By Peg Johnston • October 25, 2007•Balancing Private and Professional Life
I think there are two explanations for keeping the subject of childcare so hush, hush. The first explanation is shame: women are ashamed of needing help. We feel like we should be able to have it all and do it all and having to pay for help is an indication of failure.
The second explanation is pride. The shame associated with exposing one’s childcare solution doesn’t extend to husbands or family that help. This is because women can be proud of their personal support system. They can be proud that they chose a man that is willing to chip in with the kids or that they come from parents that are supportive grandparents or that they chose a family friendly firm (as Ms. Hwang’s apparently is). All three of these things allow a woman to take some credit while giving credit to those who support her. However, giving credit to a great childcare center or a terrific nanny doesn’t say anything more than you have enough money to pay for the best or you can conduct an interview with the best of them. (See this blog and comments at The Juggle for a window into the judging that goes on about womens’ childcare choices.)
I say, put your shame and your pride aside and be truthful about how you make your life work. Share with others which childcare solution you have decided on. My husband and I have always gone the live-in care route (with the exception of a 9 month long stay-at-home-daddy route) and I’ll be the first to say that it is the secret to my sanity. I truthfully don’t know how I could handle being a working mother without a live-in nanny. I echo this post here at Ms. JD.For those readers without their own families yet, you have to dig for answers. Push your role models for information on childcare choices. Most of all, we all have to let go of the idea that we can do it all on our own. It takes help… and support …and a lot of energy. (I would say, “it takes a village” but that line has been used by somebody else and it invokes ideas of government support, of which I don’t get any or want.)