Good news for wives of adulterers: it’s your mother-in-law’s fault! She’s the one who hired the nanny, and according to a British psychiatrist, having two primary maternal caregivers turns men into cheaters.

The Nanny-Cheater Connection

Dr. Dennis Friedman, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, in his book The Unsolicited Gift: Why We Do The Things We Do, claims that some men’s womanizing ways can be traced back to an attachment to a caring female sitter. Time reported on Dr. Friedman’s assertions, including his idea that having two women care for a baby boy can cause him to unconsciously develop the expectation that he requires multiple females to meet his needs. Friedman says that the extra female caregiver “introduces him to the concept of the other woman."

Having two maternal objects, says Friedman, "creates a division in [the boy's] mind between the woman he knows to be his natural mother and the woman with whom he has a real hands-on relationship: the woman who bathes him and takes him to the park, and with whom he feels completely at one." This dual-woman life, one for family and one for catering to his every need, might become a set pattern in his mind, so that when he grows up and feels like his needs are not being met, he strays beyond the home.

I’d like to see a study on the number of men who had nannies, and then grew up to have an affair with a nanny. (Not the same nanny, of course. That would result from a different kind of psychological damage.)

And what about the girls raised by nannies? They turn out to be promiscuous too, probably luring those poor, unsuspecting men into adulterous affairs. And Dr. Friedman apparently had no opinion on the damage done to men who had male caregivers.

Bottom Line: Women Shouldn’t Work

Friedman concludes that mothers should stay home for at least the first year of their son’s lives, thereby, he seems to believe, saving their daughters-in-law plenty of future grief.

85-year-old Friedman told the TelegraphUK that he knew his comments would not be popular with women who “feel they have a right to have a career and social life while bringing up their baby. But that the baby has a right too," he said, "the right to have a relationship with a mother who is 100 per cent connected."

A hundred percent, ladies. No time off for potty breaks.

Dr. Jean Mercer, professor emerita of Psychology at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey, specializes in infant development and questions Friedman’s logic.

"Babies don't form attachments solely to their mothers — they become attached also to fathers, grandparents, nannies, child-care providers, older brothers and sisters, or anyone else who interacts with them socially and frequently participates in care routines like feeding and bathing."

According to Mercer, all these relationships are part of an infant’s healthy development. Just because a baby boy is attached to a nanny does not mean he will not be attached to his mother. The additional relationship only adds the baby’s life.

Friedman would have us hold the adulterous men harmless, blaming instead the mamas who recklessly left them with a nanny so they could work to feed their sons, or feed their own souls. Wicked, wicked women. What were they thinking?