Should Nanny Follow Her "Woman's Instinct"?

Received Friday, October 17, 2008. - Perspective & Opinion
I started working for my new family about three months ago. They have one son, 3. The pay is really great and things had been going well up until now.The mom goes away on business-type trips for 2-3 days at a time about once a month. The dad usually works about 10-12 hours a day, out of the home.
Once in awhile I have to work very late, which is no big deal. MB is out of town right now until Saturday and I had to work late again last night. After putting my charge to bed, I fell asleep on the couch in the den (which they said was ok). Around midnight I woke up with the dad hovering over me. I thought at first he was just trying to wake me up to go home, but it was something more than that and I got this really creepy feeling that I can't explain - like he had been watching me sleep. Now I feel all weird and am worried about going back. Am I over-reacting? Should I follow my woman's instinct, or let this go?


Anonymous said...

Always follow your instinct!

Swiss Nanny said...

Has there been any other instances where you felt "creeped out?" I would go with my instincts, and try very hard not to fall asleep!

A nanny who cares said...

OP, How did he react when he saw that you had woken up?

He might have just gotten in the room and was trying to decided whether to wake you or not when you woke up.

Have there been any other incidents like this one?

If it were me, I would stay, since you seem to really like your job. But, if anything happens like that again, I believe it would be time to sit down and have a talk with your boss.

Meg said...

I just began a nanny position where the dad is home all day too. I have to admit that I'm a little uncomfortable, just because of stories like this. It's only my second day and he seems really nice, so I know I'm worrying over nothing.

Anyway, I agree with the other posters. If he has done anything "creepy" before, I'd definitely be worried. If this is the first thing he's done, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt. It's possible he had just walked in the room and wasn't sure whether to walk you, or HOW to wake you. You may be over-reacting if you're like me and already on the lookout for weird behavior.

But, if you really feel that something is wrong, then it probably is, and I would go with it.

nannyinmanhattan said...

Set him up to catch him in the act.
Pretend you're sleeping the next time you stay overnight and see what he does...
Don't forget to keep mace under your pillow.
(just in case...hee hee)

nannyinmanhattan said...

Oh! a hidden camera wouldn't be a bad idea in case you did indeed fall asleep. If you have a digital camera, you could use that if you don't have the real thing handy.
Just another thought.
Hope all goes well!
Keep us posted!

double standard said...


the hidden camera rec seems like a bit of a double standard, unless I'm missing part of the scenario. everyone on here gets up at arms whenever undisclosed nanny cams are mentioned, despite the fact that they are legal. yet you think covertly video taping someone in THEIR home is okay (even though that is definitely illegal!)?

texas said...

i think its ok to let it go if it was the first time. If it happens repeatedly or it ever escalates than definently go with your instinct

paperbagprincess said...

OP, I feel so badly for you. Honestly, I feel you should pack up and go. It totally sucks, but guts are rarely wrong about these things. If your gut is correct, than you can either call it a day now, or flash forward a few months of escalating creepiness and find yourself quitting then...

*sigh* Don't you just hate it when a creep-tastic individual has the power to completely ruin your work arrangement?? (:

does this moniker make my butt look big said...

yeah, bad advice with the whole video camera idea. You could face huge legal recourse and that is not the path you want this to take.

Besides I don't go for all the games and drama. Just approach him

I would simply say this to dad next time you have a chance while at work.
I am bringing this up because I really enjoy my job and don't want anything weird to cause conflict for us".
"The other night when I dozed off and woke up to find you standing over me it really startled me and made me uneasy. If you need to wake me just call my name out as you walk in the room and I am sure that will do the trick."
Honest, to the point and very un-accusing.

After about two months working for a wonderful family I had to approach dad because I would catch him staring at me for long periods of time and it too made me uncomfortable.The final straw was at a family pic-nic they had and I was invited. I noticed dad snap a few pics of me while I was sitting by a tree daydreaming. Instead of jumping to conclusions I simply told him the stares & pics made me uneasy and that the reason I was telling him was because I loved my job but was considering quitting as I was feeling so uneasy about the whole thing.
He told me I reminded him of his sister who had passed away when they were kids. He showed me her picture and I did indeed look a lot like her. We could have easily been sisters.He completely understood and that was that.He was very careful from there on but I still felt him staring every once in a while.He obviously told his wife because she came and talked to me the next day to make sure I was cool with everything, which of course I was.She told me that his entire family noticed how much we looked a like at the pic-nic.

Don't lose a job you love over the unknown. Talk to dad. I was sure glad I did. Some people deal very well with a straight forward conversation about things.Don't accuse and try to use the word "I" more than "you".

Of course if your instincts are screaming "get out" then get out, but from your post it really did not sound that way.
Being alone with a man who is simply an aquaintance..boss or anything other than relative or really close friend... late at night,in his home is surely to keep any women on the lookout for strange behavior that might put her in danger.
Best of luck & pls let us know what you end up doing.

kc said...

I agree with the above posters. Has he done anything creepy in the past? My first thought was also that he may have been deciding whether or not to wake you up. I wouldn't let one weird situation ruin your job, but if anything remotely creepy coming from the dad happens again, I would leave.

Theresa said...

I agree with most of the other posters that he may have been trying to decide either whether or not to wake you up or HOW to wake you up. Call you name and startle you? Or touch your arm and risk having you creeped out? If this is the first creepy episode, talk to him, let him know how it made you feel.

Phoenix said...

He may have been trying to decide to wake you up or not. There have been times that i was told to wake someone up that I didn't know too well. and I just found myself staring at them while they slept because I didn't know exactly what to do. i didn't know how they would react to me waking them up. I was staring almost willing them with my mind to get up.....

Unless there is another incident I would rule this as being him not knowing what to do.

SanDiegoNanny said...

I am a strong believer in following your intuition, it is a defense mechanism that I believe we are born with to use to protect ourselves.
For now, I would take a "wait and see" approach. Keep this in mind, try not to fall asleep from now on on the job (if it is just you and him) and watch his behavior toward you a little closer from now on. In other words, don't leave the job yet, however keep your guard up for now and keep the possibility always open.

Yes, please keep us posted if possible.

paperbagprincess said...

The other posts are making me think twice...maybe I was too hasty with my 'quit' advice. I think it is about the vibe. OP, if you are getting a sex-creepy vibe from this guy, then leave. But if it is an undefinable sense of easiness then maybe it is worth talking to him about. Because I suppose, who knows what it could be? Moniker, I never would have thought that could be true if I hadn't heard that story. It's touching! Weird for you, for touching.

paperbagprincess said...

Last line, I meant 'Weird for you, BUT touching.' ha ha, I didn't mean to imply Moniker was a weird toucher.

does this moniker make my butt look big said...

well PBP, I have been known to be a weird toucher,so,its all good! tee-hee!

Yeah,it was a bit strange but I was so glad I took my husbands advice and just talked to him about it.I was with them for 2 years after that happened and it was a great job .We all still keep in touch!

no mace near kids said...


It would be too easy for a child to get into it (they are more clever than they seem) and keeping it under your pillow (near your own face) just screams danger.

As for the rest, I would agree with those who said talk to the parents. If you are not comfortable enough for this discussion AND you are uncomfortable with the situation, that is a sign it's time to consider moving on. No one should ever remain in a situation where they feel unsafe.

Good luck!

opinionatedmom said...

Oprah always says to trust your gut! Go with Oprah girl!

opinionatedmom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SanDiegoNanny said...

I just wanted to add something. I re-read your post and it said your bosses had said it was okay for you to fall asleep in the den. If that is the case, you would think the father would just let you stay in there and sleep without disturbing you. I mean why would he wake you if you knew it was okay to fall alseep there? Plus, the fact that he is a man, a MARRIED one at that, he should be extra-cautious of what he is doing since whatever contact he makes with you can be taken both ways.
If you do talk to them, the wife may get mad at you, maybe a bit defensive of her hubby and would probably not feel comfortable with you alone in the house when she is out of town. The husband will of course deny anything, and the whole tone of things will be different from now on.
Be careful how you approach things. :)

op here said...

I really appreciate everyone's help, you gave some great advice, but I didn't get a chance to really do anything because I went into work yesterday and he hardly said a word. He's usually more talkative. It seemed as though he was trying to avoid me. Why would he be avoiding me? I was so relieved when he left because it was so awkward. And no, he's never done anything that made me feel like this, that's why I thought I might be over-reacting, but now I'm not so sure I was.
I'm not supposed to be back until monday, but his wife will be there and I'm so glad because I'd rather deal with her. I don't want to lose my job but I have no idea what I'm going to do the next time she goes out of town because I don't think I want to be left with him again.

mom said...

Maybe he feels as awkward about this as you do and so he was on edge at work the next day. I owuld probably be that way myself if I knew there was some lingering misunderstanding, but usure of how to handle it. And maybe you were also sending off some unintended weird vibes that you didn't realize too.

Since he's been professional before, i would just keep my eyes open for other signs, and unless anything else weird happens, let it go.

Sounds like you have a good job that you like. Don't ruin it or make it awkward until you have a reason to.

And don't follow Oprah advice. She's turned into a loon.

mayahsmommy said...

I guess I'm in the minority here. Yes, I would leave. I've learned the hard way in life to trust my instincts. I don't trust this man. And neither do you.

nannyinmanhattan said...

I don't trust him either. I think she should find a way to catch him in the act.
She doesn't have to accuse him with her evidence or anything if no detrimental harm was inflicted, but at least she would know for sure what he was up to and would be able to act accordingly.
Talk to him or mom. Whatever seems best to do.

I love Jason Castro said...

I would say that you just don't fall asleep there again, even if that means staying up later then you wanted. if you do fall asleep, be careful...but don't use the mace. or a video camera. both were bad advice.

boo said...

Don't undermine your own instinct. Your gut feelings are there for a reason, to protect you.

There's a book called The Gift of Fear that talks about this. It's an interesting read.