This morning I have just been judged by my butcher for having a nanny. And it got me to thinking – why is there such inverted snobbery about the word ‘nanny’? Surely it’s just another form of childcare – and anyone’s childcare choice is their own???
(And as I haven’t done a ranty blog for a while – I thought I’d sit down and vent before getting on with my day!!)
We have 4 kids aged 11, 9, 4 and 3, and have had our wonderful nanny since the 3rd child was born and we realised it was probably the most sensible childcare choice for us.
My husband and I run a construction company, which employees directly about 40 people, but indirectly through all the subcontractors we regularly use supports 100s. As people with their own business know, it’s not a 9-5 role. There are massive pros to both of us working in our own business (not having to ask your boss for permission to attend the kids’ assemblies, being able to schedule a gym session in the middle of the day etc) but also massive cons (working at random hours of the night to get work finished, clients phoning when you’re on holiday, having to be available 24/7 365 days of the year, when times are tough not having the safety cushion of someone else’s salary coming in from a guaranteed source) – but the unpredictability of it means you also need flexible childcare that’s up to the task. For us, a nanny for 4 days of the working week is what we chose.
The 3 oldest kids go to 3 different schools. The logistics of this are a bit of a headf*ck some days – and knowing that there’s an extra pair of hands to share this makes all the difference. Yesterday the nanny was dealing with the 2 smallest at an afterschool theatre club, the husband had collected child number 2 from school and taken him to the next age group of the club, and I was collecting the eldest from the train station to whizz her to it too – madness! But it was our choice to have 4 kids, and our choice to have a nanny to support us in this.
I don’t sneer ‘Ooh, you use wrap around school care’ to people in the street – but it appears it’s acceptable to sneer at people who employ a nanny!
In fact I saw written on social media ‘I wish I had a nanny, so I could sit around all day whilst someone else played with my kids’ – which made me very angry. I can’t remember ever ‘sitting around all day’ watching the nanny playing – I’m either ferrying other kids, attending a Board Meeting, chasing payments, helping on a school trip, paying the wages of our staff, doing the weekly shop, organising birthday cards and presents for the endless stream of parties the kids attend, organising the kids parties, washing clothes, helping friends with new business ventures, planning trips, buying clothes for the rapidly growing children, liaising with the company’s bankers, renewing insurance policies, sorting out HR issues – or sometimes fitting in the hairdressers or the gym – but mostly just one big juggling act like most people.
So less of the nanny-employing-hate please. Our family couldn’t function without ours. She comes with lots of childcare experience, appropriate first aid qualifications and most importantly loves our children dearly. I know that from Tuesday – Friday they will be fed, clothed and in the right place at the right time (and we’ll muddle through Saturday – Monday!) I can go to work (or occasionally when the husband and I escape for some time away together) knowing that the children are in very capable hands.
Although I remember last year we were out with friends and someone said ‘I don’t know how you cope with 4 kids, Libby’ and the eldest child replied, deadpan, ‘We have a nanny.’