Monday, July 13, 2009

If it's not one thing

I'm writing this post from a balcony on the Costa Brava overlooking the Mediterranean, listening to cicadas and watching seagulls glide past. My husband is inside trying to convince le Petit to settle down for a nap. Before you get too jealous, however, know that there is a terrible rock sitting in my stomach that feels about as substantial as the ocre sea cliff in front of me.

I'm worrying about our child care situation. As I mentioned before, the family who shared our nanny has just moved to Brussels, and I'm looking more and more desperately for a replacement. At first I thought, "gee, we have a great nanny, the hard part is taken care of, this shouldn't be too tough." It turns out that everyone thinks that: as I started perusing online ads for nanny shares, I quickly discovered that 70% are for families that already have "une super nounou."

To further complicate this complicated situation, our nanny is leaving for six weeks to go back home to Côte d'Ivoire to take care of some administrative issues concerning some property she owns. Since it is far cheaper to travel in late August and September, that's when she's leaving -- she more or less put us in front of the fait accompli. Since le Petit is attached to her and we are, too, we figured we would adapt.

The problem is, this is France, and everything happens at la rentrée or the Great Collective Return from Vacation at the beginning of September. We're looking for a family for the beginning of October. Until we find someone, we have to pay the nanny's entire salary. We can swing it for a few months, so I feel like I shouldn't complain -- but the cost is high enough that longer than that, it just doesn't make financial sense.

I've contacted dozens of families and put up online and real-life ads, but aside from one mother who took the trouble to meet with me and who hasn't called me back since, nothing. No leads. What to do?

I'm sure a solution will present itself. Until then, though, I'm going to be worrying about it uselessly and constantly. The stupidest thing is that I know I'm privileged; I have access to high-quality child care and I could also conceivable choose to stay home for a while. This makes me luckier than, say, 99% of mothers, I'd guess. Not that there wouldn't be trade-offs, and honestly, I'm not sure I'm made of enough patience to keep track of a toddler seven days a week.

It will work out.


Isabelle said...

Yes, you need to think positive, I'm sure you'll find a solution.
As we say "après la pluie, le beau temps..."

Mom in France said...

I have a similar situation! We REALLY want #2 to go our same nounou, but not starting until January. Like everyone else, she takes new kids in September. She also would love to take him but how to cover the intervening months? She applied to have permission to have a 4th child but they have to come and do a site visit before they will approve it. Which doesn't happen until July 29th. which means we will all leave for vacation not knowing how things will go. hmmmm....

silene said...

Ugh, how stressful. I can't imagine living with the uncertainty. Like Isabelle said, positive thinking! Enjoy the view from your balcony in the meantime...