• Mon, Oct 29 2012

Horrible NYC Nanny Case Used To Grossly Shame And Guilt Working Moms

guilt working momThe murder of two young children by their nanny in New York City is a disturbing and sad story. Parents and non-parents alike have been terrified to hear how Yoselyn Ortega stabbed two of the children she cares for before attempting suicide by slitting her own wrists. The whole country is stunned and praying for the Marina Krim, her husband, and their surviving child through this difficult time. But some in the media want to do more than deliver the facts of this particular story or send their thoughts and condolences to the Krim family. They want to use this awful tragedy as an excuse to shame and guilt working mothers, and all of us should be offended.

For days, I’ve been angered by a story that hung around in my news round-up. It was published on Friday by Fox News and it’s titled, “Horrific New York nanny story especially agonizing for working moms.” And of course, the piece goes on to talk about all that mommy guilt and how working mothers should feel even more of it, because they aren’t keeping their children safe when they head out into the workforce. The piece reads like an anti-working-woman script.

“The murder of two young children, allegedly at the hands of their beloved nanny, has sent a chill through working mothers already conflicted over the often agonizing decision to leave their children in the care of others while they work to put food on the family table.”

The implication is clear that working mothers should be scared of leaving their children with anyone. In fact, in case you didn’t get the message, it further reiterates,

“The deaths, while tragic and disturbing, did not seem to have an immediate effect on the decision by most working mothers to go off to the job.”

So for those of you who didn’t immediately question whether you should stay home with your child and give up your career, Fox News is a little surprised at your brazenness. That is, for the women who didn’t immediately start to question your life choices. Obviously, there was no talk of whether working fathers should be “especially agonized.”

As Mary Elizabeth Williams has detailed at Salon, this case has brought out the very worst of internet trolls and shaming media. ABC News commenters saying, “All the parents say they “have to work” well, then be prepared to risk your children’s welfare,” and tweets touting, ““This is the reason I stay home with my kids and work in the evenings while my husband can be home. #soscary” show us the most despicable lows our society has hit. We’re condemning a working mother instead of supporting her as she grieves for her two children.

In some ways, these comments reflect the disgusting sanctimony directed at Jessica Ridgeway‘s mother after she lost her little girl. People directed blame at a mother for allowing her 10-year-old to walk three blocks by herself, instead of focusing on the murderer who attacked a child. Now, when two young kids were taken from this world too soon, we’re guilting a mom for working outside of the home and leaving her little ones with a nanny.

The story of the Krim family is horrifying. Of course we’re all going to have an emotional reaction when we hear about the brutal killing of young children. But our reaction should not be to shame working moms or disparage Marina Krim. We should be outraged at the woman who committed these crimes and doing everything we can to support two parents going through the worst thing imaginable.

(Photo: Valua Vitaly/Shutterstock)

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  • MommyK

    Comments that I’ve seen on this news story on various sites have made me sick. I told some stranger “shame on you for mommy-shaming this poor mother” and to “shut your mouth” in some of the comments. So sanctimonious, like “I’ll never understand why people need nannies instead of taking care of their own children” and “That’s why I stayed home, we were dirt poor, but it’s better to keep our kids safe.” I was enraged at comments like that.

    I think that bottom line, there will always be jerks online and in other places. My workplace had a hostage situation (luckily, no one was killed) a few years ago, and the comments online to those news stories were terrible, saying things like, “Good, they deserve it” and hoping for fatalities. I just try to remember that a lot of these terrible human beings are trolls under bridges (or in mother’s basement), but the jerks still get under my skin sometimes.

  • Lawcat

    Well, it’s FoxNews. And I’m sure there are some working moms who are questioning it. (My favorite part of the article is when they make the point to state she was in the country “legally”)

    But I think you misinterpreted the second section you pulled out and should include the paragraph after it (in the FN article) for context. The following paragraph includes a quote:

    “As a working mom who leaves her school-age children with a nanny
    during post-school hours, I don’t believe that one person’s horrible and
    intensely sad experience should be assumed to be a rampant issue or
    parental concern in the nanny world,” Hope Goldberg, a mother of two
    from Maplewood, N.J., said. “It’s no different than any other random act of violence that no-one can explain,”

    While, yes, you can twist it so that FN is shocked (shocked!) that
    working moms would have the gall to go back to work, I don’t think that’s correct. I believe the intent was that working moms aren’t going to be driven out of the workforce by a random act of violence. And while they could’ve picked any category of people (parents, working moms, part-time working moms, SAHM with caregivers, people who hire babysitters, people who leave their houses, etc.), they chose working moms because of page hits. Just like Mommyish does. (i.e. “Ann Coulter pisses off Parents…” I could say, why didn’t they say “Ann Coulter Pisses off People with Disabilities/Everyone?”)

    • chickadee

      Yes, I was actually kind of amazed at how….fair…..the article seemed to be. For FN, anyway. I certainly didn’t think it was ‘grossly shaming’ or even very anti-woman. For FN…

  • Katia

    It’s comforting that I’m with my kids to prevent this, but I have to admit its more likely for kids to die in a car accident. And we’re in our van quite a bit so I’m more of a bad mom than the working moms

    • AugustW

      Don’t worry, I’m at least twice as bad a mom as you, since I’m single AND I work. Clearly CPS is right around the corner.
      I’m so tired of all the news stories shaming moms. At least in this thread, we aren’t going after each other (for once). That’s actually nice to see.

  • zeisel

    This tragedy has made an impact on so many, but from talking to all my ‘mom’ friends.. it’s more about how it went down and not necessarily that their now fearful of their child being in danger from their own nanny/caregiver.

    All of them except for one exception, had stated that their initial fears and worries seamed like nothing. They worried about the nanny not following rules such as no texting around the kids or personal phone calls, or giving candy when instructed not to. One friend said, “I will look at the tootsie roll wrapper I found the nanny had giving to my 3 year old, in a different way now.” She had steamed over finding it before.

    With that being said, I have one friend who is in this turmoil over seeing similarities with her nanny and the Krim’s nanny. She picked a nanny that was not as nurturing or smiley, but older so not to worry about her coming on to her husband, apparently that is a fear she has. Also, the Krim’s neighbors made comments about her not being that friendly or not seeming happy. My friend has heard the same comments about her nanny. She is the only one I know that is now in a state of fear and contemplating on keeping her.

    I can only imagine what the Krim’s are going through and how everything is now hindsight- if they did notice any bizarre behavior. Who knows?

  • AlbinoWino

    This is obviously a terrible tragedy but I can’t help but find it interesting how and when we choose to target mothers. Nanny kills your kids? Well, this never would have happened to a STAY AT HOME MOM! Took your daughter to a midnight showing where a gunman opened fire on the crowd? How DARE that mother have her daughter with her at that movie!!! When there were countless sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church I didn’t hear anyone say, hey, this is what you get for sending your kid to church! Again it goes to trying to find a way for some to convince themselves that such a thing could never happen to them because they’re the “right” kind of parent. Sadly it again goes to the fact that no one is ever 100% safe from anything and not all situations have tremendous lessons to learn. There are some sick, awful people in the world and we don’t always see it coming. My brother was murdered by a stranger in a place all kids should be safe and my mom experienced other moms saying to her that “maybe she didn’t pray hard enough” I can’t believe she never punched them in the face.

    • MommyK

      I’m so sorry for your loss…

    • LiteBrite

      I completely agree with everything you said. In fact, Lindsay Cross wrote an article about this very topic after the Jessica Ridgeway murder. People just ripped apart her mother for not walking the kid to school, not calling the school, etc. All that sanctimony is nothing more than a way to make themselves feel better about their own decisions. (Well, **I** would never do that, so therefore **I’m** safe.) It certainly doesn’t change the situation one iota.

      And I too am sorry about what happened to your family. I’m also surprised your mother didn’t punch them in the face. I can’t say I wouldn’t have.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shelly-Lloyd/826469442 Shelly Lloyd

    It is always a catch 22 with the mommy wars. Work outside the home and you are a bad mommy because you are letting daycare/nannies raise your kids. Stay at home and go without then you are a bad mommy because you can not afford piano or karate lessons. Or God forbid you are a working poor mom, then it is a double whammy, you’re letting the day care rise you kid and you still can not afford fancy clothes or piano lessons. UGH. No matter what you do as a mother, someone out there is going to be critical of how you are raising your kids. I often think that those who are the loudest criticizers are also the ones who are mots insecure–they judge others so that they can feel better about how they are doing as mothers.

  • lea

    Maybe someone should remind those sanctimonious a-holes that in the vast majority of cases when a child is murdered, the perpetrator is actually a parent or stepparent.

  • bumbler

    TWO kids were killed by a nanny and suddenly it’s something on everyone’s mind? Good lord more kids than that were killed by unattended buckets of water in the time it took me to write this post! Who gives a crap how other people are raising their kids. If the kids are so bad off, then it’s less competition in life for you kid, right?