Monday

Searching Through the Nanny's Belongings

Received Monday, September 24, 2007 - Perspective & Opinion
This is more a bad employer "sighting" than bad nanny, but I'd like some opinions/advice on how to approach this. I carpool with my neighbor who has a live in nanny that I have known for the two years she's worked there and she is a lovely caring person. My neighbor's daughter and my daughter are good friends. A few weeks ago my neighbor started to complain during our ride to work that she feels her nanny is less than responsible in her personal life because she spends money on things she shouldn't. I asked her if that is really relevant since she does a good job taking care of her child and we didn't discuss it further at that time. Over the next days she occasionally brought up examples of purchases her nanny has made that she feels are irresponsible. The most recent item she complained about was sexy lingerie that she described in detail. I said--"Wow, you and your nanny must have a very close personal relationship for her to show you her underwear". I was thinking I can't imagine that coming up in any context with my nanny, nor would I want it to, since ours is a professional relationship. She proceeded to tell me that she regularly searches through her nannies belongings. I told my neighbor I don't think that invading her nanny's privacy is right. She told me it's different when you have a live in and she's always done that since it's the only way to insure that the nanny isn't bringing in anything illegal into her home. I am appalled at my neighbor's behavior, but don't know what to do with this information. Advice?

70 comments:

cali mom said...

I'd mail a letter to the nanny alerting her to what her employer is doing and see how fast she quits and how much notice she gives the family. I'd guess she would also have some grounds on which she could sue them for invasion of privacy, though I don't know all the legal details of live-in employees or what was agreed to in her employment contract. Yur neighbor sounds like a nauseating maggot with enough money to hire someone she can kick around to soother her ego.

gb said...

The only thing curious here is that your neighbor admitted it. A bunch of people are going to respond, "oh I would never" but most would. I know a certain nanny who got the nickname "Hanes Cotton 9" because her teen charges snooped in her room and told their friends about her rather large, cotton granny panties. Whenever said nanny was picking up from an event, other teens would say, "who's driving you? Hanes Cotton Niner?".

cali mom said...

Sorry for typos.

The teenagers sound like spoiled nasty brats who probably learned their behaviour from their Chanel-shopping "mother".

Anonymous said...

I was a live in and my employer could tell you the details of my underwear not because she snooped through my drawers but because we regulary went shopping together and borrowed eachothers jeans and tops as well as shoes. If however someone was snooping I would quit in a heart beat because that has nothing to do with her job and if you are worried about her bringing illegal things into your home, then you obviously don't trust her enough and she shouldn't be their nanny

Anonymous said...

I would ask, "what illegal things do you imagine she might bring in your house?"

I trust my nanny with two children under 4. She lives in. I wouldn't trust just anyone with my children, but maybe your neighbor doesn't give a rat's ass or maybe she's such a bitch that she can't get a professional nanny to work for her? My advice, I would suggest you tell her straight out, "that's fucked up and low".

maggie said...

I think your life has to be lacking if you are going to snoop through the nanny's things!

Anonymous said...

You should let her nanny know but if you send a letter, your neighbour might find out when she's snooping through nanny's room again;)

Anonymous said...

If you have a chance to catch the nanny alone for a minute, mention this site to her...and tell her there is something 'very interesting' that was posted recently...hopefully she'll catch on...

Anonymous said...

Live in nannies, i.e., "domestic workers" do not have a right to privacy. Their place of employment is the home in which they live and therefore, the premises may be searched as their superiors see fit. It's the law.

Anonymous said...

10:06 you're a jerk. The nanny's room is her living space and no she does not live there for free because she pays her rent in labor.I guess under your rules though nanny should feel free to snoop also without a problem.

Anonymous said...

10:06 is incorrect. The nanny's area becomes her domicile and if she gets fired she can assert so and refuse to leave. THAT's THE LAW.

to the subject at hand, I wouldn't hire a nanny who wore sexy lingerie. even in her off time.

Anonymous said...

what on earth is wrong with sexy lingerie? it's not like nannies aren't allowed to have sex.

if you're a prude who has sex in a 20 year old torn t-shirt, that's your choice. everyone else can choose to have sexy (or unsexy) lingerie. what she does in her free time is not your concern (unless it's shagging your husband).

Anonymous said...

To 10:50 : How would you know if your nanny is wearing sexy lingerie? Is that one of your interview questions?

For the poster: I think you should find a way to tell the nanny ASAP, whether it's a letter or a hint about this site. If she was trusted enough to move in and take care of kids, she ought to be given the privacy she deserves. Maybe nanny needs a mommy-cam.

Anonymous said...

It is very easy and inexpensive to turn your laptop with a built in camera to a secret room monitor. If I were a nanny, I would do such and leave it on everytime I left my room!

I've heard too many stories about pervie fathers. And this motormouth mom probably didnt stop with telling you about nanny's nasties. If she told her husband, he could have wood and be looking at her in a whole new way.

Anonymous said...

to the anonymous jerk who thinks nannies have no rights. Who the heck are you??? You trust a nannie with your child .....but you dont respect her enough to allow her privacy??? Creep is what you are.

Laurie

Anonymous said...

GB-Mrs. X, is that you?

Anonymous said...

I would tell your nanny to tell her nanny. But you know very casual like have your nanny say "Once I caught my employer going through my bag (even though you don't), Do you think your employer ever does that?"

Course I am little bit more catty when it comes to things like this. I find in absolutly unaceptable. I feel that everyone has a right to wear what they want during sex.

anna said...

ok 1213
i always saw lingerie as being a tool like stilettos and red lipstick to use to entice the male. so i am not on the same page as you. i really dont want to know about what my daycare provider wears for relations. i really dont. given the opportunity to look, i would look away. some people are just lonely inside and they fill up the gaps in their heart with gossip and smut.

Anonymous said...

I rather be naked.

Anonymous said...

10:50

You comment makes no sense. Why would you care what your nanny does on her off time.

Anonymous said...

I babysit occasionally, on the side for extra cash. I always snoop around the house. I look in the closets at the purses, and shoes. I see how much they owe for their mortgage and taxes, PSE&G bill. Try and find out how much money they make a year. What exactly do they do for a living. Etc, etc. I always find interesting things to look thru.

Anonymous said...

Nannies have lives, interests and fashion sense and that has nothing to do with the job, whether they live in or not. I wear jeans and tops when I'm working, but at weekends I go clubbing wearing clothes I wouldn't dream of wearing during the day. There was a time when I was called to work around midnight, one of the children was very ill and had to be taken to hospital and my employers needed me to stay the night with the other two. I was out clubbing at the time, hopped straight into a taxi to their house and took over, unfortunately dressed in a miniskirt and halter with a full face of make-up. They were okay with it, but I know if I turned up like that on a normal day I'd be fired. Some things have to be kept private and it doesn't matter whether the nanny lives in or not.

Anonymous said...

Whats wrong with a full face of makeup? I think moms want the nannies to dress like crap, just to make themselves feel better.

Anonymous said...

God this got so off topic. nannies have private lives and can wear whatever the hell they want when they're off duty. as long as they are dressed appropriately during their work hours who gives a crap!

Now onto the actual subject of this post - what the mother is doing is VERY rude and inappropriate. As it has been said - if you trust your nanny with your kids then you should trust her enough not to "monitor" her possessions - plain and simple.

I would suggest just outright telling the Nanny what her boss is doing. If your worried it will get back to the boss who told the Nanny then just have the Nanny tell the boss that she had noticed her things were sometimes displaced so she set a hair ontop of her bag/doorhandle etc and that she knows the mother has been searching through her things (this is provided all she wants to do is quit and not legal action etc etc).

Please think of the Nanny in this situation - how would you feel if someone was monitoring (and then bitching about behind your back) your purchases/belongings? You would want to be told am I not correct?

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Please let us know what you decide to do.

Anonymous said...

2:16 I hope you are kidding. If not you are
just as bad as the employer.

Forever Amused said...

Dear God.

1) Nannies can wear whatever they like in the off time. Any employer who has a problem with a nanny wearing lingerie is probably jealous, a prude or a control freak. Maybe all three.

2) Searching through your nanny's is wrong and ridiculous.

3) So long as it's not illegal or dangerous, what a nanny buys with the money she earned is none of the employer's business.

4) OP, tell the nanny or have your nanny tell her. Then sit back and laugh as your stupid friend fumbles around trying to figure out why she left.

Sarah said...

Thats so horrible! I would honestly consider what kind of "Friend" she really is. Given that information I would either:
(Bad friend)- tell the nanny, and your friend about this. Let them deal with the information given.

(Good friend)- Tell your friend she needs to tell her nanny that she has been snooping, or you will tell her. Honestly, this sucks, but someone's privacy, and complete world is being invaded by a woman who entrusts her children to the nanny, but is curious about what's in her drawers! Really, if after 2 years, she is still snooping, she is looking for a reason to not trust her.



I would be horrified, as a nanny, and quit immediately with no notice if I found out from someone else that my employers were rifling through my private belongings. If she came and told me herself, in a really apologetic and looking for forgiveness way, I would probably stay and try to work it out. But that's just me...

Anonymous said...

OP here -- Honestly, my neighbor is not so much a friend as someone I know who does the same 40 minute drive to the same company on a daily basis. Up until this incident, I never thought she was a bad person, and I have a great deal of respect for her professional achievements, but she is a bit of an odd duck. She is a well respected scientist--with multiple degrees and awards in chemistry, physics and engineering--but has very few social graces. She tends to say whatever pops into her mind with no regard to what is appropriate, which can be off putting. Although I am not concerned about my own relationship with my neighbor, I do want my daughter's and her daughter's relationship preserved as they are close friends. I hesitate to involve my own nanny in this--putting her in the middle of this is not exactly part of the job description. I do think a letter to her may be a good approach. If my neighbor felt this was an appropriate topic to share with me, she may well have shared with others, so she might not be able to identify the source. I do hope her nanny does take heed of an anonymous letter though, she is a wonderful person and loyal to a fault--she is quick to defend her employer when others make unkind comments about her eccentricities.

Anonymous said...

Its 2:16

No I was being serious. I like looking thru their letters, etc. Stuff laying around. I never ever steal of course. I admit I am just curious. I even check into their computer email. Sometimes they would leave it open in the day

Anonymous said...

Somehow, some way, I'd make sure this nanny knows.

Anonymous said...

I snoop around when I babysit. I even brought another babysitter over to see the things I found.

cali mom said...

Even PHD's can be assholes. And some people have described why they should NEVER be left unmonitored in an employer's house.

I guess these "babysitters" would be fine with employers snooping through their personal belongings, info and email.

Anonymous said...

Well I don't have to worry about anyone snooping thru my personal belongings. Since, I am just a "babysitter" not a live in nanny. No worries here

Anonymous said...

Nannies and employers who snoop are disgusting. I have been an employer and nanny and have never felt I needed to snoop. Of course when you nanny in someone's house, you will find out personal information even if you don't want to (for example, my employers would just leave their open salary slips on the breakfast table) but going through people's drawers, looking for information or embarrassing items is just ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Yeah it is disgusting what I do. I mean snooping thru my employers drawers and emails. I just can't help it. Such a bad habit to break. Oh the things I have seen.

EM said...

ever heard of Karma 10:22?
It's the funny things about life-what goes around surely comes back around and it may be worse than what you did.

Anonymous said...

I think snoopy babysitter is just pulling your chains people. ;=)

cali mom said...

Yep, probably either that snotty 14 year old or that bored house-husband who goes between here and porn sites while his wife is away at work all day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the cute nickname!! I am a snoop.

Mom and former nanny said...

This site never fails to amaze me with the disgusting people I hear about.
OP needs to let this sitter know what is going on. Your daughter's friendship with this woman's daughter is not as important as someone's privacy invaded and their dignity attacked. If your daughter and this woman's daughter were meant to be friends, their frindship will survive. I have to say I would not want MY daughter hanging out in a household where this happens. As the saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Do you really want your little girl to be friends with a family so lacking in ethics and morals? You shouldn't.
I would NOT involve your nanny. She has nothing to do with this issue. Be a strong, good woman and do something about this. Tell the nanny yourself, or as someone else suggested, send a letter.
I am so disgusted right now I can hardly type this.
Oh, one last thing: the fact that she has a million degrees and is a scientist doesn't mean anything. I babysit for two clients. One is a middle-class single mom, the other is a well-off scientist. The single mom is BY FAR the better person and the better parent. The educated biologist is a jerk, and a million degrees and a whole pile of money couldn't change that. This is not a case of an eccentric: it is a case of a very bad bad person. Her wrongdoings far far outshadow her "personal achievements." Seems to me her greatest personal achievement is setting a horrible example for her poor children.
Do the right thing, lady. That is all.

Anonymous said...

Its 10:22

I don't think I will be "punished" for snooping around someones house. Give me a break, I would never steal. Thats against all my values. I just like to look around, their family pictures, clothes, etc. Doesn't mean I am a bad person

Anonymous said...

10:22pm, also known as 1:35pm, please tell us about what you have seen!

cali mom said...

1:35, reading someone else's email as you claim to do regularly, IS illegal.

Anonymous said...

its 1:35

This I did wasn't snooping, I was putting away some of the employers clothes in her closet. While I was putting the clothes in, a sex toy fell out. I felt so embarrassed, it was in a package, new. One of my nanny friends came over and I showed her what I found.

Anonymous said...

i always go through my help's rooms. always. i don't even care what i find honestly, i just love digging through their stuff, even rearranging it and sometimes even stealing a thing or too because i know there's nothing they can do about it. well, they can quit, but most of them have familieis to support so i doubt they would. and if they do- dime a dozen.

Anonymous said...

Thats rotten what you posted 4:08
I never ever would steal period at my jobs. I was just curious. I can't believe their are evil people like you out there.

Anonymous said...

4:08 AM
It is a good thing you are looking at this site, because you are just the type of employer who hires the nannies posted about here, the ones who are "a dime a dozen".

Anonymous said...

May I reiterate, the employers home is their private property, not the nanny quarters, who is just a domestic worker, after all. She, just like firemen who must live at the station for days at a time per their schedules, is subject to searches for illegal drugs and other items that she shouldn't have in her quarters. It's really quite simple.

Anonymous said...

May I pontificate that if you hire a nanny to take care of your helpless children, you should have the highest possible opinion of her. A nanny that you feel the need to check up on or search her belongings for drugs, alcohol or lactation porn is not the person who YOU should be leaving your child with.

Laws be damned.
Use some common sense.

Anonymous said...

Common sense it is! And one can never be too careful. Search the nanny's quarters because it's allowed, because it's a precaution and because it makes sense.

Anonymous said...

if that is how you feel, take this precaution:

STAY HOME AND RAISE YOUR OWN DAMN CHILDREN.

cali mom said...

Are you kidding??? One, that would cut into their shopping time to a completely unacceptable extent, and two, they are obviously unqualified to teach a dog how to poop in the grass, let alone teach a child how to function responsibly in society. These are the types who should be sterilized at the age of 11. And whose mothers obviously also should have been.

Anonymous said...

2:27

What gives an employer the right to steal items out of the nannies room?? Did you forget to read that part?

Anonymous said...

Is anyone still wondering why it is so hard to find a first rate nanny who is willing to live in?

Anonymous said...

I would never live-in they treat you like shit if you do. And they expect you to be on call if they need you. No thank you I like having my own place.

p.s. I am not a nanny

Anonymous said...

""to the subject at hand, I wouldn't hire a nanny who wore sexy lingerie. even in her off time.""

To the poster who said this...first of all it is of absolutely no concern of yours what kind or even whether your nanny wears lingere. Many, many things about your nanny are none of your business. You're only concerns are whether or not she shows up to work and whether or not she performs her job to satisfaction. other than that....get your own life and stop worrying about hers.

Anonymous said...

Wrong.
If the nanny lives in your house- everything about her is your business. Her friends, families and associates. Whether she uses tampons or kotex, wears perfume, etc. etc. etc.

cali mom said...

Well, if she's a live-in and has seen firsthand what a c*nt you are, then I guess it's a safe bet she snoops on you too, and knows whether YOU use Kotex, tampons, etc, as well as when you have your period, how close you are to menopause, how often you get your Botox injections and how much you spend on them, what size of ugly underwear YOU wear, and how often (or not) you and your husband have sex. So, now I can understand, that in order to assuage your insecurity at how much she knows about you, you feel the need to control and spy on every aspect of HER life. Funny thing is, you're PAYING HER to gather the info on you, not the other way around. So who gets the last laugh?

Anonymous said...

cali mom, while I know you mean well, there is a big difference between controlling someone's life and monitoring one's own home premises for purposes of ascertaining the trustworthiness and moral character of one's hired help. Big difference.

i want to kill 123 AM said...

who are you kidding, you nosy, freaky bitch! You don't assess the trustworthiness and moral character of one's hired help by snooping through their belongings. What would you do with a live out? Sounds to me like you have control issues and you get off on the "power" of having a domestic under your thumb. You have to be the biggest, nastiest bitch to work for. If I were the live in nanny, I would score some major coke and and weed and put it in your car and in your bedroom and call in an anonymous tip. You deserve to be kicked in the ass, you psycho freak. Stay the fuck out of your nanny's room. People like you shouldn't have nannies. You sound poor. And you have NO class.

Anonymous said...

How dare she go through her nanny's personal belongings... as if nannies don't go through enough HELL working for you people!! MOMZILLA!!!

Anonymous said...

1:23 AM
Obviously you are lacking in the trustworthiness and moral character department yourself. It makes sense though. People generally expect others to behave as they themselves would. You don't trust your nanny because you yourself are so sneaky and untrustworthy.

Anonymous said...

Word.
My ex used to behave the same way. He would constantly quiz me about what I did after he dropped me off. Usually 10 or 11 at night. I would say, "I went to sleep". Which I did. That was the whole reason I was okay with him leaving early. He then started asking about my emails. He went on vacation and he started suggesting he needed a PI to follow me around. I got wise and put a PI on him when I went on a vacation with him. He must have slept with 4 women in one week, one of whom was a mutual friend of ours.

That nanny employer is definitely a slug. With any luck, her husband is knobbin someone with the hiv so karma hits her hard.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't wish that on anyone...

cali mom said...

1:23, the time to ascertain the trustworthiness and moral character of one's hired help is BEFORE you hire them. And if your nanny is a drug addict and being left responsible for your children, you shouldn't have to snoop through her underwear drawer to figure it out.

If she is not doing anything illegal, (you suspect what, counterfeiting?) then the simple fact is, you just get off on snooping through her private affairs, including digging around in her bathroom trash can to find out if she uses Kotex or tampons. Because THAT is absolutely none of your business in any way shape or form. If you think it is, you have more serious issues than not having enough skills, patience or time to care for your own children.

Anonymous said...

think about what you are saying cali mom... ascertain the morality and honesty of an employee prior to hiring? Yeah, that works out well. How many dishonest employees get fired every year? How many dishonest Congressmen do unsuspecting voters elect? Keeping hired help honest is an ongoing challenge and one must use all available avenues to do so, including investigating their premises. I discourage any employer from not doing so. I think it is a must.

cali mom said...

OK 5:51, so you're saying you suspect your nanny is accepting bribes from union leaders? Not declaring campaign contributions that are above the legal limit? Engaging in insider trading perhaps? Making disallowed deductions on her income taxes? Please, by all means, give an example of what type of "illegal" behaviour you hope to find by pawing through her underwear. I suspect you're just paranoid about her stealing your silverware and hiding it in her Kotex box. So pay attention to your surroundings and IF something seems amiss, you are justified in conducting an investigation.

Again, if it's substance abuse you're worried about, you should have a clue about that WAY before you resort to digging in her drawers. If you don't, you're either stupid or just not paying enough attention to your children to suspect a problem. It's easier for you to leave them with someone you don't trust, of course.

In the end, what goes around comes around and respect IS a two way street. So if this is how you treat everyone that has to do business with you, you probably have good reason to be so paranoid. I'd be out to get you too as soon as I realized what a slime you were.

Anonymous said...

OP, thanks for the follow up post with the additional info. Given that your car pool mate is kind of eccentric, is it possible she doesn't realize how wrong/inappropriate her behavior is? Regardless, the nanny needs to know. Given that you've written she defends her employer when people mock the employer's social gaffes, she may be more understanding than most would be in that situation. Maybe you can talk with the employer about her behavior & ask her to talk to the nanny about it? If you can't/won't and/or the employer can't/won't then you need to speak directly with the nanny. You could even phrase it in the context of the employer's awkwardness.

If it's not because the employer's socially inept, then again, the nanny still needs to be told and the employer should be steered to some therapy. I find her talking about what she's found to be even more troubling than the snooping itself. While the snooping is wrong and inappropriate, I can at least understand why she would want to do that. But passing judgment on the nanny & blabbing about her personal possessions is really weird & creepy. And it needs to stop.

Anonymous said...

Advice for live-in nannies, au pairs: Get one of these. Keep your intimates, diaries, medications, and anything else that you want to keep private inside it. They come in larger sizes too.

Make sure that your computer requires a password to be woken from sleep. Make sure passwords and logins are not filled out automatically. If you have access to a family computer, ask permission to set up your own account if it's a mac. If not, make sure you save everything on your own external hard drive, make sure the computer doesn't "remember" your email password, and make sure to always clear the History AND Cache after internet use. -A