Thursday, January 17, 2008

No More Martyr Mama

I never understood why stay-at-home moms hired babysitters. To me, it seemed like they were cheating: if you're not working outside the home, why on earth do you need to hire someone to watch your kids?

Of course, at the time, it all made perfect sense to me. I had only one child, and he took a two-hour nap each day. I had a nice, long stretch of time every afternoon to spend however I wished. I could watch Dr. Phil, surf the internet, or - gasp! - do housework. Oh sure, I was drained by the end of the day, but I never felt like I couldn't catch a break until he went to bed.

And then my world changed. We had a second child, our first's naps became more sporadic (and rarely did they coincide with the baby's naptimes). I finally got fed up with wondering whether the oldest would nap and forced him to drop them altogether. That long break I used to have was gone - and was replaced by nighttime feedings, prying a toddler off a crawling baby, and believing that watching only one child was my break.

One year later, I have now come to decide that those moms are geniuses, and I have been a naive, stupid martyr. Tomorrow I am going to make my first phone call to an outside babysitter.

Now please don't think I'm going to start going out to lunch and getting manicures every week (I'm Catholic, I could never hire a babysitter to watch the kids while I do that - the guilt!). I just want someone to come for two or three hours every other week so I can leave the house by myself and come back feeling refreshed and ready to be with my kids again.

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