When I got the news earlier this week that I had to devote four hours of my day to the glucose screening (which came back negative, by the way), my first thought wasn't of the needles or the discomfort or the ramifications of gestational diabetes. It was - who is going to watch the kids?
These days, with frequent OB appointments and occasional work demands and a lack of school/camp, I find that I am asking myself that question more and more often. And given that I am adding one more kid to the mix somewhat soon, it is stressing me out big time.
One of the things I hated the most about working and having a child was the child care issue. We opted for a nanny, and for the most part, things went smoothly. But there was always the occasional hiccup - when the nanny's mother died and she had to leave for two weeks unexpectedly. When I needed help later into the evening and she couldn't stay. When the nanny got sick. When I needed to work on what was supposed to be my "day off," and the nanny had another job. Ultimately, my job was the one that was sacrificed, and I would work from home, or take a day off. Other times, family from out town would come to visit and fill in. It always ended up working out, but the anxiety of a child care fail hung over me at all times. When I quit my job, I had a huge sense of relief that I didn't have to worry about "those kinds of things" anymore.
But alas, I was wrong! In some ways, the child care issue is harder as a stay at home mom, because when I need someone, I don't have someone waiting in the wings to go to. I have gone through countless babysitters, ranging from high school to college to middle age, and no one has really stuck. Some have gone away to college or moved or taken on other full time jobs. Others have flaked out so many times I have blacklisted them, or have passed out on the job at the sight of blood (true story), or, most recently, have stolen my husband's spare coin stash (very disturbing).
Right now, I am in a babysitter dry spell. All of my "regulars" are no longer options for one of the aforementioned reasons, and I find myself feeling stuck and reeling at the prospect of having to attend an unexpected doctor's appointment or blood draw (thankfully, this week my husband filled in). And where to find new ones? There's the neighborhood high school kids, of course, but they aren't available in the day, when I find myself needing someone most. And would I really trust them with three kids - one being an infant? Probably not. Classifieds? Craigslist? Shady. The best case scenario is a referral, but usually those people are already "taken" by the person by which they are referred, or they are looking for more hours than I have to offer.
There's the logistics of finding someone, of course, and then there's also the discomfort with trusting a STRANGER to take care of your kids. I find that the longer I am a stay at home mom, the more uncomfortable I get in trusting others in the care of my children. How do you really know anyone, after all? I mean, REALLY know them? And given that my babysitting needs are haphazard, I never get the chance to do just that. Hence, when I have a choice between carting my kids around with me, and getting a sitter, I usually resort to the former, despite the inconvenience. It's cheaper, obviously, but the fact is, it just makes me more comfortable. I know my kids are safe with me.
This attitude will have to change, particularly if I am going to maintain my sanity once the new baby arrives. I will need a break every once in a while. And while I know I'll never be the kind of stay at home mom that also has a nanny (not knocking it, just not my thing), desperate times will call for desperate measures. Maybe just five hours a week to myself - to exercise, to work, to sleep for god's sake. Five hours! Is that too much to ask?
But who? How? Where? Mary Poppins, where are you?