Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Nanny Guilt

For the past 5-months, my wife has been a stay-at-home mom. We timed this pretty perfectly. She works in the school system, so summers are already off. Jonah was born on June 9th, so that gave her two and a half months of the summer, and then another 12 weeks maternity leave in the fall.

Fall is almost over, winter is getting close, and next week she heads back to work. I won't bother getting into the emotional turmoil she is going through as each night passes and the dreaded day gets near. I've seen more crying sessions from her than I can bear to watch the one I love go through. I'm not exactly dismissing what she's going through, but the fact is that I'm going through something tough myself.

Starting next week, we have to leave our son with a nanny....full-time....40 hours a week....every week.

Aren't dads supposed to be focused on supporting the family? Bringing home the proverbial bacon? We do what we need to do to survive and give our kids the lives we feel they deserve. I mean, Harvard is going to be ridiculously expensive in 17 1/2 years! Again, a life I feel he deserves.

Anyway, as I've learned over and over and over again in the past 5-months, things do not work out the way I thought they would. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd feel such a profound and gut-wrenching sense of guilt over the idea that another person besides my wife and I will actually raise my son. She will spend more time with him than I ever will get to in any given week.

I try to put this into perspective. He's too young to feel a sense of separation anxiety. We need to work hard now, because life is just going to get more expensive. I still have the weekends. Well at the end of the day it's not enough. But with that being said there's not a lot to be done here. We all make choices and ours is to not have to live paycheck-to-paycheck, but bring home a nice combined salary and make the best of a no-win situation.

But the day I hear him call the nanny "mommy" is the day one of us quits our job.


  1. Common issue with new parents. My wife and I both work and always have with our kids (ages 8 and 5) and they still call us mom and dad. Kids are way more resilient than adults are. You can put them in a situation when they are young and they learn to deal with it and will thrive in it. You're not bad parents for leaving your kids with a caregiver that you have likely carefully selected.

    Think of the financial benefits of both of you working and don't consider it a no-win situation. With both of you working, consider the financial security that you are providing.

    There are pros and cons to working and to being a stay at home parent. Don't beat yourself up because you made a decision that you feel is right for your family.


  2. Thanks for that thought Lee. I definitely know in my head that this is a very common thing and in the end, our little guy is going to be just fine. However, in my heart, it kills me that he is going to spend his days with someone who is not my wife or I.

    But I'm definitely glad to hear your kids still call you guys mom and dad :)