twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Nannying: How Much Is Too Much?

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Guest blogger Jessica Katz: Everybody needs a helping hand, but ... how much nannying is too much nannying?


The other day in baby group, a mom was telling us that her nanny had canceled so she decided to feed her baby in the bathtub (water and all). The idea? She could feed and bathe her daughter at the same time and avoid any mess. Her nanny usually does the feeding, bathing and bedtime routines. This mom hates doing that stuff.

Our group leader started explaining how important it is to do "all" the parenting, even the mundane stuff. It is important for the relationship between the parent and child. Most moms expressed that they wanted to be their babies' friend, not the "bad guy." They didn't want to feed them messy vegetables, be in the room when the baby got vaccinated or put them to bed while they cried. And then they shared that most of them had full-time help, and that was their secret to sanity. It occurred to me that most of these moms were putting in only a few hours a day with their babies. And in a pinch, some didn't even know how to do the essentials. Most had hired help 12 hours a day, 6 days a week ... costing around $45,000 annually.

I know you are allowed to have a life and you do not need to be tethered to your baby. And it is perfectly fine to have help, whether it be family or hired. But there is an importance to parenting your kids, to letting them know you will be there through the tough times and you will take care of them and make them feel better. The time you spend with them feeding, bathing and setting limits and bedtime routines ... these are fundamental things that a parent should do with their child. Kids have friends; what they really crave and need is a parent -- an anchor. Someone who always takes care of them and whom they can count on to keep them in check.

My mom was against nannies, saying she didn't have children for other people to raise them. I disagree, and we have help 10 hours a week so I can get a break and run errands. I think I am a better mom when I get a break; I am energized and more patient. It's OK to get a break from mommy duty -- but not to have someone take it over all together.

Babies grow so fast, and before you know it, they will be doing these things for themselves. You don't want to miss it. Believe me, by bedtime I am burnt out by my daughter. But an hour after she is asleep, I miss her and want to wake her up. If you don't establish the foundation as a caregiver, it will be hard for you to expect your toddler or child to follow the boundaries you create later in their life. Shortcuts can create real problems in the long run. You may get a break today, but it will come back to bite you when you least expect it.

next: Egg Donors: A High Price to Harvest
63 comments so far | Post a comment now
ljgs October 27, 2010, 7:46 AM

Do these women who have hired help 12 hours a day work for pay? Not that I advocate having someone else raise your children 12 hours a day under any circumstance, but it’s particularly heinous if they are not working at all. Why have the kids in the first place???

michelle October 27, 2010, 8:05 AM

I call BS on this piece. I suspect these “moms” Jessica mentions are straw women — as in she made them up just so she can make her sanctimonious little point. I live in a very well off neighborhood in a very major city and I have never ever heard a mom admit to having that much full time help. Most wealthy stay at home moms I know have some paid help, but not nearly as much as Jessica claims they have. And even if they do, they certainly would never admit to it. It is culturally not acceptable.

XXXX October 27, 2010, 8:43 AM


KS October 27, 2010, 9:55 AM

Michelle, that may be your experience but that doesn’t make this blogger a liar.

Children aren’t accessories. If these women didn’t want to be mothers they shouldn’t have had children. They will deal with the repercussions of their decisions. Wait, no they wont society will. Their maladjusted children will go forth and take out their emotional instability on those around them. People need to grow up and get over themselves.

Sarah B October 27, 2010, 10:21 AM

Honestly, if your a stay at home mom, I have NO idea why you need a nanny. (I am a SAHM by the way) I understand needing a break every now and again, but to have a nanny who comes EVERY day is non-sense. If you work, it’s another story, but I still think it is silly to have a nanny when you aren’t working.

I would have to agree with the mother of the blogger. Why have children at all if you aren’t going to raise them?

Jennifer October 27, 2010, 2:21 PM

Sorry, my jaw is still on the floor. Words can not properly express how disappointed and horrified I am by this article. Not how the article was written, but the content. Just….wow.

ag October 27, 2010, 10:15 PM

Michelle: I was a nanny for 2 different families that were in a well off area in a very major city. Both moms were SAHM and yet I was there 12 hours a day 5 sometimes 6 days a week. I eventually quit because I realized I couldn’t enable behavior I didn’t agree with. Now I’m a SAHM with NO nanny.

Ivory October 28, 2010, 2:10 PM

I too was a nanny, and the mother of the child had a a complicated pregnancy at the time and wanted extra help. Even after the baby was born, though, she still “needed” help. In total, there were 3 nannies for the babies - two for the first child, and one for the second. The first child had both me and another nanny caring for him from 7am (sometimes earlier) to 8pm. So, Michelle, it is entirely plausible for a family to have help 12 hours a day.

r October 28, 2010, 6:51 PM

I certainly don’t doubt the existence of the mother mentioned in this story. I am a nanny, and I once interviewed with a stay at home mom who was looking for a nanny to work 7-7, M-F. In her defense, she did have 3 children under 3, but based on the tasks that she expected her nanny to perform, she was a stay at home mom only in the respect that she had birthed children and did not have a job. All of the childcare and housekeeping was left to the nanny. Moms like that might be rare, but they are all too real.

valium December 1, 2010, 3:11 PM

I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

Hostel Belgrade January 14, 2011, 8:51 PM

Interesting article, thank you. Could you explain the second paragraph in more detail?

microsoft help January 28, 2011, 12:44 AM

Great post…awesome picture…congrats!

Miki Ackison March 16, 2011, 9:15 PM

This domain appears to get a great deal of visitors. How do you advertise it? It offers a nice unique twist on things. I guess having something useful or substantial to post about is the most important thing.

Alveo March 21, 2011, 11:07 AM

Thank You For This Post, was added to my bookmarks.

Gayle H. Shields March 25, 2011, 8:27 AM


jillpreschool teacher March 27, 2011, 4:12 PM

I teach preschool and I have a two year old student who sees his mom an hour a day if he is lucky. The mom has no control with him when she is with him. She is a lawyer in a major firm. I know how they work. You are nothing unless you are billing 24 hours a day. I know her job is important to her and all consuming. Most people don’t know why she had him she spends so little time with him and wants the Nanny to everything. She even had the nanny buy his close. She is all about work and does not understand child development at all

dofollowblog March 29, 2011, 1:38 PM

There are a lot of strange comments on here.

Mike O. Goodman March 29, 2011, 5:18 PM


Jackie Desrocher March 29, 2011, 8:08 PM

Well I sincerely liked studying it. This information provided by you is very helpful for accurate planning.

Sha Cachola March 30, 2011, 1:39 PM

Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. I’ll probably be again to read much more, thanks for that info.

Back to top >>