I did something the other day I’ve been avoiding because I thought it was wasteful and self-indulgent. Something that seemed lazy and irresponsible. Like if I was an animal, I’d be a diva sloth, or a cat who… is a cat. Dare I say it? I hired a babysitter to come to my house for two hours, while I was home. I didn’t want to do it, a) because we really don’t have the means to hire a fancy au pair to follow me around whilst I tell the decorator what linens to discard for the new season and b) I should be able to handle everything myself. Right? That’s what Pinterest and TV and our guilt-ridden minds tell us; the parent at home should be able to care for the home and the kids, and be fabulous at it. What else do we have to do with ourselves, right? That’s my end of the deal in this arrangement we have- one partner spends time out of the house working, the other stays here and works. It’s not rocket science, Joe. But, dude. It gets hard. Certainly not welding beams on a skyscraper hard, or Friday crossword in pen hard, but anything you do twenty-four hours a day seven days a week can, you know, wear on you.
And it’s been wearing on me. And we had a playdate that afternoon with a good friend and our living room looked like a flop house. And our usual helper (read: Grandma) needed a little break, too. And I am TIRED. A three year old in constant monologue mode and a three month old who only sort of sleeps through the night? It, you know, wears on you.
So I hired a babysitter. She played with the big kid while I cleaned and nursed and got dressed. And it was the most fabulous thing I have done in ages. My house looked nice. I nursed without guilt for shooing away the big kid. I got dressed without having to stop every thirty seconds to find a superhero figure or pop in a pacifier or pull the toothbrush out of the toilet. I had a productive morning, and I didn’t stress once. And it didn’t wear on me.
So this is to all my home-staying caretakers out there: every once in a while, hire the help. Do not feel guilty. Do not feel weird or self-indulgent or wasteful or useless. I felt better than I ever imagined I could, just from having two hours where I wasn’t in charge of everything at once. Hire the help, do two hours worth of what you’ve been wanting to do the last three months, and tell yourself you are fabulous for it. Trust me, it’s worth it. And so are you.
p.s. She’s coming back next week. It’s gonna rock.