Everyone wants out

Peanut told me this week that he wants a new mom.

He ain’t the only one shopping for my replacement.

I’m done.
I’m just done.

I finally found a sitter, after two years of a Spouse who worked such long hours he only saw our eldest on weekends and two more years of an intense kid who was awake 14 hours a day and most of the night, and another year with two children, the sum of which ate away all my reserves. And put me deep into patience debt. And fun ideas debt. And giving a shite debt. So I found a sitter from a trusted source and scheduled her twice a week for two hours.

Four hours of solo time. Of daylight hours where I could choose my own destiny. Or at least have a cup of tea and close my eyes while walking. (I love doing that.) Or, heaven forbid, writing.

And this answer-to-my-prayers babysitter has canceled six times now. Out of eight appointments. Sick some of those times, needed at work (a preschool) others, planning a trip another, and “tired and unable to be attentive” once. Five cancellations were an hour before she was due here.

So clearly I’m not going to ask her back.

And without outside help I’m back to 86 hours a week of being tasked with guarding and teaching and protecting and not stabbing small children. And another 14 hours a week while they sleep of cleaning and preparing and cooking. And another couple of hours every night, when the toddler wakes 2-6 times for comfort and milk and the older one wakes for bathroom or nightmares or some bullshit invention that tests my theories of nighttime parenting.

I’m too tired to calculate it, but that seems as though at least 114 hours of my week is child-centric. (For those keeping track, that leaves less than 8 hours a day, so I can do all children all the time and sleep, or rob my sleep to have some reading, writing, exercise, thinking, talking, adult time moments.) I love these kids 168 hours a week. But 68% of every minute of my year seems like a lot of unblinking moments. With healthy, loving, awesome kids. And two hours to myself most weekends. Whine whine whine. Except, come on.

With a sitter who calls in too tired to pay attention to my kids for two bleeping hours.

So when the five year old offers to throw me out on my ear, I’m eager for the chance.

P: I get a good allowance, you know. I can buy a new mom.
M: Hmmm. What are you looking for in a new mom? What qualities will make a new mom worth your money?
P: Well, mostly what I’m looking for is no rules.
M: Oh. Yeah, that would be nice.
P: I want one who says yes to hitting.
M: Well, let’s see. That knocks out M’s mom and E’s mom and R’s mom and your aunt and your grandmas. Who else do you have in mind?
P: I don’t really need to buy a new mom. I just need to pay you to have no rules.
M: No deal. You still have to hold hands in the street and wear a seatbelt and use sunscreen if I’m your mom.
P: Okay, but I want to pay you so I can hit.
M: What do you want to hit?
P: I’ll give you $100 if I can knock down this house.
M: There’s a problem with that plan. If you knock down this house I have to pay the landlord a lot more than $100. So it’s not worth it to me. Sorry.
P: Well, I’ll keep looking.
M: You do that.

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17 thoughts on “Everyone wants out

  1. P’s got a 100 bucks? Maybe he should think about a security guard for his wad! rather than ditchin mom! I think you get a $100 retention bonus, right now.

  2. Whenever my oldest tells me she wants her *real* mom, I tell her that her real mom is in Tahiti and she’s stuck with me.

    The babysitter deal bites. We keep finding good sitters just as they’re on the verge of leaving town for real jobs. Still worth the effort, though…

  3. “I just need to pay you to have no rules.” As frustrating as that was for you, I have to say P is SMART. He has figured out what it’s worth to him and made the offer. Watch out, Wall Street.

    Now, on the subject of your sitter, I urge you to quickly locate another. You NEED those hours. She is unworthy of your consideration any longer. (See, the whole thing you need is a sitter who SHOWS UP. I know you already know that…I just wanted to voice my indignation.)

  4. My boys are looking for a new mom too. Perhaps we should swap??? Of course, if the no hitting rule is the clincher, then P is out here too…

  5. That was a lot of math.
    And absolutely spot-on.
    Let me know if he finds anyone.
    My son is looking for a new sister. He said his is ruining his “whole life”. I wonder if those are more than $100?

  6. Grandma Patt here. Maybe you can buy him boxing gloves – and one of those blow-up figures with sand in the bottom – and he can “box” (hit) away?? Or sign him up for karate classes?? Controlled hitting??!! Miss you guys!! love, us

  7. I absolutely love this. Whenever my youngest told me that he wants a different mommy, I told him, Yes I agree. I’d like you to have a different mommy also. The exchanges between you and P at the very end are simply priceless.

  8. Dude, even in this economy, P is NEVER going to get a new mom for $100. I would have taken his $100, and then taught him how contracts often are misinterpreted by the agreeing parties, something he will surely need to understand in his high-wheeling negotiations to take over the Universe some day. Wishing for you a warm body that shows up at some point, for some period of time, to relieve you of supervision duties. For real.

  9. Oh god – that sitter!! There’s nothing, nothing, worse than a flake. I hate flakery to the utmost extreme.

    I think, though, that part of the problem may be that it’s only four hours. The money probably doesn’t seem worth it to the sitter for that short amount if time. 10-20 hours? Sure. But four hours is easier to flake on because (to a person without kids) it seems like you couldn’t possibly get anything done in that short amount of time. Can you afford more time? Someone who is a sitter for a living is reluctant to take on very short hours because that means having to cobble together lots of jobs (like an adjunct) and spending tons of time on the road. I think you’d have an easier time finding someone for four hours a day, three days a week than you would for twice a week at two hours per session. Something to think about anyway. But I know it’s super expensive here in the BA. Good luck.

    And I think all kids want new moms. ((hugs))

    Commenting on my phone – please forgive spelling errors and wonkiness.

  10. uhhhh. all i can say is i know, and i could say more if i could even find the time to write a real blog post. i know you are sitting there thinking “no, you don’t know”. but i do. down to getting a txt at 8:10 am that she’s not coming at 8:30 and me standing there in yoga clothes like a fool, drooling for my 4h of no one talking to me while i do yoga and food shop. and the night time kid who won’t sleep. my 5.5yr old just started sleeping thru the night. and only 3x or so per week. when he was a baby he nursed every 2h thru the night till he was 18mo. and he still got up at least 2x a night till he was 4. then it was just a crapshoot. he has a little sister who just turned 3 and she just started sleeping the whole night about 5x a week. and we’re so stuck. no one will take them. i totally ‘get’ why those mothers drive into the lake with their kids in the car. i do. people say “oh call me” but then you do and they’re like “oh, that’s not a good time” or in the case of my mother in law “nail day, i wouldn’t want them to get messed up”. seriously? i found my sitter when my #2 was 1 and #1 was 3.5. she shows up 1/3 rd of the time. it just sucks. i’ve been trying to find another but as file states, it’s hard to find someone responsible enough to deal with my high need, attention seeking, high wheeling kids, that will only come 4h a week. and it takes like a month to get them used to her. my first spit out a sitter like he was a dragon. i’ve got no grandma backup, husband like yours and all my friends are in the same boat as me. one with a hole. nap, i feel like i should send you a sympathy card. the only hope i can give you is that at least you can still do math. i can’t. may the force be with you.

    • So, I feel I have to clarify…Peanut doesn’t have $100. He doesn’t have anywhere close to that. His allowance is two quarters, two dimes, two nickels, and three pennies. He can’t buy anyone, let alone someone better than me.

      Also? He’s all talk about hitting (though his grandma foretold this evening’s throwdown with a stuffed alligator).

      @jc retention bonus is a great idea

      @Leslie I think that’s part of why we never tried very hard to find a sitter.

      @Ink, yes, there’s going to be a talk tomorrow about what I meant by “I’m willing to be flexible” in our schedule. I mean a week in advance changing our days, not cancelling an hour before. [sigh.] Thanks for the support.

      @Heather, let’s schedule a trial swap before I commit. The devil you know, and all that… ;-)

      @letmestart I’m guessing a good sister is running about what it costs to knock down our house. At least.

      @Grandma Patt Welcome! If he said he wanted to hit people I’d think seriously about the surrogate hitting. But he just knows its our strongest rule, so *that* is the one he wants gone. If he remembered how hard we push protein, he’d ask for a protein-avoiding mom, too.

      @absence I’ve missed you. I know well from your boys that it only gets harder and more fraught. But I enjoy the beginning of wanting a new mom. He has no idea how much more he’ll want a new mom by the time he’s in high school.

      @Maria you’re hilarious. Contracts, indeed. I’m putting that on the list for next week, because he *does* need to learn that lesson the hard way.

      @Fie I’m sure you’re right. She’s a preschool teacher (not our school) and in our original meeting I asked if 4 hours was worth her time. She said it was, but clearly more would be better. But if I won’t be talking 20 hours a week unless I go back to work. We can’t afford it, and I’m existentially and professionally on hold to be with them most of their waking hours. I just can’t justify having her more than a couple of hours a few days a week. Especially with Butterbean so young.

      @tara I’m speechless. All I can offer you is commiseration. And boy, do we need that.

  11. Wishing you good luck with the talk. If she doesn’t plan on showing up, she should stop pretending to be your sitter. There, I said it.

  12. yeah that’s good, i’ll take commiseration, i hope one of my kids marries one of yours, then this would all be worth it right? i have nightmares about that. my son walking down the aisle toward a child bride with bright blue lips holding a pop tart wearing a mickey mouse shirt. hey i saw an old post of yours, you don’t have to do laundry? that makes me so happy for you. i’m not even jealous, just relieved. maybe that’s how you keep your math talent? ;)

  13. This was just mean. I got to the part about the babysitter and rejoiced! Well I rejoiced quietly because my child is sleeping and I am no fool. And my hopes were crushed mercilessly. I am so sorry, is there nothing to be done? Do these children not go to preschool yet? Or perhaps there’s some kind of summer enrichment program they can attend? What about a co-op summer camp with other parents?

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