Monday, January 13, 2014

The best gig I ever had.

After I graduated from NYU, I got a job offer from a major television network. The only caveat was that the pay was $22,000 a year (with no health insurance or other benefits). And yes, the job was in Manhattan. Such a salary meant I couldn't afford to live anywhere in New York City, mostly because no landlord would rent to me unless I made forty times a month's rent.

Just when I was ready give up and move back to Kentucky, a former boss made me what I considered an absolute dream offer: I could live in the basement of her garden apartment on the Upper West Side rent-free in exchange for helping out with the kids.

I could still keep my television job (she worked in TV too, so understood the occasional late-nights or weird hours), as the family had a daytime nanny as well, but I would be there in the early mornings and the after-work hours.

I thought I had the greatest deal in the world. Now that I'm a mom, I am pretty sure that she had the greatest deal in the world.

It must have been so nice for them to have a built-in babysitter, even if it was just for after the kids went to bed. If she and her husband decided they wanted to go out to dinner or a movie, they could just check if I was in for the night (I usually was because, um, I made $22,000 a year in New York City, so who could afford to go out??). They always had a college-educated, CPR-trained, nice girl from Kentucky, who totally adored their kiddos, available. I had free cable and a furnished room. I had two really cool and smart grownup housemates (though I usually kept to myself because I was still kind of shy). And I had two really fun kiddo housemates.

Nowadays, I totally dream of finding the perfect person to put up in my basement bedroom. Someone who isn't at all a full-time nanny, but could babysit a few set hours each week. Mostly, I dream of someone who could be sort of on call -- someone who just might happen to be available if I wanted to, say, go to the gym while the baby took a nap. Or go to the grocery without bringing a diaper bag. Or pop out for a post-bedtime nightcap with my husband. Or play with the baby while I wrote a new song.

Sigh. Maybe instead I should just look for a family who wants to let us move into their basement.


  1. You can move into our basement! We could definitely make it work! You'd even be back in the NYC Area! I can totally relate here...

  2. I always wanted to do that in college! Heck, even now.. but the husband/cat put a cramp in that..