Thursday, April 24, 2008

Babysitter issues (aka: when being a working mom sucks)

I think I am giving myself an ulcer, stress is leaving me somewhat catatonic this week and my eyelid keeps going into twitching fits. What could be causing this you ask, well let me give you a rundown of the past few weeks.
At the end of March Bella's fantastic babysitter had a baby by c-section and has been out of commission since then. The baby has had jaundice and anemia and this week ended up in the hospital for blood transfusions. (I think they have figured out that the problem is with the Rh factor incompatibility with her mom). I have been working two days a week which I have found puts you in a somewhat difficult category to find childcare. It is too few hours to be able to support paying a nanny and too many and too regular to be able to comfortably impose on friends or family connections. I have had the most success with stay-at-home moms who take in one or two kids in addition to their own as an income supplement. These people tend to be unlicensed by the state as licenced providers who depend on childcare as their primary source of income can only have 2 children under the age of two and understandably they prefer to fill those slots with children who will be with them full time.
So what has been my childcare situation these past few weeks, let me give you a rundown:

  • Week 1: The first week the plague hit our home and the Blue Prince and I managed to get sick on alternating days. His sick days just happened to line up with my work days so he stayed home with Bella.
  • Week 2: A very sweet lady in the ward who has always fawned over Bella had been out of work and offered babysitting whenever necessary. We took her up on it for a week and it worked out well, unfortunately she called me up the Saturday afterwards stating that she had been offered a full time job and wouldn't be able to continue babysitting. (Another discomforting problem that week was that a little Burmese girl in Salt Lake went missing and was found dead, killed by her neighbor. Guess where the little girl lived... in the same complex about four doors down from this babysitter, and yes Bella was staying with her the day the girl went missing)
  • Week 3: My counselor in Relief society had been out of work for a while and she happily agreed to take care of Bella for me. Unfortunately yet again I got a Saturday phone call but this time it was news that her parents in Mexico were ill and she needed to go home and take care of them, permanently. So now not only am I without a babysitter, I am down a counselor.
  • Week 4: Back against the wall I resort to asking a lady in the ward who has an in-home childcare to take Bella. She is a very sweet lady and takes good care of her but her husband generally makes me uncomfortable and she always has a ton of kids and adults coming in and out of the apartment. It is also the situation where I'm sure they stick her in front of the television for far more than I like. The good news is that she was embarrassingly cheap and I felt morally obliged to pay her more than her asking price.
  • Week 5 (this week): Getting desperate and not really wanting to go back to the week 4 lady I prevail upon a neighbor friend for Monday. On Wednesday I had set up with another lovely lady who lives nearby, has a daughter a little older than Bella and hopefully will be available on a semi-permanent basis but she ended calling me Wed. morning saying that her daughter had an emergency dental visit that day and that she wouldn't be back in time to take Bella. So back to Week 4 lady for Wed.

So that has been my month. Add to that the fact that my hospital is going through downsizing and I found out yesterday that my hours are going to be significantly cut and you can begin to see the cause of the aforementioned eye twitching. Apparently, when my position was switched to my current department no budgeted FTE hours were included in the arrangement so with the downsizing I became very vulnerable. It is only due to my fantastic manager and a doctor who values me and my contribution to the clinic and their willingness to make cuts in other areas of the department that kept me with any kind of job at all. With my hour cuts I am probably going to cut back to only working one day a week, (embrace the motto: how much work can we squeeze into 6 hours) and actually this will probably reduce the babysitter stress. Financial stress may become more of an issue but luckily we don't have any debt other than our mortgage and cutting back a bit we should be fine. My salary has mostly gone towards our savings and random expenses anyway.

Throughout all this Bella has been fantastic. I have no idea how I ended up with such a flexible sweet kid, who in general, steals the heart of every adult she comes in contact with. If she was the kind of kid that went into hysterics every time you left her with an unfamiliar person I think that would have thrown me over the edge.

People always ask me: "How are you doing" and my pat, automatic answer will always be "fine", or "doing well" . I tend to hide when I am stressed out and will never admit to it in passing conversations or to acquaintances. Even with friends or family I will put on a happy face and listen more than I share. Probably one of my defining personality traits. You may wonder why I decided to open up and share in this forum, beside the fact that actually it has been quite cathartic to get it off my chest. The fact is, I started this blog primarily as a way for people who care about our little family to know what has been going on with us. This is the type of stuff I would share with the people that I know frequently read this blog if I had a chance to sit down and talk to you all as much and as often as I would like. (And really this is not an invitation for worried phone calls because truth is we are doing okay)


The Wyler Family said...

what a nightmare... but it seemed to have many little blessings attached. my little one would be a basket case in this situation, so kudos to bella. i don't know if i did something or if he came this way, but he is definitely an extreme mama's boy.

lizroxy said...

I am a firm believer that they come out with a lot of their personality intact from the pre-exhistance. She has been smiling at stranger since she had the ability.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to volunteer for random babysitting duty if you need. I don't do regular daycare (not enough patience) but random, last minute things are okay by me. Feel free to call, if you don't mind coming out to me. :) AJ

K and M said...

It's really too bad I don't live closer because I'd love to help out too. Working is enough stress, you really don't need the additional baby-sitting hassles. I hope it all works out for you and you find someone reliable. God has a way of working things out as they should.

Brooke said...

I know PRECISELY the kind of troubles you've had finding a sitter -- I've always worked only 1-2 evenings a week, and finding a regular sitter for those times I couldn't switch off with Brian (like, the whole third year of med school) was pain, pain, paaaaain. Especially when there were two kids, and one of them was Jeffrey. Now that there are three kids -- whoa. No way. If Brian had to work nights now, I'd rather quit my job than have to go through that torture again.

Which, of course, is not what I am suggesting you should do. I just want to say: hang in there. We feel your pain. This too shall pass, and someday soon, Bella will be old enough for preschool. Glorious, glorious preschool.