Mom's Detached Behavior Has Nanny Furious

Received Friday, May 15, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I have wanted to submit this since it happend. But I dont want my boss to get more mad because I talked about in public. I dont have a lot of friends where I nanny and those I do have are not nannies and don't get it.

This is my problem. I work for a family with 2 super kids. I do everything for them and it does not bother me at all. I get them up in the morning. I clean the bottles, feed them. Diapers are usually wet. No laundry gets done on the weekend. The weekends the kids do nothing but sit in front of Nickelodeon while mom is on the computer and dad is out golfing.

Of the two parents, Dad is much better. He will sometimes take the kids out but the Mom is just a super lazy mom. If a child bumps his head, she doesn't even respond to the crying if I am in the room. (I dont think she ever does but I cant say what she does or doesnt do when I am not home). I will wait, give her a few seconds to respond and go and comfort the child. The mom never looks at the drawings the children bring home from preschool. If she gets her hands on them, she puts them in the garbage. She never reads teachers notes. She never knows if a party or school event is coming up.

Recently there was a food drive and the kids were so excited about it. We talked about how wonderful it was to help other children and picked out some things from the family's huge pantry. Three cans each. They were so proud going to school. The mother knows so little and cares so little that everything gets by her. She does drop the kids off at preschool though. Last week on the food drive day, she came home after dropping the kids off and had two cans of green beans and a can of soup and said to me, "I dont know what Harry thinks he is doing, he can have lunch when he gets home" and she sets the cans on the counter real hard like she just made some executive decision. I said, "Uh, it's for the food drive" and she just looked at me like I WAS THE IDIOT and walked off. Part of my job is to run child related errands, so I did gun it over to the school and get the cans of food back to Harry. You never saw such a huge smile on the kid's face. I told the teacher somehow these came out of his backpack in the car. And Harry was standing right there looking at me. But he knew, even before I spoke, he knew why I was there. I don't know how the Mom found the sons cans but not the daughters. Harry was probably talking excitedly about it while she tuned him out.

Anyway, in short, by this one story (and I have no less than 300 more), I work for a terrible mother. I try not to judge and just do the best that I can for her. On Friday the kids came home with projects they made for her for Mother's day. They were cute. And that was that. Or so I thought. I had been getting attitude from the mother all week. Finally, I say to her, "I'm sorry, is something wrong, something feels off" and she says to me, "I really expected that you would have helped the children do something nice for me for mother's day. Emily used too". I explained to her that I had not thought of it and that the children were proud of their preschool projects and she rolls her eyes at me and walks out of the room.

(*Harry is not the child's real name. *Emily is not the real name of their last nanny, but that is who she was talking about.)

I was shocked that she could be so bitchy to me about not doing something for her for Mother's day. I was SPEECHLESS. The father was his same self. But is she missing a piece of her frontal lobe? If I made a Mother's day card for her, what would it say? If I bought one at the store for her from one of the children, I would need a lot of white out because there is a lot of care, attention and nurturing she is not providing.

Do I just let this go and go on with things? Yes, I could have helped them make her something, but WHY SHOULD I? If she brings this up again, I swear, despite how much I love those kiddos, I am going to tell her to her face what a cold, emotionless, waste of space she is. Or maybe I should tell her, maybe if you start TODAY behaving like a mother, I'll help the children make you something next year and then point her in the direction of parenting and Borders.

I am furious. But mostly, I am furious because she has the audacity to be furious with me! Has any nanny ever experienced anything like this????


nyc mom said...

Sorry for your situation. You sound like a really wonderful nanny! I am a mom and know I have plenty of guilt during times when I am being less attentive to my kids than I know I should. I try not to let it happen, but I know it does from time to time. I am so grateful that my nanny is there to help pick up the slack when things get crazy. She is such a wonderful, positive, stable influence in their lives right now as we are going through lots of changes.

The one possibly constructive comment I have is that it is common for full time nannies to help their charges make a Mother's Day and Father's Day card or gift for the parents. I have had nannies, au pairs, and sitters at different times over the past 9 years and all my full time caregivers have done this. I would not have been offended had they not done it, but just to let you know it seems to be the norm. In fact, it did not even occur to me until seeing this discussed on ISYN last year, that some nannies were upset when the mom did not have their charges make them a Mother's Day card! That was quite informative for me actually. Even though we decided not to do this for our current nanny as she has 3 kids of her own and it would have felt weird for us, I did make absolutely sure I am recognizing (and having kids recognize) her at birthday and Christmas with something homemade in addition to monetary gift.

Finally, I think it is impossible to sustain a happy work situation if you not only dislike, but actively disdain and lack respect, for your employer - especially in such a personal relationship as nanny/parent. I know it's hard because you love the kids, but I think you will need to start considering other jobs soon (taking into account the job market of course).

mom said...

Wow, NYC said it all. Good post.

OP, there are sucky parents all over the planet and you are not going to be able to change any of them. Either you do your best for the kids and look the other way at how this lady is, or find a new job.

Poor kids.

ChiNanny said...

I'm confused about a few things as I read this. If the kids are in preschool, why are they in diapers? Are there more kids?

Anyway, I read this thinking you need to calm down and reevaluate your expectations as being a nanny. Not all parents are good at it. Maybe she knows and that's why you're there. You're angry because you get the kids up in the morning and change their wet diapers? Because you do their laundry? Isn't that why you're there?

Should the mom be more involved, yes, absolutely. But she's the mom and gets to raise her kids however she wants, and she wants to do it this way, relying on a nanny to do most of the grunt work. If that's not the nanny you want to be, then I think you do need to find a better situation.

However, I think you were wrong about Mother's Day. If you honestly didn't think of it or forgot, fine, but to not have the kids make cards because you don't think she deserves them?

Think of it this way, your disgust with the mother is obviously bothering you, and I bet you are letting it show in front of the children (the way you describe the situation when you showed up at school). You can't change the mom, but you can change yourself. Don't let it affect the kids on your end too.

oh well said...

This is not about you, I am sure even Emily was far from being perfect in her eyes. Your employer seems self-absorbed and totally unaware of what does not involve her directly. Whether you make a card for her on Mother's day or not is irrelevant, she just needs to complain and to be the center of attention. She is essentially another child you have to take care of so you probably should not take her too seriously. It is a tough situation, though, and I am not sure whether you can change things.

marty said...

"preschools" in our area have 2's programs. Still called preschool, though, even technically not.

lourdes said...

My heart breaks for these children. How wonderful that you seem like such a good nanny, but their natural desire is to be nurtured by their mother and her behavior is sickening.

Sarah said...

Mother's Day cards weren't your job, that was her worthless husband's job to get the kids to make the Mom something nice. How valued she feels is a private family matter that doesn't involved the nanny. WHAT A BITCH.. sorry, so sorry.

MinuteMuggle said...

You are a wonderful nanny! (hugs)

Here is the advice I have for you: please ask the mother or father for a written letter of reference, and tell them it's for something else: not another nanny job, but a volunteer job on the weekends, etc. just a general letter of reference that you need for your portfolio. Because it happens all too often that employers like yours (I know them well) will not give you a good reference even though you did a spectacular job just because they are bitter mean people. Get that letter, even if you ask the Dad so that when you do decide to leave this family, you can have proof that you did your job, and did it more than well.

I am so sorry that the mom is like this. I guess you will have to put up with it for as long as you can though. But you sound spectacular, good luck with everything.

Oh, and about the Mother's Day card: don't let that get to you. It was very mean of her to mention such a thing: she sounds like she doesn't deserve a Mother's day card. She sounds like a big fat meanie. :(

naniluv said...

The only thing you did wrong was undermine the mother. You should not have taken the cans of food back to the school, lied to the teacher about what happened, and let the kid think his mom is a piece of trash....

other than that yeah good nanny

MinuteMuggle said...


how did she undermine the mother? she got no response when she told her about the food drive. and if you ask me, her fib to the teacher made the mom look better than what she is. What was nanny supposed to do: buy the cans of food herself?

Trust me: if a mom is a "piece of trash" the kid knows. Kids know who care about them. This nanny, in my opinion, did nothing wrong. She was merely trying to do her job and make sure that her charge had the essentials that he needed for school, i.e. the cans for the food drive.

I don't know this mom, so I won't go so far as to call her a piece of trash, but she does certainly sound like a space shot and not mother of the year. I applaud this nanny for sticking with a job with a boss like that.

San Diego Nanny said...

While this mother is detached from her children for whatever reasons, please make sure that you do not say those things to her! I agree w/you 100% and would love to shout those things as well, but doing so would affect your relationship w/her children, so it is best to refrain. Yes, easier said than done, I know!
Just continue being the wonderful nanny that you are to those poor children, it seems if you walked out on them now or had an argument w/the mother, they would be the ones to suffer the most. She is the way she is, and as long as you do not suspect abuse or neglect, just continue to provide the love, attention and companionship they are not getting otherwise.

poor children said...

Yes, you could have had the kids make Mother's Day cards. So could their Dad. And their preschool did. It would have been nice, but not strictly necessary, IMO.
I would not be surprised if this mom is depressed. Not to excuse all bad mothers that way, but she sounds so apathetic about everything, except when it comes to Mother's Day, which she needs to boost her sense of self-worth.
(*Please note I am not diagnosing her, but merely stating that some of her behavior resembles symptoms of depression)
I don't know if thinking that would make it easier to deal with or not. The kids will suffer if you leave, but if you really can't handle the mom anymore, you should leave before you snap. Good luck

heres the dealio said...

The family I nanny for now is somewhat that way, however not to that extreme. I nanny for two awesome children too, two boys. The parents do expect me to do their laundry, change pull ups, etc. But that is my job.

The dad in my situation is also more into the boys' lives then the mom. If he comes home earlier in the day he will usually let me go home so he can spend time with his boys. When the mom comes home early, she goes to take a nap. Granted, her job is super stressful and I still respect her decision to herself.

Being a nanny can be hard, we have to deal with tricky situations. But the previous poster had a good point, its your job. Your job is to do the grunt work, do the kids laundry, take care of them, some parents don't want to do that and they get hired help to do so.

the mothers day card thing is super silly though. Why should you be the one responsible to do something nice for that day? That IS THE DADS JOB. Just because their previous nanny done so, does not mean its expected from you. Also, it was crazy rude of her to even bring her up. Comparing new and old nannies is never a good idea. Clearly, every nanny has a different style.

green means go said...

My friend used to work for a family where the 1-year-old would wake up around 6:30 and stay in the crib (no diaper change or anything) until the nanny got there at 8:00 to do it. Maybe this is what the OP is referring to. She comes in the morning, and the kids have been awake for a long time, but sequestered in their room. Also, she does say she doesn't mind doing all these things (she knows it's her job).

Kristen said...

Uh! I am so sorry for you! She is definitely one of those people that should never have become a mother but thank goodness the children have at least a somewhat caring father and an amazing nanny.

I think it is common for full time nannies to help their kids make something but I can see how it could slip your mind since you are basically their mother and do everything for them.

cali mom said...

Jumping ahead. So this tw*t should run off and marry the widower jerk with the 5 kids...

Seriously, what an awful, sad situation. I actually like your 2nd suggestion–tell her that if she ccan ACT like a mother, she may get reccognized as one in the future. Or you could tell her that you honored YOUR mother on mother's day, since you didn't realize it coincided with "lick your boss's ass clean for her and praise her for her cleanlliness day"

cali mom said...

OK, caught up. San Diego nanny said it.

While I do agree that it's the nanny's job to change diapers, do kid's laundry, etc, how can it reasonably be considered "grunt work" to actually CARE about your own offspring? Or listen to them when they are talking to you? Or be even semi-aware of major events going on in their daily lives? That does not count as "grunt work" that parents can reasonably be excused of, that is called PARENTING and LOVING, and if a cell donor shirks those responsibilities, they are no more a "parent" than a salmon dumping their eggs under a rock.

Not popular said...

I know it's an unpopular opinion, but this post feels exaggerated to me. She "doesn't mind doing the work" but does write a whole paragraph about it. The kids watch Nickelodeon ALL weekend while mom's on the computer and dad golfs, but she says she can't say what happens when she isn't there. Does she spy on them on the weekends and know that it's ALL they do?

When she told the mom about the food drive and the mom just walked away, she was probably horribly embarrassed. What was she supposed to say?

Does this mom deserve Mother of the Year? No. Is she a great mom? probably not. But who knows what's going on in her life, what she's dealing with, and at least she knows enough to know that she needs someone there to help love and care for the children.

What these kids don't need is a nanny who doesn't respect their mother and her position in their lives. To say she doesn't deserve to be recognized as a mother is harsh and I'm sure that disdain is being demonstrated in front of the kids.

You can't change people, only yourself. If your job is making you that angry, then it's time to find a new one.

mom said...

Now you've got me wondering if the mom might actually be depressed...

How old is the youngest child? Could she have some post partum depression? If you think that might be the case, you probably ought to look for an opportunity to tactfully mention it to the dad.

world's best nanny said...

Not all mommies are June Cleaver, unfortunately. What about all those cold bitches who walk away from their families never to see them again?

OP said...

I am the OP of the post and no, I don't think the mother is depressed. She spends a great deal of time on herself, shopping and dining out. She leads a life of luxury but her children are not so welcome in it. As I said in my post, I will give you an example. I could give you many more. I have no desire to out myself. This mother is known by the children's friends to be a horrible mother. They won't even schedule playdates at the house unless they do so with me and know I am working. I don't believe in making excuses for bad nannies or bad mothers. I guess, some of you do, or maybe you just want to look for the good in people. Believe me, so do I. Some days it's just very, very hard, and I don't mean just when she attacked me about the card but when I see the sadness and longing on her children's faces.

Westchester nanny said...

As a nanny it's easy to get angry at parents when you feel you're doing their job better. I have been in this situation many times. I whole heartedly agree with NYC mom that you cannot work for a person you do not like or respect no matter how professional you are, it shows that you have disdain for this person. If you can find another job you should, it sounds as if you are good at what you do and may be able to find a family that values that. The job market even for nannies is not good at the moment so you may just have to suck it up until the end of the year. If that's the case, go to work and give those kids the best care possible, do your job and go home. It is hard to treat a nanny position as just another job because it is so very personal but in some cases you have to. I have had to adopt that mentality at my current job (which I hate) but it's how I cope with it.
As for the card situation. I don't agree that it should be a nanny's responsibility. The father should take the lead on this one. If you have the time with the kids, making the mother a picture or something is nice but that's it. You are not their family and this is a family matter. If the father wanted you to take care of this he should have come to you and asked you to be sure the kids made a card but it should not have been taken on by you.
I can sense your frustration and believe me I know exactly how you feel. Good luck with whatever you choose to do. Just try not to let the situation get out of hand to where you're screaming at the mother and quitting even thought that's what you may want to do. It's no good to end things that way.

Curious said...

Something is off about your story. How come the kids were excited about the food drive when you still give them bottles and change their diapers? I'm sorry but I've nannied for babies and toddlers and to be honest, they don't understand the concept of a food drive, up until they're what...3-4... and by that time no bottles or diapers are needed. I was just curious about that part

Wicker Park Nanny said...

some 3 year olds are still in diapers. let's be honest, some 4 year olds! especially if they don't have people in their life carrying out proper potty training. but as was mentioned previously some kids are 2 when they start preschool. so diapers are completely understandable in this case.

i think the OP was trying to get the point across that mom doesn't do ANYTHING, even change the diapers in the morning before she arrives.

this is a sad situation. and like many others I hop OP that you aren't showing your disdain for the mother in front of the children. she may not be up to your expectations, but you are in no position to undermine her as their mother.

i don't really have any constructive advice for you other than to look for a position where you get along better with the family. I wouldn't be able to work for this mother, even if i did love the children...

OP said...

I can't believe you have the audacity to question my submission. Do you realize how heartbreaking this is for me, a bystander? Yes, one of the children takes a bottle at night. That same child sleeps in a diaper at night, which makes it all the more awful that the child stays in the wet diaper until I arrive. In normal households, a child who sleeps in a diaper, gets up, gets out of the diaper and is encouraged to toilet him/herself.

I am just outraged that you dare say something is off about my story. Something is indeed off about my situation, I'll give you that.

Are you living on a prairie somewhere in Oklamhoma? Are you unable to grasp that terrible things do happen to children? And children seemingly of privilige lead horribly distressed and lonely lives?

Do you have still more questions?Why don't you go make a donation to children's charity?

visitor said...

^^Methinks you doth protest too much...if there's something that isn't clear to others about your story, why don't you just explain it calmly, instead of getting all up in arms?

MinuteMuggle said...


Please do not take anything said here personally. You have to expect that people here will question and disagree with you at times. I think your post was great, and I'll say it again: you sound like an awesome nanny, one I'd be proud to have.

get some perspective said...

OP CHILL OUT. These children may not receive parental affection up to your standards, but they are hardly living horrible lives.

Work with some kids who don't have food, running water, or parental attention, then look at your situation again. These kids supposedly have a nanny who loves them very much, and at least one semi involved parent.

Get some perspective

fox in socks said...

Stop picking on the OP. She seems like a great caregiver. The mother is a nut job. Think of how annoying it would be to you if you came on and posted something looking for advice, and instead a bunch of dopes started trying to pick apart your story and try to find "holes" in it. Ridiculous.

OP, clearly it was the father's responsibility to help the kids make cards or whatever. If there is any possibility of pointing this out to the mother, only if the subject comes up again, then you should say that fathers normally do that with the children rather than nannies.

It is incomprehensible to normal caring people like yourself that some mothers are so uncaring. But it's a fact of life. Perhaps she will be better with the kids when they are older.

Here's what I don't get. Green means go mentioned that a kid might wake up around 6 but stay in his crib until 8 when the nanny comes and changes his diaper. So, what, no breakfast for almost 2 hours??? How's that possible? The kid must be starving. I've never heard of such a thing. It sounds terrible.

green means go said...

fox in socks-

terrible, but true. it was not really two hours, more like 1 hour and 15 or 30 minutes, but still. I don't know how that works either...he does eat a big dinner, I think...

get some perspective-
I've worked with children whose families struggle to get enough food, who are homeless, who live in bad neighborhoods. I've also worked with affluent children whose parents emotionally neglected them. I think the two situations are actually very similar- it comes back to Erikson's first stage of Trust v. Mistrust- you learn very early on whether someone will meet your needs, whether physical or emotional.

lets make people accountable for their actions towards children said...

I would never minimize emotional abuse. And there is something a whole lot different from a mom who choses not to provide care for her child than a parent who cannot provide food for a child. Both are sad, one is reprehensible.

get some perspective said...

This mom chooses to provide care by hiring a loving nanny. Some people are not good parents, but at least she knows to get help.

And we don't know the whole story. Just a very angry OPs side. There could be a lot of other things going on. We will never know. OP said she's worried about "outing" herself by telling more stories, yet if she is an uncaring, uninvolved mom, why would she read ISYN? If everyone around her thinks she's a horrible mother, who would tell her?

Lots of children have incompetent parents. At least these parents hired someone to be competent and on top of things. It's the kids we're supposed to be worried about, isn't it?

Green Means Go-

Children who grow up with drug addicts as parents, no food because any money does go to drugs, and no baths because people just "forget" do not have the same life as privileged children with incompetent parents who hire a nanny. Is either situation ideal, no, but to call these children's lives 'horribly distressed' is an exaggeration.

As a nanny, instead of holding a grudge and having great hatred for this mother, why not nurture a relationship, or at least view yourself as a blessing in the kids lives. To go to work with such a chip on one's shoulder cannot be good for the kids.

Nom de Plume said...

Perspective-it's not the job of a nanny to fill some codependent need of a mother who mistakenly had children. While we love our jobs, we're not martyrs. We shouldn't have to fill some void because some woman got knocked up. Children are not fashion accessories, they're not marriage savers, they're not void fillers. They're a responsibility and a blessing who need nurturing from their PARENTS to have a fulfilled life.

Nanny Taxi said...

Nom de Plume:


get some perspective said...

Nom de Plume-

I never said they're void fillers, however, if a mother is not capable of being there 24/7 for her kids, keeping up with school events, knowing how to entertain small children, hiring a nanny to help is a great idea.

Should people who don't want/aren't going to care for children have them? Of course not. But they do, so now what? What exactly should we do about it? I already suggested that the OP work on trying to nurture a relationship.

However, coming to ISYN, writing a complaint and waiting for the "poor baby" responses doesn't solve the problem. I don't feel bad for this nanny or this mom, I feel bad for these kids. They have a checked out mom and a resentful nanny.

MinuteMuggle said...


I disagree. I think this blog provides not only a forum for reporting negligence, but also a well-needed and deserved sounding board for moms and nannies alike. Why shouldn't nannies write in to get support? They need support just like we all do.

I do not think this nanny sounds resentful, but if she is a little bit I can understand why. Who would not be resentful of such a horrible employer? I sure would. Better that she comes here and gets support and advice from others who may have been in her/her boss's situation than do or say something rash that she will regret later.

lola m said...

dear perspective,
so the normal thing is to chance upon a shitberg of a mother and as her nanny who has to meet all of her children's needs, no doubt as the children cry for and long for their mother's touch, the normal thing is to shower mom with compliments and affection?

DOn't you think it's normal to resent people who mistreat children? I mean, yes do continue to supress it. Don't say anything about the card or being a mom for a year.

But come, on.

Jane Doe said...

Minute Muggle,
I don't care who you are, I'm so happy that you're here and I enjoy your comments. Thank you for your support of the blog.

Thanks Mom, Cali Mom, NYC Mom, NYC nanny, WB Nanny, Kate and ALL of you (it's a long list), who check in every day and offer your comments and share your stories.

You make this blog!

Green Means Go said...


I definitely agree with you about looking at the positives in this family situation- that's what I had to do at my last job which was somewhat similar to the OP's.
I also agree with your statement about drug-addicted parents. However, I would say that many/most drug abusing parents are emotionally neglectful as well as physically neglectful. If it comes down to physical vs. emotional deprivation, I'm not sure we can make a judgment as to which is worse.
I also agree that hiring a nanny to provide care when you cannot do so is a responsible decision. However, a nanny is not the same as a parent. They can provide physical and emotional care, but children will still crave their parent's affection, no matter how much they love their nanny.

Momkat said...

That is one crazy mom. But honestly, I think it's in your best interest to just PRETEND that she's a wonderful mom! Next year, have the kids make cards/gifts for the same at Christmas and her birthday. And repeat to yourself over and over that she's a WONDERFUL MOM! No, you'll never believe it...but at least you can win an Oscar for your performance ;-)

NervousNanny said...

Honestly, just do your job and focus on the kids as much as you can. People work for bad bosses all the time and you need to just see this as that kind of situation. It was stupid of her to be offended by no gift for mother's day, but she might just be a petty person. Whatever. It hopefully won't interfere with the way you work with the children. Just do your job and keep the kids happy. And maybe try and do a craft for her in the future, but only because it will also make the kids happy to do it too!

Virtual Nanny said...

Hey there OP,

I feel for you and your situation. I would have gotten my feelings hurt by the way the mom acts by now and would probably no longer work for her.

The way she mothers is her business. But you deserve to work for someone who can AT LEAST communicate with you in a kind, respectful, understanding way that shows she cares about you.

I think instead of telling her off (which will only get you a bad reference), you should decide if you are willing to stay.

I think sometimes working with difficult personalities comes with the territory of caring for other people's children, especially the wealthy.

People who run nanny agencies will tell you that a small percentage of families are even fit to have nannies!

So, you have to way the pros and cons. If you are feeling the need to work for someone more caring, (and in your eyes, a better parent) you should think about starting the registration process with some quality nanny agencies.

kate said...

OP- I agree with VirtualNanny. The mom might not be doing her job as a parent, but you can still do your job as a nanny. Try to focus on the kids. However, if the mom is consistently rude and passive agressive towards you, aside from this incident over the cards, then I would seriously consider leaving. Under those circumstances, you probably can't do your job.