Sometimes I feel as though I'm surrounded by stupid. It's not exactly fun, but it is always funny...just be glad it's happening to me, not you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Other Mothers

Let me be perfectly clear on something: I am not a parent. I am a nanny. All I come home to at night is my really weird dog and a mountain of shoes.

But since I am a nanny I am a substitute parent. I don't mean that with any disrespect, nor with a sense of superiority. Parents need to work so they can take care of their children, and sometimes need a caregiver. It's not a glamourous job, but it' a job I love. It puts the milk in my fridge (and drawings on it) and the kibble in my really weird dog's bowl. I'm not complaining. You know who complains? Other Mothers.

From the Refrigerator Gallery.
Myself, Dex, and Miss K walking my really weird dog.

Now the Other Mothers aren't every other mother. They're a special group of moms that have their noses in the air, think they're superior to every other parent on the planet (and each other), yet have zero parenting skills themselves. I am often the subject of their loud and easily overheard whispers. Whether I'm waiting at the bus stop for the kids or bringing them to their Karate lessons or basketball practices I get looks from disapproving OMs. How dare my employers hire a nanny?! Those kids need a mother's love, not a teenage best friend! Then those proud Other Mothers promptly scream at their own kids for interrupting their gossip sessions, throw them a candy bar, and expect them to sit quietly for an hour with nothing to do.

Eventually the questions start. I know what's coming if an Other Mother says more than hello to me. I am constantly asked the following:
Are you with the kids every day?
Where are their parents?
How much do you make?
How old are you? (I like watching their eyebrows go up when I tell them I'm almost ten years older than they think)

For some reason it's perfectly acceptable to ask me these things, though it's nobody's business but mine and the family I work for.
"Oh, I know Mrs. M, you can tell me!"
If you know her so well, feel free to give her a call! The OMs go back to discussing me again, whether they believe how old I am and how those kids I watch must be so maladjusted. Poor things.

The Really Weird Dog gets a really awesome handcrafted necklace courtesy of Miss K.

After a few weeks the Other Mothers start to realize how well-behaved the kids I tote with me are. Their own kids are screaming, crying, jumping on chairs, and breaking things like smartphones and nearby eardrums. It's allllmost time for us to finally leave the tiny Karate class waiting room...and I can't wait to get away. Junior has been crying for twenty minutes straight because Other Mother 1 won't let him play with her iPhone.
"I have a headache!" She tells him, and continues to text Other Mother 2, who has gone to the grocery store next door. Junior screams louder, confused as to why he is allowed to play with this fun toy sometimes and not others. The kid has nothing else to toys, no books, no video game or tv or he just cries. The one time I offered to loan him a children's book I got a sneer and a curt "we're fine, thanks." I haven't offered again, but I do bring crayons and a coloring book, just in case.
Finally, the kids are dismissed from Karate.
"Drea, can we go to Subway for dinner?" My eight-year-old charge is putting on her sneakers, while Other Mother 2's son is throwing his socks at his sister.
"Nope." I reply. A sock whizzes by my left ear.
"OK," she says with a shrug and walks out the door with me. Behind us the Other Mothers have their jaws hanging open.

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