DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: A couple years ago, a good friend of mine and I started co-oping childcare coverage, since we were both primarily working from home. Throughout the pandemic, our arrangement continued to work well, but now my friend has started having to commute to her job again. Currently, she works remotely two days a week, and in-person three.
My job continues to be entirely remote, as it’s always been. I have to put in 5-7 hours a day to stay on top of my workload, and with watching both my own kids and my friend’s, I am having to work a lot of nights and sometimes part of the weekend to keep from falling behind. And, now since the kids have been home for the summer, the situation has been even more stressful.
I get that a boatload of money is being saved between my friend and I, since she’s still partially covering my kids the two days she’s home, but I’m getting worn down and a little resentful about having the bigger share of the childcare, which definitely affects my work and family situations.
What do I do to keep both my sanity and my friend? --- TOO MUCH TIME BABYSITTING
DEAR TOO MUCH TIME BABYSITTING: Rather than letting your feelings of frustration continue to fester into a resentment of your friend and your situation, I think you should level with her about how the current arrangement isn’t working as well for you as you’d hoped it would. Perhaps between you both, you can come up with a solution to make the childcare more equitable.
It may not be a bad idea to start by exploring hiring a reliable local teen to cover at least part of the workday. You and your friend could split the cost, which should certainly be considerably less than what either of you’d have to shell out for full or even parttime childcare outside the home.