It takes a Village… and then some

By Feature Writer Rebecca Nelson Lubin

guest This past weekend I went to Santa Barbara to represent for Parents Weekend for one of my favorite old charges, Sierra, who is sadly down one parent these days, having lost her Dad a little over two years ago. I was a little nervous as I set out for the airport, as I had worked for her Dad for about ten years, but for the first time ever would be staying with her Mom. It is an awkward situation at best, to be employed by only one of the parents of the children you provide care for, and feel a sense of loyalty towards that parent, as both your employer and your friend. Sierra’s Mom Gila and I were never able to forge a true friendship over the years, but I held her in the highest respect as the Mother of the children I cared for. I wondered, as I flew from San Francisco, how did she feel about me? Here I was, her ex-husband’s ex-employee, bonded with her daughter to the extent that she wanted me at her school for the weekend as a parent. Would she see me as some sort of usurper? The Other Woman? All these years I wanted nothing more to tell her that providing care and support for her girls was one of the most rewarding things I have done with my life, and that it was always done with her best interest in mind, although sometimes with deep feelings of guilt as while she was their Mother, there were times when I was the woman helping them into their pajamas and putting them to bed, because a judge had determined a joint custody agreement that decided when she could be the one bathing them and caring for them, and when she could not. I would have resented me.

But the wonderful thing about being bonded over beautiful children is that it gives you common ground, and a shared goal, for their goodness and their health and their growth. And I found that while Gila and I had never had the opportunity before to kick back and really talk, now that the chance was here, we grabbed it and found that we adored each other. Why should we not? The truth is that we have been part of the same family for over ten years now; we just never got around to hanging out together. For three days we talked, and laughed, cooked goat cheese lasagna, and reminisced about all of our shared history, and spoke fondly towards a future of support for her girls – and deeply for me – for her. Divorced or not, It can’t be easy to lose your co-parent when your children are young, and be left alone to guide them through the world. It has to be the world’s most difficult job. I hope that the knowledge that there is someone out there who has her back will make it easier for her. I now look forward to future weekends of goat cheese lasagna and chatting lightly over homework and helping her girls find their way in the world. It ain’t gonna be easy. It’s going to take a village…and then some, and their former Nanny is looking forward to being a member of that village.
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at


sigh said...


fairfieldcountynanny said...

I happen to enjoy Rebecca's stories. You don't have to read them if your not interested. And don't you think it's better than having nothing new posted?

Jane Doe said...

We had two days this week with nothing, hence the call for Halloween photos. We welcome and appreciate reader submissions!

Phoenix said...

I like her stories. What is wrong with them?

Rebecca Lubin said...

Thank you Phoenix! I like you because you are from Arizona and so is my boyfriend!

in response to Phoenix said...

She's either lying, or incredibly un-selfaware. Rebecca always potrays herself acting perfectly, she doesn't even have less than perfect feelings. Personal essays either need to be about an extraordinary event, or show some deeper universal human emotion. These do neither. Rebecca is technically a good writer, but she needs to stop worrying about his she looks. I don't mean the to come off as bitchy as it sounds. I think you could be a good writer if you worked this out

Psyber Chica said...

Rebecca, there are plenty of people who enjoy your contribution. I hope you will not let the few haters discourage you.

Mariska said...

I don't have a problem with Rebecca's stories necessarily.... but they do tend to be about the same type of things over and over, but that is just me

Phoenix said...

personally I like the writing. It is nice to read something that flows and makes sense. She can choose to write about whatever she wants. Personally I think that we all read too many stories that have a deeper human emotion.

Reading happy things is good too. I don't tell everyone all my thoughts on certain things. Nor do I say all my stories.

Keep going Rebecca - you are a breathe of fresh air.

nycmom said...

I don't get the animosity toward Rebecca's stories either. I also don't get the weekly confusion from readers that a story of hers is posted again.

JD and MPP have *clearly* stated that she is writing a regular guest column. Thus, it should not come as suprise when she . . . writes a regular guest column! They have also made an open call for other writers who might be interested in doing the same thing. I can only assume that no one else has been willing to put in the effort to do what Rebecca is doing, which is no small task.

While I agree that some of Rebecca's stories are more interesting than others, I find it really rude to continually attack her writing skills and her as a person. I don't have a problem with a lively discussion on the subject matter of her stories, but why must unkind people attack her personally over and over again?

If you truly think she is a terrible writer and a horrible person you have a few choices:

1. Don't read her stories.

2. Email JD and MPP privately about your concerns.

3. Submit your own weekly column as a candidate to either replace Rebecca's or give readers an alternate choice, showcasing your own clearly superior character and writing skills.

It's easy to attack others from the cheap seats. But, Sigh/In response to Phoenix, if you are going to be so continually unkind and superior, put your money where your mouth is. Let's see 5 weeks of childcare/childrearing essays in a row from you. Please, show us all how it SHOULD be done, so we can take your comments as genuine literary commentary, rather then the petty, nastiness they now appear as.

Rocket Scientist said...

I totally agree, nycmom! I can't even think of anything to add :)

Mona Kerr said...

I don't usually like these postings, to be honest, but to be fair, this one represents something that may happen to some people and they never have a chance to know that it happens in other places to other nannies, too. I know I have been in situations others haven't and would like to read something similar to what I experience, but more often than not, I can't find anything. Someone may stumble upon this and be grateful. Definitely a pretty unique situation.

Nice job, Rebecca.

alex said...

I love Rebecca's stories!! As she is a nanny that has watched kids for years I appreciate the insight she adds!

I don't think she portrays herself "perfectly" and I find it so special that the girl wanted her at her parents' weekend!

costanza said...

DAYUM, nycmom! Excellente!

'Nuff said!

P.S. to Rebecca:
Rock on with your bad self, girl!


these stories are "preachy" I would submit a story but a lot of nannies on this board don't want to hear about the other dark side of being a nanny, they want to read sickening, sweet blather like this women writes, yes it is very technical but dont you learn to write like this in your freshman year of high school? her stories are robotic, reading them is like reciting the poem humpty dumpty 10 times over, yucky doo

Rebecca Lubin said...

Hey Monkeyshines - you SHOULD write something and submit it to this board! I would totally dig to hear about your experiences on "the dark side" of being a Nanny. I think that a lot of people would. You probably wouldn't even have to put your real name on it, we all know you well from your moniker here. How about it? Gonna tell us a story this week?
Go Giants!

Marypoppin'pills said...

You are known to be somewhat controversial around here... and any regular Reader knows that we can be, too.

ISYN is not always about puppies and rainbows, so send it in.

nycmom said...

I would also like to hear your stories, Monkeyshines. It is interesting to hear about the good and bad of nannying.

Please submit your story!