Working from home during my last year in Raleigh, I would sometimes go to the park on nice days when I needed to get away from the phone and internet in order to concentrate. Being a student in London affords me the same level of flexibility. In addition to space and focus, my park experiences in the US and UK has hinted to cultural differences between the two.

When visiting a park in the US (specifically in Cary), most childrens’ incessant chants would begin with “mommy, mommy, mommy”. And even if children didn’t seem to “match” the parents, you’d still assume ownership. Affluent families in Cary could afford for moms (or dads) to stay at home with kids and would often choose to do so, but nannies were not the norm.

However, UK chaps seem to begin their tantrums “Nan Elizabeth, or Miss Prudy or you’re not my mommy.” Definite hints that the folks at the park are nannies…not mommies. And if this isn’t hint enough, the children are generally wearing couture while their caregivers are wearing Gap (come to think of it, so am I?). And the active topics of conversation are the lavish lifestyles of their charges ala “I must get going. If we don’t hurry, Claire won’t be properly groomed for her daddy’s dinner guests at the Savoy.” or “You know how the Mrs hates it when little Henry doesn’t nap before seeing the grans. And we must make it to the Ritz by 5…”
This raises my curiousity. Are the mommies working, or do they fill their time with other activities. Does this hint of a cultural difference (similar to life in the Caribbean or in India) where whether working or not, moms have a nanny to help out at home, or perhaps it’s that folks in London are simply more wealthy and that wealth affords them a nanny?

I suppose that I may never know and, perhaps, it doesn’t matter, but from the looks of things I can certainly understand why the British moms would want to escape the slew of curry and marmite that appears to cover the poor nannies from head to toe…though jam would, perhaps, be worse?

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