I had a call last week, a husband and wife. I don't think she was enthralled to be on the line. He had been listening to me for quite a while, thinking. They have a two- and four-year-old. He thinks the parent should stay home and love the kids and teach them and feed them and play with them and talk to them and read to them and nap with them – everything with them. He's right.
The whole call– it was just disheartening. She started to go on with how wonderful the daycare center was. So, I said to him, “You know, you're the one who's motivated so I pray and beg you quit your job and stay home and love your children and help them grow up to be able to love and be successful and content in their lives.”
He said something like, “She won't like it.”
The first time in my career that I can think of, I said, “Doesn't matter. You have to do what's right for your kids in spite of her attitude.”
Now, in my never-to-be-humble opinion, she didn't want him to do it because that would make her feel guilty that she wasn't sacrificing for her kids. She didn’t want to feel guilty. She'd rather screw over the kids than feel guilty. I tell you, I was haunted by that call. How a woman who gives birth twice could be that callous. Generally, when I say something like, “They're not gonna be loved all day,” everybody just melts. Oh yeah, you're right.
Not her. Ice. Ice. “It's a very good day care center!” I understand.
So, we got this email from Amy.
“Dr. Laura, in regards to the couple who had two small children, two and four. The parents called in–”
No, the dad called in. The mother was on the line.
“The parents called in wanting advice about the husband quitting his job to stay home with the kids. The mother was so against it. How can she honestly feel that her children are loved at daycare? I don't care how good this facility is. They don't love the children the way a parent does. My story is a little different. I did not go to daycare, but I had a full-time nanny. She raised me; she was there for me from six months until I left home at 19 years-old. I'm closer to her than I am to my mother. My mother doesn't understand why. What? But it's really simple. Maria played with me, fed me, took care of me when I was sick, gave me advice when I was older. She mothered me. The other lady just helped with the financial aspects of having children.”
When I was on KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles at night, I remember a call from a woman who was crying her eyeballs out that her three- or four-year-old kid called the nanny 'Mommy.’ And the child didn't want to call her mommy. She had a mommy – it was the nanny.
She was crying because it upset her. It didn't upset her that her kid had no mommy. It upset her that the nanny became the mommy. Fascinating. Shows you how self-centered it all is. It's all about me, I should be able to do whatever I want to do and still have the perks that I want. I should not have to spend much time or effort to sacrifice anything for my kid. But my kids should still look at me as mommy, even when I haven't earned it.
My advice? Take over from the nanny. Except, I think at this point the kid will be seriously traumatized. I wasn't sure there was a good answer. Maybe spending a year with the nanny and mom, making a transition.
Fascinating, don’t you think? People don't want to see the pain and the loss in others, just themselves.
The Dr. Laura Call of the Day Podcast