Pandemic childcare - nanny shares pros and cons
I was speeding up the detour around West Seattle due to the catastrophic bridge closure. I was pretty exhausted coming home from work. I checked in with my au pair who said that my daughter hadn't eaten her dinner. I was thankful that my husband was cooking dinner for the night, but I wanted to make sure that my daughter had something separate. I reflexively poured some olive oil into a pan. A few seconds in, I realized I didn't need the oil to cook something for my daughter. I then poured it into another pan that my husband would use. After I transferred the oil, I wanted to wipe the side of the pan where it drizzled. I placed my hand on it firmly since I wanted to stop any drip. I didn't realize the pan was hot.
My hand was instantly burned. I dropped the pan. I tried my best to cool it down. I applied petroleum jelly to it and wrapped it. I was in so much pain, but I didn't want to bother my husband about it.
I did the following calculation:
I've been through pain in my life, especially with childbirth, but the degree of this burn was making it hard for me to sit still. I then started to have the darker thoughts:
The next day my hand was still hurting. I got a call from one of my friends who was in the middle of transitioning nanny shares. She was lucky to get to work from home part of the week because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still it was difficult to pull off the current nanny share with her working hours.
I am big into omnichannel childcare, but during the pandemic many childcare options were limited, unavailable, or undesirable.
Nanny shares are where two or more families utilize the services of a nanny to take care of children at either home and effectively split the costs based on hours and children.
An excellent resource for parenting during the constraints of the pandemic is pediatrician Kelly Fradin's Parenting in a Pandemic, where she challenges the assumptions about COVID exposure that may be influencing our choices on childcare.
I am on the phone still while my husband is asking me where my daughter is. As I am ending the call, I start lamenting about the bridge closure in our area. She then tells me how her husband fractured his toes earlier in the day by dropping a large beam on them. She wasn't able to go the pharmacy to get him pain medications, because she needed to get both her newborn and toddler down for a nap. I could feel her guilt and stress. While she focused on how she couldn't help her husband, all I could think about was how she bravely made the choice to prioritize even though the circumstances were uncomfortable and tradeoffs inevitable. At that moment, I felt a release. I hung up the phone and went to go find my selective eater.
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