Monday, January 12, 2015

I Bit the Bullet: In-Home Child Care


Pregnancy is tiring. Working is tiring. Parenting is tiring. The triple-threat of all three at once every day became too much for me (as I'm sure you've noticed from my pathetic number of blog posts for the last...year).

After questioning whether I really needed help or not (the answer has always been yes, I've just been too stubborn to admit it), Hubs and I decided it was time we hired some help for me during the week.

I knew it was time because if I looked at myself from an outside perspective, I was embarrassed at how I started to parent. More of my day was spent pushing my son away from me than scooping him up for snuggles. I said, "Just go watch TV" more times in an 8 hour work day than I could count. And when TV didn't do it, Frozen and a bucket of animal crackers did. And I yelled. OH did I yell. Who was I?! This is NOT the mom I want to be. This is NOT the way I want my son to remember his childhood. "Yeah, my mom stayed home but she worked, so she never really paid any attention to us". Nuh-uh. No way. Time for reinforcements.

Now, I'm not saying that things will be perfect now because I have a three hour a week break, but you can believe it's already made a difference in my mentality. Just KNOWING for the last week that help was expected today has changed my mood and increased my patience.

A great friend of mine is a SAHM with a son 3 weeks older than LW and has offered to watch LW countless times for me to give me a break so I can concentrate more thoroughly on work. Then her offers to watch him became a subtle, "You know, I'm thinking of starting to nanny...just a few hours a week..." and finally I hit a wall last week and said, "That's it! I'm doing it. I'm hiring her to come save me."

For us, I believe it's truly the perfect blend. I still work from home, I don't have to go anywhere to drop LW off. He gets a playmate for three hours a week. She gets out of her house for a change-of-pace plus makes a little money and I get to work. Blissful, uninterrupted, diaper change-less work for three. straight. hours. THAT doesn't even include nap time, which can be up to FOUR additional hours! I mean, that is best-case scenario but THE POSSIBILITY IS REAL.

Many moms have teased me (in good fun, I know) that I would be giving up something by getting help, and now is the time to "be" with my child because he won't be this young again. I'll "never get this time back". Twenty months ago, I would have agreed with them. However at this stage in our financial life the reality is, I need to do great work and continue earning for our family as long as I can. And to do that, I need help being a mom. I need a few little slivers of time to not be bothered and hunker down to really, truly, invest in myself and my job.

I can be on conference calls anywhere. I can check email, read articles, share stories, respond to messages and notifications all in my extra nuggets of time throughout the work day when I AM interrupted without it affecting my workflow. But sometimes I just need to not be bothered and those times are getting harder and harder to come by with Mr. Independent romping through my house.

I feel so relieved just from one day of having help. Not to mention, it was wonderful to be able to hear LW giggling and laughing with a friend all morning while they played trains and had a dance party. I also have the comfort of knowing LW is in exceptional hands because this friend parents the same way Hubs and I parent. Plus, I know LW is getting snacks and beverages I would give him, because he's home. I never have the question of "I wonder what he ate this morning..." (other than the obvious question mark of occasional bits of kibble, cat hair and laundry lint which no one can prevent at this point).

So, I am missing out on three hours a week with my son in addition to the ten hours once a week I have to go into the office for the day. But, I feel like we are both gaining so much from the experience already that I don't have a shred of regret. Not one shred.


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