Full-Time Help: And Better For It

I’m not ashamed to say that I now have a full-time nanny. Cleo started part time, with the understanding that we go full time once Emmett arrived. She is an amazing woman with a heart of gold. She is honest as the day is long. She is head over heels in love with my babies. She takes care of me too. For example, last week, she made us a WHOLE chicken–restaurant quality. She helps me with house keeping. And most importantly, she gives me the opportunity to enjoy each of my babies one at a time.

Having Cleo is also preventing me from falling into the “mom martyr complex,” which I’ve seen some of my friends do. They constantly complain about how tired and frustrated they are, how they hate their husbands, yet choose to do nothing about it–whether it be a nanny or part time preschool/daycare, etc. It’s one thing if you can’t afford it. It’s another if you make a choice to be miserable.

I also think it’s really hard to juggle two kids without one inevitably feeling the shaft. If I can just be with Fia or just be with Emmett at different intervals throughout the day, and get some “me time” to boot, I am a happier human being. I know Fia loves having my undivided attention at times. I’m sure Emmett appreciates it too, as I don’t have to let him cry for very long if I have Cleo there to help.  In other words, the reason behind hiring a full time nanny wasn’t so I could go out and play tennis all day, everyday. It’s so I could give 100% of my attention to my children, my writing, my husband, the bill paying, etc, one-at-a-time--without feeling frantic, followed by angry, then losing my sh-t.  Or popping Xanax all day. (Kidding). For me, I’m a better mom because of it.

But I know this is a controversial issue, as seen by my “sitter chronicles” last summer. A handful of moms railed on me for not being with Fia 100% of the time.  And now that I have full time help–gasp–I’m sure some think I’m terribly indulgent. Frankly I just feel lucky and blessed that it’s all worked out this way.

Anyone care to weigh in?

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  1. by Erin Kelly

    On March 27, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    All I can say is “Good for you!” I have two year old, twin boys, and I made the decision to hire part-time help when the boys were 9 months old and it was the best thing I ever did. It has enabled me to take care of so many simple things like cleaning and going to the grocery store without going crazy. I also am a better mom because of it.

  2. by Kristen

    On March 27, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Don’t listen to the naysayers! You do what you have to do! I wish we had the money to hire help. I am blessed to have both sets of grandparents near by, so I can’t complain. :-)

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  4. by ScreenTimeApp

    On March 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I was raised by a nanny, a sister, and a full-time-working mother and I’m glad for all three of them. There’s much truth in the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.” I would love to hire trustworthy help for my wife but it’s just not possible as we try to get out of debt. Once we can realistic budget for it, I think it’ll make us much happier and productive as a family. Thanks for sharing.

  5. by Single Mama of 2

    On March 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    there is NOTHING wrong with help!! I am a single mother of two girls… both under 2. They are with me 24/7 (unless Nana and Papa decide to take them for a weekend, and even at that – they live over an hour away so it’s not every weekend). I’m on my maternity leave and going back to work in 3 weeks and have no idea how we’re all going to handle the upcoming changes. I wish I could have had help over the last year. good for you! you have nothing to feel bad over!

  6. by Oriane

    On March 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I think the key phrase is “if you can afford it”… I agree with you that anyone who can afford help but chooses to do everything themselves (whether misplaced sense of duty or control issues) needs to take a hard look (and that goes beyond the household), the reality is that most can’t. So good for you not to give in to the guilt-trip others may have tried to lay on you, but it’s a fine line not to rub it in others’ noses. Are you really disadvantaging one child to split your time between them? No, not at all. Things like “taking turns”, “helping mommy”, and “helping younger sibling” are important skills for kids. Would I love an extra set of hands around the house, YES, but unmade beds won’t hurt us either.

  7. by Leslie

    On March 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    I completely agree with Oriane! (and I love you Jill, as a writer and I love your blog- and I naturally want to root for you in everything). I do agree if you can afford help, then TAKE IT! :) I am on the other end where I would love help! I am pretty much “poor” and can’t imagine ever being able to afford help… And I am such a weakling that I desperately could use it. I must admit that while enjoying this post, I felt a sting of jealousy and anger that our worlds are so far apart… That’s sort of beside the point, (because that’s my own issue) I guess I am just speaking up for all the broke and lower class parents who although may love their lives, love your blog…. But might feel a little down because I basically I am just like you… Would love help, And I KNOW I would be a better parent if I had help to keep me sane… But can’t afford it. But I am just jealous- and I will live vicariously through you! :) I am glad use your resources! Good for you!