12 September 2014

Well Hello There Stranger....

Its not that I've stopped wanting my nanny. It is the opposite actually. This past year we have been nanny-less. Not only nanny-less actually, but also sitter-less, family-less and for a long time even friend-less. We moved to a new city and left all of our support system behind. Its been... well its been hard.

After pushing myself hard for a year, on two practically full-time contracts, which left me no time think let alone reflect on our childcare situation, we moved to DC. I stopped working a month before the move and spent my time trying to get us organized. Then, I became the primary caregiver for my 2 kids in a new city, in a new country.

I've now finished my first year as a full time mom. Both kids are attending school for at least some of the week, and I've got some time to breathe.


We made it! I made it! A year of new house, new school, new friends, new grocery stores, different weather, new health care (!!!) plus the whole thing of never having a kid in full-time school and all the parent/student/activity/volunteer stuff that entails. Its amazing, when I think back on it.

So today, I'll think back....

Mother's Day card, yes,  I'm holding a present and a coffee.

30 August 2012

Temp-orary Insanity

Yesterday was a tears in the bathroom day.

I woke up with a headache, broke my glasses and spent the day in meetings. Not a stellar work day, but everyone has them once in a while. The thing that put me over the edge, was when I got home at 4:45 to find my kids eating lunch.

Yes, lunch. Their 2nd meal of the day was being consumed 8 hours after they'd been given breakfast by my husband. See, Dear A is on vacation again. And it's painful for everyone.

Because this vacation exceeds her contract, it's unpaid leave. We have a friend of Dear A's watching the kids for us a few hours each day, and have arranged shortened work days/alternate hours to cover off the rest, but she's charging a higher hourly rate. Dear A's making less and we're paying more. Painful, sure, but something I had sorted out and accepted.

The pain I'd forgotten (or blocked out maybe?) was the insanity around having a new caregiver in the mix. For some reason, I was thinking, "Ok, 2 weeks, no biggie. The kids know her, she's recommended...." instead of "Ok, I now have to train a new nanny, learn how to best communicate with a new person, re-sort out the dynamics of 3 caregivers in the house and so on and so on...." This blank on my part has resulted in backwards diapers, a runaway dog and the aforementioned food-less day for my kids. That's the part that really got to me yesterday - when my air-eater kid finally breaks down and asks for lunch you know he's really, really hungry. Realizing that, I felt like a really shitty mom. And had to hide in the bathroom for a quick cry.

11 June 2012

Keeping Up with the Jones'...Nanny

Well, here's something I'd never considered:
I'm now spending money to keep my nanny, and kids, up with the other nannies & kids.

So far this year, I've bought a zoo membership, a science centre membership and a half dozen tickets to the theatre & other activities. I haven't been to the zoo or the new science centre. I took my kids to one show - the other two, they saw with Dear A and other nanny-ed kids.

It sucks that I don't get to go as often as Dear A does.

And it kind of feels like a double-whammy that we've bought these memberships so K can see his friends. We're lucky that we can budget for it, but its definitely a choice.

I shouldn't complain, and I'll try not to. I'll try to focus on all the great stuff he's seeing and learning. I mean, at least he's out of the mall play park right?

28 April 2012

Wage Cuts for Foreign Workers - Wait, Its Not Good News

On Wednesday the Canadian government quietly changed labour rules regarding foreign temporary workers. Employers will now be allowed to pay them 15 per cent less than the average wage.

This isn't good news. Yes, we have an affordable childcare shortage, and yes, temporary foreign workers from the Phillipines and Hong Kong have been wonderful at filling that need. But, we shouldn't be solving problems on the backs of other humans. Regardless of nationality or citizenship, everyone needs to be treated fairly.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley stated “We are taking action to ensure that the temporary foreign worker program support our economic recovery and effectively responds to local labour market demands,” at a manufacturing plant in Nisku, Alta.

The need for workers will only get worse as baby boomers age out and retire. The need for caregivers will also increase, as elder care is needed for ailing baby boomers. Instead of looking at policies that encourage workplace flexibility for families, the government is going for a short term, easy win. On the backs of others.

Here's a link to CBC article with more details.

26 March 2012

When you work at home, who's the boss?

On the days I work from home, we have a pretty good system worked out. I'm usually a floor away from my kids, all baby monitors are shut off, and they usually head outside for part of the time. I have run into those moments though - when you're home and you can hear the kids acting out, and the nanny having to deal out some form of discipline. (Or not.)

So what's a work at home parent to do?

My usual stance is, "I'm not here." To be true to my work, and in my mind, honour the situation. I have to treat my at-home desk the same as my at-work desk. When I'm in the office, I can't hear what's happening with the kids, or how the nanny is handling a situation. The home office needs to be the same.

...I fell off that wagon today.

I could hear K spinning into a full-blown tantrum/fit and the baby screaming as lunch time approached. Dear A was doing her best, but there are days when life comes together into the hurricane and there's nothing you can do. So, I stepped in. I calmed K down and reminded him of the rules around our house. I honestly wasn't doing it to interfere. I wanted to help. But, afterwards, as I returned to my desk I wondered if I'd overstepped. I wondered if by stepping in I'd made it worse for Dear A in the long run.

I don't know the answer. I mean, I suppose, the situation is the same for all parents who have childcare, whether its mid-day or end of day, parents and caregivers each live the consequences of the others "parenting" choices.

It takes a village, right?

23 March 2012

Jeebus, No One Tell My Nanny!

The Best Nanny Money Can Buy - a recent article from the NY Times Magazine digs into the world of $200,000 (USD) nannies. "A nanny can increase her marketability if she can help manage an art collection, draft correspondence, wash and fold 50 linens a day and help set up philanthropic events. Bonus points if she can do it all in Mandarin."

17 March 2012

Think Spring Forward Sucked Before?

I've been sleep deprived for 5 years now. No surprise to anyone, not even me. I expected to be tired when I had a baby, all the websites tell you so. What I didn't expect was to feel relieved, even refreshed, when I got to sleep in until 7am.

All that sleep goes out the window with daylight savings time change. This whole week has been a disaster of slept-through alarms, tired kids and missed appointments.

I used to love the extra daylight hours signaled by "Spring Forward."

The only person who seems to have it under control is Dear A. Not only is she appearing 5 minutes earlier than usual, she's also the only one that doesn't run around like a chicken with its head cut off as the clock ticks down to departure time.

I expected a lot of things when I had kids. I didn't expect to start hating Spring Forward.

PS - Yes, that's me, trapped under a sleeping baby. I know I'm not the only one who's resigned themselves to an awkward sleep position just to get 5 more minutes. There's a lot of truth to this cartoon: Crappy Pictures: Sleeping or Not Sleeping
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