“Wait … what?” she asked, her tone unable to hide the judgment seething beneath her question. “You stay home with your kids, but you don’t cook dinner and you have a nanny?” She then asked me if I also had a butler.
Sadly, I do not. But yes, I do have a nanny. We also have all our dinners delivered, even though I stay home.
I pay a woman to go with me when I take my children to the zoo, and when we get home, dinner is waiting for us, so that the only thing we need to do is eat it.
In all fairness, I’m busy. I have a new baby, two other children who both have special needs, I work part time (from home), and I run a nonprofit. But show me a mother in America who also doesn’t lead a hectic life.
In other words, I know that I’m no special snowflake.
I’m just a stay-at-home mom, with a nanny, paying someone else to feed my kids.
And honestly, I really don’t understand why anyone has an issue with that, except that I know they do, because I’m used to getting side-eye whenever the subject is brought up, which I personally feel is ridiculous.
In a world where stay-at-home moms are toted as chauffeurs, chefs, housekeepers, financial planners, personal shoppers, nurses, and educators, is it really so shocking that we might want to delegate the tasks out a bit?
Ladies, this isn’t the 1950s anymore, when an after-school activity was walking the dog. Nowadays, kids can’t just roam the streets; instead they rely on us to host playdates, along with an abundance of extracurricular activities they need to be driven to, and hours of homework that they need help with. Many of us also have jobs, husbands who work longer hours, and a hundred other demands that a mom in the 1950s never could have dreamt of when she was quietly cooking in her kitchen while her kids played down the street.
Sure, the answer could be to cut down on some of the daily activities … but why can’t the answer also be to hire out if we can?
I hate cooking. I’ve despised it ever since I can remember, and no matter how easy the recipes are, I’m not very good at it. But I don’t mind dusting, vacuuming, and grocery shopping. I also like reading to my kids. I love snuggling with them on the couch after dinner and talking about our day. I would much prefer to do that over washing dishes and scrubbing pans — and so I do.
But I also feel that it’s important to feed my kids more than fast food or mac and cheese every night, so I have organic meals delivered from a service that cooks it fresh and delivers it right to my doorstep; the results being significantly above my cooking ability, highly nutritious, and allowing me to spend my time in a manner that is much better suited to my talents, and my family’s lifestyle.
Do I feel guilty about it? Not one bit!
“My husband would die if other people knew we had a housecleaner,” a friend of mine (who wishes to remain anonymous), sheepishly admitted. “But I guess, when I think about it, having someone else clean my house is essentially buying my time; time that can be better spent helping my friends and family. My daughter doesn’t care who cleans my house, but she does care if I show up to help with class parties or field trips. No one can do it all, so I choose to spend my time where I feel like it really matters to someone.”
She really hit the nail on the head when she said “no one can do it all.”
I simply can’t understand why it’s acceptable for doctors to have nurses, business executives to have assistants, attorneys to have paralegals, and general managers to have associates, but if a stay-at-home mom admits that she can better manage her household and children when she delegates out some of the tasks, it’s supposedly shameful. Why is one of the most difficult jobs in the world supposed to be solitary?
I have a nanny who comes three days a week to help out with my kids. I want to be able to enjoy all three of my children, spend a little time with them each independently, and also de-stress fun family outings — a task that I’m not ashamed to admit is difficult with special needs children.
“Using a housecleaning service is a marriage saver,” said one of my closest friends, who’s a schoolteacher and mom in Oswego, Illinois. She utilizes a housecleaning service even when she isn’t teaching in the summer. “No more arguing about who did or didn’t clean what, and being stressed out because my husband and I appreciate different levels of clean and organized. We need someone to come in twice a month and bring harmony to our house, because when we both get on the same page, it makes us better with each other. Plus, I hate cleaning, so there’s that.”
I like her, and I like her point of view. Life is more harmonious when people aren’t stressed out, and I think kids do feel their parents’ stress. Happy mom, happy home.
I know that the way I choose to run my house isn’t what other moms would do, and that’s the beauty of motherhood. We all get to do it the way that works best for us, our children, and our spouses. My husband and I choose to significantly cut the budget in other areas of our life to be able to afford the help that we have, but I know that lifestyle wouldn’t work for everyone; it wouldn’t have even been available to me several years ago as a single mother living below the poverty line.
And of course, there are a lot of moms who just might have their act together much more than I do and not need any help. (Rock on, you awesome moms!)
But for me, I’m a stay-at-home mom who hires help to do the things that every stay-at-home mom does, and anyone who thinks that I’m a “less-than” mom is probably not someone whose opinion I care much about anyway. This is how I keep my kids safe, their bellies full, and my sanity intact so that I can be more present for the moments when my kids really need me.
So, for all the moms who are having your groceries delivered today: You are exactly the kind of boss mom that keeps the carpool line running smoothly, who has decided that she is the executive of her house, and who knows how to make it all work best.