Friday, November 16, 2007

Help, I need somebody

The belated nanny post (3 months ago):

We have hired a nanny.

If you are neurotic about caregivers, the best thing you can do is have two children under two-ish. Things will get so crazy that you will leave consider leaving the the kids with a homeless person, the doorman, the parking garage attendant. Goodbye neuroses, since someone on a message board advised me to "accept help from anyone, even if you don't like them".

Well, luckily I did not need to make any deals with the proverbial devil because we hired a lovely woman who I will call E for the sake of this site. She immediately put me at ease, but it does not take much these days - a kind stranger wants to come to your home and give you a moment to, let's say, go to the bathroom and immediately your heart turns to goo.

The night before her arrival was particularly hard. My husband was away, and I was exhaused. I called him crying and reached him at the airport. I felt all at once guilty and resentful for needing the help that would likely bankrupt us and at the same time, desperate for her to start. "We are all good at different things," he said. "You were amazing at managing a whole department of adults. You need help with the home stuff."

It sounds condescending as I type it, but he is right. I love being a mother, but the accessories of the job overwhelm me. I am a sucky cook, my diaper bag is never stocked nor organized, and mess paralyzes me. I get it all done, but by the end of the day, the exhaustion and anxiety can rattle me. I long for time to cook dinner, to finish thank you notes, to organize closets. I don't enjoy any of these things, but leaving them undone in the face of pizza, overdue gratitude and drawers that don't close keep me up at night. It's tough to be a Type A underachiever.

Oh, and there's that part time job I took that seemed like a great idea at the time, and now, I cannot fathom when the hell I am going to get any work done that does not allow me to wear a ponytail and unclipped nursing bra. To make any of this work, I needed a hand...two hands...any hands...

E has no children of her own but 16 siblings, a kind voice, loving lap and was not terrified by a surly toddler who glared at her beneath lowered eyelids while kicking the couch. Her hands are always open, loving, non judgemental. And best of all, just as neurotic as I am!

So day one is over, and while I am more exhausted than ever after a carefully choreographed meet and greet, the kitchen is clean, the rug decrumbed, and I had the confidence to give both children a bath. We had our moments*, especially Chloe, and there is an innate awkwardness involved in the employer/employee relationship when the business is babies, but all in all it worked. We have a long way to go -- but for now, I am happy to embrace the unknown in the arms of a stranger.

*E still stuck around even after, in a fit of outrage, Chloe bit me on the breast. Yes, folks, I was changing her shirt and she bit me right atop Dylan's "plate", so to speak. Top that.


At 11:58 AM PST, Anonymous Redstar said...

16 siblings!!!

Irish? Or no matter the ethnicity, def. Catholic!


Hope it's still going well.

I could use an assistant myself!

At 5:49 PM PST, Blogger Janya said...

Having been a nanny and personal assistant at different times in my life, I can say I've seen a lot of boob, but never a boob-biting incident! Yay for mama for taking the help and yay for E for being unflappable in the face of gnashed teeth!

At 6:28 PM PST, Anonymous gila said...

You rock.

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