care providers wear scrubs. What in the world is a "scrub", I thought? I did some research and found out:
Scrubs are inexpensive clothing worn by medical staff. It's easy to clean blood, vomit and other stains out of scrubs.
The more I thought about it, the more excited I got about the idea! Inexpensive AND it's easy to wash out baby spit-up, too! Is this too good to be true!?
I did have some concerns: It gets extremely hot in the summer here in Arizona and what if they are too hot? Inexpensive means different things to different people--just how inexpensive are they? The pants are drawstring--will that work for me? Would I look silly wearing scrubs around the house?
Well, I talked it over with my husband and he thought it was a GREAT idea. I just had to find some in our small town and on my limited budget. Where do you get a cheap uniform? I went to my favorite stores first. I was excited to find out Wal-Mart had several basic scrubs to choose from. I chose a child-friendly print top on sale, $7, to start with.
Next, I hit the thrift stores. I didn't expect to find much, but to my surprise I found over ten sets in my size between two stores!!! The price: $2 for each top and $3 for each bottom--that's just $5 per set! Almost all of them were child-friendly prints. I couldn't wait to get home to wash them all and pick out what to wear on Monday morning.
Okay, now the test: wearing them around the house--do I feel silly? Are the drawstrings uncomfortable? Am I going to be too hot? The answers are no and no and no. I was so much cooler than in my T-shirts. I am so comfortable--it's almost like wearing pajamas. And another perk--the pockets! Very handy for holding binkis, socks, bottles, hair ties, tissues, etc.
The children love the scrubs too, talking about about what is on each one, learning colors and shapes, etc. My husband says I look professional and I actually feel more professional, too. I'm no longer afraid to get dirty or spit-up on, everything washes out so easily.
I found it -- "The Daycare Uniform"!
Like I said before, I was a little leery about the drawstring pants. Some providers wear scrub tops with jeans. There are several types of scrub pants: the basic drawstring type, cargo pants with elastic in the back and a drawstring in the front, capri pants, and even all elastic pants (but very hard to find here). The basic drawstring is not bad. My favorite pants are the cargo type. During the fall and spring the capris are really nice; you know, those days it starts out cold, then warms up by the afternoon. I asked my mom to cut off several pairs of scrub pants into capris and shorts for the spring, fall, and the hot summers. I am so comfortable now!
If you are creative, you can collect several sets for very little money. If you sew, scrubs are very easy to make (Denver Fabrics). I have asked my family and friends to search in their thrift store and yard sale outings to pick up scrubs and I would pay them back. My mom found 10 tops at a yard sale for a quarter each! I have a friend who was getting out of the medical field and asked her what she was going to do with her scrubs. She gave them all to me in exchange for child care--perfect fit!
I'm a "Thrift Store Junkie" anyway, but now I have one more thing to look for. It's always exciting to find another top or a set in my size! I tend to find one or two per month, that's around $5 to $10 per month--pretty good budget, huh?! In just a few months I've collected six week's worth of clothing (handy when you have those days you have to change several times). I also have collected several holiday themed scrubs to wear during various holiday seasons.
A perk that is unexpected with wearing the scrubs is getting better service when around my community. Example: when I went to pay my electric bill during nap time one day there was an elderly lady in front of me who was taking a long time to write her check. The clerk said that since I was on my "lunch" and had to get back to work, she would let me go ahead of the elderly lady, LOL. I guess they assumed I worked at a medical office.
There are several places to buy scrubs: Wal-Mart, Target, thrift stores, yard sales, uniform stores, eBay, and many other places. If you are interested in shopping online for scrubs there are TONS of choices: