Where Are the Free Babysitters?
Families are great: they help out financially and emotionally, they are an overall support system and, most importantly, they are free babysitters.
So what happens when you have moved away from them? At first, you think, no problem, I can set rules for my children, and no one is around to break them. I am solely in charge of what they eat, when they sleep, which toothpaste they will use and so forth. No problem! Right?
Well, that’s all great, but when you arrive in your new home, your new country and you need to unpack the truck full of boxes you waited weeks to arrive, who’s around to help look after the children?
You haven’t met anyone yet that you are comfortable with to call on for such a task. You’ve met some lovely mums, but they have their own settling-in battles to deal with. What about that first cup of coffee you make to reward yourself for unpacking? Nope, no family is around to pop over, and unfortunately playing tea with your toddler just doesn’t have the same gratification, even if you do put real milk in the tiny pink teapot.
Once you are fully unpacked (well I use the word fully very loosely), had your coffee, and are ready to explore the new world, you want to call “home” to share this important moment, but the time difference gets in the way, and you just have to wait.
Months pass, you have settled in, children are in nursery and school, and you decide to go to work. Easy. You schedule the interviews during school hours. No problem. You get the job. It’s part time. Life is perfect. You can drop off and pick the kids up and not worry if they made it safely or not. Fabulous victory moment for super mum, working mum, overall happy mum, life is great!
Hold on a minute, hold your horses, what happens during school holidays?! Yikes! Grandparents are not around to look after them, so where are the free babysitters? Where are the only people in the world you would trust your children with? Even if they would feed them chocolate all day until they had a stomach ache and then blame you for not setting boundaries. Then panic sets in. What do other working mums do? How are all these mums working?
A little research and I find that they go to camps, which sounds interesting. A little research later and I find that my children are in different age brackets and cannot go to the same camps. No problem, time for Plan B: hire a nanny (although, to me, this doesn’t seem ideal). Then I find out that the nanny needs sponsorship, needs a room in your home, needs this, needs that and the cost appears to grow and grow and grow. So time fo Plan C. But I have no Plan C. Where are my free babysitters? Where are the grandparents? Job? Family? This mummy must put her career on hold.
On the positive side, I will spend more time with the children, attend all school assemblies, watch them grow and be the one to comfort them when they are under the weather. This mummy can do a little victory cheer.
NotSoFreeMum has grown up in London and is a true Londoner. She moved to Qatar with her family over three years ago. It was hard at first, but now has settled in nicely and calls Qatar her home. For more snippets of her life check out notsofreemum.blogspot.qa