Zoe Marshall found an item in her cupboard. It was then she had to make a call on a babysitter.

Zoe Marshall, co-host of Mamamia‘s parenting podcast, The Baby Bubble, knows it’s not easy to balance work and family. Marshall, 32, who co-hosts the podcast with Sean Szeps, shares 10-month-old Fox with NRL player husband Benji Marshall.

She’s currently on what she calls “reverse maternity leave”; reverse because she returned to work after only four weeks at home, but then recently decided to take leave to be with her son.

This week on the podcast, Marshall discussed how having a babysitter to help her with Fox, and at home, was crucial for her in the first few months; but not an easy adjustment to make.

LISTEN:Zoe Marshall shares her thoughts on letting others help her balance work and family in The Baby Bubble podcast:

When Szeps, who has 16-month-old twins Stella and Cooper with husband, Josh, admitted, “I wasn’t prepared for what it would be like to give up my  home to other people,” Marshall immediately agreed.

She added that “even if they’re just friends or family”, sharing your home in a way you didn’t prior to parenthood could be challenging.

And on one day especially for the new mum, the adjustment was too much – because of something her babysitter did.

“Have you ever tried to look for something and you don’t know where it is, because you’ve had a couple of people helping out?”, she asked her co-host.

“Yes, but you have to be OK with things being in a different order,” replied Szeps.

Marshall accepted, as most parents do, that you need to somewhat relinquish control if you want help balancing work and family; but explained that this incident tested her patience.

“There was something that was so disgusting… this smell in the cupboard. There was a blanket, and I was like, ‘What’s this smell?’

“The smell of it, I don’t know what happened to it. But it was folded and put into the cupboard,” she explained.

“And I was like, ‘Who has done this? What is on it?‘, and I had a complete meltdown.”

That was the moment Marshall realised that, as with so many things when you become a parent, your patience limit has to change and, “you do just have to let go.”


Szeps explained that as as stay-at-home dad he had been a “Type-A personality”, with a personal system that worked for him.

“I was able to fold my laundry a specific way, and get the food at a specific time, stick to a particular schedule, and clean as I go,” he shared. But now, as a full-time working parent, he has a nanny, and casual babysitters – and they do everything their own way.

It was something Marshall could relate to. She admitted that even though the help she’s received has been excellent, she would worry about things like whether food had be warmed as she would warm it, and whether the air conditioning temperature would be changed.

The co-hosts also agreed that creating things like emergency contact lists, and instructions, for babysitters, sometimes made more work for them. Marshall shared the example of her when her babysitter, Kelly, told her she had a nightmare about not having an emergency list – which made Marshall worry, because she hadn’t thought of doing one.

“They’re basic things that we should probably be giving the guardians of our children when we’re not available,” she said, but Szeps reassured her he had neglected to do one at first, too.

Because that’s the thing with parenting – try as you might, you’re never really in control of anything.

Listen to the rest of episode 5 of The Baby Bubble where Sean Szeps and Zoe Marshall talk about ‘accidents’, giving up control as a parent and the new parent baby essentials, just in case you’re still curious.

Did you struggle with accepting help in your home? Tell us in a comments below.