Wednesday, September 7, 2011

parenting fail number 5,129,543

I used to babysit a wonderful little girl and I really loved her parents.  They were cool, laid back, and super nice.  They never got frazzled about anything that I did or didn't do.  But there were little things that would come up that just got under my skin.  We had a relaxed, open policy - if she comes, you pay.  If she doesn't, you don't.  No big deal.  They dropped her off early, around 7:30am if I remember correctly.  This was long before my "real job" days so getting up at 6:45 to shower and get ready was no easy feat.

There would be days occasionally when I'd be up and ready, watching and waiting.  Looking out the door.  Wondering.  9am would come and go.  Then I'd get a phone call around 10am from the mom or dad saying they were going to keep her home or take her to work with them that day.  At the time, I thought that was kinda rude.

The deal was that they were supposed to send her lunch but if I cooked something at the house, she was welcomed to eat what I ate.  There were weeks when I didn't make it to the grocery store and she would show up with no food so I had to scrounge and scramble to find something for her to eat.  Her parents always paid extra those weeks, which was nice, but it was the principle that they didn't give me a heads up in either of those situations.

Nit-picky.  I know.  Looking back, none of it was a big deal.  And boy, have I learned how quick things tend to come up that lead to those kinds of scenarios.  In the end, I was lucky to be able to spend the summer with one of my favorite girls AND get paid to do it.  We went shopping.  To the pool.  To the movies.  You get the idea.

I digress.

I always swore when I had kids, I wouldn't be one of those parents.  The parent who is always late to pick up.  The parent that forgets to pay.  The parent that sends their kid to the babysitter with a fever.  The parent that forgets to pack their kid's lunch.  The parent that forgets to send their kid dressed in the themed color or crazy hat or whatever. 

Guys, I am that parent. 

I have forgotten the check (but I went right back home to get it).  I have overslept by a couple of hours when I meant to just take a short nap.  I forgot to send the right toy or book on "counting is fun day."  I have sent my kid with a slight fever because I truly had to (our babysitter is okay with that, by the way!).  Every time anything happens, I kick myself and say I'm going to be more reliable and less absent-minded.  I'm going to make notes on the dry erase board and put reminders on my phone.   

I screwed up.

Yesterday, our babysitter had a very important appointment and she told us about it no less than three weeks in advance.  She reminded us about it last week.  I promised to be there by 3:30pm when I usually don't pick up til around 5.  I thought about it yesterday morning on my way home from work.  Then I got home and I pumped.  I changed the sheets on Dexter's crib.  I cleaned up the bottles.  I brushed my teeth and got my jammies on.  And then I crashed...without re-setting my alarm.  It was set for 4pm. 

The neighbors are getting a new roof and it was pretty noisy all day.  I woke up every hour and looked at the clock wondering if it was time to get up.  It never crossed my mind.  I woke up at 3pm and laid in bed, waiting to fall back asleep while listening to the sound of hammers and the saw.  My phone was sitting on the pillow next to me and I happened to be looking in it's general direction when the screen silently lit up at 3:28. 

I picked up up and saw the babysitter's name and immediately panicked - Dexter is still so sick.  I tried to sound somewhat awake because I didn't want her to feel guilty for waking me up.  Don't you always feel guilty when you call someone and they are clearly asleep?

Me:  Hello? 
Her:  Hi. It's ____. 
Me: Hi. Is everything okay?
Her: We were just wondering if you were still going to make it so I could get there on time.  My appointment is at 4:10.
Me: Sh*t.  I'll be right there. Bye.

My heart sank to my feet and my stomach jumped up in my throat as I lunged out of bed.  How could I forget?  I'd been lying there for a half hour, my mind completely void of anything.  I threw on some jeans and ran out the door as fast as I could, with my hair sticking out in 10 different directions and breath smelling like yesterday's news.  Not my best look or my proudest moment by a mile.

While I was having an anxiety attack sitting at the 4 way stop a mile from her house, I texted her.

Me:  You can put Dexter in his carseat and meet me outside if you want.  Almost there.
Her: Yep.

So she did.  She was waiting on the front porch with the babies when I screeched into the driveway.  I hurriedly begged for forgiveness and she assured me it was fine as she rushed off.  Worthless, worthless, worthless.  That's how I felt.  I hate being late for appointments and I know she is the same way.  She's so super reliable and I can't stand that I've turned into this parent that isn't. 

It's surely not on purpose and it's not something I take lightly.  I just don't know how to defeat my inner absent-minded professor.  I texted her later to apologize again and apparently she got there on time, or close enough.  She again said it was fine, but it's not.  I hate being someone that our kids' babysitter, of all people, doesn't know if she can count on when I say I'll do something.

Ugh.  Such a disgusting feeling.  Parenting fail number 5,129,543.

feeling like a loser,


  1. Oh gosh. That sucks. And for the record, I'm "that" parent too. Just today, I couldn't realize why Miss Barb appeared to be stalling when I was picking Chessa up. Uh, it's because she was wondering where the heck her check was. And I couldn't even just run out to the car for it, because I didn't have any checks in my checkbook. So I'll be stopping at daycare tomorrow to pay her. SIGH. I blame the children for my scatter-brained-ness.

  2. Krista - it is DEFINITELY their fault. They have changed me in more ways than I can count ... and not all of them are good. eek.