Earlier this week, I wrote about having a live-in nanny. Because of her relationship with my son and my need to now work 40 hours per week again from home, it made the most sense for all of us if she moved into our guest room four days per week. 40 hours per week, just like a normal full-time job, she watches my son in our home while I work upstairs on spreadsheets and scripts and conference calls. At 6pm, my husband comes home and we make a family meal and yes, our nanny joins us for the meal. Then she usually goes out with friends while we put our son to bed and wind-down after a day of working. Our nanny does not cook or clean at all; she does not care for our child when I am not engaged with my employer. I’m still the gal behind dinner and sparkling toilets. So contrary to the popular belief of Babble’s Facebook page, she is not watching my child while I lounge at home eating bon-bons and watching my soaps.
Although that might be nice. WHERE IS THAT REALITY?! Oh, right. It’s in Hollywood and I’m in North Carolina.
But scrolling through the Facebook page, I noticed several people commenting that if I can’t take care of my child, why did I even have a child? My eyes grew wide and I got all Hulk-like and I must admit, THE RAGE WAS STRONG when I read that.
I do care for my child. I am the one tucking him into bed at night, making sure he brushes his teeth and says prayers. I’m the one by his side at 3am during a night terror. I’m the one up at 6:30am on a Saturday, coffee in hand watching Curious George for the 10,000th time in a row. I take him to the pediatrician and the speech therapist and buy his clothes and shoes and schedule weekend playdates. I notice when he outgrows his shoes and how he prefers Finn McMissile over Mater these days. I know his favorite toys and his schedule and how his hair turns a dirty blonde in the winter and every scar on his body and when I close my eyes, I remember what his first cry in this world sounded like.
But I work to put food in his belly and shoes on his feet and God willing, a college education on his resume. I work because it is something I enjoy. And it’s okay that I work because women have fought too long and too hard to be equal for my career to be brushed aside simply because I’m a mother.
I had a baby because I love my husband. I had a baby because my biological desire to procreate is strong and the human race needs to continue. I had a baby because it would be a darn shame not to continue the inheritance of my husband’s sea-blue eyes. I had a baby because I have always desired to be a mother, whether it is cheering on the soccer field or tucking a small one into bed or rocking at 3am. I also had a baby because they smell really, really nice when they’re not covered in poop.
So when it’s implied that I am selfish for working, that I am LAZY for working, and that someone else is raising my child? It hurts. Working mothers don’t like being told that we don’t parent, just like stay at home mothers don’t like being told that they don’t work.
There’s no check-list for why people should and could have babies, so let’s just sniff their lavendar scented tufts of hair and do the best we can for each of our families. And I promise that in return, I won’t Hulk-smash Babble’s Facebook page.