I did have a fun post planned for tonight. I might still post it as it’s all done but the editing and photos, but two things came up. Tonight was the last Mama Renew session, and I’d known about it but wasn’t sure to be honest that I was going to go. It just seemed like huge work to get out of the door. But tonight came around and yes, I wanted to do it, even though it wasn’t convenient at all.

The first thing that came up about the post that I’d written came out of the Mama Renew session. I’ve realized that I’ve fallen into the trap of adventure and memories being just a product of what we do. I’ve been writing trip reports, but our adventures are more than just that. So I need to re-direct a little.

The second thing was that it was pointed out to me on my return that tonight was mildly inconvenient for my downstairs neighbour. That I should be able to plan these evenings. And he’s right – except that I can’t plan my way out of a paper bag these days. I very specifically said that if he had other things planned, it was okay, and I did my best to not make it sound pathetic. I know I can’t expect them to drop everything for me. I said I would be back at nine-thirty-ish. I recognize that not everyone understands that ‘ish’ means around that time probably later and I should be more specific. I also haven’t asked them to look after him, except for one really un-plannable breakdown  moment, in two months.

It’s hard enough for me to ask neighbours to look after Cameron. That’s part of the reason it’s so hard for me to plan, because I hate asking. But dammit, I deserve to be able to, every now and then, need a spontaneous break. I deserve to be able to change plans now and then. I deserve to be able to ask for help at a time when I’m not screaming at the top of my lungs having a breakdown because I cannot handle one more second.

And now I feel like shit, because now I feel like I can’t ask them.


7 responses to “Crap.

  1. I’m sorry you had a bad evening.
    Maybe time to cultivate relationships with other sitters? Professional, even. Is there a nanny service in the area that provides babysitting? The ones here aren’t cheap, but it doesn’t sound like you need some one that often. And they don’t complain about last-minute notice if it happens. That way you don’t have to deal with guilt when you’re out.
    We’ve just started (or will start this weekend) getting a sitter once a month. It’s Daniel’s music teacher. We were just chatting about jobs she had on the side and she said she did this, so weve signed up for the third Saturday each month. I’ve only left him about 4 times in his life, so i’m sure it will be traumatic for all of us. Who am i kidding – it will be traumatic for me.

  2. I think you need to learn to plan, Mel. You DO deserve nights out, but in order to do that, you have to work with other people. Even if all it means is changing your FB status to “Can anyone sit for me on Monday between X and Y?” Asking people at the last minute is going to cause bad feelings, unless it is an emergency.
    Remember how we felt when our old neighbour used to spring babysitting on us? And how we resented her? THAT is how your neighbours feel.
    I’m not sure there is much room for spontaneity in our lives at this point, unfortunately. Tis the sucky part of parenthood.

  3. Joanne, I love that you can come out and say the truth, and I love how you do it. Thank you.

    You’re right. I do remember feeling like she was taking advantage of us, and being rude in that she was implying that we didn’t have anything better to do.

    Through an odd series of events, I wound up on the veranda with one of the neighbours just now. And I apologized to her, telling her briefly about that woman and how I felt back then, and that I can see that I was doing pretty much what she had done.

    I’ll apologize to the other two as well.

  4. First off, hugs my friend. I can see, feel, sense just how much you need a break. Sometimes I hesitate to reply, since, though I know we are very close, I’m not a parent. But, I’m going to stick my nose in anyhow.

    I know that you’re in the best place possible for your circumstances and I wouldn’t wish the other (unthinkable) option for you. But, the truth is with your family at the other end of the country you don’t really have anyone who can take C. for a week (or even a weekend) to give you a solid vacation, as much as you need that. Badly. So even though that is perhaps the ideal, what it seems to me, is that the next best thing is to plan.

    It’s hard to plan, you don’t like asking for help anymore than I do. I understand that reluctance. We’ve talked about doing more of the Smartcookies thing, and perhaps figuring out how to afford sitters more needs to be a part of that so that you can go out guilt-free — after all there’s no guilt when you’re hiring a professional right?

    A quick google search gave me this link: it’s a local company that charges $18/hr min 3 hrs.

    Do you have vacation time? Can you book a day off as a personal vacation day — C goes to daycare and you get a break?

    Remember cleaning out C’s bedroom before he was born? Remember how stressful that was, and eventually you just bit the bullet and did it. So for now, my challenge to you my friend, is between now and the end of the summer (say the labour day long weekend) pick 3 evenings that you want off to yourself. I’d challenge you to post them here too – for accountability and all that. Challenge #2 is to figure out childcare ahead of time, but just like with the room step one was to clean it out, step two came later which was to haul away what needed to be tossed. So Challenge #2 comes later.

    For now, I think the best thing you can give yourself is to plan breaks rather than relying on spontaneity to give you the break you need. Cherish the spontaneous breaks as extras.

  5. $18/hour is waaaaaaaaay too much. Waaaaaaay too much. $10/hour is more than generous.

    I’d suggest doing switch offs with your neighbours. Offer to take Samuel for them to have a date night in exchange for them taking Cam for a night. But again, you need to plan this in advance.

    If you ask ahead of time, I’m happy to come over as well. I’m cheap, too. A glass of wine or cup of tea is all I need. Of course, if I can’t come, I can’t come and I’ll tell you that 🙂

  6. A fellow BBC mama here, who lurks on all the old January 06 blogs from time to time…

    I felt compelled to post, because yesterday I too had a run in of a slightly different nature with my sort of sister-in-law. She and my DH’s brother are the only family we’re able to have sit for us, and they’ve been generous with their time, but there was a tense discussion yesterday over a completely unrelated matter and it too left me feeling like I can’t ask them for help with the kids now.

    The good thing is we just recently found a sitter: She used to do fill in work for our home daycare and lives nearby. She’s a grown up, very responsible and very flexible in terms of her availability. I feel comfortable having her stay with the kids and they respond well to her. I feel incredibly lucky. We pay her $10/hr.

    Can you ask around Cameron’s daycare and see whether the other parents have anyone to recommend? Or ask the daycare provider herself if she knows of anyone? Taking the ‘favour’ element out of the equation has really made me feel better about arranging for childcare and in a funny way, I am a better planner for it. For real!


  7. Perhaps your neighbor didn’t intend to make you feel guilty but merely needed to speak plainly. Time may heal the awkwardness and renew them in your network as a resource.

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