On days when I’m failing at motherhood, yes I’ll take that nanny
I used to nanny for stay-at-home moms when I was in college.
Read that sentence again, please. I nannied. For STAY-AT-HOME MOMS.
I did school pick up, ballet drop off, soccer practice, homework, dinner-on-the-table, tubs and dried hair and bed times and stories and laundry. I did the whole shebang while Little Miss Stay at Home Mommy Tots was at Tennis Club or Shopping Club or Drink One Too Many Gin and Tonics with the Girls Club.
And now I have a confession to make: I judged them.
I judged these women. For hiring me. For not being a parent to their kids. For having the money to hire me. For not making meals. For giving me their house keys. For giving me extra sets of dog leashes. For not working. Oh, and wait, did I mention they had cash to spare on nannies like me?
But I’m sitting here in my house. It’s slightly a mess, but slightly not. I have one kid. He’s asleep in bed. And you know what I want? You know what I want more than anything in the world?
I want a nanny.
And if I could afford it, I’d want to be one of those moms who doesn’t work and has a nanny. Why?
Because, ladies, because. Because. Just because.
Because motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Because being a working mother is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Because there are moments and days and weeks where I feel like I’m a terrible parent. I say all the wrong things and respond in all the wrong ways and lose creative energy or focus or whatever it takes to parent an articulate, precocious toddler. There are days when work gets a better version of me than my son does. There are days when I can’t wear my contacts because my eyes twitch so badly from 4:30am wake-ups. Sometimes I cry irrationally like my little boy does during a tantrum. Sometimes I fall asleep sitting up. Sometimes I want to throw this whole working Mom thing on its head and move to No-Man’s-Land so I can just raise my son and grow heirloom tomatoes all day. There are days I think I might lose my mind. I think I might lose my cool. I think I might lose all the best parts of me that knew I’d forever be incomplete without this little person in my life.
I show up to daycare some mornings and practically throw my child at them. Dear God, take him. Take him and be a better parent than I can be right now. Take him and love him because I’m doing a lousy job at it. Take him and play with him because Mommy can’t make any more games out of Puppy Kit and Thomas toys and “no, we don’t throw blocks at the TV!” I go to work and it’s a reprieve. It’s a break in my day.
I know this feeling is temporary. I know the feeling rises up inside of me and surprises me when work is stressful and my husband’s gone and I find myself unable to manage all things domestic and loving and docile. I know I won’t always be parenting a toddler and I know I won’t always have 77 essays to grade at night. I know, I know.
There are days, many frequent days, when I kiss this little boy and don’t let him go. There are days, many frequent days, with laughter and ridiculous conversation and running around in our socks. There are cuddles and tears and good moments of growing in spite of ourselves. There is laughter and light in my home.
But I also know there are days, much like today, when I’ve reached my limit. I know when I need help beyond what I can offer myself.
Send in my nanny. Let her judge me all she wants. Just send her in.
Or, wait. Even better…send in a grandma.
And, oh, I’m sorry…can I get a glass of wine with that?