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Me and my wife are in our late 20s and considering having children. I am personally excited about starting a family, however I'm not looking forward to all the unpleasant parts of the first few years of childcare: lack of sleep, exhaustion, stress, lack of time, damage to careers, etc. I also wouldn't want to "phone in" my responsibilities and leave the bulk of work to my wife. However I'd be more than happy to pay for a nanny to deal with all the unpleasant physical childcare work up until the kids are old enough to mostly take care of themselves. Both of our parents are close to retirement age, so they could help out as well from time to time.

Is my plan at all feasible? Both me and wife are working professionals, so we could afford to hire a live-in nanny if needed, but I'm not sure if doing so would make parenting a stress-free affair.

To clarify, here are examples of "unpleasant work":

  • Having to wake up at night
  • Extra work to clean up the house, changing diapers and other manual chores
  • Dealing with tantrums/crying
  • Being unable to leave the house without the kids
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    You haven't explicitly mentioned the unpleasant parts of baby care. Sure, you've mentioned possible unpleasant effects on you, but these essentially come down to finding a proper time balance, and it's perfectly feasible (even expected) to outsource (some) childcare. What would you expect of a nanny? Is it a case of "Eurgh, this child of mine smells. Nanny...!". Or "Gee, I'd really like to take 90 minutes to go to the gym on Thursday."? Do you want to parent or just be vaguely aware that you now share your living space (and money) with small people? – Pam Jul 17 '18 at 12:17
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    It also bears mentioning that the "unpleasant parts" never actually stop. They just change. It's all part of being a parent. I'd far rather deal with a crying, stinky baby than with a teenager who you need to take a crowbar to to separate him from his cell phone games. Each age has its challenges. – Francine DeGrood Taylor Jul 18 '18 at 23:44
  • Your priorities seems to be work and free time. My wife and I had the same priorities at your age so we waited a few years (matured, in hindsight). That made all the difference. Don't rush to have kids just yet. We are very happy we waited. It gave us time to spend money on us before having to allocate serious coin to kids and college funds. – acpilot Aug 20 '18 at 23:33
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I don't have studies either but I feel it's worth writing a bit even if it's somewhat opinion based.

TL;DR: You most probably can outsource all the unpleasant stuff, but then you won't really be the parents.

You CAN outsource a huge amount of the unpleasant stuff to a nanny. You can even outsource almost all of it a lot of the upper class/aristocracy used to do that.

You probably can't outsource all tantrums unless you completely give up on being a parent or pretty much in the kids life though. First of all temper tantrums aren't something that ends when the kid is 4 or 5. You usually don't get lying on the ground screaming and hitting the floor tantrums but even in teenage years you get "You don't understand me etc." tantrums.

Second it's not like the kids will have a tanrum at 3:25 on every monday and then 8:15 to 8:30 alternating wednesdays. If you're with your kid chances are at some point it will have something you can call a "tantrum". I don't think it's really feasible to call the nanny to deal with it, and then continue playing with the kid again.

There are some other duties that are hard (near impossible) to outsource, giving birth for one. Breast feeding is hard is another (not many wet nurses these days as far as I know) though you can of course move over to formula right away (I'm putting my personal opinion of that to the side).

All that aside though as others have pointed out getting rid of all the unpleasant stuff is very complex emotionally for the kid (and for you as well IMO) and you probably won't be really seen as the primary care giver by them. The nanny will be. A lot (most) of being a parent is actually parenting. Setting boundaries, dealing with tantrums and teaching the child to deal with them, being there when it's sick, sad, angry etc. Even changing diapers.

In other words consider if you really want to be a parent and are ready for it. If convenience and careers are more important than the child, I would say (and some may disagree I suppose) you don't really want to be a parent. It's not that it can't be done (most things can) it's just that you should expect the fall out, and part of it will be the emotional attachment is bound to not be quite what we expect for parent/child.

It sounds to me like you would like to be an aunt/uncle, "Sure we'll take them out to the park and play with them or snuggle them for a bit, but we want to give them back the moment they start crying or don't want to do what we want to do." Nothing wrong about that in essence, but that's not a parent child relationship.

As a side note I am not sure how emotionally damaging this kind of approach would be to the children and I don't have any hard studies, but I feel like it would be quite problematic. On the other hand I doubt you would really be able or willing to pull it off, there's lot's of cultural pressure including internal embedded pressure.

NOTE: Pam's answer adds another layer I didn't really want to get into, but is important, and that is that you probably don't fully understand what you will want once you have a child. They are really cute and there's a stupid amount of inherent love you will likely have for your own. Even if they are irritating little buggers.:)

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TL:DR: Your plan for a nanny is definitely feasible, but be aware it might not actually be what you (and your partner) want when your child arrives.

Ok, I remember this. Right now, you are coming from a childless point of view. A crying/tantrumming child is extremely annoying. Excrement smells bad and babies are just small balls of bodily fluids who wake you up at inconvenient times and, worse, you have to cart them about everywhere with you when you go out. Probably best to outsource childcare, no?

Here's the thing: your baby will also be incredibly cute (to you, at least, but plenty of people will agree). At 4-6 weeks he/she will start to smile at you, possibly while you're changing a diaper (and maybe even peeing on you - you can't plan that first smile, or those first steps). They'll also giggle in their sleep, babble when they're awake and respond to you (or whoever spends a lot of time with them). When they're older, they'll say things that you think the world should know. Sure, they'll get frustrated at the world in general and cry because being that dependent on other people is frustrating. You can help them with just about everything, and they'll love you in return. These are the things that you (sometimes) miss if you outsource childcare and they'll matter a lot more to you once you meet your offspring.

That said, there's no shame in outsourcing some childcare. You need to work, but more than that, you might also need some leisure time. It's perfectly normal to organise daycare, or a nanny (which is more flexible). And it's perfectly reasonable to organise "extra" childcare so that you can have some leisure time as well as a job! Personally, I'd get to know your child first because, once they come along, they will have needs, too. If they're sociable and enjoy other children, a daycare/nursery setting with lots of children (or a very sociable (grand)parent/nanny) will be an appropriate choice. If they're introverted or overwhelmed by many children, one-to-one ((grand)parent or nanny) might be the better choice. Your plan for a nanny is fine, but bear in mind it will cost you money and you might even feel jealous of the nanny at times.

And always remember: it doesn't last. Babies/toddlers/children aren't like that forever (you won't need a nanny forever!). You might find yourself living a perfectly content hermit-life for the first few months. You might find you become "one of those people" discussing their child's great skills in sleeping/pooping/eating. You might find you buy ear defenders because your child is loud in the evenings. But it won't last forever. Sooner or later, you'll get the time to go to the gym again, or leave the house alone if you want to.

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You certainly can get help with much of this. I'll go over your concerns line by line.

  • Having to wake up at night

For the average baby, this isn't something you can really do a lot about; at least not without giving up the beneficial emotional bonds with your children. Waking up with them in the middle of the night is a bonding experience, and while it's unpleasant it also has positive feedback elements in the long run.

For babies who have significant problems, though, you can certainly get help. Sleep consultants help you develop and implement plans for getting your baby to sleep more consistently, and while most don't actually stay overnight, some do (though it's typically not necessary).

  • Extra work to clean up the house, changing diapers and other manual chores

You can hire a maid, certainly to do this; many well off (or even upper middle class) parents do. Oftentimes, a nanny will be expected to help out with housecleaning and chores as well, depending on the age/number of children in particular (having a nanny for five children also be expected to do housework probably won't work, but a single 3 month old has plenty of naps and other times the nanny can get things done).

You can also hire a Mother's helper, some of whom will help out with light housework, or more commonly will watch the child while mom is helping.

  • Dealing with tantrums/crying

If you have a nanny, they can help manage some of this, but odds are you two will be the ones handling most of it. You can get help developing strategies, again; your nanny may be able to offer help, of course, but again for more severe issues you can reach out to a number of resources - child psychologists, occupational therapists (which can help with some of the root causes of behavioral issues, including but not limited to ADHD).

  • Being unable to leave the house without the kids

A nanny, mother's helper, or even just a regular babysitter will help immensely here. This is often more of a mental block than a real problem; many new parents are unable or unwilling to leave their kids with another person, even one they know well. But if you're able and willing, it's not hard to find someone to watch your child. Many parents have date night sitters, babysitters who work on a schedule (say, every Friday, or every other Saturday, etc.) allowing parents to have a "normal" life at least once each week.

You'll also adapt here, to some extent. One child you can often just take with you, at least for a while; maybe not to the bar, if you're into that sort of thing, but babies can come along to a lot of activities - until they're old enough to care that they're not mobile, anyway, they're pretty happy just snuggled up to you in a baby carrier. And you'll get to know the other parents in the area; sometimes you can leave your child with them for an hour, and return the favor for them eventually.


In summary, yes - you can get help with a lot of this. You can't outsource 100% of the responsibility, unless you put your child up for adoption of course, but you can get a lot of help and "outsource" a lot of it. But you'll also adapt, and it won't be that unpleasant; a lot of parents find they want to do it, ultimately.

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I just want to write a short and sweet answer for you here, addressing the specific items you have listed from a can perspective and trying to ignore the should:

Having to wake up at night

Yes, you can outsource this if you can find someone to live in your house overnight.

Extra work to clean up the house, changing diapers and other manual chores

Absolutely. Rich people used to outsource these things all the time. It's less common now, but I'm sure you could find someone that would take your money.

Dealing with tantrums/crying

I'm not sure I get this one. When you are with your child and your child throws a tantrum or starts crying (it will happen), do you intend to simply ignore them and call in the body double? This one feels like a pretty big not possible to me if you also want to "not phone in your responsibilities".

Being unable to leave the house without the kids

Babysitter 101. Not recommended for long-duration absences, but I'm sure you could find someone that would watch your kid for a few days if you paid enough money.

With all of these, prices go up based on how uncommon the worker is and how inconvenient to the worker's life the job is. It may cost a lot and you will probably want to be sure that you trust this person since they will specifically be around your offspring unsupervised.

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You may have the wrong impressions about the real challenges of parenting. Having infant and babies is a lot of work, it's certainly inconvenient and it can be exhausting, but it's actually (IMO) not particularly difficult. Most problems have straight forward (if often inconvenient) fixes. It's often also very rewarding: most babies are cute and cuddly and love you unconditionally.

The really hard parts come later: success and failure in school, hobbies and relationships, love & sex, drugs & alcohol, college & career choice, crashing your car, etc. There are no easy answers, there are no straight forward solutions and the relationship is much more complicated and certainly not always love and smiles.

Spending quantity time with your baby is a good way to start a good and trusting relationship which is absolutely vital later in childhood and teenage years. You get what you pay for. The more time an energy you invest in your kids, the better the relationship will be and the easier it will be when the going gets really rough.

It's one of those life decisions that you can't make 50/50. It's all or nothing. Neither one is right or wrong, but it's a bad idea to be only half committed.

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