A Day in the Life of a Home Parent: Joyce Fuentes

Joyce Fuentes, a PCHAS Home Parent, shares what a typical day is like for her and her husband, Raul. Here is her story.

Joyce & Raul Fuentes, Home Parents

Raul and Joyce Fuentes, Home Parents

What is a Home Parent’s life like? Well it depends upon the day. If it is a weekday, then we follow strict timelines in order to keep everything running smoothly. Here’s what a weekday is like:

5:30 a.m. The alarm goes off and Raul and I begin getting our five- and seven-year olds ready for school. Raul begins to make his rounds in the house making sure the boys are awake and beginning their morning routine.  Sometimes this runs smoothly but occasionally it does not.

6:50 a.m. We gather at the table for breakfast.  Some mornings we have the boys make their own food to help them gain cooking skills and knowledge of the kitchen.

7:10 a.m. The boys begin their house chores. Raul and I distribute medications, remind the boys of activities they have this week and help our youngest ones gather all the things they need for the day.

7:20 a.m. Raul and the kids head to school.  The children love being in the van with us. We always play a game to see who can find the most beetle bug cars.  When Raul or I hear one of our kids getting down we chime in to help them find the cars so by the end of the ride, it’s a “tie.” First Raul drops off our two elementary school-aged kids down the road and tells them to have a good day. Then he heads to another school where one of our bilingual children goes. This school helps him stay strong in Spanish — both reading and writing.  Then Raul takes our (biological) son to daycare then heads out with our high school senior who is our next stop.  Our middle school-aged boy stays home with me until his bus arrives. He loves to ride the bus and hang out with his buddies. Once our morning routine is done then we prepare fully for our day.  Raul and I have breakfast then head to the office and talk to our Office Manager Linda and our Group Home Supervisor Mari.  We talk about things that happened overnight or things that will happen over the weekend.  It is not just Raul and myself; we work together as a team.  We each bring different ideas to the table to help ensure our children’s happiness and safety.

Joyce & Luis3:10 p.m. The elementary school-aged children arrive home and they get a snack. Raul and I hang outside with them while they enjoy their snack and run off a bit of energy. This definitely helps when we sit down for study time.

4:00 p.m. Our older boys come rolling in. They get a snack and begin study time.

5:00 p.m. We cook dinner. Our boys are very used to Raul and me asking how their day was. Now they have taken on that role.  They love to ask us how our day was. Usually while I am cooking, they are in and out of the kitchen — which they know drives me nuts because I like to dance in my kitchen and I have to be careful not to knock someone down! They love to stand in the kitchen and get in my way, to block me, or steal food with Raul when they can. We have so much fun. Our older boys love to help with dinner, which to me is awesome. I love showing them new ways to cook various things and show them kitchen safety and other things they will need to know when they are on their own.

6:00 p.m. During dinner we say our prayers and then we do devotions. We base devotions off things that have been going on around us or something one of the children would like to talk about. This is our time to talk about everything under the sun. We talk about our day, we joke around, talk about each person’s high for the day and their low for the day. After dinner, we clean up, together as a family, and usually head outside together.

7:00 p.m. The boys take showers and we begin our night routine. They join Raul and me in the living room and we watch a movie or some TV. The little ones like to bust out the board games and play with us.  It creates a family environment for us and our children.  It shows them how being together is important and can be fun.  Sometimes we may be watching TV and one of the older children will have their head in an IPod or IPhone, yet they are paying attention and chime in with jokes or laughter. Most of our nights are like the ones I’ve described here. This will bring our children peace and show them how family is, can, and should be – a family with parents who show them trust, love and friendship.

That is what a typical weekday is like. Our weekends are more flexible. We wake up at 9:00 a.m., we clean the house as a family, run errands and always have family movie night together. These are memories that our children will have forever. Being a Home Parent can get crazy and hectic sometimes, but that is nothing compared to the strength that God has given us and the love we have for the children we care for.  There is a saying I have hanging on my wall in my home: “Family is not always blood. It is people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are.  The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who LOVE YOU no matter what.”

Being a Home Parent is not just a job to Raul and me.  It is being a mommy and daddy to the children we care for.  We show our children how to live life on God’s path and ways to live a happy life, find healthy relationships with love and trust, build friendships that will last forever, and someday, hopefully, be the kind of parents that Raul and I are.

Our days may get crazy busy, but we are always laughing, joking around, and having fun. Every day is a new day given to us to live, love, and learn.  We love, support, care, and provide strength to our children. This is the time they need it most.  When people ask me what my job is, I look at them, smile and I say, “It is not a job to me. This is my life. These are my children. I am a mother.”

By:  Joyce Fuentes – PCHAS Home Parent

Editors Note: If you would like to learn more about PCHAS Group Homes and home parents like Joyce and Raul, please visit our Group Homes page online.