I’ve never been quite satisfied with our childcare arrangements and how that fits with homeschooling.
It’s not that our nannies haven’t been good — they have.
But we’re ready to make a change now. Mainly, the girls are getting older, and I don’t like to see them — especially Violet, now 9 — so dependent on someone else to direct her activities. I’m also seeing Victoria, turning 5 this month!, saving a lot of her resistance and tantrum-throwing for the nanny.
As Violet adds more and more interests to desired daily activities, the pressures of scheduling have gotten tougher. We have to rush to get stuff done before the sitter gets here, because when she does, the expectation is that the girls play and play until the sitter leaves. For a while I had Violet doing workbooks for part of the sitter time, but that was awkward, and I am not big into workbooks anyway. Our time feels chopped up into bits, and we have to fit things into those bits rather than let the activities guide our time.
So, as of mid-June, we’re going nanny-free. I’m sure we’ll be hiring sitters from time to time, but we’re taking it out of the weekly schedule. In some ways this will require more discipline from everyone, especially the parents, but in other ways we will have a much more relaxed schedule. If something takes longer than planned, oh well. An extra 30 minutes on math needn’t throw off the whole day. If friends want to get together, I don’t have to plan around babysitter days.
Most of all, though, I really see that the girls are needing more direct interaction with parents. Violet’s current phase reminds me of when she learned to walk. As the books predicted, her newly discovered walking skills gave her a temporarily increased sense of separation anxiety. She sensed her freedom — and sometimes it was a little scary! I see this with her now, at age 9. She feels herself separating further from her parents, which is exciting yet anxiety-producing — for everyone! So she wants me around. In fact this weekend we are having a “date night,” with a dinner out, a movie at home, and then sleeping bags in the living room. She really, really wanted this, and I can see from her behavior that she needs it.
Victoria, as I alluded to earlier, needs firmer limit setting. As the younger sister of a fairly demanding sibling, she gets a fair amount of benign neglect — but I am not sure it is entirely benign. I think her “No! No! No!’ fits are a demonstration of her need for more direct parental guidance. I don’t usually have that problem with her, but I am interested to see what happens when we spend more time together. On the plus side, Victoria is also at a wonderfully mother-loving age, when I can count on a “you’re the best mom ever,” or an “I love being with you, mom” pretty often. Why miss out? It won’t last! 😉
Am I working less? Sadly, no. Well, not sadly. But it does make things complicated. I’m hopeful, however, that we’ll all learn to be at home doing our work together, whatever our age-appropriate work is. I’m also hopeful that I’ll learn to get up really early!