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    Mega Poster elleon17's Avatar
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    Default Nanny not welcomed?

    "Hey working moms: I don't want to socialize with your nanny."

    It's the kind of complaint some mothers might think, but never say to another parent’s face. And that's probably why those words were posted behind the safe anonymity of UrbanBaby.com’s message boards last week.

    "i want to socialize with others whose job it is to be with their own kids. i understand, many women don't have that luxury or sanity to be SAHM [Stay At Home Moms], but don't force your nanny on me," another mom said, echoing the original sentiment.

    A spray of back-and-forth e-venom followed.

    "We send our nannies so we don't have to spend time with you," one working mom posted. And another wrote: "Get a life loser."

    Intense? Yes. Surprising? Not according to those who've spent time researching nanny-parent dynamics.

    "What's not typical is for this to be given such explicit voice," said Lucy Kaylin, author of "The Perfect Stranger," a book about the relationships between mothers and nannies (her own included). "But the emotions represented are not at all surprising."


    Just the other week, Kaylin said a friend of hers -- who is a working mother -- brought up in conversation how her son rarely plays with the children of mothers who stay at home.

    "There's just that divide," she said. Still, Kaylin argued that the divide isn't necessarily a hostile one: New moms like to spend their downtime talking and commiserating with like-minded women. At the same time, sitters are often looking to hang out with other nannies who can relate to their ups and downs, in much the way a co-worker might.

    When nannies attend playgroups at a family's home, Kaylin said, "They're well aware that they're not there for social reasons. They're there because that’s their job."

    Indeed, among the sea of mom voices was a nanny who gave her two cents. "I have no desire to hang out with you either. I'm paid to be here, and if that includes being civil and social with you I can fake it. - Nanny"

    The sentiment may not be universal -- one mom wrote that she likes spending time with nannies. "Some of the coolest women I've met in recent years are nannies. I've even asked a couple to meet for coffee."

    Cameron Macdonald, a professor of sociology and author of "Shadow Mothers: Nannies, Au Pairs, and the Micropolitics of Mothering", encountered the issue while researching her book. She went further than Kaylin to say that there's more going on than just social preferences, or even the underlying issues of race and class.

    "This exclusionary practice speaks to the way that stay-at-home moms vent their frustrations [with] working moms via the nanny," Macdonald said. "One of the opening scenes in my book is of this white woman yelling at a nanny from the Caribbean, whom she mistakenly thought was ignoring the child. The woman yelled out, 'I don’t blame you, I blame your boss.'"

    While researching her book, Macdonald found that yes, nannies do want to socialize with other nannies who are of the same cultural background, but that doesn’t preclude them from feeling left out. What might be more surprising is that the nannies commonly felt as though they were caught in the crossfire of a debate over whether or not moms should work.

    "The thing that really stood out to me when I was doing this project was that the culture of competitive mothering has intensified in the last 10 or 15 years beyond anything we've ever seen," Macdonald said.

    Indeed, one of the respondents to the UrbanBaby post echoed Macdonald's findings. "This is the most idiotic way of bashing WOHM [Work Outside Home Moms] I have ever seen," she said.

    Macdonald pointed to isawyournanny.blogspot.com, a website for people who want to report instances of negligent nannies, as further evidence.

    "It's often, 'Shame on you for hiring such a bad nanny,' or 'Shame on you for working and not being careful about who your child is with,'" Macdonald said.

    But in previous UrbanBaby conversations on the subject, moms have argued that this isn't a sign of divisiveness, but a matter of social preferences on both sides. When a working mom inquired about protocol for sending her nanny to an infant playgroup at another family’s house this past summer, many wrote in to say that having a nanny present would upset the dynamic of the group, and could make everyone -- including the sitter -- feel uncomfortable.

    "So weird to send your baby with a nanny to an infant playgroup--that is for moms!" wrote one mom. "I doubt the women you are friends with will be thrilled about you sending your nanny to their moms group. Seriously," said another.

    The argument that infant playgroups are really for moms to bond may hold up (after all, only one mom wrote in that she thought the exclusionary practice at that age was elitist). But as kids get older and new moms are no longer new moms, the merits of that position fade and the question remains: Have nannies become casualties of the mommy wars?



    What's your take?
    What do you think? If you are a SAHM does a Nanny welcome to playgroups? If you are WOHM mom and have (or could have) a nanny, would you want your kids to play with all kids or just the other WOHM's kids?
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    Mega Poster elleon17's Avatar
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    I see the point that nannies would like to hang out with nannies, but I think what really upsets me is this growing divide between SAHM & WOHM moms. We are all mothers and some of us choose to work, some have to work, some choose to stay home, some have to stay home.

    I know its always easier to relate to others that are in similar situations as you, but I will admit it would be nice to be friends with a few SAHM moms, but I'm not. I've extended the friendship invites, but mostly been rebuffed or I can't partake in much because I am at work.

    My BF is a SAHM, but she lives in another state and she feels the opposite some times. She has recieved the cold shoulder from some WOHM.
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    I wouldn't want to hang out with ANY of those people. Yech.

    We have had a nanny for years. We both work full time. Our kids are friends with kids who have nannies and friends with kids who don't. They play with both. I get along with the working parents and the stay-at-home parents. Sounds like a whole lot of ridiculous snobbery to me. I can't imagine saying "I don't want to spend time with a nanny" vs. a mom. That's just creepy to me.
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    Wow, that's terrible all around! I don't live in an area where nanny's are common, so I never, as far as I know, have been around one. But I can't imagine being nasty to one at a playgroup or playground. I can't even imagine being anything but perfectly nice and friendly to anyone I meet.

    This is horrible.
    ~Jordan~

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    Posting Addict carg0612's Avatar
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    What got me is the "competitive mothering" - huh??? Competitive mothering??? Is this some kind of contest I missed? Must have been while I was working.

    Seriously, the only mother I'm competing against is myself to ensure I'm doing the very best I can for my children. I have some awesome friends that are SAHM (lots of fab ladies on here too) and I have some awesome friends that are WOHM (including myself). I cannot imagine excluding one group or another for the soul purpose of "competitive mothering". Flippin' stupid.

    I mean as moms don't we have better things to do than compete with each other? Shouldn't we be supporting each other??

    Completitive mothering. What a crock.
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    Community Host wlillie's Avatar
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    I would want my kid to socialize with all different sorts of kids. I can't imagine caring if the child in a playgroup had a nanny or a mom with them. What difference does it make when you are going to sit and watch kids play?

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    Posting Addict Rivergallery's Avatar
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    Wouldn't matter to me if it was a mom or nanny. When I was a nanny though I did view it more as a job and didn't interact with SAHM's really. And probably wouldn't outside of work time, because I just wouldn' take the time to for the relationships. I rarely hang out with co-workers regardless of the job, and this would feel that way.. so that part of the article I agree with.. even though it might be "wrong" I usually don't hang out with co-workers. I have a whole set of friends outside work that I enjoy.
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    Mega Poster elleon17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carg0612 View Post
    Completitive mothering. What a crock.
    I totally agree it is a crock, but I see this ALL the time with all kinds of mom situations. SOme of the moms are so competitive on what daycare, how advanced, the outlandish birthday parties that are thrown. It is so crazy.

    It has gotten to the point that I simply do not participate in the discussions of how they are going to one up each other. My girlfriend falls into this. She was having a caricature artist come in for baby's birthday. I know it is because everyone in their neighborhood is all invloved in uber-parties and sending their kids to language immersion daycares (at 6mos old)

    I know I find myself trying to over compensate all the time, but I honestly don't feel like I am in competition with anyone. Unfortunately (or maybe luckily) we are not in a financial situation for me to go overboard on much.
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    Posting Addict ClairesMommy's Avatar
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    Nannies abound where I live. When I was on mat leave the only other moms I saw with their own kids were other women on mat leave. In fact, what I see is groups of nannies hanging out together, with no mothers included in their groups.

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    I am a SAHM. About half of my friends are SAHM's and the other half are WOTH mom's. That does not have a baring on if we are friends. I also take my girls to story time once a week and there is a lady that bring someone else's kids. None of the SAHM's there act like she does not belong.

    That said, I can see how if someone had a very corporate job they might not relate to all of the same things that I do, but that does not mean we could not be friends.

    ~Bonita~

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