Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
Full Disclosure: I paid in excess of 4K to give my cat, Wayne Sanchez a vagina (the whole story is here). But that was to save his life. When it comes to my kids, and yes, I do consider Wayne one of my children, I spare no expense.
However, I was a bit dismayed at this article in the New York Times Magazine. The reporter wrote about the high-priced nanny culture–in which some caregivers get 6-figure salaries, penthouse apartments, beach houses, etc. to take care of other peoples babies.
Don’t get me wrong: I have a full-time nanny myself. I love her. Even though I don’t have a full time 9-6 job, I make no apology for going this route. But I don’t love my kids any less for paying her a fair, market-based salary. I mean, your kid can still have an accident (god forbid). They still tantrum. They poop and they pee and their diapers get changed the same way. And hopefully if you have someone good, they laugh just as hard, dance just as much and sing just as beautifully. So what is the difference here? I think it lies in this part of the reporter’s story, i.e.:
…And then there’s social climbing. “A lot of families, especially new money, are really concerned about their children getting close to other very affluent children,” Greenhouse says. “How do they do that? They find a superstar nanny who already has lots of contacts, lots of other nanny friends who work with other high profile families.” There are the intangibles too. “I’m working with a phenomenal Caribbean nanny right now,” Greenhouse says. “She is drop-dead beautiful. Her presentation is such that you’re proud to have her by your children’s side at the most high-profile events.”
I get that your nanny is helping to raise your child and there is no price tag to put on that. But I can’t help feeling like some of the elite who do this are trying to buy their way into proper parenting. Or perhaps buy their way out. Maybe it makes them feel less guilty and more justified in having the help if they are paying them top dollar? And what are their children to them anyway? An accessory?
This whole obsession in our culture with appearance and money is, to use the word again, GROSS. I can’t watch shows like Real Housewives for this very reason–even if it is just escapism television. People who are that out of touch with the rest of the world don’t interest me. Unless it’s to write a blog.
The one person I am happy for in all this is the nanny– though you could pay her half that amount and give the rest to a kick ass charity–and she’d still be making more than most people. I’m just saying…
One of the nanny’s mentioned came from a poor family in South America. It sounds like she was able to better her entire family’s life–including buying her mother a house and her sister a car. I hope her employers are sleeping better at night.
But come on rich-parents-who-hire-6 figure-nannies–don’t jack up the price and think you’re a better parent. Or that your kid will turn out “better”. Or that your family is more “ideal”. Plus, if enough people pay mucho bucks, you hurt the market for the rest of us “little” people.
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