BACK WHEN THIS BOOK was just a hazy blur of ideas, I talked with
Redleaf Press’s editor-in-chief, Sid Farrar, about whether the book
should focus solely on burnout among family-based providers or ad-
dress the concerns of all early childhood professionals. We wondered
if there were too many differences among early care and education
programs and professionals for one book to deal with them all effec-
tively. After some discussion, we fi nally agreed that when it comes to
burnout, there are more similarities than differences. It doesn’t matter
if you work as a center director, lead teacher, classroom assistant, or
cook. It doesn’t matter if you own or work in a family child care pro-
gram. It doesn’t matter if you work in a preschool, Head Start program,
or elementary school. Nor does it matter if your facility is brand
spanking new or one hundred years old, or if this is your fi rst week as
a provider or you’ve been on the job for more than thirty years. If
you are feeling stressed out, run-down, anxious, out of gas, over the
edge, befuddled, broken, lost, astray, overwrought, uptight, drained,
in a rut, in a rush, in a funk, or insignifi cant, this book can help.
We all have at least one thing in common: we are caregivers. And
not just at work, either. Most of us habitually take care of other people.
We are empathetic, giving, warm, and nurturing—and we have a hard
time saying no to anyone who needs taking care of. We take care of
not only children but also their families, our own families, our neigh-
bors, our religious and civic groups, total strangers, stray dogs, and baby
birds who have fallen from their nests. It’s what we do.