Upon returning home yesterday while Morella and I were scooping the guts out of a pumpkin (well really she was just stirring the seeds in a bowl with a spoon and then putting some back into the pumpkin) he said quite breathlessly “I have an idea!”

I sort of scowled at him, because he had come home later than I thought he would and all of us have a case of the sniffles. Nonplussed, he continued on “No really. It’s a great idea. I actually got it from Oliver. We should get a nanny. Someone to come in for a few hours a week to help out.”

Immediately I bristled. A nanny? For what? Are you saying I can’t handle two kids? Sure it’s a little rough around the edges right now, but that is only a phase. A short phase.

“You think I need help?” I replied.

“Well you need more help than I can provide. It’s a great idea Laura and I could even make some extra money on the side to help pay for it. I could do technical writing.”

Inwardly I think, ‘Right, and the nanny would cover the time it takes for you to do that writing?’

But moreso, I was quiet. I was playing the idea over in my head. Why did I hate the idea so much at first. I told him “It’s phase, it will get better. People who get nannies do so because they have a job. I don’t have a job. It’s not like I am writing a novel.”

He replied “No, but you need some personal, private time to do whatever you want. You are right now, essentially doing this all by yourself.”

“But billions of women in the world did this without a nanny,” I stated, and threw yellow organic matter on the table.

“But many of those billions had help from extended family. It’s not like it used to be. You don’t have extended family close by to help.”

True. I don’t.

So. It’s playing in my head. I don’t need a nanny, but you know a few hours a week to have private, me time would be … extraordinary. The more I thought about it, the more I started to get excited about the possibilities. I wouldn’t squander the time doing chores. Let’s say it was even four hours a week. One afternoon. I would use the time to craft, or pursue personal interests. Heck, why not start writing that book?

I am still completely unsure of how to do this. Essentially it’s a babysitter, but I wouldn’t mind someone who is a little more than that. I would prefer to stick around instead of getting exiled, and I would need to be available to nurse Athena when she needs it. Overall I guess what I would like is a Mother’s Helper.

What is a Mother’s Helper and how does the role differ than that of a babysitter or in-home provider?

Answer: A Mother’s Helper essentially helps out a stay-at-home parent or a family needing extra help while they are home. A Mother’s Helper mostly works under some supervision to handle all aspects of child care, errands, easy meal preparation and light house work. Because of the varied duties and because an adult is often in the home as well, the role is different than that of a babysitter, nanny or in-home provider.

Day-to-day duties may vary with a Mother’s Helper, as the more accurate job description will be do “perform duties as per the family’s needs.” This job is very flexible, may be either part-time or full-time, live in or live out, may include babysitting on occasion (when the helper is in sole charge), and may be an hourly or salaried position.

Typically, the role of a Mother’s Helper is held by young women who may aspire to move into other child care positions in the future. A growing use of a Mother’s Helper is for parents who telecommute (work from home), home-school children, or have a home-based business. While a Mother’s Helper usually has babysitting experience, no qualifications are required to perform the job. CPR and first aid training are recommended.

This being Madison, I don’t know how many young women would be interested. It more often than naught seem to be older women who have had children and just want a steady gig and brings in a little extra money.

While the “Pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps” and “I-can-do-it-all” American supermom in me wants to say I don’t need help, it would be really, really nice. I would probably be happier, Tim would be happier, our marriage might be better since I wouldn’t be taking all my frustration out on him and … yeah. Who knows, but even just thinking about it give me a thrill. I never thought I would be excited about a few hours of non-guilt free time.

Now. Why do I still feel so wobbly on the idea? I mean I love the idea and would fully encourage any other Mom in the same situation as I am in, to go ahead with it. And yet, I guess it all boils down to me feeling like I am somehow a failure for accepting a little extra help.

The next part is, how to find said person.

3 thoughts on “

  1. Anonymous

    Have you watched any Mad Men? Boy, I wish I had an in-home helper like the Draper family's Carla. Betty Draper is a SAH mom, but it seems like Carla's always there to fix the meals, break up the kids' fights, shift the laundry, feed the baby, etc. while Betty glowers around, smokes, gets her hair done, and tries to have an affair. I find it impossible to feel sorry for her in the newborn months with a new baby because she has so much help during the day!That said, a few hours a week sounds like a good and not-lazy or un-American idea, and I'll try not to be envious. The gradual shift from having extended family in one's neighborhood is indeed a problem many of our foremothers didn't face. Canning Day? Send the kids across the street to Aunt Nellie. Doctor appointment and school's out? Send them across the back yard to Grandma's.Dave has in the past suggested professional housecleaning help every couple of weeks. Not because he thinks the house is scummy, but because he knows how much it stresses me out and how much time it takes, especially before company comes. I think, for me, that the time and stress saved would be similar to having a Mother's Helper come in for a few hours.-SECP

  2. Carrie Moffett

    Dearest Laura, Excepting help is not the sign of being a failure. It is a sign of wanting to take care of your family and yourself by not stretching yourself too thin. I guess I think of nannies in the old-fashioned sense of a live-in staff member who takes care of the kids. However, a nanny or babysitter might not be such a bad idea. Maybe an agency would be the way to go? This is but one company is located in Madison. http://www.nannyconnections.com/contact_us.phpOr, if you are uncomfortable with having someone take care of the kids, how about hiring someone to clean?Either way, you and Tim should make a list of qualifications and expectations that you would have of potential hires. This would make the interviewing process way easier!I seem to remember my mom telling me that she hired a Stout student to stop by during the week to give Jesmia art lessons. The lessons were originally intended to be of benefit to my sister, but I think they also gave her time to do things around the house.Anyway, good luck with the hunt!~ Carrie

  3. Jody

    Yeah, hiring someone to help doesn't have to mean they take care of the kids while you do nothing. Let him/her clean and do the chores you don't like while you have fun and spend quality time with the kiddies.:)I mean, who wants to do dishes and laundry anyways?

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