My Nanny: The Super Glue of My Village
One working mom shares how her nanny holds her family together as part of the Care.com Interview Series
While she's pretty sure her daughter thinks she has a "day mommy" and a "night mommy," there are two things Meredith Soleau wouldn't trade for the world: being a full-time working mother, and her super nanny, Becky, who she stole from daycare. Soleau, who writes about managing a career, a husband and three kids over at Life's Crazy Joke, tells Care.com why she loves to work, how she manages to get through the day without acting like a lunatic, and what any of this has to do with Sister Wives.
Tell us a little about your family.
We are very, very busy people. I work at a mega car dealership. We wouldn't survive without our very own Super Nanny, Becky. Becky has become a part of our family (like a Sister Wife on Big Love, but she doesn't have a house in our backyard and she doesn't sleep with my husband).
What are some of the greatest challenges being a Working Mother?
OMG. The challenges of being a working mom are far and wide. I am pretty sure my daughter thinks she has a day mommy and night mommy, since our nanny has been with us since she was born. It sort of stings, but on the other hand, I am happy she loves our nanny so much.
I forget things. I forget about bake sales. I forget about bringing frosting for sugar cookies. I forget to put on pants over my Spanx until my son reminds me not to walk out of the house without pants (the one that I am always flying by the seat of).
I feel super judged by the stay at home moms. None of them talk to me. Ever. I hate that. I don't get invited to play dates. I don't understand their inside jokes. I feel like they talk about me because I show up to Little League games in suits and high heels.
What do you feel are the best parts of being a working mom?
I love the interaction that I have with adults throughout the day. I love that I am paying off student loans with the job I went to school for, I love having the ability to go on vacation when we feel like it, I love feeling like I am smart among my peers, and I love being the breadwinner for our family. My husband is also the breadwinner, but I make more money than he does. I secretly love this. GIRL POWER!
Tell us why you work?
I work because I like to work. I actually wrote this WHOLE post about it that I think will resonate with working mothers. You see, I was on ABC's 20/20 when The Help came out as a movie. They featured us because we have a nanny/employer relationship (and I think they know my hair films well). You wouldn't believe the hate that was spewed at me as a result of choosing to work. You can find my response to the hate here: I Blame Obama
Does your spouse work? How do you share the house + child responsibilities?
My husband works. Do husbands have responsibilities other than taking out the trash every week? I'm kidding. He is the one that plays with the kids. He teaches them things like how much fun "pull my finger" can be and how to throw a curve ball. He's an excellent husband. Did I mention how adorable he is? He is adorable and loving. Back off, ladies. He's all mine.
Everyone's heard the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child." Tell us, who's in your village?
I would DIE without Becky, our Super Nanny. I stole Becky from daycare. I know, it sounds really bad. But as a professional recruiter, I was easily able to spot the caretaker with the most talent and pick her right out of there. I was pregnant with my third child and stressing out about how I would be able to get all three of them to the daycare center and ever make it to work. Becky's hours were cut at the same time. It worked out great for both of us. She was able to make more money than they were paying her, and I am able to have calm in my life (with Irish Twin toddlers and a 9-year-old).
It's a miracle.
Do you consider your spouse part of your "village"?
No. I do not consider my spouse part of my village. That probably sounds harsh. It's not. Yes, he makes it to everything I need him to make it to, but Becky and I could survive without him. I don't ever want to survive without him, but she and I could if we had to.
What are some Working Mom Survival Tips you can give - why did these help you?
Get a nanny, and when you find a good one, treat her like gold. Tell your boss you need to make it to all school functions, no matter what. And be prepared to be the most flexible person on the face of the Earth.
If not for these things, I would pretty much look and act like a drunk hobo everyday.
Meredith Soleau is a a full-time HR manager, a mom of three (Lars, Logan and Lilah) and wife to her super hot (and really fun) husband, Shaun. With the help of her super nanny and fabulous sense of humor, Soleau and her brood have somehow managed to survive. You can find more of Soleau in our date night series and on Twitter.
See who other working moms turn to in our Care.com Interview Series: Who's In Your Village »