Yesterday was rough. I am traveling for the first time in months, and none of our regular sitters were available this weekend. I was pinched and had to go with someone new.
This woman has spent the week driving me nuts.
We talked, we negotiated a 4 day/3 night job, I promised to follow up with an email outline and texts.
I thought it was all good. Until this cuckoo bird called me yesterday, saying she had not received any of my communications and that because I apparently hadn’t sent anything, I had failed to confirm.
Oh, and her rate was her “live in” nanny rate—basically I’m paying her like Hope is an infant, needing 24 hour care, which roughly came to about $2K
Say what now?
She said, well what if Hope get sick at school and needs me to pick her up? Ok, right, but 1) we have a contact for that, 2) Hope would rather shave her head than go home from school sick and miss seeing her crush in gym class–the last class of the day and 3) unless she is projectile vomiting, I’m going to tell that nurse to put some ‘Tussin on it and send her behind back to class.
Lady, you have got to be kidding me. I cannot.
So, we renegotiate because clearly she did not understand my needs. I resend the email and text messages.
I think we’re cool.
3:34am, in all CAPS: MISS ABM, MY INTERNET HAS BEEN OUT FOR DAYS BUT NOW I GET YOUR EMAILS. I WILL BE THERE. I UNDERSTAND. THANK YOU.
Um, ok. Yes, in all caps. She yelled at me in the middle of the night.
Sooooo, you accused me of not sending emails, but you weren’t able to access the internet. Yeah, this is just peachy.
At 9am, I have a conference call with the new tutor, while I’m out getting some exercise. Never mind that I think I’m going to do three loads of laundry and I haven’t started packing and my flight leaves at 1:10pm.
10am, sitter calls again because there is a discrepancy between the time I originally requested with the sitter service and the time I asked her to come.
OMG. I calmly tell her that the time I have told her, texted her, emailed her repeatedly is the only time she needs to be concerned with. Somehow she gets riled up, then I get riled up, then she threatens to quit, and I lose my ish since I’m supposed to be on a plane in a couple of hours. I start sobbing. She now claims to quit because I am crying; I just hang up because I’ve got to come up with a plan, and I don’t have another moment to spare with this bird.
She calls me back, I tear her a new one; she apologizes for like 20 minutes; I can’t get her to hang up.
Trip’s back on, though I’m stressed to the max and making a mental note that it’s time to hire someone privately.
She calls me and texts me twice more, including the text of a beautiful forest fire, that I guess is supposed to be inspirational…I guess.
She picks up Hope and I eventually get to Chicago.
I call Hope, and she politely tip toes around the fact that the new sitter is a cuckoo bird. I’d done everything I could all week to chat the sitter up and to seem optimistic about it, but come on…Hope is 14 if the sitter is a crackpot, then she’s going to know that the sitter is a crackpot.
Finding help and support can be so challenging for me. I don’t have much family around anymore. I haven’t been good about nurturing some of my pre-Hope friendships; life is so different now. Sometimes Hope’s anxiety behaviors clearly turned folks off, and I just took steps away. A great deal of my support comes from “staff.” The housekeeper every two weeks, the dog walker that helps to manage some of Yappy’s puppy energy and the sitter service that helps me be able to travel for work and have an evening or two a weekend a month to myself.
When I first started using the sitter service, things were great. I was able to find some really kind, patient and compassionate young women to help me look after Hope. I wouldn’t say they babied her, but she got a lot of attention and had fun when the sitters came. These days, those awesome women have moved on to other things and this has resulted in us being a bit rudderless without consistent sitters. And please know, we need help. No, make that *I* need help. It’s really crazy out here all by my lonesome. This single mom situation is serious!
I’m also finding that our needs have dramatically changed. For all the problems Hope and I may have, we are remarkably stable, these days. I think it time for us to look for someone who can meet our new needs, which means shuttling Hope to activities, making sure she goes to bed and takes care of the dog and brushes her teeth. I need someone responsible, but I don’t need a live-nanny who treats Hope like an infant or a toddler.
I think the most striking thing about this episode is how limited my options feel in securing help with child care so that I can continue to do things that are required for my job. Family isn’t really an option. Friends aren’t really an option. The sitter service is a great option, but a bit of a personality crap shoot.
This single mom feels pretty alone and kind of unsupported. Not that the people around me are mean or intentionally unsupportive, but there aren’t people close enough to me to ask that they watch Hope for 3 or 4 days without costing me a grip.
I don’t have a village to raise this kid and that sucks.
I guess there might be some kinda village but it is nothing like I envisioned what it would be or what I now know I need for my family.
No village = mo problems. At least it feels that way. It feels hard.
I can see how the lack of village affects me. I wonder how the lack of a village affects Hope. I dunno.
I’m beginning to be somewhat withdrawn like Hope socially, despite my constant efforts to stay connected. I feel the sting of rejection when a band parent just ignores me, or worse, turns her shoulder to signal my exclusion from participating in a conversation. I’m actually starting to wonder if band parents are talking about me—I have no idea what they’d say? Do I volunteer enough? How come I don’t always sit with the parents during games (because they ignore my very presence). I also feel the lonely when I talk to my sisters over many cities and several states. I feel it talking to my parents 100 miles away.
Single parenting a kid from a hard place is great, but my own journey has some really lonely spots. This feels like one.
Lonely parenting only adds to the stress of parenting in general. This is tough job; you really need people around you, to lean on, to sob with, to take deep breaths with. You need a village.
I’m hoping that I can try to build a suitable village, one that will give Hope and I the support we need.