I employed an FDW (maid, helper, pick your term) from May 2010 until the end of December 2011-nineteen months. I have been without an FDW/maid/helper/etc from January 2012 until today (Sept 2013)-twenty-one months. Generally speaking, I have preferred not being an employer.
Long time readers will remember that I tore a disc in my low back (the one above where I had surgery in 2006, to be specific) in early March of this year. Since that time, we have asked ourselves if it would be the right choice for our family to hire someone again.
We didn’t do it in April because my in-laws had flown in from the US to help out in March and stayed until early May.
We didn’t hire anyone in May because Rhiannon had started full-time daycare/pre-school.
June and July passed without any health drama, although I was definitely quite tired from balancing gym time, doctors appointments and the girls.
We spent the first two and a half weeks of August in New Zealand, so clearly we didn’t need to employ help.
But things have been tough for the last month. Tough enough that I’m starting to look at the world through maid shaped rose-colored glasses. I’m constantly thinking about all the ways my life could be easier if we were employers again.
Our family can’t catch a break with regards to health–the stomach flu decimated our family. I was hardest hit with a two day hospital stay, but there were several days where Ravi and I were barely conscious and our kids were at full health, and it was brutal. This week I’ve had sick kids Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday–this has meant I’ve been trapped at home, and activities have been canceled or rescheduled. All my health related appointments have to be scheduled during school (aka missing gym time) or I have to take Ellie with me. My job doesn’t have sick days, no matter how awful I feel. Ravi will do what he can, but I still end up on my own for hours each day even when I feel like death warmed over.
I’m starting an apartment hunt. I don’t think it should have to be said that this would be easier to do if I weren’t dragging my not quite 4 year old around with me. Again, if I do things during school hours, I miss the gym.
Going to the gym is a part time job for me. Gym time is one of the few things I’m doing for myself, and I enjoy it. Skipping gym time/rushing workouts puts me at risk for needing spinal fusion surgery–I don’t have a lot of room for error and my routine has been created by my physical therapist and myself and given my surgeon’s approval. If you’re not my physical therapist or my surgeon, I’ll delete any comment that tries to advise me on my gym routine.
I have a lot of professional commitments that are going on right now. One of the biggest reasons I haven’t updated the blog much is that I’ve been trying to get other work done in the limited time I have to write (and with the very limited energy). I blog for White as Milk. I’m working on a novel. I have non-fiction and fiction calls for submissions I’m working on. Writing only happens after the kids go to bed–and some nights I don’t have the energy to do anything other than lay on the bed and stare dumbly at netflix.
I’m doing our US taxes, which means tracking down a lot of data.
Look, I’m well aware this is all a series of first-world problems. That doesn’t mean I’m not feeling run-down and overwhelmed. I’ve been so overwhelmed that I’ve ended up in tears lately. I’ve been short on temper–Ellie has gotten screamed at for things that should have only gotten a time out and stern talking to. I’ve been short on sleep. I’ve been short on health-as I’m typing this I can feel the post-nasal drip of an oncoming cold courtesy of my younger daughter.
The idea of having a maid is starting to sound appealing. Having the extra pair of hands-not having to double book myself, skip the gym, or drag my kid to things that will bore her (and hence create poor behavior). The ability to be sick without still having to parent an entire day–or the ability to send someone out for groceries on day three of sick kids and not having left the house.
None of it changes my weaknesses, and the ways in which I failed as an employer before. I don’t know how to fix some of those weaknesses. I don’t know how to overcome my fears–my last maid was accused of hitting my not quite 3 year old–she wasn’t exactly a reliable witness, but I’m not sure that it didn’t happen–I’m scared that one of my kids will get hurt (again?) and I’ll believe the wrong person (again?).
It doesn’t make sense for me to hire someone in our current apartment, and then we’ll be away in December. So if I’m not going to consider hiring someone to start before January, when some of my current issues will have resolved (taxes, the apartment hunt, packing & unpacking) does it makes sense.
So here I sit, paralyzed. Disjointed ramblings pouring onto the proverbial page, without any clue as to what conclusion I’m coming to.
I just know that life with a maid is taking on some rosy overtones, just as I know I’m ignoring those things that would rip away that same rosy hue.