I feel like doing my own mini-series of Personal Finance Breakdown: Why We Do What We Do. Sometimes, as a reader, I scratch my head and wonder why people, well, do what they do. I know that in the past I’ve gotten questions about why I make the choices I do, and I’ve even gotten flamed over them (that still stings…). If anyone is interested in joining me in posting their own personal Breakdowns, let me know! I’d be happy to share it on this not-terribly-popular-but-still-kicking blog.
I am inspired by my favorite mommy blogger’s post from today to write about our choice of childcare. It’s interesting to see eyebrows raise when people find out we have a nanny, or we talk about our nanny. I guess they’re thinking of something along these lines?
In actuality, our nanny is an awesome lady that is a couple of years younger than me who is an actress. She is phenomenal with children, and likes that being a nanny works with her performance schedule. She is not Mary Poppins (she doesn’t have magical hallucinogens in her backpack, that I know of), she isn’t Fran Drescher (pretty sure she’s not into my husband), and doesn’t work for people who make enough to live on the Upper East Side – heck we can’t even afford to go to the Upper East Side. She’s a really awesome person, who helps us be awesome parents, by watching our awesome children. I feel like that’s probably the end of the story.
But I guess the simple word “nanny” has so many connotations associated with it, people are unable to really get past that. While we have way more than most people in the world (as most people in America do), we don’t have a ton of money. We pay her $1,800 a month to watch our children 3 days a week. Exorbitant, right? ”You are rolling in dough to afford that,” you might say. But really, that is so, so, so inexpensive for childcare here in this area, especially because one is a baby.
The quotes I received for childcare when I first began looking ranged between $1,500 for the toddler up to $2,400 for the baby. If we did part time daycare, it ran between $1000 for the toddler and $1500 for the baby. It amazed me to see how much things cost, and personally, I was concerned about the quality of care our infant would receive in a daycare setting. As I had mentioned in a previous post, our nanny walked through the door and it just felt…right.
There is a constant “mommy-war” going on about why women should be home with the kids, and it’s infuriating. I don’t know how many comments I’ve read that say “Why have children if you’re not going to raise them?” I find this notion antiquated to say the least. I was personally told by my parents that my place was home with the kids and that my husband should be the breadwinner. My husband was personally attacked for not having a 6-figure salary. Even on this blog, I received comments like that. Sam at Financial Samurai wrote: “Sounds like dad just wants to light a fire under your husband’s ass? I think fathers are VERY competitive with their son-in-laws, and wants him to freak out so that he will never view him as a crutch. I want my son-in-law to take care of my daughter and family 100%.”
I just don’t understand this mentality, and to be honest, it stings. It took a long time to untangle our own beliefs from those of my parents and of people like Sam to really and truly accept that Help is (not) a Four-Letter Word. We can be a progressive couple, who make less than $100k combined, who chose to have two children, who made choices that made it possible for us to afford (moving to a place with a lower cost of living) said children, who budget to afford said children, and have a nanny. We can love our children, each other, and our lives without a 6-figure salary, without mommy being the primary caretaker, with multiple people showing our kids that they are adored. They have learned so much from their nanny, and adore her. She adores them. We come home from work eager to see and adore them. I make the effort to pump so that the baby is exclusively fed breastmilk. We try to feed them as much whole, organic foods as possible. Our nanny is gluten and dairy intolerant, and makes sure to feed them healthy, unprocessed foods that she is able to eat. I just don’t see what is wrong with this picture.
Doing it all like a boss requires help because a boss can’t do everything on their own, and if they try to, well, usually they fail. We are (trying to) parent like a boss, and our nanny helps us do it. Is there anything wrong with that?