When I went back to work 3 1/2 years ago after being home and working part-time for nine years, all I could think about was two things: the money and the outfits. Obviously, those two were inter-related as with all the money I would earn, I could buy all kinds of new outfits. Conversely, in order to earn all that money, I would need all new clothes. It was a win-win. Or so I thought.
What I had forgotten about were some of the logistical aspects of working full-time: like getting up early, getting myself and three kids ready for the day, the cooking, the laundry, the housework, the errands. What I had been doing in 12 hours now had to be done essentially in four. Before joining the ranks of the employed, keeping the house was my job, as was picking up my husband’s dry cleaning. Now, I was occupied bringing home the bacon, and I didn’t want to be the only one frying it up in a pan. But, my guy didn’t want me to forget he was the ‘man’. My time was at a premium, and, I was looking for some sharing and equality in the work I had (sort-of) happily done before. But, that wasn’t happening. I had set this situation up badly, and my children were untrained as house slaves. As well, my husband was spoiled from me taking such good care of everything. I knew I had a choice. I could either watch him sleep on the sofa while I banged around in the kitchen or have the nerve to actually wake him from his nap to empty the dishwasher. I tried both tactics, and frankly, neither went well, and I was getting frustrated and pretty tired of nagging.
I tried a few solutions to my housekeeping conundrum. First, I attempted to do everything myself. I became exhausted and resentful. Then, I hired a cleaning lady to come once a week. She was expensive, and not willing to do extra things. For example, if I left wet towels in the washing machine, she would take them out to do the sheets and then put them back into the WASHER. Still WET. Because she DIDN’T DO THE TOWELS. Obviously, that option lost its lustre the first time I handed my 8 year old a stinky towel.
Then, I formulated a plan. It was a sure-fire winner. I undertook a series of renovations to my looks, attitude and demeanor. It took a few weeks, but after I had a really bad stamp-my-feet complete housework melt-down, my husband sat me down. He said, ‘What’s going on? You’re acting like a fishwife, and you’re starting to look like one too. When you leave for work you look all pretty, pleasant, and put together, but then when you come home and put on your headscarf and angry face, everything changes.’
I broke down. ‘I’ve developed a terrible allergy to housework. It’s wearing me down and making me all mean and stuff. I feel all stabby most of the time. There are pimples popping out everywhere, especially where they have no business being. And I think I’m developing chair-butt. It’s just getting bigger, and I have no time to exercise.’ I wailed even louder. ‘Help me. Please Help me.’
And my husband, kind man that he is, paused his TV show, and replied, ‘You know. I just want you to be happy. Maybe we should get a nanny. Would that help with your allergies and extremely unappealing and often nasty demeanor?’
Hiding my smirk, I threw my arms around his neck, ‘Yes, I cried.’ And so I did. We got me a wife. And we all lived happily ever after.
On a more practical note, if you have more than two children and the space to house a live-in nanny, then it is certainly more financially feasible than daycare and employing a cleaning service. You can write off the live-in caregiver until your children are 16, and nanny will do the housework, cooking, as well as childcare. Then, when you’re home, you can spend quality time with your family or take off for yoga. Its your choice. That’s a stress reliever that makes financial sense.