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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Mary Poppins will make your son an adulterer



Mom_marypoppins  According to a British doctor, us Mommas who hire a nanny to help with our boys are turning them into future adulterers. Dr. Dennis Friedman, in his book An Unsolicited Gift: Why We Do the Things We Do, contends that boys who are left with nannies begin to think that, like John Edwards, they can turn to more than one woman for affection when they need it.

"It introduces him to the concept of The Other Woman," says Dr Friedman.

Don't think it's just your sons who will wind up on the couch or in the marriage counselor's office. Because mom isn't around, Friedman says, girls develop a "vacuum of need" which could also lead to multiple partners later in life.

To me, as a working mom who had a nanny watch my boys when they were little, that sounds (as she would have put it) "cuckoo crazy."

Dr. Friedman -- who, I should point out, is 85 -- contends that the best thing for kids is if the Mommas don't work, or at least delay going back for a year after giving birth. That might have been a realistic option back in his day, but not any more. In these days of cutbacks, buyouts and layoffs, it takes two incomes to keep a roof over your head and food on the table.

Lots of critics are pointing out that Friedman didn't cite any statistics or case studies (one of them asked: How many nannies did Tiger Woods have?) Dr. Jean Mercer, a psychology professor who
specializes in infant development says, "Babies don't form attachments solely to their mothers -- they become attached also to fathers,  grandparents, nannies, child-care providers, older brothers and sisters, or anyone else who interacts with them socially and frequently participates in care routines like feeding and bathing."

To me, the best way to keep your kids from becoming a future Jesse James is to show them what a solid marriage looks like -- and how both parents work together to deal with problems. And regardless of what the good doctor thinks, both my sons knew exactly who mom was when our wonderful nanny was coming to our home every day to watch them. If they cried in the night, it wasn't for her. If they needed solace after a nightmare, they called for Mom. If they needed a boo-boo kissed, I didn't have to drive them to her house for that. My kisses always worked just fine, Dr. Friedman.

And now, because I think your "study" is a load of hooey, Dr. Friedman, I will now give you something that other Mommas who have nannies should do as well: the kiss off.

-- Sherry Robinson

[That's our beloved Mary Poppins, the super nanny who is practically perfect in every way.]

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:05am]


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