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January 13, 2015

Comments

Jenna

What about single moms who cannot afford help? This blog is seriously one-sided.

SaraDiamondBroker

Katie,

I am greatly appreciative of your willingness to be so candid in your post. You gave a voice to a lot of moms who are thinking the same exact things, but believe they are alone in their thoughts.

I try and outsource anything extra that I can, and work at truly giving up the task and not working alongside the individual, or let's be real, micromanaging the individual.

I was unsuccessful with a very well qualified Nanny, screened, interviewed three times, paid an EXCEPTIONAL Salary (plus gas reimbursements and an accounts with funds available to "have fun money" on hands), only to see her disappear after 4 weeks! My kids cried because she really seemed to care for them, and they finally had someone to spend time with.

I haven't had the heart (nor time) to try Care.Com again, but reading your blog inspires me to do just that.

Lastly, In my particular case, my burnout with multiple Corporations & Employees, etc. Is such, that I know if I can get a genuine Nanny, and permanent housekeeper, That It will take me a few weeks simply to want to have quality time alone with my girls!

Now that's being real ladies! We're in it together. Thank you for the support!

Kathleen

I totally agree with the fact that it's more important to be there for your family than to take care of household chores so yes, hire someone for god's sake! But here is my take on the whole picture. Trust me, I know how important it is, especially as a woman, to be out in the working world furthering careers, having your own money, of course, etc., etc. However, the monetary cost of working is often lost on us. I'm very cognizant of the cost of living. However, if the cost of working - nannies, house cleaners, professional clothes, lunches, fuel, on and on, is taken out of the budget, wouldn't one find it possible to work less and, therefore, have time for the family? Trust me, I am a card-carrying feminist as well as a Mom. As a matter of fact, my child went off to college a few years back. I worked as little as possible in those early years - and I have never regretted it. I couldn't get that time back with her and I can now reflect on my decision and have no regrets. I know that isn't always possible for every parent. But if it is, it warrants taking stock of the big picture - now and in the future - and I believe we all want what's best for everyone involved. So ask yourselves this question and if you're honest with yourself, take heed. How is what I'm doing now going to affect me in the future and, most importantly, my children. Life flies by faster than a speeding bullet. Those little ones will be leaving for college before you can blink an eye. A few years spent shaping them and being there as a parent is a drop in the bucket in the big scheme of things. Just some food for thought.

Laura

I agree whole heartedly.

I never thought I would be able to afford an actual Nanny. Until September, I had two in full time daycare. I had been mistakenly holding my breath for my oldest to go to kindergarten, and the daycare expense would drop…boy was I wrong! I was then in for before and after care, and after-after care (who gets home by 5?), plus my youngest still in fulltime daycare. The cost actually went up, utilizing the least expensive solutions I could find.

I was going nuts! Factor in dropping off, picking up, the different people you have to pay, and all the transportation for my oldest (the drive to before care, then school, then after care, then after-after, then home) It was too much. So now, after a long struggle, I am paying about 20 dollars more a week and I have a Nanny come to the house….she is worth her weight in gold. Best decision I ever made, for my children, and my mental health.

It was not in my budget, but neither was having a second child, it somehow works itself out. Though, it did take a little faith.

Jennifer

This post came at just the right time for me! I've been struggling bad with the house. Got so far behind with school and work. The anxiety this messy house is giving me is taking its toll on myself and my kids and husband. I've got cleaners coming Friday but had mixed feelings about it. Now I just can't wait to be able to breathe again in my own home and to actually be able to slow down and enjoy my family. Thank you for this!

Dana

Katie I can't thank you enough for your blog posting. I found myself in a similar, breaking point, situation not too long ago. I have a sitter (for whom I did find at Care.com) who I truly believe has been an angel sent to me. She already picks both children up from school (at different schools across town) and then keeps them until the end of my working day. However, I was still drowning to be able to find time to fit in child pick up after leaving work at 5 if lucky, dinner, homework, bath, and books all before bedtime and playtime went out the window a long time ago. I found it so hard to ask her to do anymore than she already did until I finally couldn't do anymore and so I went to her. Come to find out, she had more ideas to help me than I did and these things didn't even require any extra of her time or thereby any extra money from me. I don't hesitate to let her know how much I appreciate her and I do throw any extra cash I can her way when I have it. If you are lucky enough like I to find someone so caring they will more than likely not mind helping in anyway they can.

Martha

The main question I have is why doesn't the husband or partner help out more?

One example of snowblowing (seasonal and intermittent) and it's outsourced for $$$.

Shannon

Just another bit of perspective -- many of us (i.e. anyone who lives in a major city, especially in the coastal regions) live in areas where the cost of living and labor are so expensive that we can't afford to hire more help, even with the second salary. My partner and I both work full-time, both in "creative" fields (though relatively well-paid versions of those), and full-time childcare eats up all our available income beyond basic cost of living, saving for retirement, etc. We simply can't afford to purchase "help" for extras like housecleaning. That second income isn't "optional" for anyone in an expensive city. And we both work in professions with exceptionally tight labor markets (architecture and the academic world), so moving somewhere cheaper isn't an easy option either.

Any thoughts?

jana

I was a stay at home mom for the majority of my 26 years of my parenting life, all about craft time and family gardening, you name it. I am now 42 and an exceptional professional in the engineering and surveying field. I just hired the "angel" and she handles our busy house twice a week AMAZINGLY. I didnt think i deserved help but i was that person for others till i realized i needed a "me". My advice is dont let pride stop you from having relief, always evaluate where you are and what your time is worth. Our family COMPLETELY ruined some christmas cookies together, they were delicious!

Livhuwani

Oh wow, this is my life too. been struggling so much. i gave in on the first when i collapsed out of exhaustion. I have my boy at daycare now. i am breathing better and can even plan my to do's and FEEL no pressure myself into doing them all at once.

I can feel it that i am doing much better with being a mom and a wife now.

I THANK YOU.

Happy mom

If you can afford it, stay home till your kids are older, you have a lot of years ahead to work, and it is a lot less stressful because you will have time to get it all done and play with your kids and maybe go somewhere fun some weekends. Why is being home always the last option? Why pay for all those extras if you don't need to because after daycare and all those other costs, I can't imagine your paycheck is huge?

Jennifer

This is my life! I have been unsuccessful finding a part-time nanny here at Care.com so I can work part-time. It feels like real estate where you only get a few applicants once the house first goes on sale. Though I'm home much of the time, I still feel myself drowning as I take work home with me. My husband does nothing helpful with the kids and ignorantly actually works against me. What can I say----I chose poorly. I need help! While I try to keep up with everything, the thing that is always sacrificed is sleep. With a toddler and infant, I get out of the house....uh....NEVER!

Susan Wenner Jackson

Might I suggest the book "Overwhelmed" by Brigid Schulte? It really helped enlighten me about lots of issues, including prioritizing my time, single-tasking, societal roles and expectations ... it's just a really, really great book.

Suzanne

FANTASTIC article! I don't feel a bit guilty for hiring help. This season of life (young parenthood) is labor intensive, time consuming, exhausting and yet...it's fleeting and so very precious. It's all about balance and WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO HELP YOUR KIDS THRIVE. A lot of families would benefit from an extra set of hands so that Mom can have a break or the kids can be exposed to different activities, I totally get what you're saying Katie. It's not about working at Care, or even having enough money to pay for extra help--it's about recognizing that having help is a GOOD thing and not something about which anyone should feel guilty seeking.

For those commenters that bring up a shortage of money, I understand that too. Creativity and a warm personality go a long way when you don't have disposable income. Find a group of like-minded moms (playgroup, daycare, church) and start a co-op. Take full advantage of the childcare tax credit and childcare savings accounts. Save $25 a month and hire a sitter every other month. Find out if your company offers any childcare stipends. Ask a local relative (if you have them, I don't) if they can help one day or night every other month, schedule it in advance and you're not likely to be turned down. Bartering with a trusted sitter can be a valid method of payment when you're short on cash (sitter needs help doing her taxes? you need a sitter? maybe you can strike a deal).

Martha asked why one's husband doesn't help out more. Maybe he's deployed in the military. Maybe he works swing shifts. Maybe he's got a health problem that prevents him from doing certain tasks. Maybe he's just a jerk. Doesn't negate the fact that families need extra help at one time or another. It takes a village after all.

Shannon asked for thoughts on families living in high cost of living areas and not making enough to hire occasional help with the kids or around the house. It's important to remember that you are not required to live in a high cost of living area. Maybe you MUST live in California because you are an assistant producer at a show that's based in LA and your husband is a teacher at a local public school. But do you need to live in LA proper? Nope. You might have to move to the suburbs to have more disposable income. You won't be cool anymore in the eyes of die-hard city dwellers, who cares? The commute won't be great, but it's a sacrifice in order to decrease family stress. And isn't so much of parenting about learning to sacrifice for the needs of our kids?

Cassandra

I wanted to find you personally to hug your neck and say thank you so much for writing this. God let me read it at a time I so desperately needed to see it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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