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Nannies Are The Reason Men Cheat? A Rebuttal.

Dr. Dennis Friedman, a British psychiatrist, has published a book entitled An Unsolicited Gift: Why We Do What We Do.

According to Dr. Friedman, men who were raised with nannies are more likely to cheat on a spouse or significant other.  In essence, men, the women that they love, and the substitute women for the women that they love . . . both the mother and nanny or wife and mistress are perceived to be necessary to meet the man’s needs. 

Really?  Let’s approach this logically.

1. A large percentage of “cheaters” have never had a nanny.

2. A large percentage of men who have had nannies do not become “cheaters.”

3. Even if we assume that, as a child, the boy misconstrued societal boundaries on relationships with women, it is important that, as a man, he acknowledges receipt of information from our culture about what is and is not acceptable, and he accepts responsibility for the decisions he has made since becoming an adult. In other words, even though he may have misconstrued boundaries as a child, he has since had societal clarification of boundaries, yet he decided to cheat anyway. Thus, the decision to cheat has less to do with childhood misconstructions and more to do with adult decisions to act with disregard for societal convention (not to mention the feelings of his wife or significant other, any children they may have, and any other negative consequences he may experience for his infidelity).

Experiencing accountability for one’s actions can be painful.  Many people seek to avoid the psychological pain of accountability by shifting the responsibility to someone/something else.  Did you cheat on your wife?  Well, it’s your mother’s fault for hiring a nanny 40 years ago.  It’s certainly not because you chose, for your own personal reasons, to ignore society’s boundaries and put your marriage, your family, your career, and your financial future in jeopardy.  By blaming your mother, you get a permanent get-out-of-jail-free card for any other substitute women you have.  But that is not the emotionally healthy response to the situation.  The better response is to accept responsibility for your actions, apologize, make amends where possible, and move forward in a manner than demonstrates that you have learned from the experience.

Dr. Friedman clearly advocates for stay-at-home mothers: his position is that boys need to feel “100% connected” to their mothers.  Dr. Friedman makes no claim about boys needing to feel “100% connected” to their fathers.  Is this about an anachronistic stereotype that women should stay at home and men should earn a living?  Is it relevant that Dr. Friedman is 86 years old?  Could it really be that mothers must be “100% connected” to their children and than fathers are more marginalized?  What about the psychological health of the mother (who most likely has interests in addition to the children that she loves)?  What about fathers who do not want to be marginalized? 

We at Nannies4hire.com support Dr. Friedman’s right to take whatever position he wishes to take.  We respectfully disagree with his positions noted above.  A nanny is a mom-away-from-mom.  When mom cannot be available, a nanny is there for the children.  A nanny loves unconditionally.  She kisses ouchies, encourages intellectual, emotional and social development; and provides a safe space for the children.  She does all the things that the mother would do if the mother were available.  Thus, she too plays a pivotal role in shaping who the children become.

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