I’m going to start with the disclaimer for this one. Everyone is different. This is simply what worked for me. Purely and simply. So… Should I hire help with my baby?
I am not that sort of woman who was ever clucky. In fact, I have two sisters and they have always been more loving towards babies than I ever was. I pretty much shied away from babies most of my life.
Having Aru was a practical decision. “Let’s start now because we have this much of a window.” Extremely practical.
When Aru arrived, I had 6 months of help with my Mum around (more on that here). Work was a bit quiet being January in Melbourne and the same went for my husband. We were happy sharing Aru between us, but naturally at some point, things started to get a bit hectic. It was getting harder to juggle the meetings and the diaper changes.
I love Aru, but I know, I’m not a 24/7 mum. I’m a 9-5 mum and some days, an 8-3 mum. I have this craving to get out, meet people, make art, take photos, talk business and all those things in me have defined me at some point.
Coming to the realisation that I couldn’t be with Aru all the time felt like I was failing. How could I possibly get tired of him? Shouldn’t I want to be with him all the time?
He’s like a magnet and even when I’m exhausted by him,
I’m drawn to him.
It was a real crossroads. Plus, I had read in Raising Boys, the value of a child being at home with their caregivers vs. daycare. It was sealed in my head. Aru needed to be around the home, secure in the warmth of familiar faces.
Vivek started to see me go batty. Just a little 🙂
He’d push me out of the house for a morning and tell me to just step away.
We opted for some help at home.
She’s a student who has come from Chile. She speaks to Aru solely in Spanish at my request. The first day, I was so exhausted from walking Aru in the pram in mid-summer heat, as soon as she came, I handed her the pram and said walk for 40 minutes then come back.
When she returned from the walk, she said, “I didn’t want to come too late because I was concerned that you would be concerned.”
This sealed the deal for me.
She is Barbara.
Overtime, we trialled other people. I can tell you this, nothing will ever do a better job when it comes to hiring, than your gut. Trust it.
Barbara now comes home about 3-4 afternoons a week and does a half day on Saturday. Vivek and I split up the weekdays, I do Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We’re both quite flexible with schedules so we also tend to mix it up if either of us is busier than the other.
I have to admit, the first time Aru stretched his arms out to Barbara from me, it hurt. I’m sure it’ll hurt when he turns away from me to run to his classmates. It’ll hurt when he likes Daddy’s paneer more than Maa’s. It’ll hurt big time when he agrees with his wife’s opinion. I know this.
But I also know, when Aru is teething, or when he’s had a bad afternoon, or ripped his little nail, there is sadness on Barbara’s face. She has so, so, so much love for him. And for this, I am so grateful.
The one thing I had read in Raising Boys, was that a boy should be raised by one or two caregivers, if not the mother, then the grandmother – both of whom will love him deeply. I was saddened when my mum couldn’t stay. But the universe has it’s way of working things out.
Choosing to hire help should not be about jealousy,
not be about the concern that someone can’t do it the way you’d do it,
not be about the dress you won’t be able to buy.
To me, it’s about keeping myself and all aspects of me alive and fresh.
Giving me space to be me AND be a mum.
And it’s also about nourishing the love Barbara has for Aru.
Not feeling jealous or insecure about it.
There is a place in Aru’s life for his Maa.
And a huge place in his life for his “Aunty Barbara / Barby”.
One thing about motherhood, it just changes you.
Into someone you never thought you could be.
It brings in the headspace you thought you never had.
The patience you didn’t even know existed.
If you’re considering getting help and caught up in the guilt of the money or the emotional confusion – I just wanted to say, I got help and I know for sure, I am a MUCH MORE loving and happy mum to Aru because of Barbara.
(Any questions // comments, pop them below. Clearly this blog isn’t ragingly famous yet, so I certainly have time to get back to you :)).