Family Homemade Chaos Night

When Childcare Goes

It's Friday, which means: Yikes. Did I ever half-ass things around these blog parts this week.

In my defense, I have an excuse. But oh, my lands, it's the first-worldiest of first-world problems. Get ready to roll the fuck out of your eyeballs: 

Our nanny quit. 

It's a personal emergency crap-fest of a situation. No one is happy about it, there were many, many tears and hugs from both of us, and while I completely understand that shit happens and why she needs to leave us to go deal with said shit, GAH HOLY ASS FUCKBARS THIS SUCKS. 

I know you hear the word "nanny" and probably have an immediate reaction of ooooohhhh laaaa deeee daaaaa, it must be so niiiiiiiice to be rolllllllling in money and household staff*, like it's all Downton Abbey up in this bitch.

*Random! One time, back in 2001, I was laid off from my job and went on a job interview that my former boss had kindly arranged. It was at this HUMUNGONORMOUS mansion and mostly involved a go-nowhere vanity project cooked up by the owner's (adult) child. I used the bathroom soon after I arrived and deposited a single tissue in the trash can. About 20 minutes later I had to pee again, but when I went back the offending, disgusting tissue had already been whisked away by the housekeeper

Our nanny wasn't full-time, she didn't live with us (duh, where would we PUT her? in a coat closet?), and with multiple kids it's actually cheaper to hire a nanny than pay multiple daycare/summer camp tuitions — especially given the fluid, ebb-and-flow of my freelance work. She came in the mornings and stayed until naptime while I wrote and edited and dicked around on the internet like a privileged mofo. 

She was also like a member of the family, someone I absolutely loved and adored and depended on and trusted completely. She's known Noah since he was four, Ezra since he was 15 months, and Ike...well. She came to the hospital to meet him mere hours after his birth. To say "the boys love her" is almost a shockingly offensive example of the limits of language. 


And all this schmoopiness about her wonderful irreplaceable self aside, there's also the unpleasant reality: I have a job that demands at least 30 solid hours a week of my undivided attention and positively zero hours of childcare with essentially no notice.

(No! Not "essentially" no notice! NO NOTICE. Stop with the extraneous abuse of adverbs, self!)

(You guys remember I have the other seekrit corporate job life, right? Just checking. Lest anyone think I spend 30 hours a week not updating this blog as often as I should.)

Luckily we live in an area where nannies are pretty much the standard option**, so I've been throwing myself (and mah babiez) on the mercy of our neighbors to pleeeeease let Ike and Ezra tag along for a couple hours, and several of the part-time nannies have volunteered their days off to come help while we try to figure the long-term shit out.

(I mean, "volunteered" to come and get paid, OBVIOUSLY, but allow me the illusion that it's happening mostly because all the neighborhood babysitters know my children from the playground and think they are wonderful rays of glorious, well-behaved light and fun.)

(ONE OF THEM SAID THAT, OKAY? Or something along the lines that "your kids seem easy!" Whatever. Just let me have this one. I've had a very emotional week.)

**I now understand even MORE why nannies are the norm after a couple HILARIOUS calls I made to local childcare centers and in-home daycares, inquiring about the possibility of enrolling Ike part-time for a couple weeks. 

"When would you like to enroll?"

"Like, um, Monday?"

"Uh. We could possibly take him in June. Ish."


ANYWAY. That's what's happening. I don't recommend it. Opposite of fine holiday fun, and all that, especially since it's so damn near impossible to explain the situation without sounding like a bourgie asshole.

(I'm still not entirely sure what we're doing. It took me freaking months to hire our first nanny, and I'll be damned if I'm going to be rushed into that decision, even it means running around like an ADHD chicken for awhile. Ezra's preschool has a full-day option for him, and the toddler program MIGHT POSSIBLY MAYBE be willing to take Ike in the mornings when he's 20 months old. [February.] But then...I dunno, I still like having him HERE and AROUND and MID-MORNING SNUGGLE ACCESSIBLE.) 




Heather B.

Do you want me to move back? I can move back.


Am very sad that I do not 1)live closer and 2)feel better, because I was a hell of a good nanny, and your kids are little munchkins. I wish you all sorts of Mary Poppins magical luck in finding a new nanny.

Lisa Y

We have a nanny too, which down here in TX is not the norm, so I do always sound like a bourgie asshole when I say it. But we too have three children and none of them are in school yet so it's cheaper and I don't have to drive them anywhere before work. I live in fear of what just happened to you. Our nanny is graduating from grad school next week and has promised to stay through the end of the school year (I'm a school SLP.) and I'm ALREADY hyperventilating about having to find someone new and tearing up because oh, how my girls love her and she loves them even more. It might sound like a first world problem but keeping your children SAFE and happy is pretty damn important!


I too have a nanny 3 days a week while I work. People say the same "oooh, a nanny?". Yeah, twins in PT daycare=same cost as nanny at my house. Also not stuck in a room all day with 20 other sick kids. She is ah-may-zing, and I would cry like you if she quit. Good luck!


You don't sound entitled. You sound like a working mom with SIGNIFICANT child care issues. I have friends who have used back up Nanny services like Nanny Poppins and White House Nannies with good luck. They are expensive but desperate times?

Good luck, and I'm still looking around for you.


Holy Ass Fuckbars, that does suck!! I'm so sorry!


My brother's in-laws do keep their nanny / housekeeper in the closet. They're from Turkey, very upper-class, and now living in Canada. We forget just how first-world we are!


Love this: bourgie asshole. My new fav phrase.


I was so bummed to discover that part time nannies are not the norm in other places. I nannied 4 days a week when I lived in MoCo (for the most awesome family of all time I miss those kids!). When we moved to where we lived now I was like "What do you mean you have affordable childcare center?! What do you mean daycares don't have waiting lists?! What do you mean you want me to have a B.S. in Education and pay me 45 cents/hr?!"

Obviously if you can get personal recommendations that's awesome but I do recommend Sitter City. That's how I got hooked up with both of the families I worked with. I also have friend in Silver Spring who has had good luck finding sitters through the education grad programs at CUA and UMD. Good Luck.

(And good luck to your sitter something shitastic must have happened for her to have to leave like that!)


Girl, I feel your pain. Well, almost your pain. A couple months ago, I was picking up my girls from day care, the day care we love love love who loves loves loves our girls and has known them since they were tiny babies...anyway, the owner said she needed to talk to me. She said they were coming up on their slow season (just ship Ike to Oregon - we's got day care available right now!) and they were thinking about shutting down...(my heart stopped) the main day care building and having the day care be in their home (whew!). So, they were letting some families go so they could do that...(heart stops again)...but not our girls - they must keep coming. Oh lord. I may have promised her the moon just so my girls could keep going there. So, yeah, I kinda feel your pain.


I hear you! When my childcare is going great, life feels like a piece of cake. when it's not ... I feel like my world is crumbling around me and I Just Cannot Go On! And once I get one situation figured out and think, well thank goodness we took care of that! I realize there's just more ever evolving logistics and requirements to deal with. My point is that I totally hear you and I'm sorry and even though it will eventually get better, this is a certifiable major stress situation! On par with moving cross country or buying a house, in my humble opinion. It just stinks.


Fuck. The no notice. I know, I know, emergencies! Exclamation points! Must leave to handle all the things! Emergencies that don't pre-announce themselves with plenty of time to those whom they affect are such posterior hole lickers.

I so wish I could be your nanny. I would be the most Lego playing, chef pretending to be, yes, you can jump off the sofa, yes, we can go back to the playground, yes you can have Skittles, let's build a fort, farts are fun, cuddler of all three you could ever imagine. But. I'd also be randomly sniffing your hair, so, there's that one minor detractor.


This just happened to us not that long ago. We put ourselves on every list for the 5-star *southern for "should keep your child reasonably well-cared for" centers*, despite their June predictions. We got in when one center realized they had enough birthdays coming up for shifting the kiddos up.
Now, the after school situation still day-to-day but we are coping.


I'm kind of where you are, emotionally. I work from home, too, and I have two small kids whom I love more than life itself, but holy shit is it hard to so much as compose an email with these two. I have been tinkering with the idea of sending the youngest to an in-home daycare, but we'll see.


I work at a preschool, and always find it funny when parents call wanting to enroll their child for the following week, like it's no big deal. Ha. Hope you get your situation figured out!


Daycares are ridiculous. I remember enrolling my first son in one, as a fetus, and then getting a call when he was a two year old, a year into his homecare enrollmentuntil. Perhaps look in your local papers for a homecare solution? (nice ladies who look after small groups of kids in their own home).


Um... so, I realize this was written and published earlier today, but in light of the national news, it is a very unfortunately titled post. :(


I realize if you hadn't put in all the caveats yourself, (awful) people would have thrown them at you (DO YOU KNOW HOW PRIVILEGED YOU ARE), but seriously. You work 30 hours a week! You need childcare! I'm sorry you guys have lost what was basically a member of the family and that things will be so insane for a while.


When caught in a similar situation last summer, we ended up hiring an au pair, which is actually winding up less expensive than our nanny was. If you have an extra room and are open to it, it might be a fun option for you. We love our au pair.


Ermagerd... I totally went through this JUST LAST WEEK, which makes me just want to buy you a drink because IT SUCKS. Getting shoved off the childcare cliff meant The End of the World As We Know It. Overnight we had no childcare for our toddler and 3 month old, but strangely enough still had our two full-time (plus) jobs to do. Even though I normally scoff at things other people consider stressful, this one had me completely insomniac, in tears, etc etc full-blown whatarewegoingtodo mode. Pathetic but justified. After hours of frantic visits to daycares (no space or no way am I leaving my babies there)and furious messaging of prospects (no bites), a friend's referral came through, was amazing, and we started them the next workday with a new in-home situation. And it. is. miraculous. My toddler has never been happier. I feel like Maria in Sound of Music because I must have done something freakin' good. Hope yours also resolves quickly. Until then, fight the good fight. Onward and upward. Gin's in the cabinet.


I walked off my job once due to bad daycare. I ended up with the most wonderful woman. My kids called her "Gramma" because her grandchildren visited her often. It lasted for seven years. Think Aunt Bea in Mayberry. You must believe!


Long-time reader, rare commenter.

Honestly, IMO, in the U.S. childcare is a second-world problem, you get me? You wouldn't be scrambling like a mad woman if you were in Europe or Japan or New Zealand.

I went through this thanks to an expected job offer a couple months ago. A part-time awesome nanny we found would have cost more than half my salary (including her taxes).

No reputable out-of-home daycare had openings and most didn't have an afternoon only program, as my kids were already in a great morning preschool.

We found an in-home daycare nearby, but it could be... better. They like it just fine, it's the equivalent of what they would be getting from my former exhausted stay-at-home mom self in the afternoon, but I wish it was... better.

I added in the New Zealand because I was struck, when visiting the South Island in March, by just how many daycares I saw. When childcare is subsidized and everyone can afford it out-of-the-home, there was literally a childcare business on every commercial street, and many residential streets.

Ugh, the U.S. needs better childcare options. That's my long-winded point.


Sorry, that should have said UNexpected.


Have you contacted Monday Morning Moms yet?
They specialize in connecting families with home-based daycares in the DC metro area. I was able to get our latest munchkin into the daycare attached to my husband's job, THANK GOODNESS because though I got us on waitlists at daycares at the start of my second trimeseter (had come off a miscarriage and was gun shy or else I would have done it in my first trimester), there was an excellent chance that Monday Morning Moms were the ONLY ones who were going to be able to connect us with care.
They've been well reviewed in the DC parenting publications. Just a thought if hadn't tried them yet.


I didn't read all the stuff before but as a nanny, I suggest all the nannies I know are on there, and that's how we all get our jobs. It provides background checks and all that AWESOME stuff so you don't have to worry about it, and well...hum it's free to us, but I've never been a parent looking so maybe you have to pay something? I don't know...

I'm free till January 7th. lol if you wanted to trust some weirdo with your kids and let them sleep in a closet till you found someone more permanent I'm always up for adventure! lol, and I havea profile on and a clean background!

Goodluck with your search. Your situation sucks YES! but I'm sure your nanny feels pretty dang awful too. The biggest problem with being a nanny is you fall so darn in love with "your" kids that when it's time to part ways its like getting your heart ripped out of your chest. I was with my last little boy for 2 years when his parents had to move. It hurts!

Hope you find someone soon!


My toddler's in a nanny share with a little boy about 6 months older - ends up being cheaper than daycare, way more flexible, my daughter gets a sibling for 20 hours a week, and the baby to responsible adult ratios are way better. I hate using the word "nanny" - it's far too hoity-toity - but "sitter" makes it sound like she's a 15 year old and I don't want to diminish her or what she does. I know I'm overthinking it but I wish there was a better word!


I so love your blog and it's the only mom-blog I read because I don't have kids but I've been reading your stuff forever and I love the way you write. But I just want to make a teeeeeeny suggestion...that maybe you might reconsider your title for this one? Just the title, considering what happened today?
Otherwise...all love and kisses and hope you find a lovely new nanny soon!


Hope you find a great person soon. We lost our cleaning lady after 6 1/2 years, she babysat too, been through a lot together, our marriage, birth of first baby, it's tough, like losing a family member.


Lack of childcare is a problem, for sure. I'm not belittling that.

Did you really post this, though, with this title, yesterday morning? I can think of 20 sets of parents who would have been delighted to have this problem yesterday. Good lord, you are self-absorbed.


Please change the title to this post Amy. It seems so inappropriate given the recent horrific event.


Sarah, please think before you make such accusations.

I'm pretty sure that Amy posted this before news of the tragedy was broadcast. At least, I remember reading her post early in the morning, a good hour or two before I saw the very first news of the event and the ground shifted beneath my feet. I clearly remember the things that happened Before and After on that day.

Please give a person the benefit of the doubt before slinging such graphic insults over the internet.


dont you worry about noah?


Childcare issues... UGH. It sucks and there's no great advice I can give you other than GOOD LUCK!


Please change the title. It is very inconsiderate.


Title is not inconsiderate, it was posted before the terrible shooting took place. Unfortunate coincidence, yes, inconsiderate, no.


I am totally with you. This situation sucks. I work from home with a two-year-old and 3-month-old twins and had to fire my nanny suddenly last Tuesday morning when I walked into the kitchen and found my three-month-old son ALONE ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER after the nanny left him there to "go and get a diaper". I almost lost my mind with rage. Now I am furious AND without childcare. But when I complain to anyone? I am the asshole that had a nanny looking after my children in the first place.


I totally agree with previous poster who doesn't know what to call the person that provides in home daycare...nanny? sitter? What other options are there? I can only imagine the bummer of this situation. Good luck getting it all straightened out.


I don't know why our country looks down upon the idea of a nanny. What's so bad about getting help if you can? I'm all for getting help, suffering alone, who said that's the American way?! And if you want to do it alone and enjoy it go for it. But nanny's are great. I wrote an article about my own nanny admission so it hits home for me. I can't wait until we, as a society, get over the guilt :) Anwywas, good luck getting someone new. I get it!


Amy, I love your blog. I have been reading you for years, and when I first found you I went back through and read all your archives. I suffered from panic disorder just like you did, and we have travelled a path almost identical to yours with Noah. You have truly been a beacon of light for me during some dark times. So please, know that my intentions are good when I ask you to please change the title of this post. I have no doubt that you wrote it before learning of what happened in CT, but opening your blog and seeing that headline was like a punch in the stomach. With great respect from PA.


We had a nanny watching our children for 5+ years. FIVE YEARS. She is family. We had plenty of notice when she was leaving and it was mutually agreed upon b/c our kids were starting school. But I cried for a month anytime I thought out it, let alone talked about it.

That's a very long winded way of saying that I feel for you all. I have no doubt that something will work out. Good luck!


Read your blog today (12-17) and you posted a 'i apologize if I offended anyone...'......I find it it sad that they thought you 'intentially' made light of the situation (you didn't even know it had happened...and if you had it wouldn't have matter imo).

I have children and grandchildren and was appalled and sicked at the horrible tragedy....but I sure as hell am not going to ask you to change your title or insinuate you were being a careless shit because you weren't being what "I" perceived sensitive enough.

Grow the fuck up people...**rolling my eyes at the dumbasses**


I see that you did change the title of your post, and I guess that's good, if it makes people feel better. Even if you had posted this after everyone was aware of Friday's tragedy, I would not have made a connection. I'm sorry people made you feel icky.


I sure hope the self-important morons that asked the title be changed felt better about themselves after hitting the post button...


Sweetie why not just close this comment thread like you always do after posting a new one? Don't let the trolls get to you.

Ginger Schneider

I don't get the requests to change the title of this blog post. What does it have to do with that school shooting? A school shooting that has nothing to do with childcare. I know I'm not dense but I still don't get it. I think some people just look for a reason to bitch. Your blog is awesome, Amy. I love the way you write and I love watching your boys grow up. Keep on keepin' on, girl.


Commenter getting precious over a blog title reminds the rest of us of the infinite nature of human stupidity.


(although irony points have been earned from my grammar errors ;) )

The comments to this entry are closed.