And watched for my unworthy sake:
For your most comfortable hand
That led me through uneven land:
For all the storybooks you read:
For all the pains you comforted:
For all you pitied, all you bore,
In sad and happy times of yore:
My second mother, my first wife,
The angel of my infant life -
From the sick child, now well and old,
Take, nurse, the little book you hold!
- Robert Louis Stevenson
I just came across this section about nannies in a book I'm reading and it has brought me a whole new appreciation for the fact that my kids get a mommy and not a nanny, or worse, a daycare center. Thank goodness we live in the time that we live in - not that I'd mind having an extra set of hands around occasionally to help with the nitty-gritty of mommying - but when it comes down to it, even the nitty-gritty of discipline, healthy feeding, diapering, cleaning, etc. is bonding me to my kids in a very deep and powerful way. When you serve someone your love for them and your ability to see Christ in them deepens.
I'm so grateful to be living in a time where moms can be moms and don't need to leave that up to the hired help. Here's a part of the description of the relationship between a child and his nanny during the hight of Victorian England's household structure. This description reminded me so much of the relationship between all the children and Nanny in Brideshead Revisited. I guess you could make the argument that in that tale it was the faith of Nanny, quietly praying on her beads, that gave the example which served as the "twitch upon the thread" more then their heroically virtuous and somewhat intrusive mother. Who knows...just a thought for those of you who have read or watched Brideshead.
[Gawthorne-Hardy] speaks of grown men who remained stoically dry-eyed when
discussing the deaths of their mothers, but who dissolved into tears when
discussing their nannies. On visits home such men frequently dashed past the
drawing room where their parents sat waiting and tore up three flights of stairs
to visit Nanny in her nursery. It was common for public school boys, sent off at
the age of seven, to cry not for their mothers, but for their nannies, who
tended to mourn their charges' departure as they would a death.
Yea 21st century! I'm glad I wasn't raising kids 100 years ago, or rather, not raising them.
(quote taken from To Hell with All That - Loving and Loathing our Inner Housewife, by Caitlin Flanagan)