The reality is that balancing the two is extremely difficult, and it took me far too long to call in reinforcements.
When I first had my twins, I was trying to work and watch them at the same time. I’d bounce them in their chairs and answer e-mails on my computer at the same time. I was stressed, tired, and only later did I realize, suffering the effects of postpartum depression that took far too long for me to recognize.
I’m the type of person who really pours her heart and soul into things. I like to be good at things. I’m a perfectionist. And so I wanted to do it all. Be great at it all. Be the best mom and business owner and wife ever. But I realized, I really can’t and that was a difficult realization for me to take in.
At first, when my twins were infants, I had a mother’s helper who came in the afternoons and helped me feed the babies, back when they were eating every 3 hours and were battling reflux.
It took me a long time to be comfortable with someone watching them as my daughter was on a heart rate monitor for 12 weeks and she was super tiny. It took me months to let my mother’s helper play with them in their room while I worked at the kitchen table listening on the baby monitor.
Once my twins turned 1, I decided to hire a nanny so I could get back to some more full time work hours. My business was growing, and I was turning down phone calls with clients because I didn’t want crying kids in the background. I just needed like two days a week or so to catch up on things, to feel like I could breathe.
I found a wonderful nanny on Care.com who has seriously been a God send.
And you know what I realized?
It’s been really, really good for my kids to have her there too.
For one, they realize the world doesn’t revolve around me. They have to detach from me and engage with a new person.
She is from Peru and speaks Spanish to them.
She loves them. Genuinely loves them. I hear her talking to them through my office wall all the time telling them how cute they are and how much she loves them.
She reads to them constantly and never turns them down. I went to Manhattan for meeting last week and she texted me and told me she’d read Giraffes Can’t Dance like 9 times because my son kept asking her to.
She balances me out, really disciplines my kids, and folds my clothes while they nap.
I realized that by not hiring a nanny sooner, I was actually doing my kids a disservice. They were getting a mom who was stressed, who kept thinking about work and who kept worrying about her deadlines. They weren’t getting my best.
Now I have added a day and have three full 8 hour days to get the bulk of my work done. I do the rest of it here and there at night and sometimes on the weekends. I don’t stay up until 1 AM writing anymore.
And the best part? Since hiring my nanny, my monthly income has doubled in just a matter of months. It turns out that when I can focus on my work, I get higher paying clients. I am more alert. I make fewer mistakes.
Plus, I still get two full days a week to spend with my children just me and them. Yesterday, I put them in the stroller and we walked around my little town for an hour. They ran around in the park, sat on my lap and read books, we hugged, we kissed, and we pet our dog (which we’re learning how to do gently!) I put them down for a nap and they slept 3 hours, so I cleaned my house and caught up on my e-mails.
Sounds great doesn’t it? Gosh, I wish I had known before what I know now and that is:
Hiring a nanny doesn’t mean I’m a failure as a mom.
Everyone needs help now and again, and sometimes help can make a massive difference in a family’s life, as it has for us.
Hiring a nanny was merely me adding another person to my family, someone who enriches my kids, teaches them, and is patient with them. And, while she’s doing that, I get to do what I love which allows me to not worry about work when I get my two days a week with my kids.
I know hiring help is a financial stretch for many people. It was a stretch for us at first too which is why we started at just two days a week.
However, I’ve realized that because of her, I’m able to make more income, be less stressed, and have a lot more meaningful time with my kids when it is my turn to watch them.
Sometimes you just have to invest in yourself, and this is how I’ve chosen to do it. I don’t regret it for a second. In fact, my only regret is not hiring her sooner.
Do you pay for childcare for your kids or do you know what you want to do when you have kids?