Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Nanny

Last Friday marked the end of my daughter's first year of school - kindergarten. I can't believe a whole school year has already gone by. I think I was almost as excited as she was to celebrate the big day. I of course took the day off, so work killed me in the days leading up to the ONE day off. Nothing was going to keep me from attending her class festivities. I think that the last day of school was actually harder than that first day. There were definitely moments that I just watched her play with her classmates and my eyes would well with tears at how quick it's all going by. It doesn't seem quite like yesterday that she was born, but it certainly doesn't feel like 5 years have gone by.

The weather on Friday was cold for a mid-June day, so I left the baby and my little guy who's fighting off a bit of a cold home with the Nanny - which was a nice option. I think when people hear you have a nanny, they think you are swimming in riches and have a maid - none of which are true in our case. We are FAR from being New York jet-setters or Hollywood socialites. We are a pretty normal family. It just made sense to bring someone to our house that I knew was safe for the same amount of money it would take to shuffle them to day care. I have friends who have opted for the day care route and their kids are fine, but it wasn't the best fit for us.

I spent most of my maternity leave looking for someone to love my kids in my absence. Overall, she - Nanny we'll call her, is great. I rarely see Nanny during the week because I'm usually gone by the time she arrives and she leaves by the time I get home. Our relationship is really one that is phone based, but effective nonetheless. She has, as I had hoped, become part of our family. That said, it's still kind of weird to have someone in your home everyday caring for your kids. You know, those little people you long to be with only to whop out a chunk of cash to someone else for a job you'd happily do for free? Yea, no one's bitter here...

When we first hired her I told her to organize and de-clutter if she had the time and basically gave her free reign. She periodically cleans our refrigerator out, does kid laundry when she can and vacuums periodically. I've always stressed that the kids come first, so if she doesn't have time to pick up, it's no problem. Here's the weird thing, she's done everything I've asked for and I'm a bit resentful. I'm not sure if it's because I couldn't keep my house clean with all the kids going everywhere or if it's because she's living my life I want-or maybe it's both. I'm happy my kids have finally accepted her, though it definitely didn't happen overnight.

I think my issue is primarily that I want MY life back. It's going on two years that I've been back to work and the angst of missing my kids has not wavered. I feel like it's the worst whenever I have a long weekend or a weekday. It makes me feel like "thank goodness, that work life was just a dream," but then I realize, it's not a dream. This is my new life and there is no going back.

This self deception is a slippery slope. It's so incredibly good to be home with my kids when I can be, but when I leave them for work it's like ripping the scab off again to heal. I've said this before and I'll say it again, I struggle most with balancing my life. I hope it comes sooner than later; I just don't know how to do it. It's funny, but I was talking to another mom who is a SAHM and she said "I don't know how you can do it all" and I responded "not well." She stared at me with a look of surprise and said "Well you've got us fooled, because it looks like you're doing it very well." Ha! Me? If looks were everything...

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