Jane Nanny

Monday, July 27, 2009
My first nanny job in New York was over a decade ago. I interviewed over the phone with the mother who was a producer in NY. They flew me out, sight unseen and I arrived at a Studio office in Brooklyn with a peculiar assortment of suitcases and my nanniest outfit. Meryl Streep was in the studio that day, I didn’t see her but overheard people talking about how shiny her hair was. I was a nervous wreck sitting in that office watching all of the people go by, listening to the chaotic sounds from the NY street outside. After a few hours, the mother came down to collect me and we drove home from her city office to their home in Westchester.

The mother was a size 4, blue eyed, blonde knock out and a successful producer married to an even more successful producer. Their children were beautiful, intelligent and kind hearted. Their house was an enormous old school mansion with acreage, a guest house and a massive pool. The property sat atop a steep hill. One of my jobs was to bring the recyclables down that hill on Friday mornings and when it was icy- it was downright dangerous.

The first two months were tremendous. I had a beautiful set up on the third floor of their house overlooking the Hudson River. They had purchased me a brand new car, nothing outrageous; I believe it was a 94 or 95 Cutlass Supreme. The children were in school during the day, so per our initial interview, I had my days free to explore the NY area. The family had a cleaning staff come in three times per week. I would get the children ready for school, drive them to school, load and empty the dishwasher, pick the children up from school, drive them to and from activities, run errands, prepare dinner and do family laundry.

At some point around the third month, the mother decided she resented my free time and an argument ensued over the condition of the boy’s closet. The closet was overlooked by the cleaning crew. I hadn’t noticed and she ended up calling me a bitch. I was remarkably unfazed but did tell her I would not be staying beyond my three month commitment. She screamed at me for misleading her and yelled over the fact that they had just purchased a brand new car for me.

In the end I was replaced with not one person, but with three; a full time housekeeper, a cook and a driver. About a month after I left, the mother got an opportunity to go work in Italy for two weeks and she contacted me at my new job to ask if I would return to work for her. I rejected their offer and never heard from them again. There were no hard feelings on my end, it was a good run and a great start to my NY nanny career.
Click on thumbnails to view larger.
0 les quarters 50 les quarters 40 les quarters 10 les quarters 20 les quarters 3


MinuteMuggle said...

so glad you posted, jane! thanks for sharing, it's a great story. can we have another installment? :)

CuriousDad said...

+1 very interesting.

BritishNanny said...

Enjoyed reading it! Would love to share my first NY story too..... can we have a section for this?

CuriousDad said...

I would love it if those who actually have done or still are working as "professional" nannies would post stories. Not so much "gossip" but what they have found to expect at the job. Especially about their interactions and expectations between boss and other staff. Like Jane Doe's story kind of makes me think that the employers had to learn as much about having a nanny as she did about being a nanny in many ways.

Jane Doe do you mind if I ask questions on what you wrote? I am especially interested if you think the employer was learning as much about having personal domestic staff, as you were learning about your first job?

mom said...

Great story! I'm also waiting for the next installment.

And good for you for having such balls on your first job to politely quit at the first sign of abusive behavior! Hopefully it also taught the mom a lesson, which I would hope she put into practice in the future when she hired people to work in her house.

Are those pictures of your nanny quarters there? it looks pretty nice.

Jane Doe said...

The employer had nannies when her children were younger, but had undergone a period of nanny free years. I don't know how succesful her earlier years with a nanny were.

Strangely, if that would have happend most any other time in my life, I think I would have burst in to tears. :) Yes, those are the nanny quarters from my first NY job.

fox in socks said...

Wow, Jane, thank you for sharing your story. Interesting! I liked hearing it.

What did you think of the fact that your replacements were actually three people? Did you think it was excessive or that the mother couldn't function without the three? I was not sure what you meant when you told us that and would love to hear more.

I actually was surprised to see your nanny's quarters were not nicer, after reading the story. It is really a converted attic, and seems that it is probably not legally converted either. The photo of the house did not look like a really nice mansion as thought.

So I was wondering if the woman was actually hiring (3 to replace 1) and living beyond her means after seeing the photos.

I have always wondered, Jane, what prompted you to start this website. What happened in your life that made you decide to start this?

Thank you again for sharing.

Jane Doe said...

Maybe the pictures didn't do it justice. For nanny quarters, they were pretty good. I know a lot of nannies who spent their first nanny years in a basement. There was also an office with a huge picture window looking out on the river. The bathroom alone was about 300 square feet with a huge tub and window seat. I had no complaints about the accomodations. And the fact that she required three people to replace illustrated that I guess I was doing enough after all. Out of the blue, she just wigged out that I had free time while the kids were in school and started adding in jobs and picking, picking, picking.

roseofsharon said...

10 years ago friends and i were foodsevers at a well known restaurant in Universal City. The stress level kept the managers in a constant state of anger and yelling. There was not enough silverware for rush times and the hostesses would sit clients at the tables with no silverware. This forced the waiters to have to go into the kitchen and quickly wash some by hand to avoid angry clients
A 17 year old kid - jeff- who lived at home had painstakingly washed some silver for a table of four who were hungry and wanted to order.The general manager stopped him and demanded the silver from him. Any of us with families and rent due would have given the silver without a peep but jeff politely objected. The manager told jeff " hand it over or leave"
jeff handed it over and left - boom gone,with many tables waiting for food and drinks. The rest of us really got some satisfaction out of that even tho it did not change anything - just as we are from jane's story

fox in socks said...

Thanks, Jane.

CuriousDad said...

I could read into all kinds of wierd things going on with what you wrote and why the employer acted like she did. But that would be just speculation and not really worth anything. It sounds like you did what you needed to do.

snips and snails said...

enjoyed the pictures and the post. would not mind reading more of these.