Posts Tagged ‘ raising a child ’

Moving Mid-Pregnancy: Finding a Nanny

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

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.

Okay, am I just jinxed with sitters or what?

I’m here in LA, trying to get settled. Top of my list: Fia’s care. I found a great preschool thing for her from 9-noon Tuesdays and Thursdays. But I also want some afternoon help, as well as evening help so Phil and I can have a few date nights before baby comes.

My plan is once Little Leroy (working title, not his name) comes, that part-time person can become almost full time. That way I’ll have the flexibility to still do things with Fia separately, baby separately, work freelance, etc. So what I’m really looking for is a nanny.  Someone who totally gets the routine, knows the drill without asking, CLEANS UP, etc. (though in light of my sitter controversy, I PROMISE to pack my own diaper bag).

I’ve put out emails on a listserv here for moms to find someone. (I also signed up for sittercity and care.com as well. In one day I got 50 emails and was so overwhelmed I shut it down. I just couldn’t deal).

The first nanny who came showed up 45 minutes late. Here’s how it went:

Doorbell rings. Niceties exchanged.

Me: “Did you have a hard time finding the place?”

Her: “No, not  at all.”

Me: “Oh, because I thought we said 2 pm???”

Her: (shrugs nonchalantly): “I got stuck behind a funeral procession.”

Okay, I am not dissing a funeral. But to act so cavalier? I went up to Phil’s office and broke into tears. I know, get a grip, but I went through a lot of angst with sitters in NYC, especially at the end when a new sitter came 30-45 minutes late every time. It is so frustrating. And I just need things to fall into place right now. I just don’t think starting off with the late factor is going to work.

Two days later another nanny comes. I am looking for someone bilingual. I want them to speak mostly Spanish to Fia (and new baby). They also must have a current driver’s license and clean driving record. Whomever I pick, I will do a background check on before sealing any deal.

She arrives right on time.  I am hopeful. The mom who recommended her really thought she fit all my criteria. She is upbeat. Fia seems to enjoy her from the get-go. She used to be a housekeeper, so I know she will clean up.

We talk rates. We settle on something for starters that I know is a little higher than what the last mom was paying her. I don’t mind. I’m looking for someone long-term.

We walk into the kitchen. That’s when she says it. “How much you pay in rent?”

I feel myself tense up. I am taken aback. Huh? What? I don’t even ask my best friend that question. Let alone a stranger who I may employ.

“This is a big house,” she says.

I stutter and stammer, then in typical me-form, overexplain. I tell her we’re subletting our place in NYC, and then give her a figure that isn’t accurate. Her English isn’t perfect and as I ramble, I can tell she probably isn’t understanding most of what I say. Which could be good or bad. Granted, there is a cultural barrier here. Maybe this is just one of those things that she didn’t know was inappropriate to ask. But still…. I don’t want someone thinking that we’re people who could afford the moon, etc., based on the different lives we both lead. Or be too interested in my finances.

The rest of her time went smooth, except when Fia fell and bit down on the inside of her lower lip, screaming and bleeding. I could tell she felt really badly. She said Fia just took a step and fell while in her room. I know accidents happen, and that could just as easily have happened on my watch. I think.

I have had her back twice now and so far, there is no other awkward questions. Fia seems to really like her. I am interviewing one more person this weekend and then making my decision.

Any advice?

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My Sitters Are Driving Me Crazy–Part 2

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

I was a bit surprised by the firestorm my blog set off. I was pondering it with my girlfriends Tuesday morning at the playground when a very strange thing happened.

A woman I had never seen came running up to us. She was almost in tears.

“Have you seen a blue baby blanket?” she asked frantically. (Her name is Julie.)

We shook our heads no.

“My sitter took it out with my son today and lost it!! It is his special blanket that was made from yarn we got in Australia. I let them take it because his father had to fly to Australia today and my son wanted to hold it. I even told her to be careful with it,” she said, clearly distraught.

My gals and I looked at each other, mouths hanging open.

“You gotta talk to HER!” my friend Stephanie said, pointing at me. It was like the universe sent Julie to me. Divine intervention reinforcing the point of my blog.

She went on to say, “You know the most ridiculous thing about this? I am paying my sitter to watch my son while I go searching for it.” I nodded. Been there too. It’s on my mom-crutch post.

Now before conclusions are drawn, let’s step back and think for a second what this argument is really about.

It’s about what we moms define as important. And what our expectations are. And it’s okay to agree to disagree. But I think it goes deeper than that. There was an underlying tone and theme in many of the comments. It speaks to the judgment we cast on each other, particularly the Stay At Home Moms versus the Working Moms.

And so begins Part 2 and 3 of my Sitter Chronicles.

PART 2

LOSING THINGS:

Let’s first answer the question– how do things get lost? Sometimes it boils down to an accident. A mistake. And in that case, yes, get over it. But a lot of times it’s because tots fling things out of the stroller, or throw something in the playground. I know the few times I have lost stuff it’s due to texting while strolling (not something I’m proud of). Or not paying enough attention to what Fia is doing. I accept that my behavior is unacceptable. And I make a conscious decision to be better. So are sitters beyond reproach on that? I don’t think so. Because at the top of their job list is to pay attention to their biggest responsibility: The Child.  Not their phone or their sitter friends. I believe that is exactly how Julie’s baby blanket got lost. And Fia’s things.

DIAPERS:

Dear lord. Diapers are a shit storm—literally and figuratively. I heard you all loud and clear on not checking the diaper bag: guilty as charged. Last Saturday was the first time it happened. And it bit me—and Fia—in the butt. It won’t happen again.

(more…)

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