Monthly Archives: March 2011

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To sit or not to sit…

NOT the babysitter in question. Though she is welcome to watch my kid ANYTIME!I don’t remember exactly when I started babysitting, but I know it was before I could drive as I remember being driven home by relaxed parents after a night out without kids or walking home if it was in my neighborhood. I don’t remember babysitting much after I got my license, but it’s likely that I was so busy shuttling my sister back and forth between choir rehearsals that I didn’t have time to watch kids.

One of the rules I remember about babysitting was that I always called my parents if I knew the parents I worked for were going to return later than planned. That rule was instituted after I came home 3 hours later than expected. Another rule we started was that I was to call my parents to let them know I was on my way home if the dad was driving me home. This was to prevent anything from happening on the way back to my house. Nothing ever did, but it was better to be safe than very sorry.

I don’t recall ever watching kids that I didn’t know. I only ever watched kids from my church or neighborhood. Which meant that my parents knew who the families were, knew the kids, knew the parents. I can’t remember working for total strangers.

Which makes me wonder… What do the parents of one of the sitters I use know about me? One of my “paid” sitters (as I have sitters who refuse to accept payment due to our friendship) is a high school student I know through my church. Not a member of my church, but someone who frequently attends the Sunday evening youth program. This person is a good friend of many of the young members of the church and is good with my daughter. But I’ve never been to this person’s house, and I’ve never spoken to the parents. Ever. I wouldn’t know them if I passed them on the street. I am not saying anything against the parents for not asking to meet or at least talk to me on the phone, and I don’t know what they know about me. I just wonder how I would respond if, 10 years down the road, “Em” is asked to babysit for a child whom I’d never met and whose parents I didn’t know.

Would it matter if the person was a member of a church or organization that my daughter regularly participated in? Would it matter if friends of my daughter and mine told me this person and their family were great and totally “normal” and recommended the babysitter?

What do you think? Would/have you let your teenager babysit for people you don’t know?

 

**I have decided to ask the babysitter to give me their home number so that I can attempt to reach out to the parents and introduce myself. I still welcome your responses.**

Happy Birthday To Me

I failed.

I’m a big proponent of planning ahead. I tell my friends and family that I can rarely do things last minute. But I failed to plan ahead.

I failed to make birthday plans. I’ve been so busy trying to keep up with each day as it happens that I don’t have dinner/party/karaoke/anything plans. An impromptu text-message dinner invite resulted in more than half of the small crowd I invited telling me they can’t make it. Feeling dumb for expecting people to just be available, I cancelled the plans with the others. A majority of my immediate family is not able to go out to dinner on the night of my birthday. And I have plans/life-as-a-single-parent for the rest of the week. And the next week.

It’s one thing for a grown-up to skip celebrating their birthday. But if I don’t get my kid’s party put together, BIG fail. I’m still trying to figure out how the hell I can afford the celebration I promised her without coming off as a big jerk to the parents of the kids I’ve yet to invite.

Which of course is discouraging me from even attempting to work on her birthday party. Which makes me feel even more like a failure, cuz I can’t even plan my kid’s big day.

I hate doing this alone. I hate it. I hate that I’ll probably have to make Em call her dad on her birthday because he’ll forget it. (And no, “Jake,” I’m not gonna post it here. I know you read this and I’m not helping you to remember your only child’s date of birth.) I hate that I don’t have a birthday present for her yet. I hate that this probably sounds like a big whiny post and this hardly registers on the “single-parenting-is-hard” scale.

And I hate that this is going to sound selfish, but…

I hate that I’m not going to be able to celebrate my birthday the way I want to.

Thoughts – March 27, 2011

How do we connect? Tweeting, reading Facebook, blogs, text messages, emails, phone calls, snail mail, in-person conversations.

How many of these methods of communication do we use each day? Each week? How many of these things have we NOT done today? This week? We connect with the people in our lives in different ways depending on their preferences. Some people aren’t on Facebook, some don’t like phone calls, some are too busy for “face time.” The girl who feels uncomfortable looking people in the eye can write a blog that her friends and family read regularly. The man who works in a call center and CAN’T be on the phone so he prefers to have a conversation through multiple emails.

We make the effort to communicate with people in their comfort zones because we do what we can to connect. When we find the people with whom we REALLY have a connection, we do everything in our power to stay connected, even if it brings us out of OUR comfort zone.

Because connections keep us grounded, sane, growing, learning. When we lose those vital connections, we can become disconnected not only from our friends, but also from ourselves and the things that make us who we are. We must identify who our connections are and whom we are helping to connect to others.

Too often we try to count our connections, to see if we have more than the next person. But it’s about quality, not quantity. Having a large number of followers or friends isn’t important. What IS important is how often and how deeply we connect with the people around us.