Tag: childcare

Nanny State

If you’ve ever driven around my current hometown of Los Angeles, you know that Latinas pushing strollers of white, blue-eyed children is a common sight. These women are usually nannies, and they get paid to raise the kids of movie stars, TV executives, and Beverly Hills trust fund millionaires.

Well, ok, not everyone who hires a nanny is a pampered one-percenter. In fact, my wife and I, who are laughably far from being rich, are looking for part-time help with our infant son. So we’ve been interviewing potential caregivers.

By the way, if you would have told me a decade ago that I would be enthusiastic about baby spit-up and diaper changes, I would have gulped my beer, waved off the tattoo artist working on my shoulder, and told you to crank up the System of a Down and stop talking nonsense. But that was another life.

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What’s Spanish for “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”?

It may be bourgeois of us, but my wife and I have decided that we need some nanny help with our newborn.

Not much, mind you, just someone who can help out for a few hours each week while the two of us are working.

So we’ve started interviewing potential caregivers, and at the risk of generalizing, I couldn’t help but notice something about the five nannies we interviewed.

We asked each of them what they planned to do whenever the baby napped during their shift.

Three said they would perform light housekeeping, run errands, and basically keep working.  Two said they would remain on the clock, but they would not do any extra work, unless maybe we upped their salary.

The three who wanted to keep busy were immigrants (from Latin America, Africa, and Europe, respectively). The two who declined work and/or wanted more money were American-born.

Admittedly, this is a small sample size. However, I was struck by how clearly the work ethic cleaved between the two groups.

By the way, we didn’t ask about their backgrounds, but the women either volunteered the information, or it was obvious.

Now, I’m not saying that American-born individuals are lazy. In fact, maybe they have the right idea. After all, why shouldn’t they negotiate for the best wage they can get? That’s the American way.

On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that immigrants are willing to do whatever it takes to snag a job in this country. And they don’t make excuses about a task being beneath them, or whine about too much work. That is also the American way.

I’d like to think that both aspects are admirable, under the right circumstances.

But for right now, we’re still interviewing.

 


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