I know a very talented fiber artist who works part time from home making beautiful art, something she has loved to do for years. After her son was born a year ago, she didn’t slow down. She wanted to keep going with her career and felt lucky she didn’t have to pay for daycare full-time in order to keep doing something she loves. Most of all, it was her dream to work at home and be with her son. But it wasn’t long before his naps got shorter and he was more mobile, and she soon realized that she needed to hire a sitter. So she did, even though she was a SAHM, and she made no apologies for it.
If you need to hire a sitter to help you, do it. If you need to hire someone so you can gain some sanity back by showering alone, shaving both legs, and having a moment to apply moisturizer, pick up your damn phone.
I know some of the time we are on — so on that we can take on (or down) anything that gets in our way. Being tenacious is one of a mother’s greater traits, which makes it hard to ask for help, especially if you are a SAHM or a mom who works from home. But there is no shame in asking, taking, or hiring help. I don’t care if you need someone to come over at noon every day so you can take a nap and want someone there just in case your child wakes up from their nap. You should hire a sitter. I know what is stopping you though. You are thinking things like:
I am here. I don’t have anywhere to be. Isn’t it strange to hire a sitter if you are home?
Not any stranger than you losing your shit everyday by 4 p.m. because you are struggling to pull dinner together, even though you just cleaned up for lunch and another day went by without a shower or a load of laundry getting into the washer.
I can and should be able to handle it alone.
You are handling it, by hiring someone to help you so you can function better.
I feel guilty.
You need to let go of the guilt (I know that is overused mom advice), but you need to let go of it. You count too. Who cares if you want to paint alone in silence for two hours — you are the mother of the damn house, paint your ass off. You are hiring help for a few hours. You are not passing your kids off to another home and running away.
It is my family. This was my choice. I shouldn’t be asking for help.
Yes, it is your choice. Everything is a choice. You can choose to spend some time on yourself, getting what you need, or you can continue to feel depleted, grumpy, maybe even a little bit resentful you have been going 100 miles per hour for so long you don’t even remember what day it is.
What will people think of me if I hire a sitter?
Who the fuck cares? Seriously. When they see how happy you are because you got to shit alone and meet a girlfriend for a latte, they will try to steal your sitter. Anyone judging you is unhappy about their own choices. It’s not a reflection of you in any way.
This is my job.
It is your job to love your children, love yourself, and keep everyone safe. You do this by taking a little respite every once in a while.
We can’t afford it.
Ask around. See if there is a teenager who can come over for an hour after school twice a month. Ask a friend to trade off: You watch her child every Tuesday for two hours, and she takes yours every Thursday for two hours. You will both feel you are giving back, and there is no money being exchanged, only high fives as you drop your kid off and speed away.
There was a commercial that ran a few years ago when all three of my kids were in diapers, and I was in the trenches. It was a mom loading a dishwasher on Mother’s Day. The narrator talked about how some people never get a day off, and hey, because they never get a day off, you should take them to this kid-friendly restaurant so they can get a free sundae with their meal and it will make everything better. It made me weep every time.
The tears were mostly because it was so true: Moms don’t get a day off. Think about that the next time you feel guilty for hiring a sitter so you can read a book, play with your makeup, or go to lunch solo with a friend. You are deserving of more than a fucking free sundae once a year for all your hard work.
So do it. Hire the damn sitter.