This week we subscribed to the New York Times with home delivery on Sunday. Yesterday we received it for the first time. I’ve been up since 6:00 with Madeline and Houston, so I thought I might take some time during Benjamin’s morning nap to read a little bit. I already read most of the articles that looked interesting on my phone, but still wanted to check out the “Sunday Styles” section. You know, the section with engagement announcements and stories about Oscar fashion but lacking any actual news. I was drawn to it by the front page and teasers for two articles: one on marijuana etiquette in these new times of legal pot (we do plan on moving back to Washington one day) and the other having something to do with nannies or babysitters.
In the first article I learned some real eye opening information like how smoking in front of children is nearly universally frowned upon. The second article was more interesting. I learned that rich people who employ nannies full-time and need help managing their feelings about their employee(s) can pay a clinical psychologist $200/hour for consultation services. I’ll admit, I was judgmental about the parents mentioned in this article and the really hard time they seem to be having managing their expectations for their multiple nannies. It didn’t help that the first example was one from the wife of James Van Der Beek (yes, of Dawson’s Creek fame) and included her saying, “I just find that if I’m around, I’m the one taking care of the kids.” Now, if she works from home and is being interrupted to take care of the kids during her work hours, I can understand her frustration with the nanny. The article only mentioned that she is a parenting blogger. For the record, I could call myself a parenting blogger. I tried to find her blog, but only found her facebook page and that mentions she blogs for People.
I’m a little torn because I just googled her and read that she had a breech home birth. So I kind of love her, but don’t feel sorry for her nanny woes.
The article also quotes her saying, “I like to be preventive about things. If Olivia wakes up from her nap at four, I’d like to know that there’s a snack ready. There never is.” Now, does Olivia never get a snack, or does she have to wait five minutes while it is prepared? I have a feeling it is the latter.
I think this is one of the fundamental issues parents (usually moms) face when hiring help or putting their children in full-time care: you have to give up some control. If you want everything done your way, you have to do it yourself. Or, as the nanny consultant recommends (and seems pretty obvious to me), you need to let your nanny know your expectations. How is the sitter supposed to know that you don’t want your toddler to have to wait five minutes unless you tell her? I really can’t get past that one though. Who cares? Mrs. Van Der Beek says she does it that way because she wants to be “preventive.” Does she mean prepared, or is she trying to prevent something? Like an insane tantrum from the girl because when she wakes up she wants her snack NOW! Either way it doesn’t seem like a problem worth paying $200/hour to solve.
I can’t imagine having full-time help and I’m sure that managing people is challenging. I just have a hard time finding sympathy for rich celebrities who don’t work full-time, hire people, fail to outline their expectations, and get frustrated with their help because they aren’t playing with their kids every second of the damn day. The first issue mentioned in the article involved the nanny sitting there drinking tea while the Van Der Beeks’ seven month old son was lying on the floor. In the article Mrs. Van Der Beek said, “She lets Joshua just lie on the floor while she’s drinking her tea. Put some pep in that step. Put the tea down.” HE IS SEVEN MONTHS OLD! They’re supposed to lie on the floor sometimes. That comment makes me think there is no way this woman has not had help since the second she became a mother. What does she think seven month olds do? Maybe if he was crying I would see a problem, but just like you never wake a sleeping baby, you never move one that isn’t crying or in danger. If the kid was cool lying on the floor let the woman drink her tea! Mine would spend most of the day on the floor if he wasn’t at risk of being trampled by his brother and sister. And if my floor didn’t look like this:
Hey People Magazine – I can blog for you. I don’t have any nannies or nanny consultants, so I bet I’m cheaper. My contact info is at the top of the page.
The article I read is: Smoothing the Frictions Between Parent and Nanny from the February 24, 2013 edition of the New York Times