Jeremy, one of my listeners, wrote an impassioned email, shocked that a child psychologist is looking for someone to take care of her not yet born baby due in January. “I found it stunning that someone has already given up the chance to take care of their baby before it’s even born. You would think a child psychologist would know better, but even they want to put career before kid. I wonder how important the kid would feel if he read his mother’s ad 10 years from now – seeing his ‘mother’ in a hurry to find someone to take care of him as soon as he/she was born?”
Well, that got my attention, and I clicked onto the job posting site, and leaving out the name and city of the woman in question, here’s what she posted:
“I am a child psychologist looking for a nanny for my baby who will be born in January. I am looking for a very special person who has experience with childcare- including caring for newborns. This person should have education in a field related to childcare/ psychology etc. and have had CPR training (or will get it). This person should be at least 25 years of age and responsible. This person should be exceptionally loving, patient, and sensitive… someone who I can trust with my new baby. I would like for this person to begin in February, providing approx 15 hours per week and then starting in April, approx 35 hours per week (7 hours per day, M-F). I am willing to pay the right person $11 per hour. If you think you are this person, please send resume to _________ and include your contact info. Thanks!”
I don’t even know where to start. She wants someone with her education, CPR training, at least 25 years old, responsible, patient, loving and sensitive – someone who can be trusted with her newborn….ahh….isn’t that the description of a mommy and not a nanny?
You should also know that this therapist lives and works in a wealthy community.
I couldn’t resist…so, I answered the ad…kind of: “Dear ‘Child Psychologist’ Parent-to-be: Your posting asking for childcare for a yet to be born child has stirred up quite a bit of negative commentary…especially since you are someone trained in the emotional and psychological needs of children. Would you be willing to offer a statement of explanation as to how your training led you to the conclusion that your hands- and heart-on parenting was not necessary for your child’s healthy and happy development?” Sincerely, Dr. Laura Schlessinger
The answer…well, an answer…came rather quickly: “I am shocked by this insensitive and judgmental email from you. I wish I could stay home with my baby but I cannot afford to do this. But this is none of your business. You don’t know me or anything about my life. You are not a doctor of psychology. You should keep your unsolicited opinions to yourself.”
I responded: “I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I merely gave you the information that has come to me and gave you the opportunity to explain your position in response to the emails I received. There is nothing insensitive about concern for the well-being of a child and respect for the mother-child bond.”
Now – sidebar – as far as “not affording” to take care of her own baby, she was prepared to pay $1500/month and she lives in an extraordinarily wealthy part of the United States, and with a psychology license, she can always work evenings.
She responded: “You are very off base, insensitive, and downright incorrect to think or say that there should be any concern for the well-being of a child or a mother-child bond just because the mother must work. Research shows (here it comes!) that it is the quality of the mother-child relationship that defines secure attachment, not whether the mother works. I believe it is optimal for moms to stay with their babies as much as possible, but unfortunately, not everyone can afford to stay home everyday with their baby. I hope that you show more sensitivity in the future.”
I’m confused…if she believes it is optimal for moms to stay with their babies, why does she cite research that says the opposite? Also, why is a traditional viewpoint insensitive and judgmental while an “alternative” viewpoint is simply fact?
My final communication ended with, “Frankly, I am concerned that you’re not going to be there for your new infant. You could always work at night after your baby starts sleeping through the night. Until then, you could do what I assume you had in mind when you determined to be pregnant: be a mommy, your baby needs that from you and you will be wonderfully transformed by the experience.
“Don’t you understand why I am writing you? I am trying to give you back the gift you’re giving someone else for $11/hour. Surely your studies have shown you how important the first three years of bonding to mother are? It seems you’ve only taken in the feminista nonsense that mothering is all about the mother.
”You see me as judgmental (there is a right and wrong) and insensitive – no way, I am trying to be sensitive to what you are giving up and what the child will miss in you.” Warmly, drl