Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day Two of the Child Care Crisis

Last night, after leaving several messages, my metapelet called me back, telling me that she was still feeling too ill to work, and that in fact her nine month old son (Raphaela's playmate) seemed to getting a fever as well. In all likelihood, she would not be working until next week, and thus I should consider alternative options on the off chance that I planned on working any more this week.

In addition, her substitute would be available, but only for an hour and a half of the total time that I would need for my planned work day.

First, I got angry, because I only found out this crucial information when I should have been going to sleep, having been awake since 5:30 am that morning.

I also got frustrated because I could intellectually agree that my sitter is a human being, and human beings get ill in the Winter; and that objectively speaking I would not my daughter being in a house with flu-like symptoms for the sake of work. On the other hand, as a single parent who must work, I have come to depend on reliable day care, and when that fails temporarily, I feel like I am stuck in a frightening free fall. It becomes a vicious cycle of thinking, ie in order to pay for child care, I must work, and if I don't have child care, I cannot work.

Finally, I worried that I could not remember the metapelet's policy regarding time for which she has already been paid and in fact did not work. I don't want to bring up the topic of the eleven hours that I feel should be credited toward next month, if it will cause animosity and antagonize the one person I am trusting to watch my child.

I spent the next hour and a half on the phone and on the computer with the following results:
I posted on the janglo (Jerusalem Anglo) site that I needed a last minute baby sitter, no response.
I called my neighbor across the street, one of Raphaela's adopted Israeli family and a retiree, and she told me that she too had a cold, and did not recommend being around a baby.
I called my upstairs neighbor, she works part time out of her house, and her anti-social husband answered the phone and gruffly told me that his wife was not available.
I went through the roster of baby sitters, men and women who had come highly recommended by friends of mine who have children, and none were free to help at the last minute.
I called Savta Shira, hoping she might even have an hour to spare to watch Raphaela, she is also working during those hours.

Finally, I got through to a single male friend of mine who is currently unemployed, and he gladly agreed to give me the three hours I needed in order to take care of patients without distractions. Out of both relief and emotional exhaustion, I started crying.

Feeling the need to connect, I called my mother, who instead of listening to me and reassuring me, she gave me the parenting version of the speech, "Suck it up soldier. Now drop and give me 50 push-ups."

I politely hung up, and went into Raphaela's room and quietly sat by her crib, watching her sleep.

1 comment:

SuperRaizy said...

I'm so sorry that you are having this problem.
I became single when my 3 children were very small and I was working three jobs to support them, and so I had years of child care issues to deal with also. The best approach is to plan ahead for this type of situation. Ask around or advertise for people who are willing to be last minute substitute care providers, and don't stop until you've found at least three different people, so that you will be covered most of the time. And accept the fact that there will be times that despite your best efforts, you will have no choice but to miss work. Good luck!