Nannies Who Go To Far...

Received Wednesday, April 23, 2008- Perspective & Opinion
First, let me say, our nanny is a Godsend. We love her, trust her and she is a part of our family. She has been with us for 3 years, 3 months. I was shocked when I came home yesterday and she had taken our son for a haircut. The haircut was a bit too trendy, (think vintage Maddox) for my taste. I was speechless at first, because usually she tells me when she is taking him for a haircut or I ask her to, so I wasn't expecting it. He's a boy, his hair will grow quickly and he loves his haircut, so I kept my shock in perspective. If she went too far, I think it was because, after three years, instead of doing less and less, she looks for more and more things to do for not just the children, but our entire family. I just wonder if any other employers have had a nanny go a bit too far, and not necessarily in a negative way. Or nannies, have you ever done something you thought trying to be helpful and then realized, 'maybe that was too much'? A picture of my son and his new style would really illustrate my story. I love this blog and all of the people who comment on it. Looking forward to hearing back. -A


Ed said...

Interesting question. When we had our first nanny, it was our fault we did not understand how to set boundaries with the nanny. We told her she was welcome to anything, anytime. She would have dinner with us. She would read books to dc in their bed at night. One day my daughter who was 6 had to be picked up at school because she was sick. I told the nanny to stop and get her some videos and put her to rest in the master bedroom. I came home early to be with DC and nanny and her were curled up in my bed watching a video. Was I angry? No. But it did make me uncomfortable. I think that showed on my face. The nanny jumped up and said, "is this not okay" and I kind of fumbled for words. I think she got the point. And while we may have had boundary issues, we were also spoiled. Our first nanny knew how to do everything, had common sense and was a great communicator. After she left we navigated through a series of good to dismal nannies.

mom said...

She got him a weird haircut without asking first? That's way over the line.

I would be mad...but I would also hope I had the grace and wisdom to handle it the way you have. (I'm going to remember this.) Your son is proud of his haircut. It sounds unlikely that he will be sporting that hairstyle again any time soon (if you can get nanny back into line with her boundary issue) let him be proud and enjoy it while it lasts. It's not like you can do anything about it until it grows out anyway, so why make him feel bad?

I think you did a great job mom.

Nanny, not so much.

Anonymous said...

I'm a nanny and I once cut my charge's hair who was having hair problems at the time in an attempt to make her look a little better. I trimmed the ends and neatened the front myself. When her mother came home she more or less handled it like you. I may have gone overboard but she didn't make me feel bad however, I am pretty sure I won't do it again. I hope this helps. Just be your nice self. If your nanny knows you well enough, she will know when she is crossing the line with you before or after she does the unacceptable. She was just trying to help like me. Blowing her out wouldn't fix it. Tell her to ask you in the future.

J said...

I had just typed a very long story about something that happened to me. I dont want to retype it. In essence, the paternal grandmother showed up at the door as the children and I were on the way to the club. She lookeds upset we were leaving because she had heard we were 'bumming around' and came to 'bum around with us'. This took place in the 2 weeks that falls after school lets out and before summer activities start.

So long story short, we took her to the club for lunch. She insisted to stop at Pavilions afterwards. Bought a bunch of groceries. We came home she made a giant fruit salad. Put away some groceries, including some fresh baked things from the bakery.

The mom came home looking for a yogurt. I said, 'maybe murta threw it out'. She slammed the refrigerator shut, whipped around and said, 'what did you say' in the voice of satan himself. I said, "maybe murta threw it out. she moved some stuff around in there. She bought new fruit and stuff".

With that the mother went off. She banged on the counter time and screamed 'why in f--g g-d--- hell was that f----g c--t in my house when I wasn't home'.

I told her, 'we were headed out to the club as she arrived'.

She screamed even louder, 'you left that c-ks----ng b---h in my house alone while you went to the club'. {Here I have to note she said "the club" in a mocking way. Also I should not that any expletives I type are x3.}

I said, "no, we invited her to go along with us".

She marched over to me and came drill sargeants pace away from me and said, "you did not"
She said this with such furry spit flew in my eyes. I said nothing. She stepped back and went off saying, "You did not take that F&*&*&*@&*&*676236&@^&^&@^&^@ to MY Club. Do you think I want to be associated with that &*#&*&@*&*&@&*&*@&*@&."

I was shocked. The children had by now run from different places in the house to see why mommy was screaming like a wacko.

She marched back over to me and stuck her index finger in my face and said, 'dont you ever, ever let that F&&#*&#*&*# woman in my house, do you &*&*&*&#*&*#&*&# hear me'

I was in shock. Absolutely in shock. I walked away and rejoined the children. I tried to make myself busy but I heard the mother screaming to herself in the kitchen. Calling people on the telephone and THROWING Things. When I came downstairs, the kitchen was a mess. The refrigerator door was open, she had thrown things everywhere. I have never seen a person have a bigger freak out in my life. And this woman was very stylish and put together, the sort of person who {wink wink} 'heads' a lot of fund raisers.

The next time I crossed her path she told me, "why don't you just go on home today. You crossed the line today, *missy. I just can't look at you".

I did. I called the agency and told them what happened and that I felt unsafe returning to work there and that was that. The agency collected my salary for me. They probably put another innocent nanny in her path.

I should not here that I am a nanny with 9 yrs experience and I make the sort of salary that causes people to fall off their chairs. I read this blog for the same reason I read Perez and that is to see what other people are up to, in this case nannies.

*missy is not my name. she used missy the same way a parent might use missy to correct their tantrumming three year old, "settle down missy'.

Tx Nanny said...

First 3:16 yikes!! I'm glad you came away from that job with your life. Geez what a nutcase.

I have taken several of my charges to get haircuts when their mom has asked me and to be honest I didn't really like doing it in case they got a bad haircut. It did happen once and I felt terrible but mom was very nice about it when I explained I tried to stop the crazy lady from cutting all his hair off but she just kept cutting! I would never take someone elses child and just get their haircut in a totally different style, that is a parent's decision and your nanny has overstepped. You can politely and calmly tell her thanks for trying to help but you would like to decide if there is going to be a big change in your son's appearence.

Anonymous said...

Hi. A nanny here. When I read your post, the first thought that came to mind was "If she is going above and beyond the call of duty SO much, is she trying to overcompensate for something?"

Now, I know that this may totally not be the case. Perhaps she just really likes to please others. She may just be one of those people. However, if her doings make you feel odd or uncomfortable in any way, there may be something behind it.

In any case, I commend you on how you handled the situation. :)

Anonymous said...

WTF are you talking about you crazy nanny at 540!

What could be behind someone who goes above and beyond? I did in my job, people called me a brown noser on the way up. I wanted to do the very best and all the best I could. Today I am VP while the people who used to call me names fight over who is going to get my egg salad sandwich!

helaine said...

I'm unsure myself what 540 is alluding too. My husband is in the office at 7 every morning. You know what my husband calls the guys who show up at 8 and complete just those tasks he has assigned?


Anonymous said...

Ok this nanny has been in charge of getting the childs hair cuts,so it seems. She does it when asked and if she think s he needs a haircut,and tells OP she is taking him. OP did not say she tells nanny how to get his hair cut. If the little boy asked for that hair cut what is the big deal? She didn't dye his hair pink and spike it. I don't think since she has been the one taking him for the haircuts she went over the line.
She has been the one taking him . All she did was forget to tell Mom she was getting him one. Maddox has had many haircut styles. What did she get a him a mohawk? Does the OP tell her how much hair to be taken off and what style he may or may not have?

Anonymous said...

Geeze, so your child is sick and you say get videos and let her get in our bed. Ok the child is sick in your bed and ants Nanny in there with her. SHould the Nanny lay on the floor or just tell the child sorry I am not allowed to lay on your parents comforter?
She was curled up watching the video with a sick child and comforting her. If she had taken her and put her in another bed you then would have been upset that she didn't do as she was told?
I bet you quickly washed your bedding because the nanny had laid on your comforter. LOL

Anonymous said...

to 3:16 I wonder if that screaming fruitcakes husband knows how she talks about his Mother in front of other people? It is a shame that she behaved this way to you and also that she says these things about the childrens Grand Mother in front of the kids. Good for you for getting out and staying out. I think I would call the husband and tell him why you left without notice,so you can get a reference from him and not the fruitcake. You know clothing and money do not "make the person". Sounds like the MIL knows something about Mommy dearest and she is afraid that it will come out lol

heidi said...

635- You are an idiot.
Why wouldn't someone be uncomfortable to see another adult laying in their bed? She didn't say she was angry.

I read the posts on this blog and they don't affect me. The caliber of people who respond to the posts and try to berate mothers and employers makes me sick. And the nannies that came forward to defend the ticking time bomb nanny on Monday? Who are you people? Why are you working in the child CARE business?

I have to imagine the reason it is the only opportunity you have. You come off as the most shockingly ignorant group of working class people I have ever encountered. I'd love to get a weight on the collective chip you are carrying around on your shoulders!

And to the exceptions to the rule that show up and impart their sensibilities on the posts, usily monikored- the great nannies, I say thank goodness for you. Perhaps you could start some sort of mentoring/big sister program where you mentored the nannies who seem to lack integrity and a work ethic.

What could we call this program?

Westchester nanny said...

6:50 are you a nanny? Don't read if you don't like it. If we're all sorry working class idiots please do not degrade yourself by reading our blue collar fodder.

As for the haircut issue, OP sounds like a genuinely nice person and a good employer. I would never go that far in my job (I've been asked to take them but the salon knows them and how to cut their hair) but she handled it very well knowing that the nanny did it to make her life easier. I would just suggest gently that although you appreciate it you would just like her to check with you first. It's easy to get so wrapped up in looking after a family that you do cross boundaries without even realizing it. When you're a good nanny and know how to run a house naturally, things like this sometimes happen.

Westchester nanny said...

6:50 are you a nanny? Don't read if you don't like it. If we're all sorry working class idiots please do not degrade yourself by reading our blue collar fodder.

As for the haircut issue, OP sounds like a genuinely nice person and a good employer. I would never go that far in my job (I've been asked to take them but the salon knows them and how to cut their hair) but she handled it very well knowing that the nanny did it to make her life easier. I would just suggest gently that although you appreciate it you would just like her to check with you first. It's easy to get so wrapped up in looking after a family that you do cross boundaries without even realizing it. When you're a good nanny and know how to run a house naturally, things like this sometimes happen.

Anonymous said...

I would most likely NOT ask anyone to get or give my child a haircut.
That being said, I think it sounds like the nanny was the one who usually takes the child to get a haircut. If the child likes the haircut, what's the problem? Is it a mohawk? Is it the kind of haircut with a gang symbol carved into it? I doubt it is worth all this fuss/bloggy blog.
I think if you hire someone to raise your child, you should put up or shut up.
As far as the nanny lying with the child in the parent's bed, I can see where the parent would feel uncomfortable. I have only been a nanny once in my life and the parents I nannied for were real freaking wackos, doctors both of them. Kind of irrelivant, just saying.
In short, mom doesn't like the haircut, big deal, get over it. Life's too short. Teach your kids it's ok to be individuals. Sounds like the nanny is trying to teach them that...

motheroffive said...

Many moons ago, I was taking care of my young cousins for the weekend (my aunt & uncle have 8 kids) and once a year I gave them one weekend away. Anyway, as a surprise for Christmas, I was taking all of the kids and having a professional portrait taken. I realized on Saturday evening before we were going to get pics done that each of the seven boys was in dire need of a haircut.

Not wanting to "ruin" the pictures with unruly hair, I took them to the local military barber, the only place that was open at 5 pm on a Saturday. And the haircuts were AWFUL!!! I felt horrible. My aunt came home and she didn't say anything, but she was upset and I wanted to explain so badly why I had gotten their hair cut, but I did not want to ruin the surprise.

I'm not sure exactly why getting a kid's hair cut is a huge deal, but it is.

Also, I nannied for several families and not ONE was at all upset with me lying on their bed. It doesn't matter to me. To be upset or wiered out that your nanny was lying with your sick child on your bed is a little childish. We all know what we do in bed; I'm sure your nanny knows what you do in bed. As long as you change the sheets regularly, no big deal. :)

motheroffive said...

Oops... it should read "I don't know why getting someone else's kid's hair cut is a big deal, but it is."

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, you got upset that your nanny was in your bed with your SICK child? What was she supposed to do, leave the child alone in the room? That would have been dangerous. When kids are sick, they want someone to snuggle up with, it makes them feel better. How dare you deny your child of that the next time she gets sick.

Anonymous said...

It's never acceptable to change a child's appearance unless he/she is your own child. No haircuts, no ear-piercing and no clothing purchases without parental permission.
I've been a nanny long enough to know this basic rule.
It's about respect. Period.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't want somebody in my bed. The master bedroom is not a place for guest lounging or entertaining the children. For nanny to help herself to the parents bed without prior permission was a violation. I'm sure there was another television in the house. If the child was too sick to lie on the family room sofa with a pillow and blanket to watch a movie, she should have been in her own bed asleep.

marypoppin'pills said...

I think I was more disturbed by 'eds' reaction about the Nanny comforting the sick child in her (Mom's) bed.
I don't know why that would bother her, I thought it was sweet.

As for the haircut, I don't know how it came to be a mohawk ... somebody had to have told the stylist to cut it that way, and if it was Nanny - wow, overstepping big time.
If it was the son ... I guess you should just leave it alone and hope he doesn't do it again.

Either way, it's hair - it grows back.

Anonymous said...

The mother requested that the nanny put the child in the master bedroom. Most sick kids want company, they don't want to be left alone.

And since MOM wasn't there to snuggle up with her sick child, the nanny did the right thing for the child!

smarter nanny said...

If the child wanted me, a nanny to watch the video with her, I would have said, "Ok, let me set you up in the family room".

I would NEVER sit, let alone lie down in my employer's bed. You're damn straight that's crossing the line.

What is wrong with you people?
I'm a live-in and my employer doesn't come in my room without knocking, and then only when absolutely essential and with apologies.

Boundaries, people. Boundaries.

Anonymous said...

I think its really bizarre that anyone would get upset if you're laying with their sick child in bed. I would be happy someone didn't mind curling up with my child, that they aren't worried about getting sick or being thrown up on, that they're comfortable enough with my child to snuggle up and watch a movie because when a child is sick, that's all they want to do.

And the haircut thing-- Nanny should have asked, but its hair, it will grow back.

a texas nanny said...

Off topic of the hair thing... on the bed issue.

I agree with those that are basically asking what would the employer have preferred? She leave the child alone in the room? Bring in a chair from the dining room and sit near the bed? When my employer would tell me that, for example, the younger daughter had been having nightmares so I could put her to sleep in the mom's room, I sat next to the child on the bed and read her her nightly stories. I don't see what is weird with that. If it makes you so uncomfortable to see the girl laying on top of your covers while tending to your sick child, you probably shouldn't employ her- it isn't as though she had gone in there on her own accord (the employer asked that the child be put in the master room) and passed out for a nap between the sheets!

sprak said...

I always, always believe that communication either prevents uncomfortable situations like this from happening in the first place or prevents them from re-occurring. Sounds like you have a great nanny and I hope you can convey this to her while making sure she understands your preferred shedule/style for your son's haircuts.

just anonymous said...

OP-Are you mad about the haircut or that the nanny did it w/o permission?

mom said...

I got the impression that the mom is used to having the nanny take the child for haircuts so would have not minded her having done that unprompted. But to come home to a child with a mohawk would be pretty stunning...probably for almost all of us. I really give this mom so much credit for not letting her initial reaction show. A loud gasp or even small screech at the sight of the child would not have been an unusual reaction.
Even if the child requested the haircut, it's the kind of haircut you just don't give without asking the parent's permission first. (Some schools will not even allow a child to come to class with a weird haircut like that.)

Personally I think Maddox is a cute child, but I have wondered every time I see a picture of him why they continually cut his hair so unattractively.

It does create an certain "impression" of the parents when you see a small child with a mowhawk, or a mullet, or one of those really long thin scraggly strands of hair hanging down his back out of an otherwise short haircut. (Waiting now for the "elitist" comment...but sorry, typically when I have seen a kid like that around here the parents accompanying him...well, lets just say I wouldn't be surprised to have them offer me a Lladro for sale out of their diaper bag.)The Jolie Pitts may be an exception...but then again, mommy has multiple tattoos and not that many years ago was wearing a vial of somebody elses's blood around her neck, making out with her full blood brother in public, and doing all kind of other classy things.

Although OP I do think this is a funny story that you and your family will laugh about in years to come. Take lots of pictures!

Miserly Bastard said...

My view is that you want your nanny to have a sense of ownership (or maternalism, or whatever) with your child.

This means the nanny is not just an extension of the parents, who robotically does what the parents want.

Instead, I want my nanny to feel like my child is "hers", and as such, I have to allow some latitude in what the nanny can do on her own.

So things like: what to eat (for the most part), where to visit, playdates, clothes to wear, haircuts, schedule, etc., are all things I'm willing to let the nanny take charge of. (We dont shop for clothes, for example; our nanny has a credit card and buys all of our daughter's clothes, within a budget).

I'll draw the line, however, on certain things: physical discipline, use of sunblock, leaving the child alone "even for a few seconds", etc. On these types of issues, it is my way or the highway--no exceptions, ever.

Net net: it's a balancing act.

Anonymous said...

miserly bastard,
Excuse me for saying, but you sound somewhat uninvolved with your child. You can't even be bothered to shop for clothes or think about what he eats? You want the nanny to feel like your child is hers? This must be very confusing for your child. What will happen if she quits?

Miserly Bastard said...


My wife and I are actually very involved in our child's life--if we're not at work, we're together as a family. My wife and I have never used a babysitter in 20 months, and literally spend every moment of our non-work life together as a family. (Admittedly, we have busy lives, i.e., 6 am - 7pm Mon-Fri).

We just don't much sweat the small stuff. I could care less what my kid wears, so long as it is weather-appropriate. (At some point, I suppose, I will have to set limits on "slutty" clothes, etc., but for now, all clothes are cute). In terms of food, the nanny knows to not do fast food, try try to feed fruits and vegetables, and to give food like hot dogs in moderation only--I'm fine for her to work out the details on her own.

Basically, I'm not a micromanager, and I think it is actually counterproductive to manage your nanny this way. "Principles based" management is better, in my view, than "rules based" management.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I misjudged, but glad to hear your sensible philosophy.

Anonymous said...

To figures you have to call people names. I am not an idiot. I am not a Nanny. I have a Nanny. I am not also an asshat. I see you think you are better than the other posters here,and you really need to get over that ,in a hurry.
I think the Nanny did the right thing,she oput the child where the Mom told her to put her, the child didn't want to be alone so she laid down with the child. I amsure she doesn't do this on a daily babsis. It probably will not happen again because she knows she made an error. SO go sniff your sheets now to make sure no foreign body has laid on them.

Anonymous said...

Where do you live? I am going to come over and take a nap in your bed--wearing the clothes I have worn all day.

Anonymous said...

11:45, not only am I coming with 1PM to take nap in your bed, but I am bringing Aunt Flo with me.

Anonymous said...

Eww, don't be gross. She wasn't sprawled out on the bed, naked. I don't get what the big deal is. The mom didn't even say she was angry.

The mom I work for asked me to lie down and watch a movie with the children when they take their rests (which she instructed me to have them do in her bed.) We just lay on top of the comforter and bring in a couple of extra blankets. I can't imagine her ever having a problem seeing something like that, especially if one of the kids were sick.

I have worked for people in the past, though, that I knew would have a cow if I stepped foot in their bedroom. I guess it's just a matter of personal preference.

Anonymous said...

As a nanny for 20 years I made it a rule to never--get a child's haircut, paint nails, peirce ears, or anything else tht changes a child's appearance. That is up to the parents and if they want it done they can take the kid themselves!

Anonymous said...

When I first started to nanny, I made the mistake of sorting the huge pile of unopened mail and other paraphanelia on the table by the door into smaller organized piles. Apparently, the family liked the huge pile exactly like it was. I went over the line by reorganizing their "disorganization" system. Now I am very careful to leave everything just where it is. By trying to help out too much I guess I made it harder for them.

Laura said...

Personally I think you are in the wrong for even posting this.


1. Nanny has permisson to take child to haircuts. She has done so in the past by either telling you she was or you telling her.

2. You are compling about her making your life easier.

Therefore I think its stupid to complain about something she has done in the past...

OP said...

Laura and all of the other nannies with chips on their shoulder,

I was not complaining. I said the incident made me curious as to ways that nannies may have went a bit too far in trying to be helpful. I thought it would be an interesting discussion. I forgot that there are so many thin skinned, infantile nannies ready to jump on every post and complain about some imagined mistreatment of a nanny.

Do you realize how hard you make it to have true discussions?

You are quite foolish, my darling.

Anonymous said...

Go get 'em, op!

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny that there are so many people here who would not let the person who takes care of their child sit on their bed. I personally wouldn't want someone who I didn't let on my bed take care of my child. Your comforter is so important to you? When I was a nanny, employers trusted me enough to let me do pretty much everything they'd do with their kids -- snuggling included. What if your nanny is taking your 2 year old to the beach and needs to change into her swimsuit? She's not comfortable leaving the child alone so she changes in front of him. If you trust your nanny and have your head on straight, there's nothing wrong with that. All the stuff some posters seem to think is "creepy?" It's not creepy to kids. But when adults act like alarmists, things start getting screwed up.

Bottom line: the more love, closeness, and connection kids have, the better. There's nothing wrong with any of that until WE, the grown-ups, start attaching baggage to it.

Anonymous said...

Snuggle all you want. Snuggle on the sofa. Stay out of mom's bed. How is that wrong? I wouldn't want mom in my bed!

behave yourselves said...

The Rules:

Do not cut kid's hair,
feed the family pet,
water the plants,
reprogram the family's TIVO, reset the thermostat,
use the family car,
sit on the family's master bed, use the master bath,
take a shower at work,
eat randomly from the family's refrigerator or pantry,
read the family's books,
open their mail,
do your laundry in their washing machine,
use personal effects (hairbrushes, toothbrushes, sanitary products), snoop in their closets or medicine cabinets,
invite your friends over,
let your boyfriend spend the night (if you're a live-in nanny), let your charges eat candy or other sweets,
let your charges watch PG-13 or R-rated movies,
handle family heirlooms, rearrange the furniture,
borrow clothes,
go barefoot in their home (unless they've specified a "no shoes" policy in which case you must wear clean socks,
cook smelly foods for yourself (curry, fish, liver & onions, etc),
use their computer or make long-distance phone calls on their home phone without PERMISSION!!!

Anonymous said...

what a tyrant!

Anonymous said...

2:42, I hope that was a joke. That WAS a joke wasn't it? Well, I'm laughing anyway. That's like saying people who work in offices should NEVER make personal copies, use the phone for personal calls, check their personal email, accidentally steal a pen...
If I were you, I would stay in my house and hide because no one in this world is going to be perfect enough for you. Including your own sweet kids.

Anonymous said...

I just want to add that to the reason sometimes we do cross lines as a nanny is because the lines are blurry. As nannies we have a very personal job that is very intimately involved with a family.

It is not the same as showing up to work in an office and getting to business.

I think most parents want the nanny to be personal and more like family and that is why sometimes nannies get too close.

I would suggest to the original mom to just talk to the nanny and ask her to please get permission before getting haircuts for the kids. You seem to have a good head on your shoulders and you know how to be assertive and kind at the same time.

To the mom who was concerned about the nanny being in bed, that is a tough subject. I am a nanny and I have to say I am guilty of the same thing, although I don't lay IN the bed. I think there's a big difference between IN and ON the bed.

The family is very laid back and I am very close with them. I just think you shouldn't have asked the nanny to put your daughter there if she couldn't be there - that would definitely have been a little confusing for me. Why would you want the nanny to put the child somewhere where she herself wasn't supposed to be?