October 25, 2019

my least favorite ALL SUMMER activity, cheap vs great, and go with the gut

Last spring I poled the folks I was sitting for to see who would be requiring my services again this school year.  I know already that the logistics become complicated for working parents with kids entering preschool. 

Visiting the local forest preserve.
In my line of work, I have always considered preschool my biggest rival.  Back when I only babysat for two families, I agreed to drive a kid to preschool.  That sucked.  The mom enrolled the kid in a preschool with no drop off line.  Is it me, or does that seem cruel and unusual?  What child-focused group would require parents to take their kids out of cars and walk them into a building.  Am I the only mom out there who had more than one kid in a car during preschool days?  I sat in wonder watching these folks wrestle car-seat straps made more argumentative by winter coats.  I thought, 'You know there are preschools right around the corner that provide a drop off line?'

I vowed never to agree to such lunacy again.  (It didn't help that when I pointed out the non-drop-off-line dilemma the mom suggested that I leave the other kids I was sitting for in my car while I walked her kid into preschool.  Yeah, we parted ways after that academic year).

The results of my pole revealed my biggest fear.  My little in-home daycare was going to take a hit thanks in part to preschool.  Two families left because of preschool schedules.  

Another family fudged why they left. ('I have meetings after school once a week'  me:  oh, I can work around that - then she had nothing.  She would not be honest with me).  Their departure cut me to my core.  I believe that they jumped ship in search of cheaper prices elsewhere.  Considering my entire family loved their baby so much, I struggle to understand how you opt for 'cheaper.

These are the two 'big' babies I sit for.
 One comes Tuesday/Thursday and
 the other comes Tu-Wed-Thu. 
They are almost a year and 9 months.
Summer of '18 when they interviewed me, they initially took a pass sighting my prices as out of their range.  I wondered if they thought I would negotiate.  I wouldn't.  Weeks later they texted back.  This was where they wanted their baby all along, and did I still have room?  Being the wise-ass that I am, it was tempting to text back and say 'Sure, but my prices just went up.'

There are two kinds of in-home daycares in my estimation:  those with high enrollment numbers and no opportunities to leave the house but downright cheap, and mine with less than 5 kids and a willingness to go on outings to the zoo, library story-time, parks, and other awesome spots specific to my location like forests preserve buildings and the arboretum children's garden.  I also offer each napper his/her own bedroom for naps.  

Ed kept telling me to relax, I would find new families.  I spent all summer (this is exactly what I did NOT want to do) introducing myself on a parent Facebook page, applying to jobs on, and interviewing interested folks.  Finally by mid-August my roster was full.  Each family that hired me only required part time hours, so I managed to organize everyone's schedules to coincide with one another, so that I would have Fridays off. 

Meet Baby Mikey, or more
specifically Mikey's hair.
 He has so much hair for a little guy!
There were two families with new babies that hired me.  The second family wanted to start the same time as baby Mikey.  I informed them that I intended to take one week to become acquainted with Mikey before I was prepared to juggle both babies.  Baby Mikey was on my schedule first so his start date of Sept 9th was all set, and I wanted baby #2, Linda (and that is this poor child's real name) family to work around that. 

Linda was born July 9th.  They requested I watch their kids (they also have a 2.5 year old) the day after Labor Day- starting a week

before Baby Mikey, but then take the following week off while I became acquainted with Mikey.  Ya follow?  This was decided mid August.  

There is something to be said for gut feelings.  Lind'a family - well, my gut felt unsettled about them . . . 


Bibliomama said...

I try not to judge because I don't know everyone's circumstances but geez, you'd think if there was ONE area you wouldn't want to cheap out on, it would be who looks after your kids? I can't believe you're leaving us hanging like this!

Ernie said...

I just wish that family was honest with me when they left. We LOVED their sweet baby. You cannot put a price on that. This new family pulled a fast one on me that STILL has me reeling. Sorry for the cliffhanger but it was a long saga.

Busy Bee Suz said...

That hair!! Wow. I can't imagine trying to save money when it comes to someone caring for my baby, but I do realize that most people are on a tight budget. When our Lolo was 9 months old, I stopped working. Not only because of the cost of childcare (private home), but we factored in my drive time to work (45 minutes) with gas, wear and tear and all my dry cleaning of work clothes. :)
I have a feeling Linda's family isn't so together. All I can think of it that youtube video: "Linda, Linda, LISTEN Linda"
Our Lindsay was nicknamed Linda a few years ago because our phones always autocorrected Lindsay with Linda. So, her sister just changed her name. LOL

Ernie said...

Ha! Yes - childcare definitely a costly thing. Trust me -the people I refer to are able to handle the expense. I see what they drive, how they dress, and where they travel. Linda's family: both parents work as architects in decent jobs. It wasn't that she could not afford me, she wanted to get back to her job in downtown Chicago asap. She is a corporate architect. They barely wiped the after birth off of that baby before she went back to work.