X Factor host and music supremo Simon Cowell appeared on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote the third series of the show, and he discussed the fact he is to be a dad for the first time (as it was recently revealed that his girlfriend Lauren Silverman is pregnant).
He admitted he hopes to be a hands-on dad, but stated that his own childhood was spent being cared for by British nannies. While today Cowell is often seen doting on his beloved mother Julie, an ex-ballet dancer, he said that he didn’t even recognize her until he was past infancy.
Kimmel asked him if he would get up with his own baby, and he replied, “Do you have to do that? Can’t you just pay someone to do that? I will probably do it a couple of times. I was brought up by nannies. I didn’t recognize my mum until I was about three or four. I had nannies instead, British nannies.” When Kimmel wondered if they had umbrellas, Mary Poppins-style, Cowell replied: “No not umbrellas, but one of them I’m still in contact with now. Nanny Heather.”
Cowell interestingly turned up to the interview with his ex-fiancée Mezhgan Hussainy and not his baby momma. He has never married and frequently holidays with his “harem” of ex-girlfriends, including Mezhgan, singer Sinetta, and ex-model Jackie St. Clair. To say it is an unconventional set-up is an understatement. Is there any connection between Cowell’s unwillingness to “settle down” and the lack of time he spent with his mom as a toddler?
There are two schools of thought on the subject of nannies, and the usual division is between working moms who use them, and stay-at-home moms who don’t. Those who employ nannies stress that their children are well cared for and have a steady reliable influence in their life, that nannies are a necessity for any woman who wants to maintain her career and juggle it with motherhood. Those against nannies ask, “Why have kids if you don’t want to raise them yourself? A child wants and needs its parent most of all.”
There is an emphasis today that for a baby to bond with its mom, it should be in close contact with her — for feeding, comfort, bathing, and changing — tasks that in past eras were handed out to nurse maids and housekeepers. According to Forbes magazine, psychologists and developmental experts now tell us how critical these activities are to the mother-child connection. If you’re not home with your child doing these things, then you’re depriving your child of something — namely you.
There is the question of who the child turns to for comfort or discipline. Will he obey the nanny first and his mom second? Will a child pick up on any tensions and jealousies between a mom and a nanny, and how will a child feel when a nanny leaves or is replaced? Will that loss have an impact, and if so, how great?
Women now make up over 50% of the workforce and many see daycare as an unsuitable form of childcare due to the amount of children there, and the fact that they are more likely to pick up colds and infections than if they were at home, in their own environment with a nanny. Here in the UK, the average cost of having a full-time British nanny is £25,000 ($39,500), so for most people, having a nanny isn’t affordable.
A trawl of Google failed to give me any statistics to show how being raised by a nanny affects a child’s development or emotional outlook in later life. Do children raised by nannies ever look back and resent their parents for not being more present in their lives? Does it really make any difference to your child in the long run? What is interesting is that when Cowell was thinking of his unborn child, he reflected on his own childhood — and the most sincere part of his whole interview is when he mentions still being in touch with nanny Heather. Would he be the straight talking critical Simon we all know and love if his mom Julie had been there instead of Heather?
Photo credits: ABC