I used to be against the idea of women employing a Nanny. This was based on the general misconception that a Nanny would act as a replacement mother, performing the majority of household tasks and providing most, if not all, of the childcare, whilst the mother would swan off to enjoy herself, free from the stresses and strains that motherhood can sometimes bring. Of course, every situation is different and I am not blind to the fact that in many cases a Nanny can be a substitute mother, often resulting in a stronger bond than the children have with their own parents. I find this very sad as I believe that if you are going to bring children into the world you should at least try to establish a good relationship with them, love them, support them and care for them.
However, I have recently got a job as a part-time Nanny and it has completely changed the way I feel about families employing help with childcare. The children’s mother is an intelligent, career-focused woman, having set up her own charity to help disadvantaged teenagers in London achieve their ambitions. Contrary to my belief on applying for the job that I would be left alone to care for three small children, the mother is there with me, sharing the household tasks and the childcare rather than leaving me to do everything. If I am picking the older children up from school, she will take the younger one to ballet. If I am cooking dinner, she will play with the children and help them with their homework and the next day we will switch tasks. The children adore their mother and they have a great relationship, which made me realise that the aid of a Nanny is not necessarily detrimental to a mother’s bond with her child, and it does not always mean that the mother simply ‘cannot be bothered’ to look after her own children. The mother I work for mostly runs her charity from home, which must be difficult to balance with caring for three small children. Some people may ask why a woman would have three children if she cannot manage to care for them alone, to which I would say that it’s not their place to judge. As I have said, this lady does not simply leave her children with a Nanny and lead her own life away from them. She just employs an extra pair of hands to help with some tasks and to collect the children from school. In this modern age why should a woman have to abandon her career prospects and her personal ambitions because she has children?
Women have always been seen as the sole carers when it comes to children, but in January 2013 the Telegraph reported that between 2011 and 2012 the number of men staying at home to look after children rose from 19,000 to 227,000, which they explained as due to a rise in women becoming the main breadwinners in their households. Therefore, in modern years, the structure of families is changing and it is dated to believe that a woman should sacrifice her career to raise children. Employing a Nanny can be a great help to mothers, allowing them to find a happy medium between achieving their own goals and bringing up children. Of course, not every mother is fortunate enough to be able to afford a Nanny, and some people would argue that thousands of mothers have no choice but to cope alone, often without the support of a partner or their own family. I appreciate this, and acknowledge that raising children must be stressful and lonely for these parents, however that does not mean that we should chastise those privileged people who can afford to keep a Nanny. If a family has the money to employ somebody to help with childcare, and if this will result in a more relaxed parent (and therefore more relaxed and happy children) then why not? As the woman I work for has proven, it is possible to keep a Nanny whilst maintaining a great relationship with your children and fulfil your own ambitions. So I say if you can afford to do it, go for it.