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I have a friend that I pay to come over and hang out with my ds#2 who just turned 3 years old. I do it because otherwise I would be more
: than I am now!

He really needs a lot of interaction and sometimes I just need to get stuff done and can't chatter away with him about his flowers are such. I try to run errands then, etc.
I keep the baby with me except when I go to ds#1's school for volunteer stuff. His school requires 20 hours of volunteering from each family per school year... So I need to do a lot between now and June!

It is about a total of 8 hours per week over 2 days...
 

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My first daughter was in daycare because I was in school (full time) and working. After I had my second dd, I've been at home with the kids. I would like an occassional break at times (like with a mother's day out program or a trade off with other friends with kids), but since I'm home I have really never thought of using childcare on a regular basis. First of all we can't afford it, and for me it would seem like I needed to be working outside the home to have regular childcare-to justify it-but that is just me.
 

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Ooh, regular childcare....I wish. Sometimes we have a teenage girl that comes over after the kids are in bed so we can go out, but during the day just so I can get stuff done, no. I am just used to taking several kids with me for errands now.

But to dream...
 

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During the summer, I have one of my babysitters come over a morning a week so I can get stuff done, run errands on my own (done in half the time!), work in the veggie garden, clean out something etc. I started it when dd1 was about a year old and my sitter came over one morning a week and played with her. She was about 14 at the time. Usually for babysitting at night etc, we used the grandparents.
I didnt do it last summer because we just brought home a preemie, but I will do it again this summer with a new house etc, I will need a few mornings to do it!
 

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For about 3 years I used a highschool/college babysitter on a weekly basis so that I could get out and run errands, doctors/dentist appt's, etc. It was great. Spendy, but great. The kids loved her and looked forward to her visit. Unfortunately, she got a job while she was in college and that really limited her availability so we phased it out. If I could find someone like her again, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
 

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I have a 13yo mother's helper who comes over to watch my kids twice a week for two hours at a time while I write or edit. I hired her two years ago when she was 11 and although my 2yo (at the time) only used to last an hour with her before wanting to be with me, that was still an hour to write.

These days, he loves being with her, and she takes the kids to the park in the summer and plays with them in the house in the winter. I look forward all week to the days she's here, and in the summer, when I don't get any of the downtime of school/preschool, she really saves my sanity.
 

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Not at the moment, but I plan on having the neighbor's 14 yr old help me this summer especially when we go swimming (since we swim at her house!). I also plan on sending my son to some kind of preschool/MDO program in 2008 (assuming I think he is ready) for a few hours a week. That is more for social interaction for him rather than a break for me.
 

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Nah. Cant afford it, although it would be nice! If I have appointments, family helps out. We have a teenager we call for weekends when we want to have a kid-free dinner or something, but thats it. I wont be a full time sahm much longer, as I'll hopefully be starting a new job- BUT much of my work can be done at home AND I can take my kids to work with me. How awesome is that? I avoid having to pay for childcare, honestly.
 

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Well, I used to have a regular gig for DD when DS was in school.
It was called preschool.


Having those three hours a day 4x a week was heavenly. But now that I've pulled her out of preschool until the fall, I rely on a drop-off play center in my town once a week so I can go volunteer at my son's school.
 

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I have a mother's helper/nanny that comes 2 afternoons a week. She's going to college next year though.


The summer before this past one, I really needed an extra set of hands to help me take the kids to the zoo/park/ect. S was so good with the kids, and a delight to be around, and she wanted to keep coming during the school year so she has ever since. While during that first summer I was always around, now she has the kids by herself while I run errands a lot of the time, and occasionally we swap an afternoon for an evening so DH and I can go out (He's working in his home office in the afternoon).

I wanted the kids to have another big person in their life that they enjoyed/trusted (since my DH and I both SAH we tend to be very insular, especially before the kids were all in preschool). S is very artistic and creative, and very into playing with the kids. She also has a lot of energy and loves the kids. And I can cook dinner in peace/do stuff around the house/run kid-free errands/take one child out one on one for a few hours a week.

Next year, we'll probably do the same. I guess I could hire a college age person, but I really like teenagers, a good fit benefits my kids and the teen a great deal, I remember how much fun I had doing similar things in HS (it's how I saved up a lot of $$ for college) and I'm sad that so many people don't hire teens anymore for that kind of thing. My kids have definitely benefited from having an older but not-quite-yet grown up person in their life. My DD has even said she "wants to be S when I grow up!".
 

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I have what I believe to be the ideal situation. My mother lives with us, and although she is in declining health, she is quite capable to help out with dd. Most of the time, I don't need any "space" from dd because she's in preschool and I miss her a lot when she's there. But it certainly helps that mom is there to take over when I am making dinner and other such things.

Before mom moved in (when dd turned 3), I didn't have any help. We had also lived in Germany (non-military... dh's research project) and I felt quite isolated there because my German is only so-so (and even then it wasn't much help because in Southern Germany, they speak a funny dialect of German). I know how hard it can be to not have any help at all. I really do think that nature designed us to have our children be raised by a village. I know when mom moved in and I was getting help every day it was like a load being lifted from my shoulders.

Anyone without any help, I really feel for you.


Edited to add: also having reliable daily help has allowed me to do some part-time work, too and I've been lucky to find a paid job as a breastfeeding consultant... that was nice.
 

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I stopped working a year ago just because I didn't like it, I was miserable only seeing DD at 7PM at night and we were moving to another country anyway. She was at home for a few months after the move then she went back to daycare. I could not imagine keeping her at home with me full time for longer than just the transition period of moving. At first, she was going to daycare every day, mornings only but I was finding that then when she got home she did not want to take her afternoon nap (which she still needs), so now she is in there every day from about 930AM until 315 PM.

During that time I take Italian lessons, run errands, clean house and will soon (I hope!) be doing a masters program in Montessori pedagogy (a passion of mine). I am positively thrilled to see her when I pick her up after her nap (and she me) and from 330 until her bedtime, we spend together. I love my life.


To tell you the truth, even after leaving my work, and even during those months when my daughter was at home with me all the time (during which time we drove each other bonkers
) I never really considered myself a stay-at-home mom and still don't. I guess I just don't identify myself or what I *do* day to day as that of being a *mom* any more than I would identify myself just by the fact that I am a daughter, wife, sister or any other relation.

When people ask me what I *do*, I tell them that I am a lawyer by profession, that I have not been working since the move and that I am thinking about what I want to do next.
Maybe a Montessori teacher, who knows.
 

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I think that there will be seasons of my life when I need a mother's morning out program or the like, but for right now, we are content without regular childcare.

A big part of the reason I became a SAHM was to avoid daycare.
 

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My mom watches the boys two mornings a week when I'm in class (for about 2 hours each time). She also watches my oldest and youngest while I do a preschool co-op with my 3 year old one afternoon a week. Otherwise, the boys are with me and/or Dh.

If I had to pay a babysitter, I wouldn't be able to do anything.
 

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We don't but I sometimes wish I could afford it. Just to get stuff done, go to the doctor etc. It's not fun getting a pap smear while singing twinkle twinkle little star.

I have a friend who is a SAHM of two kids who uses a regular sitter to out to dinner with her DH almost every weekend. The same sitter will spend the weekend if they go out of town, and she also comes two days a week for three hours. My friend uses the time to do stuff for herself, like a manicure or to do solo things with one child. It sounds like heaven to me.
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