Modern Love 101:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
What is the Perfect Nanny? (or why every woman needs a wife)
Every mom – working or not – needs a wife. Courtenay, our faithful nanny, has been mine for a year now. At first I told no one that I thought of her that way, least of all my husband (you know how men can get those funny fantasies). There was something comforting behind the initial embarrassment and dependence on another woman, helping me run my household. What relief to know that someone else understood that pillows on the couch needed to be fluffed (must require two X-chromosomes); that we should by milk before we run out at midnight (when someone drinks that last bit, not realizing I was saving it for the baby), and bringing dirty dishes from the table to the counter doesn't mean the kitchen is actually cleaned.
Special thanks to NannyVal for Submitting this Article.


CuriousDad said...

Tongue in cheek comments to follow.

So every Dad needs two wives then? A "real" wife and a "shadow" wife? Oh, and we do NOT need to have you comment to us about her being your wife for us to have those kind of sexual fantasies, we will have them right on our own thank you very much and just not tell you in return. :)
We do not fluff pillows: we are capable enough to fluff them when we need them, everyone else can dang well fluff their own pillows, especially if a pillow fight is about to ensue. Why give someone an advantage??
Put a bloody sign on the milk saying either A: If you drink enough that there is not enough for the child to have a bowl of cereal in the morning, you MUST go out and buy a replacement immediately, or face the wrath of severe nagging. It will be surprising how often the last bit does not get drunk. ;) OR B: DO NOT DRINK THIS you are stealing it from you own child. Watch the "I would never!" whining commence. :)
"Dishes brought to the kitchen does not mean the kitchen is actually clean." Well, duh, we know this. Maybe you should TELL us you want help cleaning up in the kitchen instead of hints, hints NEVER work. We just do not want to clean the kitchen. But would you rather have us leave the dishes on the table? We are after all thinking we are doing a little bit to help by clearing the table. How about honey can you help me with washing/drying them and/or putting them in the dishwasher while I wipe down the counters.

Now if we can only train you guy to leave the toilet seat up!

NannyJ said...

CuriousDad makes me laugh.

This article kind of creeped me out in a weird way. Dad's are not paid to be nannies, that is why nannies do all those things! She shouldn't hold it against her husband... and I am glad she appreciates her nanny...but she shouldn't hold her nanny up so high, either!

ps. I have never seen the name spelled Courtenay... not that that matters...I just found it interesting :).

mom said...

Curious dad,

John? Is that you?

ericsmom said...

Yes, its nice to have an extra set of hands. Or even some other adult to talk to. But most people can't afford that luxury. Especially, if theres only one income coming in.

My friend and I watch each others kids when we need a break. Example, she went out to dinner with her husband and friends. So I watched her daughter. Now this week, I want to go out for a few hours and she will watch my son.
Vice versa.

It works well if you are friends you can trust. And in my case I do. And the kids are the same age. And they love playing together

ugh said...

does she really spell her name like that? Courtenay? Geez. :(

random said...

Um, ugh, SHE is not spelling her name that way... her parents are. Back off. FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS. Seriously... *laughs, shakes head*

ATL Nanny said...

I read the article a few days ago and thought it was slightly annoying. I hate when women talk about their husbands as if they are stupid children. And I really hated the random plug for sittercity in the middle of the article. It seemed jarring to me (why mention just one of the "many great services and sites"?) as well as misleading. The sitter city "background checks" are no substitute for a comprehensive background check.

PS -- Courtenay is the original (correct) spelling of the name.

NannyVal said...

Sorry everybody, I didn't think this article would offend so much. I just found it really refreshing that this woman so obviously appreciates her nanny so much. I think the depreciating husband remarks are just there for emphasis on humor.

mom said...

No problem. And yes, the comments about her husband were obviously for effect and humor. I can't imagine that any of us would seriously want our husbands to be concerned with fluffing the decorative pillows!

CuriousDad said...

NannyVal, I did like the whole appreciate her Nanny part, it was pretty good. I even took the whole man bashing bit in the good nature I hope it was intended. Hence my Tongue in cheek reply.

But us Dads get sick and tired of the constant Dad bashing we read/hear on websites. When most of us Dads do not actually deserve it. Even if it is meant to be tongue in cheek fun. It just gets a bit tiresome after awhile.

Not sure where I saw the article, but there was a great article written by a single Mom. Who tells her friends to send their husbands over to her when they get tired of him. Because she would appreciate his presence allot more then them. I think I need to cut and paste that article sometime and keep it ready. For times when I do get irritated over the man bashing.
But either way I did like the article and thought it put a Nanny in a good light.

CuriousDad said...

And no I have never been a John. ;)

WTF? said...

I don't need a wife. I already have a considerate husband. :)

Marypoppin'pills said...

That was a really nice thing to say.

mom said...

Curious Dad,
I know. I was teasing.

Tinamarie B said...

Hello all,
I am the writer of the piece in question, Tinamarie Bernard. I am glad that most of you correctly identified the humor (about the pillows, milk, etc.), as well as my deep appreciation for my nanny, whose unusual name spelling is a family heirloom.

Thank you NannyVal for posting this piece. Not everyone can afford a nanny, and mine is extraordinary in the ways that matter to me. I appreciate her, and that is the purpose of this article. I imagine that is why you chose to post it. :)

My appreciation as well to those who read this in the spirit it was intended. Respectfully,
Tinamarie Bernard,
Modern Love Examiner

Heather said...

This post made me challenge my current paradigm of being a homemaker, which basically consists of me (being the wife and mother) 'making the home' I only have one child at this point, but hope to have many more and, I suppose, as the nest increases so will my skill of delegation. First to the kids, then maybe even to a pair of hired hands.
To the husband remarks, my advise to the women is "What is obvious to you, is obvious to you." My husband can't read my mind. Hopefully that will save you a lot of arguments.

Tinamarie B said...

Dear CuriousDad,
Lest I leave you (or anyone) with the impression that I am a man basher, rest assured that I am not! My column in general is very man-friendly, and I make a point to consider both sides, male and female. Thank you for catching that humor.

My husband is a great man, a fabulous father, leaves the seat down...but in the kitchen, he's a mini disaster. I love him as is.:)

All the best to you and every man whose presence makes our lives sweeter. T

Noble Drusus said...

Hi, I made some changes to the man-hating article to make it sound like a woman-hating article:

"Every father – working or not – needs a second wife who actually lifts a finger around the house. Courtenay, our faithful nanny, has been my second wife who actually lifts a finger around the house for a year now. At first I told no one that I thought of her that way, least of all my wife (you know how women criticize every little thing you do until it drives you insane). There was something comforting behind the initial embarrassment and dependence on another woman, helping me run my household. What relief to know that someone else understood that pillows on the couch needed to be fluffed (must require a desire to have the house look nice); that we should by milk before we run out at midnight (when someone drinks that last bit, not realizing I was saving it for the baby), and bringing dirty dishes from the table to the counter doesn't mean the kitchen is actually cleaned."

BTW yes I do all the cleaning in the house, dishes, shopping, mopping, sweeping, scrubbing, scouring, picking up, pillow fluffing, vacuuming, linens, cooking and laundry. Single Dads rock!

Marypoppin'pills said...

Tinamarie B
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment... Whenever possible, we try to show Nannies in a positive light.

There are countless Nannies out there that do not get the recognition they deserve.

Marypoppin'pills said...

Looks like someone is into Greek Mythology? Nice Moniker.

NannyVal said...

Tinamarie B, WOW ! What a small world it is indeed. My sister has recently become an Examiner and suggested that I apply as well. Having been a professional nanny for many years I searched the subject and came across your article...which I requested to be posted here. I've been employed by horror families as well as families that truly appreciate me and it does my heart good to hear you praise your nanny so well. I hope she knows how lucky she is!

Nicole said...

This post reminds me a lot of a position I had a year or so ago. I worked for a single - mother and the best way to describe my job was as a wife haha! The mother appreciated me in the same way your post describes and that appreciation kept me working there happily for over 3 years.

Also something that really bothers me and is really machonistic is the fact that whem both parents work equal hours it is still considered the womans ´job´ to cook/clean/look after the kids, but when a father does those things its considered ´helping out or babysitting´.

It is your house and they are your children.. nobody wants to clean the kitchen, but it needs to be done.

Tinamarie B said...

For the record: my WHOLE family appreciates Courtenay. My husband appreciates me; I appreciate him. We are comfortable enough with each others to not mind playful teasing about our minor flaws (like his disasterous presence in the kitchen). Most of the time, I highlight his strengths anyway! (he is a better parent than most, certainly than me.)

To those who see darkness where there is none, I gently suggest you examine your closed eyes and unhappy hearts.

To NannyVal - go for it! You won't make a great amount of money up front, but if you love to write and are good at it, you'll have great fun. Feel free to email me for questions. My email address is at the bottom of every column

mom said...

"To those who see darkness where there is none, I gently suggest you examine your closed eyes and unhappy hearts."

Well said. I love it!

Tinamarie B said...

Thank you mom.
I revisited the piece, and have changed it to reflect some of the suggestions offered here. I hope you'll come revisit the piece, and give me your renewed feedback.

just my opinion said...

Mrs. B
I thought you should have left it alone, the way it was originally written, and not kowtowed to the few that left negative feedback on your article. I liked it the way it was.

mom said...

I agree totally with Just My Opinion. It was great the way it was. Please don't change what you did because somebody felt the need to pick it apart. (Stay on here long enough and you'll realize that no matter what you ever have to say somebody is going to criticize you...just because they feel strong when they are anonymous...or just because they can.)
All of the wives I know speak among themselves in these joking terms about how our lives would be so much simpler around the house if our husbands acted more like us and less like the children in terms of leaving a wake of little chores in their paths. And it is true...our lives would be easier if more men thought ahead of time about how much time it really does take from our days to go after them and pick up all their little assorted bits of clutter. HOWEVER, I have never gotten the impression, and I hope never given it, that this means we do not love and value our husbands for the things they do do. Or, ESPECIALLY, that we would actually be pleased to see our husbands acting "like women" when it comes to nitpicking around the house....even if it did actually mean less work for us. I personally like for men to act like men and women to act like women. ( I really love the traditional things about having a family.) Women TEND to be nesters...men do NOT. I like my husband to be a man, even if I do sometimes grouse that he can't manage to toss his shirts actually into the dry cleaning basket, but feels it sufficient to throw them on the closet floor, thereby indicating to me that I may now bend over and place it in the bag to be sent out. When I see that, I think "Really? You can't even bend over to put it in the bag?"
But if things were reversed and he was the one who was overly fastidious about the house, I would probably be asking, "Really? Are you some sort of control freak, or just secretly wishing you were a woman?" I have girlfriends if I want to talk cleaning and organization...but I don't want to marry any of them.

Think of it like how we moms sometimes plunk down with our friends and "complain" about how we are so exhausted from sewing three halloween costumes, baking 40cupcakes for the class party and, building a detailed model of the solar system all in one night because Alex forgot to mention it two weeks ago when it was assigned...but all the while knowing we would never have changed a moment of any of it and that we love our lives just as they are. Certain bits of grousing about our husbands and kids are more like "rites of passage" IMO.

just my opinion said...

I am like Mom in that I prefer the more "traditional" roles of man and woman. I may complain about picking my Husbands socks up off the floor everyday (is it that hard to find the hamper?), putting down the toilet seat (so I don't fall in while I am half-asleep in the middle of the night), leaving the cap off the toothpaste (and after 19 yrs he still does!), etc.. simple little things that would take him 2 seconds to do himself. However, I do not forget all that he does do around the house like climbing on a ladder (I am afraid of heights) to change the ceiling lights, or cut the grass or the million other things he does. I love him just the way he is, faults and all. None of us are perfect and I am sure he has plenty to complain about, too. But if you love one another, you work through it.

cali mom said...

Nicole, I agree with you COMPLETELY. Taking care of the house you live in is not "helping out", it's taking responsibility for yourself. Taking care of the children you produced 50% is also not "helping out" or "babysitting". It's PARENTING.If the wife holds a FT job after getting married, is that considered "helping out"?

cali mom said...

"I don't expect my husband to be a nanny"? Um, no, but you SHOULD expect him to be a dad. Hello?

Psyber Chica said...

Since I am a SAHM, I do the majority of taking care of the kids and cleaning. If I worked outside of the home, you better believe he would have an equal part in cleaning.

My husband does clean the kitchen or bathroom if I ask him to (probably once every 3 months). He sweeps and mops often without me asking. He also cooks dinner frequently.

I have a brother who does not lift a finger at home. He actually gets mad at me if I talk about how helpful my husband is. He says I have him "whipped".

This is what works in our relationship...I've had to learn to keep my mouth shut regarding the way other couples handle the household. People do what works for them, although, I do know some very frustrated wives. I think you should go on strike if you are not getting the help you deserve.

mom said...

When we were both students, or both working, my husband and I shared in housework equally. Of course, then we had no kids and were not perpetually exhausted either...not to mention that we were able to control the mess in our house, as no gremlins were running amok destroying the place faster than we could clean it.

One we had kids, I took over the almost all of the household duties...which usually seems completely fair, (except on those occasions when I get overwhelmed.) I know I absolutley do more work on a daily basis than my husband, however, I have always been so grateful that he had such a willingness and appreciation for my desire to be a SAHM, that I have long felt LUCKY to be me and do what I do. I mean so lucky that I sometimes think I might actually need to pinch myself....seriously. Besides, in a few years, when all of my babies are grown and off at college I am sure that I will get way more rest and "me" time than I ever wanted.
That doesn't mean there aren't times I might actually want to kill my husband for one thing or another. Women. We're such simple, gentle creatures. hehehee

Lola said...

Just my opinion- haha that sounds exactly like my husband. And he loves to cook. He makes the MOST delicious (but probably a little fattening!) meals. BUT sometimes I would just rather cook, not only for my waistlines sake, but also because he leaves the kitchen in such disarray after he's done! But I never complain, I just get to work after dinner. I am lucky to have such a wonderful man (who WILL cook for us!)and wouldn't trade him for the world.

And I HAVE fallen in the toilet in the middle of the night!!!!