Thursday, October 29, 2009

Please... kick me while I'm down! Maybe it won't hurt as bad.

When it rains it pours! This is the sight that greets me now in my family room. These french door didn't even last 3 years!
About 33 months ago we replaced our old set of french doors for these new ones with the blinds built into the door. The thinking behind getting these is that I wouldn't have to clean the blinds and that the kids wouldn't destroy the blinds like they had done to all the other door coverings we had tried before. I was right with part one but obviously part two failed miserably. DRAT!
I reamed Steven for doing this. He kept pulling the blinds up and down and up and down several times. His whole thinking behind the destroyal of my blinds is that he wanted to attract Ethan's attention who was outside and trick him into coming inside. I had asked Steven to play with Ethan in the backyard on the trampoline, but he didn't want to do that. Steven's whole focus from the time that he got home yesterday was on playing video games. He will barely do the minimum to get the job done and then he immediately launches into requests to play Playstation 2. 11 year old boys are very single minded, I'm coming to realize.
We are having difficulty getting adjusted to living on less. I'm doing increased childcare to help supplement our income. It's makes for long days and even longer nights as I need to be on top of my housework and schedule to focus on meeting the children's needs.
Recently, I have come to realize that I am being taken advantage of. It hasn't been a fun realization, especially since I have been friends with the children's mother for over ten years now. We used to work together right after Peter and I moved here after we graduated from BYU.
I sat down with the mom yesterday to discuss our arrangements and came to the realization that I have been working under an incorrect assumption for over a year now. There is no loyalty, no consideration for our family or our friendship with this childcare arrangement. Obviously her needs are being met, but mine are barely being met. It is firmly based on the bottom line - money. Whoever comes in with the cheapest bid will watch her two small girls - 18 month old and an 9 week old. She doesn't want to contribute for anything she doesn't have to. What differing perspectives we both have when it comes to our children. After having grown up in several daycares and having heard what has gone on in some of them, I would rest better assurred knowing someone I knew and trusted was watching my children. That would be more important than strictly looking at the bottom line. But, hey, that's me maybe I'm just funny that way.
I get it. Finances and the economy have forced us to tighten up our belts. But, I am not going to continue to feel frustrated with our arrangement. She doesn't want to have any type of contract. She doesn't want to have to pay for the days her children are not watched, something I have agreed to up until now. And, they want to be able to pick up their kids up until 6 pm or after if need be all the while dropping their children off at 7 am every day.
We had a conversation about this yesterday. I don't like making demands. I don't like confrontations. I don't want to bankrupt anyone. I have always struggled with determining a fair price. I am not a business woman. I don't barter or dicker very well. I am up front and always consider the feelings and needs of others in my every action. I am generous to a fault and now I am realizing I may have been taken advantage of. It's not a nice realization and I feel hurt and betrayed and disappointed. I wouldn't just take care of anyone's child and treat them like they are my own. Well- actually I would because I genuinely love children.
In addition, she told me yesterday that she may be taking additional maternity time off and feels no compunction to pay me which would effectively leave my family high and dry. It was quite the wake up call. She reminded me several times that I am not licensed yet. I have the packet and need to send in a few things and get the ball rolling. My house complies with their regulations 90% of the way. Just a few changes are left to make. But, because I am not licensed, she feels that she shouldn't have to pay me a decent rate. I don't have any sick days. She has brought her sick kids here with no compunction for anyone's needs except her own. And she reminded me that most facilities are open until 6 p.m. So, as such we should just suck it up and deal with the crap that rolls downhill!
I have been feeling a little stressed out with my situation lately. I am home all day and all night with the kids with little or no opportunity to get out and visit. I am lonely. I rarely see or speak with any of my friends. I've been struggling with feeling out of control with my life as of late. All there are is the have to's which is a granted but there are very few and increasingly fewer get to's. There is no time for breaks. I'm on task and running balls out 100% of the time. It is a sure fire recipe for disaster and burn out and I'm starting to feel it's effects. I got sick this week, with no relief in sight. The day she came and dropped the kids off she noted how terrible I looked and I explained I was had a fever and had a case of the chills. All I merited from that conversation was that she hoped I felt better. They didn't show up to pick up the kids that day until 5:30 pm.
When we brought all this up to the mom yesterday she refused to budge on some of it. She reminded me repeatedly that I am not licensed and that if she went to another facility she could pick them up at 6 pm even. I have let her know that her daughter refuses to eat the food I'm serving and often feeds it to the dog, smears it all over hear head, or throws it on the floor. She feels she shouldn't have to contribute food for her daughter except for the newborn's milk. I'd be ok with it if her daughter wasn't so picky and physically shoves away 3/4's of my profers. I've started to let her go hungry after I offer 2 choices. I've let mom know of the situation. I refuse to feed an 18 month old tyrant chips, cookies and crackers all day every day. It is unhealthy and very costly.
So, here we sit. I am looking at my options. I am very much considering finding a night shift somewhere in order to avoid the cost of child care for my own kids. In some ways, I think it would be much preferable to my situation right now. I wouldn' t have to work almost 12 hours a day for $5.50 an hour at best! I could get out and be with other adults and have grown up conversations. It's obvious we need more income. This childcare situation isn't working. I don't mind getting licensed. There are quite a few hoops to jump through but right now the pay isn't working out that well. I also don't like having kids so late. My kids have soccer and scouts. I have doctor's appointments. We have needs. Most afternoons we have 8 kids here. My five and the 3 I watch. I think its time to shift directions!


Jennifer said...

So sad about your door and blinds. Even sadder for your isolation and disappointment with all the child care stuff. More than once this month when I was sick, tired, managing a tension headache, or at the end of my rope with my crazy kids - I've thought of you. I'm sure that's SOOOOO comforting. I just knew if there was anyone out there that would understand - it would be you. I don't pretend to understand your daily drama, I'm still trying to understand mine. I too have felt isolated in my spinning world. I hope to carve out more time for friends or hobbies or quiet, but stuff just keeps coming up.

Hang in there!!!!

Rangi said...

Hang in there! (and I say raise your prices or stop childcare-it really is hard work!!!) Sara

Lisa said...

I do childcare too and people will take advantage if you LET THEM. Let her find someone else then. you can find a million peolpe on Craigslist who would be grateful to pick their kids up by 5:30pm and pay for the days they don't show up.