Monday, March 26, 2012

Rubbing Elbows and Ruffling Feathers

Way back in 2006, when I was a mere lad with wide eyes and the belief that people who have children actually want to raise them, my Dad tossed in front of me this article from USA Today.

On a whim, I Googled Beacon Hill Nannies, filled out the application, and never gave it another thought. The agency was clear about its strict requirements and desire for Pedigreed nannies for the pickiest of snobs the elite. A couple of weeks later, the agency called me back and asked that I submit a video interview to be shown to potential families. I'm cringing as I type that because it has just now dawned on me that when I ditched that circa 2006 desktop computer during last Fall's move, I neglected to save the video footage.

I sat in front of a pond full of geese in a park during a perfect autumnally appropriate and orange day. My sister asked questions and filmed as I sat on the bench in my J.Crew khakis, button up shirt, and denim coat and pink loafers for a touch of, "look at me! I'm a nanny! I'm a professional AND I'm fun!"

Chris mocks me to this day because for every interview, I sport some random, nonsensical accessory. He wiggles his Jazz Hands at me as I go out the door and taunts, "look at me! I'm FUN!"

Khakis with embroidered puppies land the job, every time.

Anyway, I ended up with the agency and felt really proud of the accomplishment. Beacon Hill was known to be THE YALE of nanny agencies and I had somehow squeaked by their SAT requirements. The owner pimped me out as a Midwestern Girl which is exactly the kind of prime rib dinner that hungry East Coast tigers like.

You know, family values, solid morals, and hot dish casseroles? The sort of things that serve as a substitute for parents that don't want to do an ounce of parenting.

Why do what you can pay someone else to do for you!

After years with a Totally, Certifiably Whacked Out Cuckoobirds family, I resigned on my own free will. There was an AH HA moment of holy shitballs, I am almost 25 years old and I have never had my own life because I've been so damn busy managing someone else's!

I took a year to teach preschool. I accepted a job as the nanny of five for a seemingly normal family.

They were not.

Six years after I first read that article in USA Today, I had a flashback moment last week when the New York Times ruffled the feathers of many with an article last week about a $180,000 nanny. I read the article and nodded sagely to some of it-- knowingly-- and rolled my eyes at some of it. I read all 325 comments left by online readers and felt both offended and appalled.

The only comment I found acceptable was this:

180,000 per year
365 days per year
24 hours per day
comes to $20.55 per hour.
That is a FANTASTICALLY low wage for someone with all the various skills, talents, knowledge and disposition that a nanny does. More power to them!

Which is exactly what many professional nannies do and it is what ALL East Coast nannies do. There is not a moment of personal time, not an ounce of privacy, and more use and abuse and mistreatment than anyone could imagine.

To be a professional nanny is to be someone's personal slave, I can assure you.

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