Why do stay at home moms resent working moms’ nanny? If we really understood the answer to this maybe we could also figure out why all these women are tearing each other apart over their personal choices to work outside the home or not. I see it as an extension of the basic mommy wars based on child rearing and working choices. The article I’ve chosen today appeared in the Huffington Post and it deals with the question of why do stay at home moms resent working moms nanny?
“Hey working moms: I don’t want to socialize with your nanny.”
“It’s the kind of complaint some mothers might think, but never say to another parent’s face. And that’s probably why those words were posted behind the safe anonymity of UrbanBaby.com’s message boards last week.”
“I want to socialize with others whose job it is to be with their own kids. I understand, many women don’t have that luxury or sanity to be SAHM [Stay At Home Moms], but don’t force your nanny on me,” another mom said, echoing the original sentiment.”
“We send our nannies so we don’t have to spend time with you,” one working mom posted. And another wrote: “Get a life loser.” Intense? Yes. Surprising? Not according to those who’ve spent time researching nanny-parent dynamics”.
“What’s not typical is for this to be given such explicit voice,” said Lucy Kaylin, author of “The Perfect Stranger,” a book about the relationships between mothers and nannies (her own included). “But the emotions represented are not at all surprising.”
“There’s just that divide,” she said. Still, Kaylin argued that the divide isn’t necessarily a hostile one: New moms like to spend their downtime talking and commiserating with like-minded women. At the same time, sitters are often looking to hang out with other nannies who can relate to their ups and downs, in much the way a co-worker might.”
“When nannies attend playgroups at a family’s home, Kaylin said, “They’re well aware that they’re not there for social reasons. They’re there because that’s their job.”
One nanny says…
“I have no desire to hang out with you either. I’m paid to be here, and if that includes being civil and social with you I can fake it. – Nanny”
“Cameron Macdonald, a professor of sociology and author of “Shadow Mothers: Nannies, Au Pairs, and the Micropolitics of Mothering”, encountered the issue while researching her book. She went further than Kaylin to say that there’s more going on than just social preferences, or even the underlying issues of race and class.”
“This exclusionary practice speaks to the way that stay-at-home moms vent their frustrations [with] working moms via the nanny,” Macdonald said. “One of the opening scenes in my book is of this white woman yelling at a nanny from the Caribbean, whom she mistakenly thought was ignoring the child. The woman yelled out, ‘I don’t blame you, I blame your boss.'”
“While researching her book, Macdonald found that yes, nannies do want to socialize with other nannies who are of the same cultural background, but that doesn’t preclude them from feeling left out. What might be more surprising is that the nannies commonly felt as though they were caught in the crossfire of a debate over whether or not moms should work.”
“The thing that really stood out to me when I was doing this project was that the culture of competitive mothering has intensified in the last 10 or 15 years beyond anything we’ve ever seen,” Macdonald said.”
“It’s often, ‘Shame on you for hiring such a bad nanny,’ or ‘Shame on you for working and not being careful about who your child is with,'” Macdonald said.
When it comes to infant playgroups…
“The argument that infant playgroups are really for moms to bond may hold up (after all, only one mom wrote in that she thought the exclusionary practice at that age was elitist). But as kids get older and new moms are no longer new moms, the merits of that position fade and the question remains: Have nannies become casualties of the mommy wars?”
The result of furious debates over the past 10 to 15 years have done nothing to resolve the working mom dilemma, all we have discovered is that we can point fingers at other women who are actually struggling with the same working/parenting decisions as ourselves and now we are taking it out on the poor nannies who are really just doing their jobs. I’m still wondering why do stay at home moms resent working moms’ nanny?
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