By Jessica T
When good help is easy to findUploaded: Nov 11, 2013
We are lucky. I told myself I wouldn't fret about finding childcare for the twins for when I went back to work. I knew from experience that something would work out, and I had my colleagues to be anxious about it for me. (I got plenty of questions from well-meaning co-workers about what my plans were for childcare upon revealing I was pregnant with twins.) But I had no idea it would be so simple this time. Our best friends suggested their nanny - she helped raise their seven-year old twins and had four sets of twins on her resume. My elder daughter already knew and loved her. And from the moment I saw the look in my younger daughter's eye when she picked her up - I knew this nanny was a match for our family.
The only catch? She needed hours now, months before I returned back to work. My mom was the first to weigh in. "Engage her now! She will give you peace of mind when you go back to work. Forget the expense!" This from a full-time working mother who never had a house cleaner for a 3,000 square foot house. Sundays in our home were dedicated to that task.
When I confided in another friend that "the way I was raised" was one of the reasons I felt guilty for hiring a nanny now, she chided me. "Well, let's repeat the mistakes of our past then!"
On a quiet afternoon, when I'm stroking my babies and looking into their wide eyes what I really feel is that somehow the world is conspiring against me to spend time with my young. I went back to work when my first daughter was twelve weeks old and ceded childcare to my husband (in graduate school) and my mom. This time, when I finally work at a company with a generous leave policy, I need to find ways to keep myself busy and away from the kids a few days a week.
The truth is, for short stints (say 3-6 months at a time), I don't mind the monotony of house work. There is a strange, simple satisfaction in hanging out the laundry, saving on the electricity bill, and folding wind starched clothes. I take pride in feeding my family healthy, home cooked meals. It's a stress-free break from the cerebral life I lead when working.
I know that hiring our nanny now is the right thing. It's an investment in my family's future, but I'm also allowing myself some time to acknowledge the inner conflict before accepting that I can't do it all (though I may want to) and letting that go.
Have you felt conflicted about outsourcing childcare and housework to another? How did you get over it?