Quora: On nannies, stay-at-home parents & feminism

My comments on an answer to a Quora question.

Original Question: Motherhood: Are stay at home moms/dads who have a full-time nanny lazy?

One person who answered this question basically said YES for the following reasons.

  • "This trend of stay-at-home moms getting full time nannies is bull and needs to be stopped"
  • "This trend arose as a result of a misinterpretation and bastardization of women's liberation."
  • "Women's liberation was NOT about women having the right choose to work or not to work. It was about women choosing whether they work inside the home or work outside the home. But in either scenario, the woman was choosing to work."
  • Ergo, women who don't work but have nannies are terrible and must be stopped.

My Reaction

I hate it when people get really judgey about the way other people live their lives and raise their kids, so I just HAD to comment on his answer. See below.

As an aside, these type of judgemental attitudes seem very typical of people in their 20s (In fact, I think I was probably a judgemental b!^@# about mothers and parenting styles when I was that age too). But fortunately, most of us mellow out and are more accepting of different lifestyles by the time we are in our 40s.

My Comment

This is an interesting viewpoint, but I don't think feminism is the cause of this.

For at least the last few hundred years (probably longer), we've had women who didn't work but who delegated the bulk of child raising to their servants.

Think about the segregated US South in the first part of the last century -- many upper middle class white children were basically raised by their black nannies while their moms played bridge and did charity work (my Dad was one of these kids).

Or what about the English aristocracy, going back hundreds of years? Those mothers not only had full-time nannies, they had entire household staffs. I dare say those women weren't raising their own kids, nor were they working.

And there are many more examples, all over the world, at different points in time.

The feminist movement had nothing to do with any of this.

But I do agree with what seems to be your overarching view, that each of us has an individual responsibility to contribute to society, and to not be merely self-absorbed creatures of leisure. For some, they contribute via work. For others, they contribute via raising children. And others contribute via charity work or other means.

Sue Raisty

Product management geek, born-again engineer, adoptive mother of boys, coach & mentor, mountain trail runner, tinkerer, no-bull communicator, wannabe writer, room mother & compulsive researcher.

Silicon Valley, California http://blog.sueraisty.com