I was one of those moms who never had much luck with nannies. They were either too rigid, or too aloof ,or too old school, or too something.
While my concerns about each of my nannies were legitimate, I realize now that I had decided long before they walked through the door that they wouldn’t be a good fit for my family.
Growing up, I always thought I would like a life of having nannies and housekeepers to help me. As an adult and as a new mom, I didn’t. I didn’t like having to move out the way so the cleaning lady could clean, and I certainly didn’t like being told by my nanny how other families were doing it. Despite my frustration, I continued having a nanny and a housekeeper, and at one point had two full-time nannies. After all, I was not just a new mom, but I was a new mom of triplets. So I needed help — and lots of it.
It quickly became clear to me that having three babies was overwhelming and I couldn’t do it all by myself. I was fortunate to have people in my home to help me, but I never really let them. Like a lot of new moms, I wasn’t ready to trust others with my children. I also didn’t believe that good moms delegated. I grew up in a family where women took care of their homes and their children themselves. So I followed that model and did my best to do everything for my children. I did my best to change all their diapers, prepare their meals, gave them their baths, and would not miss a feeding even if my life depended on it.
For a long time, being this hands on was incredibly rewarding, and it sometimes still is. I went from a mom who knew nothing to super mom in just a few months, and I felt good about that. Over time I realized that my decision to not accept help was taking a toll on me. Two years later and with almost no hair left on my head, I came to terms with the fact that I needed help — or at least that I needed to allow others to help me.
So I made some adjustments. First, I enrolled my children in an hour-and-a-half, Spanish, drop-off playgroup, and it was one of the scariest decisions I ever made. I worried that my children weren’t ready for a drop-off, and my mind raced about all the terrible things that could happen to them with me not around. To my surprise, though, nothing bad happened. In fact, they loved the class.
Then, I started allowing others to do more with my kids without me. That gave me the break I needed to take walks, exercise, and go to dinner with my husband and my friends. It also gave me children the chance to bond with other people, which I think made them happier as well.
I’m still very much a hands-on mom, but I’m not super mom anymore and I don’t want to be. I’m a person with limits, and I understand that now. I’m also a happier and healthier mom, and now I’m starting to look a little better, too.
Notoya Green is a parenting expert and former Family Law attorney. You can read her blog at www.triple