When we see our favorite celebrities posting perfect Instagrams of their homes, or posing for photo shoots with serene babies, we wonder if some people just have a gift for parenting. Thankfully, there are also honest moms who reveal the truth about how they “do it all”: with the help of really good nannies, babysitters, and night nurses.
In fact, unless they’ve said otherwise, you can assume that a lot of the actors, designers, and musical artists you love are getting a little help in the childcare department. After all, there is someone holding up the phone for those perfect Instagram shoots and watching the kids while they work on movie sets. For years, many celebrity moms have been a little bit bashful about this fact, and they kept their nannies, baby nurses, and babysitters out of the picture, never mentioning them. The only times we ever had hints that nannies existed in Hollywood was when straying husbands were caught cheating with them (ahem, Ben Affleck), or when some caregiver had enough of their demanding famous bosses (looking at you, Mariah Carey) and leaked their life details to the press.
Thankfully, we find ourselves in an age of a more confessional style of parenting. Everyone is admitting that it’s nearly impossible to raise kids in this world, and a handful have been ready to tell us about the women (and sometimes men) who keep things running at home to make their career successes possible. If it was OK for important men of history relied on stay-at-home wives to make their work possible, important women can get help too. That’s why nannies are coming out of the shadows and getting shout-outs on Instagram, publishing deals, and even cameos in an SNL video by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. Oversharing moms like Amy Schumer are giving night nurses credit for their postpartum mental health, too.
“I don’t know how not to be honest,” Shonda Rhimes told USA Today of why she credits her nanny when she answers that age-old question of how she does it all. “It does such a disservice to any other woman who’s out there reading and thinking, ‘Oh, it’s so easy for somebody else,’ And it’s not easy. It’s not easy for me. So I know it can’t be easy for somebody who doesn’t have any help. It felt like [I] should absolutely be honest as to how it works and how it is.”
When we learn that someone like Chrissy Teigen has round-the-clock childcare from four (!) rotating nannies, that goes a long way to explaining why she has so much time to make all those delicious meals from scratch. It makes the rest of us feel better about not doing as much as she does. At the same time, we still feel super jealous. What would the rest of us be able to accomplish with a household staff? Or even just with good maternity leave and affordable childcare?
Well, we can ponder our desire for an equitable economy another time. For now, let’s just enjoy these famous moms and dads being honest about to their awesome nannies.
A version of this story was originally published on July 30, 2020.