with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
It was awful and heart wrenching because my son truly loved her, and god knows he’s had enough change in his short life in the last two years, you know? But I had few options: my caretaker had lost her driver’s license for too many speeding tickets, and then asked for a five hundred dollar a month raise. She texted me to inform me of her dilemmas when I was sprinting to a meeting in San Francisco.
At first I went into shell-shock mode, furiously scribbling numbers, trying to determine just how many more freelance jobs I’d have to take on to pay her what she said she needed to survive. It was absurd, I didn’t have enough hours left in the day to take on anything else. I pondered and stressed and watched Ridiculous Late Night Shopping Channel to combat the insomnia that took over while I figured out what I was going to do.
In those first aftermath mornings, I’d drop my son off at her house, and sit in traffic on my way back to work, at my home office, stewing. She couldn’t come to us, you see, because her boyfriend had just given her a new puppy, and she had to be home with him.
I guess I’m trying to illustrate that I didn’t have much of a choice in changing my childcare arrangements. It was time. I think she was telling me that, too.
I found a homey daycare five minutes from our home, with an earnestly sweet proprietor and adjusted, smiling children. There was a park next door and a clean playground, a train track and activity center. They even had yoga and French class. Bonus: the daycare charged a full five hundred dollars less a month than my full time live out nanny. Sweet, beaded relief. Until Nolan started crying every time I left him there. And the bleeding, infection-filled guilt started pressing into me again. Could I do this to him five days a week?
“I don’t like it here,“he whispered, clenching my hand,“Please don’t go to work. I would work, I would make two hundwed dollars and give it to Mommy. And then you could be with me.”
Oh dear god.
So, I asked my Mom for help. Again.
Mom works three days a week, and she’s off Thursday and Friday. Right now she’s looking after my son on Fridays and picks him up early on occasion on Thursdays. I feel a small twinge of guilt at taking her Friday away, but reassure myself with the hope that this is temporary. And that my son will learn to love his new comrades.
I’m curious, fellow parents — do you think it’s OK to ask your retired or semi-retired parents for help with daycare? I know so many more GenX parents who are doing this, with varying levels of guilt. For me, for now, there seems to be no other way and again I am just grateful for my Mom.
Thanks, Rachel, for the idea and inspiration on this topic.
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