Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sitter Problem of December 4th

Here's the email I sent to the owner today.

Dear Jennifer,

I've thought repeatedly of/over the course of events that occurred on December 4th, and I'm dissatisfied with the response that I've received from both you and your sitter, and the agency as a whole in an attempt to resolve this issue that occurred with the sitter being uncomfortable in my home.

Here's what happened again that evening. I requested a sitter between about 4:30 and 5 for 5:30 that evening, the agency called me back about 5:15 to confirm the details and said they had someone in mind, and just needed to make a few calls and was it ok if they didn't come till a little later, and then called back to say they had someone that could be there about 6:15 and she was coming from Arapaho and Preston. The sitter called at 5:45 and asked for directions. I gave her directions and she arrived between 6:15 and 6:30. I told her who needed a bottle, and gave her pjs and diapers. She got the twins names confused several times, I showed her my filled out seeking sitter book, showed her where the babies sleep, and told her how to put them down. We returned to the living room, and she proceeded to get the babies dressed for bed, and we left as we were running late. We drove down to downtown Dallas, and had just pulled into the parking lot, paid for parking, when my phone rang. It was the sitter, and I figured she had a question about bed time, since we had to leave quickly, and I told her to call if she had any questions. I answer and she tells me she's uncomfortable with the environment and we need to come home and she's spoken to Jennifer about it. I ask her what she's uncomfortable with, and she says she's not comfortable saying, but that William had fallen asleep, and didn't eat, I asked her if it was because he didn't eat and told her that was ok because he just had a bottle before we left. She restated that she was uncomfortable, and something about putting Micah in the master bed. I couldn't understand why she couldn't just say what was wrong so we could find another solution, but I assumed the worst and called my mom since she lives only 5 min away so she could rush right over. I called the sitter back and left her a message that my mom was coming over so she didn't have to spend one more min there if she was uncomfortable, and that she could check her id and compare it to what was listed in my seeking sitter book, and she called me back and said that she'd checked with the agency and that was ok if my mom came over. My mom arrived 5 min before we were able to make it home as traffic wasn't as bad as I imagined it could be, she said the sitter ran out the door after she arrived said something about putting a baby that can crawl in the master bed to her, and my mom said she seemed overwhelmed. Also, when my mom had arrived Tommy had wet his pants. When we arrived home my mom had just changed him, and was getting him ready for bed. She told us what she had done, and had to leave to return back to get her work done. I also called the agency on my way home and they told me they didn't know what was happening, and that someone would call me tomorrow. When Jen spoke to me the next day she stated she wouldn't charge me for Miranda's time she was there, and never gave me an explanation why the sitter had to leave, but also something about Miranda being uncomfortable with the fish tanks, another inconsistency in the story.

You asked me if I as a former sitter myself was ever uncomfortable in my environment, and nothing short of Sexual Harassment would have caused me to be discontented in my environment where I needed to break a commitment of my word and leave the situation immediately.

Also, you had stated that Miranda is an independent contractor for your agency and free to choose to leave if she deems the situation inhospitable. Miranda also told me that she had informed you and discussed with you that she was uncomfortable and needed to leave and that it was ok with you. It really makes me nervous with using your agency that you want to just keep this between us when a sitter you only contract with has broken her word and failed to complete a sitting commitment that was arranged, and that she was given permission to leave, and that you intend to use her again as a sitter for other families where she can do the same.

What if the event we had to go to was more important, or farther away and we could not get back home, or our contact number failed to work? How do I know that your agency has dependable sitters when you continue to contract with this sitter who has proved undependable in this situation? How do I know other sitters haven't done the same? Also, I find it rather unacceptable that you agreed to only not charge me for her time there, she never presented a time card for me to sign, and as such would appear to be more of a no-show sitting. I would expect any sitters that weren't comfortable to express that before the parents leave, so we could have made arrangements to take the children with us to the event, or leave them with someone else. As the situation occurred we were left with a $10 dollar parking charge that wasn't used, and $150 tickets that weren't used, and my mothers time in leaving *her work* to relieve the sitter. Nothing was done to compensate us for our financial loss due to the sitters inadequacies, or make the situation right, other than not charging me for an event you couldn't charge me for anyway. In fact i was asked to keep the "personality conflict" between myself and the agency, something I'm not at ease with doing when the agency still chooses to user her as one of their sitters. My other friends have similar parenting styles as me, and I'm not cozy with referring them to an agency, that cost me so much money and sent an incompetent sitter to my house who was not equipped to handle any situation.

I will add that I appreciate the agencies also offer to setup at list of preferred sitters for me that they would recommend for my family in the future, but this consisted of only 6 or 7 sitters, and I'm afraid that because my preferred list is so short that one of those won't be available, and that I may end up with another mystery sitter or no-one when I need someone, and may be facing the same issues we had before, or that the agency will serve to defend their sitter again instead of support their client as happened with the December 4th incident.

Also, if the agency still chooses to contract with Miranda, or other sitters that have had problems, is she/they being limited to older kids or only 2 kids instead of 3 or more, or situations like churches with supervision, or something else to prevent a similar situation; for me to feel satisfied with the resolution of this problem so I can continue using seeking sitters again for my sitting needs I need more explanation of steps that are being taken on the agencies side to prevent a mismatch like this in the future.

Also, should the agency do a questionnaire for the sitters and families about personal political beliefs that may cause a sitter to be uncomfortable an unable to preform their job in a families home? Pets, allergies, sexual orientation beliefs, nontraditional parenting style, hunting, animal rights, gun ownership, religious preferences etc. Due to the sensitives of these questions I'm not even sure you can ask them, but I wouldn't want a sitter coming to my house where my fish or dog will make her unable to care for my children, or I could lock up the dog or cover the fish tanks before a sitter's arrival.

Thanks for taking the time to address my concerns, and I look forward to your resolution to this problem so I may continue to use SeekingSitters for my babysitting needs in the future.

-Lydia Conrad

1 comment:

Mother of a "Special" Child

When I was young, I'd often say,
I'd like to be a mom someday
While playing with my baby doll,
I thought that job's not hard at all

I'd have a baby, maybe two,
a girl in pink...a boy in blue
Well I grew up and sure enough,
I'm now a mom and gosh it's tough

The baby that was sent to me,
was born with disabilities
At first I'm frightened through and through,
there's much to learn to care for you

This wasn't in my plans at all,
when I was young and played with dolls
Your mind and body were so weak,
you might not ever walk or speak

So much special care required,
I'm often scared and often tired
As months and years go slowly by,
I smile a lot but sometimes cry

To watch you grow and not complain,
though you endure your share of pain
Oh, how I'd hold you and I'd pray,
that you'd be healed and whole someday

But I knew that was not to be,
not physically or mentally
And so I taught you best I could,
your progress wasn't very good

But then one day I realized,
as I gazed into your loving eyes
That I had learned so much from you,
determination...courage too

A love so unconditional,
it floods my soul and always will
I'm proud to say I gave you birth,
for you're an angel here on earth.

God Choose a mother for a "Special" child

Most women becaome mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressure and a couple by habit.

This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint...give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."

"Forrest, Marjotie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia."

"Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew."

Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."

The angel is curious. "Why this one God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God, "Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But she has patience?" asked the angel.

"I don't want her to have to much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it."

"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has his own world. She has to make her live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles, "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect - she has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps - "selfishness? is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word'. She will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!"

"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see...ignorance, cruelty, prejudice....and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side".

And what about her Patron saint? asked the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."