New York City parenting message boards are ablaze today as mothers attempt to grapple with the tragic news of a nanny on the Upper West Side accused of fatally stabbing two children and then attempting to slit her own throat. As noted in the New York Times, “Urban Baby, a chat site with a heavy following among affluent Manhattan and Brooklyn mothers, lit up with comments and stinging criticism, with some questioning why some stay-at-home mothers need nannies and others arguing that mothers who choose to work are asking for trouble.” Like with all anonymous online comments, the reactions range from solemn and thoughtful to paranoid and accusatory, each revealing in its own way the unfathomable nature of the crime, especially for a parent.
“You don’t get how dizzying this is?” wrote one person quoted by the Times. “This is 9/11 territory for this family. It makes no sense.” Another added, “Is there anything worse? No. Nothing. My heart aches.”
As gruesome as the news is, it has also served as a launching pad for debates that populate these sites on less terrible days. “I am honestly sickened by the fact that adults are in are turning this UWS tragedy into a [stay at home mom]/[work out of home mom] argument,” reads one post that devolved into just that. “So gross,” the author added.
On YouBeMom, a similar site, someone asked, “is anybody having a discussion with their own nanny about the tragedy on the UWS?” In typical Internet fashion, a few cruel jokes followed.
Still others are turning to the community for support. “I’m just wondering, for those of you out there who ARE working moms or employ any kind of childcare workers, does this increase any anxiety for you?” reads one topic. “I was starting to feel comfortable with the idea of nannies or childcare, having seen so many friends with wonderful options. But, this just puts the pit back in my stomach. I know this is my own issue, but I can’t stop thinking about it.”