Friday, July 2, 2010

Balance

Sometimes I swear that childcare is going to be the death of me. Like seriously, one day you will find me dead on the street and it will be because the stress of managing child care for my 3 children will have given me a coronary. We’ve had a decent system with Bud going to school this year. FIL put him on the bus in the morning and got him in the afternoon, and kept him until Hub or I came home. The girls went to daycare/preschool 2 days a week, to my mother’s 2 days a week, and then stayed home with Hub on Thursdays. Easy right?

Generally speaking it was, until you threw in the wrench of half days for Bud, or my mother being dangerously ill with pneumonia for weeks on end. We always seem to manage with some juggling—it’s nice that Hub is self-employed, but it is always hard.

Cut to summer vacation. Bud finished kindergarten last week and as we have for the past 2 years, we skipped the first 2 weeks of summer camp in favor of keeping them home and saving some money. Great idea, right? Not so much. Hub’s schedule has been increasingly busy so he hasn’t been able to be home with the kiddos. That being said, this week has left one or more of the children at home with FIL every day. Now, his cancer treatment ended weeks ago, but he is still very tired, so the week has been hard on him. Normally only 2 kids at a time go to my mom’s on her days, and one stays home for a special grandpa day. Yesterday though, he asked me whether I could take all 3 of them to my mother’s. It would have been Lucy’s day to stay home, and he said that she is hard to entertain (she is a bit….um….high maintenance). So that left me to call my mother and beg her to take all 3.

It doesn’t sound like it would be a big deal, but her house is small and the kids get on each other’s nerves. The baby requires constant attention and it’s a lot easier for her to deal with one other kid than it is for 2—I get that, they are my kids, I do it every day. But then there’s the guilt trip! “This can’t be a weekly occurrence, Sara…” (because she kept all 3 for me last Friday—but I only worked half a day) GAH! I know! I KNOW! But what is my choice here? Quit my job and live in poverty? No. Sell off one of the children? Probably not. As Swistle grandly put it last week—this situation could have been avoided if I just never had kids. Right.

But guess what: I did have them. They’re here and they require care. And while I don’t feel a sense of entitlement as in “you must take care of these children!!”, I do feel like it’s obvious that I am sometimes caught between a rock and a hard place. And sometimes people could give me the benefit of the doubt and help me out a little bit instead of making me feel guilty. Let’s not forget that I watched my baby brother daily while you worked from the time I was 12 until I moved out when I was 19. And I’m sure that I made my mother feel guilty about it, because that’s what teenagers do, but honestly it seriously cramped my style. I’m not cramping her style—my dad is at work and she doesn’t drive so what does she have going on anyway. And…AND…

Well now this has turned in to a rant about my mother and that wasn’t my intent today. I am off next week and the kids start summer camp the following week. It won’t be a big deal going forward. We’ll be good. I may even get to work from home a few days to mitigate the chaos. It will be fine.

And then it will be Autumn and both big kids will get on the bus and go to school every day. And Liv will be the only one we have to worry about coordinating. She told me yesterday “No Mommy go work. Mommy stay IN today.” I wish I could, baby doll. And maybe I will be able to spend a bit more time with just her as the kids go off to Kindergarten and first grade.

We’ll balance. We’ll manage. It is what we do.

6 comments:

Misty said...

I hear you on this. Oh! The stress! I just learned that childcare for three kids will cost us nearly 40% of my salary. And, it is not like they go to the posh richy-rich center. Basically, if I decided to move them, it would just be more expensive.

But I do think about it.

d e v a n said...

geez, what a pain! And yeah - thanks mom for the extra guilt trip! sheesh

Shelly Overlook said...

Happy vacation!!!!!

Swistle said...

This suuuuuuuuuucks. And "This can't be a weekly occurrence, Sara" is the kind of thing that gets me lying awake thinking of things I should have said in reply.

CAQuincy said...

Oh! If only there were a magic place that we could call when we get stuck like that where 1) we wouldn't have to pay out the wazoo and 2) we wouldn't have to deal with the guilt-trip (parent- OR self-inflicted).

bethany said...

Heck, your mom even guilt-tripped me into feeling guilty about having MY MIL help with my kids! Haha. Your mom is good at guilt trips.

Hope your FIL is doing ok. :)