Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What the WHAT

I just got a phone call that has left me speechless. Obviously, I am not type-less, because here I am blogging about it. Again, let's play a game of "What Would My Blog Readers Do?"

First, we have to back up to about a month ago when I was visiting my parents and my mom and I went to a church rummage sale. She had Will with her and I had Emma in the Ergo. While I was looking over some lovely antique jewelry, one of the nice ladies manning the sale complimented me on Emma and we started talking. She asked if I worked and I said that I stayed home with the kids. She sighed and said that she wished that her daughter could do the same, but that she had to work. She then mentioned that her daughter was having trouble finding a nanny, as she doesn't need someone fulltime and her previous Nanny had given her notice. M and I had been discussing ways that I could bring in a bit of extra income, so I gave my phone number to her mom and told her to call me if she was interested in possibly discussing childcare.

Then today, my phone rings. It's not a number that I recognize and I was cleaning the kitchen, so I let it go to voicemail. It's the daughter calling me to see if I can watch her kids for ten hours TOMORROW. She apologizes for the short notice, but wants to drop them off at 7 AM and pick them up at 5 PM, and will be driving to a town an hour away, and wants to know how much I would charge.

What the WHAT.

Here are my problems with this:

1) She has had my number for a full month and never called me to arrange a playdate or screening interview or anything. I am the one who suggested occasionally watching her kids, but I figured we'd meet first or something.

2) She doesn't want to run a background check, meet me beforehand, or even talk to me on the phone before leaving her 18-month-old and 3 year old with me for the entire day.

3) She isn't just running down the street or even a few minutes away. She is going to be an hour away. And her mom told me that she is a district manager for a pharmaceutical company. I did that job, and as her message said she was going to be riding with a rep for the day, I know that means that she won't even have her own car to leave and come get her kids if necessary.

4) I am a complete stranger to this woman. I am not a friend of a friend or someone she has heard good things about from someone who knows me well. I met her mother for five minutes and that is our only connection.

I know that I don't work outside of the home, and therefore, I don't know firsthand the desperation of needing last-minute childcare. I get that. But I can't, even in my wildest of wild dreams, imagine the place I would be in where I would leave my children in a potentially dangerous situation like this. There have been times when I have needed childcare, for a doctor's appointment or a job interview, and I would still never even think of this being a good idea. Am I off-base? Is this normal?

Now, here is my dilemma: Even though I think this mom is crazy to even consider me as an option, I would be a safe place for her kids. If I don't do it, who knows where her kids will end up. So, should I watch her children?


alison said...

That is WEIRD. I guess I would need to know more about her situation to make a fully formed opinion (like does she have childcare usually?).

But honestly, I think you're under no obligation to watch her kids, the whole situation is just super shady. I don't to be a debbie downer, but like you said, she didn't screen you, and what happens if she comes back after you watch them and says "Johnny got a booboo under your care, and now I want xyz as recourse".

I think it's best to not watch them this time, I don't usually like making decisions under pressure. I'd wait until you can meet and get a feel for the situation. You're interviewing her as much as she's interviewing you. What if her 3 year old is a nightmare who doesn't get along with Will? That's 10 hours of dis-as-ter on your hands.

I'd wait and see if it were me.

Nicky said...

Um, I do work outside of the home, and I have had some very urgent childcare needs arise at the last minute, leaving me fairly desperate, but I would never ever in my worst nightmare call up some woman my mom met at a rummage sale and trust her without meeting her first. That is insane. INSANE.

And no, if I were you, I wouldn't watch the kids on such short notice without meeting them first. If I were alone, maybe, but definitely not when I'd be mixing them with my own kids for 10 hours straight.

It is what it is said...

There are way too many things wrong with this picture for me to comment (since my son is begging me to play with him) so I won't.

Run, quickly, in the OTHER direction.

HereWeGoAJen said...

I think I'd want to be more prepared, both with things like the house and food and also more mentally prepared. If you feel okay about it, then go ahead, but certainly don't do it because you feel obligated.

infertility just sucks said...

If I were you I'd worry about what bad things can happen to YOU in this situation. With no contract (written or verbal) or expectations laid out this crazy pants women could totally pull a 180 on you and claim you hit her kids the day after or something. Or her kids might not be vaccinated and have been exposed to pertussis recently. Or any number of wild things.

Just like she doesn't know you, you don't know her.


Searching said...

NO! I totally agree w/all the above comments!

Beth said...

Wow. I don't even know what to say, really. That is truly amazing that another mother would try to make child care arrangements in such a way! And believe me, I have been desparate for child care at times (for work, mostly), but I wouldn't dream of doing this OR asking this of someone, let alone someone I've never met....WOW. I am truly baffled.

Wackiness aside, I completely agree about the contract though - in today's world, it's just not "safe" to do things verbally anymore. And the mom sounds (crazy enough to be) capable of.....um, anything???

I am interested to see how this all pans out :)

Anonymous said...

Probably not a good idea because she would learn that she can do this to you. Better to set ground rules first. People like her probably end up in situations like this all the time....you don't want to have to say yes the next time too!

Jen said...

That is crazy. I would stay home from work before asking a complete stranger to watch my children for the day.

This type of thing happened to my MIL before, but in that case the gal who needed childcare was a baggage handler at the airport and basically towing the line of poverty. She was truly desperate. My MIL ended up watching her little boy for a year.

My advice would be not to do it. You already have two kids, I could imagine taking on two more with such short notice.

Rebecca said...

I would definitely say that your day is booked, but that you'd like to meet with her at another time (clearly another less crazy time). It is very strange that she'd do this, but then again, I can see your point...she's gotta be in some sort of desperation mode to give you a call like this.

If she's going to do this the first time, what will she do after you've watched the kids 20 times?