When I was in college, my roommate Janice and I (mostly Janice though) nannied for a family with a home close to campus. Mom was a stay at home mom and owned a pack of Bernese Mountain dogs as a hobby. Dad was an anesthesiologist (often on call) and had not a clue about what happened in his house…at least until much later. There were three kids, one in elementary, one preschooler and a toddler.
Mom was a nutcase. Dad was wishy-washy. The kids all had anxiety related problems from self hair pulling to bedwetting to slow language development.
Needless to say, Janice was the best thing that happened to that family. I didn’t nanny all that often, but it paid well when I did. I call it being a nanny because, on the weekends, it was often a 24 hour gig due to dad’s on call schedule.
I could never understand why a person would choose to have a pack of kids and then neglect them. And these kids were truly neglected while in their mother’s care. Wet diapers went unchanged. Haircuts were few. Laundry piled up everywhere. Junk food. I had always thought that when a child was neglected that it was because of an alcoholic parent or a parent who worked too much. Nope. The rich and the beautiful can neglect their children as well. Mom was often present in the house while we were on the clock. She just didn’t want to parent.
Or she was just batshit crazy. Whatever.
Why have kids if you don’t want to take care of them?
I got a piece of that this week. I’ve had a ton going on at church. It’s Bible school week again. And, in the middle of Bible school, we hosted a concert by Go Fish. It was a sweet concert and the kids had a ton of fun. Not my kids. Everyone else’s kids. I was working the show. And, my kids were wrecked by showtime so they had to go to bed. The point is that I have had no less than 20 hours of babysitting time logged this week. 20. Hours. Alone.
This afternoon, my babysitter stuck around after I got home. I made lunch for us all and she took them to the park while I did laundry, caught up on emails and generally did what I wanted to. I layed down with Amelia at nap time and took a guilt free nap knowing that Ella was entertained. And then she kept them occupied in the basement while I cleaned my filthy bathroom and started supper.
Weird, right? If I had a nanny, I’d be a different mom. So, how’s this different from a mom working outside the home and dropping her kids off at daycare and seeing them only at the end of the day? I don’t know that it is. Except that I could pretty much do whatever I wanted today with wild abandon.
So maybe, in my memory, I was awfully hard on wacko mom. I mean, she did end up abandoning her family, divorcing her husband and leaving town. Oh, and filing for custody of her kids which she was not granted. But that’s neither her nor there. I remember thinking that she was fairly worthless as a mom if she was going to be home and not be with her kids.
Maybe she just needed out. Maybe she got tired of reading “Mama, Mama Red Pajama” and “No David” for the billionth time. Maybe she didn’t want to admit that playing Candy Land bored her to tears. And maybe if she had to watch “Monster’s Inc.” one. more. time. she would lose her mind. Maybe she wanted to fold towels without having a little person come and knock them down. Or go to the grocery store and not have to get a cart shaped like a firetruck.
Who am I to judge?