How To Handle A Childcare SNAFU

Ya’ll, I am one childcare SNAFU away from life in a straight-jacket, which actually sounds so nice and . . . relaxing right now.   You know what I am talking about.  You have planned your week– your work (even though you won’t get paid because FEDERAL WORKER), appointments, taking care of important bid-nez.  Then, your childcare falls through.  And you think you may lose bowel control on the public street because WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? (Also, let’s not pretend this is just a problem for working moms.  It was plenty stressful to have childcare fall through when I had a doctor’s appointment, a mammogram, or a school appointment on the books.)

Must. Make. Photo. Album.

Must. Make. Photo. Album.

Here’s what I do:

I start by piling on extra stuff to conquer.  “Oh, I may not be able to go to work tomorrow because I have no sitter? Hmmm, maybe I should make a Snapfish photo album for my mother-in-law’s birthday next month.”  Lemme say this, there are lots of things that need to happen when the childcare plan disintegrates like ashes in the wind, but making photo albums on-line isn’t one of them.

There’s something about adding extra stress that is totally unnecessary (see also creating an art project filing system OR learning to cook vegetarian dishes) that soothes me in some strange way.  Because inevitably, I am going to have to deep six the damn photo albums and shove those art projects into their regular spots (the trash– Sorry, kids), and I’ll revert back to the now-simple problem: Who’s going to watch my children while I work?  After spending a few hours with four additional projects, suddenly solving the singular issue of safe and loving childcare seems completely manageable.

I’ve totally got this.

On a related note, if you mention how you just call up your mother/sister/brother/aunt to come and watch your kids when Plan A falls through, I will sob uncontrollably on your shoulder, leaving snot smears and body fluids.  Yes, I will.  I always thought I was so adventurous and independent for living a few states away from my family members.  Now I just feel desperate, lonely, and poor because last-minute, back-up childcare is NOT CHEAP, and I’ve never heard ya’ll say that your mom charges you to watch your kiddos while you scoot over to therapy for a few hours.  And why should last-minute childcare be cheap?  I’m desperate so you should charge the hell out of me.  I wouldn’t respect you if you didn’t.  Market forces at work, people.

So, I am going to minimize my Snapfish page, stop adding non-urgent projects to my list, and focus on the one thing I need: a giant bowl of pudding a backup babysitter.  If all else fails, I can move my ass back to Texas where family members can swoop in and help me.

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39 thoughts on “How To Handle A Childcare SNAFU

  1. OH MY GOSH, I do that too! I mean, I don’t have children, ergo no childcare issues, but whenever I have a ton of stuff to do, or I’m leaving on a trip, I get it into my head that I need to repot all the plants on the back deck or crochet a complicated sweater for a birthday gift.

    • What is that? Is that a product of our particular brains? It seems so, dare I say, addict-like to do that? Hey, if 10 is good, let’s go for 20. Oy!

      On Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 11:04 AM, Outlaw Mama

  2. Do what every other “bad” parent does! Turn the tv on!! “Kids, the tv is your babysitter do what it says”. Lol! I truly sympathize with you. I recall my children being young, and working graveyard, babysitter flaking. We would have “party on the bed”, (movies, dry cereal, and no fighting for hours). To this day, all 4 of them still talk about this “magical time” while I sleep? Go figure?

    • If I parked my kids in front of the TV they would think they won the lottery and then plot to murder all subsequent caregivers so they could ALWAYS do that. Guess what we are doing this afternoon? ToyStory 1, 2 and 3. Mama’s got a draft due in the morning.

      I may or may not be crying in the coffee shop outside my kids’ school.

      On Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 11:31 AM, Outlaw Mama

  3. I so get it. I live only one state away from family, but 3-5 hours is much longer than I’d realistically expect them to drive just to help me out of a jam. I used to think it was great to live close, but not TOO close… that was before kids. Now I wish I could move back near them… sorta… except for the dearth of jobs in that area. Sigh… no situation is perfect.

  4. I have a ridiculous story about this but it’s too much to post here. As you may have guessed, I do this too — pile more on. I think it’s because I feel so out of control so I pick something that I can completely do myself right now. Or sometimes it’s because I feel so uncomfortable that I NEED to do something that will make me feel better (even if arranging to make it happen will be a pain in the arse).

  5. In my co-dependent way of volunteering for everything and saying no to nothing, I have ended up with a fantastic village of similarly-willing, similarly-scatter-brained, loving friends who save my ass routinely from situations such as these. I’ve learned to be willing to ask for the favor when I need it. Build your village. This stuff gets easier when you’re no longer new at school, not the only working mom, and everybody leans on everybody. Also–we kept our kids near the grandparents and they’ve all retired & moved away…so you can stay right here if you want.

    • This is so true…I never had a sitter and always thought the days I needed a mole check required a vacation day or a grandparent visit. Then I found all the other families at school. Now I bring a few home one day after school every once in a while and get free hour-or-two childcare when I need it.
      But it’s not while-I-work childcare. That’s the stuff that no other parent will do voluntarily. So…screwed. Wish I could help you. Did I mention we finally found an occasional sitter? Eight years into this game?

      • I read that post with great empathy for what we go through to make this all work. I like your idea. We need to start building the village. It’s the only way.

  6. I may or may not have mentioned Cimmy and I have a son with autism.
    We got help from the state to have a caregiver come over at no charge to us to keep him busy playing and/or working on homework, so Cimmy can catch up with house stuffs.

    But babysitter? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA nooooo, every family member, friend, etc. bailed out like a sinking yacht when they realized the full scale of Boy’s meltdowns and difficulties. I suspect even if we had money to pay for childcare, there would be extra autism fees. Plus Cimmy would take extra long on a selection process. We can trust virtually no one with him.

  7. I saw your tweet about your Nanny quitting today? I didn’t realize that you and I had that final conversation. Maybe a straight jacket is in order. I’ll be the free bird. Thanks. Another Nanny bites the dust.

  8. That feeling is the absolute worst. For me it I feel like it confirms what everyone is probably already thinking, and that is that I cannot hack this motherhood/human thing and this is the proof. Also, my Plan A babysitter is family (that does flake on me more times than I care to admit) and I can’t say anything because I don’t pay them (except with my soul, but that’s another matter – trust me nothing is free). So I hear you. Big time. Finding any childcare is hard, back up is harder. Good luck.

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