When I decided I wanted to work from home, I definitely had this idealized view of me typing away on my computer while my kids played at my feet.
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?
22 responses to “Why Having a Nanny is Good for You and Your Kids”
As you know, my girls have both been in daycare their whole life and it’s caused me a lot of sadness. At the same time, I have been grateful for daycare. I hate doing arts and crafts. I hate the mess, and being creative isn’t my forte. I love that my oldest comes home with 3-4 projects a day that she did at school. I love that she gets to socialize and learn about sharing. I love that she learns there – really learns.
When we move next month, I budgeted to put my youngest in daycare two days a week. They might not be full days, but she’ll stay there as long as the oldest is in kindergarten. I realized that I was going to need some time to work – that if I did it all at night and in the morning, we were looking at a mental breakdown. This wasn’t going to be the best thing for mom and family. So I hear you – I think it’s a cautionary tale to those idolizing a work-at-home life that NEVER gets ‘in the way”.
I think that is very very smart of you!! Wise woman!
I and my wife has a nanny for three years. And, having a nanny give us much time to work, there’s more of this because it also let us provide a better future for my kids. We just make sure that the time spent with kids is not sacrificed. We assure that we always have quality time together.
I agree. When you aren’t around them 24/7 you really appreciate the time you do have with them.
Thanks for sharing this, Cat! My daughters just started FT daycare yesterday and had an amazing day! I used to be all about staying home with my kids, but both of them (especially my oldest) have thrived in that environment. And – it’s made me such a better, more patient mom. I’m like you – I wish I would have hired help sooner!!
Isn’t it so great when they love going to school? 🙂
I appreciate your honesty in this post because I think every mom, whatever her work situation, struggles with feeling inadequate sometimes, like there isn’t enough of her to go around. I quit my part-time work-from-home job when I had my second baby because I couldn’t make time to work–and that was with the 2 babies separated by 2 years, so I can’t imagine having twins! But we’ve always had regular babysitters for evening church events and (less frequently) for us to go on dates. And I’m leaving my kids for a two-week missions trip next month. I agree that my kids have benefited a lot from having babysitters who really care about them, for the reasons you mentioned. And I think it’s great that you get to be more present when you’re home with them the other days.
Yes I really try to be honest – it’s very therapeutic and lets other people know they aren’t alone! And thanks, it’s taken me a while to come to terms with it all but I’m happy with how things have been going the past few months.
Nannies are the best! I would love to get to the point in my writing where I can hire help. A nanny would be amazing, especially since my husband isn’t able to be home to take care of the kids. It sounds like you have found a great balance that works for you and the beans.
My dear friend (also part of the Tribe!) has worked as a nanny since graduating. She wrote a children’s book called “Molly Magnificent is My Nanny.” It’s a really cute book that your kids might enjoy as they get a little bit older.
Thanks, yes it took a little while to be able to afford it but I wish I would have done it sooner! And that book sounds awesome!
Totally worth it! We didn’t have a nanny, but we made good use of our daycare! I worked full-time a few months after our daughter was born, but I have always felt that daycare gave her a lot that I couldn’t. I still got to have snuggles and cuddles in the mornings, at night, and on the weekends. <3
Yes they really do learn so much when they stretch their wings!
I think it’s great you have done what works for you! When our youngest was 1 – 2 years old, he was such a cling on that I had difficulty with basic cleaning and dinner. It was the weirdest thing ever but at least he is past that stage. I think daycare has helped a lot with his socialization.
Yes I have a kid who is clingy too, haha. We call her velcro. 😉
I recently registered as an employee with Care.ca. I’ve been wanting to expand my side hustles, and this was an obvious choice. I’m glad you had success with it! I also used to babysit for a family while the dad worked from home, so I know how much difference it can make for a family and for the person working from home! I’m glad it’s working out well for your family and your business.
Awesome – I hope you get a great job!
I was a nanny for 6 months in Chicago and it was such a rewarding experience, and it also gave the parents a bit of a break. The little girl had autism and both of the parents worked, so having someone come in gave them some “me time” and they were able to go out and spend time together.
This came at such a good time for me! I’ve been struggling with this exact same thing and am actually going to tour a daycare to finally pull the trigger on getting some help for myself so I can separate my business and Mom life a bit more. I would so go the nanny route though if I didn’t think it would distract me while I’m trying to work from home! Thanks for sharing your candid experience with letting someone help you with your kiddos 🙂 It makes me feel better about going that route as well!
Ironically, we haven’t had any philosophical or emotional struggle with planning to hire a nanny or sitters to help with LB while I work. Our problem is we have struggled to find a good fit (personality or competence). We’re still looking but good childcare providers seem scarce out here in the Bay Area.
Care.com is excellent! I’ve found a lot of jobs there in the past. And how great that you were able to find someone who could also teach your children Spanish. 🙂
Coming from the other side, though, I am so glad to hear as a mom you’ve had a good experience and would recommend hiring someone. I’m exactly like you — baby hasn’t arrived yet, but I already can’t imagine letting someone else watch him! I also know that realistically that sets me up to either not work at all, or be stressed, tired, and not a great mommy. So thank you, because I definitely needed to hear this!