Watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians feels like a pretty comprehensive peek into the lives of its stars — as much as we know that reality shows are, by their nature, staged and artificial to some degree. But the Kardashians give us a look into their lives that is unprecedented in both its breadth and intimacy. We see the family doing nearly everything: eating, hanging out with friends, getting their makeup done, driving, doing photo shoots, fighting, crying, making up, taking vacations, going out, playing with their kids, reading gossip about themselves, talking smack behind each other's backs, developing their respective apps, makeup collections and clothing lines. But New York magazine writer Laura June points out in this excellent piece that a big part of the family's lives is conspicuously missing: their nannies.
Obviously, the Kardashians employ nannies — just like many other working mothers do. But they are virtually nonexistent on the show. "[What] I see are quick cuts of the kids while Scott and Kourtney talk, then seconds later, it’s just Scott and Kourtney, alone in the kitchen," June writes. "I see Kim out and about driving her car just months after North is born, and I think, Where is North?" Ironically, it's the nannies' invisibility that stands out. The question is: Why? As June puts it: "Why, in a show that is pretty often groundbreaking and transparent and 'real,' are they invisible?"
The simplest and least sensational explanation for the absence of child care professionals on KUWTK is also the most simple: They don't want to be on camera. But we regularly see the Kardashians' staff on camera: We see their assistants, trainers, business associates, stylists, chefs, makeup artists, and bodyguards. And not only do we not see the nannies; they are never even talked about. "Even passing references would go a long way toward normalising the realities of everyday child care," June writes.
And that's the potential problem with the missing nannies on KUWTK: It feels like a deliberate decision to hide the reality that these busy, successful, strong, dynamic, hardworking women need help raising their kids. This is the reality of millions of working mums in America, too. And a famous family obscuring this particular facet of their lives sends the message that paying people to help take care of your children is something to hide — something to be ashamed of. And it's not, as June explains. "Having a nanny or other caretaker for your child doesn’t make you a lesser mother. The fact that you don’t spend 24 hours a day with your children has no bearing on the quality of the time that you do spend with them." We bet that the Kardashians would agree with this, actually. But when you're as famous as they are, everything you do sends a message — whether it's caught on camera or not.