Should you pay someone else to raise your child?
We’ve all heard the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child and, in today’s increasingly mobile and digital age, that maxim still rings true. Only instead of receiving help and advice from village elders, parents often look to the wealth of information available on the Internet.
In fact, it should come as no surprise that in today’s world, not only are facts and advice easily available at the click of a button but expert help is also just as convenient. Gone are the days where one must do everything from potty training to party throwing – provided that (paid) professional expertise is what one wants, of course.
Nannies are not new
Parents are busier than ever so it makes sense that there are also more parenting resources available than in the past. Although nannies are not a new concept, in some places, nannies have become the norm and not the exception, which does take a break from traditional parenting. In families where both parents have jobs outside the home, nannies are often employed to take care of the children during the day when the parents can’t be around because of their work.
Nannies may watch younger kids during the day, ferry them from play dates to piano and ballet, and then take the time to help with homework before parents come home in the evening.
In communities in cities like New York City and Los Angeles, nannies have become just the beginning. The life of a New York City nanny, made infamous by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’s novel, The Nanny Diaries (and the subsequent film of the same name), is one that now plays only one part of many in what is often called outsourced parenting.
Are you a nervous parent? You can get a company to come in and “baby proof” your entire home. Do you have a fussy baby? Hire someone to get him to sleep through the night. Does your toddler suck his thumb? You can pay someone to help your child with that, too.
If you want to minimize the headache that goes along with toilet training your child – or avoid it altogether – there is an assortment of experts from which you can choose. The options run the gamut, from getting help from a consultant to having a full-time, live-in professional to take care of everything for you, and everything in between.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should
Although it is great to have options and a plethora of professionals who will happily take care of the dirty details of child rearing if called upon, outsourcing the parenting of your child to others can cause tricky side effects.
Each family situation is unique; indeed, every child-parent relationship is different, so what is right in one situation (or for one child) may not be the best option every time. As a parent, it is important to understand that there is nothing wrong with asking for help, but where does one draw the line between getting help and giving up parenting?
Fact: parenting is hard work. But if you choose to give up the hard parts to others, where does that leave you and your child? It can be difficult to have a close relationship with your child if you’re not taking an active role in her life.
Only you can know what is best for you and your child. With the way life works, however, you may just find that the good times seem so much sweeter because of the more difficult ones that have helped you grow.