If you’re a busy working mom, good childcare is a must — but what happens when a nanny doesn’t even begin to cut it? How can you level up your childcare and household management? (Warning: this post is not terribly budget-friendly.)
I’ve wanted to talk about this ever since I read this post from Penelope Trunk (written in 2008 but I first read it more recently than that) about hiring a house manager — an entire position I never knew existed but would love to have if money and time allowed. So if you need more than a nanny, let’s review the “additional childcare options for very busy moms” that I know of (beyond, obviously, getting your husband to be an equal partner and sharing parenting duties)…
Mother’s helper: Relatively budget-friendly. A lot of people will hire a teenager or young woman to “help the mother” — the idea is that you will be present and in charge, but the mother’s helper can help manage the kids, clean up a crazy mess, put laundry away, do the dishes, and take care of all those other household tasks that need to be done.
Nighttime baby nurse: This is what some moms do when they have a newborn — the idea is that a qualified baby nurse (who specializes in newborns) will stay at your house with the baby to be awake all night to tend to him or her, while you sleep. If you really can’t take the 6-12 weeks of sleeplessness that comes with a newborn, this can be a great option. (Text updated to account for commenters who note that a nighttime baby nurse was very breastfeeding-friendly!)
Second nanny or babysitter: I’ve heard of this happening in two main situations: The first is when your primary childcare is an au pair, who is strictly limited to a set number of hours a week, but you regularly need coverage outside those hours. The second time I’ve heard of this happening is if you have multiple children — some parents like to have one nanny per child.
Housekeeper: Readers have mentioned this as an ideal option for older children — the idea is you have someone at your home in the hours after school who is providing some supervision for your children while also cleaning and making dinner. Think of Alice’s role in The Brady Bunch (pictured at top).