The babysitter started today. I hired her for four hours per week, from 9-1 on Thursdays, so that I can work on the researching that needs to be done for my writing, the tasks that still need to be completed for the diaper bag company, and so that I can also spend about an hour each week just doing something that I want to do: getting a pedicure, eating lunch out without dodging thrown peas, sitting in the sun with a cup of coffee and a good book. Today we started with two hours, so that they both had time to adjust to one another, and so that my daughter, who is not used to having a babysitter, would feel comfortable with her the next time she comes over to sit.
For the most part, my daughter understood that mommy was working in the back bedroom and that she was going to play with her new friend. I closed the door to the office and shut myself in, opening up the window blinds and listening to the birds while I wrote for a while. In an hour and a half, I accomplished more than I have all week. It is amazing what a small chunk of uninterrupted time allows a mother to accomplish when she is used to working hurriedly during naptime and early in the morning.
Yesterday I read through a few posts on my mother bulletin boards and found a question from a mom who is opening her own home-based business. She has two children, both at home with her during the day, and she is opening a business that will require her to spend hours on end on the phone, at least in the beginning. She wanted to know if this was possible while also caring for two children.
My answer is an emphatic no.
Until about a month ago, I was able to get everything done that I needed to get done by working during naptime, working after my daughter had gone to bed, taking a day here and there on the weekends while she spent time with my husband, and getting up early in the morning to pound the keys of the computer until I heard the little pitter patter of her feet.
But if you have to make phone calls, run errands, shop for materials, and write lengthy reports, this really isn´t possible.
If you attempt to take your child(ren) with you on business-related errands, they will inevitably grow bored and irritable, and in turn, you will become resentful and angry, wearing yourself down. If you try to make phone calls with the children standing near your feet, they will scream at the top of their lungs and try to grab the phone as you wrangle it away from their sticky hands and head to the bathroom for some privacy. And typing on a computer around a child is like trying to dodge a fast-moving bullet; it´s amazing how quickly a two-year-old can move when she wants to grab the keyboard and pound out a few words. None of these scenarios is fair for you, your children, or your business.
Rather than stress yourself to the point of burnout, pay ten dollars an hour for a few hours a week to a young girl who will gladly come over and play with your children. My daughter had a great time with her new friend and I got in such quality work time in just two short hours that I can´t imagine what I will accomplish next week, when she babysits for three!