Tuesday, 7 February 2012
So today I have a bit of a predicament here in The Twenty Something Mum household. Not that this is unusual as I seem to find parenting is a bit like walking around blindfolded trying to dodge fire, sharp objects and hot lava while balancing on a tight rope. Yup parenting can often throw many difficult predicaments at you and you just have to keep moving forward. With this one though I would really like to know what your opinions are and some parent to parent advice is in need please people! You lovely blog readers you *trying to butter you up*.
So here it is. Me and baby daddy were invited to spend a week at Center Parcs in the summer with a large group of our friends. The price was next to nothing as so many people were going and it felt like something we couldn't refuse. Well obviously we could refuse, and that's what I did. At first. Then as I started to think about it, a little flutter of something I haven't felt in a while kicked me hard to alert me to it's presence. Yup guys, I got excited. It doesn't happy often let me tell you! I regularly get excited when nappies are on offer at the supermarket or my partner offers to let me have an extra half an hour in bed in the morning but as for excitement about something un-parent related, well it doesn't happen much. Well, ever! The thought of lay in's that last past 8am, late nights with wine, board games with our lovely friends and lots of yummy food was too much to resist. So I agreed to discuss it.
I wouldn't want to leave my son for longer than three nights as I haven't left him for a night before so the whole week wasn't an option but I knew our friends wouldn't mind us only staying for a portion of the trip. The other issue was childcare. Ok this was really the only issue preventing me from biting my friend's hand off at the offer. My mum is recovering from a relapse of M.E and although we are very close her and my dad wouldn't neccessarily be able to commit to having my son for that duration. They would be my first (and only) choice really but after them the only other options is *dark evil music please* ...my in-laws. Gulp. If you read my previous posts you will know I don't have a good relationship with the mother in law. In fact I would rather chew lemons and nails, while having my fingers cut off one by one and also having every available piece of skin pierced at the same time; than be around her. So the thought of her getting to enjoy my little boy for 3 and a half days was enough to make me refuse the offer of Center Parcs altogether. Sadly my partner and I are not on the same page about this and I can't admit that this is the true reason I had my reservations. So after throwing every 'excuse' in the book I finally gave in to him and my bubbling excitement and accepted the offer and agreed to asking my mother in law to come and stay with Josh.
My predicament is this. What are the etiquette rules that apply when someone looks after your child? Now my parents and two of my best friends have looked after Josh when I've needed it and they know me and the way I parent so a quick list of what he likes/doesn't like/needs to do etc is all I run through before I leave. I think I do this more for my piece of mind than for any benefit it would have for my son as this group of trusted people are more than capable of looking after my toddler! So what do I do about the mother in law when the time comes? I will have some very strict and firm to-do's and not to-do's that she will HAVE to abide by. I say this because she is the most likely to want to try her 'own' ideas about how to look after my son. For example he has strict nap/meal/snack/bath times as I have followed the Gina Ford routine since he was born. So I am not up for her delving away from this for any period of time, no matter how much it messes up her plans. I am the only person who is allowed to mess up the routine for a day out etc. Stubborn, me? Never.
Another thing is their cooking. Being older parents they have very set taste when it comes to food. They use cooking juices, ingrediants etc and re-heat leftovers in ways I don't and nor would I allow for Josh. So this is going to be difficult to address. Another thing is the fact that I know they will want to take my son to their relatives house for the day. This is something I am NOT happy with the most. Last time we saw these relatives, one spilt boiling coffee all over my son who ended up in hospital with burns on his tummy, legs and groin and still has scars to proove it. Their home is also damp, not child proof and not somewhere I want my son to be. I don't care how awful that sounds, my sole priority is my son and this is how I feel. So my question is this how do I go about this? I feel rude dictating how to look after my son when they are doing me a favor so we can have a few days away. However the other part of me thinks it's them who are lucky and priviledged to be able to spend tme with my wonderful son. Oh goodness me, what the hell am I going to do?! I'm already thinking accepting was a bad idea just because of this!
Oh and to top it all off I feel horribly guilty that I'm leaving my son. What if he has a bad dream and cries out for a mummy cuddle in the middle of the night and I'm not there? What if he gets so excited dancing to Mickey Mouse he wants mummy to join in and I'm not there when he looks for me? The look of disappointment I can see filling his face makes my guilt-meter go up a notch. And it's already in the scary red end of the gage!
So my lovely blog readers how am I to approach this? What is the correct way for the parent to apprach babysitting etiquette? ...Please someone make me feel better here!!
Love Chloe xx