Die Yuppie Scum

Nothing makes you feel quite like a yuppie douchebag so much as opening your fridge for your nanny and realizing you have 28 assorted condiments with names like Pear Rum Butter and Three Citrus Chutney. Also, more than one kind of pesto.

The adjustment to childcare has been hard in this and other unexpected ways.

(As well it should be. If it weren’t, we’d all be worried, right?)

I’m still learning how to get in the habit of cleaning up for her at night so there’s no mad rush to do dishes and wipe down counters at 7 am. I’m coming to terms with the idea that there’s a new relationship in Thalia’s life, and that there’s someone new who can say things like “one more bite of your sandwich” and she obeys. I’m acutely aware now of Thalia’s routines and our rules for her, since we’re now forced to articulate them instead of just parenting on instinct.

And of course there’s the ultimate challenge of not seeing Thalia for four straight days–especially after two years of more or less working from home. Clearly Thalia’s adjusting to this change too: Saturday she had enough pent-up frustration about her new routine that instead of throwing her arms around me when I arrived to pick her up at my mother’s house, she said, “No kiss mommy. Throw away.”

“Throw away what, sweetie?”

“Throw away mommy.”


I’m trying not to stress about it too much. This too shall pass, as the wise people say.

The one challenge, however, that I never expected with regards to having a nanny is simply saying I have a nanny. I mean is there one phrase that begins with “My nanny…” that doesn’t make you want to punch someone in the teeth?

I’m hyper-sensitive to how it might make me appear, for some reason. (And in fact, I’m really glad that no one made any snotty comments on my first nanny post a few weeks ago, as my old buddy Gray-Matter pointed out. I suppose you just never know when you’re going to be lynched online for some innocuous comment like oh I have a nanny, or oh my Prada shoes are killing me, or oh if I have to spend one more dinner at Soho House listening to Brad vent about Angelina’s sudden weight loss, I’ll simply diiiiiiiiiie. Or maybe just too much time spent on barbarous message boards has made me skittish.)

But still, saying “I have a nanny” (ugh) or “My nanny said…” (eek) or “So when Thalia’s nanny called…” (ack! ack! ack!) makes me squirm a bit. Okay, a lot. It makes me feel like One Of Those Moms. And I’m so not, I swear,

I swear!

Remember, I’m the mom who doesn’t wash the pacifiers?

But I can see what a slippery slope it is once you have help.

Eventually I’ll stop feeling guilty about having childcare. Then I actually start enjoying it – on the slow work days I head out for a little pedicure, maybe catch a movie or hit the latest exhibit at the Whitney. Or hey, as long as I have my mornings free before LA work hours kick in, I’ll start going to the gym. What the heck right? The next thing you know, I’m losing weight, my abs are flattening, my triceps are toned and I can almost pass for a post-postpartum human again. Which can only mean one thing: Shopping spree at Barney’s. A haircut to match. Some overpriced newfangled hair straightening technique. Did I mention tanning…?

Suddenly–holy crap–I’m that skinny mom in the nice clothes who spends her mornings at the gym and her afternoons shopping while the nanny takes the kids to the pediatrician. God help me.

Maybe I should just stick to worrying about the Pear Rum Butter.


59 thoughts on “Die Yuppie Scum”

  1. I know — I am still having a hard time with this too. Today one kid said to the other “Tomorrow ‘Nanny’ is picking us up from school! Yay!” Like, seriously, ouch. And what am I going to do, say, “Hey, sorry I have to buy your food and clothes and wash them and clean up the pee off the floor all the time and cook and blah blah blah, so I don’t have time to sit around and play all day like ‘Nanny”? Yeah, that’ll win ’em over.I’m really struggling.But now your post makes me think that maybe I should refer to her as “the babysitter” — would that be better?

  2. People always give me the “huh?” look whenever I tell them my girls are at daycare. I’m supposed to be a SAHM, but I work so much on my self-made website business, that I’m now a WAHM. They assume I’m just taking a break from the girls and send them to daycare.I’m rambling.http://awholelotofnothing.net

  3. I am the farthest thing away from being a yuppie or whatever, but I am only one in my moms club of over 35 moms who has a personal doula. Had one for my first birth and will for the second. Trust me I feel the same when I talk about “my doula”. I live in the midwest, which makes it even worse.

  4. It takes some getting used to, but I love having someone else in our lives who knows all of Q’s routines and preferences, and truly cares about him. Our nanny (there, I said it!) is a gem.And yes, we do tidy up at night so that I don’t feel like quite such a slob in the mornings when she arrives. I hope your nanny works out great!

  5. I have the opposite arrangement as Staci above. I have hired someone to do the cooking and cleaning up, so after my full-time exhausting job, i get to sit, feed and play with my child (though I do pay her extra watch him play in the tub and dress him, after I bathe him). Works out better for me, I think, since I am pretty high-strung and would be screeching at how the nanny handles my son, and how he has picked this or that from her, and I am pretty sure I would end up doing the job myself anyways.

  6. Adjusting to having a nanny is hard, awkward, etc., but adjusting to no longer having one is even harder. Once my kids were in school all day we didn’t need a nanny any longer, but there went that easy “can you please pick up a quart of milk when you go to park?” or “a repairman is coming between 10 and 2, please be home”, too. I am SO not an “I have a staff” person (nor is my bank account), but it was awfully convenient while it lasted. That, and the fact that she loved them like they were her own grandchildren, and years later still calls each of us (me, too) on our birthdays.

  7. Even now, two years after the fact, I still can’t say that we had a nanny. Of course, that’s what she was – but “babysitter” worked better for me. Because I’m also not that kind of woman – the one that skips out for a quick pedicure…Now she’s in daycare, which we consistently refer to as school. There’s a whole other nomenclature problem.

  8. My new ‘nanny’ is actually my sister-in-law, so I have an easy out. I just say the kids are with their aunt. But my heart did break a teeny bit (actually a huge, massive bit) the other day when she told Sam to give mommy a kiss, and he kissed her instead.

  9. We had a nanny for the first 18 months of my son’s life. My work situation did not have any flexibility and I was traveling quite a bit. But I wanted him cared for in our home, not in a daycare. We did eventually put him in daycare at 18 months.Thalia may be having a bit of difficulty with all the changes, and your increased absence after so much presence, but she’ll soon figure out that you still love her just as much as ever.

  10. Lord, I can only imagine what people think when looking in our fridge: chilean sea bass, macademia cashew butter, Pineapple salsa….We’re foodies. You can’t execute someone for being a foodie (and in my case shopping in the weirdo grocery store where all the signs are in korean so she can get the good produce, meat and seafood). Be okay with being a foodie. It’s only related to haveing good taste.We right now have my mother helping with the baby–no nanny. But I’m giving serious thought to hiring a maid. I’ll be one of those people with “help” too. But, it’ll be worth it to be one if I can walk around in my house and not have dirty glasses, shredded dog toys, grass and mud everywhere.

  11. So here’s the thing – it sounds very hish school, I know, but – people are jealous. They’d rather have a nanny than daycare. Many people just can’t afford it and therefore they’d like to find a way to look down on you than admit that the green-eyed monster is in the room. You hit the nail on the head there at the end. You are WORKING and not out just living the high life like you don’t have kids when your nanny is on duty. No guilt about saying “my nanny” please…

  12. I say stop calling her a nanny and refer to her as the “au pair.” And Those Moms can shut it.

  13. I used to have a hard time admitting that I had a nanny also but then the butler and the chauffeur told me I was being ridiculous.

  14. “Hi, My name’s Gray Matter, and I have a nanny.”Welcome to Nanny-Havers Anonymous.And it really does work if you work it.(PS, thanks for the shout out!)

  15. LOL at metrodad!I agree with the commenter who wondered why you feel guilty about being a foodie. Who’s to say your nanny isn’t a foodie too?

  16. And there’s the catch 22. You work outside the home, so if you say “nanny” some people will roll their eyse. If you say “daycare” others will roll their eyes. Personally, I don’t have a job outside the home, and I still say “preschool.” But it’s okay because I spend my time meticulously scrubbing floors and preparing organic homecooked meals in between planning meaningful, academic based lessons for my children upon their arrival home.And tonight for dinner? Turkey sandwiches. Preschool rocks!

  17. You (or anyone for that matter) shouldn’t feel guilty at all! I mean, you both work so what are the options? Daycare, nanny, or preschool. Even when you work from home it’s exhausting and you (and the kids) need some sort of break just to get everything done.I, for one, am not going to feel a bit guilty as I hit the Nordstrom Rack sample shoe sale tomorrow after I drop Chance at preschool. Seriously. I’ve been looking forward to this shoe sale all week. And if that makes me a yuppie so be it. Mmmmm… chutney.

  18. Haha. I was a part-time nanny for a couple of years in college. The woman I worked for didn’t like to call me a nanny, though, even though I was a woman who came to her house on a regularly scheduled basis to watch her kids, which I think is in fact the definition of the word nanny. When she would talk to her friends or clients about me, she used to call me the babysitter, which actually bothered me a bit, since I felt like that made me sound like a gum=popping sixteen-year-old with a casual after-school gig. When in fact I was attached enough to her kids that I would have thrown myself in front of a bus for them without a second thought. But now I suddenly realize that maybe she just didn’t want to sound like a yuppie. She wasn’t a yuppie, at all. She was a very nice down-to-earth sort of person, a good person to work for, and a great mom. I am sure you are all of those things, too.And, by the way, her three-year-old used to cry when her mother left, and would talk about her mother frequently while she was gone (“I miss Mommy.” “What do you think Mommy is doing?” etcetera), but then, when her mom came home, she would say, “Go away Mommy!” in her meanest baby voice, and then she would cry because <>I<> was leaving. Kids this age just want all the people to care about them to be at their beck and call all of the time. Thalia still loves you, and she won’t resent you for this.

  19. The wet nurse idea is a funny one.Oh hell, one step at a time. People are going to judge you. It’s what people do. We are all insecure piles of peoplehood. You have to keep doing what you think is best in the face of all the judging, because doing your best is ALL that matters. The end.

  20. I’ll admit that I often say “pre-school” instead of “day care” because of the perceived negative connotations.I really ought to stop that. Because the point is not what we call those who help us, but that our children are safe, happy, and loved regardless of the arrangements we’ve made.

  21. we always referred to our nanny as “zoe and lucy’s babysitter.”and, at her request, we kept the house stocked with cases of cherry vanilla diet dr. pepper so she’d have something to drink. nevermind the 20-or-so bottles of seltzer (and occasional bottle of Lorina French Limonade) we had on top of the fridge.(thanks for the love today, btw. xo)

  22. You know, we all have our prejudices. My sister is widow, and I always have to call her that instead of a single mom b/c there’s this image in my head of the first person I heard referred to as a single mom. She was married 4 times and her 6 kids were all by different men. And she kept her Christmas lights up all year, which I kind of understand now.My dad used to mow her grass and my mom would joke that her next kid better not come out with his eyes. (A reference I didn’t get until I was in my 20’s.)Oh, and my sister has a nanny!

  23. I completely get this. And I can only say ‘sitter’. It feels more egalitarian and better for everyone. And by everyone, I mean me. No one else seems to really care. Especially the sitter (who is our entire family’s favorite person on the planet).

  24. C’mon, stop worrying about the Pear Rum Butter or about the whole nanny business. Your time would be better spent worrying about that Mad Dog 20/20 you have hiding behind the sparkling pomegranate juice and the truffle oil.

  25. It shouldn’t matter what she’s called as long as she loves your kids and takes good care of them. If she makes your life a little easier in the process so you can get your nails done, then she shouldn’t be called a nanny, anyway. She should be called a godsend.

  26. I feel the same way if the topic of my cleaning service comes up. We *used* to have a cleaning person (not attached to a service) and that felt too close to maid or handmaiden to my liking. I’m not sure why I’m so touchy about it, but I can certainly understand your sensitivity about the nanny because I would be the same way!Now should I be worried that that Pear Rum Butter sounds really yummy…?And you’re right, once Thalia gets used to the new routine, you’ll be a rock star when you come home once again.

  27. No way Liz. Having a nanny makes you the best kind of working mom. Here is my philosophy: A nanny is the best thing next to having a stay-at-home parent (consistency, one-on-one attention, familiar environment). If you can afford it, then it is the way to go. No doubt you could buy more Prada bags (or in my case a bag that is less than five years old) if you used a different, cheaper childcare option. Therefore, aren’t you really sacrificing your own desires in order to provide something for your child? There’s no guilt there, sister. After all, you’re WORKING, not shopping, during nanny time.

  28. And therein lies the ‘mommy guilt’ of it all. Don’t beat yourself up over this, really, it’s a good thing. You have someone competent enough to take care of your little one while you pursue a career and get some ‘me’ time into your routine, and Thalia learns to adjust and socialize with an extended part of your family. It’s a win-win all around. Now, if you do decide to get all snobby and higher-up on us then we’ll just have to punch you in your teeth. Hehehe!Enjoy!

  29. Hmmmmm. I think ‘nanny’ is not such a bad word. I’ve tossed this about in my head..nanny vs. sitter and I actually prefer nanny. Nanny, as is Mary Poppins, connotes a much more benevolent relationship than ‘sitter’. Sitter is the teenager you hire on occasion when you and your husband are desperate to go to a movie and feel each other up like you did in your 20’s. I suppose we could use the word ‘housekeeper’ but that, I think would raise more eyebrows than ‘nanny’. Whatever the term, I have no doubt that you are a good mother.Ironically, my word verification is ‘nehms’, as in, what’s in a nehm? Sitter, nanny, caretaker, teacher…they are all people we TRUST with our most valuables…

  30. ooohh…you’re gonna be a skinny bitch!! I am SO jealous!! 😉I preferred care-giver when I was in the trenches of nannying. heh.I feel ya. I worked for a grad student who only needed a few hours a week as my fourth job, and she had A LOT of trouble saying “my nanny.” So she just said “my care-giver.” I liked it.You’ll get through this.Best to you and the family.

  31. Humph! I wish I had a nanny. Maybe then I’d get rid of that jar of Trader Joe’s bruschetta that’s lived in my fridge for, oh, like 2 years!

  32. It is a slippery slope to Barney’s. I like to call mine ‘the babysitter’ it wards off lots of problems. I also let her clean up. It feels weird but your nanny used to clean your place right? Seriously let her do it. You have other stuff to worry about – like being thrown away!

  33. I’ve always called ours the “sitter” — and I’m not even sure why. I think I see a nanny as somebody who lives in…And now that she’s gone and I have a part-time sitter (a high school girl who totally rocks!!) I’m realizing I need the help cleaning and doing laundry. It was ok having my full time sitter clean and do the laundry – she was there & the kids were at school in the morning & I was paying her… but now? Having to find someone to clean? Send out my laundry (it comes back tied up in ribboned packages!!) Want to talk about feeling like a yuppie? It’s really strange…

  34. Having a nanny because it’s what’s best for your family and/or your relationship is one thing. Having a nanny because it’s what’s best for you is entirely different. Now if you and Nate start shopping online while getting dual pedicures while the nanny takes the kids to the pediatricians, well…

  35. I just love the fact that your first sentence contained the phrase “yuppie douchebag”. Awesome.

  36. Give it a month and you’ll all be used to it. I am impressed that you clean up for her. That already takes you off the douch bag list.

  37. I love you. Seriously. You couldn’t be a yuppie douchebag for all the Volvos in the world.And maybe it’s just semantics. When I was growing up, I had a babysitter. Same damn thing as a nanny. And EVERYBODY around here has a babysitter from time to time… 😉

  38. Don’t even sweat the nanny thing.I hate you for being skinny, and that’s enough.(xxoo)Seriously, I just got a 12yo mother’s helper in the house one morning a week and the first time the baby ran to her after falling down instead of me, I did one of those endzone dances with high-stepping and fist-pumping.Remember: she’s not a nanny – she’s an allomother.http://discovermagazine.com/2003/mar/feathrdy/All civilized primates need one, if not a few. Welcome to the human race, pear chutney and all.

  39. I wish I had a nanny! THere are days when I justget so frustrated because I cannot get anything done in the house. Nannies are actually a MUST and in the Philippines where I was born and not considered a snooty thing. 🙂

  40. i get shit about having a nanny every freakin’ time i mention her name. you are one of the lucky ones, it seems! 🙂

  41. I was one of those moms who had to cancel my pedicure appointment because my driver didn’t get back to the aparatment in time (my husband forgot to tell him). I could only get the 75 minute massage at the spa. 🙂Life in Mumbai is taking some getting used to. I’m not taking to being a “kept wife” as quickly as Diego hoped I would.

  42. Would it make you feel any better to just call her a babysitter? Or just go one step further and blow it out and call her an au pair.

  43. Worse: “my au pair…”I do notice people in big cities tend to have nannies more often than institutionalized or in-home childcare (probably due to it being more on par financially), and have more of a conflicted relationship about it (probably because it is a 1:1 relationship instead of a classroom setting). You are not alone in your angst, it’s not right or wrong, it just IS. I feel for you with the Thalia comment – the little angel has started saying things like “I don’t love you any more” when I do something she doesn’t like. Gah. We have girls, my friend, and they know how to push our buttons. If it weren’t the nanny, it would be the shoes, or something else. thanks for your honesty here.

  44. This is hilarious. I can relate. I’m so embarrassed when I get home from work and my part-time nanny has accepted multiple UPS packages for me – all containing fall pants for the boys that they needed, but then I find myself explaining this, as if she might think that I’ve got a lot of really hip YuppieMama goods coming in from Lands End, for God’s sake… And really, who cares what she thinks is in them? Me, apparently. And by the way, I find myself referring to her as our “babysitter” more often than not because I can also not easily say “my nanny” without kicking *myself* in the teeth.

  45. I have always been puzzled why people won’t refer to the person who cares for their children by their actual name. Surely your friends, co-workers, etc. would get to recognize that name. We don’t usually refer to people by their job description.

  46. Good question Mary Jo –The same way there are people to whom I say “Thalia is at Dr F’s today” and people to whom I’ say “Thalia is at the pediatrician,” there are less familiar people in my life who might require me saying “the sitter” or “the nanny.” I mean, don’t you ever refer to your husband as “my husband” and not just by his first name?

  47. Referring to the care-giver as the nanny offers her the professional respect that the term babysitter lacks. “Our nanny, Nan…” combines the role/ profession with her name, also respecting the individual. Remember, it’s not only about you; it’s also about the woman with whom you trust your child.

  48. By the way……Roasted Garlic Onion Jam……..heavenly on grilled Ribeye

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