It’s Not All Mary Poppins


There. A highly successful round of interviews done, and a new client signed up. Sometimes things click, you know? Last time I had a space open unexpectedly — with a months’ notice — it took me five months to fill it. By the end of that time, I’d eaten through the cushion, which, like the smart self-employed person I am, I keep stashed away against such eventualities, and was not liking the look of that wolf slavering on my doorstep…

(Though it is not now the case, when I started in this gig I was a single, sole-support mother. The daycare was not a “lucrative hobby”, as one friend (in)famously put it, nor was it, as it is in the case of some of my caregiver friends, the income stream that allows for luxuries like holidays and renos, it was my bread and butter.)

But this time! This time I had tonnes of applicants for the position. What a lovely position to be in… except that it meant that I had to turn people away.

That’s hard.

Well, mostly it is. Not always. And you know, for the sake of the mother, I felt really badly about saying no, and was greatly relieved when it turned out not to work for her — and when she found a spot in a local daycare centre within days of our interview. Phew.

There was the lovely, lovely couple with a cheery, well-managed little boy. I soooo wanted to offer them the spot — she was a former nanny, almost always a good, good thing, they were both eminently sensible, friendly, and fun — but they only wanted three days a week, and I really, really need full-time.

There was the nice pair with a sweet little girl — but active! lord, that child was gogogogogogogo — but they wanted to start Right NOW, and, even though some might argue I shouldn’t feel any qualms about doing to others as was being done to me, I do.

There was the Very Involved couple… After one lengthy phone call, pretty much an interview in itself, they came to my home for the in-home interview. As I do with all potential clients, I sent the contract home with them to peruse at their leisure. They phoned not one, but THREE times with questions about the contract, taking another two-ish hours of my time. And then, they wanted another interview AND a month-long weaning-in for their child, with a parent in attendance for about half that time. Can you say “High Maintenance”, boys and girls? They weren’t so hard to turn down…

And then there was the couple who:
– live right down the street
– wanted to start when I wanted them to start, and want full-time care
– soft-spoken (this matters to aural me: loud parents often engender loud children)
– had heard about me from other sources and reeeeally wanted the spot
– and I just liked them. Though first impressions do not always survive better acquaintance, it helps enormously when I like the parents. No matter how much I might looooove the child, if the parents are obnoxious, it can taint my whole work environment. Don’t ask me how, but it’s happened in the past. Toxic people are… toxic.

So. I have a lovely couple who want to start on June 15. Other mom is due in June sometime — I still don’t know the date — so now I need to talk to her.

Ugh. Not looking forward to that conversation. And yet, yes. Yes, I am. It will be good to have this thing DONE.


March 4, 2010 - Posted by | daycare, parents


  1. Let me be the first to congratulate you! Happy days with the new family 🙂

    Thank you!

    Comment by Suzi | March 4, 2010 | Reply

  2. So the mom doesn’t know that her choices have “narrowed” and she’s been replaced? Yikes, that will be a tough conversation. But once it is over you’ll be happy and relieved to be done with that family.

    Nope. Had she shared her plans with me, I’d have been working with her. As it is, I figured it’s only smart to protect my income, and only karma that I tell her only after I’ve “figured out what I’m going to do”.

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | March 4, 2010 | Reply

  3. I’m so very happy that you found a good fit!

    Me, too. My husband bumped into someone we sort of know who knows them well (who knew?), and apparently the new couple was raving about how pleased and relieved they were to get the spot (which is very flattering, of course!). So it seems everyone’s happy!

    Comment by jess | March 4, 2010 | Reply

  4. I am really glad to read an update on this situation – and a positive one! Good luck with the convo with the contractless family. I wonder if they’ll be taken by surprise?

    I honestly have no idea, since I haven’t heard a whisper from them on the subject since we had that one conversation. Still, it’s only reasonable that I take steps to ensure my income’s stability, so I’m thinking it won’t be a 100% surprise.

    Comment by laura | March 4, 2010 | Reply

  5. Congratulations!! I’m glad that you filled your space quickly. I enjoy reading about your daycare. It’s nice to read about things that I have gone through(or am going through) with my own daycare. You do a great job.

    I’m relieved, that’s for sure, and amazed at how many interviews suddenly fell into my lap. And thank you!

    Comment by Theresa | March 4, 2010 | Reply

  6. Yay for filling the spot with what looks like it might be great fit! And good luck with that other conversation. You’re going to be giving them a LOT of notice, way more than they were planning on giving you. 🙂

    Well, that’s true, isn’t it? As I said to a previous commenter, I haven’t heard a whisper from them since our last conversation, a month ago, so it sure looks like you’re right! Though maybe they’ll surprise me and say something tonight??

    Comment by Ms. Huis Herself | March 4, 2010 | Reply

  7. What do you want to bet that pregnant mom says, “Oh but we were planning on staying. What will we do now?”

    Oh, good heavens. Hadn’t thought of that possibility. However, given that she’s going on maternity leave, and it’s a full year long, there is no urgency for her at all. If that’s the case, she’ll be fine.

    Comment by Bethany | March 4, 2010 | Reply

  8. Hurray! Can’t wait to ‘meet’ the new one!

    🙂 I find it takes a while for new ones to appear much in the blog. At first, they don’t do much except either 1) cry, 2) stare at the other children, 3) eat stuff. (Off the floor, I mean.)

    Comment by daysgoby | March 4, 2010 | Reply

  9. I am so happy for you that you found the perfect fit. Thank goodness the high maintenance family showed their true colors right at the start. I have had a relatively “normal” interview with parents and they turned out to be extremely high maintenance.

    I once had an interview which I thought was going well, until the mom dropped some kind of comment re: home childcare to the effect that “beggars can’t be choosers”. (They hadn’t realized how long the wait lists were for the local daycare centres, you see, so were ‘stuck’ with looking at home care.) I didn’t take them, but I was unnerved by my near miss!

    Comment by chantelle | March 4, 2010 | Reply

  10. I’m actually getting weird satisfaction thinking about you telling the commitment-phobe that she has been replaced.

    Something about the “Well, you hadn’t signed the contract by the date agreed, so…” really, really satisfies me. TAKE THAT.

    You must report back with delightfully squelching details.

    It’s pretty clear you are much, much more confrontational than I will ever be. I hope you’re not too disappointed in how mild-mannered me handles it!

    Comment by ifbyyes | March 4, 2010 | Reply

    • Ahahaha, no I am VERY non-confrontational and prone to crying. Thus I must express my frustrations in the confrontations of other people/in my imagination.

      Comment by ifbyyes | March 5, 2010 | Reply

  11. Finality has a nice ring to it. I’m very much enjoying your blog, as I just found it. I’m excited to continue to see what happens!

    This is the first time I’ve spun out a story as a serial. Normally I wait till the event is over and blog it all at once. This has been more interesting for me — and probably for you, too! Thank you, and welcome!

    Comment by lovecoloredglasses | March 5, 2010 | Reply

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