When Lily was first born, one of the things I struggled with the most was approaching a child care center and asking if she could attend. I wrote a post about it here, and what this experience taught me about bravely asking bold questions.
These last few months I’ve been struggling with something very similar. What is the right choice for summer child care? Until now, we have always simply relied on the day care center we have always used. However, because of a variety of reasons, my husband and I decided that hiring a nanny for the summer was a better option for our family this year.
I thought I would be OVER these struggles by now. I wrote a post about learning these lessons! Shouldn’t it at LEAST be easier this time?
I sometimes have to learn lessons over and over (and over) again before they finally stick.
Getting MYSELF to ACT was the HARDEST PART.
I had lots of reasons why I didn’t act…
- I didn’t know where to start.
- I was overwhelmed.
- I was worried people would charge us double or triple due to the “special needs” label, which we would be unable to afford.
- I was scared people would reject us. And by rejecting “us”, I really mean scared they would reject my daughter because she has a disability. People excluding her simply because of her differences is one of my biggest fears. I want people to take the time to get to know her before making judgements. I want her to be accepted and loved and brought into the fold like any other kid.
- I was concerned that if people did reject us because our child has a disability, or try to charge us double or triple the going rate that it would shake my confidence in the good in people.
- I didn’t know how to position the extra needs our family requires. I wanted to say “you will be required to learn some medical stuff that may seem scary, but once you’ve done it a few times it’s not that scary and you totally CAN do it.” How do I explain that plus everything else in a 1000 character advertisement?
- I knew we needed to find someone who “gets” us, and who our kids would feel comfortable with. It’s very personal welcoming someone into your house, especially when one kiddo needs a little extra assistance. I worried we wouldn’t be able to find this perfectly fitting person.
My husband and I talked about it at Christmas – talked about it – but did nothing. I thought about it some more at the end of January and knew the clock was ticking… but I still did nothing. I started freaking out about it as Spring Break approached. Lots of freaking out. But still… not much action.
All of the sudden, it was mid-April, and time was about to run out. I actually thought we were too late. Finally, FINALLY, my fear of missing out trumped my fear of acting.
Bravery doesn’t mean you’re not scared, it just means you don’t let fear stop you.
I’m not really a fearful person. This post seems to show that I am. It’s just that this topic is particularly difficult for me.
I decided to take one step forward.
I created a spreadsheet of dates and hours and pay rates & worked through what we could afford to pay with my husband. Rather than worry about how much a nanny would ask to be paid, we decided to see if we could find someone who fits our budget.
(In hindsight, this feels logical and like we should have started with this level of clarity. Sigh… I made this financials question a huge worry in my head, but it was actually straightforward.)
Then we took another step.
We signed up for Care.com and posted our nanny job to see if we got any responses. Here was our approach:
- Posted the job in both the general “child caregiver” section as well as the “special needs caregivers” section.
- Tried to balance the ad to show our family personality, caregiving approach, the type of person who would be a good match, and also clearly (but simply) laying out the extra help our daughter requires.
- Positioned the job as a great fit for a PT, OT or Nursing student (we got a lot of applicants with these backgrounds).
- Looked through caregiver profiles and identified a few who we thought would be a great fit – sent our ad directly to these “good fit” people, encouraging them to apply.
- Also sent the ad to a contact at a local university who distributed it to the OT/Nursing students at the school.
We got over 40 applications! Surprising to me, many of them seemed like they could be a good fit for our family. However, there was one who seemed PERFECT, and who clicked with our kids right away… so we hired her.
I’m so glad we pushed through and did this. Week one of the summer is in the books. We have a house full of fabulous crafts, stories of fun adventures to the playground and library, and lower stress evenings with more family time.
Is there something fear is holding you back from? What’s one small step you could take?