How Much Help Do you Need?

In Manhattan, the land of Cadillac Escaldes complete with drivers and families with multiple nannies this is a complex question. IMHO I think that too much help is detremental to kids developing independence. I for one do not have a car with a driver or a Babysitter anymore. I do have help though. I have a cleaning lady 2 times a week and my old Babysitter does sometimes come in to help me cook and clean up for and on Shabbat particulary if we are having more than a few guests.

Last fall I made a few changes in my life. After 11 years of putting my kids on the bus I now carpool. This means that one morning a week I drive and that I pick up 4 afternoons a week. It takes about 9 hours a week in total. I have really been enjoying driving carpool. I end up spending an hour or so each afternoon alone with D, really focusing on her and I get to see my older girls 45 minutes sooner that I would had they been on the bus in the afternoon. I also started taking a class for about 4 hours each week.

The time out of the house each day was making an impact at home. I was feeling rushed each day and my first thought was that I need more help at home. Though my cleaning lady does the bulk of my housework and laundry  I still handle the laundy that needs to be hung dry (and since I am a little anal about my laundry that is a fair amount!) and of course there is the day to day mess that comes from living in an 1800 square foot apartment with 4 kids and a dog who I have to walk each week day afternoon.

If I had my cleaning lady in a 3rd day each week I would pretty much be done with most housework including almost all of my laundry that I hang dry and it would have also kept my house in better order.
That sounded pretty good to me but I realized that my kids would not see me doing much housework and that was a problem. We think as parents one must practice what they preach. My husbands cleans the kitchen each night and takes care of the dishes after Shabbat (perhaps the worst chore aorund here). We expect the kids to help us run this household so that means that they are responsible for certain chores.

As you know Z has been doing his laundry since he was 14. He also takes Molly out each night and takes her on her long walks on Saturday and Sunday. R takes the dog out on Saturday and Sunday mornings. All of the kids wash our dinner dishes when we eat meat (we only have a dairy dishwasher), help take out the garbage and recycling, help with the groceries, and clear the table on Shabbat.


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