Thursday, November 25, 2010

The babysitter

A few weeks back my boss asked me if I could work one extra day a week until Christmas. From home, if I so wished.

Being the dutiful and enthusiastic employee that I am I told him, "not on your nelly mister. I'm a full-time mother when I'm not at work." Which makes me wonder whether I'm a part-time mother when I am at work. How does that work? Full-time stay-at-home mums are full-time mums. But mothers who work part-time are still full-time mums. No wonder we feel so stressed and busy all the time. And what about those women who work full-time and are full-time mums? I'm not saying one situation is better than the other, or that one lot have it easier than the others. All I'm saying is how can you be a part-time mother? You're either a mum or you're not. Unless you only get the kids on the weekend, which is kind of part-time. Either way, I'm happy with my lot. I don't think I could be a full-time anything (stay-at-home mother, employee) whilst also being a full-time mum.

But back to my story. Of course I didn't say that to my boss. I was just checking you were paying attention. No, I told him I'd love to help out. After thinking long and hard all weekend about how I was going to fit it in, of course.

Well, therein lies the challenge. There are a lot of other things going on in my life right now, not least Christmas and lounge room renovations and some other exciting things that I will no doubt blog about very soon. I was just about fitting all my chores into Phoebe's sleep time. How now to also add an extra 8 hours of work a week?

Firstly, I employed my cleaner for an extra hour a week to do various jobs, like any laundry or ironing that I haven't got to, wiping down the leather lounge suite, emptying the bins, putting the groceries away, cleaning the kitchen and putting Phoebe's clothes away. She only ever stays for an extra half hour (and charges me accordingly) so this has been a massive help.

So that got rid of a lot of boring domestic chores that she can do whilst I take Phoebe to swimming. Then I pondered whether I should get someone else to look after Phoebe for a while. I didn't want to pack her off to daycare for an extra day. I think 3 days is quite enough and I really enjoy our morning activities. Grandparents were out as Grandpa was embedded in his work and Nan was committed to picking Phoebe's cousins up from school at the times I would want her looked after.

So I asked around for a babysitter and a friend recommended a rather lovely lady by the name of Louisa. She came to see us the very next day and we both thought she was very nice. She then went on holiday for a while and finally came to do her first babysitting job for us this week.

I was a bit worried about how it was all going to go. Phoebe had been acting most peculiarly for the last couple of days. She was a bit whingy and clingy and I wasn't at all sure what was going on with her. At swimming that morning she'd refused to do a lot of the activities and whinged whenever her head went under the water. And then having coffee afterwards she sat on the floor next to the toys staring at some other customers with a glazed expression on her face before lying face down on the cold ground. And she wasn't eating much either.

But I decided to get Louisa along anyway and to play it by ear so that Phoebe could get used to the new, if temporary, routine. Well what a surprise. Once we were all settled in I got a full 1 1/2 hours of work done WITH NO INTERRUPTIONS! I was amazed. I wasn't sure how it would go with us all being in the house. I thought Phoebe would pester me and whinge but she had a great time playing with Louisa and showing her all her toys. I popped my head in now and then to give her bits of food and they went out to the shops for a while. But all in all it was a resounding success. We shall see what next week brings.

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