The 5 Mistakes I Made While Hiring Our First Babysitter
Raising children, while juggling personal and professional priorities, always warrants a degree of help and support. I was heavily advised this early on so when Bodie was 8 weeks old, I set out to find a babysitter. After a dozen interviews, I seemingly found the perfect woman, K*, who had years of tenure working in a long term capacity with families and cared about things I cared about a lot like education. It turns out I got the process quite wrong:
Two days into K being with Bodie for a few hours, I knew it wasn't going to work. What I had discounted in my process was the backgrounds of the families that had given K such wonderful referrals. She had previously worked in a full time capacity for parents who both worked in challenging careers. I had breezed over the specific point of feedback that that K ran the roost. I am clearly one to be possessive of that role so while K was a great asset for families who were willing to hand over the reigns, she and I were already going to battle about everything from sterilizing to diaper rash cream.
I'll never know if K had come into our life a couple months later if I would have been more open to her help but 8 weeks into motherhood, I was still absorbed in the novelty and not willing or wanting for my own time outside of Bodie. I resented K for showing up and felt immensely displaced as I searched for something to do with the hours that she was in my home (I know how ridiculous that sounds). I had felt pressure from all my peers' nanny hiring chat and dove into a process well before I was personally ready for it. I still feel quite guilty that K was collateral damage - more on that later.
As I was hiring K, my eyes were somewhat glazed over from reading baby development charts in all my spare moments. I loved her spirit for music and reading. I got so carried away talking about things like her cute potty training dance, I missed the minutia like baby laundry and dishes. My lack of focus there translated into K's lack of interest in the domestic goings on that I did actually need help with.
In hiring K, I hired an entertainer for Bodie and forgot that I would have to mesh with her myself. Her high energy and lovely focus in singing and dancing turned into a very dramatic and grating personality with me (again, I was 8 weeks in so I was likely on edge too).
K had been advertised as such a catch and in so many ways she really was a Mary Poppins character that I jumped right in after two interviews and a playdate where everyone was on their best behavior. So when I knew within just two more meetings that she wasn't a fit for our family, breaking up came with guilt because in committing to us she had turned down another job offer. For several weeks afterward I felt stressed about the impact my bad decision had on her livelihood.
The good news....
When Bodie was 6 months old and I felt ready to return to consulting two days a week, I hired a babysitter with my lessons learned. One year later, V* is Bodie's best friend and I can't imagine our life without her. She has a grace and calm that makes my time with her just as enjoyable as her time with Bodie. I hired her when I was ready to trust someone else and when I was clear on what I uniquely needed for our family.
Even better, the other day I spotted K in our indoor playground with a baby a little younger than Bodie. She landed on her feet with another family and I couldn't be more relieved.
What advice do you have in hiring caregivers for your family? I'd love to hear!
Featured Image via Pola & Frank