Real stories like the one below inspire me – and everyone here at Care.com – to do better. To work harder. To help as much as possible. To make the process of finding and managing care that much easier for you and your loved ones, we want to hear about your struggles and successes. Email us at email@example.com. Angie, our Video Producer, shares her care story below. We hope it inspires you to tell us yours.
I had it all figured out. A beautiful patchwork quilt of care for my bubbly, bouncing, baby boy. I am lucky enough to leave him with Grandma three days a week. An aunt fills in on Fridays, and on Mondays, he stays with my sister. There was a certain beauty to its complexity, and I felt proud of my family and me for making it work. Creating a care plan is hard. Especially a free one. But we had a system, and for my first six months back at work, the system was working. Until it wasn’t.
Then it became clear that I needed to make other arrangements for Mondays -- and it felt like the rug got pulled out from under me.
Interesting fact about needing care: When you lose one piece of your puzzle, your entire picture feels like a disorganized mess. I panicked: Who could I find for Mondays? How would I pay her? Do daycare centers take kids one day a week? Would we find a nanny one day a week? How would I find someone I liked? How much will this cost? And how will I figure this out by NEXT week?
There were so many questions that I felt like I was drowning in them. But here’s the thing, I work at Care.com. Imagine the panic I’d be having, if I didn’t know that this site helps so many people every single day.
I want to tell you that working is not a choice, for my husband or me. It’s a fact of life. And our care plan is the foundation that allows us to build our life. It not only allows us to go to work, but it lets us be effective and present while we’re there. My husband and I can continue to create a beautiful life for our son while he happily plays peek-a-boo in our network of caregivers that love him. And it was terrifying to even think about letting a stranger into this plan.
But I can tell you this: When our son was born, he flipped all of our priorities on their head. He became the center of the universe. As a new member of mommyhood, I really hate to be that walking cliché, but I just didn’t get it before. Of course everyone says that their kids are the most important thing to them. But it’s this gut-wrenching sense of wanting to know that not only are they ok and surviving, but they are thriving, and happy. I need to do everything we can to make sure he’s better than good. And it is that roller coaster ride of new parenthood, when it feels like everything is a mess, but you need to keep going, because it probably will get better (even though you don’t know how). It was this free fall into hope and faith that made me trust this would work out.
So I put it out into the care-universe. I trusted that if I can make certain “impossible” work projects happen, I can find a loving, experienced, yet inexpensive caregiver in six days. Someone who’d love our baby (easy) and who we viewed as (possibly even better than) family. I posted the job on care.com with some very unique circumstances: One day a week, must love pets, have own transportation, be within budget, great references and adored by the baby. I expected a few responses and was prepared to compromise, but to my surprise, I didn’t have to. And in the meantime, I planned to use the back-up care benefit my company provides.
There were lots of respondents to my post. Some were nannies for other families Tuesday-Friday. Some were full time students without Monday classes. Some were even part-timers at a daycare center looking for more hours. After discovering how easy it was, I felt a little silly. I could hear Tyler Durden from Fight Club in my ear. “You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.”
Ok, maybe I am being a little hard on myself (another symptom of new mommyhood.) It is a unique circumstance, but we found the perfect nanny to help us fill in the gaps. She is pretty special, too. She has become familiar and comfortable, and has helped us rebuild our new intricate patchwork quilt of care. I can’t tell you how relieving it is, when it all works.
Moms, Dads, grandparents, working, SAH -- we’d love to hear how you need care in your life, the hardships and stress of finding the right fit, and any great connections you might have made along the way. Please email your care stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org and we might reach out to do a bigger feature.