Saturday, November 8, 2008

I Am Not Mary Poppins

I Am Not Mary Poppins (Anywhere Close To Gaithersburg)I am not Mary Poppins. For those parents out there who are seeking the quintessential nanny who never gets tired, with a permanent smile like a Botox injection gone wrong, takes every insult with a dose of humor and breaks out in a song and dance ensemble, a nanny that has a lengthy list of credentials deemed necessary to raise a prodigy .. I am not that person. What I am is a regular run-of-the mill nanny and by all accounts not a super human. So no I will not smile and cringe when Little Becky Sue kicks me in the shin. As a parent would you? No I will not work overtime for free. Do you? No I do not want to know any personal problems nor do I wish to divulge any of mine to you. No I will not use my car to drive to Little Todd’s play dates and keep quiet about the expenses so that you can dine at a five star restaurant while I eat spam with a straw. I don’t care if you decide to leave the children and run across the border as long as you send a post card and my check. I will not be your butler, maid, secretary or yes-man to stroke your ego. I do not care where you live and how you live. If you want to use your tidey whiteys for a dust rag that is your business. I do not wish to sit on the floor of your home all day pretending to enjoy a mind numbing game of tea with Little Rebecca when you don’t even want to do it. I will not pretend to smile first thing in the morning if I do not feel like it just to be polite. I will not run your errands for you as I am not a courier service. I will not hug, kiss and whisper sweet nothings to your kids in an effort to win their affections. I am not trying to be their friend. I will not eat from you refrigerator or cupboards so no need to count the eggs or the chickens in the chicken coop for that matter before you leave home. I will let your kids watch tv until they go into a coma if that is what they are accustomed to. If your child has a problem respecting those in authority I will let Little Billy continue to jump on the bed and sofa until he learns the true definition of concussion. No I will not come over last minute because…. Surprise!!! I have a life too. Please don’t answer your door choked up with your bed linen around your neck for a scarf trying to look dignified carrying an arm’s length list of questions to intimidate me when I come over for an interview because I will reciprocate the kindness and play the game of Jeopardy with you. Do not give me excuses as to why you were late just pay me for my overtime because the bill collector doesn’t care why I didn’t send this month’s payment on time. Do not ask me to prepare a five course meal for the kids everyday when all you do is feed them sugar when I am not there. Call Chef Gordon Ramsey for that. Do not presume that my arithmetic is not up to par with yours and shorten my pay by a couple dollars and pretend that you are being fair and that somehow, just somehow I should just be content with the notion that I have “the world’s greatest job”. If you are unhappy with your life and wait for me to come in the mornings to harass me… you will be even unhappier and decide to take that leap from the ledge by the time I leave. Do not talk down to me because you think I am so desperate for a job or uneducated, unless you are just in the mood to play a game of the battle of wits. Now if I ask you to get the necessary supplies to help Little Johnny do his homework and be a better pupil do not expect me to spend my money and acquire these necessities and let it slide. I am very resourceful and can make do but I am not Jesus and so I have yet to master the art of turning water into wine. I will let your children play in the dirt all day and make mud pies if that’s what brings them joy. Yes I will keep your kids out Friday nights late at the movies, let them walk on the Mall all Saturday until they start to hallucinate, stay up until the next morning until they finish their homework in a tidy fashion and write those spelling words until their hands cramp and their fingers blister. Yes I will call your child’s name all the way from across town if he or she wants to get out of line. Yes, oh yes we will break out and do the Electric Slide first thing in the morning while we wait for the school bus even if your neighbors think it crude, unrefined and oh what is that French word again .. ?(GHETTO). I am a no nonsense person. I show up for work on time, do my work to the best of my abilities, keep track of the children’s activities, keep them well fed, well groomed and happy by simply using my own initiative so I don’t need you watching me like a bald eagle doing a simple task such as loading your dishwasher. I will load it however I feel as long as everything gets washed. I can’t stand bread crumbs on the table either so no need to constantly pace back and forth timing how soon Little Sarah will finish eating her sandwich so I can clean and reset the table. I just get it. If you work and get paid in fries and mustard at your job do not resent me because you feel you are paying me too much. There are many others out there that will work for a shake and a Big Mac pick one. If you suffer from paranoia and have some preconceived notion that we are all somehow going to run off with your kids, please do not run up my cell phone bill calling me to find out where your kids are. Believe me I am not going to kidnap them. I can scarcely feed myself much less to run off with yours. No need to leave a nanny cam running all day to watch my every move. I can take pictures for you and put them in your Christmas album for Nanna and family. No I don’t smoke as much as the thought of my lungs looking like a chimney stack appeals to me. No I don’t drink either…can barely stand milk (flatulence) let alone vodka for evening tea. Yes I speak English fluently and another language if your kids get on my nerves. Experience yes. How much? About five plus years and still sober. Verifiable references? Whoever hasn’t left town, isn’t dead or just missing in action. I almost forgot. All those parents raising brats and whose intention it is to cause me to take to the bottle or use my salary for psychiatric treatment when I get off work can forget it. I will be your exorcist, your warden and the gate keeper to purgatory if necessary. I am not going to tell you that the reason I want the job is because I oh so love kids. No, no, no. I love kids as much as the next guy or gal down the street. If I loved them too much I would be offering my services for free which is not the case. For God’s sake even the Salvation Army sells stuff. Yes I would like to bring my child because you know what…? I don’t think it is fair for me to drop mine off at someone else’s home and take care of yours. What is my age preference? I prefer caring for children who are three or older. Availability… Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Rate $15/hr. take it or leave it I know my worth. Currently employed? Surprisingly yes and the kids love me to death. I practically have to use a crowbar to get them off me when I am leaving. Was it or is it bribery? Nope. Kids can tell if you are the real deal. I actually get along well with the parents too as I have free reign. I have my own key and I just go and come as I please. C.P.R certificate? Expired and I am too broke to renew it. If you are a busy person who just needs someone to lasso those rowdy kids and strictly concentrate only on their needs and not yours, by all means feel free to drop me a line. Wackos need not reply as I have pepper spray and believe me I will use it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

When I Got Married I Didn't Sign Up for This!

Somehow this seems to be an epidemic and many women prefer to not want to address this issue. However, it has come to my attention that this cycle needs to end. Now while I was dating, my then boyfriend was supportive, attentive, spontaneous and just seemed like my everything. He would take me out often; make plans for where we would go on the weekends and was just the sweetest guy you could ever meet. He would always comment on how beautiful I am and how he just couldn't live without me. He was always well groomed and pleasing to my overall senses. Now, as time progressed, during our courting period we discussed that we wanted to have a child. Times were hard but a woman reaches a time in her life when she feels that urge to start a family and for me.. for us it was that time.

Prior to getting pregnant, he stated how he had always wanted a child and I had no reason to believe that he would not be a good father based on what I saw during our brief dating period. Okay got pregnant. Oh my god! He was the most caring person throughout my pregnancy. He never missed a doctor's appointment and sacrificed to make sure I was taken care of while I was pregnant, especially since I had stopped working.

We ran down to the court house and tied the knot three months into my pregnancy and baby came six months after. Now mind you I had a cesarean section so I was unable to do much while I recovered and there was not that much money to go around. As a matter of fact, he had to go back to work a day after I gave birth and I had no family to help out while I recovered and took care of a new born baby. My legs were swollen, had the usual period that comes with afterbirth, hemorrhoids flared up, breasts leaking, and nursing cesarean section and let us not discuss postpartum syndrome. Now I am stuck in a house all day with a new born baby basically 24 hours a day with no adult interaction. Now when my husband comes home he is looking around for dinner and wants to go to bed and sleep. Now while I am appreciative of the fact that he is the breadwinner of our now three family household, I somehow felt that that did not relinquish him of his fatherly duties.

Now anyone who has ever had a newborn baby knows what I am talking about. You have to sit on the toilet while breast feeding because something about a crying newborn just commands this sense of urgency. You have to take a one second shower if you are that lucky and you never get a break. Now while all this is going on your husband says he understands but does he really? He complains that he works throughout the day and that somehow that is similar to your 24hour 7 days a week childcare from which you get absolutely no break. You are essentially in a prison. You cry alone, you are afraid of complaining because you don't want to seem like a bad mother and you want to seem like that woman on television who after seeing her child being born for the first time is all smiles. So you suffer alone. You reach out to your husband and he just says he has to go to work. You are left all alone in a home with the child, no adult interaction, suffering from the blues and oh my god every time you disrobe and look at your post baby body you just spiral even more into depression. Again you cry alone and stay in your little prison where your only glimmer of hope comes when you hear the post man at the front door and you see another adult once a day or a month until the next delivery. You are so alone. If you finally manage to pack up stroller and diaper bag to go to the park you are probably too tired or afraid after being away from the world for what seems an eternity and may just end up going back to your 10 minute power nap. You read books on child rearing until that bores you. You occasionally browse the Internet for some kind of connection to someone who may be able to provide some relief from your loneliness but nothing can be found that honestly discuss what you are feeling.

You walk around in your bathrobe looking like a complete mess but hey who cares? You seem to have lost all contact with the outside world anyway. Everyday seems bleak and you seem to be looking at yourself from outside yourself. And while all this is going on where is your husband? He is at work. He is supporting his family and so you don't want to complain. But now you start to resent him. He thinks that is his only role. All he needs to do is bring in money and you should hold down the fort and manage to cook a good piece of steak for his dinner. He still looks fabulous while you look like you got hit with the front end of a tractor trailer right after being his by a train.

If you complain he is quick to ridicule your childcare abilities. So you ask yourself, well if he is such an expert why the hell doesn't he take over? He takes his time and get dressed for work while you try to just use the toilet for one measly minute uninterrupted. He leisurely sips his coffee while you try to breast feed and stuff a bagel down your throat while you have some peace. He whisks off to work and manages to smell the roses along the way... all this while you look out from your bedroom window a.ka. your prison cell and get ready to start a never-ending hectic day.

What happened? When did we decide that I would bear the sole responsibility of raising a child and becoming a stay at home mom? What about my career? Why does yours take precedence over mine? Why do I have to now feel like a child getting lunch money when you give me money? What don't you understand when I say I need a break? Why don't you help out more? What happened to the man I met? If both of us made this child who decided that I would be the one joined by the hip to this child for the rest of my life while you still seem to have a regular life? I have sacrificed my body; I have the stretch marks, baby fat, bags and sags to prove it. I have sacrificed my career.. I have the lack of income to prove that. I have lost all contact with the outside world... I have the pale skin to prove it. But you have not lost or given up anything. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Is there some unspoken agreement that was made that I have no recollection of? Other ladies need to know what to expect when they plan on having a child. The dynamics of your relationship with your significant other and the outside world dramatically change and no one ever speaks of it. It is not what it looks like on television or what you see looking in at other people's relationships. Young women need to be told that. It is a lot of work and sacrifices especially on the part of the woman and women need to stop pretending that everything is rosy and perfect while they cry in the closets at nights...alone. Women need to demand support and take care of themselves because no one else will. No one knows you better than you. You need to save a little of that care and nurturing for yourself.

When I got married I did not sign up for this.