Just when you thought you heard it all, news comes of more insane child rearing practices by some of the most wealthy (financially, not relationally) in our society.
It turns out that some New Yorkers are hiring night nannies to do the evening shift and get up with crying babies, when both parents have high pressure jobs.
Their nanny works from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. six nights a week. “She swaddles the baby and sings to him and that’s the whole point for us — she has a lot more energy and patience at that point in the day than my husband or I do,” Ms. Roche said. “We are wiped out.”
Night nannies are often treated like heroes, said Barbara Kline, president of White House Nannies in Bethesda, Md. “Suddenly you have a six-pound bundle of chaos, an incredible amount of upheaval in the household, and in swoops this person who can calm the baby and get them to eat and sleep,” she said.
As might be expected, help doesn’t come cheap. A week’s worth of night-nanny services can cost well over a thousand dollars, with nannies earning about $15 to $40 an hour, depending on their experience, the number of babies and the babies’ health. Ms. Seveney says overnight nannies usually spend 6 to 10 weeks with a family with one newborn, and anywhere from two to four months for twins.
I can understand a night nanny if you had triplets or quadruplets. You would need it just to sleep. But my youngest child barely slept for her first six months, and we managed, albeit it was tough.
I think she needed me in the middle of the night to feel secure.
But there's more to it than that. She had to be taught to sleep through the night. She had to be taught to soothe herself. All babies do. And when you're the one who is missing the sleep, you have the incentive to do that.
If I got up with Katie to nurse her, I wouldn't talk to her very much. I'd keep the lights off. I wouldn't make it fun. In the daytime I'd throw on the lights and the music, start a running conversation, tickle her, and do everything I can to let her know THIS IS DAYTIME. YOU SHOULD BE AWAKE NOW.
And eventually it worked. But with a night nanny, where's the incentive to train the child? How can a child have any relationship that's real with his or her parents if it's not even the parents getting up in the middle of the night?
Obviously these moms aren't nursing, either. I loved the solitude with my children, just nursing and humming to them and praying over them, in the dark. Sometimes I did get overtired, but I still loved them. How could you miss out on that?
If you didn't want to care for your kids, then don't have kids. It's as simple as that.
H/T Joanne Jacobs.
In my book Reality Check, a collection of 85 of my favourite columns, I recount my experiences with teaching Katie how to sleep. Read more about that book here! And it's on for super special this summer only!
Labels: mothering, parenting