QWhat was it like working and raising two children?

answered October 7th, 2009 by Dr.Nancy McInerney-Lacombe

In view of the fact I was 34 years old when I got pregnant and found out very early in the pregnancy that I was having twins, I resolved to make this one and only pregnancy very special . I saved money like a bandit to be able to take a year’s maternity leave. By the end of the year, I had hired a fabulous English trained live-in Nanny and frankly I was ready to get back to work.


Let me say, life was crazy busy but I also hired my 10 year old niece and her friend to supplement the nanny. The girls just treated my boys like dolls. They dressed them up in crazy outfits, played school, etc. – – it was incredible. They just played and played and played with those boys. In view of their age (10 years old) an adult always had to be present but it gave both the nanny and/or I a break to get other things done and the boys were having a ball. The girls came after school 2/3 days a week for 2 hours and most Saturday afternoons. It was fantastic. I recommend it to any new Mom.


Ken (my husband) and I were up at 6am and straight into the shower and dressed by 6:30am or so because we liked to spend time with the boys before we left for work. I liked to feed them breakfast but if my husband and I had early meetings the Nanny stepped in. The Nanny started at 7:30am. She worked to 6:00pm. It was a very long day but she had no other responsibilities, other than the boys and their meals and laundry. She had no housework or chores of any kind… just the boys.  When Ken and I came home at say 6pm or 7pm (we always covered each other off) the boys, up to the age of 3, had been fed and bathed. So it was great because we had the play time until bed at usually no later than 8pm. Then, Ken and I would make dinner. Those were very long days but I have to say they were very good days. I don’t remember being resentful about having no time — that was just a fact of life. Over the age of 3, the kids ate dinner with us. So they were fed a healthy snack after Montessori school at about 4 pm and then we would eat about 7pm… ish. Let me note that I always asked the Nanny to record what they ate during the day. We kept a log and it was great because at the bottom of each page for the day she would write little notes on things that happened or things she didn’t want to forget. When we switched to the boys eating with us, I did most of my cooking on the weekends and then just had to make a salad. We all ate the same food. The boys were great eaters. If we were having curry, they had curry.


The toughest thing for me was when one of the boys was not well. I was very lucky as both boys were in great health. However, one time, there I was – fully dressed for a meeting, briefcase in hand about to go out the door and Colin came up to me quietly and said Mom, I can’t breathe. He was 3 years old. The briefcase dropped, I called the doctor who phoned me right back and said is his stomach concave — yes — meet me in emergency. That very important meeting was quickly rescheduled and I spent 3 days in the hospital … slept in my clothes etc. That first scare helped me be very clear on my priorities. Thankfully, there were very few emergencies.


Let me say, having kids is a ton of work, a ton of joy and sometimes a ton of heartache. The work end of things can be managed. Accept every offer of kindness. Hire good help. Organize trade-offs with neighbors or friends where you take their kids to Wonderland and they reciprocate later. Join a fitness club that has a daycare. Use your community centre. That one hour Saturday morning when the kids are taking karate can be a wonderful break.


Ken and I were totally broke throughout the kids younger years….a live-in Nanny, Montessori for 2, paying 2 -10 year olds  for a total of roughly 20 hours a week etc. etc. etc. We paid for the Nanny’s driving lessons and left her the car on Fridays to take the kids to the ROM, Science Center etc. We were nuts BUT, it was all worth it !

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