Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Smug Mummy Takes a Stand (Except Not)

Neiman Marcus knows we don't court controversy here at the Pretty - unless you're counting my firm stance on skinny jeans (eg, not on this arse) - but some recent posts by favorite bloggers you and you have me chewing on the judgment we mom types put on one another to parent a certain way.

Don't get me wrong - I will judge the peg-legged, high-waisted pants right off you & into the nearest Goodwill bin when it comes to your actual pants. With age-old mothering choices, however, like whether to work or stay at home (for those of us with the choice, I hasten to add), my stance is that I have no stance. I will not presume to tell you what is right for your family - not not not, you can't make me, nannynannybooboo.

These ruminations came to a head for me yesterday when I realized I was censoring myself here. I'd wanted to get your advice about hiring a . . . wait for it . . . part-time nanny to help me out with Master P while I run errands a couple of mornings each week & for the occasional date night; more specifically, I'd wanted your help figuring out the right questions to ask in an interview I held yesterday. I didn't say anything, though, for fear of the Internet Mommy Police, whom I've seen terrorize my Invisible Internet Friends over such questions. Their scintillating insights usually run along the lines of "You get to be a stay-at-home mom, you spoiled whinypants - why would you need help? Isn't your job to do just that - stay at home?"

You can presume how I feel about censorship, a practice common in Communist countries; said nations rarely have good shoes, so my feelings on the matter go without saying. Plus, most of us here on the web - at least, here in my seersucker-striped, pink and green corner of it - exist to help one another figure out such questions. We're all trying to do this mom stuff as best we can, in the way that works best for us, which may not be the best for you.

Realizing that most of us are here for the right reasons, I'm coming out of the maternal closet & firmly stating - I absolutely love doing this stay-at-home mom gig, but I do need help on occasion too. I'd like the opportunity to make a doctor's appointment sans crawling-squeaking-fiddling-with-medical-equipment adorable Master P. To go to the grocery store without my wee Houdini wiggling out of the shopping cart & into the salad dressing stand. To find time to do some volunteer work and get involved in our church. To get some exercise without relying on my gym's "Lord of the Flies" -style childcare, or torturing Master P more often than necessary with the long stroller walks he detests & gets bored on in approximately 10.2 minutes:

It's like a game of iSpy - how many toys / snacks / drinks does it take to keep him entertained on walks?
Don't be fooled by those baby blues - there's a stroller rebellion fomenting (name that "Office" episode!) in there...


With a husband who works wonky hours & no family here in town, which is secretly sort of wonderful except for when it isn't, I'm left with the childcare option that works best for us - not you, perhaps, but us. I'm thrilled to have a husband who supports my having a few hours to myself each week - if you can call making a long-overdue dentist's appointment that - and, again, very, very privileged that finding the right part-time caregiver is an option.

So let's lay down our mommy arms and get back to the business of judging not one another but Prettier matters, like this hideous mismatched grunge trend that seems to be creeping up on us (et tu, Miss Tory?)... failing that, feel free to give me finding caretaker advice or lecture on what an absentee mother I am in the comments, please and thank you.

7 comments:

Carly Anne said...

It sounds like a PT nanny is long overdue; who else works 24 hours daily without a break? Not even the hubby, I would presume. And, most SAHMs that can't afford childcare certainly have a grandmother or aunt etc. etc. to pawn their kids on for such tasks which you explain. It's really the same thing, except that you don't have the luxery of getting it for free...

Brittany said...

A part-time nanny sounds just like mother's day out to me. Do people (the judgey set) have a problem with mother's day out now, too? I am the product a SAHM who fully embraced twice weekly mother's day out, and I can only imagine (actually, I KNOW because I remember loving my MDO, especially my teacher) my three-year-old self was MUCH happier to play with my friends and all the "new" toys rather than be strapped into my car seat as my mom ran errands all around town. I'm sure I would have rather stayed home with a nanny than run around, too, had that been one of my options. I have no idea what I would ask in an interview, but I hope you find the right person for your family!

TCP said...

Girl, please. DO IT. If not for yourself, do it for me, so that I may live vicariously through you. ;)

Lisa said...

Oh, AMEN.

I agree with the pp--SAHMs work 24-7, they (we! I!) are NEVER off the job. Everyone who goes to work gets to come home and do something else, why is a sahm not afforded the same privilege? I have a sitter come in two mornings a week from 9 to 12, and while I like to do fun things on those mornings off, I generally end up running errands. I need a wife, not a babysitter. Wives make sure everyone else's life is running happily. Somebody get me a wife.

I had plenty of opinions on how to raise kids before I had any. Now my opinions are kept firmly to myself, and I honestly think that 99% of people are doing the best they can, the best way they know how. I don't know their particular circumstances or the factors that went into making their decisions, and honestly, its none of my business anyways.

So! Get a sitter! Be warned, it will be harder to find a babysitter for two days a week than it is to find a full time nanny. Try sittercity.com. I have had good luck and bad luck with them. I used craigslist when we lived in South Jersey and had some great sitters; we moved to North Jersey and everyone on craigslist was fucking nuts.

Most of the women on sittercity.com are college-age girls. You might find someone great but her schedule will change every four months as the semester ends, so you might keep her for a while or only for a few months. I have had little luck finding a long term, 2 day a week person. It seems like every December and May and August I am looking for someone else. Or you could totally luck out.

If you can afford it, a nanny agency takes all the work out of it--they vet the candidates and send you people who are nannies for a living, not college girls looking for money. If I were to go back to work full time, I would find a nanny through a nanny agency. When we lived in south Jersey, there was a nanny agency that also had a stable of sitters, so you could call the day before and be like, "I need someone tomorrow!" and they would send someone, or you could go through them to find someone for a regular part time gig. That would be worth looking into, it was fabulous.

Kelly said...

Mother's Day Out at a local church has been my life saver. My kids go once a week and it is the perfect opportunity for doctor's appointments, grocery shopping, errands, and pedicures :) Plus, playing with other kids their age in a new environment has been really good for them. It helps with the separation anxiety stage and they really look forward to "school" with their friends. We also have a sitter on a standing once/month date night. It's so important for your marriage. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty about your choices!

Mrs. R said...

That Tory outfit made my eyes hurt!! Ugh.

Mrs. Pretty, by all means, hire a nanny. Please!! Who in their right mind would judge you and tell you that you have to be on call 24 hrs a day?!! I on the other hand would say...what took you so long!! LOL. Everyone needs a break and you have things that you need to accomplish. You are a wonderful mother (because I just know it) and you will be an even better mother when you get a chance to escape for a few hours, breathe, and accomplish things on your to do list quickly. Everyone needs that. I have a nanny and it helps me tremendously because my husband is out of town 3-4 days a week. All superhero's have a sidekick. ;)

Perfectly Imperfect said...

I would say that one of the best things about working part time is that I can take lunches to get some stuff done. When I was home, I loathed errands because of lugging the little around. I think you're smart to get a pt nanny. Not only to run errands, but just to take some time for you every once in a while. I think I made a huge mistake in not doing that!

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