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Oct 25, 2009

Insight

Things have been rough around here lately. The sheets haven’t been changed in weeks. There is a solid inch of dog hair in the carpet. Colin is growing something of a mullet, which is a little bit endearing, I’ll just tell you, simply because we can’t seem to find time to get him to a haircut. As for myself, well, I’ve given up trying to run a comb through my hair, yesterday’s makeup seems to work just fine (or was it the day before’s?) and showering once a week seems luxurious. What I’m saying, in clearer and less “TMI” terms, is that we’re incredibly busy and I feel like our lives are falling apart.

We keep losing bills and are confused by the reminder letters. Sometimes Colin sleeps in his clothes. Once, I went to bed in the scrubs I’d worn to work that day, and then wore them to work the next day too simply so I could sleep an extra three minutes in the morning. This is the kind of busy that we are currently experiencing. The level of exhaustion is beyond explanation. It is physically painful to see sunlight, as it has been so long that I’ve lost my tolerance for it. I constantly have the restless, ramped up feeling of too little sleep combined with too much coffee. I recently started taking vitamins again because I eat such crap at the hospital cafeteria (not used to vegetarians, eh?) that my body has started screaming at me to supplement.

How do people do this? Keep up with their lives, make sure the house doesn’t fall down, bond with their children, succeed in their fields, without totally losing themselves in the passage of time? When is there time to write about your son or read a book your sister gave you for your birthday or walk with your devoted-to-the-end dogs? How do you maintain a marriage, or a credit record?

Because of all of these questions, as well as the ones I didn’t list, Patrick and I have, over the past few weeks, strongly considered hiring a nanny for Colin. An incredibly opportunity presented itself and, combined with our current life chaos as well as our crumbling relationship with Cheap and Close, it seemed ideal. IDEAL. I mean it, that word, I mean that the situation seemed like the best thing we could think of. And we were prepared to pay anything to have it.

Except that it is not quite ideal, though it is still close. It is very expensive, as nannies tend to be. Also, the nanny is not very flexible on the hours, which is a main concern of ours. I cannot blame someone for not wanting to work more than 45 hours a week, instead of the 60 or more a week that we do, but that doesn’t leave us with an easy choice. Do we fork over the money, money we don’t have, money that will only cost us more later, for better quality care, more attention, better food and eating habits, and more fun, but still have to find even more care to make up the hours difference? Or do we find some replacement, some alternative that is not ideal, not even close, but that we can pay for and still sleep at night?

So many questions, so few answers, so little sleep.

Help me, internet. Do you have experience in this matter? Were you raised by a nanny or a slumlord and how did it shape you as a person? You could change the arc of Colin’s future by your response – hopefully he will thank you.

5 Readers rock!:

Leonore said...

oh lordy Katie, no easy answers. if a nanny can do X number of hours then perhaps daycare one day a week to cover the Y hours could balance both time and costs needs - as well as quality and social time? there is no perfect solution, so don't beat yourself up for not finding one.

now that our son has started college, we can only smile in relief that (1) we'd do it differently if we could; and (2) it all worked out just dandy despite our fumbling.

xo

GradStudent said...

I can't even imagine making those kinds of decisions!

I grew up with my mom at home. She never worked, and I never knew any different. Did I turn out perfect? Absolutely NOT!! I'm pretty sure some of my home-alone/daycare friends turned out a whole lot better (and shouldn't they be the ones having the separation anxiety issues?!?!).

Anyways... my personal thought is that taking on more debt, which will require more work in the long run to pay off, may be counter-productive. Maybe, at some point in your career you will be able to choose to work part-time, but with even more educational and other debts, it may not be an option. (I'm not advocating any one option here, just trying to point out different sides).

Are there any possible home daycare options? I have a friend who does home daycare and she charges between 100 and 200 per week, depending on the child's age and the hours.

Does the hospital have any daycare options? Ours has a daycare that is a little cheaper than others (students/residents get a small discount), but, surprisingly, it's one of the best daycare centers around. People supplement the daycare with babysitting (mostly done by med and grad students or younger nurses) to gap the hours between daycare closing and work ending.

Whatever you decide to do, please don't beat yourself up over it, because every situation is unique and every family different. You'll come up with a solution that works best for your family, your financial and work/education situation and lets you sleep at night.

Long Family Chronicles said...

Have an idea for you KT -- what if you hire the nanny for the max hours she will work and then hire a Butler student to pick up the extra hours. Maybe a student could come a few days a week and relieve the nanny until you get home? I babysat for a family all throughout college and it totally ROCKED!! You live so close. Plus, I can get you connections on campus ... specifically I could probably get you connections at the Alpha Phi house (my old sorority which is how I got my job!) Let me know!! I know that about 20-25 of my sisters babysat for families in the nearby area!! Food for thought!! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

No insight of my own, but thank you SO MUCH for sharing your experience--I am looking forward to this situation in the very near future. :(

So glad that I chose medicine, and that it chose me, but I do wish it went a little easier on my personal life.

Dragonfly said...

My mother was by times stay at home, teaching me to read at age 2 with flashcards etc/working 12 hours a day and dragging me in there in all my holidays to help as well (I only did 11 hours a day though). Haven't been locked up anywhere yet. I thought it was totally awesome that she went back and finished her degree (she is a teacher) when I was 14. When we weren't in Australia we had a housekeeper/maid. She was great, like an aunty but I certainly never got confused about who to love as my mother.

Have you thought about getting a cleaner in for a few hours a week? They are much faster than we tend to be, it is harder to "just vacuum" without getting sidetracked into lots of other odd jobs, then that is more time you can spend with Colin or Patrick, or sleep/study.
Hope it goes well.