To The Women Who Keep Me Sane,
It's no secret women are incredible. Women take care of everyone, make serious sacrifices for their families and/or the families of others, but often forget to take care of themselves. I rely on other women every day. The women in my life, like you two, save me from complete meltdowns when my existence becomes too frantic to effortlessly handle. You've made my hectic life manageable and have helped me to be the best mom I can be. This is an open letter to the women who work in my house so I can work outside it. To you two, for you two, because of you two. You've both saved my sanity and you're both crucial to my family. I am lucky enough to have met you and taken you into my life, and I'm so thankful you've both decided to graciously accepted me into yours.
Thank you for coming into our lives when we were at our most vulnerable and when I was at my most broken.
As I nervously worked my way through the classifieds, I couldn't fathom leaving my 6 week old in the hands of a stranger. "How do others do it?" I shuddered in utter horror. After a few interviews, I found you, my daughter's nanny, and you seemed perfect. In fact, I hired you on the spot. Now you, who at that time was a complete stranger, were going to be watching my infant, my baby, my first meaning of true love, my first understanding of responsibility. You were going to be my daughter's primary caretaker, while I, the mother, was going to go back to work.
Thank you for coming into our lives when we were at our most vulnerable and when I was at my most broken. Thank you for swooping in and helping me pick up the pieces of my broken heart that shattered when I had to walk out of the door that very first full day of work.
You reaffirmed my choices. You made me believe in my choices.
Thank you for the baby massages, the bottle feeding, and the countless hours of walking outside. Thank you for playing, for rocking, and for the naps. Thank you for loving my daughter and treating her as if she were your own, for allowing me to relax, and for assuring me everything will be alright. Thank you for acknowledging my needs and requests without a single judgmental look or word.
Remember the time I came home from the pediatrician, after my daughter received the first dose of vaccines? I was terrified. I was exhausted and beaten down by anxiety. I was nervous you’d tell me I was wrong, but you did not. You squeezed my arm, you looked into my eyes, and you reminded me vaccines are the key to a healthy child. You reaffirmed my choices. You made me believe in my choices.
You taught me how to soothe my colicky infant. You kept her quiet and occupied while I took conference calls when I worked from home. You see, I didn’t get paid well, but I needed the job anyway. When I told my boss I was pregnant she, in return, told me she “didn’t have any children because it let [her] lead the lifestyle she’s always wanted.” She told me about the many vacations she takes and how motherhood makes women unreliable. She let me go a few months later. It’s no big deal though, no one would ever know she cut my position because I was a new mother. In fact, it was during massive layoffs so no one would question it. But you knew. You knew why and you comforted me. Thank you for that.
Thank you for the breath of fresh air when I walk in to my house after work on every other Friday evening.
Thank you for understanding when I had to let you go because I was no longer employed. Thank you for your compassion and kindness, even though you also lost your job. And thank you for still sending cards for holidays and birthdays. Thank you for stopping by, for the flowers, for the voice of reason, voice of comfort, voice of solace. Thank you for being a constant when I was a new, inexperienced mom and for being a role model when I was unsure of the next step.
And, then of course, there's you: the woman who cleans my house so I can work outside of it. Like the wonderful woman who cared for my newborn daughter, I owe you endless gratitude and public praise.
So seriously, thank you. Thank you for the breath of fresh air when I walk in to my house after work on every other Friday evening. Thank you for the smell of bleach and the dust-free furniture. Thank you for my clean sheets and my folded laundry. Thank you for taking your time to make my time with my family meaningful. Thank you for allowing me to reclaim my weekends with my family, rather than spending my weekends cleaning after having to work all week. For letting me spend the weekend playing, dancing, singing, and cuddling, instead of scrubbing, dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming.
You save my already broken back, my already tired feet, and my already stressed soul.
You may not realize just how important you are to me, but I assure you I’d rather starve than to ever let you go. In fact, when I lost my job, I told my husband I was willing to cut every single expense from our lives except the amount we pay for your valuable services. You save my already broken back, my already tired feet, and my already stressed soul. When I walk into my house after a long week of work and the smell of clean fills my lungs, my every cell exhales in relief, my tension eases, and my spirits lift. You are my weekend savior, my life giver, my mood changer. Thank you.
To the women who help us, who stand firm behind us, who support us. To the women who understand the sacrifices we must make for our families. To the women who treat our children with the same care as we treat our children. To the women who ease our lives, remedy our situation, and enrich our families. Thank you. You are our rock.
Me & Working Moms Everywhere