On being “the help.”


Almost two decades ago I was a nanny. It was a good life for me at the time but I slowly grew away from that and started down other paths… I worked in food service and retail, went to school and became a scientist, left the science field and became a non-profit developer. I still have one foot in the non-profit world but another foot planted firmly in the post-partum doula world. Right now that means I spend part of my week with moms of brand new babies, helping them navigate their way though the challenging first year. So I find myself back in the company of the rest of “the help” at long last.

What that looks like is I arrive to their neighborhood in the morning when all the other help is arriving. The gardeners, housekeepers, nannies, dog-walkers… We all quietly nod to each other when we cross paths, minds full up on the needs of our own homes and families. So many game faces so early in the morning. I love the work that I do – it borders between new parent coaching, lending a friendly ear and managing households that are slowly adjusting to their new normal. I LOVE the families – I’ve created lifelong bonds with some of them. Sometimes though, I feel weary. As I listen to a new mom learning to cope with the hard parts, or swaddle and coo to a newborn, or read books to a crawling baby or lovingly prepare postpartum meals and/or made from scratch baby food – I feel a little guilty that I’m not making my own home and tending to my own “baby.”

I have to remind myself that it all adds up to a really good life for us right now. A friend reminded me that I can be a lot of things to my child – but I can’t be a dozen kids plus several teachers to play/learn alongside of. I can’t be everything my child needs. Nor do I want to. Nor do I have a choice, really, so the preceding two facts are pretty damn lucky. Mama has to work to keep a roof over our heads. I’m glad to be working with my hands and having very real conversations with women in powerful new positions in life everyday. There are few places I’d rather be. So what if my own house is a mess and a not every meal is scratch made? It’s all good – it’s a cozy and full life for us.


2 thoughts on “On being “the help.”

  1. Your job sounds absolutely amazing. I’ve been trying to think of things I can do part-time that would offer me/us the same lifestyle we have now. I have doula training but became pregnant shortly after my training, so I never pursued the work. Maybe I should! I’ve been doing reiki for new mothers & babies…it would be cool to tie that work together.

    I worked as a nanny for many years. I loved that job but outgrew it. There are days I miss it, but only the good families I worked for – not the awful ones!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! A doula with reiki skills! You would do well I’d think! I trained as a birth doula but haven’t put time into creating a childcare co-op between doulas with kids so that I can be on call for births. So I’ve just done daytime postpartum work which I’ve turned out to really love. A friend does night doula-ing – that seems to be the big money!

      And I also do not miss the difficult families I worked for int he past. Yikes. Such a strange position to be in.

      Liked by 1 person

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