New Mama Musings

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I recently began and quit an almost-new job, all within just a few weeks.

I say "almost-new" because it involved taking care of the little girl G. I used to nanny for (now three-and-a-half), but with the addition of her baby brother C. (two-and-a-half months younger than Henry), and at my house, not theirs.

My reasons for taking this job were noble. I'd become good friends with the parents and wanted to maintain ties with them, especially since we plan to move to their end of town in a few years. Also, it was only one (ten-hour) day a week and I figured I could handle anything for just one day a week.

The mom had told me that G., always a high needs baby, had started playing on her own for long periods of time since I last cared for her and that C. was a really mellow baby who liked to hang out in his bouncy seat.

Neither proved to be true for me.

To be fair, they're sweet kids and totally normal developmentally. I just underestimated how much attention and work three kids require, and more importantly, how overwhelmed and stressed out I get when I can't do things the way I'd like.

G. would be asking, "Who will play with me?" and Henry would be making his tired moans and C. would start wailing urgently (which would in turn freak Henry out)...and I would look at the clock and see that only an hour had passed. I felt like none of the kids were getting what they needed from me, which was especially hard since one of them was my own.

Also, there were little things, like I found myself cracking and turning the TV on for G., something I vowed I'd never do with Henry. And we had stuff all over our house -- a swing for C., a playpen, preschooler-appropriate toys -- and while I realize that this happens when you have a child, it was too much clutter for my highly sensitive personality to deal with.

Okay, I sound like a big whiner. The money was good, it was just one day a week, and they brought the kids to me. And I just couldn't do it.

I did learn something from this whole mess, though, which is that no one takes care of your child the way you do.

Sure, I have a bond with G., and her baby brother was sweet, and even though I responded to their needs as best I could, when I heard them cry I didn't feel the same way I feel when Henry cries.

When my baby cries there isn't anything I wouldn't do to make him feel better. When another baby cries I just want them to stop crying, already. It's not that I wasn't loving and comforting; it's just that I was forcing it more than I ever have to force it with Henry.

So I've officially given up the working world to focus on raising my son. And aside from the guilt I feel in letting G. and C.'s family down, I'm pretty happy about it.


  • OMG, yes!!! I worked my first 2 years as a parent and relied on someone (someone who I think did a fabulous job and who agreed to watch her to help me out) to watch C. parttime. When I was able to stay home w/ C., I returned the favor for a friend. I actually did/tried it twice. And it was exactly as you said! I liked these other kids. But they weren't MY kid. Furthermore, their being around meant that I had to divide my attention and limit what MY kid got. I felt awful no matter what.

    And I vowed that I'd never have anyone else watch my kid for extended periods of time. (we still follow this, btw)

    Smart to realize it right away. Forget the guilt...


    By Blogger bfmomma, at 2:57 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home