• Tue, Jul 16 2013

My Son Got Invited To A Nannies-Only Playgroup

stroller parking signLike Maria Guido, I too am an “old mom.” I had my first baby when I was 29, my second at 39. Being an “old mom” is a lot like dating and trying to find your soulmate. You have to find mothers your own age to complain about sleep routines and, also, possibly hip replacements (us being so “old” and all) and hopefully a mom who shares the same parenting style, like smoking pot after bed time.

For the first year of my son’s life, he literally had no friends. None. But he has three sisters and loved jumping off couches and his best friend was a straw. The dude didn’t need any friends. A straw kept him busy for hours. But this OLD mother (me) needs new friends. My friends are done having children and have been done for years and now spend their nights going out drinking and getting away from their husbands, so I hate most of them.

I needed a new group of mother friends my age, with babies, who understand that tequila shots are not a good idea with a newborn. In the area I live in, we don’t talk to our neighbors. I think most of the people who live in my area moved there precisely so we don’t have to talk to our neighbors. We like our privacy. So even if I saw a mother walking a stroller there’s no way we’d talk to one another. We might smile.

So I was THRILLED when I was sort of set up on a blind date, over e-mail, by a mutual friend, with another “old” mother who had a baby the same time I had mine and who lived two blocks away. Who knew? I never actually had to meet this mother in person, which is good, because it’s a pain in the ass dating and I didn’t want to shave my legs, even if the date was with another mother. It didn’t matter anyway. This mother didn’t want to meet me. However, this mother DID organize a playgroup for 10 other babies the same age as ours, over e-mail, with babies who all live in the area.

This mother is possibly one of my favorite people in the world because she was so damn organized that she wrote and sent off an e-mail with everyone’s child’s name and addresses.

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There are a couple things she did not ask for, one being my own phone number. She just wanted all the nannies’ phone numbers. The playgroup moves house to house every week.

I e-mailed her asking if the playgroup was for mothers, because I wasn’t quite sure since I had never been part of a playgroup, even when I was a young mother. I thought this was a perfectly normal motherly thing to ask. So I was shocked (and also, I’ll admit, pleased) when she wrote back, “No, it’s for nannies only!” Well, okay then. Point taken. I didn’t exactly want to hang out with 10 other 1-year-olds anyway, for three hours, because I’m not running a daycare and never plan to (except when it comes to my day to host which I’m already dreading.)

So each week my son attends a three-hour playgroup in the neighborhood, at homes I’ve never been to, with children whose mothers I’ve never met or even talked to in person. I asked my nanny if at least she’s meeting new friends, because someone in my house should be.

“Yes I am,” she said. “Other nannies. But we’re so busy looking after all the children.”

I wouldn’t be opposed to going to these playdates once a week. But, really, I’m not fucking invited. In fact, I was specifically not invited. It’s kind of like not wanting to go to a party, but when you’re really not invited, you actually kind of want to go even more. So my son has made friends. My nanny has made friends with other nannies. The only person who hasn’t made any new friends, with babies, is me.

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I’m actually contemplating going to the playgroup next time and pretending I’m a nanny, because I’ve never met any of the mothers anyway.

What’s most upsetting to me is that I NEED FUCKING FRIENDS MY OWN AGE WITH BABIES. So Maria, where the hell do you live? Because I have a bottle of champagne that’s waiting to be popped. And if you come on a Friday, it will be just us.

(photo: PW74)

Share This Post:
  • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

    I WISH! I would be there in a hot second.

  • Gretta

    This is by far one of the weirdest things I have ever read in my life. Do you live on another planet???

  • Michelle

    It’s so interesting to see how the other half lives…I think I’ll stick to my middle class life and enjoy the block parties with my neighbors.

  • Annie

    This is really weird…

    So, if you’re so lonely, why don’t you just talk to people instead of maybe smiling?

    • Sundaydrive00

      Or email the other moms and ask them for a girls day out while the kids are with the nannies.

  • Paul White

    1. Is it really common for people to basically view social gatherings as an excuse to get away from their spouse? That’s kind of sad (and I know it wasn’t you that was doing that).

    2. How many people have a frigging nanny?

    • Gangle

      Well, I don’t view all social gatherings as an excuse to get away from my husband. But I possibly would have maimed my husband by now if I didn’t get together with my friends on some sort of regular basis. I love him very very much, but damn he can be so annoying sometimes. I think the idea of spending every waking minute with him 24/7 sounds horrible. I am sure he feels the same way.

  • Lydia

    I don’t think it’s that weird…we have a nanny (which is a little bit more than daycare, but not a lot) and she has made friends in the neighborhood with other nannies. Very few of my friends have babies, so I’m glad my son has made some friends at least. I’ve met one mom when she invited us to her daughter’s birthday party – so maybe someday I’ll meet the rest.

    • jessica

      Same. My husband and I have really unpredictable work schedules (me= nurse, him= paramedic/firefighter) so daycare centers won’t aren’t always open when we need them. Our nanny is a grad student studying early childhood education so maybe that is why her prices are so reasonable compared to day care? Either way she’s really good with the kids and we love her. AND if it weren’t for her and her nanny network, my kids never would have met the other kids in the neighborhood.

  • VA Teacher

    Don’t you think the presumption is that if one has a nanny, it’s because they actually WORK? If these playgroups are during the day on weekdays, these other moms are probably working and want a chance for their kids to socialize anyway. Do you have a nanny… but don’t work?

    • J

      I think she works from home so she has a flexible schedule and could meet during the day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

    I WANT to like this article, especially because, even though I’m not really an “old mom,” I don’t really have a lot of friends whose kids are in the same age group as mine. But there’s a couple of things that bother me about this. The first being that I don’t think I would like my 1-year-old being with people I wouldn’t know if they stood up in my soup. I mean, I trust my sitter implicitly. But with all the horror stories about what nannies have been caught doing to children when the parents aren’t home…. How does that not freak you out? Even though your nanny is there, what if she has to run to the bathroom really quick or gets busy with another kid or something? The chances of something bad happening are probably very slim, but still… The first thing you’re gonna do is blame yourself for not knowing these people if something does happen.

    And secondly…. All of these houses…. What if they’re dirty? Or there’s a murderer that lives next door that is waiting for his prime opportunity and your kid could be it?

    I realize that these are all far-fetched scenarios, but isn’t it our job as moms to take all of these into account when we’re making decisions for our babies?

    • Annie

      Ehhh. I was a nanny for a while and can assure you that people with money do background checks and go by references, and statistically, never leaving your child stunts their emotional growth and independence and puts the both of you at a greater risk of mental illness. Compared to the minute risk that your child will be assaulted by a nanny…

    • TriannaLi

      You’re totally right that it would be crazy to never leave your kid, and no good for both of you. But I think Valeri has a good point- it seems irresponsible to not know who the people watching your children are (which we don’t know that the writer has done, to be fair, but there’s a line in the post which suggests it).

      Counting that other people are smart enough/care enough to really check out the background of a nanny seems like putting a lot of unearned faith into someone. And if you look around at the other comments here, the ‘people with money’ thiing is not factor- people here are stating they’re not exactly rich, but they’ve employed nannies.

      And truthfully someone being rich wouldn’t make me trust them to have done homework more.

  • meah

    I feel your pain on the friends thing. I recently moved and it has been really difficult making friends in general. What worked for me was forcing myself to risk rejection and humiliation by really putting myself “out there” in my neighbourhood — saying hi, starting conversations and inviting people over for dinner. It was really hard and awkward at first, but it got easier with practice, and I’ve met some really nice people. A woman needs friends, man. Kids or not.

  • Elle

    I get having a nanny only playgroup as at that age, it is more about the adults socializing than the kids and caregivers just have different issues and need different support than parents. The nanny gives the kids back at the end of the day, doesn’t have financial responsibility, isn’t raising the child along side a spouse/partner, maybe juggling their own family in conjunction with their job as a nanny etc. It could help to talk to others who are going through the same thing. That said, I can’t imagine letting my child go off to the home of someone I had never met no matter what their age. Even with teenagers I would want to meet the parents and see the home first, even if just briefly. How do you know one of these families doesn’t have a pack of wild dogs or other hazards you don’t know about? You don’t know how these other families/nannies treat children or what rules they have or anything about them and I’d be more worried about that than my nanny having more of a social life than I do.

    As for meeting other mom friends, try meet-up or one of the eleventy billion social media sites, message boards and mom/baby “classes”. Moms over 40 are hardly an anomaly.

  • NYCNanny

    You guys either have really terrible nannies or just really weird trust issues…
    I am a nanny…I used to organize a nanny-only play group, exactly like this one. We’d switch off hosting at apartments, playgrounds, parks, whatever.. It was great! Nannies got to meet each other and make friends…kids got to play. Nannies like each other…we also like the parents we work for…but there’s something about being “on” with your bosses that can be a bit stressful. (And I say this as a nanny who absolutely adores the family I work for…parents and kids.)
    I can’t stress enough how important it is for your nanny to have a few nanny friends…it makes her job more fun and is great for the kids.
    Jennifer-as for you being lonely…I feel for you. Why not try a meetup.com group for mothers over 40…? Or just say “hi” to the next “old mom” you see. Worse comes to worse she’s awful and doesn’t want to be your friend.
    Good luck with the friends and don’t intrude on nanny play group!

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