Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Childcare Woes

We're in the 2-month countdown to losing our summer nanny. We always knew this was coming - she was hired with the understanding that she had a "real" post-college job lined up for September - but anyone who has searched for childcare (especially for our unique situation with the young twins and the preschooler) knows that good childcare is not easy to find, especially with only two months to go. I have a Craig's List ad out there, ads with local colleges and so on, but no interest so far. So this is when I start to panic, because I know that when early September rolls around, it's my job that takes the hit while I stay at home until a nanny is hired. We had hoped to find a longer-term nanny but our only luck was to find someone for the summer.

With that said, I think "longer-term" nanny is an almost fictional thing (I'm not counting those highly paid nannies for Hollywood stars or the super rich who probably stick around for years, I'm talking about your average $10-$12/hour nanny). My friends and I agree that there's about a 3-month honeymoon period where you think the nanny is great, and she thinks your family is great. Then they "get in your business" a bit too much, start to pass judgment on your parenting skills, lifestyle, etc., and you get disillusioned with each other. Typically, you limp along for another few months in this mode until "the break" comes along - something that pushes one of you over the edge - and one day you're stuck with no notice and no nanny and a boss that is annoyed once again with your childcare issues. This whole process usually takes six months at the most. So now, after a couple years of experience, I'm realistic: a "long-term" nanny is one that can last six months, not a whole year. I don't like the lack of consistency for the kids' sake, but I appreciate the turnover from my perspective because I stay in nearly perpetual honeymoon mode.

Today was an office day, uneventful and peaceful. I hear that Claire was a bit cranky on the nanny this morning and Molly was cranky all day (Molly woke me up at 5:30am and both of us never really went back to sleep, so I can imagine she was tired all day). But fortunately I wasn't suffering through the crankiness here at home - I just dealt with my own lack of sleep and feeling hazy eyed at work. Tomorrow is the second camp day. Claire is vacillating between wanting to go and not wanting to go, which is typical of her. I think she'll have a blast. We just need to get her there without a pre-camp meltdown.

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