Why Don’t We Accept More Help?

My friend Monsignor wrote after my last post and asked why we crazy Boulderites don’t accept more help.  Specifically, he wanted to know why it was so terrible in these parts to hire a nanny or use a sitter more than a few hours a week?

(For the record, Boulder can be a little crazy on the whole super-mom topic.  In Ayelet Waldman‘s book, Bad Mother, she’s always talking about how her life in Berkeley doesn’t mirror the general population–things are similar in Boulder, where a lot of mamas proudly do it all without help, despite the fact that we’re all slowly going insane.)

Anyway, here’s what Monsignor wrote.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this one.

New York’s economy and culture would crash if it wasn’t for nannies. My friend Beth had her husband leave her 18 months after their only kid was born.

Anyway, Beth has an amazing nanny named Mara.  Mara is smart, deep, brings things to the table neither parent brings and has a rich bond with Sam (age 6) that compliments Beth’s bond with him.

Beth has a middling middle class income, she ain’t doing this because she’s rich, but because she wants to have a life, and for her son to have a life, too.

What I notice most is how Mara gives Sam a break from his parents — kids need a break from mommy and daddy all over them all of the time, too. It helps them mature and relate and let go in a different way. And when mommy and daddy aren’t bat shit nuts, or burnt out with near hospitalizable illnesses half the time because they are getting rest and a break, this is very good for the kids, too.

Sam’s life is way better because of Mara, Beth’s life is way better. And Mara is into what she does.

Beth has less money in the bank, but she thinks it’s a wash as she makes money she would have absolutely no way of making without Mara.

It’s sort of like when someone says “I can’t afford therapy.” The answer is, how can you *not* afford it? Reading your blog, I kind of think, how can you not afford giving yourself and your partner more of a break?

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