In the firestorm around Hilary Rosen’s comment about stay-at-home moms, sources have rallied around Ann Romney’s parenting choices saying, ”Ann Romney had the means to hire help in raising her five sons, but she went about it the way the average American mother would — with no assistance at all.”
I don’t understand the fight between stay-at-home moms and working moms. Every mom works hard. Both walking out the door every morning and spending all day with the kids have their own advantages and disadvantages.
But what really annoys me is the idea that every mom who has a nanny is somehow a slacker in relation to “real” moms. This is how the rhetoric goes.
If a mom works and has a nanny, she selfish. Clearly if she can afford a nanny, she can afford to stay home with her children. Leaving them with a stranger means she’s willing to put her own needs ahead of those of her children. Sure, staying home might take some sacrifice like giving up the second Lexus or the downsizing from the McMansion but aren’t children worth it? Any mother who isn’t willing to make those sacrifices shouldn’t have kids to begin with.
Now if she’s a stay-at-home mom with a nanny, she’s not only selfish but she’s also shallow and lazy to boot. Again, she’s not willing to sacrifice her wants and needs for those of her children so why did she have children to begin with?
Why is it that when people say “she has a nanny” in a mommy wars conversation, it almost always ends with the question of why the woman bothered to have children in the first place? Like choosing in-home chlidcare deems her automatically unfit.
Anyway, I’ve worked in the nanny industry for over 22 years and I’m here to tell you that the majority of moms that employ nannies aren’t slackers, selfish, shallow or lazy. They love their kids like crazy. They regularly sacrifice for their families. They struggle to balance family and work. They’re moms, wives, friends, daughters, neighbors, employees and if they have any time or energy left, they’re just women trying to figure it all out. Like the rest of us.
Of course having a nanny is a convenience. Of course it makes being a mom easier in some ways. But since when is doing what you can to make parenting easier an indicator of being a bad mom? If that’s the case, let’s trash the moms who regularly stop by the local grocery store to pick up a hot deli dinner rather than cook. And what about the moms who drop their kids off in the gym daycare so they can work out. Oh, and let’s not forget the moms who use TV to entertain their kids so they can take a breath. Yeah, I think whatever you can do, big or small, to make raising kids easier is a good thing.
So let’s give moms with nannies a break. They haven’t abandoned the cause, they’re still struggling under the guilt and pressure our society puts on mothers to be all things to all people, their life isn’t filled with glitter and gold. They just made a smart choice to hire a great person to help them take care of their kids and they have the good fortune to be able to afford it.