The Future of Gender Equality Depends on Nannies
“I have thought very hard and long about what has influenced me over the past couple of years, and since I have been at this dinner in 2008, I have given birth to two boys and I’ve left Saturday Night Live and I started my own TV show, and it’s been a crazy couple of years, and I thought who besides Madam Secretary Clinton and Lorne Michaels have influenced me? And it was the women who helped me take care of my children. It is Jackie Johnson from Trinidad and it is Dawa Chodon from Tibet, who come to my house and help me raise my children. And for you working women who are out there tonight who get to do what you get to do because there are wonderful people who help you at home, I would like to take a moment to thank those people, some of whom are watching their children right now, while you’re at this event. Those are people who love your children as much as you do, and who inspire them and influence them and on behalf of every sister and mother and person who stands in your kitchen and helps you love your child, I say thank you and I celebrate you tonight.”
– Amy Poehler at a dinner honoring Time magazine’s 100 most influential people
Cheryl Sandburg, Beyoncé and Amy Poehler are just a few well-known working moms who have made strides to break through glass ceilings and be at the top of their field. These accomplished women have at least one thing in common: They have great nannies.
Families that come to Adventure Nannies looking for childcare are no different. They are highly motivated and successful, aiming to excel in their careers while raising exceptional children.
In any community, parents who work all day, come home to be with their kids at night, and maybe have some relationship time with one another after the kids are in bed, seem superhuman. Because they have to be! With bedtime routines, education, and household management to take care of, where do they find the time and energy?!
With a nanny, parents come home to kids who have been cared for all day, household management and education that has been taken care of, and a routine that is in place regardless of how crazy their work schedule got. These parents can come home and still have the time and energy in the evening to truly be with their kids, without superhuman powers.
The support of a nanny is essential to gender equality because in the United States mothers spend on average double the amount of time on unpaid home and childcare work than fathers. This is true even when both parents hold full time jobs. Studies found that these stats are holding steady, even in a time when more American households than ever are relying on the mother’s paycheck for income. Even more staggering is that fathers tend to spend more of their childcare time with children on pleasure activities, while mothers spend those hours on educational and managerial tasks causing even more burn out.
Needless to say, having children and a career is not easy, and as we can see, this demand is doubled for women.
Shouldn’t children be cared for by a parent rather than a hired caregiver?
Studies have shown that time spent with children is about quality, not quantity when it comes to development and relationships. With a skilled nanny to care for their children while they are at work, mothers can ensure that the time they have to spend with their kids is of the highest quality because they still have energy and no longer have to worry about the low-quality, high-quantity, family management tasks.
The families who come to Adventure Nannies are all exceptionally good parents and often very high-achieving individuals. Without the support of a nanny though, even they struggle to raise their children alongside their career and other demands. With the burden of caring for the children resting largely on the mothers’ shoulders, a nanny becomes essential to gender equality in the workforce and in the home if only to alleviate the pressure to take on so much at home and at work. Nannies provide the support needed for moms to not only avoid burn out, but to “lean in” and do amazing things in their field and at home.
This post was written by Lieschen Gargano, who holds a master’s degree in Peace in Conflict Resolution from the University of Denver. Lieschen has first hand experience as both a mother and a nanny. (T-shirt in featured image by Otherwild!)