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Nanny Cams: Do or Don't?

Hello, I hope you all had a lovely Labor Day weekend! I hate to start back on a somber note, but since my mom friends and Facebook fans have been discussing the nanny who was caught on tape abusing a child, I thought the blog could use some feedback too.

I was home on Friday night with nothing to do so I found myself flipping through the channels. It was 10 P.M. and Nancy Grace was just starting. The feature story was about Jeannine Campbell, 53, who was caught on a nanny cam hitting and kicking the 11-month-old boy she was paid to watch. She also verbally berated him and flung him into his pack-n-play.

Campbell was sentenced to 8 years in prison and 7 additional years of probation for this vicious attack. She was allowed to read an apology letter to the parents of the boy in court expressing her remorse. “My heart is screaming every day. I’m so very sorry. I had never behaved so horribly. It’s hard to cope with what I did. I can’t believe that someone could do it, and, my God, it was me.” She admitted that at the time of the incident she was angry at the family. You can watch the very graphic video here.

The news of Campbell’s sentencing prompted a lot of Facebook chatter and because I have so many friends who follow my blog I was able to browse through a lot of comments and discussions. I saw the same lines over and over: “This is why I’m a SAHM!” “This is why I quit my job when I had my baby.” Realistically, I think these comments came from the headspace that we were all in and that is, this nanny is evil and crazy—how dare she hit this child! Because, let’s face it, you’re not a SAHM because you’re scared a nanny or daycare provider is going to abuse your child. You’re a SAHM (hard at work, I know!) who has the financial means to stay-at-home (whether you are able to make a living working from home, have a partner paying the bills or a hefty trust fund) -- but to say you're a SAHM because you can't trust anyone with your child, is a little much for me and makes me wonder what people who SAH think of parents who do have nannies and use daycares. Are we crazy for working and letting other people watch our kids? I mean, will you home-school your kid when it's time for Kindergarten because you don't trust his teacher or frankly, having him out of your sight?

As a single mom, I have to work (and I know married moms have to work too). After my maternity leave, I headed back to First magazine fulltime and JD went to my friend, Theresa’s home where she provided state certified childcare services. I had no reservations, since I’ve known this friend and her entire family for years. Of course, I felt guilty bringing my four-month-old to someone else’s home at 8 A.M. and picking him up after 5 P.M. Monday through Friday, but I had no other options. Even now, working from home, JD attends a pre-school program 3-days-a-week at a childcare facility. I usually bring him at 8:30 A.M. and sometimes, depending on my workload, I don’t pick him up until 5:00 P.M. However, I never feel anxious about leaving him. I love his bright, warm school and his teachers. There’s never been a split second where I questioned something I heard or saw during drop-off or pick-up. The fact that JD runs into his classroom, embracing his teachers is also a good sign!

Here’s the thing though, I don’t think I could personally leave JD alone one-on-one with a nanny at my home. For one thing, I think it would be really boring for him and I’d also worry there would be no one else to account for nanny -- and JD. I know a lot of people find great, long-lasting babysitters online, but that is something else I can’t do. But, as a single mom, I need sitters if I want any time to myself and I’m not talking about a date or going out with friends, I’m talking about an hour for a pedicure, or doctor’s appointment. A lot of my married mom friends, steal away for a pedi when their husband comes home and my single mom friends make time for that when their child is with their ex, but since JD’s dad doesn’t participate at all, I have to find a sitter for every, single occasion (think dentist, haircut, shopping for a dress for an event). My parents, brothers, sister-in-law and girlfriends love JD and help out (for free!), but they are not around for random hours when I need a manicure because I have a meeting in NYC, or for that meeting in NYC. So, I have two young twenty-something women I use here and there. I’ve known their families forever and never feel nervous leaving them alone at my house. No I don’t have a nanny cam. While, they may work for some people, I just couldn’t stomach the idea of installing a cam to check up on my sitters, because to me, that reads, “I don’t trust you.” And, if I don’t trust you, you’re not coming to my home to watch my son.

Which brings me back to the Campbell story. The child’s father installed the camera after he noticed his son had a black eye. You read that right. Sorry, folks, if I thought someone was hurting my child, I wouldn’t install a camera to catch that person hurting him again! I always go with my gut! AHHH, PARENTHOOD IS SO STRESSFUL!!!

I am dying to hear your thoughts on this story. Tell me, does your child have a nanny (how did you find him/her?) or attend daycare? Have you ever had a problem with childcare services? Do you have a nanny cam? Do you let your sitters drive with your kid?

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