by Risa Green
A couple of years ago, some friends and I were talking about taking on a pretty big volunteer position at our kids’ school, and we were discussing who else we should ask to do it with us. We brought up some names – no, I heard she wants to be a room parent this year; no, I think she’s going back to work full time – and then another name came up and my friend said, yeah, she’d be great, plus, she’s totally nannied up. Nannied up. It’s a term that’s stuck with me, and if I had to write a dictionary definition for it, I think it would go something like this:
na·nnied up: adj.
Being in mother in a state of complete and utter freedom as a result of having one (or more than one) nanny who is always available to drive, cook and clean. Even though she has three kids and doesn’t work, Karen is always free to grab coffee at four o’clock in the afternoon because she is so nannied up.
I think that the whole idea of being nannied up causes people to make a lot of judgments, (i.e., she’s so nannied up, she never even spends any time with her kids or, in the alternative, poor Sue, she spends half her salary being nannied up because she has to put in such long hours at the office) but that’s not why I decided to write about it this week. No, I decided to write about it because I’ve started the next book in my Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball series, and it’s come to my attention that I am not set up for working full time, especially in the summer. I am, decidedly, not nannied up, and it’s becoming a bit of an issue for me.
When my daughter was born eight years ago, we hired a nanny to live with us both because we had an extra bedroom, and because we couldn’t afford to pay for a nanny who “lived out.” Although I was working in an office at the time, it wasn’t a problem for us that she didn’t drive. We live in the middle of the city, with plenty of parks and malls and bus stops within walking distance. By the time my kids started preschool I was working as a writer, from home, and the preschool is just a five minute walk from our house. So when I was working on a book and I needed to work full days, she could go pick up my kids and walk them to the park or to a playdate, while I stayed at my computer, working away.
Now, however, everything is so much more complicated. Our elementary school is a fifteen minute drive from my house, and my kids have art classes and soccer practice and God knows what else after school, all of which require me to essentially end my work day at two thirty so that I can become an unpaid chauffeur. And in the summer, it’s even worse. Camp doesn’t start until nine, and in order to give them both some much needed downtime, they only go three days a week. Which basically means that my work week has now been reduced to three, five hour days. It’s as if I’ve been furloughed by my children.