Wednesday, April 28


I need opinions...

So we have a sitter 1/2 days Monday and Tuesday and full days Wednesday and Thursday. She was the greatest find in the beginning and she still is very good with Colby.


She's starting to really get on my nerves. When we hired her I made it explicitly clear multiple times that there was NO housekeeping involved at all. It's hard enough for me to be away from Colby all day, I still want to feel like I'm "in charge" of all the stuff I was in charge of before.

But... she has started doing things.

She rearranges his toy baskets every day.
She cleaned our stove top the other day.
She dust busted our bathroom.
She has emptied trash barrels.
She dusted our tv stand.
She rotates out Colby's blankets and refolds all of them in his room.
She takes the mirror out of his crib
She dust busted our couches.

Then there was his bookshelf.

The bookshelf was the straw that broke the camel's back. I had the bookshelf arranged in a certain way, stuffed animals were grouped by who gave them to him and when (before birth, in the hospital, etc.). His turtle that matches Connor's was front and center. Books were grouped in a certain way. His angel feather from Connor was prominent. Toys in baskets were arranged by type.

Basically he was organized in a way that I would never organize the rest of my life, but I liked it. (My control freak tendencies coming out?)

Now the bookshelf is completely reorganized. And I HATE it. But the worst part... the only time I can figure that she would have been able to clean his bookshelf so throughly would have been when he was awake. There's no way that someone could have cleaned it while he was sleeping in the same room.

So, I don't know what to do. I don't know if I am being too freakish. I mean, she's cleaning... she's not destroying our house or something. But I find it annoying and slightly insulting. What do I do?

And am I crazy? :)


Anonymous said...

Disclaimer: The opinion of someone you don't know matters only so much, even though I am a psychotherapist.

You know, I've been reading your blog for some time (and checked out many of the archives), and you know you have issues with control. I'm sure they were just exacerbated by feeling so OUT of control when you went into labor early and lost sweet Connor too soon. There have been several examples in your blog (one that comes to mind is the cousin using the middle name James, and another is when that same cousin put "Conner" as a footnote) in which you allow someone else's behavior to upset you. Sometimes it's reasonable, and sometimes (like now) you seem to recognize it's more your issue than the person's whose bothering you. I think it's important for you to figure out a way to both stand up for yourself while recognizing that nearly everyone means well, and nearly everyone has something going on that's troubling them. It may not be anything as severe as losing a child, but everything is relative, and to them, their issues are tough. The bottom line is that everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt.

So in this case, understand that the sitter has good intentions. Surely nobody cleans the stove out of spite! More than likely, she thinks she is helping you out. As for Colby being awake while she redid the shelf, perhaps he was right there with her helping out. Just because she reorganized a shelf doesn't mean she was neglecting your child!

If I were you, I would sit down with her and say something like, "You know, it was so helpful of you to do xyz around the house for me and I appreciate your efforts. However, for better or worse, I do have a particular way I like things done and in the future, I'd like it if you'd just relax/read a book/whatever while Colby is napping and leave the housework for me when I come home. Believe it or not, I'd prefer doing it myself! You are doing such a wonderful job with Colby, and he and I are lucky to have you. The best way you can help me is by focusing all your attention on him."

I hope this comment is helpful!

ashley said...

I agree that you should sit down and have a talk with her and present your concerns in the most nicest way if you want to keep her as a sitter. I think you are awesome and you have been through some terrible things in your life so controlling whatever parts of it that you can is a comfort. I am the same way with some things. On another note, I do think that your sitter has very good intentions. She probably thinks that by helping to clean your house while watching your son is helping you. I'm sure she may just want to take some stress out of your life and is not realizing that what she is doing for you is causing you more stress. I hope it all works out for the best.

Leah said...

Oh, that's a tough one. Part of me thinks, GREAT! She's cleaning, but it is your house and you need to feel in control of your house, as we all do. I already am thinking about these things because we hired a nanny that will be in our home and I need to make sure it's still clear that it's my home.

I think the only way to really get this issue fixed is to speak to her. You can start out casually, but saying, you really appreciate all of her help, but you enjoy house cleaning so much (even if that isn't completely true) and that you really just want her to take care of Colby.

Good luck. . . It's such a tough one.

Michele said...

I agree. Let her know you appreciate all she does and her desire to help, but that you'd prefer to do your own housework. (and send her over here to do my housework!!!) :)

Catherine W said...

Oh Stace. I think I understand where you are coming from, I'm quite a control freak myself!
It became really important to me to be able to organise the bits of my life that I COULD still organise. And there weren't many left. Inside your own home and perhaps especially your surviving child's things become disproportionately important? My husband laughs at me because I still iron all J's clothing including the muslins that I use to clean her face and her pyjamas. But it is just my way of coping and I think somewhere during the NICU days I started to think that the heat of the iron would kill all the germs. I know that I'm a bit nuts but everything that happened to me just exaggerated that particular personality trait of mine, I wanted to be in charge of SOMETHING.
I know that I would have hated the bookshelf being rearranged because of all Connor's things being moved about and placed somewhere differently.
I don't know how you should approach this. I always struggle to explain why I now want to do things a certain way, that it is just my own little way of coping. I think that, unless you've had your own extremely pre term baby and one of your children has died, you perhaps don't quite understand why control sometimes becomes so very important. Obviously your sitter has wonderful intentions and you don't want to hurt her feelings or make her feel unappreciated. Maybe you could try and explain to her why it is so important to you and that it is nothing to do with her? Or ask her to please not rearrange Colby's things because it means a lot to you that you do this now you are back at work and say you really appreciate all the other things she does to help?
I don't think you're crazy or freakish or mean. I think sometimes I KNOW that I'm being unreasonable, I KNOW that it is my issue not theirs, I KNOW that other people have lots of things to contend with in their own lives that may be equally painful or worse, I KNOW that I can't expect the world to revolve around me. But I like to pretend, just for a few minutes, that I can bend the world to my will because it comforts me. I know that it is a pretence but the neatly ironed stack of muslins in my kitchen represents the fact that I can do one little thing right for J. I couldn't provide her with a safe environment to grow inside me, I couldn't help through all the months in the NICU, I couldn't save the life of twin sister but I CAN do this (the ironing!) and I CAN do this well. Sorry about the essay. If you're crazy, we can be crazy together. x

Bry said...

I was just ran across your blog and I am a nanny. As a nanny, especially of a young baby days can get long. Babies sleep alot so a lot of times there is nothing to do. I would turn on the TV when the baby I used to nanny was napping but I would also get bored and clean the kitchen, even though I wasn't asked. Part of the reason behind that was to help Lisa out so that she could spend more time with her son when she got home from work, also to help remove some of her stress. Babies also don't need constant care, they need to learn to become indepenent so while the baby was playing I would pick up the toys he wasn't playing with and around the house. :)