Since this thread got bumped, I should update. I had my 4th child this summer, and OMG it's kicking my butt. We now have a nanny/helper 4 days a week. And you know what, I don't feel the least bit guilty about it. The month DS2 was born I started using my sitter two set days a week instead of just when I worked (about one-two half days a week). I would take one child out and she would watch the others, it was great to get a little bit of one on one time with them. We kept that for another month after he was born and then school started and she went to 3 days a week. She moved suddenly and our new one needed 4 days a week so here we are. Eventually when DS2 isn't a newborn, we'll drop down the time but for now it is the BEST THING EVER.
She does anything from school drops and pick ups (an hour round trip for us, not cool with a screaming newborn), raking all the leaves outside, organizing my cupboards, grocery shopping, oil changes, on and on. Any child care needed for any amount of my kids, the kids adore her. A helper/nanny quickly becomes part of the family, or least that has been our experience. She calls on her days off to see if my girls can go horseback riding with her. DD1 got sick this week and the nanny went to her house, to her garden and got fresh garlic to give to DD1. My oldest child is on several sports teams, it is a lot of driving and and a lot of practices. Sometimes the nanny does it, and sometimes I do it. I'll head of for a fun day of activities with the kids and leave her at home with a to-do list. I can't remember the last time my couch was ever cleaned or all my laundry was done and put away at the same time, seriously not a single item of dirty clothing in the house, before her.
For the first time in a very long time, I don't go to bed every night utterly exhausted with a massive to-do list still running through my head feeling like I got nothing done that day even though I ran my butt off all freaking day long. Once upon a time I only wanted people I knew watching my kids, I didn't use someone I din't know for childcare until my oldest child was 6 years old! We've done everything from flyers at the grocery store to Craiglist, sittercity, care.com over the last few years. We have never had a bad experience with anyone. This wonderful person came from care.com. I wish I would of let go of the hang up years sooner, it would of saved me a lot of grief. I check references, have done back grounds before, I start slowly, get to know and trust them before springing all my kids on them and leaving. I've come to realize that most sitters do it because they really love kids, and that has been true for us. My kids think sitters are the best concept ever, someone who is just going to sit here and play with me! Awesome. Unlike boring mom who is always multi-tasking... We won't be able to keep our current agreement for an extended amount of time but while it lasts, I am going to enjoy every second of it. We are not supermom and getting help often allows us to be a better mother.