“If you don’t get an au pair, you’re crazy.” My mother looked up from stirring the pasta water as we caught up about the weekend. I’d left her with my three young sons, aged five and under, while I escaped for a rare 24 hours alone and away in Manhattan.
She’s one in a chorus of many who regularly implore me to get more help. I never do.
I had my sons in rapid succession—three in three-and-a-half years. I was never free of hand or heart to give myself over completely to play. Instead I filled our home with newborn needs again and again, feeling far more at ease in the space of those earliest months, when the endless cycle of eating and sleeping leaves room for little else.
Now that the youngest is two, I busy myself with a steady stream of dishes and dirt, laundry piles and lunch prep. My hands are often so full of soiled clothes and stray cups that I can’t possibly catch a ball. My attention divided among my three boys so it doesn’t have to settle on any one. I’m wrung out and weary and most of all, worried—that I prefer it this way.
You can click here to read the rest of my contribution to the thoughtful series on play at You Plus 2 Parenting.