It’s Not All Mary Poppins

I’d call this ‘natural consequences’

We had a holiday here on Monday, Family Day. I didn’t take it last year, but I carefully wrote it into the contracts for this year, so hurrah!, I had Monday off.

But of course, I have a contract-free family, don’t I? Mom approached me last Thursday at the end of the day.

“SO ABOUT MONDAY,” she bellows. Really. If she were one of the kids, I’d be saying “I’m right in front of you. You don’t need to shout.” She’s an adult, so I can’t do that, but every time she opens her mouth, I’m wincing.


I tell her I am.

“BECAUSE I DON’T GET IT, AND I DON’T KNOW ANYONE WHO DOES.” So she says, but she’s wrong: about half the other daycare parents get it. (Family Day is a new holiday, and only made it to Statutory last year. Oddly, not everyone does get it. However, it is now a stat.)

“I didn’t take it last year, but it’s in the contract now.”



Let us stop and take in the enormous gall of that statement, shall we? I didn’t notify them. As Emma said later, “You didn’t notify her of a one-day STATUTORY holiday. She didn’t tell you about her PREGNANCY for FIVE MONTHS. Helloooooo…” For five months, and even then, I had to ask.

I didn’t notify them. Oh, gracious.

But, you know, it made me a bit worried. I normally do give people a head’s-up, and I certainly don’t want anyone blind-sided, scrambling for alternate care at the last second.

So the next morning:
Me: You know that I’m taking Monday?
Parent 1: Oh, we figured you were. No problem.

Good. One down.

Me: Just confirming you’re aware that I get Monday?
Parent 2: Oh, sure. And really — it’s kind of ironic to send kids to daycare on Family day, I always think. I was saying to my sister…

(Parent 2, god love her, is a rambler. But she’s not surprised by the holiday, which is what I wanted to know.)

Me: Just double-checking. You know I’m taking Monday?
Parent 3: Well, we weren’t sure, actually, since only one of us gets it and we weren’t here last year, but we checked the contract. That’s fine. Yeah, yeah. Fine.

We weren’t sure, so we checked the contract.” Yes, exactly. That’s what contracts are for. Thank you for saying that, wonderful, wonderful Parent Number Three.

I’ve had two interviews for my upcoming June space, and another scheduled for next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

February 16, 2010 - Posted by | parents, Peeve me, the dark side


  1. oh yeah! i’m so glad that you wrote that into the contract!

    Me, too!

    Comment by Dana | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. Blink. Blink. Blink. Indeed.

    You will be well shot of this family, I think.

    Yes. I’m getting quite impatient to have this thing done.

    Comment by tuesy | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  3. Right at “It’s in the contract” you should have felt guilt free. Maybe repeat it to her. Loudly. “IT’S IN THE CONTRACT.” Remind her she has yet to sign the contract!!

    I have concluded that, because they were almost certainly already pregnant when this year’s contracts were sent round, they never even glanced at it — because they had no intention of signing it. The one thing I should have done differently, and will, should this ever arise again, is refuse to continue caring for the child until the contract was signed.

    Comment by Tamara | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  4. You did notify them, as you gave them a contract. That they didn’t sign it is another matter. So is the question of if they read it.

    That is so obviously the correct response that I’m astonished that I didn’t think of it at the time. I’m also very much regretting the lost opportunity to say just that. Ah, well!

    Comment by Z | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  5. Good lord, that you managed to keep your cool through all of this is really impressive!

    I do not have a hair-trigger fuse, which is just as well. In this instance, think I was mostly just struck dumb by the mind-boggling self-centredness of her position. I was also finding it darkly funny: “This, from YOU?” was what was at the forefront of my brain.

    Comment by Sarah | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  6. Wow! They really really are trying to burn bridges! I cannot wait for them to get to thier next situation and discover what a great caregiver they had!

    That would be satisfying, yes. Trying to burn bridges? No, just genuinely, profoundly oblivious/self-absorbed.

    Comment by jess | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  7. Natural consequences are a beautiful thing. You get extra points for not rubbing it in, SOMEbody’s got to be the adult here. Goodbye, Entitlement Parents, good luck, and no, it’s NOT all about you.

    Natural consequences are beautiful, indeed. I couldn’t have set it up better if I had tried on purpose. Mwah-ha.

    Comment by katkins | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  8. Fingers crossed.

    Thank you!

    Comment by Jen | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  9. This sounds so vaguely familiar…parents who don’t get the memo for the girl scout meeting and then somehow that’s my fault…

    Yes, they’re everywhere, I’m sure. Thankfully, they’re the minority!

    Comment by Bridgett | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  10. Good luck with the new family interviews.

    I’ve had three — no, four! — so far. I’m stopping now. Two were people who’d called in the last couple of weeks, and I’d turned away because I thought I had no spaces. So of course I called them back. One was referred by a former client, who didn’t know I was looking, and one came to me from sources unknown. The universe is being kind. The last time I lost a child on short notice, it took FIVE MONTHS to fill the spot!

    Comment by Angela | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  11. Wow. They are SO oblivious. I’m related to people like that–just be glad you’ll be rid of them soon. Relatives are FOREVER, well, most of the time. 🙂

    There’s something to be grateful for! And yes, at this point I’m pretty much counting the days…

    Comment by MJ | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  12. Fingers crossed!

    Thank you!

    Comment by chantelle | February 16, 2010 | Reply

  13. How *dare* you take a day off on a Family day Mary? And how *dare* you not make them the center of their universe? You ignorant woman, the world does indeed revolve around them and their tot and how short sighted of you not to see that?

    Good resolutions for the next set of parents. And hope you get a gIood kid n good parents to make up for all this unpleasantness.

    It really is astonishing, isn’t it? I’ve now met with three couples, love them all — though I have a favourite! — and we’ll see what happens next!

    Comment by Suzi | February 17, 2010 | Reply

  14. Waaaa? My sarcasm html disappeared from the above comment for the first paragraph. I would have said WTF? after the ““BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T NOTIFY US OR ANYTHING.” ”

    Prolly that is why I shdnt work as a day care provider…

    Indeed. Though at this point only the fact that I haven’t yet signed on a replacement that really holds me back. Oh, who am I kidding? I almost never say the really blunt stuff — I hate conflict too much. But I dream about it, some days…

    Comment by Suzi | February 17, 2010 | Reply

  15. Oh my gawd. TELL me you said to her quite frankly, “All of my other clients have read and signed the contract by this point in the year. I realize you are unwilling to sign it at this time, but if you would like a copy for your perusal to prevent this from happening again, let me know!”

    Why were you not standing there at my elbow, coaching me in what to say next? No, I didn’t say anything like that. I don’t think I said anything at all, except to calmly hold my ground about the day off. I am terrible at thinking up clever — and, as per your suggestion — absolutely appropriate!, things to say in the heat of the moment. My brain was too taken up going “THIS? From YOU???”, to get past that to anything more to the point. Dammit!

    But you and Z hit the nail on the head: a reference to the contract, more pointed than the one I made, though still polite (yours was perfect!) , would have been the appropriate response, and I really wish I’d thought of it at the time!

    Comment by ifbyyes | February 17, 2010 | Reply

  16. I have to say, I really can’t wait to see what happens when they find out you’ve found a replacement and are giving them 2 weeks notice. My guess? Outrage that you would go behind their backs to secure your own livelihood. What do you mean, you need to earn a living? Don’t babies and toddlers just drop from the trees whenever you need them to? Hmph.

    Yeah. I confess the thought of having that conversation is making me a bit nervous. I’ll do it, and I doubt they’ll know I’m nervous… but I’m viewing as an ordeal to get through. Though in fact, I’m interviewing for June starts, so they’re likely going to get more notice than they were going to give me! Aren’t I nice, though?

    Comment by Kiera | February 17, 2010 | Reply

  17. I sure hope your interviews will go well. Those parents are so thoughtless!

    Comment by Clementine | February 17, 2010 | Reply

  18. Ha ha ha, I’m gonna use this when I need childcare on weekends. I’ll take them to school, and be all, well, you ddin’t notify me you’re closed on Saturdays:)))

    Comment by Nat | February 17, 2010 | Reply

  19. Some suggestions from my side:

    Try role playing: ask Emma to be the center of the universe lady and respond to you in various ways ( crying, shock, anger, threat etc )

    Repeat the fact that you are giving them more notice than they are currently doing for you.

    Repeat the fact that you would like to have a family which will sign the contract as this is your livelihood. Stress the word livelihood.

    If they say “but we were about to send them both to you once after a few months!” repeat the part about the contract as necessary.

    If possible, try meeting them at their home or in a coffee shop to deliver the news. You do not want a hormone crazy woman inside your home. Especially an entitled one. Also, the above situations allow you to walk away if needed.

    After the discussion, keep repeating “this situation is not my fault” 25 times. ( I have a feel that you will feel bad for terminating their contract )

    We are all keeping our fingers crossed!

    Comment by Suzi | February 17, 2010 | Reply

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