It’s Not All Mary Poppins

A Quiz for You

“Is that Mary P?”

The voice on the end of the phone is female, and young. Probably in her twenties.

“Yes, it is.” I know already this is a “daycare call”.

“Umm, I got your number from a neighbour? She said you lived on Sunshine Steet?”

“Yes, I do.”

“And, like, I was wondering, what you could tell me about your childca – er, babysitting, whatever.”

All right. I have already decided that I have serious reservations about accepting this woman’s child into my care. Most of you have hunted for childcare at one time or another. Now’s your chance to put your expertise to use, or to try out the view from the other end of the interview: Anybody want to hazard a guess as to why she’s made a bad first impression? I have three reasons already. She confirms this impression in our next exchange.

“When do you need to start care?” I ask.

“Um, next week?”

My reasons are in the post below.

September 4, 2005 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

…And My Reasons

There are a few reasons.

1. She’s very young. The young ones generally can’t afford me, and I no longer negotiate my wages. They either pay, on time and without a fuss, or they seek other care. However, some young ones can afford me, so this in itself is not a reason to refuse her. And I may be wrong about her age.

2. She talks, um, like a valley girl? With, like, questions all the time? This annoys the shit out of me. I’d have to put up with this, for, like, three years? My skin crawls at the thought.

3a. She called me a “babysitter”. Moreover, given her self-correction, she knows there’s a difference between caregiver and babysitter, but can’t be bothered to work it out. THIS is enough to refuse her. I am a professional. I have a ton of education, even more experience; I approach my job professionally, and expect to be treated that way. A “babysitter” is, as I’ve said before, the teenager you get of an evening to keep your child from harm, and to eat chips and drink pop in your family room after the child goes to bed. She does not assist in the raising and education of your child. I do.

3b. Or she isn’t bright enough to comprehend the difference. Yes, I’m a snob, but I prefer working with people who are at least as smart as me. Dim ones are more work.

4. And finally, she’s either incredibly disorganized or entirely oblivious to her surroundings. She’s looking for care to start in one week!! I, like every caregiver in our neighbourhood, am booked months in advance. Months. I did ask her how long she’d lived in the area, just in case she wouldn’t know this, and she said, “Five years?” Has she not spoken to anyone at all during her pregnancy? What expectant mom doesn’t do the neighbourhood networking?

I refused her in the end, not because of any of the above, but because I have truly no spaces available before January at the earliest, possibly not till next May. This is entirely normal for this area. She was a little dismayed when I gently told her this.

Even if I had had the spaces, I may have interviewed with her, but she’d have had a poor first impression to overcome during it. One of the satisfactions of self-employment: one can screen one’s clientele, and almost completely control one’s work environment. I love it!

September 4, 2005 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments