When it’s time to break up with your child-care provider
Aside from paying bills and getting laid, probably the number one challenge a Solo Mom faces is child care. Someone must watch our offspring so that we can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan—then eat it . . . all of it . . . followed by a pint of mint-chocolate-chip ice cream.
And because we are Solo Moms, we are willing to put up with a lot. Where some parents pull their kids from day care after finding a rogue poop unmanned in a mini-toilet, we Solo Moms are more tolerant of minor infractions. Some parents might fire a nanny over too much cell phone usage; we, in turn, offer to pay her bill if she’d just show up consistently.
No day care or babysitter is perfect, so it’s prudent to be realistic about what you can change, what you can live with, and what’s intolerable—because sometimes things do go too far. And it is at these darkest hours that we Solo Moms are forced to face that which we fear the most: the need to break up with our child-care provider.
Here’s a not-too-serious list of ways to know when it’s time to call it quits.
10. When you are taking a financial loss, your child care is not working.
If you make ten dollars an hour and pay your child care fifteen, child care is the least of your worries.
9. If your sitter is so grumpy you are afraid to leave your room.
My first nanny was so crabby that I was terrified to fire her. I’m not sure why I hired her in the first place, except that I was probably desperate from lack of sleep. (Thankfully, she died.)
8. If your kid comes home from day care a coffee drinker.
We have all had children come home in another child’s underpants, but when they come home wanting a latte, you have to wonder.
When shopping for child care, the fewer the children per grownup the better. Babies need an adult-to-child ratio of no more than 1:4, while 4-year-olds can handle 1:10. You want your child to get enough attention to avoid wandering into the street. You especially want your pop-tart to stay away from teacher’s Starbucks and her copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.
7. When you get an email like this:
The children in Zinnia enjoy share day very much. In order to continue this special day, we ask that you follow the rules sent out in multiple emails from Katie. The item your child brings must fit into your child’s cubby and may not be a weapon. If you are unsure what constitutes a weapon, please see Katie.
Education Coordinator—Real LA Pre-School.
6. When your child’s day care celebrates so many holidays that your nights are an endless stream of festivity prep-work.
We already work full time. If we had time to bake for Pacific-Asian Heritage Week or stuff sausages for Casimir Pulaski Day, we wouldn’t need child care to begin with!
5. If Junior is allowed to take four-hour naps, then is up all night.
Some child-care facilities maintain a policy of not waking sleeping children. Some sitters also go for this plan. Run from these people. There is no sorrier scene than an exhausted Solo Mom whose little one is wall-bouncing at 11 p.m.
4. When zero holidays are allowed.
Seriously, folks—they’re just kids. Lighten up! If Imagination Day replaces Halloween, Celebration of Winter replaces Christmas and Hanukkah, and Menses Festival replaces Easter and Passover, everyone needs a time out.
3. When there is a nut-job parent in the bunch.
Consider the following letter from a lie-sewing, drama-inciting parent presented to my friend Jessica by the police upon showing up at her house:
“Jessica. I’m just gonna say it because there is no easy way. zeydi [the child-care provider] is abusing your child. have you not noticed that all the kids are gone from the day care? she use to hit them. she hates rubi [the daughter]. she is telling every one that rubi is sick and when she wipes her nose she calls her disgusting. she is saying that the case against her is closed but it is very much open. please take your child out, she is suffering. I would tell you who I am but zeydi has a violent family who have hurt people that are involved and I don’t want to risk my self.”
The anonymous parent was prosecuted, the day-care provider is actually quite dependable in this instance, and Ruby is a happy and well-adjusted child.
2. When you show up to pick up your kid and nobody can find him.
True story! Longest five minutes of your life. Check the chicken coup, btw.
And finally, the number one reason you know your child care isn’t working:
1. Your kid is a little asshole.
This can become a huge problem down the line and must be addressed immediately! Make sure the issue you’re experiencing with child care is the care not the child before you switch child-care providers.
Truthfully, all you really need is an affordable, safe, stimulating, and happy environment. If these basic needs aren’t met, your child care isn’t working. If your gut says something isn’t right, you are probably correct. You are your kid’s expert. Go with your gut. After all, your gut produced a miracle—and now if only you could find child care for that miracle.
Kathleen Laccinole, ESME’s Dating Resource Guide, has penned numerous films and parenting books but is best known for producing the highly lauded Greta, age 20, and William, age 16.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.