Sending The Nanny To School Events: Mom-Fail Or Mom-Genius?

Recently, I had to send my nanny to my daughter’s 3 year-old doctor’s checkup. I had a last-minute travel demand for work and couldn’t make the appointment. My husband couldn’t go either. But Dads seem to get off the hook for missing stuff. I guess that’s a blog for another time. Anyway, since changing a well-visit is worse than trying to change your privacy settings on Facebook, I kept the appointment and sent our very qualified nanny in my place.
This was on the heels of missing her preschool singing performance (as well as her brother’s). And sending our nanny instead.
Yes, I felt awful about missing these events. The concerts were at 10 and 11 a.m and I had a work event that morning. But I also felt incredibly relieved. I have a back-up “Mom” who can fill in for me when I just. can’t. be. there. She’s my nanny.
This is when my Working Mom-Guilt kicks in to high gear. I work. Regardless of why, the situation is not going to change. I just wish the schools and preschools would stop assuming one parent is home with their kids. Namely, Mom.
But you know what? Mom can’t do it all. The Working Moms. The Stay-at-Home Moms. None of us. So if we need to outsource it to a grandma, nanny or even swap shifts with another parent… so be it. Does it make us bad Moms? No, it makes us smart.
But it doesn’t remove the guilt.
And it doesn’t make the schools change their programming.
Recently, the NY Post revealed that some of the NYC private school moms were sending their nannies to school events, like bake sales, school plays and parent volunteer days. And the school officials (as well as other parents) were getting angry. They quoted one horrified school committee member saying “[These] Parents can’t be bothered two days a year for an hour?!”
The truth is, we can’t. We could lose our jobs. Another truth? It’s never an hour. Factor in commute time (both ways) and the time it takes for the program to start (never on time) and the follow-up conversations as you’re trying to walk out the door. Nope, never 1 hour. And definitely not only 2 days a year if you have more than one child.
The problem is the same throughout North America: Schools still assume one parent is home during the day, but dual income families now make up 70% of the labor force. And most people can’t leave work to attend a bake sale or be on a committee. So the stay at home parents shoulder the responsibility. They run the committees and host the events. And that’s not fair either. In fact, it might just be fueling the Mommy Wars.
Sending a nanny in your place is convenient for me, but it’s also meaningful to my children. During my son’s preschool concert, he looked up and saw his nanny filming him (for me to see later), and ran over to give her a hug. Mid performance. These nannies are part of our families. I’m lucky I have someone who loves my kids – and who my kids love — and can be my clone at times.
And it only gets worse after preschool. In fact the public school in my town has half-day Tuesdays. Every Tuesday. It’s ridiculous. How is this supposed to work in a dual income household?
Schools and preschools, you have to get with the program. Hold concerts on weeknights or weekends so both parents can attend. Lessen the half-days during the year. Assume both parents are working. Assume that they can’t drop their work obligations – to run back and forth to the school. But also assume that we want to be there. We would be those beaming, applauding audience members and helping hands if your event fit our schedule. We would take pride in being able to do this for our kids. But right now, earning an income that helps put a roof over their heads takes priority.
Tell me, do you get to make the school events – and have you ever sent a nanny in your place?



  1. Sending The Nanny To School Events: Mom-Fail Or Mom-Genius?
    Andrea | Thursday,September 22.2016

    Thank you for this article, it was good to read, and helped me realize that although I do have guilt I am still doing the best thing for my kids. We have a nanny who my kids love and is a huge part of our family. She recently had to take my daughter to her 24 month check up and our doctor gave her such attitude that I was embarrassed to go back. I actually thought about changing our doctor. I felt so judged that our nanny, who spends every day with my daughter, had to answer questions about her development and was was treated like she was not qualified to answer these questions. I could hear the judgement in every sentence that our nanny relayed as she described the appointment. She was also mortified and how she was treated-our Doctor is a woman and a working mom. Stop judging! These woman are our angels and love our children and together we do the best for our kids. Moms need to support each other, and respect that every family has different dynamics. Agree that Public Schools should put concerts at night, daycares and private schools do because they get parents, they include them in their considerations. Thank you, Andrea (mum to a 5 yr old Dino hunter and 2 year old gymnast)

  2. Sending The Nanny To School Events: Mom-Fail Or Mom-Genius?
    K | Friday,September 23.2016

    It’s all good, but by saying that school events should be held on weeknights and weekends, you are assuming that everyone is working 9-5. Please remember shift workers! Thanks.

  3. Sending The Nanny To School Events: Mom-Fail Or Mom-Genius?
    Prai | Friday,September 23.2016

    This is a great topic, I totally agree having help with kids, house works is really grateful for working full time mom and family.

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