A Conscious Uncoupling

About 9 weeks ago my husband and I decided that I needed to find someone to help out with the kids and around the house so that I could get some work done and make some money.

The search for Alice began.

And then about 8 weeks ago, I found her.

She started about 7 weeks ago.

Now bringing a new person into the mix always takes time.

Especially around here.

There is a getting-to-know-each other stage.

Getting used to the routines and the way things work is an adjustment.

It took a while for me to realize what Alice’s strengths were and to adjust my expectations.

I spoke to my therapist about the fact that Alice didn’t do everything I was hoping she’d be able to do,

um,

perfectly.

You know, like the actual Brady Bunch Alice appeared to do them.

My therapist pointed out to me that no one is perfect.

That it is next to impossible to find someone who does everything exactly the way you want him or her to do them.

That you need to look at the things that the person does well and adjust accordingly.

When I hired Alice, I think I was envisioning 50% babysitter, 30% housekeeper, 20% personal assistant.

A few weeks in, I realized my percentages were off.

I realized I wanted more along the lines of 15% babysitter and 85% housekeeper/personal assistant.

I also realized a couple other things.

Alice was in her mid fifties and she was European.

She operated at a European pace and not the frenetic pace of a Northerner with 7 kids who has a tendency to drift toward the side of manic in most areas of her life.

I reminded myself that I often operate in a higher gear than most people and that sometimes my expectations for other people may be a little unrealistic.

I reminded myself that most people have not become accustomed to working their schedule around 7 kids, 5 of them who are still in the single digits.

I have become pretty good at getting shit done in record time.

So when I realized laundry folding wasn’t Alice’s thing, I adjusted.

When I realized she was going to be 0% personal assistant, I adjusted.

We still managed to fall into a fairly decent groove.

5 weeks in, I started making more money than I needed to pay her.

So I was making a profit.

But I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling in my stomach.

I knew there were things that Alice didn’t really like doing, and I was feeling stressed finding things for her to do that she felt comfortable doing.

That was kind of defeating the purpose.

She was supposed to be relieving my stress, not creating more of it.

Something wasn’t right.

It just wasn’t the right match.

I tried to let it go.

She was much more on top of the kids than I was.

It was just her style.

They found her to be controlling and smothering, I think.

Unable to go with the flow.

When Number 6 and 7 would wake up from their naps, they would stay in their rooms if they knew she was in the house.

That wasn’t good.

I tried to tell myself that they just had to get used to her different way of  doing things.

That I was being too critical.

That I was being the controlling one.

But I still had that feeling.

She hadn’t done anything wrong; she just wasn’t the right fit for this family.

The kids weren’t bonding with her at all.

And when I told the kids that I didn’t think Alice was going to come back, Number 5 looked directly at me and said,

Thank you, Mommy.

Yikes.

I didn’t want to start all over from scratch, but that made the right decision pretty clear.

And so…

I had to consciously uncouple with Alice.

I didn’t want to venture back into the Alice dating pool.

As it turned out, I didn’t have to.

If you’ve been around here a while, you know that every Thursday morning, three of my friends come over and help me out.

One of those friends has kind of been looking for a new job since she quit her retail job a while ago.

I thought about asking her to be my Alice back before I hired the first Alice.

I spoke with the therapist about that.

She advised against mixing business and friendship.

I’ve had a couple burns where crossing the friendship and business lines was involved, so I decided against it.

And then while venting on a Thursday morning to her about my predicament, out of nowhere, my friend flat out offered.

Maybe it’s a gamble.

But I kind of saw it as a sign.

An opportunity.

And I seized it.

I’ve mentioned my plans to create an empire.

I’m still not kidding.

I have a picture in my head of how I want to go about accomplishing that.

I have 2 role models in that department.

Two people who have created very successful careers – empires, even – for themselves.

Two different individuals who have surrounded themselves with people they can completely trust and depend upon, people who were first friends, and employees second, people who get them and who understand what they are ultimately trying to accomplish.

One is Howard Stern.

The other is Jeff Lewis.

They both love their jobs.

They both love the people they work with.

People they handpicked themselves.

In my ideal world, I will create a team of people who are my close friends and relatives.

A team of people who share my sense of humor and my work ethic and who possess strengths in areas where I am weak.

A team of people who I look forward to seeing every day and who look forward to seeing me every day. Or most days, at least.

A team of people who will get shit done, but will make it fun at the same time.

I already have my dad.

And now…

I have Mo.

She started last week.

She was here for my meltdown, so she’s already seen me at my worst.

She knows everything about me and the kids.

She writes her own blog, so she really gets all the bloggy stuff.

She showed up on her first official work day with my favorite white shirt.

I forgot she had taken it home with her the Thursday before.

It had a big red wine stain on it.

She totally got it out.

That’s a pretty good way to make a great first impression on your first day on the job.

And I guess, just as the universe’s way of making sure she knew what she was getting herself into (and vice versa),

this past week I also got sick.

Sicker than I’ve ever been.

On Monday I was trying to be productive with her but my brain wasn’t exactly cooperating.

I gave her a list of errands to run and took a nap while she was gone.

She was back a lot sooner than I thought she would be.

She kept asking what she should do next.

I was feeling like such shit that I just couldn’t be efficient.

But she showed that she could be.

On Tuesday my body started deteriorating.

By Wednesday I was so sick I could not function at all. I was totally bedridden and basically drifting in and out of consciousness.

I believe Mo’s exact words when she saw me were, “Holy crap. You just took a turn for the worse.”

With that, she was left on her own with all the kids and no plan or direction from me.

Number 3 came into my room at about 5:00 that afternoon.

When he learned that Mo only had another hour left before she was supposed to leave, he asked if she could sleep over.

Mo answered with, “I don’t think there’s room for me anywhere!”

And Number 3 replied with, “My mom always sleeps on the couch. You can just sleep in the bed with my dad!”

She walked away laughing.

And she still came back.

See…

She gets us.

On Thursday she drove me to the doctor and brought me back home.

She went back out, picked up my medication, and got me some orange juice, ice cream and Gatorade.

She delivered my medication directly to my bedside and even popped the pills directly into my hand.

Her first week kind of sucked, and she took great care of all of us.

Going with the flow.

Totally willing to roll with the punches.

Alice Number 1 would have freaked in this scenario…

P1000254

But Mo?

Eh? No big deal.

And that’s totally what I needed.

It’s what we all needed.

And it helped me to realize I was wrong.

It was never really an Alice that I wanted.

It was actually a Sister Wife.

I already knew this.

In fact, I wrote about that here about a year ago.

All along I’ve really been looking for a Sister Wife.

And apparently, so has Number 3.

I’m glad we both finally found her.

 

 

 

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  1. […] I got a new job.  I started this new job 2 weeks ago.  I totally forgot to tell you.  Well, I shared a little something that my new boss posted on Facebook, but if you don’t follow me on Facebook or don’t even have Facebook, then you didn’t or don’t know about my new status (you can read her blog posting about it here). […]

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