Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Less stress, more smiles!

I've sat down to write this post a few times and have always given up and deleted it because I wasn't sure how I wanted to go about doing so, or even if it was something I wanted to share.  I've went back and forth in my mind trying to decide. On one hand, I want to say forget it; the drama is over and we have moved on with our lives. Wouldn't it be best to just let it go?  Then, the other side of me is saying that I have the right to my side of the story.  I have made the choice in my life to be a blogger.  Some people see it as just a casual side of social networking.  To me, it is much more than that.  Personally, it is a record of my life; the ups and the downs.  It is also an outlet for me.  Sure, it is on the internet for anyone to see, but I know that when I write.  I have never meant for this to be a private blog.  I'm out there, Jerry, and I'm lovin' it!  I have made actual friends through this blog.  I have made contact with old friends, and have had old acquaintances become new friends.  My blog and my readers are very important to me.  I don't fabricate stories to interest you.  I give you the truth.  I don't feel the need to embellish to try to make the events seem better or worse than they happened.  It is what it is.  I have never claimed to be a great storyteller... Just ask Mike!  I've also never claimed to be the best mom/wife/daughter/friend in the world, either.  I have my flaws just like each and every one of you.  But, I do what works best for myself and my family.  I live my life on purpose.  I make each moment count.  When something goes wrong, I try with all my might to make it better.  When I can't, well... Let's just say that I make some pretty sweet lemonade ;o)
Lately, our lives have been filled with a lot of unnecessary drama.  It has been stressful to the point of literally giving my a stomachache.  On Valentine's Day, I went to pick Jaden up at daycare to take her to preschool.  I had asked her how Annie (our daycare provider) liked her Valentine's Day gift.  Jaden told me that she hadn't opened it yet because she wasn't up yet and because the party wasn't until after lunch.  You should know that we loved our daycare provider.  She provided care for my girls when Mike and I couldn't.  It is a fact of life that we need two incomes to support our family, so until I can get to the point where I am able to work from home, we need to send our kids to daycare.  We went with an in-home daycare so we could give our girls the sense of home.  We wanted them to have the personal attention and love that they would get with, not necessarily us, but maybe a really close friend.  We also wanted a professional relationship with our provider.  We wanted her to be able to come to us with any problems that may happen and, in turn, allow us to speak up if we had a problem with something she was or wasn't doing.  There were often mornings that Annie was not available when we arrived.  On those mornings, her husband was always awake and downstairs to greet the girls, so we really didn't have a huge problem with it.  If there was something that I needed to discuss with her, I just waited until pick-up.  As long as there was a responsible, trusted adult there that I knew, I was ok.  So, when Jaden told me that Annie wasn't up yet, I didn't think much of it.  Then, J asked me if it was weird that Annie takes a bath because she's not a kid.  To Jaden, kids take baths and adults take showers.  I was somewhat annoyed.  I have had mornings where I have woken up late and know how frustrating it is to have to hurry and get around for work.  But, I always get to work dressed and ready.  If I would happen to miss a shower, I would just take it that evening (although I am an evening shower person anyway.)  To take the time to relax in a bath instead of quickly jumping in the shower seemed a bit selfish and irresponsible.  But, I pushed those thoughts to the side and tell Jaden that sometimes big people like to take baths, too.  THEN, Jaden said, "Mom, sometimes when people get big, do they get hair on their privates?"  I was LIVID.  I asked J if she watched Annie take a bath and she said, "Yeah!  She was being really silly with her wash cloth."  I asked her who else watched Annie take a bath and she said, "Everyone.  We all love Annie!"  I was hot.  I quickly explained to J that bath time is private time and she should give Annie her privacy and not watch her take a bath.  I didn't want to make a huge deal about it to Jaden right before she was going into school.  I didn't want her to feel like SHE did anything wrong.  Jaden went into school and I cried.  I freaking bawled my eyes out.  Jaden is only four years old.  I haven't yet taught her about the changes that happen to girls' bodies when the become an adult.  I did not need for our paid, non-family daycare provider to do that for me.  I was fueled with hatred toward this woman that I trusted.  She was exposing herself to children that she is not related to!  It made me want to throw up.  I didn't know what to do.  
I called Annie that evening after the girls went to bed.  I proceeded to tell her what Jaden told me and she completely, 100% admitted it.  In fact, she failed to see how what she did could be seen as inappropriate.  She honestly could not believe that I had an issue with her being nude in front of my kids.  She is a grown woman in her 60s that has been doing in-home daycare for over 30 years!  How could she not see how totally inappropriate it was?  She told me, "Shannon, in the 34 years I've been doing this, you are the first person that has ever had a problem with this."  I asked if the other parents knew and she replied, "Yeah, in fact we joke about it all the time.  Most of them find it endearing."  She then told me that some of the children have even bathed WITH her!  I was angry to the point where I was literally shaking.  Even so, I kept a cool head and just talked to her.  I never once called her any names or accused her of doing anything.  I simply had a problem with what she had already admitted to doing.  She explained that her family is very open when it comes to being naked.  They think nothing of it.  I had to ask if her husband had ever been naked in front of my kids... She said no, because they are girls, but he has been showering before with the boys in the bathroom.  I know she is not forcing the kids to watch, but still.  She said that she just wants to create a home away from home for the kids.  I expressed my appreciation for that fact, but also told her that my kids have never even seen ME naked!  In the end, we agreed to disagree about the inappropriateness of the issue.  She said that she would not allow my girls to watch her bathe, but that would just be, "one more thing that they couldn't do."  Fine then. I'm ok with that. 

I tried to go on with each day being as normal and unawkward as possible.  I'm all about second chances and putting the past in the past.  Then I saw that one of the other moms posted a blog about the incident, only not so much.  The story was completely twisted and made Annie sound like it was all an innocent mistake.  This other mother claimed that Annie told her the girls happened to see her as she was changing for bible study.  She wrote that Annie said I thought she was "disgusting" and "appalling," neither of which I said.  The kids watched her BATHE!  According to this mother, "This entire controversy that has since swept through my daycare like wildfire just seems too ridiculous to worry about. So the kids saw some boobs? What I find appalling is a parent who throws such a fit over such an insignificant issue. I find it disgusting that you would try to make a woman who cares for your children feel guilty and ashamed. By elevating a simple issue into a huge debate, this mother has made nakedness seem dirty. It doesn't have to be."  
I don't know who lied.  I don't know if Annie lied to the other parents because she thought I would run and tell them, so she wanted to try to get to them first and make me look like a liar?  Or, did the other mother lie in her blog post because she didn't want to put the whole truth out there and get reamed by her readers?  Either way, someone lied because they knew it was WRONG.  I didn't "throw a fit."  I simply had a problem with something that Annie had done, so as a mother, I called her to talk about it.  We reached an agreement and were done with it.  I would have done the same thing if it was any other issue.  Many people have told me to tell the other parents.  I have been advised to report her to the state and even to the authorities.  I didn't because in my mind, she and I had settled our differences and came to an understanding that it wouldn't happen again.  As a parent, I have the right to bring up any issue that I have a problem with, whether it be something that she had given them for lunch or how long of a nap the girls got.  I called her after hours to talk privately about the issue.  So, if it is spreading like wildfire, someone else lit the match, not I.  I never brought the blog post up to Annie or the other mother.  

Days passed and we went through the awkward motions of pick-up/drop-off at daycare each day.  Since our talk, Annie had been distant.  There was obvious tension between her and I.  I honestly started to feel bad for even bringing it up, even though I knew in my heart that it needed to be talked about.  As the weeks went by, I would casually throw into conversations with J, "What did you do today?  What did you have for lunch?  Did you watch Annie take a bath?"  J always answered no.  She would tell me if she had.  J knows that there are NO SECRETS to be kept from me.  Most importantly, she knows that if someone tells her to NOT tell me, she is to immediately come to me (or her dad or grandma if she feels like she will get into trouble) and tell me right away.  I thought that we were in the clear.  We are listing our house at the beginning of April.  We will eventually need a new sitter, so I told myself that we just needed to make this last for a few more months.  I didn't want to have to move the girls to a new daycare, then move them to a new house, then possibly move them to a new daycare again by our new house.  They thrive on routine and stability.

Then, the other mother called me three weeks later.  Her daughter goes to the same preschool as Jaden and she is able to pick the girls up from preschool to take them back to Annie's house.  She said in a very serious tone, "Shannon, I need to talk to you about something that happened when I picked Jaden up."  I was worried that maybe J ran through the parking lot or something.  She began to tell me about how she has a DVD player in her car.  That day, Jaden had asked if she could turn it on.  This mother explain to J that it is really for long trips only (even though she had let the girls watch several times before) and that since they were only going a couple of blocks away, it was going to be left off.  This mother then tells me that she looked in the rear view mirror and Jaden had stuck her tongue out at her.  She told J that that was not nice and that I  would be incredibly disappointed in her behavior (Completely untrue.  I agree that it was inappropriate but disappointed was rather harsh). She just wanted to call to let me know of the incident in case J were to bring it up.  I apologized and told her that I would talk to Jaden about it that night  We talked a little and I thanked her for bringing it to my attention.  She told me that it wasn't necessary to talk to Jaden because she resolved it and everything was fine.  I again thanked her and assured her that it would not happen again.  I still talked to J though.  Jaden understood that it was disrespectful and promised me that it would not happen again.  Issue over, right?  Then I read her blog again, titled, "It Takes A Village: I'll Discipline Your Brat If I Need To."  In her post, she mentioned how J (even though she didn't use her name) walked into daycare and told the other kids that she was a "jerk."  She had not told me that in our phone conversation.  I talked to Jaden that morning.  I said, "I need to ask you something and I need you to tell me the truth.  You will not get in trouble if you tell me the truth."  I asked her if she had told her friends that her friend's mom was a jerk.  She said, "No, why? What's a jerk?"  Right then and there, I knew that mother had lied about that.  I made some calls and found a new driver for Jaden.  The blog post also quotes me saying, "You don't have any right to discipline my daughter.  She's going through a rough phase right now.  In the future, just call me if you have a problem and I'll address it with her later.  But don't discipline my daughter for me."  I was shocked.  Some of the comments hurt.  Especially the one that advised, "I wouldn't give the little wretch a ride anymore. Sounds like she needs her mouth smacked."
I called the mother that night.  I first, thanked her again for filling me in on the situation.  I told her I talked to J and that she understood that we respect everyone and their feelings.  Jaden knew she had made a poor choice and it wouldn't happen again.  Then, I told her that I read her blog.  I told her that I was offended and embarrassed because she made my daughter and myself out to be completely different than we actually were and she lied about the situation and the outcome.  She tried to tell me that she wasn't writing about Jaden and myself!  She said that it was a collaboration of different situations that happened to her... That just so happen to be the same situation that she felt the need to call me at work (at my job with the school system -- she mentions that in the blog).  I kept a cool head and politely told her that whatever her reasons were, it was done.  I just wanted to let her know that I read it and that it hurt.  She flipped it around and got mad at me, saying, "Well, you write about Annie in YOUR blog!"  I told her that first of all, I don't write anything about Annie that I haven't already discussed with her.  Second, my blog is not private.  I write names and I show pictures (she too has written Annie's name).  Third, ANNIE IS NOT THE ISSUE HERE.  I told her that this had NOTHING to do with daycare.  It was a preschool issue.  She turned it into a daycare issue too.  This woman clearly was getting defensive and wanting to put the blame on anyone but her when all I wanted to do was bring it to her attention that she hurt my feelings, as silly as that might sound.

So, I started to consider finding new daycare.  I was torn because like I said, I wanted stability for the girls.  I didn't want to tear them away from their BFFs because of an issue I was having with another parent and Annie.  I felt like J would hold a grudge.  Then Jaden's mood changed and she started getting sick.  She would often tell me she didn't want to go to Annie's.  I ask her why and she tells me that she just likes school and home more.  One day, I picked her up from preschool and she asked me if we were going home.  I told her that she had to go to Annie's because I had to go to work.  She begged me to take her to work with me.  She said she didn't like Annie's house anymore.  I asked her why and she said that "Annie is always grumpy to me."  Annie had started to take it out on J whether she knew it or not.  I knew then that it was time to switch daycare.  I found another daycare provider and scheduled a meeting with her.  I was really optimistic about it.  A good friend of mine recommended her to me and as it turns out, Mike works with her husband. When I picked Jaden up after work, she told me that she hadn't talked to anyone at all that day.  She said she stayed quiet and just played all day so Annie wouldn't be grumpy.  Broke my heart.  I told Jaden that maybe we could find somewhere else for her to play and make new friends.  Then, that night she vomited in the night.  She looked up at me and asked if because her tummy hurt, did that mean that she didn't have to go to Annie's?  I felt like she was starting to literally worry herself sick.  My brother was bullied in elementary school.  He went through the same thing.  He had stomach ulcers in 3rd or 4th grade because he worried so much about the mean kid at school.  I feel like in a way, Jaden was being bullied.  I was moving as quickly as I could with this issue.  It was just so hard on me because I wanted to be there for J and I feel like I was not.  
So, where are we now?  We have found a new daycare!  The girls are now going to an in-home daycare where the provider has a much lighter load.  They are loving it and we are much happier!


Biz Dickmeyer said...

Oh Shannon, my heart aches for what you had to go through. You are such a strong woman. I love the transperancy you showed in this blog post. You are a remarkable woman and and amazing mom!

Tia said...

You did everything right. Period. Good for you for sticking up for your girls.

Jenny said...

proud of you, Shannon! I know you contemplated putting this ordeal out there. I am glad you did, I think it puts closure for you! All well said.
I am proud that you will always put your girls first, no matter what! Because of that they will grow to be strong, confident women! Love ya!

Abbey said...

Uh, that is CRAZY! Let me tell you, if someone other than myself was BATHING in front of my children, I would freak. out. Honestly, it's just weird.

Good job keeping your cool, though, and I'm so happy you've found a new place where everyone is happier!

Kelly said...

You handled this all so well and I'm thankful that things are better. It breaks my heart knowing that J was struggling with Annie but she too learned a lesson about tolerance for stupid people, because let's face it, we all have to endure some.
About the "other" mom "blogger"/storyteller - if a woman can lie and start drama so easily when it comes to children, what a pathetic mother she must be. Our job as mothers is to raise our children to be responsible, accountable members of society. What a ridiculous example she is setting for her kid(s)! I hope my kids never meet them!

Shannon said...

I just want to be clear that I did not write this post to bad-mouth Annie or the other mother. I was simply telling what happened and my feelings toward it. Both women are good people. Different people handle situations differently and we all make mistakes. I do not have any hard feelings toward either of them. We have all settled our differences and have moved on with our lives. I appreciate your comments, but please be respectful. I don't want to cause anymore unnecessary drama. I know how it felt to be put down by the other mom's readers' comments and I do not wish the same feelings toward her. Thanks, guys!

bathingbeauty 83 said...

WOW You sound like kind of an uptight psycho... and from reading your blog, I can see it is likely you have many of these 'high drama' confrontations. Your poor children...

amanda said...

shannon - pay no attention to any snotty and hurtful comments. you are an excellent mother and anyone who truly knows you KNOWS this is a fact. i think any good and caring mother would do the EXACT same thing. i can't even imagine what i would do if put in the same position. i hardly think i'd handle it as calmly, wisely and nicely as you did. your girls are so lucky to have such a wonderful example. they will no doubt grow to be amazing young women. good riddance and thank God that drama is behind you.

Lala said...

I am so upset to hear such accounts of poor decision making from childcare providers whose effects on children are far reaching. It's heartbreaking to know that you've been hurt and your trust has been broken in such an important matter as the safety of your children. I applaud you for the way in which you handled this situation--with maturity and civility. And you've been lenient for sure! I know how difficult it is to rise above the unfortunate actions and behavior of others. Your girls are so lucky to have you and society owes you for raising your girls so well.

As for any hateful comments towards you left here or elsewhere, I'd venture to say they are left by people who feel badly about themselves and the choices they make or they wouldn't find the need to act so defensively angry. We can only hope they don't have children of their own to model this behavior for or treat with such carelessness.

Your blog is definitely your outlet to do with as you wish and you deserve to put closure to this in your own forum. Good for you for doing just that. Your blog gives every indication that you are nothing less than a SuperMom, Shannon. Thank you!

Monique Curry said...

Wow, I read lots of blogs and rarely leave comments but I am shocked by the comment left by "bathingbeauty83" Shannon I am an in home daycare provider and I can not imagine not greeting my children in the morning or not being ready to go for my PAID JOB when they arrive. Whether inappropriate or not (which it clearly is to bath in front of someone else's children) I would have pulled my kids out right away, a woman bathing in the tub can not be fully aware of what is going on with the children. That's why as mom's we have to sometime forgo the daily shower. I am glad that in the end you got a new daycare. Good luck to you and your family!

Wade's World said...

Browsing via Tales of the Trees and I'm in shock over here. If I ever found out that my daycare provider had bathed in front of my kids I would FLIP out. Even more so if I found out that her husband had showered with kids in the room. You definitely were acting like a responsible parent for bringing up the issue, and any parent who is okay with that situation is asking for their kids to be sexually abused. Their behavior is beyond disgusting for a daycare "professional."

As for the other mom, anyone who would even blog that rudely about a child is no person that I would want around my kids. Kuddos to you for handling the situation so well.

JudyBlooming said...

C'mon ladies, isn't that the beauty of a blog? You can post whatever you want about yourself and whoever else and it's your version of what happened and it's your version of you. (On a side note, I just love how "Mom blogger" likes to say her "stories" are J's version of what happened....but how silly is that? J isn't typing the story...it is still Mom.) You can make yourself look like mother of the year with pictures, responsibility charts, crafts, and fancy decorations. On the internet, we are only able to see what Shannon WANTS us to see.

A blog is like an ego builder for the writer. We've all heard of it right? Women post blogs and "stories" of their life and then her blog friends stroke her ego and pat her on the back and tell her how great she is. "You did such a good job! Yay for you, you are such a great mother! The person who did you wrong is soooo evil!" The best part is, you all buy into it! LOL, and what's even funnier, is some of you have blogs and it's the exact same thing. It's just one big chain of women looking for approval from other bloggers! Gotta find the humor in that!

I think if this "mom blogger" was so concerned about her girls being in this daycare...concerned for their safety and so on...she would never have taken them back. Not even one day. IF she was mother of the year and this daycare provider was any of the things she's saying she is....she would not have tried to move on or forget about things like she stated in her post...she would have pulled them out immediately.

I personally don't think she protected her children at all. To me, from reading all of her posts, it sounds like she created a very ugly and uncomfortable situation for her children. With all of her attacks on her provider and all of the regular silly "issues" she seemed to have with her and then she continued to take her children to this daycare day in and day out and didn't think that the relationship would or could change? Again, C'mon ladies...how many of you would be able to not take it personal if someone gave you a hard time all the time about how you do your job and how you run your business? Seriously? We all know eventually it would get to you and who knows how each of us would handle it. It is obvious that she had personal issues with this provider and her post is her latest attempt at attacking her previous provider. Could some of it be that Shannon is unhappy with her own job and wants to open her own in-home daycare and she thinks she could do it better? If you really read her blog...you would be able to put this all together.

She made comments about reporting this provider to the state and even the authorities...Hmmmm. How would she explain taking her kids back to a situation she is claiming to be so dangerous and innappropriate for chldren even one more day? Seems a little contradicting to me?!?

JudyBlooming said...

Also, again, more denial from some of you...I have loved reading the comments about how could this provider not be up and dressed at the beginning of her day when her kids are coming....and taking a bath during the day is so irresponsible. LOL, have none of you ever called in sick to work? Have none of you ever had to go home sick from work? A daycare provider can't "call in sick". Where would people take their kids that day? How would any of you feel if your daycare provider called u at 10am and said..."You gotta come get your kids I'm not feeling well". Lol, you would ALL be livid! That would just be another thing for "mommy bloggers" to blog about...So, maybe this provider slept in that day and her husband opened the daycare because she wasn't feeling well? Or maybe she couldn't sleep the night before because one of her daycare mothers was giving her so much trouble? Have any of you ever thought that maybe you aren't getting the whole picture? Have any of you ever thought about the other side? I'm quite certain that this provider has a good hold on how to run her business if she has been in business for so long. 30 some years is a long time!

The truth is, life is tough. We all do the best we can to get through life the best we know how. Yes, there are ugly things in this world, like child molesters and abuse. But Shannon said herself her children were not hurt. She was just uncomfortable with what happened.

Again, none of us know if what was posted is even true or accurate. We do not know all of the details or both sides. All we know is Shannon's version. She can apoligize and tell all of you to be nice with your comments all day long, but the truth is, the original post was hateful and was meant for nothing more than to attack and degrade another woman and her daycare. It was a way for Shannon to get all of YOU to tell her how great of a mother she is, what a hero she is and how horrible this daycare provider is. Plain and simple. She gave all of you bait....dangled it in front of you....waiting for you to bite...Most of you did.

Again, gotta find the humor in that!!!