Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Holier than thou? Really?

‎"Women should not feel guilty if they are unable to nurse their baby, but they should feel guilty if they are unwilling to do so, and they should be intellectually honest enough to know the difference." ~ Elizabeth Gene

From "Peaceful Parenting" on Facebook (

I have no idea who Elizabeth Gene is, or whether she positions herself as an expert of any sort, but this quote has been bugging me since I first saw it a few days back. My basic annoyance is with the concept of "peaceful parenting" not only including judgemental posts but applauding them. I have never and will never understand why mothers who favor a certain choice such as breastfeeding choose to make other moms feel badly about their choice to NOT breastfeed so that group one can feel good and superior about choosing to breastfeed.

And yes, I have been guilty of judging my employers, other nanny's employers, etc. when it comes to their parenting ideas and choices. The difference is that I don't deliberately engage in making another person feel stupid, belittled, or selfish for the choices they have made. I avoid being loudly verbally judgemental because I would prefer to remain employed, but also because I find it rude.

Do I think breastfeeding is the ideal? Sure.

Do I think that judging someone who doesn't breastfeed as lazy or bad in their mothering will encourage that woman to attempt to breastfeed next time she has a baby? No. I think that telling a woman that her mothering choice was "wrong" simply alienates her.

If breastfeeding advocates want to urge others to breastfeed, they need to try positivity, understanding, and compassion. And they also need to back off if a woman indicates that she is happy with her feeding decision, and let her and her baby and her family live as they choose.

I think an inability to accept the parenting decisions others have made with at least a modicum of good grace indicates a deep insecurity in the judger. And as a nanny, I have had to learn this lesson fairly regularly. I think I'm getting better at acceptance as time goes by though!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Adventures in Twinland

I'm now caring for newborn boy/girl twins in the morning, and today I went with them and my AM Mom Boss (AM MB) to a pediatrician appointment. While AM MB signed in at the front desk, I wheeled the massive snap'n'go, fitted out with a blue baby bucket and a pink baby bucket, into the baby waiting area.

There was a mom in there nursing her 4 month old, and when she saw us she exclaimed "Oh! TWINS! How exciting! Congratulations!"

Once I went through my spiel about being the nanny, she asked me, "Are they boys or girls?"

"One of each!" I figured she was just too sleep deprived to note the BLUE and PINK carseats.

Nursing mom then asked me...

"Are they identical?"

I blinked a few times, figuring I had misunderstood her, but she was looking at me with absolute fascination, obviously waiting for an answer.

So I reminded myself that she was likely sleep deprived, and sweetly replied, "Oh, no, they are definitely not identical."

With a big smile and a nod of her head, she sagely responded, "So they're fraternal twins! How sweet!"

At that point AM MB walked in and rescued me.

I would like to pat myself on the back for being sensitive and not responding with a sarcastic, snarky, or wryly witty response.

I would also like to apologize to all parents of multiples on behalf of the world for all the dumb comments you have ever or will ever get.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wow! Two posts in one day? AKA, Update time!

Since it's been literally MONTHS since I updated, I'm going to be all sorts of crazy and post 2 times in one day!

I am employed again! YAY! and about darn time!

Since April, I have been caring PT for a baby girl (C) born 1/10. She is adorable, energetic, allergic to naps, and will soon be sporting a pink helmet to correct positional placeocephaly.

And in 11 days I will start working a second PT job caring for B/G twins who will be exactly one month old when I start. They were born 5/10, and I have visited them once. They are both tiny, and based on their mom's reports, M (the boy) is a ravenous eater and A (the girl) is a talker. All I noticed was that they are really really tiny. M was 5 lbs when I saw them, and A was 4.5 lbs. I will have more info on them as I get to know them better. :-)

I also am still working on my postpartum doula certification, and went to a meet-up group of local pregnant women tonight to do some networking. It was interesting, and I did get to give out some business cards.

FB made me think tonight

Well, not facebook, but a new FB friend. She posted this:

"wondering can life fully be complete as a woman without BEARING a child? Honestly? Would u wake up @ 50 yrs. old and have regrets? Hmmmmmmm just wondering!"

After mulling this over, I replied:

"Well, I'm going to try to put this into a coherent format. Growing up, I always kind of assumed I'd marry and have kids. If I'd known then how my life would have turned out, I think I would have been really upset. BUT, now, I feel that my life has gone in the direction it was meant to go in. If I'd married and had kids, I wouldn't have had the awesome opportunities I've had to care for 13 (almost 15!) terrific kids. The time I spent with my charges was (and is) precious to me. I adore what I do. But I also adore being "unencumbered" when the work day is over. I love being with my charges, and I love being on my own. I have a great balance there, IMO, and it works for me.

Now, I am not at a point where I have crossed the idea of adoption off my list of possibilities, but I also think that unless I have a drive to adopt, I am better off NOT taking that path.

I have lots of love to give "my" kids, and right now, that's as close to parenting as I am going to come. And I'm OK with that! :-)"

So what do you all think? How would you answer that question?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Experts Everywhere

I admit that I love to read childcare books by "The Experts". I enjoy taking bits and pieces of all the advice out there, and melding it into my own personal theory. When I look back over the years I've spent as a nanny, I think about how I've moved through Spock, visited the "What to Expect" kingdom, quickly swerved in and out of Ezzo, and toured Sears, Rosemond, Ferber, and many others. I want to check out the "No Cry..." arena soon as well!

But what about people who pick a method and hold onto it tightly through good times and horrible times? What happens when your chosen parenting method isn't working anymore at all, ever? Can people that might be described as heavily invested in parenting like Sears ever come to terms with using other methods and ideas? Or is modern reliance on "The Experts" eventually stifling and limiting?

For new parents, the temptation must be very strong these days to decide that if Expert X says to raise kids with breast milk, co-sleeping, and slings then that's exactly and precisely what they'll do. If baby would rather ride in a stroller, or sleep in a sidecar crib, or just can't figure out breastfeeding, do parents continue to insist that they must do what their expert tells them to do, regardless of how it impacts the family? Can new parents, already exhausted and overwhelmed, really add "Read more parenting books." to their endless to-do lists?

That's where another kind of expert might come in handy. Parent Coaches might seem to be yet another gimmicky way for parents to spend money, but if a PC is knowledgeable about a wide range of issues, and has a variety of parenting tools to share with parents who are overwhelmed, why not get that help?

And just as a side note, I think the best nannies are Parent Coaches. We listen, offer creative problem solving advice, and support parents as they make all the decisions that have to be made. We don't criticize, but we do offer alternative possibilities. And in the end, if what's being done isn't working, a few alternatives are a good thing.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Things it would be good to know BEFORE the interview

Suddenly the market has picked up a bit, and I have interviews this weekend! I do my best to screen potential employers (and I google-stalk them when possible) but somehow I didn't get a lot of what I think is pertinent information from the family I met with today.

So, without delay, here are 3 important things employers need to remember to mention to nanny candidates.
  1. Our house is being heavily renovated. You can't see the house number, but we are the joint with the huge construction dumpster in the front driveway.
  2. You know we said we had 2 kids under 2? Well, we forgot to mention their 13-year-old half-sibling who lives with us 75% of the time. But you won't have to do anything for him. No, really!
  3. We really want a nanny who speaks spanish. Did we mention that?

And, just for any employers who say they once worked as a nanny, here's a tip. Tell us all the details over the phone when we ask. Don't wait until we are face to face to tell us how you were a nanny at the age of 12. Because any career nanny will find it hard to not snigger at you when you say that, and we can cover the sniggering with a cough much better over the phone than in person.

So I go forth tomorrow to 2 other interviews. Wonder what new craziness they will bring into my life?