Sunday, August 03, 2008

Countdown: 2 Days To Roxiticus Desperate Housewives Third Blogiversary!

As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, almost three years ago, I became inspired by another blog, Instructions to the Double, and launched this blog on August 5, 2005. This Tuesday, we'll begin a celebration of our third blogiversary. I'm thinking it will be a week-long celebration from August 5th through the 12th, in order to incorporate our 500th post and 30,000th visitor, as well as the launch of a brand new Roxy WordPress MU community. For the past couple of weeks, we've been counting down with excerpts from Tess' original Instructions to the Double blog archives, and today I'd like to present the third episode, which discusses the strange business of "babysitting" from a nanny's perspective, as well as the emotional struggle for women who turn over their children to nannies in order to work full-time. Let's call it "Envy of the Nanny Blogger's Life:"

I find the next section where she writes about being envious of my life particularly sad. Everyone is young once. Everyone is single and has freedom to go to "hip" (though I mostly go to Planet Thai, which is pretty played out, actually) restaurants when not having to arrange babysitters for kids. I hope she did when she was young. It is enjoyable. But there is nothing to be envious about.

But then my sadness for her stops. The place in the essay where she actually has the audacity to compare us has been a sore spot since I knew this essay was going to be published. In particular, I take issue with how she flippantly mentions my abortion. I did blog about my abortion, please read my entry here [Roxy needs to find that post in my archives to share with my readers]. I think if you compare the vulnerable and humble way I talk about that painful experience, you might find that Ms. Olen and I are very different. I for one would never reduce another woman's abortion to a fragment defaming her in a self-serving essay. I did blog about the abortion, thereby in a sense publishing it; she had the legal right to mention it (I certainly checked). However, I pleaded with the New York Times in two separate emails that her use of my experience was insensitive and contradictory to the way in which I talked about it. They didn't care.

As for the blogging at work, yep, I sometimes did that. When the kids were napping. However, I also do what I said I would do, get materials together for my future professional plans. I even mention that on my blog. Anyone out there apply to both PhD programs and Law School? Anyone blog while taking a break from that process? Normal, right? And as for the speculation, slanderous speculation that I called in sick because of a drinking problem, which is ridiculous. This blog documents how ill I was. Many posts document how, instead of staying out, I was home, trying to recuperate. There are many entries. Feel free to look for them if you want. I will say, though, that Ms. Olen's family was sick frequently.

Also, when Ms. Olen was sick with a 24-hour stomach bug, she actually had me get things for her, further exposing me to illness. And even though she employed me to take care of her children, not as her caregiver, she thought it was fine to expose me to more illness as I brought her soup, tea, crackers, etc. Also, on that day, she exposed her breasts to me. I am sure she just thought she was more comfortable with her top off while ill. I am sure it was an accident. But frankly, it was careless and inappropriate. In general, that was the tone of their household. Careless and inappropriate.
[Roxy to readers -- be glad I used the soup image instead of Googling an image of Ms. Olen's exposed breasts!]

I was sick a great deal last winter. And it was terrible. And for her to insinuate that I was not sick, but actaully have a drinking problem that prevents me from being responsible, is slanderous. I think it should also be noted that Ms. Olen asked me to make up two sick days. Yes. Which meant I worked 12 days straight. I also document that on the blog. I was exhausted and fatigued and I felt like I was being punished for being sick. The fact that I worked the weekend and the hours compounded together more than made up for my sick day absences, well, that of course is never mentioned by Ms. Olen. That would detract from her intent to show me as irresponsible.

It is particularly sad when Ms. Olen expressed "fear" that I would "judge her life and find it wanting." This might be hard for Ms. Olen to understand, considering her article reveals that she lives in an insular inner world where everything is about HER, but I didn't judge her life. Why? Well, I never really thought about it at all. She employed me to take care for her children. Her choices? Her compromises? Not my business. The only times I considered her life was in relation to my employment: Would she manage her schedule so she would stop changing my hours? Would she and her husband figure out if they were staying in Brooklyn so I would stop having to listen to them debate moving to the suburbs? But I think it is also relevant to point out that Ms. Olen's expressed fear that I would judge her life is really to try to paint me as anti-mother and anti-children. When in fact, I have consistently blogged about how I want to make professional choices now to ensure that I can be a mother some day.

Still think i am a party girl who judges women with children?

But what I do find "wanting" about Ms. Olen is a shocking lack of integrity and ability to find reasonable perspective on her own life and others.

Also, when Ms. Olen says I sarcastically refer to caring for her children as "work" I happen to have proof that she is contriving this emotion after the fact. Yep, sometimes I put work in " ". When Ms. Olen first read my blog she sent me a personal email, COMPLIMENTING that gesture! Admitting that yes, babysitting was a strange business. So, what is the real deal here? Also, I take issue with her because she suggests nannies are not workers, that our service is not labor. Isn't the problem that traditionally defined "women's" work is not considered real labor? Real labor that is valuable? Caring for children is work. It can be great work; it comes with real highs and real lows. Just Like Everything Else. But also, I would like, surprisingly, to agree with Ms. Olen. Nannies often do have great relationships with families and visit them years later for free. In fact, I actually blog about such a relationship that I have with a family I used to work for. Sadly, I could never feel that way about Ms. Olen and her family. And frankly, I think that is what upsets her the most.

Also, I would like to add, that I continue to work as a nanny. That the families I am currently working for are very pleased with my services. That one has only increased my hours. We have a positive working relationship that has redeemed this year for me.

That's all for now...I need to pack up the Suburban and get the girls to our beach house for a week in Bay Head, New Jersey, where Aunt Veg and Uncle Quiet will be joining us for a couple of days of sun and fun.


LadyJava said...

Ohh wow 3 years eh?? You're a blogger veteran!! heheh...

Anyway.. I'm back.. I think!! My connection is going on smoothly tonight.. but of course now is dinner time for me.. so ttyl!!

Have a great Sunday Roxy!!

Mariuca said...

Congrats Roxy, I bet you're proud to be celebrating your 3 years! Don't forget to invite us for ur big bash! :):):)

Mariuca said...

Roxy!! mariuca is cooking today he he, come take a bite later! ;)

Ferd said...

I've said it before, I just LOVE the flashback on Tess' blog and life of long ago. It is like a little message in a bottle, a little time capsule. And I feel a little voyeuristic, but it is with a warm feeling for Tess.

Hey, congrats on 3 years! Wow!

And enjoy your break! I hope Aunt Veg and Uncle Quiet keep it down! You need you R & R! ; )

Wally Banners said...

Congrats 3 years!
Roxie have you ever noticed on blog explosion the number 666 and 999 come up I never press them I'll pick a wrong number instead.:)

Mariuca said...

Am here again Roxy! Happy Tuesday to you. Connection is speedy, work is okay and I feel like a Botb coming on! :)

Henson Ray said...

It's Tuesday. Congrats on your third Blogoversary!!!! Very, very exciting. I'm sure you'll be throwing a Gala Event with all the cream de le creme of the Blogoshphere attending.

Matti said...

Large praise for this well written and easily understandable contribution. I take up this blog to my favorites and times will soon again by-look.