Due to a "lack of support" (if you will) and the dwindling school days left before summer and impending inability to substitute teach until the end of August, I have been scrambling to come up with an income to pay my share of my bills, pay my car payment and all the other goodies that come from being an independent single mother of two.
So, I have three talents that I believe I am best at (that are legal) and those are: acting, interacting with animals and faking my way through enjoying the company of small children (which I guess goes along with acting.) Oh, I guess I like to think I am good at writing, but the grad advisor at Western Illinois University would probably beg to differ.
Anyway, I am constantly looking for drop-in babysitting for my kids, occasional babysitting if you will. You know, they always say that if there's a niche out there that needs to be filled, it will be a lucrative and worthwhile venture to fill it yourself. Well, since moving to the second largest city in Iowa (move over Los Angeles, you've been p'owned) I have been annoyed with the lack of options for childcare. Part time is pretty much unheard of. Transportation to and from school is even less of a possibility unless you wanna pay a thousand bucks a month, which is not in a substitute teacher's budget. And what about those occasional times when you need to go to your psychiatric appointment or visit your favorite ob/gyn? Neither of these are kid-friendly situations and living 100 miles from my parents/most reliable babysitters makes for a hard time for this mom. I have occasional reliability in friends, but that is a rarity.
So, on my quest, I have discovered that other parents have this quest as well: affordable, occasional babysitters. Add this to my recent obsession with craigslist and VOILA! - I have a supplemental income. I currently have 9 kids in my roladex of children I watch, with more inquiries each day and occasional interviews. They range in ages 1-9. (Thankfully the majority are 5 and under because the older they get, the sassier and less afraid of my dirty glares they get.) Whether it's 3 days a week while a parent works 9 hours, a day here and there for 2-4 hours, before and after school or overnight on the weekend, you name it, I make myself available. My biggest day was getting up at 6 am, having 5 kids by 8, 6 kids until 4, a two hour break and then two kids overnight from 6pm until 9am the next day.
And in case you are wondering, no I am absolutely not getting rich from this venture... can I get an Amen from my fellow babysitters? Just like being a stay at home moms, in-home daycare providers, teachers and babysitters are underpaid and under-appreciated. And in case you are hoping to turn me into the state for being an "unlicensed daycare provider," suck it, cause I already checked and what I am doing does not constitute being a daycare provider... (na na na boo boo).
I'll admit, some kids annoy me far worse than others, but in general, the worst behaved out of the group is my son, so it makes the other kids much more tolerable. And I will be honest and admit that when one of them tells me they love me, my heart melts a little... (but if you tell anyone about this, I will kill you!) And I can never pass up a hug. I'm working on getting over my fear of snot and boogers and wiping noses Plus, who needs a day off? That's what death is for, right? And I'm pretty sure other than my own kids, I have Memorial Day free from hitting, biting, kicking and pinching over the fact that someone else had a toy first... which is when the jekkyl side of me wants to just set the freaking toy on fire...
As I'm sure you all care immensely, I will keep you posted on how long my nerves can last with this venture... and if you don't hear from me in five days, assume I have been duct taped to a chair and please alert the local authorities...