Motherhood is a wonderful but confusing time. Those first few months (um, years?) are such a blur.
We tried for almost one year with our first child, almost two with the second. No fertility treatments, we let nature and timing take its course.
During the in-between-time, I hired a sitter as I was still working full-time and my daughter needed occasional evening care when my husband traveled and I had night programs.
Enter Sitter A: a struggling single mother with a young daughter, a teacher at my daughter’s preschool. Vetted, secure, trusted. When she offered babysitting services, I gave her a try – even checking references.
Worked out great – the girls played well together for the most part, and Sitter A even cleaned my house! I didn’t ask her to – she said she just had a lot of nervous energy and was good at organizing.
She was also very spiritual – not religious in any way, but believing in angels, psychics, numerology, astrology, etc. I was fine with that – everyone believes what he or she believes.
When she did my numerology chart and told me she had a vision I’d become pregnant in the next three months and have a boy, I told her thank you. I appreciated the time she took to chart me. Did I believe?
Well, I got pregnant within three months and had a boy.
Her old van broke down and she couldn’t come to work. We were in the market for a new car and agreed to sell her our van for $1. She readily accepted.
She adored babies. Her eldest son was a father himself, and she rarely got to see her own grandson due to family issues. She poured love on my boy. I was cool with that – I truly believe the more love a child receives, from anyone, the better off and more secure they feel. I felt comfortable knowing she had my son’s best’s interests at heart. All great.
And yet…things started to get weird with my daughter. Sitter A didn’t want her around her brother. She and her daughter would team up against her and my girl would come to me crying, only age six and full of love for her baby brother, not understanding why she couldn’t love on her own little live doll.
And…I discovered she and her daughter were listening to my private conversations using the baby monitor.
Talking with my husband one day in my bedroom, my girl and her daughter burst in to tell me they didn’t appreciate what I was telling my husband about my concerns.
It was like a TV movie. This is MY home, MY children, MY private conversations and she sends her daughter in to ‘catch me?’
And what influence was she having on my little girl? It scared the hell out of me.
We often gave Sitter A groceries for a long weekend. We paid her more than the hourly going rate – she just had bills she couldn’t pay. When she told us she’d turn on the oven at night and sleep in the front room to stay warm, it broke my heart.
But that was it. She crossed a line.
Looking back, I should have ended the relationship sooner. But due to a difficult C-section recovery and even more surgery following that, as well as severe neck pain, I was in a haze of doctor’s appointment, recovery and meds. The thought of changing a sitter who was good, albeit odd, didn’t get through to my rattled brain.
When my folks offered some condo time in Hawaii, my husband agreed. We needed to get away. I needed to rest.
She asked us to pay her for the week we were there. Why should she not be paid simply because we took vacation? her argument, though we’d never agreed on paid vacation. We were going to Hawaii on the cheap (using points for tickets, staying in a condo on my folks’ points); how would we manage paying her for not working on top of it all? It wasn’t that I didn’t see her point — but she knew we were going and had other sitter jobs she could have set up.
Perhaps if we were in the financial situation to do so, we would have. But it was the sense of entitlement that really got under our skin.
You have to understand – we knew how desperate her situation was. But it wasn’t our fault.
It was time to cut her off. We gave her notice before we left, three weeks severance (more than the norm but we wanted to help), and said our goodbyes, thanking her for her service and offering a stellar reference; the irony not lost on me that she asked for one week’s pay and ended up with three — and no job.
Waiting at the airport for our flight, a mutual friend texts me: You fired Sitter A? What the hell is wrong with you? How will she eat? Are you nuts?
It tore me apart, but I had to make a stand. And who was this friend to question what was best for my family?
My son turns seven this year. I’m no longer friendly with the friend who texted me. We are no longer in contact with Sitter A, though we see her around town occasionally and wave.
I discovered that, as a woman and mother, you must follow your instinct when it comes to your children. I don’t believe in regrets or guilt – wasted emotions. But this was a huge learning experience for me about trusting myself and pushing to do what’s best no matter the consequences. She wasn’t a bad person. I believe she had a good heart. I simply recognized the signs the universe had made glaringly obvious — it was time for all of us to move on.
People will come and go in your life. Letting go of relationships is difficult. But there’s no way I’ll ever allow someone to influence my children again.
Yes, I have trust issues.
And I haven’t even told you about Sitter B, whom we caught on camera stealing from us…