Can we stop the mom-shaming?
I have a nanny for Avalyn. About 7 months ago I decided to get a little help at home, due mostly to the urging of my husband. He was watching his wife disintegrating before his eyes; turning into a pile of stress, grease and tears. That's when wonderful Anna came into my life. I "shared" her with a new mommy friend of mine, having her come help for a few hours a week when we could arrange it.
When Anna first started coming, I wouldn't leave my house. I was terrified of having someone else care for my little Avie even though I knew Anna was completely capable. Eventually, our schedule became more regular and I got more comfortable running out to get the groceries, drop off dry-cleaning, etc. It was around this time that I started working on Avierose.com, but 4 hours a week wasn't enough for me to work on my website AND accomplish goals outside of the house. Weekends with my husband became hostile again, with each of us vying for time "away" to complete tasks, visit friends and feel like our own persons.
Here's when Ella enters the picture; Anna's sister. Ella moved to San Diego between schooling and needed work hours. We were happy to give her a few partial days a week and after another nervous "introduction period", I knew she was a perfect fit for our little family. Here's the deal though: she feeds Avalyn the things I want her to feed Avalyn, we discuss nap times and behavior issues, and Ella always wants to be as consistent with me in regards to Avalyn's care as possible.
I'm still the Mom and I'm the one who makes the decisions for Avalyn.
Why am I on this topic? Well, today, I struck up a conversation with a female checker at the grocery store. I mentioned my baby, and said she was with the nanny. The checker paused then said, "Must be nice. I never had a nanny.... and I had 3 kids"
Immediately, I knew what she saw when she looked me up and down. There I was in the grocery store, in the middle of a work day, in yoga pants, talking about my child's nanny. I said nothing and just left. It was all I could do to swallow the retorts and explanations and keep. my. mouth. shut.
Which is something she should have done.
Honestly, here's the thing. If I had explained, shot back or commented in any way. I would have been mom-shaming, too. Yeah, really. For example, if I had said, "Well, my baby has Cystic Fibrosis and so my husband and I decided not to put her in daycare for health purposes" then I would be passing judgement on mommies who DO put their kids in daycare. Which I would never do! This was a choice my husband and I made together. I am LUCKY to be able to stay at home and have additional help.
Or, if I had said, "You're right. it is nice. But, seeing as I am trying to start my own business working from home, while maintaining the home, it's nice to have someone watch my daughter a few hours here and there" it would have insinuated that one must be working in order to have help from a nanny. Again, not the message I want to send.
Why did I even feel the need to defend my situation?? This woman knows nothing about me. She was judging based on some stereotype. Ladies, why do we do this to each other? Worry about yourselves and don't judge a book by it's cover..... Or you may end up assuming something is about Real Housewives of ___, when it's actually about navigating territory you never expected to encounter, and hoping the map your charting will change lives.
Because I think that's what I'm about.