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Mommy Truths: June 2008

Mommy Truths

The Hard Learned Lessons and Eye Opening Realities of Raising Young Kids

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mommy Peace - A Little Extra Help Keeps Mommy at Bay

After two weeks with Son out of preschool, I got smart and asked my 15 year old niece to help out babysitting a couple days this week. What a difference! Happy kids, happier Mom. Why didn't I get extra help sooner? The three intimidating factors for me were:

1. How would I find a decent babysitter I could trust and liked enough to have around my house?
2. Did I want to spend the extra money each week for some peace of mind and opportunity to get extra things done around the house or errands run without the hassle of accompanying preschoolers?
3. The big Mommy Guilt Factor: Shouldn't I want to be with my children every waking hour - won't it be fun to get up and go to the beach and have a fun summer day together? (Uh, not when we're all screaming at each other by 5 pm.)

Admittedly, it was easy to get over my fear of finding a trustworthy babysitter the kids (and I) would enjoy after Niece announced that she was available for babysitting this summer. While I was worried about the need to pick her up and take her home to the next town over, I got over this by actually doing it and timing it at 13 minutes each way. That's not such a big deal. And, her gracious mother offered to drop her off or pick her up one way each time. So, I take advantage of that during naptime or close to it (so Daughter doesn't nod off in car and screw up the whole nap schedule for the day.)

In addition, Son loves his cousin and views her babysitting more like a playdate. This happens with great babysitters and also younger ones that act like mother's helpers. That's how I viewed Niece. I didn't expect her to take over and simply enjoyed her addition to our group and our ability to go one on one when necessary (e.g. Daughter throwing tantrum while Son carries on about needing that train over there.) I now see the value of au pairs.

Second, since she's fifteen, I'm paying her $9/hour and not the standard $15/hour or higher for an older babysitter in my area. This eases my financial guilt that I shouldn't be paying just for my own peace of mind or to give myself a break.

Finally, after a harry weekend where Husband and I realized that Daughter is indeed in the throws of two year old tantrums over random miscellaneous needs and that while she and Son play so nicely together much of the time, their battles over said trains and most other toys they play with, has taken on new frequency and pitch; I just picked up the phone and called Niece to help - ALL DAY MONDAY.

No guilt, simply necessity. And since the day went well and at Friday, I can view this entire week as having been much easier on me (Niece is coming over again this afternoon), I'm finding my Mommy Guilt sweetly receding behind a certain Mommy Peace.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Crocs or Not?

I just had my first experience of relenting to my child’s need for coolness, peer pressure, please-please-please-can-I-have-them? versus my goal of practicality. We entered the shoe store with me intent on buying a pair of Teva’s or similar sandal for the beach and hot summer day playing and a pair of Keens or something similar for avoiding wood chips on the playground and hiking in the woods. Since Son’s toes were hanging over his sandals from the February Florida trip, we were starting from scratch.

But, upon entering the store, he spotted the Crocs display and exclaimed, “Crocs! Oooooh, Crocs! Pleeeeeeaaaase, Mom, can I get some???” Where, oh where did this come from? I was naively shocked at how clued in he was on summer kids fashion. We have never discussed this type of shoe, I’ve never mentioned the brand, and he can’t read. How did he know what they were? (Silly, clueless Me.) There I was, begging, pestering him for details on who exposed him to this fashion while he ran around the display, pulling off any size and color he could dislodge from the hooks.

Mom: “We’ll see honey. We’re going to try on lots of shoes, practical shoes, and we’ll see what works. "

Son: “I LOVE Crocs! Please, can I get some?”

Mom: “Where did you hear about them? Who told you about Crocs? I just don’t understand where this came from?”

Son: Completely ignoring my need for more information. “Please….. Mom….”

And where did he learn that sweet pleading reaps more rewards than whining? Oh, right, I give in more.

Mom to Store Manager: “How do they stay on? I don’t see how he can run in those. Let me try on a pair. Ooohhhh, they’re very comfortable. Oh, I see how they stay on. Okay, let him try a pair.”

We leave with Bob the Builder Crocs in navy blue, my son tripping over his feet.

Mom: “But they don’t even look comfortable. Are you sure they fit okay? You’re tripping!”

Son: “They’re fine.” Huge smile. Happy face. Doesn’t want them to get wet or dirty (Crocs?!) and puts them in secret, special place of honor in his room.

I gave in because I loved satisfying his longing. But what will I do when Daughter turns 10, 11, 12, etc. and wants 4” heels?

What would you do in a similar situation? Be practical and avoid tripping or let him have his way?
Post your comment.

At the cash register:

Store Manager: "Do you want some Jibbitz?"

Mom: "Don't even go there."

Store Manager: "Chicken."

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Finding Babysitters - From Craigs List to MySpace

Here's a scary story shared by D., a Mom in my playgroup. She's been looking for a babysitter since she recently moved to town. I have used Craigs List in the past with mixed results. Well, here's her experience:

Babysitter's Ad on Craig's List
The Perfect Family Addition! Nanny Available FT ASAP

D.'s email response
My name is D. and I have a two year old son.
Are you able to work in W. and are you still looking for a position?

Hi D.
I would absolutely work in W. How many hours would you need me to work? Please feel free to call me at xxx. xxx.xxxx.

Instead of responding right away, D. visits MySpace to see if Babysitter has a page. Uh, yes she does and it's kind of profane. The top line reads, "F. these B.'s..."

Needless to say, D. politely declined to employ Babysitter. Furthermore, Babysitter sent mean-spirited emails afterwards and put profane postings on her MySpace page toward D.!

So, while we all prefer to find babysitters and nannies from credible references, sometimes we need to look a little farther afield.


1. Always, always call at least two references. (In fact, another friend recently stopped proceedings with a potential nanny who she loved after interviewing her, when the first reference "trashed" the nanny.) Always good to call.

2. If you're finding a stranger online, do your online due diligence. It's pretty common knowledge these days that what you put online, especially through social media such as MySpace, Facebook, etc. can be found by potential employers. MySpace is public so it's easy to search. Try Google, too. You never know what will show up.

3. Have a trial playdate with the new babysitter and your children. I found a college student on Craigs List who sounded fabulous on the phone and through her references. But when she showed up, she just sat there and my kids looked bewildered. Well, so did she actually. I sent her home immediately. No pay.

But I also found our most fabulous babysitter to date on Craigs List. We're still searching for her replacement as she now has a full time job after graduating college last year.

Hopefully, we all have more heartwarming stories than scary ones. We just have to do our homework.

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