You don’t hear THAT every day.
Let me explain. Our marriage was never in jeopardy… but it would have been had we NOT hired housekeepers prior to having our daughter and then hiring a nanny once we had Dottie.
Hiring help was a preventative measure and worth its weight in gold.
“I have housekeepers”, I whisper in shame.
“I have a nanny”, I mumble with guilt.
You know what. Enough. I’m going to shout it from the rooftops. WE HAVE HIRED HELP!
And dang it. So should you.
Oh yea, Amanda… easy for you to say. You guys are “rich”. Yes. My husband does well. He also owns/operates his own company, which is a 24hr job. It’s a job he LOVES, but it comes with great responsibility. I was not always married to John Wesley. I was a 35-year-old woman with a car loan, a student loan and a mortgage not that long ago (a mere four years ago!) So. While I had a good career with a good income, my budget for *wants* versus *needs* was quite small as I was chipping away at my debt. I lived very frugally, buying much of my wardrobe at thrift and consignment shops. I meal planned, cooked in huge batches and took my lunch to work. I saved money for what I valued – travel and hired help: housekeepers, snow removal in the winter, dog walkers from time to time and landscaping when needed.
When I was single, why did I go to ALL this effort to be able to afford hired help? Why do JW and I prioritize it now? Why should YOU consider hiring help? Because hiring help is an INVESTMENT! Invest your time and energy in what you VALUE!
Building your village
When it comes to my daughter, I am SO in love with our nannies. Katelyn helped us our first year. Now Chelsea lives with us, helping with house & home, pets & Dot. They are part of our family. They are more than “hired help”. JW and I are limited in family to help hands-on with our family. My step-son will watch Dottie for an hour from time to time. JW’s brother helps with household projects. My mother visits us here or we visit her in New Brunswick, but there’s physical distance between us. Many of my close female friends live far from us. I’ve worked HARD to make mom friends but have yet to impose on any of them for childcare. We don’t have a village!
I daydream often of what it must have been like in the past for women/families that lived in smaller communities, knew one another, cooked for each other, cared for each other’s children when needed. When Dottie is older, I’m going to dream of the days when parents would kick the kids out at dawn, asking them to drop in for food during the day and be back when the street lights come on.
So. We hired our village. Our village is pretty great.
Family and Friends
Investing your time in family and friends is an important investment indeed. Would you rather go on an outing with your family Saturday morning or clean your bathrooms? Would you rather hire a babysitter to watch your children for a night out with friends or never indulge until they are old enough to be home alone? Don’t get me wrong, perhaps you have family or friends that help in times of need! I hope you do! Though I’m still not sure if they would clean your bathrooms… maybe let you get a date night in… smirk.
We need downtime. Between work, family, responsibilities, it’s hard to find time to relax, create, or be physically active. Are your mental health and physical health worth the investment? Would you be saving money in the long run if you were able to care for yourself – mind, body and soul? Would the health of your family also improve greatly? When I was single, the time I didn’t spend cleaning I spent running with a local running group. Or practising lines for a local theatre production I was in. Or going into the city to see friends for a night or two. Or just taking me time to savour coffee, watch TV or read a good book Saturday mornings.
I’m prone to depression. I know how to manage it. JW and I agreed that the best way for me to manage the first year of motherhood was to not attempt it on my own day-to-day while JW was running his business. Having Katelyn around that first year with Dottie to care for me while I cared for Dottie was integral to my survival. I did not struggle with postpartum depression because I had daily companionship, a healthy diet, rest and time to exercise.
Support local people and local businesses. When I hear people speaking of their shame in hiring help to clean their homes, it bothers me deeply. I truly feel that they must not respect and admire the work that housekeepers do. I do NOT feel “badly” paying my housekeepers as I do not believe they are a “lower class” of worker that I am somehow oppressing. Cleaning homes is a legit job/career. Many of these people run their own businesses. They are entrepreneurs. Go-getters. And in many ways supporting our economy. The same for hiring someone to mow your lawn, walk your dogs or nanny your children.
Within the top 5 conflicts in relationships – CHORES! CLEANLINESS! (I’ll leave sex and finances for another day)
I’ve had many conversations with peers around housekeeping and their partners not being comfortable with hiring help. Yet, the division of household chores was causing conflict in their relationships! Ummm. What?
JW is a broad strokes kinda guy. He’s all big picture. This is what makes him a creative genius and he gets sh*t done. He doesn’t get held back by the details. I admire him for this… but… it can be problematic for our home life. I have high standards for myself, our home, cleanliness and organization. I was an uber bitch the first year JW, my step-son Jack and I lived together. I was max stressed with the state of our home and took it out on them. Thank god I was taking a family therapy course at the time – I applied everything I was learning to my own reactions and improved our dynamics. The only person you can change is yourself! Though it did lead to improvements overall. JW and Jack improved their standards, and I lowered my expectations. It was HARD work for all of us.
Instead of losing my mind about the garbage overflowing, the dishes being put into the sink vs the dishwasher or nagging him to help me clean on weekends – we hired help. Because neither of us was going to change and I couldn’t do it all. I had certain household standards that he just couldn’t meet, there’s no shame in that. I didn’t drive myself crazy by trying to maintain my cleanliness standards in this HUGE house by my lonesome, resenting him all the while, and he doesn’t have to live with a stressed out bitchy maniac of a wife because WE HAVE HELP. It’s a hella cheaper than therapy, y’all. Or divorce. I mean, seriously. AMIRIGHT?
“HELP” IS NOT A BAD WORD!
I will NOT continue to feel shameful for hiring help to save my marriage.
Ok. How many of you hire help? C’mon! Spill it! Tell me all about it.