Written By: Kathy Glow @ Kissing the Frog
Like all mothers, I tend to consider myself somewhat of a mama bear when it comes to my children. I’d fight to the death for any one of them and go to the ends of the Earth to protect them.
That said, I also hate conflict. In fact, I tend to avoid it like the plague. There have been many times in my life, whether it came to my children or not, that I have become so worked up over something, only to have backed down and been walked all over.
I have had a bit of a babysitter issue lately. After losing our long-term and much-loved sitter to a “real job” (the nerve, right?), I have had trouble finding other girls who live up to her.
To be fair, I have always had trouble finding sitters with whom I’ve been comfortable. I’ve always been a stay-at-home-mom, as well as a bit controlling organized. When my older babies were young, no one but family ever sat with them.
But, as my family grew and got busier, my need for reliable, non-family help became unavoidable. I went through quite a variety of girls. Several came to meet my family, and then never called us back (Too many little boys?).
Some called with excuses why they couldn’t take the job (Mono, really? She didn’t look sick to me).
Then there were some who actually took the job, but the connection wasn’t really there (she called me the day before Jack’s neurosurgery to say she was moving back home, and then never called to see how Jack was doing).
I always let it roll off my back. If they didn’t care about my boys, well frankly, I didn’t want them in our lives.
Then we found our Megan, and I never worried a single day she was with them. She was sweet and gentle, yet firm and fair. She was creative and fun (“camping” in our living room complete with a tent, sleeping bags, and a fake fire), and she would make the effort to take them places. We knew her parents, sister, and boyfriend and trusted them all.
Last summer, we got a new babysitter, who was fine – a nice person, did what I asked. But the boys never quite made a connection with her, or she to them. And there were the times she was late or didn’t show up at all or had a headache for a week.
I never said anything though, just let it slide.
Then, my sister-in-law told me about a gal she was going to be using a couple times a week. She would be free on the two days I had planned on needing someone this school year. I met her, told her what I needed, and we agreed on an hourly rate and days of need.
Despite the first day going well and the boys liking her, several red flags were raised with me. I won’t go into the nit-picky details. Let’s just say she “misheard” several things we talked about; namely, one of the days I needed her, on which she promised herself to another family.
Something about her personal life didn’t sit well with me either; and after a text-messaging misunderstanding over her hourly pay and a tense phone call that left us both upset, we decided it would be best to part ways.
Now, I have a whole semester’s worth of Mondays booked up with no babysitter to cover my obligations. And I’m wondering, did I cut off my nose to spite my face? Maybe I should have let the misunderstandings slide. Maybe we could have worked things out.
But you know what? My answer is no. I stand by my decision. I know I will have to resume my sitter search, and I may have to drag little boys to some appointments with me or forego facials or lunches with my friends, but it’s worth it. It’s worth not having a weight on my shoulders and a question in my heart.
I have to admit, I was a bit influenced by Tiff’s story here on HVFH. This babysitter was a lovely person, and I could never see her harming my kids in any way. But. . .you just never know, and if you don’t have a good feeling, why put yourself through the worry?
After all, if I don’t feel certain about the person who is watching my children, I’m okay with leaving myself in a bit of a lurch.
How do you know your childcare provider is right for your family? Have you ever had to fire the person taking care of your children? How did you handle it?