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I’ll admit I was smug. Our darling nanny, Maria, was the
best and I knew it. She was so good that friends tried to nanny-steal her from us on
multiple occasions. A model employee, she was a catch who took great care of
our entire family. As far as a mom-proxy goes, I couldn’t have been happier. And so for the 3.5 years she was with us, our
relationship was wonderful. Thankfully, it still is.
But earlier this year, Maria had to take some time off to
deal with a health issue. What started as six weeks off turned into four months
off, which turned into more months of her not being able to come to work.
Initially, I didn’t replace her, thinking that six weeks wasn’t a big deal and I
could manage my work schedule and the kids. And when every week of her being off turned into another week of her
being off, I found myself in a groove. I was exhausted. But I had found a way
to do both: parent and work. And by the end of the four months, I was starting
to like being with the kids more and not being responsible for one more person.
But when Maria was ready to come back to work again, we
welcomed her with open arms and were happy to have her back. She’d been a part
of our family for the past 3 ½ years and honestly, I wasn’t sure I could handle
the schedule of the kids and work long term without help. I’d always had
anxiety about being solely responsible for the day-to-day of my kids’ lives,
yet now I relished it.
As the weeks went on, I noticed a change in my kids and
in myself. We missed each other. I missed them. With Maria back, life was
definitely easier and less hectic, but something was missing. So with heavy
hearts, my husband and I decided to let Maria go. With both kids in school, we
just didn’t need the amount of help we’d needed before.
It’s now been a few months without a nanny. As a working
parent, it’s taking some getting used to. My days are lengthy and nighttime is
no longer a time to relax. It’s a time to finish my work. And yet, I find myself happier doing
both. Here’s why:
1. The Money!
Childcare is expensive and I often silently debated my
income v. my nanny’s. My husband and I work hard, but we don’t have endless
resources. It’s nice to know my income is going toward my family’s expenses and
saving, rather than to pay someone else.
2. The Drama!
Even the easiest employee has issues. It’s to be expected. But
moms, working or not, are busy. We want
to deal with our kids' issues, not anybody else’s.
3. I Know What to Expect
From My Day
My days are jam-packed, and every day goes at a fast pace,
but I know what to expect from my day. I’m not planning my day around someone
who may get sick or get a flat tire or anything else that may be in or out of her
If I can be there, I’m there. They can count on it.
4. I Don’t Have to Get
Info on My Kids Second-Hand
Even getting info from the best reporter sometimes feels
like you’re playing a game of Telephone. So I’m enjoying hearing from my kids' teachers directly and knowing exactly
who they’re playing with and where.
5. I’m Not Responsible for Someone’s Income
My husband and I always try to treat anyone who helps with
our kids like any business would treat an employee. That means holidays off,
vacation days and raises. But my husband and I aren’t a business and being
someone’s source of income can, at times, be daunting.
6. When My Kids Aren’t
Home, No One Else Is in the House
Anyone else miss being alone in your house? I do. Now, when
my kids are in school I get to be home alone. It’s fabulous!
7. I Can Walk Around Naked
I don’t, but I can. It’s fabulous!
8. Homework Gets Done
With a nanny, I’d have to wait to do homework until she had
left for the day. That meant I often had to do the “battle of the homework”
with a very tired kid. Now we can do it whenever he wants. Actually, we can do
it whenever I want. Even better.
9. I Don’t Have to Miss
My Kids' Milestones
Actually, I do have to miss some of my kids’ milestone if
they both have something happening at the same time. But if I can be there, I’m
there. They can count on it.
Admittedly, I was only able to let my nanny go because I
work a flexible schedule and don’t have to report to an office. If I worked
9-5, not having childcare would be impossible. But since I don’t, it’s
possible. And I’m getting everything done somehow!
Now before you go thinking about letting your nanny go,
don’t think everything is perfect. My floors are in desperate need of a sweep
and I fold laundry while the kids eat dinner. I’m driving across town all the
time, making me the worst paid Uber driver on the planet. And if you think my
kids are getting amazing home-cooked meals every night, think again. My time is
spoken for and cooking doesn’t always fit in. But no one seems to mind.