After a 32 year old sitter (psychology major, mom to a two year old) sat on little N over a small disagreement – and proceeded to eat a meal for the next 15 minutes while still sitting on her – our belief in sitters was shaken (to put it mildly). We let her go immediately, and I worked from home in the afternoons for the next few weeks till Amma came back to us from V’s.
Now, Amma is back in India. And us, back in sitter country. We now have a new sitter – who seems mellow enough (she promised that she won’t sit on the kids), shows up on time, and occasionally cooks and bakes with the girls. She’s only available for the summer, though, so I’ve been interviewing potential after-school sitters over the past couple of weeks.
These interviews have been an eye-opening experience (especially, since my eyes are now wiiiiiiide open with all the zenning).
- One wrote to me saying she starts off the day going to the potty. I yelled out loud “WHAAAATTT?” at the computer in disbelief, and went on to read about her unmatched potty training skills. No, don’t need teasers like that. Don’t need potty training either.
- A second emailed me four times within one hour asking me to call her to discuss the position. Hmmm… perhaps I should have added to my job posting that OCDs and stalkers need not apply?
- A third kept asking about the money and whether she could bring her twin infants along, before telling me the first thing about herself and why she should be hired.
- One Einstein said that she was currently unemployed, and while she would absolutely love to watch my kids, she was busy during the hours that I needed help with – get this – looking for work (Ummm… excuse me, but aren’t I offering you a paying job right here?).
Needless to say, the quality of the applicants (or lack thereof), has been pretty dismal. And depressing.
N & I had a long conversation this morning over steaming cups of masala chai (that N had waiting for me when I came downstairs. Mmmm….). These are the sorts of people that will watch our kids when they get back from school. Sure, it’s only a couple of hours, but it all adds up in the long run. Looking back, the few filler weeks when I worked from home were amongst our happiest. Life seemed more balanced then. The pace of life was less hectic, we had more time to do family stuff in the evenings, and we had dinner at the table every night (and not just thayir sadam and sundal, let me tell you). Most of all, for me, it was magical to be at the front door when the kids jumped off the school bus and ran to me with delight, and to get those first hugs and fresh stories from their day at school.
So, after my talk with N, I walked into work and told my boss that I wanted to leave work at 3 pm every day. For the next several years. He responded with “what took you so long to ask?”. Ok, not exactly. But close. He recounted his own family’s challenges with child care back in the day when his kids were younger, and generously offered to work around whatever schedule would work for me.
As simple as that.
I learnt today that you have to sometimes just put yourself out there and ask for what you want, without imagining a million potential (unfavorable) outcomes and spinning around. That, and also, you can’t suck at what you do – in which case they will probably just say “Get Lost”. 😉
Our new schedule starts next week. You already know that I am superstitious about saying “Life is good” and stuff like that. So, I will leave you with some words of wisdom (none of which is particularly original).
Seize the day, my friend. You miss a 100% of the shots that you don’t take.