I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of hired help. I’m so used to doing everything myself: laundry, cooking, groceries, other household chores. The only thing we’ve ever needed help for was cleaning. For this, we have a cleaning lady who would come in once a week.
When I was pregnant, I was so excited about the baby. Feeding, sleeping, cuddling, playing. What I completely overlooked was how exhausting and time-consuming child care would be.
When we came home from the hospital, Mommy stayed with us for a week to help out. Oneal was on leave for the whole month. Lucas slept most of the day, waking only for diaper changes and feeding. I could nap, write, eat on time.
Then Mommy went home. Oneal went back to work. Lucas realized he wanted to stay awake and see the world. And it was just me.
I learned there was no time for me. Round the clock, Lucas needed feeding, diaper changes, sleep, carrying, bathing, a walk in the park. Dad would take him sometimes so I could eat, but I couldn’t ask Dad to do that all the time. I often ate lunch late. There were days when I wasn’t even able to shower, because all my time and attention were on Lucas. At night, after we put him to sleep, I was so tired that I just passed out.
I couldn’t even eat, shower or sleep. How was I supposed to work?
But the bigger problem was this sense that I was losing myself. I loved my child dearly, and his smiles made all the fatigue feel like nothing. But I missed being me. I missed my busy self. I missed doing things that didn’t begin and end with Lucas.
And I needed to be me, so I could be a mom. I needed to take care of myself, so I could take care of Lucas.
That’s when we realized we needed a nanny, ASAP.
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Finding help is always a struggle. Everyone says so. Whether you need a yaya, a maid, a driver, it’s always hard to find someone reliable.
I asked around, but I didn’t get anywhere.
We tried calling an agency, and I actually scheduled interviews already. Then I read the reviews and was horrified, so that was a no.
A neighbor recommended someone, and she came in for an interview last week. She seemed nice, and was willing to come in from Monday to Saturday. We worked out the terms, and she started on Monday.
It’s bizarre, though. Here’s another person who will be holding, feeding and changing Lucas constantly, putting him to sleep, going out with us, changing his clothes.
On Yaya Jessica’s first day, she got him to nap during the day, freeing me up for work, some laundry, a shower, cooking. I was able to clean my desk, answer emails, even watch a video on YouTube.
Miracle of miracles, I had time.
And yet I also had separation anxiety. I kept checking on Lucas and Jessica. Was he okay? Was she holding him properly? Did she change his diaper correctly? After editing an article or sending an email, I would check on them. Was he asleep? How did she put him to sleep? Did he miss me?
When Jessica went home, I held Lucas close, as if he’d been gone all day.
It’s just weird, having hired help. But I’ll take weird if it saves my sanity.