Bad Mom,  Beach Bits,  Life Lessons,  Moody Blues

Nothing a little cold water can’t cure…

Something happened today that really got me down. Like down in the pits, down. In the scheme of things, it’s not really that big of a deal. Maybe it got me so down because everything has been going so great lately. Conference, Christmas, Chuckie E. Cheese, Baby Bug’s party… it’s just been fun fun fun non-stop. So maybe I’m feeling a little bit anti-climactic. There isn’t any real big event on the horizon that I’m looking forward to. BUT there was something I was really looking forward to. One more big thing.

Today was supposed to be Baby Bug’s first day with a babysitter. I finally hired a girl that looked so perfect on paper, it was silly. She’s an intern at the local hospital in the labor and delivery unit (babies!), TB tested, CPR certified, background checked up the wazoo, a pre-med student studying to be a pediatrician at a local prestigious college AND she teaches art to kids at a local art store. Could you find a more perfect babysitter? I don’t think so. Maybe she could be a chef too.

So what happened? Well, she didn’t show up. She emailed me an hour before our appointed time and said she was sick. Being sick is a really good excuse not to babysit but it just bummed me out to the core. I was really really looking forward to tackling my mountain of freelance work. Not to mention, I need to pay some bills. I’ve been putting things off for months, knowing that help was on the way.

She said in her email that she called and my phone says I have one missed call so she’s not lying… but she didn’t leave a message. She should have left a message. Why didn’t she leave a message? Why didn’t she call yesterday and say she was feeling punk and she was worried she shouldn’t come… I feel so betrayed and I shouldn’t. College kids can be flakey. Lord knows I was. I can remember lots of times I bailed out of commitments just to go ride roller coasters on the boardwalk with my friends. Being sick is not that evil. Why am I so upset by it?

I’m just bummed because I feel like a lot is resting on this and I feel like my whole business plan has been flushed down the toilet. How’s that for all-or-nothing-thinking? How am I ever going to get back on my feet with my little company if I’m relying on a babysitter who could just get sick at an hour’s notice? What if I had a meeting or a press check? Or I had to get a disk in the mail before a fed ex deadline? What would I do? Haul Baby Bug with me? I guess so. I guess this is what single mom’s deal with all the time.

The thing is, I don’t have to work. Toby provides for us. But I want to work. I splurged on Baby Bug’s party, knowing I could earn the cash in a month to pay off what I put on my credit card. I don’t want to have to ask Toby for more money. He doesn’t understand things like ordering a custom stamp of your kitty design so you can stamp the paper cups but it didn’t work out because the cup surface was too slippery and the stamp just smudged. He doesn’t want to know about wasting money like that. So I don’t tell him. I just earn my own money on the side and waste it the way I want to waste it. But how am I going to earn money if I can’t depend on a babysitter?

Not showing up for one appointment isn’t really that serious. It’s just that it was our first appointment and it feels like a bad start. I’ve been really nervous about this anyway and now I feel like it’s never going to work out. I have to start the whole finding-a-babysitter-process (which took me what—three months?) over from square one. I haven’t written her back yet. I don’t know what to say. I’m afraid if I tell her the truth about how disappointed I am, I’ll just give her a guilt trip and where will that get us? No where. Maybe I won’t write her back and I’ll leave her hanging like she left me. I have the other seven applicants I can call up and see if they’ll take the job even though they know they’re sloppy seconds.

They really aren’t sloppy seconds. They are all fantastic girls but when I wrote them back to say I had hired someone else, I asked if they would be interested if my first choice didn’t work out and only one of the girls wrote me back saying yes. What happened to the other six? I don’t know. I guess this is why everybody says it’s so hard to find a babysitter. Everybody looks great on paper but when it comes down to the knitty gritty, they flake. Why am I being so harsh? It’s not like my whole life depends on this. It just feels like it.

This is going to be a long blog post. I can feel it. I apologize. I haven’t had anyone to talk to for the last two days. Toby is out shooting in the desert and he won’t be home until tonight. I think that compounded my bummed-out feelings. I can’t think of any better companion than Baby Bug but she doesn’t really want to hear me hash it out. We’ve had a blast just the two of us hanging out being bachelors. But when the babysitter didn’t show up, I felt like crying and I HATE it when I cry in front of Baby Bug. I don’t want her to ever know there is any sadness in the world. Silly Brenda. Crying over a no-show babysitter. You’d think I have pms or something but I don’t. I checked.

I toughed it out and packed up Baby Bug and went to the grocery store. Nothing like distraction. Then after lunch, in an act of rebellion, I unfolded my futon on Baby Bug’s floor and took a long two hour nap with her beside me. She never takes two hour naps. I never take naps with her. I have too much work to do. Maybe we both needed a long nap. It was nice. There is nothing sweeter than snuggling with a cuddly baby. I don’t think she even knew I was sad. Or maybe she did and that’s why she slept right beside me with her little hand on my arm.

When we woke up, I forced myself to go down to the beach so Baby Bug could play with her new sand toys that she got for her birthday. It was kind of a cold windy day but not by any means not a beach day. Going down to the beach was the best medicine. There’s something about forced fresh air and icy cold waves at your feet that demand you get over your woes. The surf is like a freezing cold reality check. It just wakes you right up out of any stupor you might be in.

As I gathered up some sea water in Baby Bug’s small pail, I shook off the cruddy burden that was weighing me down and flung it into the wind. It’s just one small little blip in life. I’ll get my business up and going again. I’ll find a babysitter. I’m not going to let one little no-show stop me. It’s just not going to be as easy as I thought it was going to be. Not everything is easy peasy. Duh.


  • beck

    Aw man, what a disappointment. I’d give her another chance though. She can’t be sick forever – call her up and see how soon she thinks she can reschedule.

    I know when I was in college (and doing FAR less than she is) my schedule was so packed I literally didn’t have time to think very far ahead, which may have contributed to her late notice, probably combined with her hoping she’d feel normal enough to do it. Or, then again, maybe we’re both just poor plan-aheaders. =)

  • Tom the Trucker

    Brendy… it’s me Dad. I’m writing from CC’s blog. I think you are being too hard on yourself and the babysitter. At least she e-mailed you. She could have totally left you out in the cold. You have to give her the benefit of the doubt. She probably was really sick. Remember your troubles a few months ago. Let a little time go by, you will know if this girl is right for you and BB. OK?

  • Jennifer

    Sorry to hear it just didn’t work out today. I HATE being dissapointed like that and understand all your feelings in this post. I’d just try to let it all go and start fresh with the same babysitter.

  • Oopsy Daisy

    What a bummer. Its for the best that you found out she was unreliable from the start though. And come on, if you are sick you know it more than an hour before you are to show up. And an email instead of a call? Unacceptable and not responsible at all. Sorry, but I think this was a red flag.

    I had every bad babysitter and daycare provider on the East Coast. I learned in the end that if it looks too perfect to be true, it is. Follow your gut instincts and you can’t go wrong.

    You are a good Mom and very in tune with Baby Bugs needs. The right babysitter will come along and you will know it when she does. Hang in there!

  • Bethany

    Maybe you could get two regular baby-sitters, and they could share the burden–trade off days or weeks or whatever. That way you would feel better knowing you had a back-up, and they wouldn’t feel as dragged down by work. Maybe this won’t work for your situation, though.

    And for what it’s worth, I second Beck’s and your dad’s comments to give this girl a second chance. She probably is really sick (it *is* flu season, even in CA), and it just came on suddenly. Once in college I had to call in sick on my first day of work because I woke up at 5AM with laryngitis AND pink-eye. I felt like such an idiot calling in sick on my first day at a new job. And your girl did email you. I’d give her another chance. And I think you should tell her you were disappointed, because if she was flaking off you shouldn’t let her totally off the hook–she should know that she was letting you down. You know, “I hope you’re feeling better. Baby Bug and I were so excited about your first day with us, and we were disappointed to hear you couldn’t make it at the last minute. Luckily, I didn’t have any big plans, but we were bummed all morning.” Something like that, maybe?

  • OMSH

    There is nothing sweeter than snuggling with a cuddly baby. I don’t think she even knew I was sad. Or maybe she did and that’s why she slept right beside me with her little hand on my arm.

    You are doing the most perfect thing by getting it off your chest. This little bit above melted me. It is how I feel when I crawl into bed with my youngest, the youngest of 3. He’s four. I miss 1, 2, and even 3.

    This will work out. Your intentions are wonderful. Your heart is big. You entrance with your creativity. Trust that it’ll be alright.

  • Sara

    Oh, I’m so sorry you are bummed! I am sure it will all work out, but I’d definitely be honest with the babysitter. She needs to know why you are nervous going forward, but I would give her another chance. Perhaps she could give you more notice next time…
    Best of luck! Pink kitty will be coming to my house soon!

  • Carrie

    I’m sorry you were so bummed! I would have been disappointed too. I build these things up in my head and feel like the world is ending when they don’t go my way. I’m with those who think you should give the girl another chance. Maybe I’m just projecting myself on her, but maybe she really was sick and was going to try to push through and in the end realized she couldn’t. I also like the idea of hiring two sitters so you have a back up.

  • stavroula

    It makes a lot of sense to me that you would feel really disappointed, to the point of crying, when the first planned babysitting day fell through like this. Isn’t it a pretty big deal, both good and bad, that you are going to have someone else (non-family) regularly be with your baby for a few hours? So you probably have lots of built-up emotions and under the radar thoughts that all went a little haywire when the babysitter suddenly cancelled. Plus the fact that she emailed instead of calling didn’t give you the chance to talk over her not coming with her, which might have been more settling than having to figure out just from her message whether you should worry that she is a bit flaky.

    Maybe, since you liked her a lot in person, you could propose setting up another babysitting time soon (once she is well again)? Depending on how that turns out you can feel better about deciding whether to move on or stick with her a bit.

    Figuring out what to do when the babysitter cancels is so hard. Someone always has to give up on plans at the very last minute. The parents in our house have both been back working for 5 months now and we still don’t have a smooth routine or plan for what to do when this happens.

  • mel

    I would have felt the same way. Being on the verge of spending some time doing something just for you, then called off. Total bummer. It will all work out in the end. I would be honest with her and let her know your expectations. That way, in the future, you set the guidelines, and if she doesn’t met them, then you can feel confident in moving on to someone who can.

  • Lin

    Brenda, I don’t know if there’s such a child drop-off center near you as there is near my daughter but perhaps you could make a few calls and find out. Here’s the skinny: my elder granddaughter (now 5) went to Hollywood Presbyterian pre-school. Great little place. Within the facility (but separate), they have a baby/toddler drop-off with trained, fabulous staff and just a wonderful spot for a baby to nap or play or interact with other little ones. You can leave young children for up to three hours. Not as perfect as a regular, skilled sitter, but a good alternative if you’re just stuck. So maybe if you call Hollywood Pres, they could give you some ideas for such services in your area. Just an idea. Something that may help you out if such a situation arises again (with a no show sitter). Give this one another chance. Tell her you’re really looking forward to her coming. Don’t get pissed. Give her one more chance and be positive. Take the high road. I guarantee you that if she’s as good as she sounds, she’s feeling pretty crappy just now…either guilty or sick or both.

  • Elizabeth

    I think there is nothing better than a snuggle to pick you up. I love it when Hunter snuggles up to me when I am sad or tired or just plain zoming out. He knows, even though I try hard to hide it from him, and he is a real person to give me his little bit of sympathy. I hope that things work out with this babysitter, she sounds great. Good luck.

  • Deeleea

    Sigh. The boot’s on my other foot!

    I’m a babysitter and my agent has totally let me down for the whole of the last month! The new agency owner doesn’t know me, doesn’t know how flippin great I am and one of my regulars called up on Thursday to book me and the agent didn’t contact me at all! In fact didn’t book any babysitter letting me and the client down. It blows.

    I’m starting to wonder if I should stop relying on babysitting cash and just keep doing web stuff… but as a single girl who loves kids and has none the babysitting keeps me grounded.

    So, I’m sorry SAJ that I’m not just around the corner so I could get a kid fix in the form of your adorable Bug and could be the FAB sitter I am so you can be the FAB designer you are!!! Then we’d all be less bummed this weekend!

  • Irish Mistery

    Disappointment sucks and there is also nothing wrong with you feeling that way! Maybe you should give her another chance….in my humble opinion (who the heh am I anyway?) you should let her know how much you were looking forward to having her babysit (let her know how great she is) and also present some future boundaries (what the plan will be when she’s sick and needs to inform you or when some other emergency comes up for either of you)…here’s hoping it will work out!

    PS-there is nothing better than a snuggle with your babe and you’re right, the waves and cold air…

  • BeachMama

    Sorry you had to go through the disappointment. It really sucks when you are gearing up for something and it doesn’t quite work out for you. I know the feeling when you plan and plan and then it doens’t happen. I liked the idea of having two sitters available for you, that way you would have a back up if you really needed it. Your business will get going again, it will just take a few extra days :).

    Can’t wait to hear how it goes.

  • Samantha

    Snuggling, naps with your sweet girl – you’ve got to do it. I can understand you’re feeling a little blah after all the activities of the past months. And having a babysitter cancel nearly at the last minute has GOT to be a big let down. Especially when you need a break! (it’s okay to need a break!) But it will all work out and yes, please give this girl the benefit of the doubt. College can make you crazy. :)

  • Miffy

    First off, I usually love your site. But today, quite frankly I just want to say “Wah!” to you. Oh! You poor little thing. The babysitter you’ve hired just to work on your personal stuff didn’t show? Aw, you had DRAG yourself down to the beach to feel better because you had no one to whine about it to as your wonderful husband who provides all the money your family needs is away WORKING? You had to indulge and NAP for 2 hours just to feel better about that incredibly self-centered babysitter who had the nerve to get sick and leave you hanging in your beautiful home with your beautiful daughter and just hours and hours of NOTHING REAL TO WORRY ABOUT.

    Many people are stood-up by babysitters who they rely on to be there so that they can feed and clothe their families. If the sitter stands them up, many women have to make adjustments like taking the kids to work, working extra nights or weekends (while still doing motherly duties) to make up for it or other damage mitigations to avoid losing their jobs. Many women and men don’t have a partner to even help with, much less to provide all of, the monetary support. Many women would absolutely KILL to have 2 uninterrupted hours with their child that was just frivilous and not fraught with bathing, planning for tomorrow, feeding, cooking, cleaning, being burned out from work, worrying about making ends meet…etc.

    Maybe you should just count your blessings.

  • Gretchen

    Miffy – let’s play nice, now. This is Brenda’s forum to write what she pleases. I think we can all relate to a time that overwhelmed us. Clearly you have a lot on your mind right now.

    Brenda- I can understand your frustration. Before writing her completely off (would you rather her have come sick?) plerhaps lay down the ground rules – like – if you think you can’t make it, let me know asap. Maybe next time if she’s sick, she could call (and leave a message) the day before? Also, I second the idea of having a second, or backup sitter. Or have you looked into a babysitting co-op? Before we moved I belonged, and we’d trade time in 1/2 hour increments. If you’d like to know more, I’d be happy to share! Until then remember…

    This too shall pass.

  • Dallas

    Hi SAJ, I haven’t commented for a long time, but have always been reading. I think your feelings are understandable b/c you’re nervous about the relationship working out. If this had happened when you were dating, and a guy emailed you to cancel a first date, think of the hours of analysis that would have taken place with your girlfriends ;) I will most likely need to hire a sitter for the summer (I have one now but she has school-aged kids and will want to be with them during vacation) and I’m already dreading it.

    Maybe you could gently let her know that you prefer a telephone call b/c you might not always check email on time? I agree that was a little strange that she didn’t leave a message, but maybe she was nervous about it also.

    Anyway, it’ll work out. Wishing you the best!!

    p.s. I’ve framed the Christmas card illustration you did for me of my three boys in 05. It’s up in my office and always makes me smile :)

  • Bethany

    SAJ, I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to count your blessings, but I have to say I think Miffy’s tone with you was needlessly sarcastic. Just because you’re thankful that you don’t have to worry about the essentials doesn’t make your fears and worries any less real or troublesome to you.

    Besides, I don’t think you were really that upset about spending an extra few hours with Baby Bug. I would guess that most of your emotions stemmed from the fact that this is a big step for a SAHM, picking another caregiver and entrusting your child to her, and you were all geared up for it to happen and then it didn’t. So now you have to pysch yourself up again to do it another day. Yes, many thousands of mothers all over the world leave their child(ren) with caregivers every day, but the point here is that YOU and BB have never been in that situation, and it’s a biggie.

  • stavroula

    Hmm.. I have to say that the Miffy comment is very unfair to you, in my opinion. I think that I’ve known some people for whom that sort of comment would be appropriate- people who chronically complain and seem not to notice how good they’ve got it. You just don’t come across like that at all (not usually, and not in this particular post).

  • josephine

    Thanks guys. Thankfully I’m over my little pity party. I’m not sure why it really got to me so bad but in the end I do have to be super thankful because things work out most of the time for me. I haven’t experienced disappointment like this since… I don’t know. Way back… I can’t even remember… maybe the time Toby was three hours late for a date? So in perspective it’s all silly and I know that even if she doesn’t work out I’m still going to be able to keep my little freelance company going. It just felt like a blow but it wasn’t… it’s just a challenge.

    Thank you to everybody who is so supportive and also thank you to Miffy for being honest with me. Sometimes I want to pretend I’m a commenter and say mean things to me too because man, you guys are always so nice to me! There must be somebody out there who hates my guts. So if you ever see someone commenting under the name “Anti-Brenda” you’ll know it’s my evil twin.

  • Kedge

    That’s my girl! Get it all out, vent! vent! vent! Put it behind you and go on. You need to purge and you need to write. That’s what I expected all along. This has always been your way. It’s healthy. It’s productive and it’s healing because it’s out there, then it’s gone.

  • sarah gilbert

    I totally feel your pain with the crying. I can still remember like it was yesterday when my mom and dad would fight or be really worried over something (it was usually money, and they had a great relationship and are still lovingly together but you know…) it would always affect me to the core, and I would feel like the world was charged with wrongness, my mom was sad! if she would cry, oh, that was really the end of the world. I vowed never to let my own children know I was sad, if I was.

    and yet. here I am in my real life with my real kids and last night I was sobbing in the kitchen — my husband was 45 minutes late getting home and i was pregnant and hormonal and tired and starving and at-the-end-of-my-rope. and my oldest son yelled into the kitchen, “mommy, please stop crying NOW!”

    I couldn’t even stop, until my husband called two minutes later to say he was almost home, with dinner. I’ll never achieve my ideal, my kids will know sadness, but hopefully they’ll know way more happiness. that’s my two cents :)