I don’t think most working mothers are thinking about the working mothers they often employ in their own homes. There’s no real malice—or for that matter any real thought at all. It’s more about a statement of need. I need my employee to be unfailingly reliable. Most traditional workplace employers feel the same. While women have been fighting for equal pay, fighting for traditionally held male jobs, fighting to be heard, fighting to break the glass ceiling—all that fighting has not translated downstream to their household employees. The standards that they want upheld in their professional work space are not necessarily applicable in the home setting. We hear that all too often first hand in our conversations when families are hiring childcare.
How would you feel if your boss said to you, “I’m sorry we can’t hire you because you have young children. You won’t be reliable and you will always put your children ahead of this job.” WOW! That doesn’t sound very enlightened in 2018.(Not to mention illegal.) We know women with young children report to work on time and manage to do their work every day. They figure it out because they have to make a living to provide for themselves and their families. And yet I can’t tell you how many times prospective clients request that their nanny not have young children of her own.
This trickle down of women punishing other women for having children is not a good thing. Yet we have seen it happen for years. I refer to the nanny world as “working women working for working women”. It’s a circle. Help each other. As Claudia Kahn, a colleague, friend, and owner of The Help Company wrote in her insightful and articulate blog post: “In this most intimate relationship — it is painful to see one working woman reject another based solely on the fact that she is a mother. That shared experience should be a bond, not a liability.” Her blog is worth reading for sure. And if you have a nanny or you’re in the process of hiring a nanny, I hope you that you can empower each other to achieve your respective goals.