The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Babysitter Woes

I always knew parenting would be a challenge.

What I didn’t expect was that finding good babysitters would sometimes seem almost as difficult.

Take my first babysitter, who I’ll call Lana. I hired her when my daughter was six-weeks old after my mother—the only relative who lived near me that I trusted enough to leave her with— announced she was moving to Colorado. I was desperate for an hour or two reprieve from breastfeeding and diaper changing a couple of afternoons during the week. Lana, who responded to an ad I placed in the paper, seemed ideal. She had tons of experience, great references, CPR training, and a smile as warm as her native Hawaii. I soon discovered that child care wasn’t Lana’s true calling. A self-described multi-talented artist, her passions included painting, writing, and soap and candle making, to name a few.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m all in favor of creative expression. The problem was that Lana was constantly trying to sell her creations to me. Occasionally, I caved in and bought a bar of soap or a candle. But I knew the situation was out of control when Lana breezed through my front door one afternoon with an armload of paintings, all with clearly visible—and rather hefty— price tags.

“Hey girlfriend!” she chirped as she proceeded to spread them out on my dining table. “Brought you some paintings to check out!”

Great, I thought. I don’t recall asking to SEE any paintings. Lana’s masterpieces weren’t quite what I had in mind for my living room walls. Even if they were, there was no money for “art” in my budget at the time. Hiring her to baby sit for a few hours a week was a luxury I could barely justify given my husband’s tenuous job situation. Even more annoying, her uninvited sales pitch took place as the clock in my dining room ticked away the precious moments of freedom I was paying her to provide me.

If I didn’t escape now, I realized, I’d barely have time for my swim. And I could forget about stopping at Starbucks on the way home for the mocha I was counting on to get me through the rest of the afternoon.

“They’re nice, Lana,” I said, through clenched teeth. “But I’ve got to go, and I really can’t afford to buy any art work right now.”

Though I was tempted, I didn’t fire her that day. When my husband was laid-off a few weeks later, however, I had no problem saying “Aloha” to Lana.

By Dorothy O’Donnell


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