My husband had just purchased a dental practice, and we were in the process of moving and searching for the perfect house for our new family. I was 34 weeks pregnant when an amazing job opportunity was offered to me.
In my husband’s eyes, the financial help was a necessity during a time of loans, a new mortgage, and a new baby. In my eyes, I was too invested in delivering that baby and committing my entire being to this new child. Doing both felt immensely overwhelming, and completely impossible. So, when I chose to stay at home with my newborn, and not return to work, I developed such tremendous guilt when it came to money and spending that I declared additional help—babysitters or childcare—not an option.
My husband is incredible, and runs a very impressive dental practice. However, we are still a very young family with a great amount of debt, so I do my best to watch what I spend our money on, and extra childcare has never made that list. Let me clarify something, though. My husband, for the past four plus years, has encouraged me to hire babysitters, and do what I needed for myself during the week. So, it isn’t him placing this guilt on me—it is ME. And, it comes with my personality.
In my mind, I chose to get pregnant and have babies. I opted to stay at home with my kids, to dedicate my being to their development and upbringing, and gave up my career. Therefore, why would I ever hire babysitters? Taking care of my children is my job, and if I have the luxury to do it and be home, then why would I pay someone else to be with them so I can run errands? What errands are truly necessary to run during the week that I can’t do on the weekends when my husband is home or with my kids?
I realize this is my way of thinking, and by no means do I judge those who do differently. In fact, I think it’s great when a mom has a way of knowing what makes her most balanced and happiest—and if that means having time to herself by hiring babysitters, I think that’s amazing.
The real question I continuously go back to is: What would I do and where would I go if I had a babysitter? I don’t know life anymore without having my kids with me. I just don’t think it would feel right. It is without fail that when I take them to the grocery store, I have one kid screaming for every item he sees, and the other demanding I open each item up so he can “eat it NOW” as we roam the aisles. So, I know taking them to the grocery store can be miserable, stressful, and most of the time, a disaster, but do I really need a babysitter to watch them so I can go to the store by myself? Instead, I choose to torture myself, and try to make the best of it in those situations.
Would I be less stressed? More rested? Calmer? Maybe. Maybe not. But, the truth is, my kids are only little for a very short period of time in the large scheme of things. To pay someone else to watch them during the week so I can go to lunch with a friend, to the store, or shopping, has never been something I have had a desire to do. I can do those things before I know it when they are in school, and when I wish they were home with me again.
So maybe it is because I feel too guilty to spend money on a babysitter when it is my “job” to be with my children? Maybe it is a control thing? I am well aware of the fact that my past eating disorder developed as a result of needing to find control over something in my life. Or, maybe it is because I would rather be with them than be by myself or with a friend?
Whatever the reasons may be, I choose to do it this way. And, trust me, there are plenty of days I am exhausted, depressed, or extremely drained. During these times I definitely contemplate hiring a babysitter, or even daydream about what it would be like if I had help, a nanny, or even an au pair.
But, the truth is, the good times I have with my kids make up for the bad ones, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I feel so grateful to get to be with them every day, and on the days I want to scream and pull my hair out, I just continue to remind myself of the unconditional love, happiness, and pleasure I get from these little guys. And that’s what matters most to me.