Friday, April 28, 2006

Babysitting Bitches

After much research AND hesitation, I finally joined a gym. It's not my first choice. My first choice was the "elite" gym five minutes from my house, but the "elite" gym was very expensive. Twice the cost of the affordable one. So the affordable gym is the one I joined. In fact, we got such a good deal, my husband joined too. It's about a 25 minutes drive from my house, and I hate crossing the parking lot to the gym because it's in a busy strip mall, but inside it's actually quite nice. They just built it last year and it had the nicest kids' play area of all the gyms I saw. In fact the play area was twice the size of the "elite" gym, so I figured my kids would have more room to play while I worked out. I thought joining a gym would help me lose weight and relieve stress, but it's only been my second day, and already it's starting to become another source of stress.

The facility and equipment are great. I have no complaints about the quality of the gym. It's the bitches watching my kids that are causing me grief. The first day I went, I had planned to go before noon when it's not so busy, but shit happened and I didn't get to the gym until 5 pm. It was peak time, and when I got to the babysitting room, I was asked if I had a reservation. Yes, a reservation to babysit my three kids. I said I didn't know I needed one. So the fatty behind the desk said, "Sorry you can't work out today because we are at full capacity (which was 26 kids, but I only saw 14 in there) and we can't take anymore children". I was so mad, I went to the assistant manager and she reiterated there was a policy of reservations to prevent overcrowding. I was so angry, tearful, and confused at the same time, I didn't know what to say, so I left with the kids and complained to my husband how I will never be able to workout, never!

He called up the manager and gave him an earful about responsibility and customer service and threatened to cancel our membership. The manager gave us one month free of babysitting services if we stayed, so we did.

Today, I went to the gym again. This time I saw a huge sign on the front desk that said "Attention Kids Club members (this included me, it means I prepay babysitting with my membership to get a discount on 2 hours of childcare per gym visit): Please make sure you make reservations to secure space for your children." Wow, I thought. My husband made them do that.

I proceeded to the babysitting area. This time I had made reservations. I was so close to working out, I couldn't believe it. I checked the kids in, changed H's poopy diaper, and left the room, finally tasting freedom.

I didn't even get to check my bag into my locker before my name was announced on the intercom to report to the Kids Club. WTF? I went back and found Z crying hysterically "Mama, Mama" and the fatty woman saying "I didn't know what to do, she wouldn't calm down." There were only two women in the room watching four children, three of whom were mine. It wasn't a huge burden on them to maybe take Z for a stroll or show her what's outside the window. No. They just didn't want to deal with a crying baby. So I sat down for about 10 minutes trying to calm Z down. She was fine as long as I was in front of her, but the minute I turned around to leave she would start crying again. Classic separation anxiety. The other two, R and H were completely fine, only Z was having a problem. While I was sitting in the playroom playing legos with Z, I started overhearing the two bitchy babysitters. One was blond the other brunette, but both fatties. The blond one says to the brunette, "Oh gawd, I need a tylenol really bad, I don't know how I'll be able to last another hour here...." then she spied a woman carrying two kids into the gym and says, "oh no! she better not bring those kids in here, oh no. we already have four kids in here." What was this? Maximum capacity is 26 kids, and why is she bitching about members and their kids, in front of ME, another member of the club? Maybe she forgot I was sitting on the floor playing legos with my daughter. I got up and said, "Look, I didn't get a membership to this gym to play legos with my kids in the playroom, I want to work out. Can't you let her cry a little? She'll calm down after a while." This time the fatty brunette pipes up, "Sorry, you can't leave her here while she's crying, she might throw up and our cleaning lady doesn't come until 11 pm, and the vomit will pose a health hazard for the rest of the kids." The dumbest excuse I've ever heard! She doesn't want to clean vomit? What does she think childcare is, playing ring around the rosie with perfect angels? I wish I was a more confrontational person, but I'm not. I hate fights, I hate arguments, and I am one of those people who can never think of a good comeback on the spot. It always comes to me about 3 hours after the incident, with me thinking "damn I should have said that" but it's always too late. Very much like George Costanza and that Seinfeld episode about the Jerk Store. What I should have said was, "I think you need to add another sign on your front desk that says 'No Crying Children Allowed'" but it doesn't even matter now.

So I left Z crying and decided I was going to quit the gym. I left the playroom and ironically the manager was standing right outside. He asked me what was wrong, I looked so sad. I told him everything that happened, including how the girls were bitching about members and their kids, and asked him if they were going to bitch about me and my kids that way too? The manager said he was going to talk to them, but I asked him not to, that I was afraid that if he did that, the bitches would treat my kids bad and I don't want any tension, I just want to quit the gym and go home with my kids. The manager, who by the way was a very nice guy, said he would not tolerate treatment like that by his staff, told me to go workout and he went in to talk to the bitches. I ended up doing about five minutes of elliptical before I decided to go back and see what what was happening in the kids room. The manager saw me first and said he spoke with them and everything was alright. My kids were being taken care of and Z had stopped crying because he got the assistant manager in there to take care of Z personally. That was nice of them. He insisted I complete my workout and not worry about the kids, he won't let anyone treat kids badly in his gym. So I got to complete about 15 minutes of treadmill and did some stretches and ab work for 15 minutes before I decided I had enough fun for one day. My mind was racing thinking about the kids, I couldn't relax.

When I went to go pick up the kids, R was having fun with some kids his own age, and Z was quietly coloring with markers. This time it was H who was crying "Mommy, mommy" and the blond fatty was holding her and trying to calm her down. I tried to be nice and said "Actually, they're not used to daycare that's why they're crying so much today" but the bitch didn't even make eye contact and just handed H over to me. Gosh. I didn't want to tattle on them, but I had no choice. The manager wanted to know exactly why I was planning to quit, and I had to tell him.

So I'm still a member of the gym, but I don't know why I still don't feel comfortable with the babysitting. It sucks. I am now going to be one of those women that make them go "oh gawd no, she better not be coming in here with those kids". I told my husband that the "elite" gym would never employ people like that and would let Z cry it out before they paged me. But the management at the affordable gym is good to us, and from what it seems, is desperate to keep us on as members, so we're sticking it out with them a little longer. Tonight, my husband went to the gym, sans kids, after dinner. He's so lucky. He doesn't even need to deal with the babysitting bitches because the kids club closes at 9 pm and by then it's the kids bedtime anyway (we fixed the kids' sleeping schedule, all it took was one day of waking them up at 8 am and they all started going to bed by 9 pm. Genious.)
I swear, after having kids, it's me whose life has changed the most, not his. He can still get up and go anywhere, without ever having to ask me "Can you watch the kids while I (do whatever I want to do)?". Yet, if I want to do anything without the kids, like get a haircut, go to the store, or even workout, I have to ask, beg, someone to watch my kids. I really hope I haven't screwed it up with the babysitting bitches, as bitchy as they are, I really need them.

15 comments:

katie said...

My son is 19 months and I have the same problem at the gym! He won't let me work out because he screams when he realizes I'm not there. They only have one woman to watch like 10-15 kids, but 2/3 of them of very good, and I can work out Monday through Wednesday mornings if my son will let me! So in that respect I'm lucky.

You are a trooper with three kids!

You can't know if it would be better at the more expensive gym, though, until you try it. The daycare may be about the same. Unfortunately that's my biggest obstacle to working out too. Now I go at night while my husband watches my son.

OH and I had the same problem with my son staying up late too! I figured it out that I needed to wake him up earlier also.

mommyof4 said...

OMG what bitches I would have smacked the fat out of them!!! I know where you are coming from when you say your hubby goes anywhere when her wants and you have to find someone to take the kids! Mine never worries about who will watch the kids that is my job and if I don't find anyone I don't go! I hope they find new people at the daycare!

ITADDICT said...

Katie - totally agree with you on helping kids sleep earlier. Its very logical that if you wake up early, you sleep early. Waking up a kid at 7 or 8am will certainly guarantee their slumber by 9pm.

I also agree on day care at expensive gyms. Day care is day care. Especially if its offered as an anciliary service at an institution that is not focused on daycare. They are going to hire someone for $7 or 8/hour. No certifications. Goes for the expensive gym and the cheap one. They all have the same costs. that extra $20/month is not going to pay the daycare babysitters, its going to pay for the additional marketing they do and the higher costs they have.

Regarding one spouse having the freedom vs. not of going somewhere, i think if you take turns at that night time hour and split chores (e.g. giving kids a bath - something the husband can do to ease situation) and watch kids at night while the other (either wife or husband) goes to the gym - then its balanced.

Ah-muh-nuh said...

I applaud you for telling the manager what his staff members were doing; it was the right thing to do. If they are going to advertise babysitting as a service (espcecially if you pay for it!), then they have to do it correctly. Who cares if they end up thinking you're the high maintenance mom. As long as they do their job right with your children, forget them! I think it was highly rude and immature and UNPROFESSIONAL of them to a) treat you like that and b) talk about other customers like that in the hearing range of you.

Virenda said...

I'm sorry sweetie. I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. When I had my third one I tried to get back to the gym but my youngest cried to much so I had to stop and finally a year later I'm back to it.

TAKE NO PRISONERS. They wont treat your kids badly but YOU have to make sure of that. I am so damn proud that you talked to the manager. You need to work out, feel good about yourself. You get good endorphins and it's something you can do BY YOURSELF. Trust me, once you pass the first hurdle, then it'll be gold. Give your kids about a week or two of going at least three times and they will be all over it. If you want to or can try a treat after wards. :0)

I'm sorry you had to have such a bad experience, kinda takes the fun out of it. It'll get better, don't be deterred.

As for the husband thing. God, please don't get me started on that one. My husbands life hasn't changed as much as mine. The only thing that changes for him is the fact that he hears the crying. Now ask me if HE'S the one that actually does anything about it?! UGH!

I feel your pain. Don't worry it'll get better and you'll feel fantastic.

Ameet said...

I have never dealt with kids and babysitter on my own, but I've spent enough years in customer-facing jobs to tell you that those fat bitches need to be fired. With an attitude like that, babysitting is absolutely the WRONG career for them. In fact, anything customer-facing would be the wrong career for them. There's plenty of other jobs out there.

You shouldn't have to give up your right to an affordable gym just because of two incompetent employees.

Sadaf Trimarchi said...

I think until I have three to deal with, I'll hold off on the unsolicited advice. It's great you're taking steps to take care of you. It's so hard sometimes to focus on that when you're a "mom."

Good for you for speaking up to the manager. Sounds like he is trying to be responsive.

FBT said...

couldn't agree more - that manager needs to fire those useless cows and hire people who don't see actually being required to do their jobs as a burden.

Maybe your husband sees his job as earning the money and your job as looking after the kids, hence he can walk out the door in the evening without asking if you mind looking after the kids, whereas you would not go out for an evening with the girls, without asking if he minds looking after the kids.

You definitely have to straighten him out on that one.

Your job is just as demanding as his, in fact more so (unless he is a hostage negotiator) - and if he doesn't think so, dump the kids on him for a week and go on holiday with one of your girlfriends. That'll open his eyes.

Aisha said...

I read this completely riveted. I dont have children yet but its amazing how life gets so complicated. (yes duh.. but I nver thouht a simple workout could involve so much..) I can't believe those women were so rude to you. Unbelievable. I hope you feel better about it and things get better.

katie said...

In terms of complaining to the manager - I had to complain about the one terrible babysitter at my gym who works on Thursdays and Sundays. She does not get any toys out for the kids, barely plays with them, and doesn't let them have the snacks we bring so they are miserable. I can't leave my son with her ever.

The owners basically said "we are a gym, not a childminding service." A*%holes! Listen, the people who want to work out the most have had kids, so get a better attitude and hire decent people!

All that woman does is do a bad job, though. She doesn't bitch and moan about it in front of clients and refuse to do things outright like those bitches at your gym. That's ridiculous and they should get replaced by people who actually care about children.

You women with three kids are total heroes and martyrs. I have one and he is nearly two and I never thought it would be so much hard work. All I want is a few hours to myself.

Chic Mommy said...

Thanks for all the encouragement guys! I'm not going to let those bitches get to me and let me quit. I've waited too long to finally do something for myself and get my old body back to have my plan disrupted by two fat cows who hate their job. I don't think they are there all the time, so far I've only gone in the evenings. Next time I will try the morning session to see if there are different women there. Kids cry, most experienced babysitters understand that. Eventually the kids will get used to not seeing me for an hour and a half and not cry anymore, they just need to be given a chance to adapt.

Katie, I can't believe your gym said that to you! A babysitting service at a gym IS a childminding service, if they don't want to watch kids they shouldn't offer the service! At least at my gym, the manager is on my side. In fact he was touting his childcare service as being "the best" in the area, with all the babysitters pre-screened and certified in the care of infants and children. He doesn't want to look like a fool in front of us, especially since the "excellent" childcare was the clincher that got us to join in the first place, he knows that was important for us. If I were you, I would try to find a gym that supported YOU more and CARED about the treatment of your baby. I mean you are paying them money to attend that gym and probably paying them to watch your baby too. If they don't appreciate the extra income they are receiving from you, try to find another gym that does, (I understand it's slim pickings finding this kind of gym, budget, location, and other preferences play a big role, but that's horrible that your gym manager has that kind of attitude towards it's own members). No one should have to tolerate subpar treatment of their kids just to workout or do something for themselves.

Leilouta said...

I love the title "Babysitting bitches"
LOL...

Lisa said...

OMG! How appalling. Those women should have been FIRED - because there is no way they're going to change their attitudes. I'm so sorry. :(

opinionatedinjerzee said...

damn, i feel your pain!! i know how hard it is to get some things done while begging someone to watch the kids!! Glad i wasnt there at the gym with you..i would of torn those to fatties apart..i am really good with on the spot humiliation!!! where is this gym by the way??

Karmyn R said...

I just wanted to let you know that countless women feel the same say you do about whose life is changing..... You wrote: I swear, after having kids, it's me whose life has changed the most, not his. He can still get up and go anywhere, without ever having to ask me "Can you watch the kids while I (do whatever I want to do)?".

You are not alone!!! And, it made me feel good reading this because I knew I wasn't alone in my thinking either. Hang in there!!!!