Work from home?
Odds are, you need a nanny. Unless you're freelancing only a couple of hours a week -- or can absolutely knock out every work-related item you have on a flexible schedule that revolves around nap time and bed time -- having a nanny, even for a couple hours a day, will save your sanity. While it's tempting to think you can find a way to squeeze in work while simultaneously keeping your eyes on the kids, the reality is that both the quality of your work and quality time with your kids will suffer from spreading yourself too thin.
Not enough time in the day?
Even if you work outside of the home, or you're a full-time stay-at-home mom, a part-time nanny can be your saving grace. A nanny can step in and hold the fort down while you escape the house for some much-needed me time, run errands without distractions, or check out and take a mental break with a long bath and some not-for-kids reality TV behind a closed door.
If you have more than one child, a nanny can also care for your other kids so you can rotate one-on-one mommy and me dates. Of course, scheduling regular date nights with your significant other is also easier when you have a nanny to count on!
What to look for and where to find a nanny
A capable nanny should be able to take over where you leave off, so you can take the time you need to focus on work, or take time out for yourself. Look for a nanny that you can lean on to pinch-hit: from school pick-ups and playtime, to helping with homework, meals and baths. You can find nannies that are prescreened, have background checks, referrals and references on sites like Care.com and Sittercity.com.
Of course, no background check or reference will guarantee the nanny is a fit for your family, so be prepared to interview all candidates. Come armed with what you expect, details on your parenting style and pointed questions about their experience and qualifications. Your best bet is to throw out a couple scenario questions that begin with, "What would you do if..." so you can get a feel for how they'd react in certain situations.
It's not always easy handing over the reins in the beginning, but you'll learn that everyone wins when you call in reinforcements. Think of it this way -- Every minute you can focus strictly on work means more time with your kids without work on your mind.