a stay at home mom for my children?

We’re knee-deep in childcare-finding websites and ads, trying to replace the two caregivers who’ve needed to back out in the past week. (The semester starts on Monday, peeps! And did I mention I’m teaching five classes?) One noteworthy ad indicates that the caregiver, who has been a stay-at-home mom for fifteen years,is eager to be your children’s “‘stay at home mom’ while you’re away at work.”

me: This woman wants to be their mom!

Eric: Well, God knows they need one.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted 24 August 2013 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Eric wins “Best Comeback of the Week” and will be receiving coffee in the post as a reward. Although he’s instructed to share equally with his partner :)

  2. Lara
    Posted 25 August 2013 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

    Another unfortunately-worded resume! You might keep in mind, though, that these potential sitters probably don’t have advanced degrees in humanities. Their talents and skills may be less oriented toward writing, and especially written self-presentation, than those of us who use it as a primary job skill. I have several family members who would probably not write perfect on-line resumes, but would who I think you would love as childcare providers, were they offering their services.

    • Molly
      Posted 25 August 2013 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

      I don’t doubt that this person could be a good care provider. I think it’s awfully interesting, though, that the idea of children needing a “stay-at-home mom” (such that a mother who goes off to work wants to provide that for them someone, to compensate for that lack) is culturally legible and seems like a positive thing to say. That an ad can reasonably be phrased as, essentially, angst over the idea of a mother working.

      I read your comment about the gender-essentialist care provider back when you wrote it, and I disagree a bit there–we certainly aren’t looking to hire care providers who are Just Like Us, but it’s important to us to have the person who’s with our children over 25 hours a week understand and respect our values. A person who believes that boys and girls are and should be inherently different from each other undermines the safe space for gender expression and flexibility that we provide in our home. So there are limits, for us. Christian, cool; think we’re bad parents and feel sorry for our children because we’re not, uncool. That sort of thing.

      I hear you saying that my exasperation is snobby/classist. Could be. Other things too, though, including slap-happy exhaustion as well as dismay at what mainstream gender assumptions look like in print (well, onscreen, anyway).

      • Lara
        Posted 25 August 2013 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

        Not snobby, but it might be more practical to be more forgiving of non-professional-writers’ imperfect articulation of their intent. A forgiving reading of the listing from a couple months ago would be that she was trying to say that she was willing to follow the child’s inclinations, even if they were annoyingly gender-stereotyped, which in her experience they often are. She probably would be less inclined than you to push back against a totally pink and prissy princess, but she seemed actually aware of the gender stuff, which is more to my taste, than, say, my recent encounter with a shoe salesman who was concerned that my son’s choice of aqua sneakers was a not-masculine-enough blue, and that it was my job to correct him. She sounded like she’d take a “let him be” approach to that situation. With this one, the articulation is quite off-putting, for sure. But she might be trying to advertise that she has many, many hours’ experience at this kind of job, and that she promises to actually invest herself in your kids’ long-term well-being, rather than see them as a temporary hourly wage. Both are expressing themself within a discourse, and a culture, that deserves plenty of critique. And they won’t be quite as self-aware as you and your friends. But they might be more appealing in person, and in practice, than when they try to represent themselves in the abstract, on paper.

        Part of me, perhaps, hears the “voice” of some of my less-writing-inclined family members in these posts. The new world of email communication, in a spread-out extended family, has forced people who otherwise have avoided writing their whole lives to express themselves in print. It does not always come out gracefully, but I appreciate them going for it, because then they are a part of our virtual family conversations. So I have learned the practice of reading the best possible intent into the statements of non-professional writers.

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