For the past seven years, I've been spoiled — spoiled rotten: I've had a live-in-nanny, Mariam. Like a long-lost grandma, she entered our home and our hearts, filling them with her love and loyal service. And the kids have loved her in return with her quickly becoming a part of our family.

It's a great feeling to have someone I can fully trust to take care of my loved ones when I'm not there. It gives me complete freedom to enjoy my life of work and play – building my medical practice, taking the older kids to and from school and sports without dragging my screaming infant along in the car, attending Kabbala classes and medical lectures, flying to spiritual retreats, and taking 'just the two of us' vacations with my hubby.

It's a great feeling to have someone I can fully trust to take care of my loved ones when I'm not thereThen, one late Sunday night, my tired and cranky three-year-old throws his toy car at Mariam, hitting her fairly hard. "There is a lump," she tells me next morning, sounding concerned. "It's probably just a hematoma from trauma, I say, hugging her. "So sorry he did this! But let's make sure everything is fine," I suggest, and schedule an appointment with a specialist. I know hematomas are usually no big deal, and most resolve themselves in a few weeks, so I'm not alarmed. I put Mariam on anti-inflammatory herbs and apply warm compresses at night to help it heal.

As we sit at the doctor and wait for the results, we speak about how, at age sixty-five, she's never really ever had a medical problem before. So we are shocked when the doctor returns with the following news. "This is a large yet seemingly benign mass which has been there for a long time," the radiologist says, "and it has nothing to do with a trauma." Mariam doesn't speak English, only Russian, so I pause, gathering myself before I'm able to translate.

She stares at me blankly: "What does it mean, a large mass?" she asks. Fortunately there is little concern that it is malignant, but nonetheless, the procedure to remove it requires surgery and due to the location, the recovery time will be extensive. Late at night, weeping in each other's arms, she and I know that after the surgery she won't be able to work anymore – it would be way too strenuous for her to carry kids around and perform her household tasks. She was anyway getting near retirement, but this just happened so suddenly.

The days before Mariam leaves are an emotional rollercoaster. "What am I going to tell the kids? They're so attached to her," I think, lying in bed and staring at the moon. "And what about me? I can't handle my family and run my business without her. I haven't used a frying pan or vacuum cleaner for years! I don't want to get another live-in... I know the pain my friends go through before finding the right one. Besides, it doesn't feel right."

To my surprise, in the midst of my panic, I become aware of a part of me that's rejoicing because Mariam is leaving. Like a kid counting the minutes before the bell rings on the last day of school, it can't wait to burst free. "Finally," I hear its voice, "I get to do what I've been wanting to do!" I sit up in bed wide awake, realizing that this part of me – the Mother inside − has been secretly suffering, longing to claim her right to be Queen of the household once more.

I sit up in bed wide awake, realizing that this part of me – the Mother inside − has been secretly suffering But another part of me, the slick suit, high heels, acrylic nails business woman, demands to keep things the way they've been and get another live-in nanny. Yet deep inside, I know that if I do, the price I'll pay will be my happiness, and it won't be worth it. I realize I would rather lose the elusive freedom I thought I had, and, paradoxically, discover the real freedom in captivity of running in circles to meet my family's needs. And even if this freedom is not glorious — even if it consists of changing diapers, scrubbing burned pots, and cleaning the dog's mess off the living room rug, at least I'll happy and satisfied to be in control of my family once again, back on my throne, where I belong.

It's been a year since Mariam left my home. The kids are beginning to forget her, but they will always remember her love. I have to admit, it's been hectic and chaotic, and at times overwhelming, as I cry myself to sleep after an exhausting day of dealing with my college party-boy, emotional teenager, whiny second-grader, obnoxious four-year-old and teething toddler. I work only twice a week now, learning to enjoy the days when I'm home playing 'mommy,' and I have a wonderful lady come and watch the baby on the days when I'm in the office.

I have to admit that this change has brought us closer, as a family, and that we are learning to rely on each other. My kids are more responsible now — each has their chores around the house. It gives me so much pleasure to clean the kitchen after dinner with my older kids, singing songs and goofing around, folding the laundry, walking the dog around the block, and planting tomato and strawberry seeds on the patio.

Sometimes I wonder… What if G‑d knew that this change was necessary for my nanny and my family and planned it by 'making' my son throw the car at my nanny so that she finds the lump and retires? And as a result, by finding trustworthy live-out help, I discover happiness in caring for my family once again, rather than running away from them and resenting it — finally restoring balance within both my family and myself.