Archive for the ‘ The Sitter Chronicles ’ Category

Babysitter Saga–Do You Have One to Share?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

It’s really hard to let someone else watch your kid. But most of us have had to take that leap of faith—whether it’s daycare, a nanny or a babysitter. No one is perfect (including us moms), so of course you’re going to find flaws in the help (i.e. read my sitter chronicles). However, I was appalled at the email I got from a friend about a recent babysitter fiasco. It’s so absurd I had to share. I am calling her kid “Y”. He’s three. And now in much better hands. Can anyone top this?

So I really wanted a drink last night because….

I have this sitter a few mornings per week (so I can work). She’s been with us for almost a year or so. She’s young (27) and an aspiring singer. So, you know–her heart isn’t really in this and she’s kind of dramatic and crazy in that performance-artist kind of way. Also, she has my least favorite quality in a sitter: Instead of asking questions, she pretends like she knows everything and is listening to me, when I suspect she’s not.

One time, she came to watch Y and she had no makeup on. When I came back, she was totally made up. She looked great so I asked her about her eye shadow. She said, “Oh, it’s yours!” Yep. She helped herself to my makeup. Since then, I put out some old “dummy” makeup in case she
goes digging for it again. I hide the rest.

I thought about letting her go then, but it’s hard to find a new person. I dread the process. Hate it actually. Plus, I don’t use her that often and Y loves her. He doesn’t take to many people, so to start from scratch just seems daunting.

So yesterday, she shows up and I compliment her on her outfit. “Ugh,” she says. “I just got my period so I took my underwear off. I need to wash them in your machine.”

Ooookaaaaay…..

I leave to go get my car washed and sit at Starbucks with my computer, to work. I get a call around 4 that Y locked her out of the house.

Amazing, right?

My husband (X) went home (since my car was being washed) and let her go for the day. He’s relatively unfazed. He said, “Well, I guess that’s something that could have happened to us.” It’s like I’m married to an ape. I’m pretty pissed. I asked him if he paid her. He didn’t. Did she tell him not to bother paying since she screwed up? Nope. So now I owe her.

Two nights before this incident, I said she could bring her friend from out of town over. I came home to them all watching Ironman on television (not talking about the Triathlon either). Maybe it’s unrelated, but Y had nightmares that night. The more I think about it, I am going to find someone else. I’m not using her again. But do I still have to pay her for the half-shift she served before she got locked out?

Jill here again: What do you all think? Crazy, right?

 

Picture of Baby by Himself courtesy of Shutterstock

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Full-Time Help: And Better For It

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

I’m not ashamed to say that I now have a full-time nanny. Cleo started part time, with the understanding that we go full time once Emmett arrived. She is an amazing woman with a heart of gold. She is honest as the day is long. She is head over heels in love with my babies. She takes care of me too. For example, last week, she made us a WHOLE chicken–restaurant quality. She helps me with house keeping. And most importantly, she gives me the opportunity to enjoy each of my babies one at a time.

Having Cleo is also preventing me from falling into the “mom martyr complex,” which I’ve seen some of my friends do. They constantly complain about how tired and frustrated they are, how they hate their husbands, yet choose to do nothing about it–whether it be a nanny or part time preschool/daycare, etc. It’s one thing if you can’t afford it. It’s another if you make a choice to be miserable.

I also think it’s really hard to juggle two kids without one inevitably feeling the shaft. If I can just be with Fia or just be with Emmett at different intervals throughout the day, and get some “me time” to boot, I am a happier human being. I know Fia loves having my undivided attention at times. I’m sure Emmett appreciates it too, as I don’t have to let him cry for very long if I have Cleo there to help.  In other words, the reason behind hiring a full time nanny wasn’t so I could go out and play tennis all day, everyday. It’s so I could give 100% of my attention to my children, my writing, my husband, the bill paying, etc, one-at-a-time--without feeling frantic, followed by angry, then losing my sh-t.  Or popping Xanax all day. (Kidding). For me, I’m a better mom because of it.

But I know this is a controversial issue, as seen by my “sitter chronicles” last summer. A handful of moms railed on me for not being with Fia 100% of the time.  And now that I have full time help–gasp–I’m sure some think I’m terribly indulgent. Frankly I just feel lucky and blessed that it’s all worked out this way.

Anyone care to weigh in?

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My Nanny=My Wife

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Author’s Note: Join me every Tuesday or Wednesday for “Moving Mid Pregnancy,” to read about my ongoing search for a new “everything” (from nannies to mom friends to health providers) while pregnant and living in a new city.

I hired a nanny full time. I better hide behind a duck blind to keep from getting shot, given the outrage from my Sitter Chronicles awhile back. i.e: Why aren’t you raising your kids yourself? –was the gist of many comments. But hear me out:

It takes a village right? Well, I am new to LA. I have no village. No family nearby. And I don’t have a ton of close friends yet–or at least friends who don’t have their own lives, jobs, kids to take care of. And even if I did, I wouldn’t burden them with helping me. I just felt like with 2 babies, I’d be a better mom if I didn’t feel constant pressure to be the “only one.” So here’s how it’s shaping up:

Cleo, my nanny, is part time now. She becomes full time once baby Leroy (working title) comes. This isn’t so I can skip off and take tennis lessons (not that there is anything wrong with that, but I’m not a Desperate Housewife). This is so I can pick and choose the quality time to spend with either Fia or Baby. Or by myself. No one wins a medal for carting two kids around all the time. I mean, plenty of people do it. Many out of necessity. I am just incredibly grateful to have the means to hire help. (I often hear, “Well, our parents did it.” I laugh at that. God, if you had known my parents, you’d know that they are not to be put on pedestals for their stellar parenting!)

A little bit about Cleo: She is the wife I always wanted. She sweeps my floors while Fia naps. She cooks for me! As in homemade soups, salads, black beans from scratch….she can look in the fridge and see meals where I see nothing. She brings me afternoon tea if I’m in my office writing. I don’t ask her to do any of this. She is just a nurturer. I am in love.

I found her on a website/listserv out here called Booby Brigade. She had amazing recommendations. When she walked in, Phil and I both knew. She was the one. Like my friend Teresa said: finding a good nanny is harder than finding your spouse. So I feel like I’ve found both.

She’s from El Salvador and is speaking Spanish to Fia, and will to the new baby as well. She raised 5 kids on her own here. Her youngest daughter is 15 and she sometimes brings her with if she’s watching Fia for our date night. Fia loves them both. I feel like they just add a good energy to our house.

I’m hoping that by having her, I’ll handle the newborn phase a little better than I did with Fia. If nothing else, I should be able to take naps and catch up on sleep with a second set of hands. I think this is a great solution for me in terms of juggling a household, a 2-year old, my freelance work, and a newborn.

Any of your pregnant women planning on full time help even if you don’t have a full time job outside of the home? Dare I ask if you think I’m indulgent or smart?

 

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Daycare Dilemma

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

I decided to put Fia into daycare. It lasted exactly one hour.  (For those who follow my blog, I did this a few weeks before I wrote the Sitter Chronicles).

I had this idea that she’d get more interaction, have structure, and maybe even learn to nap in a group setting (she currently naps in the stroller in our downstairs bathroom). I pictured her sitting at a table with other tots, drawing, or sitting in circle time, listening. She already plays with other kids her age, but it’s without any sort of routine.  And I keep hearing how good it is for kids to have a routine.

Fia and friends

I found a daycare in our neighborhood that allows part time. The ratio is 4:1. Seems reasonable. I enrolled her for two afternoons a week.

The “transition” started a few days before. First day: 1 hour with me there. 2nd day: 1 hour, but with me for only 15 minutes. 3rd day: I disappear for the hour.

I went the first day and that was it. Here’s why:

(more…)

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The Sitter Chronicles–Your Comments

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

I’m pretty blown away by all the comments we’ve received (and I say that collectively, because many of us are commenting on each others comments as well). These three posts over the course of one week have caused quite a stir. We’ve had the good, bad and ugly.

I bow to so many of you for commenting in such eloquent, meaningful ways. Everything from sharing your story as a SAHM because your child has autism, seizures and cancer (there were a few of you and my heart goes out to how brave and strong you are. Those are not easy cards to be dealt. For me, unimaginable)– to those who feel privileged to be at home or at an office working. Or at home working. It sounds like for most of us, the arrangements we have fit our lifestyle. And that judgment isn’t necessary. Yet we do it anyway.

Why is it so hard not to judge? I have to catch myself all the time. Even the way I judge other members of my family or my neighbors–even my friends. I don’t know why it is human nature to feel superior. But for many of us, it is. Perhaps it’s insecurity or justification, but sometimes it just comes down to thinking your way is right and others are wrong. Why can’t it be that your way is right and other people’s ways are also right? It’s a work in progress for me.

I think the other theme I picked up on, particularly from the SAHMs is the lack of recognition they receive. And again, why is it that we feel such a need? Is it because the working people of the world get a tangible reward, i.e.: a pay raise, a compliment or a trophy? I know we moms get our kisses and hugs, which in many ways mean so much more, but it IS hard to not be recognized by your peers, your husband, your family when the job your doing is exhausting, and at times, thankless.

I took Fia to my in-laws this spring (a plane ride away), by myself. My husband was on a deadline.  I went for two reasons: so that they could see her and so we could both be pampered. Yet, I was fishing for compliments from my husband on how above-and-beyond I was going.

“My mom friends told me how cool it is for me to be flying Fia to Wisconsin to see your parents.”

“But you want to go,” he replied, seeming puzzled.

“I know, but still don’t you think what I’m doing is pretty great?”

“Yeah, I love that you’re doing it, but it’s also benefiting you.”

Not exactly the response I was looking for. But in all honesty, I had 24 hour childcare (oh no, here we go again with that bad word. Kidding), time to write, workout, and just hang out and relax. It was great. Why do I feel like I needed to be recognized as a hero? To be told I’m wife and daughter-in-law of the year?

These are all questions we can continue to ask each other and ourselves. Let’s just try and be kind about it. Like I said in one of my comments, you catch more bees with honey than vinegar…. Plus, it tastes better too.

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