Dear Dr. Laura,
This morning I was downstairs in the kitchen making breakfast when two sleepy 6-year old twin boys and their 4-year old sister walked tiredly down the stairs. All of them were dressed in their Disney "footy" pajamas, and were rubbing their eyes. As usual, morning hugs and kisses were given, and we cuddled on the couch under a blanket and read a morning story. After that we ate breakfast, and continued with their morning routine of getting dressed and ready for the day. After the struggle of getting the boys in their snow-pants, boots, coats, hats, mittens, and scarves, the bus came and they ran off with their Lego backpacks, shouting "Bye Mom".
Well, I'm not their mother.
I am a 22-year old college student, putting myself through school by working as a nanny. I get called "mom" all the time by accident, and I want to cry each and every time for two reasons: one, for the mom who is missing out on hearing them say "Mom", and two, for the children who are practically being raised by me, and not their parents. I have been watching these children for three years, and have potty-trained, taught them how to swim, pulled loose teeth, and taken them to the zoo. I have fixed boo-boos, rocked them to sleep, organized play-dates, and taken them to sports practices.
What I don't understand is why I am there. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy to have such a secure job and be able to educate myself without loans, but both of these parents make a significant amount of money, and this family could easily downgrade their enormous house and material items and live very comfortably on one salary but they choose not to. They choose to have me come early in the morning, and leave late at night. They choose for me to "deal with" their children, instead of taking the time to learn how to properly discipline them. They choose for me to hear giggles, happy squeals, and "I love yous".
Dr. Laura, in a generation of young women who have been told it is "ok" to be a working mom, I can guarantee I will never become one. Yes, I am almost done with my University program, and will hopefully work full-time after graduation. But I can guarantee when I get married and have children, my degree will be placed on the wall, and I will remember all the hard work I put into it, and then I will look at my children, who will probably be creating a mess, and smile because I know they will be worth more than that piece of paper on the wall, or a paycheck that can buy fancy things.
I know I will face people who say I worked so hard for nothing, but in my eyes I will know I worked so hard for my children, my family, who will be everything. Thank you for giving confidence to us young women who still have our hearts set on being full time mothers.