Should Hilaria Baldwin (or Any Mom) Have to Defend Having Help?
After Alec Baldwin's sweet Instagram post thanking his children's caregivers, his wife, Hilaria, addressed criticism about the number of helpers the couple has.
Alec Baldwin usually makes news for his rants, but this time, he's made headlines for a sweet note of gratitude that has since sparked some controversy. On Wednesday, the actor took to Instagram to thank his children's caregivers for their help. He shared a photo of 2-year-old Carmen snuggling on her nanny's shoulder while another woman tends to 2-month-old Rafael. The caption: "I am forever indebted to the women who have helped care for our children. Muchos gracias Lizzy, Sandra, Zena, Lisa and Avril."
Pretty nice, right? But rather than focus on the dad's kind sentiments, some critics incorrectly latched on to the fact that he lists five "nannies" who help care for their babies. (In fact, some of the women are babysitters.) The not-so-subtle subtext from these critics is that the super-rich Baldwins are essentially outsourcing their daily parenting duties to a small army of caregivers.
Not so, said Hilaria, who quickly addressed the harsh claim in her own Instagram account. She wrote that the slam made her "sound like a lazy mom... that hurts." She went on explain, "Yes we do have help. When I am working, or working out, or we are going to an event, or having a date night. I also often have help with one child when I am with the other. My husband likes to joke that when I put down one child, I pick up the other. Including when I sleep. Rafael sleeps with us (as I am breastfeeding) and Carmen sometimes joins our bed party too." Want proof? Just check out her latest nursing pic.
Hilaria's retort is spot on, but it's a shame it was even necessary. I don't care what the haters say, there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help with your children, whether that takes the form of a trusted relative, babysitter, nanny, or daycare facility. Celebrity or not, the fact is that Hilaria and Alec have two kids under 2, which means nonstop work. Just ask William and Kate. Add to that career demands, travel, and the need for an occasional date night, and it's easy to see why the couple relies on this select group of women.
Full disclosure: I didn't always feel this way. A few years ago, I distinctly remember judging a SAHM I know who, after giving birth to her first child, hired a nanny, two babysitters, a landscaper, and a dog walker. She also asked her mother to care for the baby after hours. I couldn't help but wonder what she did all day. (Short answer: none of my business.) When I had a baby of my own, I quickly realized how idiotic I was to judge—or begrudge—any parent's need for extra help. The truth is, taking care of a baby is exhausting work. It's relentless, draining and, yes, rewarding. Somewhere in between diaper changes and sleep training, we parents are somehow expected to also squeeze in work, relationships and, oh yeah, our own needs. It's not an easy balancing act to pull off. If bringing in an extra set of hands eases your load just a bit—and you have the resources to make it happen—why wouldn't you do it?
Rather than harp on the Baldwins for staffing up, we should respect their it-takes-a-village attitude. As Hilaria explained on Instagram, she and Alec think of themselves—and anyone who enters their home—as part of a team. "We are so lucky to have wonderful people in our lives, both paid, and not paid, who love our children," she wrote. And at the end of the day, that's what really matters.
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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.