Monday

Children on the net.....

Received Monday, June 16, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
I came across a nanny's blog and was taken with what a great nanny she seemed like: she talked of her employer respectfully and her charges lovingly, and included funny anecdotes about her job. However, I was surprised to see photos of her charges and their names as well, as well as personal stories about one of the children. I was curious as to if her employer reads this blog and if so, is she ok with the pics and personal information?

For me, personally, I find it a little scary to post pics of your children or others' on the internet, especially coupled with personal information about the nanny, the nanny's family, and the children in question. I realize many, many people have sites like this with no problems, and some of your readers may think me silly or overly-cautious. But I did just want to get others' opinions on the issue, because I think it is an interesting topic.

42 comments:

nashville nanny said...

I'm a nanny and have been with my current employers for two years. I am very close to the children and spend at least 50 hours a week with them. I would never post their pictures on a blog or anywhere else on the internet. It is not my place to decide if their faces posted in such a public place. I also had to sign a privacy agreement as part of my contract. So I won't be posting any charming situations or horror stories of my job. As a nanny, you are privy to a families most personal information and moments. Whether these times are to be shared with the world is my employers' decision.

Yaya said...

Yes, my bosses love my blog! They're so busy with 4 kids that they love to see frequent pics of their lives. I'm so glad I have such awesome bosses that aren't over-protective about that stuff. They are so easy-going and fun-loving, and just wonderful to work for.

mpp said...

O.k. I have a story that relates to this.

My son loves the computer. He usually gets on to play "ToonTown", which is a very safe game that you have to buy a subscription for.
It's technically not an "on-line" game, where there is a lot of internet traffic that he could be exposed to.

However, he found out that "YouTube" had a lot of die-hard "ToonTown" fans that posted glitches from the game. He wanted to check them out, so I let him use my YT account.

He was enjoying the videos, and I kept a close eye over his shoulder. He saw one remarkable video and asked if he could post a comment (I'd never let him do that before because he was too young) - anyway, he said something like:
"how did u do that???? i wuld like to know how!!!!" .....
(so cute!) .... anyway, he asked for some tea, and I turned around to get it and noticed right after he hit send he had written: and my name is ****** *******!!
I flipped out, and got scared. 1st and last name, BAM, right there on YT.
I wrote the person a letter begging them to remove the post (not knowing even if they could do that on YT) .... and they did.

I slipped up on that one. Afterwards we had an even more in-depth talk about internet saftey. How to never put up your last name or any personal info like phone #, etc.
(I had taught him about on-line stranger danger)
He was a lot more savvy than I had given him credit for.

Anonymous said...

I do something along those lines and the parents and grandparents and friends love it.

I have a digital camera and a photobucket account. I take pictures almost daily and upload them to that site, the mom absolutely loves it and sends the link to any and everyone. She tells me it's like she spent the day with them because I take so many.

I do have a myspace account that is private and I do have pictures up of the kids but no stories about them. The mother knows I do that though she doesn't know what pictures I have up.

Wry Mom said...

Yeah, Kathie Lee Gifford says the same thing.

Marissa M. said...

Maybe the parents know about it but don't mind. I would never do that personally. I rather enjoy taking pics with my blackberry and emailing them while they are at work. That's their biggest pleasure and im happy to do so so that they can feel more apart of things.

nynanny said...

wry mom, you must be one of the ones that only likes to read the negative nanny posts!
what a B!&$# you are! you should be so lucky to have such a wonderful nanny care for your FOUR children and still find time at the end of the day to blog about the fun things they did that day! get a life!

UmassSlytherin said...

yaya,
I have seen your blog and it is awesome. I am the poster who mailed this in. (yes, guilty! hehe)

I do disagree with you that it is "overprotective." I don't think you can EVER be too careful with the internet, with your kids or yourself. I am sort of a nut about the internet and have had some bad experiences relating to it. It's cool that your boss likes your blog. As I said in my original post above, I can tell from your blog that you are 1. A great nanny and 2. A great person! I see so much love for your family and your charges that it made me feel good to view it.

That being said, I wonder how many nannies have NOT gotten permission, as you have, from their bosses, to post such pics and stories. (Loved your stories by the way, too cute!) I know that I wouldn't want my child's pics on the internet in any way, shape or form, unless it were being emailed to a close friend or family member.

I do see your point though: as I said in my original post, I know some readers would see me as overprotective. I love the responses thus far, I hope there are more!

And mpp, I am so glad they took his name down! Sounds like a great talk you guys had afterward: great opportunity to turn it into a learning experience. He sounds so cute: love his comment! :)

Thanks to all who responded!

Hellcat said...

I have a photobucket open to public (because my family can never remember the password) that is entirely pictures of my son. I do blog and use forums and frequently mention him by his first name,but I wouldn't put his last name or city up. I also don't tell people where I work, even though it's a very respectable position. I'm just strange like that.

Anonymous said...

i think you're being overly paranoid. just my opinion.

seattlenanny said...

I've never posted pictures of the kids I work for on the internet. Call it societies doing but I guard their personal information and prefer to keep their lives private. Although I've never talked to them about it, I'm sure the parents would feel the same way.

Anonymous said...

I'm a nanny, and my best friend works with children too. She posts photos and little anecdotes about her kids all the time. I'm personally a bit weirded out about it. I know she hasn't gotten any parental consent for them.

I, on the other hand, take photos of my charges, especially the baby, since she changes so much each day. I send a few of the best ones to the mom, and let her do what she pleases with them. I also emailed with the photos a note saying these photos were not going up anywhere on the internet, which seemed to calm the mom.

linda said...

I worked as a nanny for a while, and I wrote a lot about the child in my blog. I wrote out his name, (just first name), and the city we lived in, but nothing else. I once published a picture of him, but then I had made a black circle over his face so it couldn't be identified. I also mark every picture I put up with my blogadress. I would never publish an unmarked picture, or something that could identify someone else's kid, even if I had the permission from the parents. You never know what might happen -someone can steal the pictures, or some sick peadophile can use them, or whatever.. I can't complain on people who gives permission to put their kids on the web, but I would never, EVER, do it myself.

erics mom said...

I think a nanny would have to have permission to post a photo of their charge on the net.
Even with daycare they have a form you have to sign. In the form it ask if its okay to have your childrens photos put up on their website or in the classroom. If you don't want picture put up you have to sign a form. That form is then kept in the office

Anonymous said...

Parents post pictures of their children on the internet ALL the time. I think if you have a nanny that cares about their charges enough to even do such a thing out of the time they spend with them then you are lucky. It shows they clearly care about the children they are with. However, you do need to use tact if you are posting pictures, such as OP said, full name and stories may be a little bit much.

Anonymous said...

I have pictures of myself, my charge, and her parents on my myspace and facebook accounts. There are no names included, just pics so my friends/family can see where I am living and working and such. I see no harm in it as long as you are not broadcasting full names, cities, etc.

Marissa M. said...

Then again I was thinking last night that my employers have a detailed blog about their family etc so it really must depend from person to person

Anonymous said...

I used to have a blog where I wrote about my job and my charge, along with other things in my life. I posted pictures and shared cute stories. I used his first name and no other identifying information about him. I used a pseudonym for myself and many other people in my life, so that no one would be able to google me and find my blog.

My charge's parents knew about it and had no issues with it. They have a blog of their own as well, and when my charge was born they bought a domain name for him (his first and last name) where they post photos of him and lots of other info. So obviously they have far fewer qualms about internet safety than I do.

In the end though, I started to feel weird about posting about my charge. It wasn't so much about privacy as boundaries. I'm not his mother, and I felt like I was blurring an important line by posting about his so much. So I stopped blogging altogether, and now I'm in the process of editing and transferring old posts (that don't pertain to my job) to a new domain, so that I can start a new blog where I don't talk about work at all.

A Fabulous Nanny said...

I'm uber careful about what I post on my blog about my charges. Originally it was out of concern for my job, but as I've changed most of the content of my blog, I still refuse to give details. The family I work with wouldn't be happy if they were recognized as the object of my writing, good or bad. All the same, I wouldn't worry too much about posting their pictures because the parents allow pictures of them to be posted on the school website and such.

Anonymous said...

I used to have a blog where I blogged about my annoying nanny, her raunchy perfume, smelly scalp and peculiar odor. Unfortunately, she found URL in my browswer window when she went to check show times for movies. She was really hurt and angry, so I had to fire her.

Anonymous said...

a fab nanny:
I don't think I have ever seen a blog so riddled with the term "uber."

3:04:
too bad for you that you can't fire everyone who doesn't like you. but I guess then there wouldn't be anyone left.

mpp said...

3:07
You got me curious, so I had to check out A fabulous Nannies Blog.
Thanks. Now I have to read the whole thing .....
it's pretty interesting, lol.

Wry Mom said...

NY nanny, you missed the sarcasm. Kathie Lee is an idiot she doesn't like people to blog about kids yet we all saw her on national tv talking about nursing hers.

In any event I think it's fine to post pictures of kids.

It's time to stop being afraid of the boogeyman.

Marissa M. said...

Not entirely related but I enjoyed the article about a nanny's blog found by her employer. Actually, her nanny gave her the link! it's from the NY times


OUR former nanny, a 26-year-old former teacher with excellent references, liked to touch her breasts while reading The New Yorker and often woke her lovers in the night by biting them. She took sleeping pills, joked about offbeat erotic fantasies involving Tucker Carlson and determined she'd had more female sexual partners than her boyfriend.

How do I know these things? I read her blog.

She hadn't been with us long when we found out about her online diary. All she'd revealed previously about her private life were the bare-bones details of the occasional date or argument with her landlord and her hopes of attending graduate school in the fall.

Yet within two months of my starting to read her entries our entire relationship unraveled. Not only were there things I didn't want to know about the person who was watching my children, it turned out her online revelations brought feelings of mine to the surface I'd just as soon not have to face as well.

I hadn't exactly been a stranger to the sexual shenanigans of our previous baby sitters. One got pregnant accidentally by her longtime boyfriend and asked me for advice. Another was involved in a mostly off-again relationship with a fidelity-challenged college football player. Yet those were problems I could feel superior to and that made me grateful for the steady routine of marriage and children.

This was something else entirely.

It all began one day late last fall when we were tending to my toddler and she murmured to me: "I've started a blog. I'll give you the link."

I wrote the address in my appointment book but didn't rush off to my computer to look up her site. It wasn't until a month later, after she told me she'd post the Sharon Olds poem "Life With Sick Kids" on a day when both of the boys were ill, that I decided to be polite and take a look.

I read the poem, then I scrolled down to the next entry. And the next. Amid the musings on poetry and fanatical analysis of the "Gilmore Girls" was a sweet scene of sex with a new boyfriend, accounts of semi-promiscuous couplings and tales of too much drinking for my comfort.

My husband thought her writing precociously talented but wanted to fire her nonetheless. "This is inappropriate," he said. "We don't need to know that Jennifer Ehle makes her hot."

I defended her - at first. Didn't she have a right to free expression? It wasn't as though she was quaffing Scotch or bedding guys, or the occasional girl, while on the job. Besides, weren't all recent college graduates keeping Web logs?

But there was more to my advocacy. Suddenly, with her in my employ, I felt I was young and hip by proxy. I might be a boring mother of two, but my nanny, why, she dined in the hippest Williamsburg restaurants and rated the sexual energy of men and women she met. I was amused - and more than a bit envious.

I was about to turn 40. I'd been married almost 15 years. My ability to attend literary readings and art gallery openings was hampered by two children, and my party life was relegated to the toddler birthday circuit. I imagined the snoozefest that would ensue if I were to post:

Spent the morning at the Garfield Temple playroom. Tried to read Paul Krugman while other parents gave me dirty looks as my younger son attempted to filch their kids' dump trucks.

I told my friends about the blog, and even my childless acquaintances were riveted. They called, begging for more details. "Did she wear the rose negligee, the pink see-through slip or the purple Empire-waisted gown?" demanded one after perusing a post on the proper outfit for first-time sex. "She didn't say."

But I was not as comfortable with the situation as I pretended. The blog had brought odd similarities to the fore. I don't want to overstate the case: I was not bisexual, and I did not come from a strictly religious background, as my nanny did.

Yet we had enough in common - if I took her statements at face value - to make me uneasy. In my 20's I, too, felt passionately about 19th-century English literature but had long since let it go, barely able to concentrate on The New York Times, let alone Henry James. I, too, had an abortion back then. And trouble with depression? Check. Self-righteousness and inflated self-regard? Affirmative.

When our nanny asked permission to take her laptop to work so she could work on her graduate school applications while the baby napped, I said yes. Then I wondered if she was whiling away time with flirtatious e-mail messages - something she revealed on her blog she sometimes did. And when she came down with a stomach virus twice during a period when the rest of us were sick only once, I wondered about her confessions of boozy nights out followed by coming to work hungover. Paranoia, perhaps, but reading the blog seemed to encourage such thoughts.

Yet I did not confront her. In part I felt empathy and sadness for this younger version of myself. But I also feared she would judge my life and find it wanting.

As I read her words I was transported back to my own youth and those feelings of awkwardness, fear, false bravado and self-importance. I could have told her that I understood her life more than she realized, that I had not always been the boring hausfrau she must see. I could say that I, too, once stayed out late, drank too much and slept with the wrong people. I, too, once found my work obligations a tedious distraction from creative pursuits and thought myself superior to my surroundings, just as she appeared to.

Yet my awareness of this prior life and my knowledge that I'd outgrown it didn't spare me from feelings of intense doubt about my current life, times when I was convinced I'd made the wrong choices, days when my husband and I would spend hours tearing into each other over who should clean the tub after a child mistook it for the potty. On the other hand I also got to revel in days when I loved my life and children so much that it hurt.

But there was another element of her posts that unnerved me. Most parents don't like to think the person watching their children is there for a salary. We often build up a mythology of friendship with our nannies, pretending the nanny admires us and loves our children so much that she would continue to visit even without pay.

When our nanny referred to our house on her blog as work in a seemingly sarcastic fashion, she broke the covenant. The more she posted, the more life in our household deteriorated. It almost seemed that as she created the persona of a do-me feminist with an academic bent, it began to affect her performance. The woman who was loving if a bit strict toward the children became in our view short and impatient, slamming doors and bashing pans when my toddler wouldn't sleep and sighing heavily if asked to run an errand.

Instead of opening a dialogue, I monitored her online life almost obsessively. I would log on upstairs to see if she was simultaneously posting entries below me on her laptop while the baby was napping. Too often she was.

Looking at archived entries one afternoon, I read her reactions to an argument my husband and I had when she was in the house. "I heard a couple fighting within the confines of couples therapy-speak," she wrote. "I wanted to say, smack him, bite her."

It went on like that for three ghastly pages.

"I seethed," she added.

Well so did I. But mostly I felt hurt. My issues, my problems, my compromises, my entire being seemed to be viewed by her as so much waste.

Mortified into silence, I didn't tell my husband about the post. Nor could I tell her how disturbed the situation was becoming. I was beginning to realize either her employment or the blog would have to come to an end.

A few days later her anger boiled over. "I am having the type of workweek that makes me think being an evil corporate lawyer would be O.K.," she wrote. "Seriously. Contemplated sterilizing myself yesterday."

Whatever her reasons, whatever her frustrations, this was unacceptable. She had finally crossed my threshold of tolerance.

MY husband let her go the following Monday while my younger son and I were attending a Music for Aardvarks class. Even though she had posted entries about how discontented she was with our house and children and must have known there was a pretty good chance I'd read them, she appeared shocked. My husband didn't bring up the blog with her and instead cited other factors for her dismissal. He did not, he told me, care to find himself a character online.

She did not write that we had fired her. Instead she posted an entry about her "day of bad news," including a graduate school rejection, adding that her worst fears about other people were confirmed.

As for why she ever told me about her blog in the first place, I suppose I'll never know. Sometimes I suspect she was unhappy in my house and hoped our seemingly bourgeois souls would be so shocked we'd let her go, exactly as we did. Other times I believe she wanted me to assume a more maternal role, and I failed her. But perhaps that is self-aggrandizement.

I still read her blog, though not as frequently. Her life has settled down. She writes of domestic nights with her significant other and posts less often about coitus. (Well, O.K., they did have sex on the floor of his new abode, a Williamsburg loft.) She'll soon be leaving New York to attend graduate school. It's a life of passion and uncertainty, in which chance meetings can lead to the as-yet-unimagined.

In many ways it used to be my life. I miss it still. And I don't.

UmassSlytherin said...

yes, MM, I read that one too! :)
I enjoyed the article, very eye-opening! :)

meg said...

That was written by Helaine, a total bitch. She had no right to do that! Another situation where the haughty employer trumps the working stiff.


Team Tess Forever!

UmassSlytherin said...

I think she had every right to write that article. Why did she not have a right to write it? This is America. It's called freedom of the press.
I thought it was quite a good article, personally. Interesting and well-written, too.

Anonymous said...

She found out her nanny had a blog. Her nanny mentioned her job on the blog. She never mentioned the name of the family she worked for or anything to personally reveal herself, but in the New York times, this bitch gets revenge on the nanny by outing her to all of NYC.

The nanny was humiliated.

Yes, Helaine is a bitch, but I think she also posts here.

UmassSlytherin said...

anon @10:08,
The nanny told her boss about the blog, if I'm not mistaken. She may have been humiliated, but it should serve as a hard lesson to all: be careful what you post on the internet because it may come back to haunt you: some people may not "get" your sense of humor, especially your boss!

Don't you agree it was pretty foolish to tell her employer about her blog and then post personal/negative things about the employer? I'm not making a judgement as to if it was harsh or not of the employer to publish her article, I'm merely saying that she had every right to do it. In my opinion, if the nanny is humiliated, she should take part of the blame at least.

Anonymous said...

But the nanny never used the family's name. Nothing the nanny said was outright horrible about any one, but for a few passing comments, said sarcastically. This blog was known to a handful of people and in a down minute, she did mention it to her boss.

So her boss rights an expose on the blog and humiliates her in the New York times?

What gave Helaine the right to do that?

Other then she sucked a lot of copy d-ck in her days before she settled down and she called in a few favors.

mom said...

marissa,
I liked the article..made me sort of want to read the nanny's blog...but at the same time also afraid to. Whoever wrote the article is a very compelling author.

mom said...

marissa,
I liked the article..made me sort of want to read the nanny's blog...but at the same time also afraid to. Whoever wrote the article is a very compelling author.

Anonymous said...

Mom,
why did you post that a hundred times?

if you think helaine wrote that all on her own without a whole lot of help, you are out of your cotton pickin mind.

the nanny deleted her blog and moved away right after that.

helaine ruined her life.

the nanny didnt even use her real name in the blog. but helaine sure did. she wanted to shame her. she had more money and so, she won.

and by the by, if anyone was a good writer it was tess.

mom said...

Well first, I see it posted only twice...not a hundred times. I think we all know by now how it sometimes happens that things get posted twice. (But great job at finding something worthwhile to criticize.)

Second, I don't know anything about who wrote what. I am remarking on the well written piece of an article quoted in marissa's post. It is well written and compelling. I always appreciate good writing. You will find that I often compliment well written posts.

Team Tess said...

Lindsay Beyerstein, freelance journalist said:

"Helaine Olen fired her nanny for blogging. Unlike many dooce'd employees, Tessy the nanny/blogger wasn't fired for naming names or blogging on company time. No, Tessy was fired for making Helaine Olen feel old and stodgy.
It all started when Tessy gave Olen the url for her blog, Instructions to the Double. Instructions is an anonymous chronicle of Tessy's daily life as a 26-year-old in New York City-- work, TV, drinks, grocery shopping, poetry, sex, grad school applications, etc. No real names, no identifying details. Frank, but not graphic. I started reading Tessy's blog after we met at a local blogger meet up.
Olen paints a spiteful and misleading picture of the blog and its author. If you read the article, you'd assume that Tessy is a selfish, arrogant, sneaky pill-popping alcoholic with an incredibly steamy blog. Olen doesn't tell us the blog's name, or provide a link, so the average reader just has to take her word for it.
Olen writes:
Yet within two months of my starting to read her entries our entire relationship unraveled. Not only were there things I didn't want to know about the person who was watching my children, it turned out her online revelations brought feelings of mine to the surface I'd just as soon not have to face as well.
What were these feelings, exactly?
Suddenly, with her in my employ, I felt I was young and hip by proxy. I might be a boring mother of two, but my nanny, why, she dined in the hippest Williamsburg restaurants and rated the sexual energy of men and women she met. I was amused - and more than a bit envious.I was about to turn 40. I'd been married almost 15 years. My ability to attend literary readings and art gallery openings was hampered by two children, and my party life was relegated to the toddler birthday circuit. I imagined the snoozefest that would ensue if I were to post.[...]But there was another element of her posts that unnerved me. Most parents don't like to think the person watching their children is there for a salary. We often build up a mythology of friendship with our nannies, pretending the nanny admires us and loves our children so much that she would continue to visit even without pay.
Olen was enjoying this vicarious living so much that she recommended the blog to her friends:
I told my friends about the blog, and even my childless acquaintances were riveted. They called, begging for more details. "Did she wear the rose negligee, the pink see-through slip or the purple Empire-waisted gown?" demanded one after perusing a post on the proper outfit for first-time sex. "She didn't say."
Yet I did not confront her. In part I felt empathy and sadness for this younger version of myself. But I also feared she would judge my life and find it wanting.
Olen's sense of entitlement is absolutely galling. If she has any doubts about whether her spiteful neuroses constitute grounds for dismissal, she doesn't let on. She says she wants to be friends with her nannies, to relate to them as something more than hired babysitters. Then her nanny did something friendly, even intimate--she chose to share her anonymous blog. So, the boss learned a lot about her nanny as a person, at which point she realized that she didn't really want to know Tessy as a person. Rather, she wanted a pseudo-relationship to make herself feel better about having a nanny. If the blog made her uncomfortable, Olen could have stopped reading anytime. Instead, she chose to dispose of the source of her discomfort by firing the person she claimed to want as a friend.
Olen's own indiscretion compounded her embarrassment. She "outed" Tessy to her friends, presumably without Tessy's permission. Yet, Olen doesn't seem to have any reservations about the ethics of that decision.
The whole article smacks of retaliation. Olen didn't like being an anonymous character on a small anonymous blog, so now she's turning Tessy into an identifiable subject in a national newspaper. By writing under her real name, Olen is once again exposing Tessy to public scorn. "Helaine-Olen's-recently-dismissed-nanny" isn't quite a definite description, but it's close enough identify Tessy to more than a handful of people.
Helaine Olen's article is narcissistic, vindictive, and shallow. She has enough self-awareness to acknowledge that her reaction was fueled primarily by her own prejudices and insecurities, rather than by any objective defects of her nanny. Yet, she seems remarkably blase about the fact that her feelings cost someone a job. She makes some interesting observations about how her needs got her into this situation, but she misses the larger moral point, namely how her hypocrisy created this terrible situation. She tried to be "friends" with her nanny, but when she actually learned the sorts of things that friends know about each other, she reverted to employer mode and discarded Tessy as a liability."
(By Lindsay Beyerstein, freelance journalist. )
_________________________________

The Liberal Avenger says,

"From Bitch Ph.D., Helaine Olen wrote a self-serving article in the NY Times on firing her nanny because she didn't like what she read about the nanny's non-work on her blog. Here's the nanny's reply. What did the nanny do that Olen didn't like? Well, she occassionally talked about her sex life online and going out for drinks with friends. Also, she is open about her bisexuality. I doubt Olen intended to come across as such a judgemental, controlling prude, but before I even the nanny Tessy's reply, that was exactly how I perceived her and Tessy's reply only reinforced that notion as she creates links to test blog posts that Olen mentions in the article, stuff like saying she thinks the actress in Pride and Prejudice is hot. Tessy also is very angry at the description of her as "promiscious", especially since she's in a monogamous relationship with her boyfriend.Olen makes claims throughout this essay that's she's really not a huge prude, that she remembers that it was fun being young, but her choice of this word "promiscious" tells me all I need to know about how empty those protests are. You only call a single woman with a boyfriend "promiscious" because you have issues with women who have sex, particularly such women being put in charge of children. (I never cease to be amazed that people can be so perturbed at the idea of a woman who has sex looking after children, considering the way that children come into being.) The notion that people who filter a little alcohol through their liver once in awhile shouldn't be exposed to children is one I've only recently become acquainted with, though ancedotal evidence suggests this bit of prudery is a yuppie affectation.The defensiveness of this NY Times article is astounding, because I don't even get the impression that Olen is being defensive about her choice to deprive a woman of her job in part because that woman's sexuality made her uncomfortable. God forbid she be defensive about being sexist and unfair to her employee. No, Olen is defensive because her younger employee's youthful fun made her a little bit jealous and she wants everyone to know that even though she's a big enough fuddy-duddy that a woman expressing admiration for another woman's beauty makes her clutch her pearls, it's not her fault and she'd really be fun if it weren't for her great sacrifice of having children. I'm not buying it, because of passages like this:
I told my friends about the blog, and even my childless acquaintances were riveted. They called, begging for more details. "Did she wear the rose negligee, the pink see-through slip or the purple Empire-waisted gown?" demanded one after perusing a post on the proper outfit for first-time sex. "She didn't say."I'm not a worldly person, and I like to gossip about sex as much as anyone, but I can't ever imagine talking with my friends about the delicious, over-the-top naughtiness of underwear choices. You expect next that she's going to go faint thinking about how her nanny might actually kiss a boy with an open mouth.Man, the more I think about this, the angrier it makes me, because not only is it wrong form Olen to pass a sexist judgement on her employee, just because she's such a prude, she's also a big, fat hypocrite. Like this in this passage.
MY husband let her go the following Monday while my younger son and I were attending a Music for Aardvarks class. Even though she had posted entries about how discontented she was with our house and children and must have known there was a pretty good chance I'd read them, she appeared shocked. My husband didn't bring up the blog with her and instead cited other factors for her dismissal. He did not, he told me, care to find himself a character online.But of course he is a character in this story. And while Olen can get self-righteous about her family being characters in a blog, she apparently doesn't have a single fucking problem with using her ex-employee's sex life to drum up a little hysteria about female sexuality and get paid to do it."
(The Liberal Avenger)
______________________________________

Patrick at Making Light said,
"There’s an entire novel of manners lurking under the surface of this, particularly when paired up with this response.
For some bloggers, of course, the only point of the story is that it’s foolish to be too forthcoming with an employer about your personal stuff. (A point readily acknowledged by the blogger herself, in the comment thread here.) Other bloggers seem to grasp that there’s a bit more going on. Atrios highlights Pandagon commentor Jeff’s wry observation that evidently “an employee writing about her employer in a blog is enough to get her fired, but an employer writing about her employee in the New York Times is just journalism.” Jeff suggests we may be in the presence of something called “class issues”, which is of course impossible since America doesn’t have cla—, I mean cl—, I mean, you know, that word I can’t even type.
Interestingly, while you might get the impression from Helaine Olen’s Times piece that her former nanny was placarding the intarweb with overt discussions of Olen and her family, in fact the nanny never named any of them; indeed the blog didn’t even contain the blogger’s own full name. (In retrospect, the nanny/blogger appears to have been writing about the Olen clan rather less than Olen and her husband thought she was, but that’s a comic subplot.) By contrast, Olen was nowhere so circumspect:
I told my friends about the blog, and even my childless acquaintances were riveted. They called, begging for more details. “Did she wear the rose negligee, the pink see-through slip or the purple Empire-waisted gown?” demanded one after perusing a post on the proper outfit for first-time sex.
For a smart and nuanced discussion of all this, which digs past the obvious What-Did-You-Expect harrumphing into the much more interesting complicities, check out Bitch Ph.D. Do read the comments; they’re worth the extra time. Unsurprisingly, the nanny/blogger is a participant in that discussion, reacting reasonably to criticism and adding some interesting details to her own side of the story. It would be particularly interesting if Helaine Olen were to show up the conversation as well, but of course that’s never going to happen, and that fact is at the heart of all that’s transpired.
UPDATE: How did I miss these two killer posts from Majikthise?
Of course, Olen wasn’t really interested in friendship. She didn’t want to be the stodgy boss, but she didn’t want to be a real confidante either. What she really wanted was a pseudo-relationship that was all about her. When her manipulative pose got her into uncomfortable emotional territory, she eliminated the source of her discomfort without a second thought. Then she wrote a “reflective” essay about the situation in which she congratulates herself for recognizing her own motives, while taking for granted that her self-centered manipulative behavior was acceptable. There’s an entire novel of manners lurking under the surface of this, particularly when paired up with this response.
For some bloggers, of course, the only point of the story is that it’s foolish to be too forthcoming with an employer about your personal stuff. (A point readily acknowledged by the blogger herself, in the comment thread here.) Other bloggers seem to grasp that there’s a bit more going on. Atrios highlights Pandagon commentor Jeff’s wry observation that evidently “an employee writing about her employer in a blog is enough to get her fired, but an employer writing about her employee in the New York Times is just journalism.” Jeff suggests we may be in the presence of something called “class issues”, which is of course impossible since America doesn’t have cla—, I mean cl—, I mean, you know, that word I can’t even type.
Interestingly, while you might get the impression from Helaine Olen’s Times piece that her former nanny was placarding the intarweb with overt discussions of Olen and her family, in fact the nanny never named any of them; indeed the blog didn’t even contain the blogger’s own full name. (In retrospect, the nanny/blogger appears to have been writing about the Olen clan rather less than Olen and her husband thought she was, but that’s a comic subplot.) By contrast, Olen was nowhere so circumspect:
I told my friends about the blog, and even my childless acquaintances were riveted. They called, begging for more details. “Did she wear the rose negligee, the pink see-through slip or the purple Empire-waisted gown?” demanded one after perusing a post on the proper outfit for first-time sex.
For a smart and nuanced discussion of all this, which digs past the obvious What-Did-You-Expect harrumphing into the much more interesting complicities, check out Bitch Ph.D. Do read the comments; they’re worth the extra time. Unsurprisingly, the nanny/blogger is a participant in that discussion, reacting reasonably to criticism and adding some interesting details to her own side of the story. It would be particularly interesting if Helaine Olen were to show up the conversation as well, but of course that’s never going to happen, and that fact is at the heart of all that’s transpired.
UPDATE: How did I miss these two killer posts from Majikthise?
Of course, Olen wasn’t really interested in friendship. She didn’t want to be the stodgy boss, but she didn’t want to be a real confidante either. What she really wanted was a pseudo-relationship that was all about her. When her manipulative pose got her into uncomfortable emotional territory, she eliminated the source of her discomfort without a second thought. Then she wrote a “reflective” essay about the situation in which she congratulates herself for recognizing her own motives, while taking for granted that her self-centered manipulative behavior was acceptable. "
(Patrick at Making Light)

___________________________________________
Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind wrote,
"Objectionable on so many levels
Others have weighed in more eloquently (and likely less eloquently as well) but for the 2 people who haven't at least heard about it, I think the NYT's "Modern Love" column has sunk to a new low:
OUR former nanny, a 26-year-old former teacher with excellent references, liked to touch her breasts while reading The New Yorker and often woke her lovers in the night by biting them. She took sleeping pills, joked about offbeat erotic fantasies involving Tucker Carlson and determined she'd had more female sexual partners than her boyfriend.
How do I know these things? I read her blog.
She hadn't been with us long when we found out about her online diary. All she'd revealed previously about her private life were the bare-bones details of the occasional date or argument with her landlord and her hopes of attending graduate school in the fall.
Yet within two months of my starting to read her entries our entire relationship unraveled. Not only were there things I didn't want to know about the person who was watching my children, it turned out her online revelations brought feelings of mine to the surface I'd just as soon not have to face as well.
I hadn't exactly been a stranger to the sexual shenanigans of our previous baby sitters. One got pregnant accidentally by her longtime boyfriend and asked me for advice. Another was involved in a mostly off-again relationship with a fidelity-challenged college football player. Yet those were problems I could feel superior to and that made me grateful for the steady routine of marriage and children.
This was something else entirely.
Let's see. We've got an embittered freelance journalist who, I dunno, hasn't had too many articles printed in newspapers lately (the only ones I could find date back to the late 90s) and when her nanny -- probably in the interests of being transparent, not self-serving -- gives her the URL of her blog, OMG! She goes bananas. She finds constant references to sex and drinking and can't handle it any more. And even after firing the girl, she's still reading her blog. Why? As an exercise in masochism? Because she can't stop? Very weird.
Now, there are always two sides to every story, and "Tessy" is trying to defend herself after being besmirched in the Gray Lady, but to air this out like this? Something tells me it's going to be awfully difficult for Ms. Olen to hire a new nanny now..."
(by Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind)

mom said...

11:14
You have also posted some compelling articles. I read the first two...which are also quite well written. I want to read them all but am too tired tonight to do them justice and enjoy the subtleties of the writing. I look forward to reading nanny's response tomorrow. I will offer more feedback after reading all.

Goodnight.

Anonymous said...

Any nanny of mine would be fired on the spot if I found out she or he had a blog about my family with identifying info and photos of my children. Huge mistake IMHO to post such info on the net. I would make very sure to ruin her career for it too.

UmassSlytherin said...

12:56,
I would not try to ruin her career, (everyone makes mistakes) however I would insist that she took down the info and pics, I agree with you on that point. As far as firing her on the spot, I don't think I would do that, although I would be amazed if a nanny would post such things without my consent. I would absolutely make her take it down though and express to her my problem with it.
I think signing a confidentiality agreement is a smart thing to do in a nanny/employer relationship, for the employer as well as the nanny to sign, including a sentence or two about the internet.

One Fabulous Nanny said...

@ anon and MPP

HAHAHA I'm taking this as a compliment :) I'm really bad about writing the way I speak. And yes, apparently I say uber that much. Hence all the exclamations and what have you. What can I say, I'm not a writer- I'm a twenty something nanny :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, take it as a compliment. Your blog is pretty cool. ;)

cali mom said...

Wow, is the jealous ex-employer/freelance writer THE Helaine? the one who refers to her employees as "her girls"? What a funny coincidence that there would be 2 Helaines like that.

Anonymous said...

This situation can be summed up in one word on both sides...STRANGE. I don't understand why the nanny would type negative things about her job on a blog she gave her boss the url for, but the mother's obsession is just creepy. The part where she talks about how it awoke certain feelings...did anyone else find that a bit disturbing????