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Jan 9, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

Yesterday was something of a momentous occasion in my little household and also marks the end of a silence I have kept on this website about this topic.

Yesterday was Colin’s last day at Cheap and Close’s daycare.

THANK GOD.

I cannot tell you how much I have agonized over this, how many times I have Googled “babysitter breakups”, how many times Patrick and I have argued over what in the world to do. I haven’t talked about the issues here simply because I didn’t want to risk her ever finding this website while Colin was still there since, to my knowledge, she didn’t know how upset I was. Though I’m not that great at hiding how upset I am, so I image that she probably knew a little bit.

Colin was always happy there, and I never felt that he was unsafe, just to say that first. C&C took reasonably good care of him, he would go to her easily, he seemed to get along well with the other kids. All that made the decision more difficult.

I have mentioned before that I was unhappy there but Colin was perfectly fine, making a switch seem selfish and bothersome. After all, couldn’t I just get over it? I rarely get to drop Colin off anyway, it’s mostly Patrick, so what do I have to worry about? Especially if Colin is so happy there. Right?

No, as it turns out, that is not right.

Throughout the eight or so months that we were there, C&C repeatedly and increasingly put me down about working so much, constantly making comments about how my working made me a neglectful and inappropriate mother. Let me give a few examples.

I wondered if Colin might be coming down with a cold. Seeing as he had just spent the day with her, I asked her opinion of his behavior. Her response: “Katie, I just don’t think you spend enough time with him to make that kind of judgement.”

C&C reminded me that we were nearly out of diapers. I said that Patrick had them in his car and would drop them off in the morning. C&C addresses Colin and, in a sing-song voice, says “You just need a mommy, don’t you?”

Upon telling her that I would not be having another baby in the near future, she said, “I think that as soon as you do, you’ll see that you just can’t leave them and you’ll stay home with them too.”

And, for you fathers/men/normal humans out there, here’s a bonus:

Patrick picked Colin up one day that she had a doctor’s appointment and her husband had taken over for a few hours, which happened to include lunch. He fed them ice cream. This may not be what I want Colin to eat every day for lunch, but once is certainly not an issue. (I have done this plenty of times, who am I to judge.) C&C says to Patrick, “It just goes to show you that kids need a mommy around. Dads just can’t take care of them the way their mothers do.”

We have certainly lodged complaints. After nearly all of these comments I will lose my temper to a certain degree and tell her that Colin already has a mommy, thank you very much, one that loves him more than anything else AND a perfectly capable daddy to boot so BACK OFF WOMAN. However, these were usually met with a chuckle and a brush off.

Which is why, when we finally – finally – found an alternative that we could both afford and live with, I took the easier way out and said that the reason we were leaving was because of her pregnancy and imminent maternity leave. (Which, in all honesty, was not entire untrue. Who closes her daycare for 8 weeks without finding a replacement? It’s not like we take him there so we can go get our nails done, you know.)

I wrestled with this for weeks, but I finally decided that telling her that we are leaving because I get short of breath upon pulling into her driveway and that the mere sight of her makes my mouth fill with acid seemed harsh and overly accusatory, especially since we weren’t giving her any chance to fix the problem. I wasn’t willing to give her that chance, as I knew I wouldn’t forgive her for those comments. That attitude is pervasive and undermining; though she might change her comments to me, I can feel her judgment of me even when she bites her tongue.

I know that his is simply a reflection of my own guilt about working and mothering. I have thought about this from every angle I can come up with and considered various options, nearly all of which end in tears. This has been the most difficult thing I have done as a mother, but I know that my family’s well being is of the upmost importance to me, and I am not happy or comfortable there. So, after looking for almost six months, we left yesterday.

Driving out of her neighborhood for the last time yesterday I expected to feel the proverbial weight lift, but instead I had the same hesitation and nervousness as always. They had a pizza party for him and made a goodbye gift. When I came in, Colin was curled up on an impromptu bed in the living room with two other kids, laughing and tickling. C&C hugged me and kissed Colin as we left, saying she would miss us.

Had I done the right thing? Was I taking Colin out of a happy and safe place to put him in an unknown situation simply because C&C bugged me? What kind of mother does that?

We went then to Colin’s new place, a business-type of daycare, for a playdate and to turn in paperwork. Colin walked right in and sat in a little chair, just his size. He didn’t cry or look worried. He looked around at the five other toddlers in his new room, taking stock of where the good toys were and who was going to be his new buddy. He picked the rug, printed with roads and littered with cars and trains, and sauntered over. Running the cars along the rug, he smiled at the little red-headed boy playing near him, who shortly thereafter came over to crash his cars into Colin’s. The boys cracked up and continued their mass collisions joyfully until we left.

I hope that Colin does well on Monday, because I don’t think I can go through another break-up.

10 Readers rock!:

Alykat said...

Oh.... my.... God. Cheap and Close would have been Cheap and Bitchslapped if I were in your shoes!
I am proud of you for keeping your cool for so long. Hope the new place goes well!

Katie said...

I agree, that woman is Cheap/Close/Crazy. I bet she appreciates that HER MD's didn't quit med school when they had kids or else she'd be having some real problems! Ridiculous.

barrie said...

Wow! Since I know how very, very nice you are (got the adorable card, thank you!!) I can guess that C & C is probably even worse than what you are saying and have to agree with the bitchslapping idea!!!

Course you know that your further description of Colin at the new place made my dog trainer's heart pitter pat to the tune of "excellent breeding, fabulous socialization and wonderful temperament" VBG

Hugs to Myra, Sally and Pickle!!!!

Emily said...

YAY! Your peace of mind with Colin's daycare provider is priceless. She sucks and I agree a bitchslap would have been justifiable!

Apryl said...

I wish you and Colin the best of luck on Monday. It definately sounds like it wasn't a good match! The nerve of Cheap & Close! It surely will make you feel more comfortable in his new setting. I think if she kept him too much longer he may pick up on her thoughts, and you wouldn't have wanted that since everyone else knows how much you love your little guy and what a wonderful mommy you are! By the way, when are we going to schedule that playdate? I'll be thinking about you Monday morning :)

Anonymous said...

what i don't understand is she earns money because you are busy and is moving towards a goal, how dare she criticize you for that

Dragonfly said...

Hooray for being out of that situation!

Long Family Chronicles said...

You are an amazing MOM and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise!! Colin is lucky to have intelligent, goal-seeking, driven parents that enjoy both careers and parenthood!! You are providing an excellent future for him as well!! Don't they know that you won't have a crazy schedule like this forever? It is only temporary!! Hats off to you for changing and I hope you will have peace about your decision!! You rock!! :)

Leonore said...

O.
M.
G.

As if working mothers don't inflict enough guilt on themselves. C&C sounds like another "C" word that comes to mind... but I'll limit myself to a "passive aggressive" observation instead.

Give Colin a kiss for me, and tell him that Anthony turned out JUST FINE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH with a mother that not only worked, but traveled (sometimes 80%) out of town.

Anonymous said...

I'm a long-time reader, but rarely comment. I recently entered the job market full-time as an RN, after going to school for 3 years part-time. When I started school, my youngest was 16 months old. I had a girlfriend have the audactiy to ask me how I could possibly have someone else raise my kid. I could've killed her.

I work because I have to AND I want to. I guess, to make more $$, I could've done a daycare or taught a few more piano lessons, but I really wanted my job to be a career and something that I could do regardless of the age of my children. Yes, there were times I HATED leaving my girls....but other times I was SO GLAD to get out of the house! A working mom/student mom is a HARD role...and as long as you and your husband are on the same page about it, ignore C & C. You have no reason to feel guilty!

Melissa