A while back on our facebook page, one of our mums shared that she was a nanny and wondered if she should provide Christmas gifts for each of her little charges. The conversation that followed was lovely and constructive … well, mostly.
Not surprisingly there was one protagonist who clearly felt justified passing a value judgement on mums who have nannies.
The comment went on to say that “as [her child’s] mother it is my responsibility to raise, educate, love and nurture my child, not someone else’s” assuming that mums who have a nanny are clearly not interested in their children and would rather be out doing anything other than raising their children.
A little soapbox moment if I may to those who think nannies are for the rich ‘n’ famous and who the hell has one?
Let’s have a look at the situation and address some of the myths.
1. A mother should be the one to raise, educate, nurture and provide for their children.
There are two assumptions at play here. The first being that all mums who work do so as their preference rather than as a requirement.
If you are able to care for your children full-time, you’re very lucky that you don’t need to work. You must be in a financial situation where you’re able to stay at home and still cover all your costs. Well done you. You either have no mortgage, have saved shedloads pre-baby so that you can stay home for a long time, have a very understanding employer who offers paid maternity leave for a very long period of time or you have a partner who is able to provide financially for all of you. Or you’ve inherited money along the way or you’ve just sold a business you created for a motza and are now rolling in cash. So you have the choice as to whether or not it will be you that is the full-time carer for your child.
Please don’t assume that every mum who leaves their children in the care of another (whether it be short day care, occasional day care, long day care, with a family member or with a nanny) does so by choice. 99.9% of us are NOT meeting girlfriends at the gym, grabbing a coffee, popping in for a pedicure and then having our botox topped up for the month and frankly can’t be bothered to raise our children. Most of us leave our children with a carer in order to go to work so that we can provide for our families; a better now, a roof over their heads, healthy meals and opportunities by way of the experiences we’re able to give them.
The second assumption is that we would all be better mums if we stayed at home full-time to raise and nurture our children.
Whilst lots of mums assume that all they’ve ever wanted to do is to stay at home and raise their children, the reality is often quite different. Whether it’s their personalities, their children’s personalities or another factor of their personal situation, some mums just feel better within themselves if they are doing some work outside the home. And we all know only too well that when we are happy within ourselves, we are able to be much better mums. So this assumption is flawed and the fact is that some mums are better mums if they’re able to have time away from home to recharge and then come back in ready to give everything they have to being a great mum.
2. Nannies are for the rich and famous.
If you read “Nanny Diaries” (and subscribe to that as truth) you could be forgiven for thinking that nannies are for the rich ‘n’ famous. The reality however is that nannies are often a very good option for those mums who have to work (and are far from Carrie Bradshaw). I am a mum who needs to work and am definitely not rich ‘n’ famous – let me assure you! What I have discovered is that the cost of a nanny was either line ball or cheaper than long day care with other side benefits. Here’s the numbers for a mum of 4 kids under school age who has to work and needs long daycare: Child 1 (5) is $85 per day, Child 2 (3) is $95 per day, Child 3 (2) is $95 per day and Child 4 (1) is $105 per day. Now this is Sydney so it might be cheaper if you live somewhere else – but probably not drastically. All up that is $380 per day.
We paid our nanny $20 per hour so for all the kids that’s $180 per 9 hour day – the children get to wake up when they’re ready, be at home for their sleeps, splash in the blow up pool, go on fun outings on the ferry, go to their ballet lesson and toddle off to playgroup and the park. Our nanny would even have their friends over during the day to help out other mum friends of mine. And then at the end of the day, they would have dinner, a lovely big bath and be in their PJs ready for cuddles and stories when I finished work at 5.00pm. I’d come straight home rather than having to pick up from childcare and bring them home tired, hungry and without a bath. Made for much happier family all ’round.
Even if you deduct the 50% government rebate (therefore $190 per day for all four kids), it’s still cheaper. And guess what? While the kids were napping, our nanny would pop on some washing, throw the broom through the house and do a bit of ironing. Unlike lots of lucky mums whose parents look after their kids for free, we have no family anywhere nearby so every minute of care is paid for. Getting a ‘nanny’ was logical – we did the sums before we made a decision. I did this for 2 – 3 days a week for years and it worked for us. I still took them to swimming lessons, gymnastics, music lessons and I cook all their meals. And while our nanny was there …. I certainly wasn’t lunching, at the gym or having manis … I was working. Don’t take this personally but it does sound as though you’re making a value judgement on mums who have ‘nannies’ and assuming they’d rather be off being rich n famous and leaving the raising of our children to the help. This is not Nanny Diaries we’re talking about – just a workable solution for lots of mums.
If the definition of a loving, caring nurturing mum can only be delivered if you’re at home with them 24/7, well I guess I’m falling short as a mum.
Now’s the time to weigh in on the debate. What do you think? Share your thoughts by commenting today …
Much MoM Love,
This post written by Nikki Hills, Mum of 4 and Founder of Mouths of Mums®. Nikki has worked in marketing, advertising and communications for close to 20 years and created Mouths of Mums® to give real mums a space to connect and trial and review products for free. Mouths of Mums® was also founded to give brands the opportunity to connect with real mums and truly understand what they need to do in order to deliver products that meet mums’ needs and will therefore be embraced by real mums.