Sometimes you hear a story that you will never forget. It rearranges you and changes how you think forever.
During the Opening the Creative Channel retreat in October, we played a round of Storybowl. As we passed the bowl around, everyone got a prompt to tell a spontaneous true story from their life. Nicole’s prompt was this: A wish that came true.
She thought for a moment. And then told us the most awesome story.
First, I should mention that Nicole is the mother of two small kids. She also has a big time corporate job where she works long hours and is in charge of a lot of people. At the time when this story unfolded, she was so exhausted at the end of each day she could barely move past 8pm. Some nights she would sleep on the couch downstairs so she wouldn’t have to make the trek all the way to bed. It was so extreme that she and her husband started to wonder if their was something medically wrong with her. But after rounds of tests the doctor simply said, “You have a demanding job and two small kids.” Ah yes, that.
And then she had an idea. She wrote a Mondo Beyondo list and created a new dream called “Dinner Nanny.” In Nicole’s words below:
I am a dreamer. I love to dream about my ideal life and then make that happen. All of the wonderful things in my life started as detailed dreams. Andrea and Jen’s Mondo Beyondo class made my dreaming even stronger. And it was after taking Mondo Beyondo that I created a new dream that I called “dinner nanny.” Because the #1 thing in my life that I liked to do the least was making dinner during the week. Not just making dinner but shopping for and thinking about dinner. Especially thinking about dinner.
I thought, what if I hire a culinary student to plan and shop and make our dinners during the week? But then I pushed the dream further. What if I hired someone to take care of dinner and the laundry? What if I hired someone to take care of dinner, the laundry and tidying the kids’ rooms after school? Who could pick up the kids from school when I’m traveling for work and give my husband a break? Who could allow us to go on a date night once a month? Who could dogsit when we’re out of town? Who could drop off the library books and dry cleaning? Who could get the oil changed on the car every 3 months? Who can water the plants so they don’t die in the summer? Who could ask me if I ate lunch that day or exercised?
I made a list. I showed it to my husband. He said “There’s no way you can ask someone to do all of this.” I said, “Let’s see what happens.” I posted my job description on a site called Barefoot Student, which is like Craigslist, but for college students.
I hired the first person I interviewed. Her name was Deirdre and she had worked in a restaurant. Deirdre knew her way around the kitchen. Deirdre made delicious food. Deirdre was really great with my kids. Deirdre instantly made life better. Our friends said, “You look different.” My husband explained, “It’s the dinner nanny.”
The dinner nanny transformed Nicole’s life! It freed her up to play with her kids when she got home. It gave her more energy and vitality. It allowed her to be more present for the parts of her life that mattered most.
The dinner nanny has become a symbol of ease for me.
Of asking for help and actually receiving it. Of allowing ourselves to imagine what we might need, articulating it, and possibly even getting it. But you know what? Letting ourselves want what we want is its own muscle. Can we allow ourselves the full breadth of our desire?
Getting it or not is an entirely different matter.
Can we allow ourselves to want what we want, whether we get it or not? This is a big edge for me. And probably why this story inspires me so much.
Maybe having a dinner nanny for you is someone who comes in to cook dinner twice a week. Maybe it’s deciding to have pizza delivered every Tuesday night so you can play with your kids. Maybe it’s just having company more often so that the evenings are more fun…
Dinner nanny has simply become shorthand for, how can I bring more ease + joy into my life?
Kids or not, where would you like to invite more ease + joy into your life? What would your version of the dinner nanny look like?
P.S. The next session of Mondo Beyondo starts January 6th! Join us.
Wow! I love this idea!!! I can completely relate with the “thinking about dinner” part. When dinner-time rolls around, it is a huge stress trigger for me. This is a great post. Thanks for opening the door to new ways to deal with life stuff!
I LOVE the idea of a dinner nanny. Would love to do that, yet I can’t really justify it as I am a SAHM. Although that is sort of the point you’re making right … it doesn’t matter whether you should, just what your desire is. I think I’ll focus on a regular date night first. 🙂
I love the smiley toast!
There is so much i like about this post…but so many moms could never dream of affording a ‘Dinner Nanny’. There are so many examples of how you can ask for and receive help beyond something so wildly unattainable for most moms. I don’t mean to be a bummer, but sad that the central examples in this post are unattainable to a large portion of your audience, unless your intended audience excludes the majority of mothers.
My version of the dinner nanny is to be a part of a teaching/growing/learning community. I’ve wanted this for as long as I can remember.
Love the smiley toast too!
Very inspiring post once again.
My version of a dinner nanny also has something to do with food. We enjoy cooking but it takes up too much of our time. My dinner nanny would make weekly menus for us, shop for the week, cook half of our meals and leave the recipes and food for us to cook the rest.
I’d like her to take care of house cleaning too. We can do the daily swweping/laundry etc, but we hardly find time for thorough cleaning. A bimonthly half-day cleaning would be nice.
I share creative projects with my dinner nanny. We meet every 2 weeks (after she’s cleaned the house maybe 😉 and we have tea while painting, drawing, sewing…
She gives me time by taking care of some of the daily stuff and helps me fill it with meaningfull activities. I love my dinner nanny!
“Letting ourselves want what we want is its own muscle.”
Oh my gosh. I posting this on my whiteboard in my office. So good.
As an experienced nanny, there are lots of things require to be a perfect and trustworthy nanny. She should have a good background without any bad history about her activities. She should have good knowledge and understanding about child care. Rather than these qualities there are lots of things she should fulfill to be the best nanny.