Tuesday

Nannies and the Moms Who DON'T Employ Them

Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Guest Column by: Chick
chick
Disdain? Discomfort? Dismay? There has to be some sort of appropriate term for the strange and unsettling reception given me by many of the moms I see on my daily rounds as a nanny.

Generally, I'll be chatting with a woman while at the park with the kids, or while waiting for a charge to finish a class, and she'll say something that makes it clear she assumes I'm the mom. At that point I'll tell her "I'm their nanny." Then the weirdness starts. And this happens at any time, from 15 minutes to 6 classes into a friendly discussion.

I'll get an "Oh...really?", a blank stare, or nervous laughter, and then, 80% of the time, conversation stutters to a halt, leaving nothing but an awkward silence. The mom will soon make a vague excuse before walking away, or will turn to the woman on the other side of her to start a lively discussion.

In my novice nanny days, I thought perhaps I was simply somehow boring or annoying, and the realization that I was a nanny was an out for moms who weren't really interested in a friendly conversation. But now, I am forced to wonder why THEY have an issue with me. I was fine to talk with when I was presumably one of them, but as a nanny I am somehow not worth the effort.

Because I am generally curious about what makes people act the way they do, I have come up with 3 possible reasons for the "Mom Freeze": they feel scorn toward my momboss for not being home with the kids, and therefore I get the brunt of that disdain; they feel that they don't know how to relate to someone who's "just" a nanny, and they get uncomfortable; or they are concerned that developing a friendly relationship with me will be awkward, since we presumably have little in common.

There have been moms I have wound up talking very comfortably with, who don't seem to give a flip what I list as my IRS occupation and just kind of enjoy casually talking with me. I am always happy to be seen as a person, rather than as my occupation. I just wonder why I am taken as I am so infrequently.

Now, the theories I have may be full of hot air, so I am curious to see what you all think. Moms, do you feel awkward talking to nannies, having them over for playdates, or otherwise interacting with them? Is there an ethnic or cultural compoment to any discomfort you have? Nannies, have you experienced "Mom Freeze", or are your stories different from mine? Could it be a regional issue, or a product of the American awkwardness with "domestic help"? Toss your ideas into the mix, and help me out!

99 comments:

Yaya said...

I've had the exact same experience...it's so weird!

TexasNanny said...

OH WOW! Yes the same thing happens to me too!

There are a few parents that I talk to but for the most part the second they realize I'm not the mom they find someone else to be friendly with and I've often wondered why.

I take my charge to music class and dance and other classes, so these are moms I see once a week for the last year and they don't talk to me because I'm just the nanny, I've also noticed the teachers act the same way towards me.

UmassSlytherin said...

chick,
thank you for posting this: it's really interesting!
I'm not sure how to answer: I suppose the answer could vary from mom to mom.
In my experience as a nanny, I never saw this. The moms I would chat with at the playgroup or parks I took my charges to were the opposite, in fact. They would try to get me to gossip about the mom I worked for. I think this is because sometimes the mom would insist on coming to the group with me (which included a story hour) on her lunch break sometimes and then she would leave halfway through to go back to work. Of course the babies would cry when she left: here is mommy for fifteen minutes and then there she goes! See ya! So I think the moms felt bad for me to be left to pick up the pieces, which I always did with a smile.
Anyway, I love your story: you have talent as a writer. Will there be other installments? I would love to read more!

Sue Doe-Nim said...

I can tell you why I've been guilty of being That Mom.

In my experience the friendships cultivated with nanny kids are difficult for me as a SAHM. What happens is that you mention an activity to the mother of the nannied child and watch her lips pucker.

oops, the nanny wasn't supposed to be at the ice cream shop.

Or the nanny gets fired and the kid disappears so your kid loses a buddy.

Or you watch the nanny spoil the kid silly and raise a brat (this is the most frequent problem) because I think we SAHMs see from the outside that when kids are unhappy with nannys who actually discipline them mothers tend to fire those nannies.

I won't leave my child with a nanny on a playdate so having the nannied child over for a playdate will never be reciprocated.

There is a whole host of reasons that SAHMs decide to skip the nanny playdate and to say the above is the tip of the iceberg is a gross understatement.

For me, it just doesn't work.

I try not to be rude about but I'm sure I've appeared icy before.

(If you want more reasons I'll give you big long list)

Sue Doe-Nim said...

Ooh, I just re-read your post.

I wouldn't feel awkward talking to you. That's a little weird.

All things being equal though my kids are in school all day so if they're in the room I'd much prefer to talk to them than a random stranger.

JerseyXJacqui said...

Interesting. I have never experienced this when dealing with mothers. In fact, I've gotten very warm receptions from them, even after they find out I'm the nanny and not the mommy.
If anything, I've had people offer me occassional sitting jobs OR, in a few rare cases, try to flat out steal me away...(one woman at my charges Mommy and Me class even went as far as lying to me, saying her sister needed a weekend nanny...I gave her my number so she could give it to her sister and 2 weeks later she was asking me if I was sure I wanted to continue working for my current family because SHE really needs a nanny...I assumed the whole SISTER thing was a clever ploy to buy time. Oy, the nerve.)

Nannyneedsanap said...

I've experienced the same thing on occasion, but if someone thinks they are "too good" for me, then I don't want to talk to them anyway. Most of the moms I meet are really nice, and I don't have any trouble finding play dates. I think teachers are more friedly toward me because I am a nanny. I babysit for one of my charge's teachers on the weekends and we have plans to get our kids together this summer. As soon as you're friends with the teacher, everyone wants to be your buddy, so maybe that's why I'm not experiencing the "Mom Freeze." :)

marypoppin'pills said...

When we entered my son into a Private School, I noticed very quickly that the Mom's who would get the children together afterwards for playdates were very "cliquey".
I was nervous at first, maybe because they seemed so "high brow", but I figured they were nice enough, and their kids liked my kid.
So, me and another Mom started going on outings with them.
After a week or two one of the Mom's started asking some questions, trying to get to know us a little better. The Mom that joined the group when I did said she was the little boy's Nanny.
I was only surprised because I had figured she was the Mom, but the rest of the women started to act really funny, and the playdate ended rather quickly after that. ("We have to get home and get dinner on the table", "Noah has homework" .... were some of the excuses.)

Anyway, the next day, me and the Nanny (aka mom) were waiting for the kids to get out of class and started to make plans to take the kids out. When we tried to get together with the other Mom's, they were really stand-offish.
As the Nanny and I talked about it later, she told me that happens all the time, and that's why she never offers up that she's the Nanny, but will say so when she's asked.

Anyway, her and I went on to be very good friends. And one of the other Mom's from the "group" that seemed more friendly than the others, when prodded, told me that she thought it was both an economic issue (if they only knew how much we struggled to make those $800.00 a month payments ...) and a social issue. Most of those Mom's employ Nannies, and she said that they didn't want to be caught "mingling" with one.

Needless to say, my son finished out the year and we found a much better school.
One where everyone treats each other with mutual respect.
(The same one I do my Volunteer work at.)

fox in socks said...

Dear Chick,

I'm always friendly to nannies and chat with them the same way I do with moms.

I definitely notice some moms don't want to be friendly with nannies. It's clear they are uncomfortable crossing "barriers" and prefer to have distance between themselves as moms and the nannies as employees.

It is worse at group parties, often with a group of nannies and a group of moms each sitting at different tables with their respective mom or nanny group.

I think the burden is on the moms to be friendly to the nannies in that kind of situation especially. If for instance there are only one or two nannies at a party, the moms need to be extra sure to be super friendly and welcoming (genuinely so, not just "for show").

The separation of moms and nannies in social groups, however seemingly voluntary, is more egregious when there are predominantly nannies of color and predominantly white moms/employers. It is important to break down barriers and be particularly welcoming in situations like this, because nannies can sometimes feel like they are being excluded and wonder if it's not because they are nannies but perhaps because they are people of color in a predominantly white arena.

I've heard from several moms that their nannies really appreciate the fact that I always make a point of saying hello to them, even in passing, that it makes them feel welcome, and that things like that are important to them.

You might be interested to know of a different, related phenomenon. The opposite of mom snobbery is actually rather common too. It could be called reverse nanny snobbery. Some nannies that are normally very friendly with moms, when they are with a group of nannies or when with another very good nanny friend, will totally ignore the mom they are normally very friendly with. The nanny will act like she would never consider chatting and hanging out with a mom, although she does it all the time when not in the company of either their good nanny friend or their group of nannies. It is always so strange when I experience this reverse nanny snobbery. Then, I remember this will pass as soon as the nanny is away from their pal or their group, where it is uncool to fraternize with moms.

Anonymous said...

I'm a white nanny and I do look very similar to the little girl I nanny for. So people do assume she is mine and because of what I've experienced I don't usually make a point of telling everyone I'm the nanny.

If someone tells me her outfit is cute I smile and say thank you. If they tell me she's adorable again I smile and say thank you.

On the other hand if they ask me if she looks like my husband or say she has the same blue eyes as me then I tell them I'm the nanny.

I much prefer they think I'm the mom because then they treat me like a normal person, though I do feel guilty leading them astray it's nice to have some people to talk to at the park or in class because no matter how much I love my charge there is only so much you can talk to a 2 year old about.

Kaitlyn said...

I haven't noticed it to that degree given that there aren't that many nannies where I live (Memphis, TN). But whenever I've had to tell someone that I'm not her mom, I've gotten somewhat awkward responses out of them. "Ohhh...ok..." stuff like that. I find it odd that they think that my being a nanny is more awkward than my charge being my own child, seeing as I'm pretty young (20) and "unwed mothers" (though I'm married, most people choose not to notice my ring) are pretty looked down on here. Double standard, I guess.

JerseyXJacqui said...

9:02, its funny you mention that, because when I get a comment from a passing stranger about how beautiful or cute my charge is, I never know what to say! I just smile awkwardly, haha. Now, if I'm actually involved in a discussion with someone and they comment on it, I usually end up agreeing with them and telling them I am the nanny.

I always feel rude as hell when I don't say "thank you" after my charge gets a compliment. I'd feel weird taking credit for her cuteness though. I'll leave that to mom and dad.

mpp said...

What strikes me, until I met my Nanny friend, is that I always thought being a Nanny/having a Nanny was a luxury. Minus all of the hard work involved of course ... I'm just speaking about the Title here, not what it entails.
I had always thought it was a job of Honor (and still do.)
And couldn't quite understand the reason my friend was treated that way by those women at the
Pre-school.

That's a question I wonder if anyone would be willing to answer. As a Parent, do you find having a Nanny a luxury (even if you have the money). And to the Nanny, do you consider it an Honorable job?

Anonymous said...

Same thing has happened to me numerous times. People assume I am the mom and when they find out I am not-all of a sudden the talking stops. or changes dramatically. Glad to know it isn't just me. Weird though, right?

seattlenanny said...

I don't really ever run into this problem, Most of the moms I meet at music class, swimming, park etc.. are always really nice. The little sweetie I nanny for looks a lot like I do. When I mention that I'm her nanny the moms are always surprised but are still chatty. I am friends outside of work with a few of them too. I live in a suburb of Seattle and it's a really relaxed town. I think the relaxed attitude might have something to do with it.

Liv said...

Alright, this is embarrassing, but I feel I should share it. One day I was with my charges at the McDonald's playplace (as per mom's instructions) and found myself seated next to an older lady who was there with her grandchildren. Of course after the children finished eating they all went to play, leaving Grandma and I alone. Naturally, we began talking about the children. We talked for a good 20 minutes or so about basic kid stuff, before I realized this woman thought I was their mother. I mentioned that X was shorter and thinner than any of the kids in his class. "Oh" she said "Is his father short?" I told her no, which is the truth. Then she asked me if I had short men in my family. I told her that I didn't, also true, although it wouldn't matter since I wasn't his mother. At this point, I felt it was too late to tell her that. Then she started asking more and more personal questions. My heart started pounding, I felt so horrible lying to this old woman. Then another lady comes over and joins the conversation. At this point, I am absolutely sweating bullets. I'm sure at any moment one of the kids will come down and call me by name and the whole thing will fall apart. I told the ladies it was nice meeting them, then quickly collected the children and left. I decided that day that if the conversation ever went past "Aww, isn't she cute" I would immediately make it known that I am the nanny. Of course this means I am often left out of mommy conversations, but that's okay with me.

LindaLou said...

hmmmmmm. no clue. i have one close friend who is currently a nanny and one close friend who was a nanny when we met eleven years ago. i'm friendly with the nannies of my friends as they often bring the children to playdates and events.

Anonymous said...

Oh honey, if we start socializing with the nannies, then the nannies are going to think they can socialize with our husbands. You know the ones? They married us because we were young and hot but now we're old and pumped full of plastics and we've revealed ourselves to be incompetent as mothers and just a nuerotic drag to be around. So, nanny, we're just afraid that he would want you at hello.

Jane Doe said...

Would you like to write a guest column? Email me at isawyournanny@aol.com .

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I do think much of this is due to snobbery. My nanny and daughter have been excluded from events at preschool, but if I drop off, or pick up, the Moms tell me about them and ask me to bring my daughter. If I tell them I'm working, but my nanny could bring my daughter, they say, oh well, maybe next time. At first I figured they are trying to set up social occasions for themselves rather than thier kids. Since then, I have attended a few of these events and comments about my nanny were made. Some were good and well meaning--one even asked if she babysits on the side--but most observations are just none of their business. Like when they ask do you know she brought her son or daughter with her on x day? (I have answered this one several times--my nanny has children of her own and sometimes brings them to work with her--I actually had one Mom ask me when I told her that if I really want my daughter socializing with the nanny's children). Another time I was asked do you know that your daugter was late twice last week? (Both times my nanny had brought my daughter to the doctor for a allergy shots. I told her thank you, I was aware of it.) I heard even comments about my nanny wearing a "sloppy" T-shirt and jeans (I pointed out that unless I'm heading into the office, that's what I would show up in too--my nanny does wear casual clothes, but she is far from sloppy). I concluded there are some Moms who are just snobs and now only socialize with those who are not.

Anonymous said...

Honey, you have no idea what's really going on. If you did, you wouldn't want to socialize with the moms. Stick to the nannies--they're much nicer, and down-to-earth.

NannyMcSnob? said...

I am a nanny in San Diego and I haven't really had a huge issue with this. I make casual conversations with other moms sometimes, and I almost always tell them I'm the nanny. Most moms just ask me questions about how much I work and seem pretty polite overall. Some are friendlier than others but I am pretty much reserved myself.

I never have tried to really make plans of playdates with any of them so I don't know if they would accept or by snobby. I have a hunch that the park moms may be a little jealous of 1) the family I work for because they can afford me and 2) how much better I am at paying attention and playing with the kids. (sorry to brag but it's true) After all, many moms are at the park for social hour and have their backs turned to the kids, so they may feel defensive over that. (who knows?)

Maybe I'm the snob, but I figure I wouldn't really have a lot in common with a late 30's-40's upper middle class mom. I guess I am more on the lookout to meet other young, cute, fun nannies that I could actually be friends with. However, there have been some moms that were truly sweet and seemed to admire me as a nanny.

Overall, I would say not too worry about it and focus on meeting cool moms and nannies.

elizabeth said...

I'm answering MPP's question about whether we see being nannies as "honourable..."

Yes. Absolutely. As I have said before when talking about my job, I can think of no greater compliment one can receive than parents wanting you to spend extended periods of time with their kids. As a nanny, you are a role model-- children look to you for how to behave. There are many honourable careers, but I do believe that being a nanny is one of them. I am very proud of what I do, and thrilled and touched that my employers want me in the kids' lives.

Anonymous said...

Calif nanny here...I am white and 50 so no one ever thinks I'm the nanny...always the grandmother or if Im lucky and look rested "their mother". Works for me. Most nannys here in calif are hispanic.

Elizabeth said...

Sorry, if I thought ahead I would have combined these responses and not written two posts...

In response to the orignial question, I have only ever found parents to be very warm and accepting of me as a nanny. It's possible that some of it is because I'm young (21) and they just don't want to be mean, but I agree with Seattlenanny... this is a pretty friendly part of the country.

nyc mom said...

Honestly I feel kind of out of place with the moms and nannies. I work half time so don't really connect with either group. I find the SAHMs to be rather cliqueish and with tons of high school-esque gossip (not saying this is true of all SAHM by any means, just my experience at our particular NYC school). Also, they are super involved in school stuff which I cannot be. The FT WOHM are never around so I can't connect to them. And the nannies seem to truly gravitate toward each other with little interest in becoming friendly with the moms. I think there is a natural divide and no group (SAHM, WOHM, nannies) are truly comfortable bridging it in any meaningful way. Also in NYC, most of the professional nannies are Caribbean or Latina and there seems to be a cultural barrier there that is difficult to overcome even when I've tried. I actually feel much more naturally comfortable striking up conversations with the nannies than the SAHM, but find they keep me at arms' length - perhaps because it is natural in any occupation to share your job experience (good and bad) and they feel I cannot do that. I'm just conjecturing though and don't really know. My only reluctance to pursue friendships with some of the nannies is as SDM mentioned, there is an unpredictable degree of turnover and it's hard to make a friend for yourself and child and worry that person could be moving on at any time. The one thing I can say with certainty is that I definitely do not intentionally "freeze" out anyone because they are a nanny. I feel I have as much (if not more) in common with the nannies, especially as I worked my way through college doing just that. I have noticed some of what Chick is talking about though in other SAHM. If I we set up a playdate on one of my workdays, there is a definite change in attitude from the Moms when we next meet if it was my nanny who was hosting or attending the playdate and not me. I feel very critically judged by the SAHMs when these playdates fall on my workdays, while I find the WOHMs have no problem with it. So I do think there is a definite validity to OPs perception in some situations.

meghan said...

I think a comment by 10:44 was said in jest, but I also think there is a lot of truth to it. New money is especially bad about "associating" with the help. Old money has always had help around and are confident in their status and class so they associate with who they want based on the individual merit of a person. My current employer was raised by a nanny herself. She told me that the nanny did everything for her and she loved her nanny so much that her heart broke when the nanny was released (right after my employer's 12th. birthday). She also told me she fought with her parents to visit her nanny who relocated to a suburb of Baltimore and she worte her all the time, much to her mother's chagrin. My current employer is so savy and with it. She has lived the other side of the coin, so she is careful to be the one her child WANTS to go with not HAS to go to if he/she has a problem. My employer is also very generous and is nice to all the nannies that we know. She obviously doesn't see them in all of the same situations she sees her friends in but she treats every mom and nanny the same, unless it is a close friend of hers in which case they share more.

I am so happy to be working for the person I am working for now. I did my penance, 9 years of misery with 3 despiccable employers.

mpp said...

12:10
You did your "penance"?
Wow. That's a really intense way of putting it.
No one should have to go through so much misery just to feel they've "earned" some peace of mind in their job, but I'm so glad you're happy now.

maggie said...

I liked your article, Chick. I think that perhaps, especially in my setting- I do have a lot of superficial relationships with the "other mothers" that I feel obligated to have because we attend the same school, class or place of worship. I'd like to think I treat everyone the same, but it is probable that I don't waste the nanny's time with my attempts at a superficial relationship. When I think of a nanny, even before I hired my (wonderful) nanny, I think of someone who has a very large circle of friends that she finds fulfillment in.

mom said...

I also experienced a similar thing early on as a SAHM...wife of a professional in a prestigious field. Almost all of people we would encounter at firm events were married to other high professionals. When I would meet people and they would find out I was a SAHM I would get EXACTLY the same reaction you are describing here as nannies. It was so rude! I have a college education and quite a high IQ, perfectly capable of carrying on an interesting conversation with just about anybody, but they automatically assumed I was stupid...or somehow beneath them. (God forbid anybody just loves kids THAT much that they actually might WANT to raise their own.) Some of the really bitchy women (wouldn't you know it was always the ugly ones too)would actually make little underhanded jokes or comments at my expense (as if I was too dumb to even realize they were making fun of me)and then look smugly at one another. At first I used to feel really bad (I was young and not as strong then), but after a while I realized thay were the ones who didn't have a clue...and they were the ones who were too dumb to even realize that there was a clue to be had and that THEY were missing out.

Second, as a SAHM, I can tell you that not all SAHMs are alike. Somebody mentioned those who feel superior and spend their afternoons talking, only among themselves, about nothing but "inner circle" school gossip. YUCK. I don't enjoy those myself, and they exclude even SAHMs who are not like themselves. There are always some moms who like to be in cliques. You don't want to be friends with those anyway. Believe me.

I was invited to a moms prayer meeting when we joined a new school. (It met weekly.) At the first meeting I attended, they essentially gossiped about all of the kids at the school, and all of the parents and staff. As in, "Let's pray for Tommy X. I hear he is a little on the shall we say, 'randy' side." And another mom would pipe in, "Oh I heard that too. I heard that...blah, blah, blah." And then everybody would add in everything they knew about that child before moving on to the next kid they wanted to "pray" about. Then they moved on to parents and school staff members. I went home worried about how I was going to gracefully back out of the group...

Once some ladies from my neighborhood organized playgroup and invited me.We all met at a park, not at anybody's home. I invited my sister in law (who was my best friend and had a child the same age as mine, and the rest of the kids in the group.) She was an exceptionally nice gal and a good mom. She lived in the city next to ours. One by one, as people met her, they would find out where she lived and then snub her. We were both confused, since it was just a frickin park and a bunch of toddlers playing together....so who cares? Next time the playgroup "ringleader" saw me at the park, she came over and told me that the playgroup was "only for people in our city." What a B! I never went back.


That said, I have no problem being friends with nannies, or anybody else. But I do tend to choose friends (as we all do) based on having something in common. If we have similar values and similar temperaments, we can strike up a conversation, learn about one another, and, if compatible, move on to a better friendship. I would go on a child's playdate with most anybody, as long as they seemd to be responsible with the kids. As I have mentioned here many times, I have been in play groups where there was a mom or two who let their kids run wild and bully everyboidy else, and that kind of person (mom or nanny)I would not voluntarily meet up with. If I saw a nanny who I thought to be neglectful,or with a poor work ethic, she would not interest me as a friend...as would be the case for me with anybody in any profession.

So...my opinion...based on the experiences I have mentioned here....is that this is a matter of snobbery in a LOT of cases. But you know what? Consider it a favor that these people let you know what arrogant Bs they are right up front, so you don't waste any of YOUR precious time on THEM. Move on and look for somebody nice to talk to. They are out there. I promise!

This also goes for the part time working mom above who gets snubbed. Look for the nice moms to be friends with. They are there. You just have to look. (PS Their kids tend to grow up also being snobby and exclusive...which is not what you want for your kid anyway.)

Sue Doe-Nim said...

In defense of SAHMs and the "cliques" they seemingly form....

If you are a SAHM to a toddler the world can be incredibly lonely. Women band together in order to help one another out. If you are a working mom or a nanny that feels shut out of their conversation it's likely because they don't want to have to pretend to care about your work. They're too busy trying to get balance in their own lives.

All too often women feel snubbed by groups but what many of you don't seem to realize is that the only thing you have in common is a neighborhood and the fact that you have children.

choosing to raise your children in such different manners almost automatically means that you have different priorities and very little in common. *infant and toddler years* This changes as the kids turn school aged.

It's not a condemnation of the working mother and her nanny or a martyrdom of the SAHM but seriously, what do you have in common?

Nom de Plume said...

It's interesting that someone commented on Caribbean nannies and breaking that barrier. In the neighborhood I work, most nannies with the exception of one other nanny are latino. What I find is that when I'm on a playdate at other childrens homes that the mothers tend to talk to me over their nannies. It's somewhat awkward to me and I can only imagine how the nannies feel.

Anonymous said...

Employed.

They probably feel employed.

Anonymous said...

Really interesting column. There is definately a divide here in LA. I always thought it was economic, but recently I have been taking my charge to a park that's sort of halfway between my boss' affluent neighborhood and poor area. So the park has a mix of people from different incomes. But both income groups snub me when they find out I'm a nanny. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Really interesting column. There is definately a divide here in LA. I always thought it was economic, but recently I have been taking my charge to a park that's sort of halfway between my boss' affluent neighborhood and poor area. So the park has a mix of people from different incomes. But both income groups snub me when they find out I'm a nanny. Go figure.

mom said...

4:06 Don't think for a minute that reverse discrimination against the wealthy does not also occur. It's almost WORSE. And what constitutes "wealthy" ro a reverse discriminator? Anybody who has more than they do.

Anonymous said...

As a SAHM, I feel like I really can relate more to other moms of any socioeconomic background than nannies. I've socialized with nannies in the past, they've been invited to playgroups, etc. Some of them are very nice and easy to talk with. But the strongest connections I have are with other SAHM who can relate to pretty much everything in my life...24/7 of being a mom, division of chores with hubby, struggles to raise my kid right, etc. Really a nanny is (sorry) a hired gun, its not like she's going to want to hang out with me and the kids during her offhours. For her its a job, for me its my life. With another SAHM, I may have an instant bond with a nanny, there's not much more bond than when I meet any other person.

mom said...

5:09 I agree with what you have to say. But it doesn't mean that you can't enjoy socializing with nanny during kid centered activities. That may be all you have in common.
Certain moms you may become lifelong friends with...and nanny will likely disappear from your life when her job ends...especially if she has no kids. But I had a good nanny frind once. We never socialized on her off work hours (she was a decade younger and in a completely different stage of life, so that would not have been fun for either of us) But I loved meeting with her for playdates.


The point is, people should not automatically dismiss anybody from their social circles without first getting to know them. You might miss out on a really special friendship by doing that. There are some SAHMs I meet and we both realize instantly that we are "not a match." Doesn't mean either of us is better than the other....just we are too different in ways that friends shouldn't be so different. But if oyu don't give them a chance, how can you really know? But admittedly, most of my closest friends are moms. We share the same "world."

Anonymous said...

I get the opposite. I'm the mom, but everyone thinks I'm the nanny. When the other SAHMs find out I'm the mom, and the same age as them (everyone takes me for 26; I'm 40) well, that's the end of that conversation...

So I guess Anonymous 10:44 cleared it up for me.

Anonymous said...

I am another nanny often assumed to be the mom. I have rarely been snubbed by a mom. When I say I'm the nanny, they usually say something like oh really, well, you are a terrific nanny!
I make play dates for my charges with the kids they want play dates with, whether they are cared for by a SAHM or a nanny. It is not about making friends for the adults, but fun and socialization for the children. I enjoy meeting people with different backgrounds and life experiences. If we share the same taste in books, or have a lively discussion about current issues, great. Frankly, I find some of the nannies from different cultures more interesting than some of the moms who's interests seem limited to TV shows and their own children.
The point is, I am not looking for friends, just a pleasant afternoon with the children, and the adults with them.

shel said...

i have been in cases where i have been snubbed once my 'identity' was found out. i have also been in cases (although much less than the snub cases) where moms have welcomed me openly and complimented me in ways that really made me feel good.

i think the issue with moms snubbing nannies may be due to moms not wanting to cross THAT line. and i think they believe there is THAT line because of the negative stigma that gets attached to nannies. other moms are just snobs that can't talk to "the help". perhaps others have some dirty laundry they don't want found out and aired, so they are a bit paranoid.

on the other hand, i recently made friends with a bunch of moms from my little charges gymnastics class. these ladies know i am the nanny and welcome me anyway. they are down to earth and witty as hell. they are supportive when i'm having a rough day and they acknowledge me when they see that i am doing well.

my charge and i were on a "coffee date" today when 2 grandmas chatted her up. they then told me that she looked just like me. i thanked them and said i took it as a compliment, but that i was not her mother. they laughed and continued to get into a convo with us. they also told me that she was very lucky to have me as her nanny.

it is a strange thing when that wall does go up. but i figure if that's the case, the person isn't worth the time anyway.

Anonymous said...

Another thought - I'm a WOHM and have a terrific nanny. I know most of the time our nanny prefers to have playdates with other nannies rather than with SAHMs, and I assume it's for the same reason that I usually talk to/socialize at work with people on my level and not with my bosses: the reason being that half of our conversation is making fun of our bosses. Sometimes it's more useful than that, like how did you handle this situation when it cam up with the boss, but other times it's just flat out making fun of them. I kind of assumed the nannies enjoy doing the same thing and wouldn't be comfortable doing so in front of a SAHM.

JerseyXJacqui said...

Haha I hope not, 8:53. Generally speaking, there's a difference between a shared boss, lets say in a retail or corporate workplace and a private employer who employs ONE nanny. I couldn't imagine sitting around with a bunch of nannies ragging on our charge's parents. Then again, my charge's parents treat me VERY well, look at me as an equal and respect me as a person. I guess not every nanny is that lucky.

JerseyXJacqui said...

But 8:53, on a side note (I forgot to add this before submitted my last comment), I DO get the gist of what you're saying and I agree...it's a different dynamic.

Wry Mom said...

8:53 yes, your nannies do tell us your business.

Lots and lots of your business, especially when they don't like you.

Anonymous said...

8:53 here -
I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing for people to bond over shared experiences like that. I had no idea what pull-ups were, and my nanny thought that was hilarious. I have no doubt that she shared that along with my other incompetencies as a mom (not that I don't try, just that I'm not aware of) with her friends and they all laugh at it. And I have some odd habits, I'm sure she shares them when they're all telling stories. No problems with it.

JerseyXJacqui said...

I just hope she shares a laugh with you as opposed to at your expense, 8:53...You seem like a nice, reasonable person, which could be indicative of how you are as an employer. I'd hate to think your nanny would be cruelly making fun of you. Assuming she likes you that is :-)

Like I said, I couldn't imagine laughing at my employers now no matter what they did. HOWEVER, when I worked in daycare and we'd have to deal with a nasty, rude parent and/or a parent who looked down at us, my coworkers and I would have our moments of "bonding" if it arose...so I guess the same goes for nannies having to deal with rude employers.

Anonymous said...

8:53 again -

We get along really well, and we laugh together at the funny things we each do. While I assume that I wouldn't be offended if I heard her talking about me to her friends, she may feel that a SAHM may not understand her tone or think she was being rude when just sharing a household joke, so I could understand her not wanting to take that chance.

Anonymous said...

If you consider the way nannies here talk about moms they do and do not know, I as a mom, would not want to get to involved in being friendly with a nanny. Best to keep a distance. And there is not that much in common. Income, education level and marital status are often different. We move in different circles and they do not often go together.

mpp said...

How enlightening, 8:53.
I can see that as a valid reason for there being boundaries between a Nanny and a Mom.
That possiblity never even crossed my mind. And you make it sound so perfectly normal and innocent!
Great post.

cali mom said...

Hmmm, very interesting topic. I guess I've experienced something like the direct opposite: that is, my son is very blond and I am very dark, and many of the nannies in my area are Hispanic, so I am frequently mistaken for his nanny and they simply start speaking Spanish to me and are surprised to hear that I am the mom, and the conversation usually ends.

There are a couple of nannies I talk with a lot when we run into each other, but with most of the nannies I encounter, quite frankly they just don't speak enough English to carry on a conversation in that language, and I don't feel inclined to carry on a whole conversation with them in Spanish, though I could if necessary. There are 3 Tibetan nannies who come to my mind that I've socialized a fair amount with, but their kids are not close enough in age to my son that organized playdates would make sense. And actually, I've only really made the effort to carry on such friendships with 3 other moms, (one of whom is my 2nd cousin), and I guess it's just because I don't like superficial social relationships period. I *hate* having to carry on idle, polite chit chat with someone I really don't like or feel much of a bond with, and as it happens, one of the moms at my son's school is like that (I can't stand her!) but my son REALLY likes her son and vice-versa so she invites us for playdates and I accept just to be polite and because the kids like each other. I hope that after her boy leaves the school for kindergarten on the fall that I won't have to bother anymore!

JerseyXJacqui said...

I've remained really good friends with some of the people (usually the mothers) that I babysat for when I was a little younger. In fact, often times (as horrible as this sounds, I'm sure someone will bash me for this), I had more of a relationship with them than I did with their children...
We were very different. I was working in daycare and one mother for example was an editor at the Star Ledger...Their household income was well into the 6 figures...I was still living at home making 7 dollars an hour...She had a masters degree and I didn't even finish community college..she was married and I was single as single could be, never married in my life. She was also 20 years older than me...But we did things together, chatted for hours before I even started sitting, called each other and just related and enjoyed each others company. And that's just one example of a friend I made in a parent I babysat for.
I understand that a lot of those tangible differences DO have an impact on who you are friends with...but basing a friendship soley on that seems shallow to me. Just because someone isn't as educated as you and doesn't make as much money as you, does not mean they are not on your level as a person.

Keep that in mind....

Anonymous said...

As a very friendly,unassuming, down-to-earth, easy-going nanny/housekeeper, I have experienced the "freeze" chick described not only from other moms, but from other nannies who work for friends of my boss, and even the handyman who does occasional work at my employer's home. The question that always seems to trigger the shift from "open and friendly" to "cool and guarded" is : "So, how many days a week do you work for family "X"?" When I tell them I work full time/five days a week I get kind of a confused expression, the "oh - really?" comment chick also mentioned, and that's pretty much where the conversation stops.
I think the fact that I work full time for an able-bodied SAHM whose kids are in school all day has somethng to do with it. I'm sure the whole arrangement does seem like a frivolous luxury, the necessity of employing a full time person difficult to understand, and that makes people uncomfortable. I can't really know what others are thinking or feeling, of course, but I don't think I'm mistaken about the confusion I see in their response to the question.
Where I live (small-ish city in the midwest), SAHMs with full time employees are not very common. Either it's the "luxury" aspect of it that people don't get, are suspicious of, or maybe jealous of...or they may think there's some family "problem" they really don't want to know/pry into which makes having a full time "helper" necessary. (??) I can only guess, but don't get the feeling the "freeze" has anything to do with me personally because until that question comes up...I'm treated in a friendly and open way.

mom said...

8:49

Small city in the midwest explains a lot. Originating form that region, frequently visiting, and keeping in close touch with family who still live there, I can tell yu that they probably find your employer "uppity." I get that from people there for having a gardener and cleaning service!

Anonymous said...

This happens to me too, and I'm the mom. But I work and am not a SAHM. I was able to arrange my schedule so that I could take a half-day off in the middle of the week and take my daughter to music class, park, etc. All the moms were really friendly and wanted to set up play dates...but once they realized that I worked, I never heard from them. I'm not offended though. SAHMs want to hang out with other SAHMs who would have more in common and the same flexibility during the week for playdates, etc.

Anonymous said...

I am a nanny and I tried to join the local chapter of a national playgroup in Milwaukee. First they said they would have to "vote me in" because I was a nanny and after I paid the membership fee and attended 2 activities with my little girls they "voted me out" because they said I lived in a different subdivision than the one I worked in! They said I should join the playgroup in the subdivision I lived in (20 minutes away from where I work!) I even had a hard time getting my membership fee back. Fortunately I found a lovely group of moms and nannies at a church and we have been there ever since. I didn't realize there was any prejudice against nannies until that happened to me. I am also a mom with 2 grown kids, but that didn't seem to matter.

mpp said...

Hard to imagine there are prejudices against the people that care for your children in your absence and it just isn't right. You'd think there would be a mutual respect between each other. How much bigger can a common bond be than one where there's children?
All socioeconomic lines should be invisible.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I am glad that you posted this. I'm online tonight for a similar reason. I have worked in childcare for 15+ years. I now work as a nanny in an affluent town in lower Westchester, NY. Because I'm black, I never get mistaken for the mom(!!) however, there is a huge difference in how the mom's relate to me. I am about the same age as many of them, college educated and very polite. It blows my mind, however, how I can see them in tha same place at the same time everyday and don't get a hello in return from many of them. How they will directly in front of me at a soccer game or school event--blocking my view, how they won't say thank you when you I hold the door! I'm not one to pull the race card and I have worked in very affluent ares in the past--but this place blows my mind! Back to the reason I'm online tonight: I do a lot of networking during my time off and have made a great connection with a publisher who believes I should go ahead and write a book. (I kicked myself when the Nanny Diaries was published---as I had been saying for years that I should just do it!) I'm taking a different approach, however. An excerpt from my ad is below:

This is for you if: You and your other nanny friends sit around and swap horror stories! OR upon the release of that popular nanny book, you thought "I could have written that!"
After 15+ years in the childcare field, I thought I'd seen and heard it all! After the day I had today, I know that I haven't!! My best friend and I have always thought of writing a book of our experiences and kicked ourselves when the popular nanny book was published! Well, after some debate and an amazing connection with a publisher, we've decided to pursue it! Our book will be a bit different, however. We will compile stories from people like you--giving you a chance to speak out, vent, tell your story!! Child care is hard work and is, very often, a thankless job. We want to hear it all! The good, the bad and the ugly! All of it--because we know it can be good, bad and ugly! Please keep in mind, we are not interested in the names/identity of the children, families, or anyone else involved! We are not looking to blow the whistle (or be sued!!!) Just consider it our homage to you--to us!!!
Here's how we will proceed: If you want to tell your story, send it anonymously to the email address below and sign it with fake name (Susie, Liza) or a funny alias--such as "Pulling My Hair Out" or "P.O.W"
This is going to be a great project and we appreciate your input and feedback. Thanks for your support, tell your friends and keep an eye out for our website!

youhaveastory@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

excuse the typos!! 12 hour day!!

youhaveastory@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I must admit, I'm becoming obsessed with unravelling the psychology behind the "ambivalent mom-boss", and what motivates a nanny (or anyone) to continue working for one of those...you know the type: the boss who loves her freedom from the daily hard work and responsibiility of parenting and running a household, but who also is threatened by, and resents, your efficiency, competence, and bond with her children.
The stories other nannies have shared on this site (mostly the negative ones, to be honest), about all kinds of issues, has helped me a great deal to not feel quite so alone. Thanks y'all!

mom said...

When I had my second son (the first was in kindergarten) I joined a newly forming playgroup consisitng of:
My best friend from jr. high/high school, two old work buddies of hers, (they started the group), myself, my sister in law, and two other moms the were acquaintances of my friends work buddies. We just met at different parks each week with the kiddos (the babies were all between 3 and 6 months old when we started, so it was really more of a "we need a social outlet" group at first.) So, when the kids were a little over a year old, one of the moms all of a sudden at one gathering said, "I vote we close our group to new members. Who seconds that?"
I was completely aghast. I had been so lonely as a new mom for the first time with my older son, when we lived in a city far from where my lifelong friends lived...so I knew all too well what it was like to be home alone all day long with an infant and craving adult interaction. I said that I had no intention of telling any lonely new mom that she couldn't come to the park with us. I mean, who cares? What's one more mom, or two, or four? Everybody looked fairly uncomforetable for a minute, but then we all decided not to make our group "exclusive." That lady whgo made the suggestion got mad and quit the group. (Oh well. She was extremely uptight anyway.)

But my point is, you can all do a better job and have a better time as moms (or nannies) if you work together, share ideas about how to deal with various "kid situations"...and you might just make some good friends. And by being a little bit more flexible about who you allow into your world, you might just be a godsend to some lonely mom or nanny, new to her situation and eager to find a real friend.

Anonymous said...

I have never experienced this. I have been a nanny for nearly a year and a half and when telling people I am a nanny, I usually get an excited reaction. I have had several moms telling me that they would have loved a job like that when they were my age. I've had a couple ask if it was just during the summer or all year round because they themselves, or someone they knew were looking for a nanny. I even had one lady I had never talked to before overhear me saying I was a nanny, and ask me if I'd want to be her kids nanny. No one has ever given me a "taken aback" response.

egan said...

To the nanny who wrote this,
In my times as a nanny employer, I have met 2 dozen nannies that could sit down and write an article. A total of 24 nannies in a period of 11 years. This includes the 4 nannies I have employed. I think the nanny market is flooded with people who have no business calling themselves nannies let alone bilking families out of 6,7 and 8 hundred dollars a week. The flooding of the nanny market with these loathsome creatures makes it overwhelming for most of us to sift through the felons, illegals, abusers, crack heads that are working as nannies to find the few good eggs.

When I have had the chance to meet a good nanny, I have always embraced her and treated her as kindly as I would anyone. I had asked a nanny at the end of the school year if she could bring my child home for me on the three short days because my nanny was otherwise engaged with another child across town. She said she would and did. I sent her a thank you gift.

As a mother who loves her children and her nanny, I am aware that good nannies exist. I am also aware that a good nanny such as yourself is a good friend to have in your corner. The real professional nannies have great ideas, make great decisions and keep great watch over their children. I have always felt lucky to have my children have playdates with some of these great nannies.

In all reality, as great as some of my mom friends are with their children and others, in my experience and likely for a variety of reasons, my children always had so much fun with their friend's good nannies.

And my own great nanny? There are laughs she can get from my child that I have never gotten. She can say "no" and end a discussion that I know would have ended with a temper tantrum or crying fit with me.

I salute the great professional nannies out there. Every working mother should be as kind to you as possible. It can only benefit their children. It just makes sense.

Anonymous said...

9:51 AM
Thank you for your post.
A Nanny

Anonymous said...

Egan,
I am trying to figure out why I dislike you. I think it's because you just seem unpleasant all around. There is a distinct air of superiority to your posts that turns me off. I guess I feel they are just sweeping generalizations and not productive at all. It seems as if you feel the four nannies that you have had and keep referring to are the only good ones out there. Perhaps if you actually took the time to get to know other nannies you would change your opinion, instead of just judging them hastily on the basis of appearances.
Your comment about how many nannies you have met that can write an article (the number being small in comparisen to this insanely large number of nannies you have met) is insulting. I have met many, many people in the childcare profession and most of them are perfectly capable of writing an article. Perhaps it is because you are basing your assessment on the very small bubble in which you live.
Sorry, but you sound like a really negative person who is bringing negative energy to this blog.

egan said...

I am a product of my neighborhood where I am the vast minority, one of only a few who hires educated, American nannies.

This is a blog and I come to the blog sharing an opinion that is the product of my own experience.

Truly, this shouldn't astound you.

Anonymous said...

Egan,
You far from astound me. But you do sound extremely unpleasant and judgemental.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone being so hard on Egan? I think her 9:51 post is really good.
Sure there are some things said that make her seem slightly megalomaniacal, but over all, it's honest.
Aside from some of the comments that either stereotype or generalize, I have seen many posters on this board making the very same arguments.
Don't let her "air of superiority" ruin the post for you.
Blessings!

different anon said...

Clearly implying that most nannies are not literate enough to write an article is insulting. It would be like saying, "Most working mothers have no idea how to raise their children." It is an unfair, rude statement.

Not cool, Egan.

Boston Proper said...

I have to agree with Egan. Her perceptions are colored by where she lives. I have lived in Park Slope, so I know! I know all about what passes for a nanny there. And anyone from Park Slope would not dare say any different. These women are the dregs of society, they would be unhirable in any other capacity. The are unmotivated, lazy, inarticulate, prone to random napping and absolutely obstinate. They have no desire to learn about child development. They are ignorant. They are unintelligent. They are most definitely the largest pool of uneducated, employed people you will ever find outside of your illegal landscaping crew and often times, they don't smell much better. They are filled with hate and rage for their employers. They have the mentality of a band of low level, lazily organized thugs. They are menacing, unkind and rarely crack a smile.

I now love in the Boston suburb of Brookline. The average nanny is energetic, smart, has a smile on her face and is equally at easy playing a game of go fish with two three year olds as she is holding a conversation with a big law mom on economics.

Before I moved to Brookline, I lived in Walnut Creek, California; a suburb of San Fransisco. The average nanny there is athletic, creative, intelligent, spirited and uber healthy.

But let's test the waters. Calling all Park Slope nannies, we want you to submit your writing.

Let's go.

JerseyXJacqui said...

There are huge differences in nannies regarding where you live. I am amazed by some of the bad sightings I see on this sight...I have never witnessed a bad nanny. And I think it has to do with where I live...I think you're bound to find the FEW bad nannies in wealthier, urban areas. At least that's the conclusion I have come to after reading this blog for a few months now. I could be wrong and I am sure some of you are going to disagree wholeheartedly, but that's just the impression I get.

With that said, I do agree Egan sounds a bit abrasive, but for the most part, I like her 9:51 post. She's doing what everyone else on this blog does-offering her perspective based on her experiences...and she made it very clear she was doing that. She didn't claim she was an expert, just that these are the things she's experienced. It's always interesting to hear other peoples' encounters with nannies. So thank you Egan.

mpp said...

I have no problem overlooking the haughtiness of 9:51's post to get underneath what seems to be a really thought provoking opinion.
She is not saying anything we haven't said.

I don't always agree with every word of someone's post, i.e. saying most Nannies were not literate enough to write an article, but the overall perception is what matters.
We don't know everything or everyone Egan has been exposed to, but to say she is a "product of her neighborhood" is telling ....

I'm with Boston Proper, I would love to hear from some Park Slope Nannies. They have been a popular subject of discussion many times here. I'd also like to take it a step further and hear what some Park Slope Parents have to say.

Now that would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Mpp,
First, you are one of the most delightful posters on this board. Your posts and the way you talk about your son really make me wish I knew you.

Second, and sadly, a Park Slope Nanny would probably say,
"F-ck you, damn b-tches. Mind your business"

UmassSlytherin said...

True: nannies are different from state to state. In my state, they tend to be great, from what I have seen. I am a former nanny and am friends with a professinal nanny and know others as well. They are all educated, responsible and well-spoken and very fun to be around. They are excellent drivers.

I have read Egan's posts and some of her/his comments have sounded a bit harsh: "most nannies" do not deserve great presents and bonuses seems a little hurtful to me. I suppose what she meant is that most of the nannies she has met in her area do not deserve these things, and I guess I just have to say I feel bad that the area in which she lives has left her with such a sour impression of the profession. We just have to remember that many women claiming to be "nannies" are not nannies: nannies are educated and CAN read and write well. We confuse the term many times with a babysitter. On the same token, babysitters can be wonderful, and because someone is a sitter doesn't mean they are stupid or not educated. We have an awesome babysitter who I trust fully with my child.

Again, I have never been to the Park Slope area, so I don't see these nannies. But if I did, it still wouldn't change the fact that you can't judge an entire profession based on one area of the country. Egan, I think people get offended when someone judges all nannies, which they may have felt you were doing. Many of us on this board are nannies or former nannies, and we do appreciate good and bad sitings since we care about kids, but feelings do run deep on these issues, and sensitivity is appreciated.

And please try not to comment about your favorite hawt B-list celebs, if you were thinking of doing so. It is very irrelivant to the threads. Some people do that sometimes and it is very juvenile.

:)

And welcome to the gang! :)

Anonymous said...

What does this mean "And please try not to comment about your favorite hawt B-list celebs, if you were thinking of doing so"

Is that English?
Where in her post did she do that?

The woman in park slope call themselves nannies. Their employers call them nannies. The children come to me asking, "have you seen my nanny". So perhaps, you better take it up with the Park Slope Chamber of Commerce.

You know when I was about ten, I started swilling kahlua from the liquor cabinet. I filled the bottle back up with diluted coke. I started drinking vodka at 11. I started filling that bottle back up with water.

But water isn't vodka, even if it is in a vodka bottle. It corrupts and weakens the vodka. And these ninnies in Park Slope calling themselves nannies are doing the same to the nanny reputation.

It isn't Egan.

It's the people who hire trash and slap a nanny title on it.

UmassSlytherin said...

2:51,

I did not suggest that Egan herself is responsible for the women and employers who use the term "nanny" when they should not.

You misunderstood me.

And as for the B-list celeb comment...it was a joke. I am sorry you did not like it. I realize Egan did not comment about her favorite hawt B-list celeb. I myself did that in another thread and got in trouble for it. I was merely poking fun at myself. I tend to do that sometimes.

Yes. That is English.

Furthermore, I am sorry you had an alcohol problem. I wish you luck and good karma.

:(

Anonymous said...

I didn't say I had a problem, but UmassSlytherin, you're alright.

mom said...

You guys are funny.

I got your b-list joke Umass!

And in defense of Egan...I too have said that my perception of nannies is probably colored by the abundance of terrible ones I happen to see where I live. So rarely have I had the pleasure of witnessing the energetic, bubbly ones I read about here sometimes!

Anonymous said...

10:11 I take offense at your comment of "I as a mom, would not want to get too involved in being friendly with a nanny. Best to keep a distance. And there is not that much in common. Income, education level, and marital status are often different. We move in different circles and they do not often go together."

Good gosh, woman!! Maybe the nannies YOU have been around (ones that shouldn't even be nannies) have prejudiced you or something!!

I have been a nanny off and on since graduating from college and yes, for my first three nanny jobs my income level, social status, and marital status were different. But I was college educated and living debt-free, socking money away to go work summers as a volunteer at summer camps in Eastern Europe and was quite happy about it. Though the first and third jobs weren't the greatest, I LOVED my second job where I worked for a year and a half...and the little girls were even my flower girls when I did get married.

My last two jobs, well, no one can say that I am no longer any different than most moms out there...I have a college degree, am married, will most likely have a child within the year, and am most certainly in their social strata...as my husband has a wonderful job and the reason I am working now is so that we can be debt-free within the year (and therefore even in a better position than most of my current and previous employers).

As far as the prejudice goes, I'm seeing it less now that I'm married, we live comfortably, and plan on starting a family. I also have my own part-time business on the side to go along with the part-time nanny job...so that may also have something to do with it. I got snubbed more actually with the nouveau riche at my last nanny position than with the country club crowd I'm around now.

All that to say that most nannies are not the sub-standard humans that some would have people believe, and that yes, moms can be rather condescending to people they don't consider their "equals"...even if they came from a less priviledged background than their nanny did!!

Anonymous said...

But that is the truth. We don't consider you equals. We don' have any desire to invite you to coffee. The more domestic work you do (ie scrubbing toilets) the less likely I'm going to want to even be introduced to you. You want some soap story about how all people are equal or do you want the truth? We live in a class based society. Nannies are considered lower class, especially because there are so many uneducated immigrants working as a nanny. When most people hear the word nanny, they don't picture Kim from Oklahoma with a BA in early education. They picture Nikisha from Jamaica with three teeth on the top row who doesn't realize there is a T in bathroom. And how could I ever say, "I'm having lunch with a nanny" if anyone could possibly picture Nikisha?

Sorry, Kim.

Anonymous said...

6:18 So you don't associate with people who clean toilets? You are some kinda snob then, cause the majority of the world is filled with people who clean their own toilets. To differentiate then between those that clean their own and those that do that as an honest job for others is just snobbery at its worst.

FTR, I only cleaned toilets for one of my employers, but to even make a big deal about whether a nanny does domestic work or not is stupid!!

Here's the deal, folks...don't judge a person on whether or not they are a nanny, a SAHM, or a WOHM...get to know them as a person. If they are truly worthwhile and decent people then you won't have to be "embarrassed" to say that you are having lunch with a nanny (or any other "sort" of person). You can just say "I met an awesome person named ____ and we are meeting for lunch" and leave it at that!! No need to bring class, color, job description, or nationality into it!!

mom said...

Gosh,
I've had lunch with my nanny friend...and if somebody I told about it wanted to picture Nikisha with her three teeth looking for the "bahroom," I would have thought that to be their own pretentious minded misfortune.

But you know what? Rich peple who feel secure about themselves as people rarely (from my experience anyway) need to look down on anybody with less money for the purpose of making themselves feel better about themselves. Truly gracious people (rich or poor) seem to look beoynd such a silly measures of "worth," because they realize that the true value of a person cannot be found in a bank book.

I have been poor. I have been rich. But I have always been the same person...even though how people have perceived me has sometimes been based on what was in my bank book. People who discounted me early on, as we were working our way up (gee, what a novel concept...starting with little and working to EARN more)...well I just figure that is their misfortune. 'Cause now that they may deem me "worthy" to be among their wonderful selves...I have already seen what shallow people they are and have NO interest in THEM. Awwww....too bad.

middle of the road said...

Mom,
Look.
I know people.
You know people.
The toilet cleaner at 6:22 knows people.

If you cannot speak the truth on a blog, then when can you?

The world is far to far PC.

Most of my liberal friends live in mcmansions and drive SUVs. My Jewish friends drive Mercedes. My friend who runs around screaming about global warming only flies privately and cannot stand to catch a ride with someone else. She has to drive her own car, so she can be in control. My liberal friends are eating quaduple packaged crap that is filling up the dumpsters and their children eat on paper plates and drink out of sytrofoam cups. My conservative republican friend wanted Mike Huckabee for his stance on abortion, (but she's had three of them).

No matter what you and I can say about people who are very wealthy and are kind to domestic workers, there is no place in this country where some rich twat or some rich prick is sitting down and having dinner with his toilet scrubbing housekeeper. That's just a fact.

UmassSlytherin said...

If I were rich, and the toilet cleaner was cool, or like, really hot, I would hang out with him.

I would. Really.

Anonymous said...

In my nannying experience, I think a lot of moms of young children (I'm thinking 1-4 range) want to meet and connect with other moms of kids the same age (the moms I have met have been mainly "first-time" moms of said child and still building mom-friendships) so maybe it seems like a waste of time to bother?

mom said...

Middle of the road,
It sounds like you need new friends! (hehehe)

However, although I found my long term "toilet scrubbing maid" to be a lovely, honorable, dignified person who I would happily dine with any time, I still don't feel like a "rich twat." Maybe I'm just not trying hard enough?

mpp said...

Wow. I missed some really great posts here!

First, to 12:59:
That's one of the nicest compliments I've ever received, thank you so much!

Umass
You always tickle my funny
bone. Love ya!

6:32
Excellent post.

Unless you were born rich, you have to start somewhere.
Some people forget, the same people you see going up, may be the same people you see when you fall back down.
Real people that have compassion know this, and treat everyone equally.

Middle of the Road
I found your post to be very profound. You're an incredible thinker and writer.
But in regards to your last paragraph, I would like to believe that there are some people out there that wouldn't be so unkind.

Anonymous said...

I think, mom, you are an exception to the norm for mombosses. People who have been raised with little,or who lost what they did have, then had to work really hard to acheive/re-gain a higher standard of living have the ability to relate to "working-class" individuals (the people they hire to make life easier for them), as individual people.

The really wealthy (old-rich) are born into money, then socialzed toward snobbery. People employed by the family will always be cosidered "the help" and "less-than", and never treated as equals - treated well, maybe, but never as equals.

The women who marry "up" have to constantly prove their worthiness (if only to themselves, based on insecurity about really deserving the standard of living they married into). Drawing class-lines is a way to claim and reinforce their new status. They have a tendency to accept or treat people they hire as equals momentarily, or situationally (when no one's looking!), then pull out the class-card again to reinforce their own superiority. This is the "ambivalent" momboss I've referred to in previous posts: she's not really comfortable with the luxury of being able to afford "hired" help, yet it is a symbol and a means for her to assume her rightful place in a higher standard/society that she really wants to fit into because the perks are so great.

I know the above observations(my own)are sweeping generalizations in themselves, and I surely do hope there are exceptions. I just haven't met any yet. In my next position, I hope to find a momboss just like you!

UmassSlytherin said...

thank you, mpp: right back at you.

I really don't see why a rich person would not want to hang out with a poor person: I agree with what Mom and mpp said.

mom said...

11:04

Excellent observations. And you hit many nails on the head.

My parents made their own way, struggling students apying their own way through college to wealth.
MY husband and I had it a little better in that we were put through school by our parents, so were able to "step into" our adult lives well educated and debt free... but earned everything we have after that. Many of my extended family have not attended college at all and work in modest jobs and are some of the best people I could hope to know. Maybe while the "rich from birth" are busy feeling lucky for their "elevated station" in life...they are actually the ones missing out...on a lot of important things.

Both of those groups..."mine" and the "old money" make a lot of sense in terms of how they think.

What I have never really understood is for the other group you mention...the "common" women who marry rich, and seem to suddenly forget where they came from. Instead of being grateful for the opportunity to not have to struggle financially and having a "sisterly" desire to care for other women in their "former circumstance," it's like they have a stick inserted into their rectums as part of the wedding ceremony and emerge as pretentious, snobby, uber bitches. What is the most ironic about that is that, while they are playing "rich socialite," they are usually exhibiting their complete lack of class at every turn. As my husband says (ususally while shaking his head after enduring an evening with one of these plastic souled women), "There is a certain sort of 'grace' that money can NEVER buy."

Wry Mom said...

I don't have lunch with my husband's assistant.

I have never been to the theater with my gardener.

I have not invited the plumber to join my book club or the pool man for a round of golf.

The handyman never joins me for tea and the housekeeper only cleans my home, she's not invited to the party.

So.
No.

I won't be spending much time with your nanny either.

Anonymous said...

mom, 11:04 here..."plastic souled" women is an apt description. And yet, I do see moments of depth, when momboss seems to be feeling vulnerable, or alone, in here ivory tower...as if she remembers who she use to be before she sold her soul for the price of her hubby's trust fund, and realizes what she's lost. Briefly, ever so briefly, we'll have a moment of real connection (joy or concern) over something one of her children did, or just a woman-to-woman thing. I do appreciate those moments, even though I know it means she's gonna "turn-on-a-dime" in the very next moment, withdrawing back into her "superior" persona, and find some way to put me down in order to prove it. I feel sorry for her, I really do. I take it only because my position is coming to it's natural end. I won't have to put up with this treatment much longer, but she'll have to continue living with herself her whole life.

Anonymous said...

wry mom:
My guess is, your husband's assistant, your gardner, your plumber, your housekeeper, or anyone's nanny would appreciate being in your company any longer than absolutely necessary either. Feel better?

Anonymous said...

previous poster, here...I meant to say "wouldn't" appreciate being in your company any longer than necessary.
wry mom: who cares about your lunches, evenings at the theater, book clubs, or parties? Do you even realize what a snob you sound like?

rye mom said...

I love Wry Mom's posts.

Anonymous said...

pppphttttttt!

Anonymous said...

I am a longtime Nanny.I am also a mother,and usually fall in love with my charges and treat them as if they were my own.

While i will admitt that there are some unworthy Nannies,most are loving and caring.However if one goes looking for negativity they will always find it;some of the parents posting on Nanny sightings may seek out such.

I will say that after talking to multiple Nannies over the years and hearing of their stories,i have realized that the quality of the relationship between the parents and their Nanny,influenced the quality of the relationship between the Nanny and her charges.However this did not mean that the children were not well cared for,but the Nanny was always unhappy and stressed.

I also do agree that as a child grows,the way in which they respond to their Nanny(i.e)affection,excitement when he or she arrives,crying when the Nanny leaves,or talking about the Nanny and trying to include him or her in family events,is a good indicator of the quality of care.

The above mentioned affections can at times be overwhelming to parents who can feel insecure or jealous.

Loving Nanny.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I live in London and have experienced the "mom freeze" on several occasions. But I am Australian working with American children who go to an International school. I actually find it varies between each nationality. Australian and American mums tend to talk to me, Europeans tend to put me in the staff category and then it's a 50/50 for English parents.

I generally find that because I'm quite young and not too far apart in age from the children I nanny I get a response of "I didn't know that a + b had an older sister" so occasionally nannies don't speak to me until they know that I'm a nanny as well.