Before becoming a parent, I had frequently heard about all kinds of childcare failures: nannies or baby nurses that just stop showing up, daycare centers suddenly shutting down without notice or sending babies home, stat; babysitters cancelling last minute, and even family members and friends who babysat having major meltdowns with the kids. I figured that at some point, something like this would happen to us. I just was not anticipating it happening this soon.
When Annie started working with us after Cheryl left, I had told her at the beginning that we wanted her to come at night. And I told her that when the baby started sleeping through the night, we would start shifting night support to daytime support, but I wasn’t certain of the number of days that we needed help with because it was so far into the future. A common way that I repeatedly started statements with her was, “We’re not sure, but…” Well, it wasn’t that far into the future as I thought, as the baby has started sleeping through the night in the last week. So that’s why we started having Annie come during the day last week. In total, she was still working four days a week with us. But given that we were shifting 100 percent to daytime support, I personally did not think that four days was needed, particularly since both of us are still on family leave. And now that I am unfortunately counting down the weeks until I have to go back to work, this has made me feel very unsettled and emotional knowing that I will no longer be able to spend this much time with my baby once I go back to work. So the thought of having daytime support four days a week, which is just one day less than five days a week when I would be working, just did not make any sense to me. With that logic, why don’t I just go back to work now?! And so I thought that we could try doing three days a week with Annie.
Apparently, something got lost in translation, and Annie never thought that we would reduce the total number of days that she would work with us. She flipped out when we told her that we did not want her to come a fourth day this week, and she sent me a very distraught text message late at night on Tuesday to let me know that she felt that we had not told her the truth and misled her all along. The next day, we talked it out over the phone, and we both admitted that we could have been a little bit clearer about the communication. I could have explicitly told her that we eventually did not want four total days of support per week. At the same time, she could have also explicitly told me that she needed to work four days a week, and a minimum of 40 hours a week. That was never told to me, otherwise I would have said that this may not be a fit, particularly since I had interviewed other people who were more flexible in terms of the number of hours and had explicitly told me so. So, she was supposed to come this Friday, and because she was so hurt, she decided that she would rather forgo an entire day’s worth of pay rather than work with us one last day. In the end, she is losing a day’s worth of pay because it is highly unlikely that she would have found work that soon, but we also lost: we have a show that we booked for Friday night, and now, we don’t know how we are going to see it without any help. And what’s worse… In the last couple of days, our baby has been super fussy when we put her down to bed after her last feed at around 8 PM, and this is a new development. Chris is not comfortable asking anyone we know who has offered babysitting to deal with this fussiness. And it also makes us apprehensive to have a babysitter come and deal with this.
So what the hell are we supposed to do?