Our High Standards Hamper Us

twisterNot that I was ever that much of a partyer, but I’m finding that even among our married (with children) peers, both CareerMom and I are boring, with a capital “B.”

Looking around, I’ve found that there are apparently two types of parents in this world:

A) Those who lead active social lives prior to having children and who, once they have children, see no reason not to continue doing so. They’ll pack the kids up and drag them to the ball park, Disneyland at the age of 2, Hockey games and other places, which to me, seems a bit nonsensical since you spend all your time watching the kids rather than whatever it is you’re there to see!

Then there are these folks:

B) Those who are somewhat social prior to having kids. Then after having kids, they realize that dragging all that baby crap everywhere is just a big ol’ pain in the butt, and anyway, who wants to see and hear my screaming youngins when they paid good money to be here!

CareerMom and I are most decidedly of the “B” group, while it seems like everyone we know, is in the “A” group. Case in point, we recently were invited to a neighbor’s house for something they have called, “The Event.”

Billed as something only offered to a “select” group of people, The Event promises:

  • South African wine tasting
  • Martini bar
  • Craft brew bar
  • Chair massages
  • Cigars
  • Complimentary drive home
  • Couples pool tournament
  • Beer pong
  • Afternoon pedicures and manicure

Does this not sound like the best! It does to us too, but we’re already finding problems getting a babysitter now that all the high-school kids are out of school and at the end of the day, CareerMom and I both seem to have come to the conclusion that it’s too much of a hassle to get someone to watch the kids. It appears that we’ve reached a silent agreement that we’ll just skip The Event altogether rather than making the effort to find a new sitter. How pathetic are we?

Now granted, there are probably 50 teenage girls in our neighborhood and we’ve barely scratched the surface in trying to find one, but part of the problem is CareerMom’s high standards for babysitting. Apparently, they have to meet the same standards originally set forth by CareerMom’s recently graduated youngest sister, and our longtime “old standby” babysitter:

1. An affinity for playing with children (Most teenage girls qualify: check)2. Be able to determine when water is hot enough to scald child in bath (Most teenage girls qualify: check)3. Doesn’t need to be motivated to clean up after playtime and/or dinner (Most teenage girls qualify: check)4. Be able to figure out how to manipulate the three remote controls required for proper television viewing (Most teenage girls qualify: check)5. Know our kids already (Most teenage girls qualify: OH! So sorry…thanks for playing!)

So really, it’s that one criteria preventing us from being social. Or are we just using it as an excuse? I suspect it’s a bit of both.

Are we really that boring or are we like our own little saboteurs, hamstringing our inner-partyer so that we can play the martyr while everyone else is having fun?

I tell ya, right about now, I could use a martini bar, some beer pong and maybe even a game of naked twister if the mood’s right.

Finding a Nanny Is Like Trying to Mine Gold

We recently were “blessed” with a little screaming, grunting, rooting, writhing “bundle of joy” in the form of a baby boy. My wife took approximately 2.5 months off to be with him, using a combination of disability leave and vacation. As all moms do, she fretted over having to put him in the nursery at our older son’s daycare. There’s nothing wrong with it really; it’s small and it seems that anytime you go in there, there are 4-5 screaming youngin’s. It’s just not the calm, nurturing environment you want your children put in.

But, that’s life.

But then, as mentioned in an earlier post, we found out how much the ladies at daycare are paid and we thought, “Hey, let’s get a nanny.” Great idea! (at first)

We embarked on a search for a nanny through various channels and here’s what we found:

  • friends don’t wanna give up their sitter or nannies, so don’t bother asking them for a good name
  • online, so-called “Nanny reference services” run the gamut of everything from “fresh off the plane” foreign nannies, for which you pay a premium up front, but who are generally cheaper on the back-end because they live with you, to simple classified listings that are free for the nannies to post to, but for families looking for nannies, cost anywhere from $19.95 per month, to $200 per month.
  • free classified ads like those found on Craigslist

The problem with paying for one of these online listings is that you’re never really sure if the ads you can “preview for free” are real or not. So you may see some great listing, pay your money to access her contact information, only to find out (via e-mail) that “Oh shoot, I just accepted a position this past week.”

Therefore, we went the Craigslist route and received many responses, most of which were college-age girls with horrid MySpace sites that intimated everything from drug and alcohol abuse, to an abhorrence to children. It was truly mind-boggling.

After I screened and contacted several potential nannies (yes, that’s right “I”, as in “Me and not my wife”), I showed them to my wife who just kindof hmm’d and haaa’d over a few, without showing much interest. See, apparently my wife’s first reason for wanting a nanny was to make it easier for her to get out the door in the morning, but since she started getting up earlier, rather than at the last minute like she used to do, she’s been able to get herself and the boys ready (with my help I might add) with a minimum of fuss. So, Reason #1 for a nanny…GONE!

Reason #2 for a Nanny became the whole daycare thing, and how it’s just not a healthy environment for a newborn.

So, all this time that my wife has been back at work, we’ve had two different “nannies” helping us with the newborn during the day because we can’t get him in daycare till June anyway. Both are very nice girls, but all they want to do is lounge around and watch TV. Our son, who is now 3 months old, gets almost no stimulation until we come home and take over (I work from home sometimes so I see what goes on during the day). As time has gone on, I’ve run this whole nanny business over and over in my head and come up with the following reasons why a nanny may not be ideal:

  • while cost-effective now that we have two boys in daycare, when our oldest son starts pre-K and then kindergarten, and will NOT be in full-time daycare, it will not be cost-effective to have just one being cared for by a nanny
  • given the complete laziness exhibited by both nannies thus far, I fear how little exercise and artistic activities our children will be given. Currently, our eldest son plays on the playground for almost 2 hours a day, and does at least two different craft activities, on top of learning Spanish (at 3 years old). I don’t see a nanny doing all that
  • external social interaction will be much less with a nanny

After nearly two weeks of almost no nanny searching by my wife, I recognized that it was time to bring up my points. I did it subtely one evening while watching TV, “So, what do you want to do about a nanny?”

Subtle huh?

Her reaction was much the same as it had been for the last two weeks at which point I finally laid out my reasons why I was now against it. She agreed, but still wouldn’t commit to ending the search.

Another week went by and I’ve got three nannies awaiting a callback and finally I say, “So, are we done with the nanny idea?” Put on the spot she finally says, “Yes.”

YES, YES! OH YEAH BABY, RIGHT THERE! JUST LIKE THAT!

GAME, SET, MATCH!

I’m done. No more postings on the Internet, no more searching Myspace and Google for e-mail addresses and names to see what inane postings by these women I can find. I’m done! Fini!

In retrospect, as a friend pointed out, I should have realized by her lack of desire to be the one looking for a nanny, that it had become a non-issue. A momma-bear who isn’t taking the search for a surrogate caregiver firsthand, probably isn’t really into the search anyway.

Had I let her do it, I could have saved myself a lot of time and hassle. Sometimes I’m really dense.