My first baby-sitting job in almost 15 years
When I was in college, I was offered a job as a nanny for British diplomats. I have been working at a bookstore for most of my college years, but the pay was pretty low and I ended up spending all of my checks on books, so I never really came out ahead.
My nanny job was awesome. I had no childcare experience, but the family liked me and I got along very well with the two-year-old daughter. Best of all, they paid me $11 an hour, which was a lot more than what I would get it any retail or food service job as a college student back in those days in Washington, DC.
Last night, however, my neighbors called me and asked me if I would be willing to come over and babysit their two granddaughters for a few hours, until their daughter got home from work. We are all good friends, so I didn't really do it for the money, but quite honestly, I felt a little out of my element babysitting and worked for every cent I got. (As in, I was proud that the children were unharmed, fed, and in one piece when their mama got home.) This is odd, since I actually run a child and adolescent counseling practice.
I'm good at assessing children and doing therapeutic play with children, but when it comes to managing a screaming baby and energetic preschooler while cooking supper -- that's tough.
I brought husband for back up since he has almost 13 years of daddy experience and knows a lot more about small children than I do. (He's always been the primary caregiver for my stepdaughter, even when he was married to his ex-wife.)
When the two sisters I was watching, ages four and one, started fighting over a game, everything I did led to tears, while he was able to put an end to it in a matter of seconds, without even being harsh or upsetting. I guess you really do have to learn parenting from experience. It was pretty humbling, and makes me glad that we're pursuing adoption of a teenager because, in some ways, they're actually easier than toddlers. Still, there's something about little kids that makes it hard to NOT be happy.
God willing, if I get pregnant, I'm going to need all the help I can get. My hat goes off to all the mothers (and fathers) of infants and small children out there.#fopp parenting children