Skip to comments.Horror stories: Baby sitting and the opt-out revolution
Posted on 01/05/2007 8:32:57 AM PST by qam1
Here is my nightmare. I moved to Madison without knowing anyone here, so I found a babysitter through the University of Wisconsin graduate program in early education. The woman I found was great, but she said that she was really busy, and could her boyfriend babysit instead.
I squashed all my sexist stereotypes and asked for his qualifications. She said he has a law degree in Puerto Rico, where they are from, but he can't work here because he didn't pass the Wisconsin bar, and he doesn't want to study for it because they'll only be here two years. So he is looking for work. He has five younger siblings and he babysat them.
I said okay. I did the normal routine-- stayed with him and the baby one day. Went out for a little the next. The third day, I told him I'd be at the coffee shop. I told him if he wants to go there, go when the baby is asleep so the baby doesn't see me and start crying for me, so he shows up at the coffee shop at naptime.
I say, "Where's the baby?"
He says, "At home."
So I sprint eight blocks home, imagining all the most terrible things a mom can imagine. I get home and the baby is asleep, on my bed, ten feet from an open stairway.
The guy says, "I'm sorry."
I say, "You can just go."
He says, "I think it was a language problem. I just misunderstood you. I thought you told me to go to the coffee shop and leave the baby at home."
This could happen to anyone, and it does. My friend paid a chic agency in the New York City area to find her a bonded, background-checked nanny. But she turned out to be anorexic and she fainted behind the wheel. My friend didn't know until the car was wrapped around a pole. (Everyone safe, thank goodness.)
The difficulty of leaving a baby to go to work cannot be understated. And babysitting situations like this make it even more difficult. So we've now gone months with no babysitter, and my husband is about to kill me because he's picking up a lot of the slack.
So here's where the advice comes in: how to find a perfect babysitter, right? Wrong. There are no perfect babysitter situations. It's the nature of motherhood to be unsure of leaving. One thing I can tell you, though, is that I am a part of the opt-out generation: I sprinted up corporate ladders and ran two startups of my own, and I don't want to do that now, when I have young kids.
A press release from Lifetime Television just announced, "Women in generation Y do not want to permanently drop out of the workforce." The assumption here, of course, is that the Generation X women-- me-- who are dropping out of corporate life today are going to abstain from all business for the next twenty years until all their kids are in college.
Newsflash: The current opt-out phenomenon is not permanent. Some moms can do it, some can't, most fall somewhere in between, like me. As the kids get older, the opt-out revolution is about opting out of the absurd and inflexible hours that corporate America is demanding right now. It is not opting out of all work that does not involve kids. In fact, the majority of small businesses are started by women for these very reasons.
So, finally, here's some advice. Babysitter problems are not unique to you. They are part of a massive trend, and one bad babysitter doesn't mean you should give up on corporate life, and the crazy demands of corporate life don't mean that you should give up on work outside the home. We are all trying to find a compromise, and some of us are trying to find a sitter.
Better him picking up the slack than to find out his baby was sexually molested or worse...
There's the FIRST mistake. The answer should have been NO.
So the husband's responsibilities take precendence over the safety of his own child? Odd.
I hope this lady is not in a job that requires coherent communication, because I'm perplexed. What kind of work does she do that involves going to a coffee shop?
And if her husband doesn't want to spend time with his child (I assume it's his child, and that's the "slack" she mentioned), then why do they have one?
I'd suggest she get a cat, but it's too late ...
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
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Sounds like she is complaining because she wants it all. Why did she have kids if she wasn't going to watch them? And why get a babysitter just to go to a coffee shop?
Isn't this part of the story line in "Desperate Housewives"?
She should call Andy Willoughby and find out about the 3 Step Scam.
She's a barista at Starbucks?
Cry me a river. How about not having kids if they're that much of an imposition? How about rearranging your priorities and living within your means? How about *Grow up and quitchyerbi%&*in?*
When my son was 3 months old, we decided to let a really nice neighbor young lady watch him in her home, instead of going the day-care route.
I got off early one Friday, and arrived at "Marge"'s house to pick up my son. After knocking on the door a few minutes, with no answer, I let myself in, thinking "Marge" was tied up and couldn't come to the door.
There in the living room was my 3 month old baby, asleep in a baby swing, with his pacifier in his mouth, and a piece of TAPE across his face, holding the pacifier in place.
"Marge" was not in the house. She was next door visiting with the neighbor.
Needless to say, our relationship ended right quickly with "Marge".
We had to go the day care route after that. But at least I knew there was more than one person there to monitor what was going on.
Thank God, my son is now healthy and happy at 12, but I will never get that picture of him in that swing out of my mind, and the horror of thinking that he could've choked had he spit up.
Sorry for the long post....
I suppose ... or a manager.
Those exact thoughts ran through my mind, too, but what do I know? I don't have any kids, so I must just not understand.
The whole article reads like one big panic.
The point is probably that we need more federally-funded daycare and regulation of work hours, so that the author isn't further inconveniences.
It's interesting how the mommy in this piece keeps referring to her child as "the baby" and not "my daughter" or "my son." Could be nothing, of course, but if you ask me, that's very telling right there of exactly where this mom's mind is at.
It appears to me by her attitude that she thinks her child is a cat.
Holy Mary, mother of GOD . . .
Translation: "Our household income dropped by 40% when I quit work, but I demand the same standard of living we had before. Thus, my husband is p*ssed at me because I b*tch at him when there isn't enough money to live like we did when I was working."
My kids are grown and out of the house, but there was a lot of sacrifice when they were growing up.
That, of course, is the ethos of this piece. "If only . . ."
I had to read this about 10 times before I understood why she was upset. It sure sounds like he did as told.
On my 11th reading, I think I grasp that the guy should have walked a sleeping baby over to the coffee shop.
I think the mother is the problem. I see poor decision making and unclear directions.
Spot on, TC. Career-coffee gal should spend some time with her young'un and let her man find a job. Sounds like the child is putting a cramp in their fast-paced lifestyle.
I'm so sorry to hear about that lousy babysitter you had for your little one. After my ex left my daughter and me I had to return to work and considered having a nice woman from the neighborhood watch her, rather than send my 1-year old to a "corporate" type daycare.
In the end, after TONS of research, I chose a Christian daycare/preschool and have been happy with it. My daughter is thriving, has lots of new friends, and the staff is wonderful.
Unless parents find a real one-in-a-million babysitter, I'd say check out local churches that provide daycare. In my research I've found many that are truly excellent and not at all cost prohibitive.
Heard some bimbo on the radio last night shilling for
something called Moms Rising, I think.
Anyway, her hand was grasping at our wallets for more
benefits for MOMs.
I want to tell these gals to raise their own kids.
I already raised mine, with no gubermint help and
few benefits. (baby now 30)
While, of course, demanding that her husband work more absurd and inflexible hours to "pick up the slack."
Reading for subtext :-).
It could have just been a disastrous-babysitter story, of which any parent has at least one, but she was throwing out some bigger-picture, talkin'-'bout-my-generation verbiage ... so the point has to be that it's Society's fault that she's in this pickle.
Exactly...she uses the word "sprint" twice.
What shallow people.
My wife is in educational consulting and will frequently meet clients in coffeee shops. Especially if she has a job at one school in an area and needs to meet with a small group of parents in the same area for an exploratory session.
School districts are not willing to pony up a real conference room to a group wanting to start a charter school, nor are they going to supply travel money for a group to come to her.
I see your point - I regularly see people holding business meetings or interviews at Panera, when I'm picking up extra-large bags of bagels.
However, if your wife were planning to consult at a coffee shop, would she invite the babysitter to push the baby over there at the same time? Seems like that would be a distraction from work, and unfair to her clients.
In about 1977 I was desperate for an afterschool sitter for my 6 year old son.....I was recently separated from my husband/his father and school was starting where we moved to, about 5 miles from our previous residence (YES, I moved). Soooo.....I went to the bus stop.....looked around, and found a woman who lived across the street with her family (father included, several children)....asked whether she would be interested in watching my son....that was the beginning of a great relationship for my son. They were a great family. And, I was soooo lucky.
Time to tell hubbby a few facts of life. Let husband calculate the costs of hiring all the things stay at home moms do. Start with childcare, add laundry, house cleaning, cooking, running errands, paying bills, scheduling appointments, and all the unheralded rest of it.
Tell him to either write his wife a check for the amount he would pay for others to do all this work or STFU and put in some OT. And be damn grateful his baby is safe at home with a loving mother that puts him or her first.
I HEARD that flake, too on Medved's show yesterday! I want to start a non-profit - "WOMEN with BRAINS" for conservative type women - and make policy demands, etc.....anyone in?
What kind of benefits?
My son began attending a little neighborhood preschool. One day I went to pick him up. I couldn't find him. The teachers told me he was in the sandbox, playing. I did not even know there was a sandbox...it was either fairly new, or I had just not noticed it.
So, I go out to this sandbox, and there he was, playing in the sandbox with another kid...they were using little shovels to SCOOP THE CAT POOP out of the sandbox and into a bucket. I grabbed him, and went up to the owner to let him know (at this point I didn't know if maybe this was a one time thing, and maybe I should notify him that there was cat poop in the sandbox).
He apologized to me, with great consternation, saying that the early morning teachers are supposed to clean the sandbox of the feces every morning, but sometimes they forget to do so.
I just looked at this man in astonishment, trying to process the fact that he knew that neighborhood cats were taking a dump in a sandbox used by little children, and didn't have enough sense to cover the dang thing at night.
He told me they would go and buy a cover, but that was the last day my son spent there. We walked out and never returned.
Maybe the materialism center in my brain is broken...I just assumed that kids=a bit of financial sacrifice.
Silly me. In this author's world, all adults have day jobs and parenting is a hobby.
Most coffeshops seem have wireless access. I've seen a lot of folks doing business there. My wife's group held a meeting one, and everybody brought their laptops and connected wirelessly to view the presentation.
A lot of parents today ask: How can I fit my kid into the life and lifestyle I already have?
We lucked out with the greatest baby sitter on earth. Her father is a former cop (and my hubbie's best friend). She's been watching our daughter since she was three months old.
I'm planning to join friends on a two week trip to Europa this summer, and felt so uneasy about letting my daughter stay with her grandparents (my parents are dead, hubbie's parents are Boston socialists...) We decided to hire our sitter as a temp nanny for the two weeks I'll be gone.
I feel safer with this 17 year old girl watching my daughter (whom she loves as a little sister) than I would her grandparents watching her. How sad is that?
By the way, I'm glad your son is doing well. Any word on whatever happened to Marge?
DING-DING-DING!!! WE HAVE A WINNER!!!
But, your post has common sense, unlike this clueless mother and father.
That's a very perceptive point.
DING-DING-DING!!! WE HAVE ANOTHER WINNER!!!
And if hubby doesn't "pick up the slack", hubby can look forward to harangues such as "not loving his family", etc.
"A lot of parents today ask: How can I fit my kid into the life and lifestyle I already have?"
The correct question, of course, is, "How can I meet my responsibilities to my children?"
6 weeks/months of paid leave after baby, fed regulated flex hours,
national health care, and all for a small deduction from your paycheck. That was all I could take before tuning out.