How the universe sent me a babysitter - Part I / by Susie Lubell

Seven months

This was a very big week. I found a babysitter for Bug Eye McChicken Legs. This is big for a number of reasons but mainly because I wasn't totally convinced that I could rationalize spending money for someone else to take care of him when I only earn barely enough to cover it. I always have it in my head that I can still run my business and my household in two hour increments while he's napping and why would I pay for someone else to watch him sleep. Except he doesn't always nap as he should. And I never feel at ease starting the next project because I know that at any moment I will have to stop. And then I secretly start to resent just a teeny bit the McChicken. Plus maybe the reason I am only earning enough to barely cover childcare, is that I'm not actually working much at all.

Since he was born I haven't painted a thing. In the weeks leading up to his birth I had several commissions to finish and it was quite a fruitful period. But then the baby came and the house sold and the RV trip and the move and leaving the country and settling into a new county. Well, it hasn't been super conducive to creating. And unfortunately I'm not the type to just jot down sketches and doodles whenever I can. I know that about myself so I don't even buy journals anymore.  I've continued to fill orders and have them printed and shipped through a lovely print shop in North Carolina thanks to the magic of the Internet, so business goes on. But nothing new has hit paper in seven months which had me feeling like I'm not really an artist (I feel this way from time to time. Impostor syndrome. Very destructive).

So when I saw a flyer posted next to the neighborhood grocery (think Israeli bodega) advertising a 29 year old mom of two (baby and toddler) looking to watch another baby three days a week in the morning while her two year old is at preschool, I sort of thought this might be perfect. So I took a tear off with her number.

And I stuck it in my pocket where it sat for a week.

I had those thoughts again that I don't deserve childcare. That my baby is too problematic. (no binky, no lovie, no bottle, lots of nursing). That it's not worth the hassle of getting him ready in the morning and packing up his food and diapers and wipes. That surely she's already taken another baby since half the tear-offs were gone and that was a week ago.

Finally I called and even during the conversation I felt a weight rising in my chest. I don't really want to do this. I can't do this. I don't deserve it. She had one other family interested but she was waiting to hear back from them. She'd call me back. A few days later I got a text that she'd like me to bring the baby over and we could try it out for a week or so. See how it goes. I liked that approach.

So this week on Tuesday I took the kids to school and put the baby down for his nap when we got home. When he woke up we rode over to the village next door where the sitter lives (across from the awesome cafe that I wrote about last month which will prove to be an important part of the second part of this story). As I drove in I already started to feel lighter. She lives in a moshav which is kind of a little farming community. This one happens to be a vineyard. And she lives down a dirt road next to a few abandoned chicken coops which I find endlessly charming. Her personal roost overlooks a beautiful valley. And when she opened the door and welcomed me with a giant smile, I sort of knew this would be right for us.

Part II to come.