Nothing can prepare you for those first few months of motherhood. Not that the next 18 years are a pleasure cruise, but those first few months are exhausting as hell—both physically and emotionally. Every child is different, as is each mother’s experience, but for me, those first few months were freaking rough. My daughter liked to cry uncontrollably for hours each night. It didn’t matter what I did or didn’t do, she was hell bent on screaming unconsolably.
I don’t have words to accurately describe how that felt, but simply put, it broke me. Sometimes I would cry right along with her. My husband and I decided she would be an only child—if we even survived whatever the hell was happening.
Being a mother is the most rewarding job I’ve had, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but to say I was wildly unprepared for life with a newborn would be a gross understatement. I was a mess, and I needed help. It was hard for me to ask my family for help, or let them see how much I was struggling. I didn’t want them to think I couldn’t handle motherhood. I didn’t see other mothers struggle the way I was. I felt defeated, and alone.
I needed support, but mostly in the middle of the night, when no one was around. Someone who could swoop in around 2 a.m., when I was in tears, and at a loss for what to do next. Someone who wasn’t there to judge my parenting style, or offer well-meaning advice that worked for them in 1987.
As it turns out, night nannies are a real thing, and I can’t tell you how bummed I am that I didn’t know about them when my kids were babies. Night nannies provide the support exhausted new parents need, but in the middle of the night when grandma isn’t there to take a fussy baby off your hands. Their entire role is to offer night time support—however you may need it.
They are professional baby whisperers, who aren’t there to judge your parenting, or prattle on about Uncle Roger’s knee surgery. They won’t repeatedly ask you what they can do to help, or expect you to provide constant direction. These superheroes will care for your baby while you rest and recharge. They change diapers, console colicky newborns, and sh-sh-shush your precious pumpkin back to sleep, so you can get the rest you need to function the next day.
I remember how amazing I felt the first time my daughter slept four straight hours during the night. But let me tell you something. If you feel refreshed after four hours of sleep, you are either severely sleep-deprived or you’re a vampire, because that is not normal.
There isn’t a mother out there who doesn’t deserve the kind of postpartum support offered by a night nanny. You can hire a nanny once a week, or have them there every night. They are available to meet the individual needs of their clients, and OMG, WHERE DO I SIGN UP?
I know what you are thinking—that’s great and all, but I’m not a celebrity, and I can’t afford a freaking night nanny, lady. I thought the same thing, and I’m not drowning in money by any stretch, but the hourly cost in most cities is comparable to hiring a sitter for date night. I think we can all agree that even a few extra hours of sleep and rest, can make all the difference in the world. Too bad we can’t all afford to have one of these fancy baby whisperers in our home full time. Maybe we could talk them in to staying during the day, and helping with laundry. Someone put that on my if-I-ever-win-the-lottery list.
Motherhood isn’t one-size fits all. We each have a different experience, and different needs, but if there is one universal truth, it’s that all mothers deserve support. What that support looks like varies from person to person. Not all of us have family and friends to lend a hand when things get tough. Night nannies give mamas the support they need, when they need it, and that is something I can definitely get on board with, even if I can’t afford it.