Finding out you are pregnant after months of trying is so thrilling. To bring this little life home with you from the hospital is a great responsibility that comes with no instruction manual...I mean, come on...everything ELSE does! It seemed like I was just starting to know my little guy when the bank account said it was time to go back to work. I had planned on returning after just six months and was faced with the same problem most people face...who will watch my child. For me, grandparents were not an option. For starters, my mom is not healthy enough and two...I don't feel grandparents should be put in a place to constantly reprimand their grandchildren...grammas are for cookies, not time outs!
Our local daycare does not accept children until they are a year old, so that was not an option. What I ended up doing was putting an ad up at the general store, looking for a sitter to come into our home. I found what I thought was a perfect fit to our situation. A woman who was older, like gramma, and would come to the home. Perfect right? I sure thought so.
There were issues from the start, but I am not one for confrontation ( I don't make a good boss!) So I let these little things slide, convincing myself that the convenience of having her come to our home out-weighted by far these issues I was having. I should not have been OK with her ex husband coming over every day into my home, I should not have been OK with her cutting and colouring her hair at our home, I should not have been OK with her helping herself to the food in my fridge ( not part of our original agreement, I offered it to her, but she declined) These are just a few of the things, and there are MANY more, but you get my point. As time wore on, these things bothered us more and more, however, how do you bring them up after ignoring them for so long?
Once Hayden got older, the child care situation was a less perfect fit...the energy level of a toddler and a senior are not evenly matched. At the early age of 2, Hayden no longer needed naps...bedtime at night was too hard if he did. I told her this and her response was that she felt he was too young to not nap and she would miss her daily naps. I thought she was kidding, however, I don't think she was. By the time I was pregnant with Abby, I could sense her energy level and excitement about the job was fading. She found work elsewhere for the 7 months I was off. I was in a love/hate relationship with the idea of her coming back. I had again planned on returning after just 6 months, to put the kids in daycare would mean either putting them both in somewhere in town or two different daycares until Abby was old enough to go to the local daycare. She came back to work for us and quite frankly, it was just more convenient for us. I also thought perhaps the time away from us would renew her vigor for the job. And it did...for awhile.
We started to find that the kids didn't do much under her care. Very rarely would I come home to pictures or crafts...they would be inside watching cartoons. So, we made a rule, no TV after 9 in the morning and they could spend the majority of the day outside...they do with us most of the time. But all summer long, the pool was never out and the kids were inside every time we got home ("oh we just came in the house!") In an attempt to help Hayden with his speech and writing, I asked that each day, she did at least 2 writing worksheets with Hayden as well as play a game or something like that. I started leaving the pages out, but always she would comment that he had no interest in doing them. My response...too bad, he's 4, he doesn't get to decide, I expect him to do it. My experience all along...he LOVES doing this...I wonder if she just plunked him down at the kitchen table and then sat in the living room. So, then I thought it might go better if I let him pick out his own pages and that happened for a couple days and then that stopped too! It just boggles my mind that in a house FULL of craft supplies, colouring books, paint, play doh, etc...why it wasn't used on a regular basis.
Finally, over the long weekend in September, all things came to a head. I got a phone call from another mom in town and she filled me in on details of the home daycare my sitter AND children were going to! WHAT? I had absolutely NO knowledge of this. When I asked the sitter about this after the holiday Monday, she told me this other woman was nosy and that she herself just got asked to work in this daycare. I knew right away this was a lie. I later even found a note of questions to confirm this from the week before. I suspect she thought my big issue was that she was going to work somewhere else where she could make more money. Let me be clear....I had no problem with this. You have to look out for yourself and I can understand that financially this was a great move for her, and it solved my problem perfectly. I could put the kids in daycare guilt free. I told her that I was upset that she wasn't honest and after this amount of time, she couldn't be upfront with me. She was full of denial and was not regretful or apologetic at all. The kids were enrolled in daycare that evening and scheduled to start my next working day.
I had shared my pleasure in the kids starting daycare and without names answered that we had some concerns for the well being of our children on facebook. She managed to see this and showed up on the Wednesday, yelling at me in front of the children, telling me I ruined her life and this other woman's life. I actually only said good things about this other woman and encouraged a mother to keep her kids in the daycare, despite my stories.
I have since also heard from quite a few people that she did in fact yell at the kids a lot and apparently everyone in the village, except us, knew she was going to this home daycare and my kids were going too!
I think the reason that this whole situation still haunts me is because I am full of guilt. Guilt that I didn't stand up to the issues in the first place, guilt that my kids were not as happy as they could have been, guilt that we opened our home to this woman and in the end meant nothing to her. I mean, we gave her gifts on all of the occasions, and she gave gifts to the kids. Abby 's birthday party was this weekend and Hayden asked if she was coming. I told him no and that she would not be coming to events at our house anymore. Want to know what his response was "She will be nice, because there will be other grown up's around" He didn't say this because I have filled his head with horror stories, because as far as the children are concerned, she just wanted to go work somewhere else.
I think I also feel bad because she is still watching children, and no one knows how she behaved at my home. I mean, this other woman didn't ask any questions about her future business partner, partly I think because they were so busy keeping it secret. And there is also a chance that this behaviour will never be seen (which is good) because she has another adult "keeping an eye" on her and you can't say, "you watch the kids while I go dye and cut my hair"
I still see her walking kids to school and I am pretty sure one day she had them all stopped on the side of the road while she yelled at them. Her facial expression and arm movements spoke volumes. I really hope she was just telling them an expressive story, but my gut tells me different. The worst part is that these kids won't say anything to their parents, because she is the figure of authority, or perhaps they will, but like me, they will feel their idea of mean is something mundane.
I don't hate her, not even a little...I hate that she didn't show my kids as much love and respect that I had anticipated. I hate that I didn't listen to my son and I hate that he tells me that he wasn't happy at home with her. I assured him he would not have gotten in any trouble and should always tell us when something doesn't seem right. I am also sure that she is telling everyone how horrible I am and all the mean things I said. I challenge any parent to not do the same thing if they were faced with a similar situation. I am sure there are people who are judging me based solely on her stories and that is why it is so important to understand both sides of the story before making judgements, because there is ALWAYS two sides to every story.
When I pass her on the street, she won't even look at the car, just the side of the road. Is that because of guilt? Or is her level of hatred so much greater than mine?
Hopefully this will relieve my heart and mind. I am not even going to post this link on facebook, because it's not about telling the world, it's about getting this weight off my shoulders. If I wanted to tell the world, I would make up posters that looked like this
|I did make this myself, btw|