Straight talking about nannies makes some of you guys uncomfortable. I know this because I’ve known the nicest stay-at-home moms who have “no help” even though I’ve met their nannies multiple times at the playground. I’ve had a superstar Instagram influencer with a million followers and perpetually perfect braids insist she runs her media empire without a nanny for her two under two. Celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, Ashton Kutcher, and Ryan Gosling (so basically, douchebags) all insist they “Love life without a nanny!”
Maybe they were just being cute with the verbiage? Does “We don’t have a nanny” = we have a babysitter, a caregiving grandparent, or a mommy’s helper? Or “We don’t have help” = instead of a regular nanny, we have a rotation of part-time babysitters. Which is all baloney because it means the same thing: you’re not doing it alone.
And since when did that become the expectation, this intense, all-consuming parenthood? When did “Nanny” become such a dirty word? Childcare is a necessity for many, a luxury for some, and in all cases something parents shouldn’t apologize for. You are allowed to have a job you love (or just plain need), hobbies you value, or just want to go to the dentist in peace, dammit. Since when did we start apologizing for not being all-sacrificing saints?
Maybe it’s the Internet. (Every week seems to bring yet another master class in the righteous, 140-character-long indignation of the Internet Mob.) Maybe it’s social media. (It sure is easy to believe that other parents are doing it all effortlessly when you only see their pastel-hued highlight reel.) Maybe it’s celebrity culture. (Just as much as having no nanny is celebrated, celebrity parents who have too many nannies or super hot nannies or overqualified nannies are the subject of derision.)
In some ways, I do understand this itchiness about childcare. The balance between not enough (DROWNING) and too much (I miss my kids!) is hard to strike. It’s also different for every family, which is why I’d like to cut the crap and just be honest with one another.
I have regular childcare and I’m not the least bit ashamed: I’m grateful. Sorry to disappoint those of you who thought I banged out blog posts during naptime, but uh, it takes a village, people. My children are enriched by the time they spend around new, interesting companions and I have the immense privilege of creating a little something in the universe that belongs just to me. Having that AND them, well, it’s the dream, or at least, it’s my dream. How could I ever be sheepish about the caregivers who help make that possible?
You know your children best. You establish your family culture and ground rules. You are always your child’s parent whether you’re sitting beside them, in your office, or somewhere halfway around the world.