26 August 2009

[new baby: Getting Help by Having a Nanny.]

I received a lovely email from a highschool friend, and felt that I needed to respond based on her encouraging words. I won't cut n' paste her email, but the jyst of it was encouragement - that the baby will come *smile* - and what a great job I'm doing with the boys, photography etc ... She even touched me with the whole Proverbs 31 comparison. But at the end of her email, she revealed her own feelings of "having only one child" and struggling at times. And I was sad that I had given her the perception that I could do it all ...

So - LT, this is what I've learned through these past 6 difficult months ...

Anyone who knows me, knows that I take great pride in our home, in our children, in opening that home to many different people, usually a couple of times a week. I've loved running my own music studio, in being involved with music at church ... I love to do things, go places, create things, make memories. But when my hubby broke his leg 24wks ago, and I began to bleed at 14wks pregnant (or was it more/less? ... I can't exactly remember ... ) and ended up in the emergency room - I realized that I could not do all that I had been able to.

And I think that this was a great lesson for me, personally. Why? Because, I've always been confident in what I do, because I care a lot about how others perceive me, because I feel the need to be able to say, "I did that myself." But when our home was in chaos 5 months ago, and I was literally on the ground weeping from exhaustion and the fear of losing our baby, we did what was advised to us - and we got help.

It's a funny thing - because Miss. S has lived with us for a few months now, and it was suggested to me to never talk about her ... because it would take away from anything that I DID do, that people would judge and roll their eyes, that it was nobodys business. But I'm now at a place where I can say, "You know what - I needed help, and if I'm silent about it - it feels like I'm ashamed. And I'm not."... and I literally whacked down my pride (which was a mountain, as embarrassing as that sounds ...) and did what was best for our home during this whole season.

Miss. S is not a "free ride" ticket. It's far from perfect, but the benefits have more than outweighed any negatives. She works two 4hr shifts in a day, Monday to Friday. I don't sit and eat bonbons all day (oooo - that sounds like a nice thing to do, doesn't it??) ... although I have needed her MUCH more these last 2 weeks than I ever thought I would. Basically, whatever I am unable to do, she does. I will not lie - it is pure luxury to not bend down and clean the bathtub (not like I could *laughing* ... that would not be pretty), to know that if our baby comes in the middle of the night - that the boys will not be disturbed and we can leave them in good hands, to not have to lift the heavy items from Costco out of the cart - and the thought of being able to pick Tias up from school without having to wake the baby up from a nap in the fall? I am so very, very, very grateful for this.

I am also extremely grateful to be financially able to have this kind of help. I know that not everyone can. I will also let you know that Canada allows $7000 per child to be written off with nanny care (as IF you'd spend that much!!). A nanny is also so much more than childcare, it's "homecare" - for around $8.00 an hour. A live-in nanny is less expensive than Daycare, or for housecleaning, if you were curious. Heck, we've paid for babysitters that charge $10.00+ per hour.

How long will this season last? We were asked to sign a year contract, that will expire this coming March. Will we renew our contract? Not with the agency, but with Miss. S - I really don't know ... mainly because we have grown to love Miss. S and she is trying to get her residency and bring her son here to be with her. If it takes a few more months of her working for her to do that, then we may decide to keep her on for those few months.

Now - that is not to say that people who choose to have help for longer seasons, shouldn't. Every home, every situation is different. Even our own choice to have live-in help was decided based on very specific circumstances ... if my hubby hadn't busted his leg when he did, I may never had felt desperate enough to need the help.

There are things that I am able to do because I have help. I spend more time with my kids. Our home is basically calm, in functioning order ... that is SUCH an incredible gift for the stage that I'm in with our pregnancy. This is VERY important to my hubby (for all of you who know him, you know he likes his house in order *grin*) If I didn't have the help, things would NOT be so efficient around here.

Do I regret having help? Sometimes ... when I feel like people perhaps belittle my own accomplishments and make me feel like the only reason I can do "anything" is because I have help ... I've only had help for a few months, and I don't like feeling like "everything" that I have accomplished prior to having Miss. S is not my own. But that just goes back to my OWN pride, my OWN issues, and my pride is not what's best for our home.

And I think we all get help in different ways - and it's a beautiful thing to recognise it. Some people receive help by parents having a basement suite that their kids can live in, or perhaps by providing a job or some other financial/tangible way (paying debts, loaning a car, giving an old couch etc..) Some families get together during the week and grandmoms make dinner - relieving the younger moms from having to make something that night. Some families are able to give of their time, and watch their grandchildren for a couple of days during the week while parents go to work, or let those parents have a night out. Some people don't have any family that are able to help, but are surrounded by friends who are so willing to be that "family". Whatever help you get - stop and be thankful. Recognise it. If you don't get help and feel you need it - I would so encourage you to be brave and ask. And if you don't need help, then maybe you're the perfect person to help someone else who does ...

Which leads me to Proverbs 31. Have you ever wondered what the conversation was like between the Proverbs 31 woman, and her husband? As their responsibilities grew, as their "territory" grew ... can you see him sitting down at the dinner table saying, "Look, Honey - I really appreciate the way you help others, and making a warm meal for all of us. But I NEED you to clothe the kids in scarlet - the snow's coming. I don't care how you do it ... go ask the neighbour girls next door to come and help ... you can't do it all on your own because I also need that property bought at the end of the stream ..." Do you think she felt failure? That she didn't measure up? And her having to "give in" and ask for help was easy? ( ... that is, if the Proverbs 31 woman was more than just an example of who we women could be in Christ ...)

So, LT, this post is to let you - and everyone else - know that I do not, cannot, do it all on my own. Having the house in order, the laundry done, playing with the boys, being involved at our church, starting a business - all while being pregnant and with a husband recovering from surgery ... nope. I wasn't able to do it. And I know that many can, and do a fantastic job of it. How does that make me feel? Not so great, actually. But that's ok *smile* ... that's my issue - not theirs.

Will I forget this lesson, and try to be "all of that" when Miss. S leaves and I'm doing it all? I'm HOPING to continue to manage my time wisely - like I used to with only 2 kids - so that when she DOES leave, the hole isn't so huge. But it will be. I know that. There will be definite parts of reality that will slap me in the face ...

I went back to Proverbs 31 and smiled when I read verse 15. She had help. Have a good read of this passage, and you will find MANY things that YOU do are exactly what this scripture encourages us wives, mothers, friends to do ... here's what it says, starting at verse 10:

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

I believe that this scripture is only possible if you have people around you to support and help. Maybe not - maybe you're doing just fine *smile*. Maybe you could teach me a few things - that would be FINE with me *grin*!!
So, be encouraged - be blessed and know that most of us are on this same journey. And although it looks different from person to person, and home to home, I'm sure we're all just doing the very best that we can.


Jenn VH said...
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Jenn VH said...

Wonderful post Tania--very much showed your vulnerability...I appreciate that! I was just talking to Grant a couple of days ago about how I wish I had the extra help so I could accomplish some of the things that are difficult to do with 3 ypung children to care for (paperwork, organizing closets without Elise climbing in the piles, catching up on scrapbooking--I have Lauren's first 6 months done..she's now 8!). I applaud your acceptance of your need and I know we Mom's are often too prideful to admit when we are struggling and just need that extra help. Blessings to you as your family grows--looking forward to hearing your update!!
God bless!
~Jenn VH