When you think of a stay-at-home mom, you envision a woman who is with her child all day. Her world, is all about taking care of home and family. No job to run off too or office politics to navigate. What you don't imagine is a woman who doesn't work AND has a nanny. But that is a sweet reality for a lot of women. Recently. SAHM Esther Walker made a splash with her essay on hiring a nanny to care for her 8-month-old son five days a week so that she should do less "boring" things with her time. For her, being with her son 24-7 was mind-numbing.
I can't say I blame her. Some people think SAHMs have it so easy, but in reality, it can be an isolating experience. Esther admits that she thought she would make a lot of other mommy friends, but it wasn't so easy. They lived far away or had kids in nursery school and were headed back to work.
When my own son was born, I took an unusually long maternity leave. He was nearly nine months old before I went back to work. And those were the hardest nine months of my life. I was so overwhelmed at being a full-time mom. I kept thinking, "How do people keep doing this?" I just couldn't get my sh*t together -- the house was a mess, I was a mess. The only thing I focused on was making sure he was fed, bathed, changed, and stimulated. I couldn't figure out how to work anything else into my day. As a result, I felt so worn down.
Then something miraculous happened. Our nanny started two months before started working again. It changed everything. I had time for myself. And it wasn't like I was spending my time writing the great American novel or anything. I was running errands (but at a leisurely pace), going to the gym, getting my hair and nails done. Most importantly, I was SLEEPING. I felt renewed.
So I get where Esther is coming from. However, I know a lot of people won't understand. Or rather, will not want to. It seems so indulgent. So selfish. The thought of paying someone to take care of your kids when you don't work is even offensive to some. Of course it's not even a remote possibility for most SAHMs. It's just too expensive. Plus, they worry about what friends and family will say. But why should they be vilified for doing something that is helping them become a happier mother?
I say, if you can swing it financially, block out the haters and hire a regular sitter. Even having someone a few days a week can be sanity-saving. I know plenty of moms who do this and they wouldn't survive (at least emotionally) without it. In fact, I wish every SAHM had this option. It's not about being selfish, it's about taking care of yourself as well as your family.
Do you think SAHM deserve nannies?
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