Something About the Word "Nanny"

Something About the Word "Nanny"

Something About the Word "Nanny"

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
June 30 2010 1:05 AM

Something About the Word "Nanny"

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New Yorkers use nannies in far greater numbers than most of the country, for lots of reasons. More money, maybe. More duel-income couples, fewer day care facilities, and a higher percentage of jobs with erratic hours and plenty of travel (things that apply in other intense nanny-use cities like San Francisco and L.A., too). Those nannies-who actually have a union -have lobbied for protections like mandated sick days, contracts, and notice or termination pay. Pending legislation may provide some of that in New York State.

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The Wall Street Journal asked readers if requiring that parents pay a nanny who works more than 40 hours a week overtime or mandating regular days off asked too much of already overburdened working parents. Commenters responded, some following a predictable WSJ free-market line and others supporting the possible law-but much of the commentary descended into an argument about whether anyone should need a nanny at all, rather than putting together some sort of babysitting exchange, a family arrangement, or using day care. Why does the word "nanny" raise our collective hackles so much?

Screenshot of Mary Poppins courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.