Bad Mom,  Beach Bits,  Bug

beaches and babysitters

Aunt Waffy called it. It was less than a week after my surgery and Baby Bug and I were already back taking walks down to the beach. I’m so happy about that. I missed the beach. I take it personally when I can’t go look at it. I know someday we’ll have to move away (because we do want to buy a house some year, what a concept, and we’ll never be able to afford anything here) and I want to make sure I get every bit of beach out of it while I can.

My stitches don’t hurt a bit. I’m pretty sure they’re all healed and all I have left to do is peel the icky steri-tape off and take some degreaser to my stomach to get all the iodine and sticky tape residue off me. That stuff sticks! I’m washing my tan right off, just trying to get it to come off. Right now my stomach looks like I have leprosy. Yuck.

Finally, things are back to normal around here. So normal, in fact, that I’m back to my old muttering about wishing I could hire a babysitter because I just miss working on my computer so much. I’m so embarrassed to admit that.

Back in the day, when I was a kidless married person, I used to make fun of those mothers who couldn’t handle being around their kids all day. I was the baby sitting maven back then. I loved kids and wanted a baby so bad that I figured I’d NEVER need a break from MY kids. It was kinda like how I got Toby to let me have a cat. I promised that I would change the litter box every day and that I’d never ever complain about how messy cats were. Oh have I eaten every last word on that one. My cats drive me nuts.

And just like the cats, I’m eating my words about having children. I always want a break from Baby Bug. Don’t get me wrong. I love love love hanging out with her all day. I go insane when I’m without her. She’s my pal. We go everywhere and do everything together. She has a great sense of humor and keeps me laughing all day long. But sometimes… Sometimes… I just need a teeny tiny little break from her. Sometimes when she pulls on my pajama pants and they fall off down to my ankles, I get annoyed. Sometimes I just want to type something without her little hands grabbing at my knees begging to be pulled up into my lap where she will bang at my keyboard and try to eat my mouse. Sometimes I just want to be my old self who didn’t have a kid and did whatever she wanted to all day long.

I’m so ashamed that I have these feelings. What kind of spoiled brat am I that I am never happy no matter what side of the fence I’m on? I wanted kids sooooooo bad. It was a major source of contention between Toby and I and put a serious strain on our marriage that we couldn’t have kids for so long. So now that I have one, I don’t even want to complain.

That’s the rub right there. Everybody has been telling me to hire somebody to come in for a few hours a week so I can take a break and get some of my freelance work done. But I was too shy and embarrassed to ask Toby if we could afford to do this. I’ve been ignoring all your comments because in our one income family, hiring a babysitter is a luxury we just cannot afford. I should be thankful that I get to stay home all day and be a mom. Money is tight and I am so lucky that I don’t HAVE to do freelance work to pay the bills.

My problem is that I WANT to do freelance work because I love being a designer and I miss it. There, I admit it. I miss working.

So finally I just sat down and told Toby that I really miss designing. I spend every minute of Baby Bug’s naps doing chores and writing blog posts (my one and only outlet) and there just isn’t enough time left in the day…especially when her naps are only 30 minutes long and she only takes two of them a day. I learned the hard way that I can’t wake up at 5:30 every morning and then drink coffee to stay awake all night long too. I need a lot of sleep to keep up with my crazy daughter. I think not drinking water and not sleeping is what got me sick and started the whole gallbladder illness. Or at least that’s the first thing that went wrong.

You know what? Toby was cool with it. He didn’t think I was being a spoiled brat at all. We talked about our finances and he totally approved my need to have some time to myself!!!! I think the reason he had discouraged it before is because he wanted to be the one babysitting… but that just isn’t realistic. Every time we scheduled time for him to babysit, something would go crazy with his work and I’d end up resenting him because he couldn’t keep his end of the bargain. We finally agreed that we need somebody else to help. I’m so relieved that he sees my side in this. This is HUGE!! Like a ticket to sanity!

I’m so excited. I don’t even know where to start. Finding a babysitter I trust—that’s going to be the challenge. It’s going to be tricky too because I want somebody to come to our house while I’m here. I’ll probably just be in the next room over. I remember when I was baby sitting all the time, I HATED watching kids when their parents were there watching me. The kids would act up terribly and pit me against their parents. I never knew how to handle them when they disobeyed. I never have ever spanked a kid, of course, but it just feels weird and wrong using a stern voice to tell a child to stop getting up out of their chair during dinner when their father is just across the room reading the newspaper. But I guess that’s not my problem anymore. I guess that’s why the babysitter gets paid. It’s not an easy job and boy do I know it.

Anybody have any hints on hiring a babysitter? I only need two hours, two days a week.


  • Wendy

    I always thought I was weird because I would listen to my girlfriends talk about how much they miss their kids when they are away and I’d always think “I never miss my kids. I relish every moment I get away from them.” And I would feel terrible for feeling that way. Then I realized that most of my girlfriends work and spent quite a bit of time away from their kids, so no wonder they want to spend as much time with them as they can. Being a full-time at-home mommy is tough work and I often dream about those pre-kid days when I could do whatever I wanted. It’s perfectly normal. I don’t have much advice on finding a sitter. I could use one too. It took me forever to finish this comment because I kept having to edit out my kiddo’s additions. :)

  • Liane

    Oh man do I identify with this. Lately it has almost become an obsession with me, thinking about how much I need regular breaks, even just an hour or two from my kids. It’s especially hard because I have no family nearby to help out. For a long time I’ve thought about it but have been a little intimidated of the whole process–finding just the right person. I’ll be glad to hear how you find someone.

  • Lorna

    I completely understand. I have a 5 year old son and a little girl exactly one month younger than Baby Bug. We have had success with Mother’s Day Out. Ours is in a church half a block from our house and all of the workers there have had background checks and most have worked there forever. It’s also relatively inexpensive. We also have used a college girl from the local university. I placed an ad 4 years ago and interviewed several candidates. We had the same girl for all of her college years – now her sister is our babysitter. Good luck!

  • BeachMama

    I wish I had words of wisdom on a babysitter! So far I have not had to use anybody but family. And now that J goes to preschool one morning a week for 2 hours, I have the time I need to catch up with myself.

    Don’t feel badly about wanting to do a bit of work. You are so creative and talented, you should continue with your freelance work. Remember a happy Mom means a happy Baby Bug :).

  • Jennifer

    I think this is a great idea. Now that I have two kids I find that I get a break when someone watches my 4 year old because she is so much more active and demanding that my napping 10 month old :P Every Thursday afternoon I take my 4 year old to spend the night with my parents. She usually comes home Friday afternoon. That time alone is my sanity.

    I hope you’re able to find someone you’re comfortable with and that Baby Bug likes. I just watched a 6 month old in addition to my two and I was so afraid the 6 month old was going to cry at the sight of me, haha. Luckily she was all hugs and grins for me and we all had a great day together.

  • Beck's Mom

    There has to be some reliable, kid-loving home schooled high schoolers in your area who could help you – esp. during school hours. Some Christian schools have a homeschooling program. Ask for recommendations at local churches. You might drop me a note, and I can refer you to a mom in Costa Mesa.

  • Gramma

    When I went back to work after children it was because it was cold in my Japanese house. By that time all the children were in school. BB was in Japanese kindergarten and SMc was in high school. Nevertheless, it was the oldest who minded my not being home the most. She did not relish coming home to an empty house. I believe you do need a break now and then. Get BBug used to someone else for your own mental health. Even a lonely grandma would babysit. There must be some in your area. Ask your cousin BZ.

  • Sara

    Of course Toby understood! That’s great that you’ll have the time. I recommend Craiglist. At least up here, we’ve found wonderful women to take care of our girl (of course we had to do A LOT of weeding, so to speak). The church option sounds good too; I’m sure you’ll find someone who lines up with what you need.

  • foodmomiac

    I’ve had a nanny at my house for almost five years now – first for my daughter, and now for my son. We’ve had about 6 or 7 of them at this point. My biggest tip is to keep your eyes and ears open! One of our best nannies was from the salon. I was there getting my legs waxed, and she was the receptionist. She watched my daughter for me while I was getting my service, and then asked if I needed a nanny!!
    We’ve also had luck placing ads in the paper of a local University, and looking on Craig’s List and I like older girls. All of our sitters have been over 20. I think they are more responsible, but YMMV. Be sure to check references, of course, and you’ll probably want someone with CPR and First Aid certification. Also, keep your mind open to adding more hours. I bill out way more than what I pay our sitter, so it’s worth it for me to have her more hours – I end up making a profit.

  • Daisy Mae

    That is so great that Toby is so supportive of you! You are lucky to have such a wonderful man in your life. Just make sure you follow your gut instincts with a babysitter. If everything looks perfect but your gut feels uneasy follow your gut! There is alot to be said for mommy intution!

    As for your tape stickies that are probably still hanging around the incision sites, I always use alcohol swabs and that takes it right off with no fuss no muss. I am an insulin dependant diabetic and have them around always, but you can get the generic kind at the drugstore for 99 cents to 1.99. Or get a small bottle of rubbing alcohol. works like a charm on the stickies and also on the brown/yellow betadine left on you. If you do nothing it will eventually all wash off in the shower or tub with soap and water. That’s my nurse tip for the day, now back to your regularly scheduled program. :-)

    PS. I am glad you are feeling so much better and I am especially glad you are able to eat again!!!

  • Karoni

    I think it’s very important to get away. It’s important for you and for Baby Bug. The next couple years are going to be very difficult as she is going to become even more demanding of your attention. By having someone else take care of her she’ll realize that she doesn’t need mommy all the time.

    I go to the gym every morning and take my little one with me to the child care there. I get two hours to take care of myself and burn off all my frustrations. You might want to try getting a gym membership that has child care. It really works.

    Lastly, I’m off to Vegas this wekeend. My first time away from the baby and his big brother. I’m having a girls weekend and I can’t wait. You want to come!!

    Oh – one more thing. I have a great babysitter if you need one. E-mail me or call me and I’ll tell you more about her.

  • Sleepynita

    Sometimes I just want to be my old self who didn’t have a kid and did whatever she wanted to all day long.

    My feelings exactly, yet I yearn for my son every second I am away from him (but wa more then happy to get a babysitter for a haircut yesterday)!

  • chris

    I can only recommend a couple of books:

    Mommy Wars (great insight on stay at home vs working moms and trying to find balance)

    Searching for Mary Poppins (this is more about finding a nanny, but also about the mother’s relationship with the caretaker of her children)

  • Bethany

    See, Internet?!? SAJ was right, Toby really is wonderful! :-)

    I think wanting your old, pre-baby life back is partly due to having a baby later in life. You had longer to get used to doing your own selfish thing. No moral judgment there–you just don’t have to think about others as much when you don’t have kids! I’ve gone through some of the same, having gotten married at 20 and not having my daughter till 29. It’s a huge, huge adjustment. But meanwhile, you always have the beach!

  • lin

    I don’t know when you’ll need this babysitter but if the time isn’t as important you can try your local highschool mine have child development classes and teaching the young child alot of them are intrested in baby sitting and have been taught alot about children. thats how i first started. also two 30 minute naps thats crazy i wouldn’t be able to do it we had 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon till about 16 months he’ll be 2 on friday and we’re down to one 2 hour nap. YOU NEED THE TIME and both of you will be refreshed. hope it all works out for you.

  • MamaBear

    Oh Saj! I feel your pain and share your wishes.
    Why are all mothers cursed with this dilema of wanting to be the SumerMom, good at everything? We want to be the primary care giver to our babies, don’t want to miss a moment with them. Yet we also want to work, be good at it, enjoy it and contribute. We want to be great family members, wifes, house keepers on top of that. If only days were longer… If only babes went to bed at 7pm every day and then we wouldn’t get tired until let’s say midnight? That would give us some more time, woudn’t it?
    I’m torn the same way, except I work a full time job outside of home and have a part-time photography hobby that is evolving. I love photography but it takes me away from her. I love baby but when I’m with her I can’t do photography….. We have it all what we wanted and now we don’t know how to do it all the best way we can. Does it ever get any easier, i wonder. Maybe when they go to school?

    I admire you for making this important decision. It seems like the right one to me. I think it will do good to you, BabyBug, and your marriage too. Just don’t be surprised if you miss her terribly during this time and find yourself “checking in” on her instead of working. Hee hee

    And I admire Toby for his support of your decision. Toby, you’re the Man.
    Hope all goes well. And BabyKikki and I are so glad you’re feeling better.

  • klcdh

    You might want to check a local college for a student studying early childhood education. The couple hours a week that you are looking for might be perfect for their schedule and who knows maybe they can get some sort of credit for it. Often when they are taking those corses they are trained in CPR – emergency procedures etc. Good luck with your search.

  • stavroula

    Hi, I’ve had exactly the feelings that you’re describing – I totally understand the mix of guilt and frustration (and guilt ABOUT the frustration…). Honestly, I think that almost all of us go through some version of this struggle. It seems to me that you are doing just the right thing- figuring out how to get enough time for yourself to get that sense of balance back.

    I agree with the suggestions to maybe try looking at a local college. An OC friend of mine found her part-time sitter through UC Irvine; I think that this is the link to the job listing page:

    Good luck!

  • aunt kathy

    I hope you got BB a hot chocolate.

    Seriously, I think you’ll find BB becomes less “clingy” when she starts to walk. She sounds so much like my #1 who was very attached– a result of me being very attached. There’s nothing wrong with attachment. I bet you’ll find that she’ll be very well ajusted, with lots of friends later on.

  • laura

    Since you’re going to be around when the babysitter is there, you might want to give college kids a try. Try placing an ad in a local college newspaper for a babysitter a few afternoons a week. You’ll be on hand to meet him/her and observe him/her with Baby Bug. If you end up not liking one, you’ll probably have a list of other respondents.

  • HF

    we have a babysitter who comes into our home 3 days a week for 4 hours at a time. a bit longer than what you want – but similar set up as we work from home too.

    Some train of thought tips on once you find somebody:

    – have her come over for an afternoon to show her the ropes and where everything is (diapers etc). Let baby bug interact with her. Maybe eat a meal together. Show the sitter the way you like things done and give a tour of your house.

    -ask her to incorporate walks with babybug that last at least 45 minutes. You have true peace when your little one is physically out of the house.

    -print out a sheet that has things like “what she ate” “drank” “toilet” so that you know where babybuy stands when the sitter leaves. I started doing this because I would end up talking to our sitter for ages about it, and that cut into everyone’s time.

    Write down some notes about baby bug to take home with her and “study”. It sounds corny, but it helps! (What her favorite acitivity is, what she doesn’t like etc.)

    Good luck!

  • Bekah

    I did this exact same thing last year. I used a college student who LOVES babies. I would work at my laptop in the neighboring room while they played in the living room or outside. I paid her $15 to babysit for two hours (but we live in Arkansas where everything is cheaper). We did this twice a week and it was AWESOME. Sometimes I worked on freelance; other times I simply paid bills. GOOD LUCK finding the right person. I’m happy for you… you have NO reason to feel guilty about wanting/needing a break. It’s normal and healthy. :)

  • alaskalark

    Hi, I’m mostly a lurker, but I thought I’d chime in on this one. I do freelance consulting from home. Two teenage girls each come once a week for three hours. I know them from our church and they walk over from the local high school. They are great with my two kids (5 and 2) and I trust them completely. Usually I am right there at home with everyone though sometimes I’ll run out for a meeting or something but I am always reachable on my cell phone. For three hours, I pay them $20. When I consider my hourly rate-and the amount of sanity the time brings to me, it’s a bargain.

  • Carmen

    Oh, GOOD for you for being able to get a break. Grab it and run with it. It will do you a world of good.

    All of the suggestions here are awesome.

    And, I’m so glad that you are feeling better!

  • Leta

    I don’t have a sitter but my daughter goes to a Mom’s Morning Out program at a local church for three hours one day a week (and they have two days available if you want) and it is VERY reasonable and we love it. Maybe you could look for something like that? A friend of mine hires college kids to watch her kids and has good luck with that. If it is only for 2 hours maybe they could take BBug out for a walk or to the beach so you wouldn’t all be in the house at the same time to avoid that weirdness.

  • Andrea

    BBug is two months younger than my daughter, and there are so many similarities between them sometimes that it makes me laugh. I’m a single working mom and have had my daughter C. in family home daycare since she was 8 weeks old. there are many child development centers that have a ‘drop in’ program that may be an option for you as well…that way she’ll get some interaction with other little ones and you’ll feel better knowing that everyone is trained and has a background check. It is piece of mind knowing that and there is the added bonus that at 11 months, 2 weeks, my daughter interacts well with others and even shares! And my daycare provider has become a close friend as well. Good luck on your sitter search–you deserve to have some time carved out of the day just for you!