Remember when former Jezebel Jennifer Gerson called out Laura Bennett for referring to her nannies as "girls"? Well, Bennett does, and, for some reason, over a year later, she's responded over at the Daily Beast.
I may be in the minority, but I'm with Magpiegirl. If you can't take care of your kids without almost round the clock help from multiple individuals then WTF? Either a)you had too many damn kids and didn't bother to think about it as you were popping them out or you are b)incompetent or c)both. And it has nothing to do with the work.stay-at-home war. Lots of moms work and still manage to take care of their kids without a fleet at their beck and call. If Laura couldn't do it, Laura should've thought of that before having them just to have them.
Seriously, we would not even be debating this if it were cats instead of kids. Crazy cat ladies get no pass, why should crazy baby ladies?
Laura now replies:
Experiencing the pain of childbirth does not make me love my children any more, that's why God invented epidurals. Similarly, changing every diaper, cooking every meal, and doing every pickup and dropoff does not make me love them more either. Choosing not to do so hardly makes me incompetent.
I cry inside every time I wait for the subway next to a child and his/her nanny. I will be raising my kids, thankyouverymuch, even if I have to pull teeth to keep any semblance of a career in tow.
Ms. Bennett's response is:
Awww. You've got to love an idealist willing to perform dental procedures to be with her kids. But would she rather see a totally stressed-out mom pushed to brink of frustration? A dicey thing while standing on the edge of a subway platform.
Yeah, I believe she just said that raising 6 kids without any help in Manhattan makes her homicidal. You have to admire her honesty, because frankly it would do the same to me. Thing is: I don't have 6 kids. I don't even have one. And I thank the FSM, my gynecologist, my IUD, condoms, birth control pills, the potential infertility of anyone I ever slept with, the morning-after pill, Vaginal Contraceptive Film, spermicidal foam and withdrawal (yeah I was young and stupid) for that little fact.
Anyway, Laura Bennett's mom-snark aside, she does have a bit of a point. She and her husband have the wherewithal to provide for their six kids — one of whom is learning-disabled and one of whom is in college — and to give them nannies, orthodontists, music lessons, sports lessons and speech and language therapy.
The problem is, mostly, that she calls the caretakers "girls" and blames that on her Southern upbringing — Laura, honey, honest, you can learn new tricks — and that she doesn't really recognize that most of the things she identifies as "needs" for her children are really unnecessary desires that's she's able to fill because of her privilege.
I could pretend to be some sort of self-aggrandized über-mom who does it all, but the truth is I couldn't possibly get all my kids to places they need to be, well-fed, relatively clean, with homework completed all by myself without going completely postal.
I mean, many families scrape by to afford school clothes, let alone orthodontists, music lessons, speech therapy (even when it's needed), tutors, after-school sports and the like. Her kids don't need to be on opposite sides of Manhattan in the afternoons, nor do they need a manny to supervise their weekend sledding and movie-going. But they have those things because Ms. Bennett can afford to give them those things. And that she doesn't seem to recognize that distinction — that her (probably expensive) nannies are just "girls" and their music lessons are "needs" — is probably a big part of why the commenters (and Jennifer) got a little up in arms.
So, yeah, people say mean things on the Internet and judge the choices that others make — choices, by the way, that Laura Bennett brought up in the first place. I guess a person has to either learn a little humility or cry in her frozen hot chocolate, whatever the fuck that is.
God Bless My Nannies [The Daily Beast]
Earlier: The Greatest Show On Earth