Sitter Stories

Bad Match

After a loooong hiatus that included losing the URL for eight months because I failed to renew with the host and some company swiped it, put it in no-man’s web-land and then held it for ransom — I’m happy to take another crack at the Mommy Blogging thing.

Topic du jour:  baby sitters.

When I think back to the early years when my girls were babies and toddlers and any short separation resulted in what felt like primal anxiety and heartache, it’s hard to believe where we’ve come since then and how much faith I put in others to help us care for them today.

We’ve found sitters through friends’ recommendations, our own friends, sitter-finding web sites, and craigslist. The first two categories of resources have worked out quite well — except that the young, bright women we found through friends didn’t want to be nannies forever and went on to pursue other things.

In all, we’ve had to part ways with three bad matches.

Here’s the stories — from the most recent a few weeks ago, to the first fire 3+ years ago.

The Evangelist

Really sweet, kind young woman. More than happy to support our family beyond childcare to run an occasional errand, do laundry and help prepare dinner. An unexpected red flag went up for me during our interview when she said she was called to missionary work. But I didn’t follow my intuition.

We’d like our children to learn about different world religions. Somewhat hastily we thereby decided it would be fine for them to learn about their nanny’s faith. But we didn’t think to request parameters on her sharing, not anticipating how it might happen.

During the first week with the new sitter, when lying down with girls for story time, my eldest said, “Mommy, did you know Jesus died for us?”

“Yes, I’m familiar with that,”  I said.

I knew this came from the sitter and wasn’t really concerned beyond worrying about possible details shared about the death — which I think is too much for a four and six year-old.

The second week, again during story time before bed, she said, “Mommy, did you know if we love Jesus, we go to God, and if we don’t, we go to Haides?”

She’s familiar with “Haides” because we’ve been reading the Greek Myths.

My response:  “Yes, that’s a story some people believe and some people don’t. Daddy and I don’t believe that.”

With that I knew that we’d made a mistake and this wasn’t a good match for us.

I don’t want to talk to my small children about hell as a real place. My personal belief is that hell is a state of mind and I’ll share my view of that with them when they are older. We also want their exposure to different religions to come through as learning there are multiple paths to God and different faiths exist based on family upbringing, where you live in the world, and sometimes what you choose when you’re older.

We realized for our family, that for someone who will have significant influence on the kids as a regular caretaker — we either need someone more aligned with our personal worldview or someone who isn’t called to convert others to their beliefs.


The Risk Taker 

Took girls to the neighborhood park in our double-wide stroller. Didn’t feel like hiking up the hill back home and took a ride with a male “acquaintance.”  My eldest, who doesn’t miss a beat, said the sitter met this nice man for the first time at the park.

A) If my daughter spoke the truth, she was essentially taught by a trusted adult in her life that getting into cars with strangers is a perfectly acceptable thing to do. Oh My God.

B) Even if this guy was in fact someone our sitter knew, she made the choice to put the girls (2 1/2 and 4 1/2 at the time) in a car without carseats.

We got home from our date later that night after the girls were in bed.  The baby-sitter was open in sharing all of this with us while casually drinking a beer she found in the fridge.

So disappointing on many fronts.  The girls really adored her.


The Crier 

Super sweet. Creative. Came to the house with art supplies and fun projects to do with the girls.

And within the first three days on the job, she cried on two occasions to us with girls witnessing her upset.  Once because she was distraught at getting caught in traffic and being 20 minutes late.  And the second time, I don’t remember the impetus.

I just didn’t have the emotional capacity to take it on — straight out of the gate with a brand new sitter.  I really wanted someone grounded, emotionally stable, who felt good about herself and could model that for the girls when they were together.

We were very fortunate to find someone who was all that and more in a nanny we were blessed with for two years that we hired after we let go the emotionally sensitive young woman. She is busy at an important new job now and I am really missing her!

Our girls are in after-school daycare now five days a week. I’m holding the vision that we find someone of her quality that could help pick up the girls two days a week so they could have some play time with each other at home and I could exercise after work.



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