3 Reasons I Feel Guilty for Hiring A Babysitter (and 6 Reasons I Don't)
I didn’t become a Stay-At-Home-Mom by design. I worked in social services and in the midst of the economic downturn, one week after we found out we were pregnant, my agency lost their funding and I was laid off. It was a blessing in disguise, as staying home with my babies has become the center of my identity.
But in the three years since my daughter was born, I started a new career, had a second kid and am now scratching my head on ways to get some “alone time.” More than that, I realized that perhaps hiring a regular babysitter would be best for my kids after all.
Here are 3 reasons why I felt guilty for hiring a regular, weekly babysitter (or nanny):
- I’m Super Mom: When I started to examine the origins of my guilt, I realized that I had Super Mom Syndrome. I liked the way people thought I was Super Mom. Except for the fact that I was losing my mind, the presumption that I had it all together was kind of cool. What would people think when they found out I had a regular babysitter at my disposal?
- No one could do it better: I also realized that I was even more controlling than I had originally thought. I guess when you put my most precious commodities into play, I’m a bit overzealous. The feeling that my kids would be cared for less than perfect made it hard for me to commit to a weekly babysitter.
- I’d miss my kids: This turned out to be the only guilt that is justifiable. No matter what I’m doing, no matter how much more efficient I become without them in tow, I am always missing my kids.
Despite my feelings of guilt, I had to make a decision. Was hiring a regular, weekly babysitter worth the financial and emotional costs?
Here are 6 reasons why I ultimately decided that hiring a babysitter was best for my family:
- Moms don’t work: When my 3-year-old daughter told me that moms don’t work, only daddies do, the feminist in me had an anxiety attack. Apart from SAHM moms being on the clock 24/7, plenty of moms work outside the home too! Maybe my daughter can better visualize her future professional opportunities if I take the time to pursue mine today.
- Quality time from babysitter: Since I work from home, I feel like I’m always working. Whether playing with the toddler or teaching the preschooler to read, I am also keeping a mental tally of deadlines or other work related things. A babysitter’s sole job is to give my kids quality time while I can focus on work.
- Better quality time from me: With just a day of undisturbed focus, I can accomplish a week’s worth of assignments. Hiring a babysitter allows me to then give my kids the quality time throughout the rest of the week.
- Better financial gain: Having time to generate an income has not only allowed me to hire a babysitter, but it has improved our household’s overall financial gain. My husband’s stress level has also improved. In turn, our weekends are packed with swim lessons, trips to the museum and the like. Simply because I am able to accomplish other things while a babysitter watches my kids once a week.
- Better productivity for the household: Because I can focus one a day week on my professional deadlines, I am not stealing time away from my domestic deadlines. Laundry is done, dinner is made and grocery shopping is done. In general, our household sees better productivity.
- Better Mom for all: Like most moms, I want my kids to have a happy childhood. Happy moms can make that happen. Hiring a regular babysitter has allowed me to pursue professional interest, run errands more efficiently and, perhaps read a few pages of my favorite book.
Having the courage to ask for help is a strength, not a weakness. And although it took me some time to appreciate the concept, hiring regular childcare is a viable option for many moms looking to pursue a career or simply catch a break. Acknowledging the guilt I felt provided me the opportunity to then realize the benefits of asking for help.
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