Admit it … you wish you had a servant – every single mom’s dream come true

Thanks to some massive stupidity on the part of my ex-husband, I’m going to be a full time single mom for a while (or maybe forever). More on that another day.

I’m hiring a full-time live-in housekeeper/cook/nanny so I can make it work.

I’m struggling with that decision though because my “wife” experiment didn’t work out at all the way I had hoped it would.

I think I know why though.

I thought I wanted a wife. But then Jodi moved in to take care of the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and occasional childcare in exchange for rent and I started to change my mind about wanting a wife.

As I discovered, wives are high maintenance! At least this one was. I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time worrying about her schedule, her feelings, her needs and getting resentful.

Frankly, I had blown it when I started off the relationship by referring to her as my psuedo-wife. Wife implies partnership, mutual consideration, and sharing of common goals. At least, it should.

Thanks to one of the comments made on a recent article about the nanny/parent relationship on the WSJ’s The Juggle blog, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t really looking for a wife.

I was looking for *gasp* a servant.

As I write this, I get a horrible feeling in my stomach and feel like an awful person. How horrible of me to want a servant! What is wrong with me?

But, it’s true and I’m not only coming to terms with it, I’m embracing it!

According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, servant means: one that serves others; especially : one that performs duties about the person or home of a master or personal employer. There’s nothing derogatory or negative about that definition and yet when I find myself thinking about wanting a servant I get a nauseous feeling inside.

Guilt, shame, embarrassment … just a few of the feelings wrapped up in that nausea. And, glee, joy, freedom and excitement too.

Yes, I really do want someone whose #1 priority is to take care of me and my family. I’m finally beginning to realize that I deserve it too! And, so do my kids.

On my Kindle right now is the Ken Follett Pillars of the Earth series. Set in the 12th and 14th centuries, his two books are helping me to understand the role of a servant in the family is to joyfully serve the family. By doing so, the servant feels respected and loved in return.

And, thanks to my willingness to have a servant in my home, I’m actually going to have time to read my book. That’s luxury!

Growing up, I got a skewed view of servitude from my dad.

We had a live-in nanny/housekeeper who my dad treated with disdain and disrespect. He pretty much looked down on anyone who wasn’t in search of the power he so wanted. The way he treated our family caretaker (servant) didn’t feel good to me. Back then, I was powerless to do anything about it or to even understand it.

Now, I have the chance to break that cycle and give myself and my kids what we all so desperately need – the love and care of someone who wants nothing more than to serve our family, help me create a loving, healthy home, and in return wants love, respect, vacation time, good pay and stability.

Every single mom’s dream! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.  And perhaps now, I’ll have more time to actually keep you posted.  Wouldn’t that be nice?


  1. DanWednesday, November 5, 2008 at 2:25 am 

    Hi Alexis,

    I’m happy that you’re embracing your desire to have a servant. It seems that there are those who like to be served and are in a position to afford it; and there are people who like serving. And most importantly, it’s been my experience that whichever side of the coin one may find her-or-his self on, there is such a thing as receiving service and providing service gracefully. I was struck right away by your blog entry that you are clearly someone who can receive service gracefully – because you’re considerate. You know what you want: there is indeed a distinction between a partner and a servant. And it’s indeed OK to know that you want someone who is there solely to serve your needs.

    In 2002, I was an assistant to a single mom through my job. Most of my duties took place in the office. But as trust grew, my boss was asking me for assistance of a more personal nature: helping picking her child up from school, picking up dry cleaning, grocery shopping. One day she was complaining, in a very reasonable way, that she just needed more help at home. That she didn’t fully trust a series of housekeepers, that she didn’t feel like cooking when she finally got home, that she didn’t have time to do laundry. I was not enjoying the office environment. And more and more I was offering to take care of her domestic chores – and was HAPPY when she gave me the go ahead. Long story short: I became her personal, well, servant.

    I say servant because the work I did for her went well beyond what a typical assistant does. Yes, I ran errands, paid bills, arranged travel. But I did my job in a way that was marked by a true devotion: I did it with love. I cared genuinely that her life run as smoothly as possible. She paid me generously and I was grateful: not just for the work but for the type of work. I didn’t like standard customer service; I didn’t like the corporate atmosphere. But I genuinely LOVED making sure my boss’s apartment was spotless, that her child had her favorite snacks, that her gym bag had fresh clothes for the next day. I always had the distinct feeling that in taking care of her I was being taken care of. In the two 1/2 years I served her, I massaged her feet almost every night when she came home from work or the gym – and it was my pleasure.

    I recently moved from NYC to LA. I’m a writer still like I was back then. And the happiest work I’ve ever had was being a true servant. I would love to find a job like that again. I hope you find what you’re looking for. You can be sure that there are people out there who enjoy providing service just as much as you’d like to receive it.

  2. E. SnyderWednesday, March 25, 2009 at 7:22 pm 

    Hi Alexis,

    I realize that you wrote about the need for a servant but I’m wondering if you’ve considered hiring an au pair, for childcare and light housework? This may not be what you’re looking for but with an au pair you’d be paying about $7 an hour for someone that could really make your life a lot easier. Since they live in-home you get very personalized childcare and the opportunity for your children to learn first-hand about another culture and language. Plus, at an hourly rate well below other childcare options there is more financial leeway to be able to hire additional help.

    Good luck!

  3. antaneitMonday, November 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm 

    hm. attractive )

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