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Hey Gringas: It's ok to get help

I grew up with a Nanny. Not because we were rich back home but because that’s how it works. It’s a given that moms get sufficient help in Latin America. Middle class families hire one or two ladies to help out around the house and with the kids.  Lower income families get a member of the extended family (or even the neighbors) to help out. There is no stigma and it’s  “normal” to assume that hell no Mom cannot do it all.

I remember when we moved to this country, mami complained at least 5 times a day about how much she missed her LIFE where she lived like a “Señora” (real lady). She didn’t make us do any housework with the justification that “one day you will become professionals and hire help.”

The time arrived when we did grow up, and we did hire live-in help.  However my sisters and I are often seen as lazy, snob or even irresponsible for this.  The typical reaction from the Gringas is “You must have a lot of money” or “You married well” — Instead my fellow Latinas (in the US) would say: “You’re sooo lucky” or “I wish I could convince my gringo husband“.  Well my friends, I have some news for you. None of these statements are true. Yes, I married well but not in the money sense. I married an Italian whose culture also understands that la mamma cannot do it all.  We lived 12 years in Italy and it’s pretty normal there to have help at home. Even for stay-at-home moms. We’re not rich (I’m always investing my last penny in a new venture) and I don’t consider myself particularly lucky. In fact I’ve never won a lotto ticket. True that I only bought it twice and never checked it. (I’m still looking for those tickets.) But I don’t even win the little raffles in church or the blogging contests my friends ask me to enter to show some movement or the twitter contests. Nada!

I don’t mean to impose my culture on you. It’s not even a Latin American thing. I’ve lived in 7 countries, and only in the US I found that women are expected to be “Super-Women” under a fake feminism that I find ridiculously insane. Here are 10 reasons why you need to go out and hire some help Rapido:

1)      Because life is one. You only get to live it once.

2)      Because you’ll spend the same amount of money regardless. You’ll either spend it now by paying for your help or you’ll spend it in therapy later.

3)      Because people will talk about you no matter what. Even if you go to their house and clean up their toilets. So who cares if they call you lazy or a bad mother.

4)      Because your mother-in-law will always consider herself to be a better mother. You’ll do the same with your daughter-in-law. You wait and see!

5)      Because you will be more productive. If you cannot afford it now, it’s because you don’t have the time to focus on making more money.

6)      Because the movie The Help (which I loved) was a caricature of the reality in the forties. Today you’ll manage your help with the dignity and respect that she deserves. Just like you managed your staff when you handled that department in that big company. Yes your life before you died had kids.

7)      Because you should save for the kid’s college education. But not at the expense of your sanity.

8)      Because the rest of the world is ok with moms getting help. Just because the US has created a huge taboo around it doesn’t mean you have to drink the koolaid.  You CANNOT do it all and you don’t have to do it all.

9)      Because you will create jobs. So if you don’t do it for yourself, then do it for this country’s economy. America needs jobs!

10)   Because you can deduct a lot of it from your taxes. So why pay more taxes when you can use that same money to get you some good help and start living your life.

I can think of 100 more reasons right now. The most important of all is that you will love your kids (and husband) even more. Delegating the bath, feeding, cooking, cleaning, laundry times will just make you a happier person. You’ll be able to focus on what really matters to you. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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Oye! I wear many other hats.  Let’s become BFF!

Ana La Revolucionaria can be found on LATISM

Ana La Education Geek can be found on PlazaFamilia

More Blábeando but way shorter on Twitter: AnaRC

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