My Babysitter Makes More Money Than I Do

Would it surprise you to hear that it costs me money each time I write one of these posts? It’s true. My babysitter makes more than I do in the time it takes me to complete a 500- to 800-word thought. But I don’t care, because sometimes this written thought is the only one I get to complete all day.

I had a life and a vibrant personality before I became a mom. I wrote, I taught yoga, I went out with friends, I saw movies. None of those things were as fulfilling or awe-inspiring as motherhood, but they were a lot of fun. And they made me feel good. The sad fact is that being a mom – “just” a mom – isn’t a lot fun, relatively speaking. And it can make you feel like you’ve never been much more than just a mom, especially as your pre-mom abilities, memory and physical coordination begin to atrophy or are pushed out by grocery lists, potty-training tips and the effects of sleep deprivation.

So when the opportunity to start writing again presented itself in the form of a mommy blog, I jumped for joy. I dusted off my MacBook and got right to work before I even thought to ask if there was money involved. What? I get to use my brain and have a super valid excuse to hire a babysitter – and you’re going to pay me? Where do I sign?

The first time I left my house to work on a post, I have to admit, I was a little lost. Where should I go? How long can I be away before it starts to feel silly, given our babysitter’s hourly rate and my per-post compensation? Does anyone really want to read what I have to say, anyway?

As soon as I landed at a comfy coffee shop, busted out my computer and ordered a decaf latte, all of those questions were answered. I can go anywhere! I can stay away as long as it takes for me to write because I friggin deserve this! And who cares if nobody reads what I’m writing? The act of writing itself is reward enough for me. Since that first post was published a couple of months ago, I look at myself differently. I think I even walk differently. I have a renewed sense of confidence in my non-mom self, which is an extremely important piece in the whole-me puzzle. When someone asks me what I do, I boldly reply, “I’m a writer.” Yes, I’m a writer who has two children, a loving husband who understands how badly I need this “job,” and a reason to visit every coffee shop in a 10-mile radius. Hot damn, I’m awesome.

It’s worth noting, too, that my whole family ends up benefiting from this pay-to-work career I’ve got going on. My husband has a happier wife who feels eternally grateful that he supports what I’m doing (and sometimes wants to get naked with him because of it). Our children still have a mom who’s there for almost every triumph and tragedy and I’m way more present for them because I’ve had some time away from mommy mode. Could I be living the dream? I think I am. And it’s totally fine that it costs me net 50 bucks or so every week.

(Photo: iStockphoto)

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    • Lindsay Cross

      This is an awesome piece! It’s nice to be reminded that there is a “whole-me puzzle” to consider. Motherhood is a wonderful part of that, but we all have to have something for ourselves as well!

    • victoria

      I barely came out ahead on the freelancing I did when my daughter was a toddler/preschooler, and I mostly wrote while she was at home — naptimes and after she went to bed, plus a few hours a week of babysitting/preschool. But when my daughter started school, I was able to parlay my experience and publications into a job (with benefits!) that was a clear step up from the work I was doing pre-baby. Especially in uncertain economic times, I think it’s smart to keep the gaps in your resume as short as possible.

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