I guess my big secret is out: I don't want a nanny raising my kids.
Before you send hate mail detailing all the reasons I've got it wrong, please know that not wanting a nanny has nothing to do with working moms, stay-at-home moms, who's doing things right, who's doing things wrong and whether or not there's a "right" way to do things. (This is not a mommy war. I honestly think we're all doing it right, if it feels right to our individual families.)
It has nothing to do with harboring or promoting any kind of nasty judgment-like activity as this sensationalistic headline might suggest.
Rather, my not wanting a nanny has everything to do with an issue I've realized I have: Jealousy.
When my husband and I first started dating (and my career was on fire, baby!) I remember a casual conversation we had on one of our dates about having kids, working with kids, and how many couples with whom he was close to in his life had kids and a full-time nanny to make it all work. I'm pretty sure I screamed at him, "I will not have a nanny raising my kids!" only because I can still remember how hot my face felt and how he promptly told me to simmer down.
I want to be the one who spends the most time with my kids when they're this young during the great days, the rough days, the in-between days.
Before becoming a mom, the thought of hiring a non-family member to spend equal or more time with my not-yet-born children made me feel awkward and envious. Now, with young daughters (ages 5 and almost 4) I still feel the same way. And this is a mom who truly misses the days of working full-time at high-octane speed.
Envy has been the thing that's prevented me from seeking a full-time job.
I've written about how I perceived my first pregnancy as a total derailment of my once-rising TV career. True, I couldn't land another full-time gig before my first baby was born, but let's just say I haven't quite been looking for another full-time job over the past six years either.
Yes, work makes me happy and I do thrive as a mother when I'm able to work. (Hello, I do employ a babysitter one day each week, to maintain part-time work and hit deadlines I'm responsible for now.) But working part-time is what it's going to be for now and I've learned to be happy with it, simply because the jealousy of having someone else spending more time with my kids at this fleeting toddler/preschool phase might take me down.
And yes, I know: A nanny is not a mother, a nanny is a positive third party to help with the enrichment of a family as a whole. I agree, but when I do the actual math (9 to 10 hours per day times 5 equals 45-50 hours a week!) the scenario still makes me feel ... awkward and envious.
"Well what about when your kids start school and they're gone for a whole day? Are you going to envious of their teachers?" you ask. In my warped mind, school is school and completely different from them being with a nanny all day. (Call me nuts.)
I feel extremely lucky that my family does not fully depend on me to pay the mortgage and provide food. Should my situation change, you'll bet your butt I'll be hustling to find full-time work and check my ego about full-time childcare at the door. But for right now—for me—working 40+ hours per week when I don't absolutely have to, just doesn't feel right. I want to be the one who spends the most time with my kids when they're this young during the great days, the rough days, the in-between days.
So I will give into my control-freak ego that doesn't want anyone else spending more time with my little kids than I do. Because, when it comes to our families, shouldn't we all feel right about our choices?