Since I am working from home out at the house this summer, I hired someone local to babysit for about two-three hours on weekdays. Her job was to pick up the girls from camp at 4pm, play with them in the afternoon, bathe them before dinner and get their camp stuff together for the following day. The plan was also to have her come early once a week to do laundry, some light housekeeping, and a few errands if necessary.
After three days, she quit.
Now. I’m not sure if this was due to me (I tend to think of myself as a pretty easy person to work for), due to the kids (I like to believe they’re pretty adorable as far as kids go), or both. She says none of the above. She says she thought the job would be more about watching the kids and it seemed like it was more about doing chores around the house.
But since that was in the job description from the get go, I’m guessing the issue was more about what happens when me and my kids are all in the same house at the same time, especially when someone else is supposed to be watching them.
It’s really hard for Mazzy and Harlow to do their own thing when they know I am in the other room.
It’s also hard for me to get any work done while actively ignoring them.
So instead, I end up doing a hybrid of the two which just makes everything worse. I try to devote a little attention their way, while also making it clear that I’ve still got work to do. But…once the kids get a taste of time with mom, they want more. And if they can’t leave me alone, I either completely capitulate to their wants and needs, or I get really frustrated. Probably if I was consistently mad, it would be more effective. But I’m wishy washy. I try to have it both ways and the kids know that if they fight hard enough they might win.
Me working from home is basically a babysitter’s nightmare.
When she quit over text on Day 3, I have to say I wasn’t surprised. In truth, I had already been thinking that it might be easier without her. I texted back, “That’s fine. I understand. Maybe I don’t need a sitter as much as I thought I did.” And then, instead of trying to find someone new, I decided I am just going to figure it out on my own.
It will mean I have a shortened work day since I have to leave to pick up Mazzy and Harlow from camp at 3:30pm, but hopefully, it will also mean that I can get good quality time with them at normal hours, put them to bed a little earlier and actually get some work done at night. After all, Mike isn’t here during the week so no one else needs my attention after the kids are asleep.
I’m actually looking forward to it. The summer seems like a good time to temporarily reprioritize if you are lucky enough to have the flexibility. Plus, the girls are older and have these rare glorious moments when the neediness subsides. They are also much more active in the blog now (thanks to YouTube), so the afternoons seem like the perfect time for a baking tutorial, a neighborhood tour or whatever other little video bits they come up with. Mazzy already has about ten ideas.
It also just sounds like a nice chunk of time to close the computer and hang out, while the weather’s nice and they still want to hang out with me. God knows, as Mazzy and Harlow ask for more sleepovers and playdates, I already see that window closing soon.
And if necessary, I have a very reliable babysitter in my back pocket. She doesn’t do laundry or pack lunches but she’s incredibly effective at keeping the kids engaged and out of the room.
I call her “The Television.”