She’s not your father’s Mary Poppins

She’s not your father’s Mary Poppins

For once, I am astounded nearly (but only nearly) to speechlessness by this article in USA Today: “CEOs shell out nearly 6 figures to secure the perfect nanny.” The whole piece discusses the importance of the nanny and how big executives are paying some nearly more than $100,000 to raise their kids for them. And let’s not kid ourselves that this isn’t what they’re doing. Check out what the nannies themselves say:

“I don’t do this because I can’t do anything else,” says LaRowe, who has a chemistry degree from Bridgewater (Mass.) State College. “If I were a chemist, I’d want to win the Nobel Prize. I commit myself (to) ... raising emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy children. I have an objective eye, and my views aren’t tainted with umbilical-cord emotions.”

How quaint to dismiss the bond between parents and children as “umbilical-cord emotions.” As if the best person to raise a child isn’t his parents in the first place. The difference between a devoted parent and a top-end nanny is the difference between an artist and a technician. Melanie and I are motivated by love for Isabella. LaRowe seems motivated by personal ambition, i.e. the nanny equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

That attitude of the child-raising technician even reaches into specialization.

Lisa Stipe, 39, was a nanny for 18 years before specializing in newborns. She just finished taking care of 3-month-old Emily Shull for Wise Foods CEO Tom Shull and wife Dorothy in Connecticut and is headed to Dallas where she will be taking care of twins to be born in July.

She charges $300 to $450 — a day. “I’m booked four to six months in advance,” she says.

... Stipe works 21-hour days. “I take care of the baby at night so the parents can sleep. I make their lives so much more peaceful, that’s why I enjoy doing it. I have a real talent to read babies and to figure out what they are trying to tell us.”

Talk about stripping children of their unique human dignity. This is a consequence of a society that he devalued children to the point that they are mere commodities and accessories. Oh but, look how much we spend for their upbringing, some may say. It shows how much we value them. People spend a lot of money on their pets too, but it doesn’t mean they are on the same level as children.

In 18 years when these children have run through a succession of nannies and have failed to form a proper mother-child bond, what excuses will be made for their behavior then? And while the article doesn’t go into it, how many of these bazillionaire executive families have both parents going to work? And for those who do, don’t they make enough for one parent to treat their children as the most important part of their lives?

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  • Who was it who claimed the Brits lost their empire when their ruling class started packing their kids off to boarding school?  One of the Inklings or possibly Muggeridge or Waugh.

    History repeating itself, perhaps.

  • For you to say that working parents with help at home consider their jobs and income or self-gratification of paramount importance is insulting.

    It can be taken as an insult.

    It is also quite obviously true. Whether it be in your grandmother’s case or any other.

    You put your time where your priorities are.


  • First, keep in mind we’re not talking average working moms here. This article was about CEOs able to pay six figures to their nannies.

    Second, if you choose to go to work outside the home (barring necessity, i.e. single moms), then you have made that a priority over doing the one-on-one business of raising your kids.

    Third, household chores is indeed part of parenting. It is one way of witnessing through your actions about self-sacrificial love. It’s easy to do the fun stuff. It’s not so easy to do the hard stuff like nasty chores or caring for the sick. That’s where true love is found.