Paging Rosie: Why I Don’t Care Who Cares for the Royal Baby
As Royal Baby fever lessens and Kate, William and wee George buckle down in Bucklebury for some much needed rest and time as a new family, I am left to think about all the coverage and news fervor related to this latest royal “event”. Over all, I think it was lovely, really the world getting excited over one of the purest and most beautiful things life has to offer: the birth of a baby. Even if you aren’t royal-obsessed, I think it was uplifting for everyone. Perhaps it even reminded you of when you brought your own baby home from the hospital for the first time, or the newborn period, or perhaps made you think of a time in the future when you will be a parent yourself.
There was only one thing that bothered me in the midst of all of the hoopla: the constant applauding over the rumors that Kate and William will not invest in the assistance of a nanny.
Look, I get why this is revolutionary for the royals, and why it is exciting that they are going to be hands-on parents unlike the royals of old (ahem, Queen Elizabeth). After all, in previous generations royal babies would be left for weeks at a time in the care of nannies while the royal parents traveled on official duties, with most of the day-to-day child care duties carried out by a staff. Princess Diana and Prince Charles of course broke the mold and I commend them for it.
Of course, we can all agree that children need their parents to be present and involved, and not allow someone else to take over all of the duties of parenting. Presumably William and Kate intend to be the type of present and involved parents that every child hopes for. So what is it then that is bugging me?
I’ve thought long and hard, and my problem stems from the fact that, in some way, we use the royals as a measure of aspiration – something to look up to, and a good, quality standard of what is right. So, when Kate’s decision to forego a traditional nanny was applauded so roundly in the news, it seemed to imply that this decision was the superior, amazing choice to make. And that, on the flip side, they would be lesser parents if indeed they did hire a nanny. Not to mention the fact that, inevitably they will need to hire a nanny. Kate is, after all, going to be a working mom. Unless grandma Carole becomes a permanent caretaker, they are going to need an extra pair of hands at some point.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! William and Kate can still be hands-on parents while working – just as millions upon millions of parents are every day. I truly don’t think that a parent’s choice regarding childcare makes them either a better or worse parent; neither the working mom nor the stay at home mom is better simply because of this one choice they have made. It is the time we spend with our children and how we spend it that makes the difference. Having support, whether family member, a trusted and qualified Nanny, or a reputable daycare center does not make you a lesser parent just as having no support at all does not make you a greater parent – and I thoroughly resent the notion that it does.
As parents, we should be defined by the love and quality of time we spend with our children, not by some arbitrary tally of the hours we spend with them. Promoting the nanny-less Will and Kate sends the wrong message, in my opinion. The method of childcare is not what will define them as parents. Instead of focusing on this one decision they’ve made, let’s instead promote how they interact with their child, the values they raise him by, the way they play with him and, above all, the love they shower him with….nanny or no nanny. In fact, let’s celebrate both the working mom and the non-working mom and focus less on the childcare
aspect of our parenting and more on our relationships with our kids and how we can all support each other.