Getting Help isn’t Cheating thumbnail

Getting Help isn’t Cheating

3 Things by Grace Patton, Camp Patton

3 Things by Grace Patton, Camp Patton


I recently hired a sitter to come twice a week for three hours in the morning.

I feel guilty just typing that.

I don’t know why it feels like cheating as a “stay at homer.”

But on the weeks that my husband works an exorbitant number of hours, I think it saves me from melting into a frazzled puddle of overwhelmed. The kids get a little dose of fun caretaker — and I come back ready to conquer the rest of the day-o-childs.

It sounds selfish, but it’s the best thing ever — for all parties involved. I usually run menial errands or go to Barnes and Noble to do computer stuff — and last week I had a good cry in a parking lot. That got depressing and awkward really fast. I know.

It was just one of those weeks right before one of those weekends alone with the kids and I felt so much better after crybabygate. I promise.



To significantly increase my chances of exercising during the day, I have to put my tennis shoes on and make sure my iPod is charged before I do anything else in the morning.

Before I make breakfast for the kids, think about coffee, or look at the quivering volcano of laundry with one little tiny slit of an eye.

I’m a lot more apt to lug the stroller outside and get the kids ready to hoof it around the hood if I don’t have to go hunting for my shoes or take nine precious minutes to charge my music/happy source.


Related: Unless explicitly solicited — don’t give a mom advice. We’re all doing the best we can and surprise advice can feel like someone thinks we can do better. The tennis shoes first thing!! thing works for me, but I might be the only one that cares about getting out the door with music in my ears in the mornings.


As much as I’d love to get dressed in something that would be uncomfortable to exercise in every day — it doesn’t happen very often unless I’m leaving the homestead (and even then, not necessarily).

Sometimes I’d rather skip the makeup routine because then the toddlers want to “scara” on their lashes and some lotion on their noses and and and and.

I paint my nails every week. I love Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure in almost any color but I especially like Caf’ Au Lait.

It dries quickly, goes on thick enough that it looks great after just one coat, is shiny so it doesn’t necessitate a topcoat, and is really cheap at your local Target/Walgreens/drugstore.

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Contributor: Grace from Camp Patton
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  • Kristin June 19, 2013 at 6:52 am

    I love your truth – I am in the process of hiring a sitter/mother’s helper to come twice a week for 2 or 3 hours in the afternoons — and I feel so enormously guilty about it, too. I don’t have a husband who works insane hours (his leave policy is pretty flexible, too) — but I do have a toddler who doesn’t nap, a baby on the way, and returning PPD symptoms. I am so, so, so looking forward to the relief. I will nap and swim – at least, that’s the plan.

    Our jobs are HARD – we all need to loosen up the guilt and have some compassion for ourselves (I’m working on it…).

    Enjoy those morning breaks!

  • Grace June 19, 2013 at 10:10 am

    thank you so much Kristin ….. enjoy those afternoons!!!

  • Martha June 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

    My mom suggested getting a cleaning lady after my first baby!! I have to admit, I’m too proud. I keep saying “I just have one baby!! I can do this – I’ll do it when we have two…or maybe three…”

    Help just feels so…indulgent. Which is weird, when you think about how much help women in generations past had – everyone staying home, grandparents living in, servants galore way back in the day…le sigh.

  • Maia June 19, 2013 at 11:51 am

    We could afford someone to come and clean when we lived in Korea, and I remember thinking, “this is better than a pedicure! And more necessary!” Finding a weekly childcare sit. is next on my list for maintaining a nice (less-screamy) momma. Thanks for this post.

  • Jenna@CallHerHappy June 19, 2013 at 11:52 am

    You know, you’re the one who got me addicted to Cafe au Lait. I’m not mad about it.

    Also, this morning while I was putting on makeup, Ellen did her normal, “Ellen have some too?”. So I pretended to put lip gloss on her to which she replied, “Now I have a moustache just like Mommy.” Awesome.

    Ok, finally, Martha’s comment ^ I say that all the time. So true.

  • Pamela Anderson June 19, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I am currently pregnant with #4. My treat to myself this pregnancy was to enroll in a grocery delivery service. No more trips with 3 kiddos who want to be anywhere but at the store, no more parking five miles away, shlepping 2 carts full of groceries, loading/unloading the minivan. Instead, this darling little man in a green truck brings our groceries to our front porch and my wonderful hubby puts them away. Along with my wedding day and the births of our children, that first grocery delivery was one of the happiest days of my life;)

  • Mary June 19, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    no advice…just love! you’re honesty inspires me daily.
    also, thanks for the nail polish advice…off to find some happiness in a bottle.

  • Michele June 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    This is great advice, Grace!! And I am so happy to hear that you’re getting some kind of break. It’s normal to feel guilty about that (I feel guilty about my Saturday morning breaks, too) but it is absolutely not necessary!! Your job – and the job of any mom – is a hard one!!!

  • Heidi June 19, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I gave in – just this month! – and hired a weekly sitter. I get four, wonderful, kid-free hours a week. BEST investment I ever made. I even went bathing suit shopping today and it was *almost* enjoyable, since I wasn’t dragging around three bored boys in and out of the dressing room with me (and, really, they’re too old to do this with me, I think. They’re starting to notice their surroundings, so a women’s fitting room probably isn’t a great idea, come to think of it). Although, I’m very very very tempted to order one of these and take back what i bought today:

    Second – THANK YOU for the nail polish tip. I’ve been looking for something that fits that exact description. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I’ll pick some up at Target tomorrow. :)

  • Rose June 19, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    As a mama (of 4) who are grown and gone :( , I recommend Any Help that keeps mama sane and moderately happy. Whether it’s a sitter, grocery delivery or monthly massage, Whatever you need to do your job the best you can is SO important for All concerned. These are not luxuries, especially if they can fit in your budget, they are part of the price of doing business – your business being the raising of our next generation – Kind Of important for you to have what you need to get the job done well, right?!?! God Bless you all! Enjoy!!!

  • Heidi June 19, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    1. As soon as we can afford it, I’m taking the sitter tip. Yes, I only have one. And yes, we live in a small apartment and I don’t work anymore so I should be able to keep up with everything. But you’re right; there are times when Mama needs a break.
    2. I need to keep up with painting/clipping my nails. I feel more put together. Thanks!

  • Maiken June 20, 2013 at 1:17 am

    I do not have a sitter but I do have a cleaning lady who comes once a week for 4 hours. How American moms do it without the day care is a complete mystery to me! In Europe children go to kindergarten at around the age of 2-3 at the latest and that frees up some valuable mommy-time too. So, please NEVER feel guilty about the help! It is the most necessary thing in your life right now – to keep your sanity!

  • Maggie June 20, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Please don’t feel guilty hiring a sitter. Even people who absolutely love their jobs get to go home at 5 and nobody gives them a guilt trip. Stay at home parents need some down time too!

    We couldn’t afford a sitter when our kids were young so we traded babysitting with another stay at home mom using computer created baby sitting bucks in 1/2 & 1 hour denominations. We each started out with 10 hours in “dough” and traded back and forth. It was an absolute sanity saver. Even though it was tough at times when it was my turn to babysit, our kids grew up together and are like family.

  • Kristin June 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    1. I only have one, and live in a small apartment, and stay home full time, too, and I absolutely CAN NOT keep up with everything. I’m trying to eliminate “should” from my inner dialogue. I think it’s a myth that ANYONE can keep up with it all.
    2. oh me, too. I paint them… but never remove the polish before it’s been ugly and peeling for like a week… which makes me feel even worse than had I never painted them to begin with….

  • Kate June 20, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Grace, you rock! So glad you have a little help… plan on getting myself some. Thanks for the encouragement!