What, Virtual Babysitting?
by Paula W. Thomas, BMCH
I happened to say to one of my friends that I was virtually babysitting. She asked what on earth is that and how do you babysit like that? It may be something that is normal, I really don’t know. I just thought it was a cool term to use. Let me give you some background on me so you understand what I mean.
I have watched my grandchildren for 17 years now. I actually quit my job years ago to watch them. I wanted to help my kids out with the cost of daycare. I became such an integral part of their lives that when it was time for them to go to kindergarten they would get upset because they were afraid that they wouldn’t see me anymore. I remember when Gabe had to go to school, he sat on the stairs just sitting there crying. I asked him what was wrong and he told me he wouldn’t be coming to my house anymore because of school. I sat with him and just held him and told him I would come by to see him as much as I could. This happened with all the grandkids. By the way, I have nine grandchildren. The joy of watching your grandchildren is tremendous. As a grandparent, I am sure you can agree with me.
Then the pandemic happened. All of a sudden, things changed for everyone. Even though I didn’t work outside the home, this pandemic rocked my world. I was so invested in the kids that I had to learn to find a new norm. For a while, it was very difficult. I was depressed and became very anxious and I didn’t know what to do. I went through a grieving process. Some might say why would you have to go through a grieving process. Well, this was a tremendous loss for me. It almost was like I was going through the empty nest syndrome again. Actually, for me it was.
Eventually everything settled down for me and I learned to accept that things had changed. My kids were working from home, the grandkids had and still have some virtual school. I offered to watch the kids one day a week. But no one wanted to take the risk of me getting sick. Eventually, I did help my daughter out for a bit at her house. Being a single mother it was hard to work from home and do the home schooling with the kids every day. So, whenever I could help, I did and will continue to do so.
Well, one day my granddaughter Bri, age 5 Face-Timed me. She wanted to play a game with me. So, she used her imagination and we started playing. She asked me to come along to the kitchen so she could get a drink. I told her sure I will come with you. Now mind you, she doesn’t always talk to me but I always stay on the line even if I have to work and she is playing. We will play together like I was there. I think that is so awesome. I am sure a lot of people do this now but for me that was a new thing.
So, I am so happy for technology. Aren’t you? We may have a pandemic, but it certainly will not keep us from our families—especially now with FaceTime and Zoom. Have a great day with your families.
Paula W. Thomas, BMCH
About the Author
Paula Thomas, BMCH is a Wife, Mother of 9, and grandmother of 11. Paula is a Deans List graduate from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Social Work, (BSW) and is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach. With over 40+ years of personal and business experience Paula has a wealth of knowledge and lessons learned to share. During her career Paula has worked for Christian Homes for Children, Agape Family Center, Christian Life Center, and Thomas Kids Klub Day Care. Paula has extensive experience working with parents and children. Paula works with individuals, parenting groups, or parents and children together. Every relationship is different, and Paula will help the parents or caregiver to enhance their current home life and communication to create a more peaceful living environment for everyone involved.
Over the years, Paula has been involved in volunteering in multiple Youth and Kids Ministries and helping out at Chosen 300 providing meals on a weekly basis and ministering to those in need. As a mother and grandmother Paula has a strong understanding of children. As an Advocate for Children, Paula will help ensure the children she works with receive the attention and understanding they need in order to grow and believe in themselves. Children need to have someone who is willing to listen and help them communicate what they are thinking, feeling, seeing, and living through.
It is our belief that children need a stable environment to grow and someone who can help them navigate and understand various situations they come across.