11 Oct 2013

When Even the Professionals Get it Wrong...Really Wrong

Recently I had the chance to sit with a group of mothers, who were much like me, having at least twins in their busy families. We listened to a very nice lady, who happened to be a psychotherapist, who also happened to make a terrible and uneducated judgement during her chat.

While talking about the obvious challenges bringing more than one baby home at a time can bring to a couple, and the ups and downs of making a relationship work, she said she really doesn't know how parents of multiples do it and continue to be able to make time for each other.

She reminded us that it really is hard work to make a relationship work and that's okay. Nothing worthwhile comes easy...or so the saying goes. She had my attention here. She was giving us mothers permission to be tired and have random, dumb arguments with our husbands over the contents of a recycling bin (yes, I had an argument over a recycling bin!) She said she knows from many conversations that couples with multiples or singletons for that matter, often struggle to find time for each other because if you both work all day or one's at work while the other is caring for the kids all day long, once the kids are tucked in bed, the last thing many parents...in particular mothers...want to think about is how to make the only other grown adult in the house happy. Days are long and can be taxing if you're at work all day or hanging out with screaming, crayon eating, runny nosed children. Once bedtime is dealt with many of us want to sit and enjoy the silence, maybe not chat with anyone at all because you actually lack the energy to do so. Sometimes that happens. We're human.

As this psychotherapist went on to discuss how tired we are as parents and had us raising our hands to various questions, she proceeded to ask, "Who here has a nanny?" Two of us raised our hand...one of those people was me. Yes, our household has a nanny. It's not something I openly talk about because lots of people, and I mean lots, make inaccurate assumptions of what having a nanny really means. Since I have a nanny, I am told my husband and I are "rich." I've been told we're "lucky." I've been told, "It must be nice to have an immaculate house to come home to every night after work." My responses are, "No, we're not rich. We can't actually afford to send our kids to an actual daycare because it would cost us close to $3000 a month," and "Why are we lucky? I'm not really sure," and finally, "We have a nanny, not a housekeeper. She looks after 3 young children, not the ring around the bathtub." Having a nanny is about cost-savings and that is it. It doesn't mean I am any less tired at the end of the day. I work a full time job, leaving the house at 8:15 and getting home at 5:30ish. Same for the hubby. We're busy people, working hard to bring home the bacon.

So when I raised my hand, along with the other woman in the room, the psychotherapist proceeded to tell everyone we (us two idiots who put up our hands) have the best...how can I keep this PG? The best "relationships" with our husbands out of everyone in the room! Why? Because we have a nanny looking after our kids. What?? FYI, a nanny is not an accessory. Having a nanny doesn't mean it makes a workday less challenging. Having a nanny doesn't make our lives any better than the mothers who take their kids to daycare for the day or are stay at home moms, so why is there this apparent mythical labelling that a nanny is the perfect fix to a relationship and whatever other inaccurate labels people bestow upon them? Once this woman said this, she completely lost me. Fizzle...Checked out. It left me feeling like this message coming from the expert, was that if we had a nanny, life must be peachy and I really had nothing to complain about. I must not be like the other mothers in the room. Because I have a nanny.

So the moral(s) of this story? Skip the assumptions. Do your research before you cast your judgement. And even if you think it's going to be funny, just don't say it if you don't know your audience!

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