Your kitchen is starting to look like this… and you’re wondering, “do I need some outside help?”
…you might. I know there have been a bunch of times in the last few years, that there is no way I would have survived without a few extra hands. For all my pregnancies, I’ve been placed on modified activity, which means “chill out”. So we’ve tried a whole bunch of different forms of help, here’s the best and worst of each, and when I found each is ideal.
The good: Your house will sparkle when they’re done. They will get the deep cleaning done, and you won’t get weird foot fungus from your shower.
The bad: 15 minutes after they leave, the kids will probably spill a litre of olive oil on the kitchen floor. You’ll have to wait another two weeks to get that cleaned up. Also, you have to leave the house or stay out of the way while they work. And don’t forget, you still have to pick up every day, and do dishes, laundry, etc.
This is great when for: when you’ve just had a new baby, and you want to spend as much time as possible with your little ones, but don’t have the energy to scrub the floors. This was ideal for us when I’ve been recovering from c-sections, but still want to invite people over, without them worrying about getting the plague.
The good: A local babysitter or mother’s helper is ideal to do specific things, like feed your kids dinner, or take them to the park. They probably have loads of energy to play hard with your kids, and they’ll probably sleep well that night.
The bad: They are not you… and they are generally inexperienced. So you have to be specific with what you’re asking them to do, and have realistic expectations of how much they can handle.
This is great for when: you desperately need to catch up on a few minutes of sleep, or run a few errands.
The good: Licensed daycare will keep your little ones safe for extended periods of time. They often have great ideas that you can replicate at home for activities and organization.
The bad: They’ll catch lots of colds and infections. The daycare workers are just that, workers. As much attention as they give your little one, they do not have the same attachment you and little one share. You miss out on all the stuff your little one has done all day. It’s also very expensive if you’re picking a great one.
This is great for when: you are unable to watch your kids for whole days at a time. When I had a toddler, and was having a challenging pregnancy, daycare was very useful for 2 days a week. I could schedule doctors appointments when he was at daycare, and catch up on sleep knowing he was safe.
The good: An Au Pair is usually a student that would like to travel in your country. These young girls have loads of enthusiasm and energy. You can specify what you are looking for in your interviewing process, so you’ll probably find someone that is compatible with your needs.
The bad: You need to have an available bedroom for your Au Pair, money to cover their living expenses and their allowance. You may end up having personality clashes, or other challenges related to someone living with you.
This is great for when: You need help throughout the day, most days. If your husband travels or works long hours, and overnight backup is helpful.