Receievd Thursday, July 22, 2010
Last summer I was supposed to work full-time for a couple and their 2-year old son. The mom had told me that she wanted to use me for a chance to get work done on her dissertation and also to be able to go to work several times a week (and also for date time on the weekends with her husband). The first few weeks were great and I really got attached to her son very quickly. It got to the point where he was excited to see me and would even greet me by jumping into my arms. I was always happy to go over there and see them and see the little boy.
After a while though, things went downhill. The mom started to stay home more and more, which at first didn't bother me too much because it was her home after all, but what DID bother me was that she started doing everything for me: cooking, planning activities, reading books, cleaning up, and sometimes diaper changing as well. It got so bad that I wanted to ask her why exactly I was there if I wasn't going to be allowed to do my job. I soon realized that it looked like a trust issue because on the days when she needed to go to work for the entire day, she took myself and her son to her mother's house which was a 45-minute drive one way. The grandmother sometimes went to work, but was often in her office at the house which made child care very difficult at times. It got to the point where the little boy was throwing tantrums because he did not want to get into his car seat to go to the store, etc. because he already spent over an hour and a half in the car seat several times a week and he was starting to rebel. It wasn't until the mother confronted me and told me she found her son had diaper rash and if he needed to be changed that day that I had to come find her and tell her so she could do it. That particular day was hell for me because even when I took him outside to play in the sandbox, his mother came outside and would not let her son get more than 2 or 3 feet away from her. She also insisted on putting him down for his nap that afternoon even though she had just told me the week prior that I was better at getting him to fall asleep and she couldn't figure out why. I realized that she didn't trust me anymore and I could tell by the way she was acting, that she wasn't going to really tell me what was going on or give me a fair second chance, and that I could no longer reach her.
I also thought maybe it would have helped if she got out a little more. I was at the house often for 50 hours a week and she almost never left. Even on date nights, she and her husband walked downtown and were gone for an hour and a half at the most. I told her she was more than welcome to leave, that we would have been fine on her own and she should go shopping or do something fun, but she never really wanted to. :/
In the end, I chalked it up to the mom having an issue with me personally and because she couldn't find any true reason to criticize me as a caregiver, she had to make something up. I know this because diaper rash is not a real reason to accuse someone of neglect (I have seen plenty of children get diaper rash, not on my watch, and they have perfectly competent parents whom I respect) as this was during the summer so the weather could have really been affecting him, something about his diet, or maybe I just plain didn't check him quite often enough. I just couldn't figure out any other reason for being accused of neglect other than maybe the mother was just plain jealous of me because of how quickly I bonded with her son. And I know that no matter how many times I tried to explain to her that she is the mother and no one can ever compete for love with the mother, that her son will always love her the best and that it is good for him to also love a second caregiver, learn trust, etc. etc., blah blah blah, it didn't do any good. To this day, I just shrug it off as a crazy helicopter mom incident and move on, though I do miss the little boy TERRIBLY. He was just too cute not to miss.
Anyone else have anything similar happen to them?