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Don't Nanny Cam Me

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Jennifer Ginsberg: If I had a nanny cam on me, I would immediately get fired. I would throw my ass in jail.

mom not watching her baby

Any mom that acts like she doesn't know what I am talking about is flat-out lying. It's our dirty little secret. We are allowed to talk on our phones, surf the web, and do f*&#-all while spending time with our children. But if our babysitters dared to neglect our child for one moment, we are likely to put a hit out on their lives.

The other day, my friend Jane and I were taking a walk with our toddlers. Her daughter, Zoe, suddenly got all wiggy in the stroller and started whining, "Mommy out!" Jane basically told her to stop whining since she was almost back at her house. Exactly what I would have done had I been in her shoes.

The whining turned to screaming. The screaming turned to shrieking. The shrieking turned to that nails-down-a-chalkboard screeching that makes you want to jump out a window.

Jane didn't give in to the tantrum. She let her daughter cry it out in the stroller and stoically marched home, with her red-faced, hyperventilating daughter writhing like a deranged mental patient in a strait-jacket.

When I got home, I had an email from Jane: "Turns out that Zoe had a dirty diaper ... that is why she was screaming and wanted to get out of the stroller!"

I replied: "No wonder she was so upset! Who would want to sit in a smushy diaper?"

She responded, "Now I feel like a horrible mom. Are you going to write an article about what an oblivious bitch I am?"

Well, I suppose I could end my story here. Keep the spotlight on my friend for her crime of benign neglect.

But I must confess my own transgression, which occurred when Shane was roughly the same age as Zoe. One morning I awoke to the sound of Shane whining in his crib. It was still very early and he didn't seem to be too distressed, so I put my earplugs in and went back to sleep. Over the next 15 minutes or so, the whining got more intense. I finally got my lazy butt out of bed to go get him.

He was covered in vomit.

My child had been barfing in his crib while I was trying to get a few extra minutes of beauty sleep. He could've choked on his puke and asphyxiated.

Deport me now.

Do you live up to your own babysitter expectations? We want to hear from you in the momlogic community!

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15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Deana April 13, 2009, 9:35 AM

Wow. Maybe you and your friends let children “cry it out” but that’s certainly not the norm. Most of the moms I know would agree that letting a child “cry it out” (what is that even supposed to mean?!) is archaic and barbaric advice. I have always, always checked on my kids when they cry and can’t even imagine using earplugs. How sad.

Sara April 13, 2009, 9:40 AM

We all make mistakes, that’s for sure! I have plenty of moments i’m not proud!! It’s just part of motherhood. :) I think we need to give our nannies/babysitters/daycares a break and remember they too are human and make mistakes.

Heather April 13, 2009, 10:18 AM

Whoa, this is brave. We all have selfish and selfless impulses, and are usually too quick to judge.

mollysmom April 13, 2009, 3:16 PM

yes there are days we would probably all be fired if we were on nanny cam and if you say you wouldn’t then you’re either lying to yourself, about to explode because you’re too perfect or popping a mommy’s little helper right now :)

Anonymous April 13, 2009, 3:33 PM

There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting a child cry it out. You can’t run and pick a child up or sooth them every time they cry. That creates spoiled brats which I’m sure you must have Deana.

maeby April 13, 2009, 5:03 PM

we’ve all done it at least once. kids can be a handful!

Concerned Parent April 13, 2009, 6:59 PM

Most kids don’t kick and scream for no reason. Screaming is a child’s way of communicating - and if a young one is having a “fit” there’s usually a good reason for it.

Dirty diaper, vomit - sounds like these kids were in real need of parenting, yet the parents were checked out.

I wanted to laugh…and yes as parents we have all done this. But I feel for the kids. It’s not that they are neglected..but…

I guess I just don’t find the humor in this post. Instead I think it’s just plain sad. I’m not sure who I feel worse for - the kids or the moms of these kids.

I say let’s put some ear plugs on this story!

Melissa April 13, 2009, 7:02 PM

I love the authors ability to take a situation that every mom has been in - and turn it around to make a clear point.

We’ve all been in this situation, but most people don’t have the ability to admit it. The truth is, most people who deny they’ve ever let their kids cry for that “extra minute” while they were finishing something is simply lying to everyone including themselves.

Brilliant, revealing and articulate - was great to read such a honest story.

Heather B April 13, 2009, 9:30 PM

If I had a nanny cam on me yesterday, you have seen my five year old eating most of the candy in his easter basket and throwing easter grass all over the living room while I was sleeping….I sat down for what I thought would be a few minutes and actually fell asleep (for about 30 minutes)after a very long day. I would have been horrified if a babysitter did this, yet it happened so innocently…Great article, really makes you think!

Lilly April 13, 2009, 10:06 PM

There’s one word that sums up this entire story - INTEGRITY. As parents we try the best we can but sometimes we zone out.

We have a phone call that MUST be finished so the baby stays in her crib for an extra 3 minutes. We have an email that needs our attention, so the diaper gets changed 4 minutes late…but a minute before diaper rash sets in so it’s ok. Sometimes life gets in the way, and that’s ok. Our babies still grow up to be well adjusted adults.

And the truth is, any Nanny caught doing any of these things including checking email, looking on dating websites, etc. while our babies cry would be fired in a heartbeat.

Love the integrity in the writing. Well said…hope you post lots more articles on MomLogic - love your style!

K&C's mom April 13, 2009, 11:21 PM

We’ve all had those moments when my oldest was a little over a year, I put her in her crib and let her cry it out so I could take a much needed nap. It’s not neglect, they just need to do that sometimes, and we need to have that time, too. The only time I respond immediately to crying is if I heard a big thump right before. My kids usually come to me if it’s serious.

Emily April 16, 2009, 1:59 AM

I’m so impressed that someone can openly admit their faults when it comes to parenting. I completely understand how and why both of those events happened. I’ve had a child throw tantrums in a stroller repeatedly for absolutely no reason just because they didn’t want to be in a stroller, not because something was wrong. How are you supposed to know that one of those times there was an actual reason? IF your child is a perfect angel and never throws a fit (yeah right!) then maybe I can see how a person would have caught the problem immediately. I too have had the problem of a child crying and vomiting. My first child went through a phase where every night he didn’t want to go to bed. Every night he threw a tantrum for up to an hour long. This took about 2 weeks before he finally decided that bedtime meant bedtime. During one of those times he threw up on himself from screaming too much. I didn’t catch it until his crying subsided and I made sure he was covered up in bed. It’s not about being a bad parent or not having parenting skills. It’s called you can’t foresee everything. Yes, both parents could have checked everything they could think of right away and I could have too but that would mean that every time my kids made an unhappy noise, even if they were just throwing a tantrum, I would have to check for something wrong. Then during the times where it was just a true tantrum for no reason, the child would get attention and feel rewarded for throwing the fit. A parent cannot foresee everything. All they can do is be their best and have the courage to admit when they did do wrong. Kudos to Jennifer for being able to admit her faults! I know I have mine and I only hope I can be as honest about them.

Sue April 16, 2009, 11:08 PM

This article really stirred up some emotions. I totally agree with the majority, the women telling the truth. Letting a child who is age appropriate cry it out, is letting the child learn how to comfort/soothe himself/herself. Children have to learn when it’s time for bed it’s time for bed! Getting off track, all moms make little “oops” those who say they do not are liars and not moms I want to be friend with. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous June 23, 2009, 11:12 PM

i think if more moms took a time out ( place child in safe place so mom can zone for a bit) there would be less abuse and feelings of depression…
letting a toddler cry it out for a few minutes when it looks likes they r simply throwing a tantrum is better then being at thier beck and call IMO.. teaching a child that the world revolves around them is only going to hurt child in the near future..

Angela October 6, 2009, 7:27 PM

Deana, I have a degree in child psychology and worked in a daycare throughout school, and you’re the type of mother we all hated. The one that created children that had NO idea how to self-soothed and were whiny, needy monsters. Also we learned in school that although you’re not supposed to let your kid cry for hours, if you go rescue them every time they cry they learn that hey, when I make a whimper my mommy’s going to come rescue me from bed. Crying it out is encouraged by most child psychologists…. do your research!

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