5 Mothers On Upping the Babysitter Hours
This was a hot topic on MU's Instagram last week, so it's clearly on many minds. For women in this grey, untitled, area somewhere on the spectrum of a pause, part-time work or entrepreneurship, the question about how much help you need can be ambiguous. I felt so much guilt in considering upping our babysitter hours when we have our second until I realized the quality time it would grant me as a parent, a wife and a woman. I've included five perspectives from women I trust in our community on how they're evolving their care circles.
For more, you can hop to the original post to read all the incredibly open, thoughtful comments.
Nina, mother to one, Raleigh, NC
Growing up, we always had live-in help - nannies, helpers, drivers. Culturally it is pretty common with Asian & Middle-Eastern families. When I had my baby, we had the same setup as we were based overseas. Once we moved back to the US, it’s been a complete change. I believe it takes a village as since we got to NC, we’ve barely had time as a couple or even rest when we’re sick. Every day feels like a blur. Part of not wanting to bring our helper with us was pride, but now I feel like I’m compromising my family’s well-being because we’re stretched so thin. Not having family around has been a struggle too.
Meghan, mother to two, St. Louis, MS
With one (and pretty much being a SAHM while living abroad), I felt serious mommy guilt over finding help... I mean, I was mainly unemployed. Why wouldn’t I be able to handle it 24/7? Then I looked in the mirror and realized that I was martyring myself (i.e., skipping working out, putting off appts, etc.) for my daughter. And for what? To show her that she must lose herself when she has children? It was a wake-up call. I realized that even with my mini village overseas and finding childcare, I was a better Mom- more patient and kind- when I got a break. And my daughter gained confidence too!
Now with two (and an infant with special needs) back in the US, I am leaning heavily into a village this time around- around 15 hours a week. I use it for appts, spending alone time with my oldest, working out... really anything. It has been easier this time around for many reasons- knowing that I can be a better person if I take care of myself and take time to go on date nights. That babysitter time lets me connect to me again...and it is giving me the confidence that it’s the right time to take on more in my career knowing my kids will be all right-if not better- for it.
heidi, Mother to One, Boston, MA
We have someone coming every weekday for a short push on some work deadlines, and while I miss some of the flexibility to pick up and go on an outing when I feel like it, it’s been really helpful to have this extra time to work. Not sure what that will mean for fall yet but definitely thinking on how we can exhale a little more.
Christina, mother to two, Baton Rouge, LA
I work from home. I could handle it with just one, but now that my second is nine months and getting into everything (not to mention they don't nap at the same time) I'm falling behind on work or ignoring one of them to answer an email. I have such guilt about not giving my second the attention that her brother got. So, we've hired someone to come 10/15 hours a week. She starts fully next week, and I'm looking forward to being able to get work done so I can focus on the kids entirely when I'm around them. Just trying to ignore the mom guilt of leaving them with someone.
alexandra, mother to one, Brooklyn, NY
We don’t have family around, I’m in NYC, my husband works (let’s say a lot as not to devalue his contribution to the house), and I run a small business from home. For our first babe, I’ve been barely managing with part-time help, and now I’m pregnant with my second. My mindset has shifted, and I simply need more help. I’m constantly feeling torn between the business and my son and feeling like I can’t be in two places, in two mindsets, at the same time. I need to be here NOW, with who I’m with or working on what I’m working on so I can be more efficient at work and more present with my babe(s). I’ve learned a lot about “doing it all,” and I think it means managing your help to be sure you are your best you.