It’s taken me a few days to write about the “nanny murder” as it’s so horrible, and there are really no words to describe the pain that has been inflicted on an innocent family. The murder of the two children was a pointless act, so senseless, one that has left a family completely broken. They are a family like every other who has made the same decision all families have to make everyday about hiring a babysitter to care for their children. Whether a mother works or doesn’t, we all need help. For a mother to get anything done, whether working or not, childcare is pivotal to her everyday existence.
I’ve been reading the countless posts about it on Jezebel and blogs and have been digesting what unfolded on the Upper West Side, just a few blocks from my old apartment in NYC. Many commenters seem to be blaming the mother for being a SAHM and having childcare at the same time, but that had NOTHING to do with the senseless act that was committed. When I left my full-time job a year or so after my first child was born to stay home full-time, even I needed help a few days a week to keep my sanity in tact. That is something that every human being should be able to understand. The parents are not to blame. Unfortunately, their nanny snapped. These incidents are rare but it is not the family’s fault.
I can’t imagine what they are going through and I hope I never do. I have read about the mom’s scream at the discovery of her children lying dead in the bathtub and my mind can not fathom what that scream must have sounded like…well, actually I can. When my grandparents were innocently murdered by a drunk driver 20 years ago this year, my mother’s scream was the most agonizing sound I had ever heard. I would imagine that the scream of this mother of these two young children who’s lives she cherished more than her own life as even worse. No parent should ever have to face what this woman has faced. No mother should ever have to suffer the loss of her own children…especially in this way.
This tragedy has reminded so many of us how lucky we are and how precious our days with our children really are. The days that our children are short as it is before they turn into adults yet alone having them taken from this world before their, and our time, is so brutally unfair. We all can’t imagine the guilt that is running through the parent’s minds of leaving them with a woman who was obviously mentally ill, although it is very clear that they are not to blame. They chose their sitter with care. She was very much a part of their family. They traveled with her, took her to her family home and everyone in the building knew her.
In a city like NYC, where most moms are working moms with nannies who take care of their children, fear and horror must be running through every mother’s mind. In order to strike that balance chord I so often talk about on this blog between work and family life, we need sitters and the process of finding a good one is so difficult. Every successful working mother fully admits that they could not achieve anything without the help of babysitters and nannies. It doesn’t make any mom less of a mom whether she works or not. Babysitters can provide wonderful care for children, we all know that.
I struggled with going back to work when my daughter was 3 months old but there was no question that I wouldn’t at the time. I loved my job. My husband and I went through a vigorous interviewing process and interviewed so many different women for the job and it was difficult to find the right one. On the second day of going back to work, the tri-State blackout occurred and I got stuck at Grand Central with no train to get home on. My new sitter found her way into the basement to find shelter, candles and flashlights and I came home to a perfectly safe child. But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Since then, I’ve had many sitters from all over the world taking care of my children. As a consultant, my schedule has changed often over the years (unlike a full-time working mom). I’ve handed over the keys to my house, the keys to my car, my children’s feeding habits, the responsibility of getting my son to various forms of therapy and more in order to work. Along the way, I’ve had situations with sitters that have involved a car crash (albeit minor, no one was hurt), hospitals (I had to run my son to the hospital twice for stitches with the same sitter, I eventually let her go) and a paint explosion in my basement. My main concern has always been my children’s safety and I’ve taken real care to get to know and befriend each sitter so that they treat my children as their own. But I have seen accidents and do not always approve of they way my kids eat when I’m not around. But I’ve learned to loosen up as the kids have gotten older. For the most part, they are well taken care of and it’s the only way I can leave the home without worry..with the help of a good, reliable babysitter. Most of them are, we mustn’t forget that this was one isolated experience. Not all nannies are dangerous, quite the contrary.
What happened to the Krims could easily have happened to me and my husband. I’m sure that the sitter just snapped and that the parents, who seem like lovely people, according to reports and to my friends who still live in my old neighborhood, did not see this coming.
My prayers and warmest thoughts go out to them and to every mom out there. There are truly no words, so I’ll stop here.