I recently let me my nanny of four years go, just after having my third kid - yes, I know it sounds crazy but I was having an identity crisis. I decided to take an extended leave from work to enjoy being 'mom' and I was sure that with the older kids (4 yrs and 2yrs) being in school half days that I could manage without help. I've always thought that I can do more than what's normal, in fact, now that I think about it, I think I define myself by being able to go 'above and beyond the call of duty'. Well, sadly I was wrong. I struggled through two months of life with the three kids and found myself tired, disorganized, snapping at my kids, craving time with my husband and over-using my Mom for help.
I've finally come around to the conclusion that it's precisely because I want to be a great Mom that I need help at home.
The challenge is not just finding one, but also managing one. I had a nanny for four years and despite my ability to manage difficult patients on an internal medicine ward, challenging residents in a large academic program and three kids with all different needs (well 4 kids if you count my husband), I find that it is the most challenging to manage my nanny. I realize now it has a lot to do with mother's guilt. I just do not want to see my nanny as an employee, a housekeeper or a babysitter. I want to see her as an extension of myself so that I can say to myself, that my kids are in good hands. For a long time I had a problem with the thought that the same person who would look after my kids would clean my bathrooms - so for a long time, I didn't ask my nanny to do anything but look after the kids. But this meant that when I would come home from work, I would do all the housework while she continued to play with the kids - something is wrong with that picture!
So as I now look for a new nanny, I have come to terms with the fact that firstly, I need help and second, that I need someone who will look after my kids AND my house. I met a family today visiting from Pakistan. The Mom had 3 kids exactly the same age as mine and she said she doesn't know how I do it - because where she lives, there is so much help - for the house and for the kids. She said, where she lives, it's easy to have three kids! After meeting her and after a long few months without help, I now can comfortably say that I need help with both my kids AND my home.