Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nanny Drama-o-Rama: When My Life Imitates My Art

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

So, I wrote novel last year, called Substitute Me. The story is about a young woman, Kate, who places an advertisement in the paper for a nanny for her young son so she can return to work after her maternity leave. The ad she places begins :

"Substitute Me: Looking for a nanny who will take care of my six-month-old baby as if her were her own...."

Zora, a 30-year-old woman who has yet to find her purpose in the world, answers the ad and soon becomes the perfect nanny, a perfect substitute for Kate ... in more than just child care. And drama ensues.

So, here I am one year later, in Kate's position. My maternity leave is about to expire and I must find someone to love babygirl as if she were her own. And I'm as freaked out about the prospect as I was ten years ago when my first son was born and the idea for Substitute Me was hatched. Only this time, I've written the damn novel and gave life to my worst fears and imaginings.

I'm looking at my life now and laughing at the existential life imitating art imitating life scenario I find myself in. Can you imagine my hysterical giggle fit when my nanny candidate list came down to hot Brazilian student versus African-American grandmother from my church? You can guess who I'm rooting for, right?

At the end of the day, I just want to avoid the whole issue of hiring a "nanny." I don't even like the word nanny. Back in Milwaukee, where I grew up, we didn't have nannies. We had babysitters. The only nanny I knew was Maria from The Sound of Music. Oh, wait she was a governess. So, yeah, nannies don't sit well with me. The woman I hire, will be a care giver. I will hope that she loves babygirl and I hope I can love her in return for that precious gift.

I'm just so thankful that the job I have allows me to be home for long summers and at least one day during the week. I know I am lucky. And if the care-giver thing doesn't work out, babygirl will just have to sit under my desk.

What about you meltingpot moms? Did you or do you use a nanny? Did you have any fears about hiring someone to care for your child? Do you love your nanny? I want to hear about it.

I'm listening.



Michelle said...

I'm with you on this. When I was working, we had a babysitter. The whole nanny thing felt weird and the idea of hiring "help" never sits well with me. I think it's so important to build a community of trustworthy people in your family's life because it really does take a village. Raising kids is a community effort and I wish our society did more to foster community and more than just lipservice about taking care of our nation's children. Good luck with going back to work and finding a sitter! (I know who you're rooting for too!)

Mango Mama said...

I was teaching at Temple when I had Miss O and when I returned to the classroom, if Loverman wasn't home to watch her, she indeed headed into the classroom with me. I do understand your anxiety.

Anonymous said...

I suppose I think about it a bit differently. After dealing with attaching with adoption, I didn't want another person getting super snuggley with my daughter. I wanted a warm but institutional like setting, so her closeness needs would come from me and the husband. Of course she was adopted at 18 months and not born to me.

My mom was the neighborhood baby sitter. She had a few kids that would prefer to stay with her than go home.

I don't want anyone else coming near my role. I suppose after dealing with attachment issues, I could not dream of wanting another person to "treat my kid as their own".

Anonymous said...

LT and Mango Mama,

Are you serious about bringing a child into your classroom? If a professor can bring his/her child to class, wouldn't the students feel entitled to bring their children to class? And would the department allow that?


Anonymous said...

I teach at the university level and have had a student bring a 1 year old to my class. I have also had another bring 10 year old to class. The baby was because the baby sitter had an emergency. The 10 year old was because the parent didn't have a sitter and her aunt offered to watch her for the day.
In both cases I don't mind as long as the child is not being disruptive and its not a regular thing!

Susan:) said...

I am a nanny! In my case, I take care of my sister's daughters, and I live with them. I've been here since the older one was born and she's nearly four. For my sister, she said she wanted me to be her nanny, because she just didn't know if she could trust anyone else. I taught preschool prior to this, so I knew kids! At any rate, I understand it would be really hard to watch someone else become so close to your kids. I can see it is hard for my sister sometimes, that I get to spend all day with her kids, and that sometimes they seem to want me more. On the other hand, I have a much closer relationship with my sister than ever before, and I have such a special closeness with my nieces.

LT said...

Thank you. For real.

Whew, good to know Temple allows babies in the classroom :) I wish they would get a daycare center on campus. Thanks for the support.

Thanks for the alternate viewpoint.

Good question. FYI, I have had students bring their kids to class. As long as they are quiet I don't have a problem with it. I remember my own mom having to drag me to graduate classes because the babysitter flaked. I think if we remember that we're all human and treat each other with that kind of kindness, then we all benefit...and I can bring my baby to class and not feel like a hypocrite :)

Anon #3
Yeah. Me too. See above.

So good to hear from the other side. Good luck with you and your sister. And the kids of course.

generic viagra news said...

A book about nannies ? hahaha how curious I never heard about such thing.