Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Hard Stuff

My friends and I met a nanny at the park during our weekly playdate Monday. She had a set of twins and two two-year-olds. None of them cried, puked, ran around crazy, and she looked completely unstressed. Obviously, we had to pick this woman’s brain.

After pelting her with questions for around three hours, the playdate mommies and I discovered we may be the only people in our zip code raising our kids without assistance from a paid helper. She could work 24/7 if she chose since she is both a day and a night nanny(yeah, night nannies stay up with kids so parents can sleep. That’s why some moms come to the library with color coordinated outfits, lipstick, and highlighted hair and I show up with one of my kids’ underwear sticking to my shirt because of static cling. I also don’t wear makeup and went three days without brushing my hair once because I forgot. Yes, forgot. I don’t look in mirrors much). She has had clients who she night nannies for and then turns them over to a day nanny, never seeing the parents except when she is interviewed.

This affirms a story one of my friends told me about a mom in her son’s swim class who brings her nanny along to the lessons because a) she refuses to change her child’s diaper, b) she refuses to change his clothes, and c) she refuses to feed him herself. She basically jumps in the pool, splashes around and then hands him to someone else.

I’m still having a hard time believing this stuff really exists. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve known for a long time that our family set up camp in a community we don’t have a ton in common with. It doesn’t mean the people aren’t nice, and we love that there are tons of families around, but we know we’re strange in the don’t-like-to-buy-things, don’t-care-if my-kid-goes- to-Harvard-or- plays-sports (and the sports one can get you shot), still-breastfeeding-my-almost- two-year-old, wear-children’s-underwear-to-the-library-on-the-outside-of-my-clothes kind of way. However, the nanny thing confirmed it: we are in a foreign land. Or maybe this is a widespread thing. I’m really not sure.

The sadness I feel about this whole situation is not in being left out. I have met equally odd individuals, like the ladies I was at the park with, and we’re forming our own community within whatever this other mess is. I just feel bad for the parents who aren’t changing diapers, feeding babies, staying up all night because someone needs you to; all this stuff is good. It’s where the relationships are built. Some of it is frustrating and gross, but it’s wonderful and sweet, and there is so much blackmail that comes from it to be used when your children sass you as teenagers. I wouldn’t want to miss a second and just jump in on the “easy” parts of parenting, if there are any. The messy and the crazy are where I think we’ve all learned the most about each other. And let me tell you, if you want to know someone, spend a ton of time with them when they’re sleep deprived. The four of us have information on each other we will have to take to the grave (or I’ll blog about what I know if antagonized). The inside jokes, the meltdowns, the little things about people’s personalities, it’s all there in the everyday, but you have to be there for it. Those crazy parents with full-time nannies and their uninterrupted sleep; just give me the wrinkles that come with sleep deprivation and I’ll be good to go. I get the moments to go with the wrinkles, so it’s worth it.

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