Your Baby Has Your Eyes

By Feature Writer Rebecca Nelson Lubin
guest Last week, in a giddy haze of PMS, I took my three-year-old charge out on errands on a gloomy, rainy, cold, Northern California afternoon. We were at Lucky Pharmacy to purchase some Gas-X - the cook had a tummy ache – when the cashier said sweetly to me as I handed her my household credit card,

“Your baby has your eyes.”

It was with nothing less than a total bitchy tone (PMS, it makes me evil) that I replied,

“No he does not. He is not my baby. I am his Nanny. And we do not look alike.”

The three year old that I held in my arms began to laugh.

“I have brown eyes.” He said. “My Nanny has blue eyes.”

I decided to take my attitude down a tone.

“Thank you.” I said, “I should take it as a compliment. This child is a beautiful boy.”

As I walked myself, my charge and the Gas-X to my car I wondered why - PMS notwithstanding - I took it as an offense to be told I resembled the child I take care of and love so deeply. It happens a lot – I have always been told that the children I care for look just like me. And I always have the same icky, stinky, bad attitude reaction. No matter what time of the month it is.

The day before I had been at La Petite Baleen with both the babies – the three year old and his fifteen month old sister. Girl baby and I were in the water together while Boy baby was in the lane adjacent to us with his class. Girl baby was learning how to be dunked. Every time she went under she came up with an absolute squeal of delight and wrapped her chubby little arms around my neck and laughed. Seriously, I was in heaven. I later told her mother that it was the most fun I had ever had in water – and I meant it. And then, a mother in the class treaded water over, holding her baby and said with a big smile,

“She looks just like you.”

“She’s not mine,” I said, “I’m her Nanny.”

She did a double take. She reiterated.

“She. Looks. Just. Like. You.”

I said, kindly, as the full effects of PMS would not set in for another 24 hours,

“Actually, she is the spitting image of both her parents. I love her, but I did not make her.”

I looked at the beautiful Girl baby, with her wonderful huge brown eyes and dark hair and olive colored skin and contemplated my own looks – thin, blue eyes, light freckled skin, and light brown hair and realized in one of those rare moments of absolute clarity, that it was regret I always felt when people told me that my charges looked like me because the curse of infertility meant that I would never hold a baby that really looked just like me. Even though every single child I had ever taken care of had been mistaken for my own child. My ex- boyfriend’s sister had once run into me outside Peets while I wheeled around a set of twins. She had looked at the girl twin and said in shock,

“Oh my God! She could be yours!”

For the record, she had white blond hair.

The adopted bi-racial little one I took care of for a year was always mistaken for mine. And she was half African American. But she was fine featured like me.

Perhaps loving children, the way you look at them with total adoration, and the way that they look back at you with love, makes you look like family. I’ve decided to embrace it, and from now on respond to compliments with a simple “Thank you.”

No matter what time of the month it is.
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at


nannybee said...

I've gotten that with my charges and I find it hilarious. Its not that we don"t look a like, we actually do a bit, its my age. I am 20 and look younger than I am. My charges are 4 & 6. as in it is highly improbable that I am these children's mother.

CuriousDad said...

Before I was married I dated a few single moms and when they had their kid(s) along on a date. I ALWAYS got your child(ren) are so "Insert compliment here" they look just like you. No matter the race coloring or anything between me and said child(ren).

No I am cohabitating with a married woman and still get those compliments.

Luckily this time they are right.

Texas Nanny said...

I always get people, even other nannies in the area, assuming my two charges (who are both under 2 years!) are mine. I get it, sort of. We're all white. My hair is naturally the same color as the babies'. I can see where the assumption comes from, though I always correct it.

I've discovered, however, that it DOES disturb me. Not because I'm not their mom or because I'm "too young" but because I'm single. I'm not wearing a ring.

I really admire single moms, nothing against them, but it was drilled into me growing up that you shouldn't have kids unless your married. And it bothers me that some of the older women at storytime and playgroup are looking at my naked hand and thinking that I'm one of "those" girls. I actually told my MB once - she suggested I just buy a fake ring to wear! I might do it.

Nanny/Single Mother said...

Texas Nanny, I was (am) a single mother and I find it very insulting that you think just because you are seen without a ring on your finger, but in the company of a child or children, then you are viewed as immoral. Ludicrous.
It's like you have a "scarlet letter" that you wear whenever you are seen out in public. Are you that concerned with what others think about you?
Very funny last line CuriousDad, I love the anecdote. LOL.

Vaughn said...

Nanny/Single Mother--

You ARE a single mother. Texas Nanny obviously is not. She stated that some women HAVE looked down on her as immoral because she doesn't have a ring on her finger.

I am glad you are proud of yourself--being a single mother isn't easy, I'm sure. But don't take so much offense because someone who ISN'T a single mother doesn't like being judged unkindly as one.

Remember, Texas Nanny didn't say SHE judges people who are single mothers. She doesn't like being judged as one, and not so nicely. There is a difference.

You can be a proud, happy, single mother--go you. The fact remains, though, that not everyone agrees with it and it is not a choice they would make for themselves. Texas Nanny is one of those people, and doesn't like the derision of others because she certainly doesn't deserve it--she's not even a mother, much less a single one.

I hope you're getting my point, it's hard to explain over a machine.

jmo said...

I think Texas Nanny's comment was not so much offensive as it was silly. I too am a single mother, and the fact of the matter is that the year is now 2010.

Texas Nanny is the one here who turned the thread into Catholifest. She does, in fact, judge people who are single mothers. She said it herself: it was drilled into her that you need to be married in order to have children. She does. She does judge single moms.

Additionally, she is way too preoccupied with what people think of her, which is a huge character flaw.

Who knows why a woman doesn't wear a ring? Who knows why they're single? Not TN, nor anyone who is a stranger to the single mom in question. You don't know the story.

I am glad that one of the values my parents taught me was to not judge others before getting to know them: a far more valuable lesson than "get that rock before you get pregnant."


Bostonnanny said...

When i was 15 my mother had my youngest brother. I would take him to the playground near our house. The mothers who were their would give me dirty looks and comment on how it's terrible that young girls have babies. One mother came up to me and actually said "it must be hard being a teenage mother". I was so confused and responded by saying I wasn't. She replayed by saying but he looks just like you. I'm became pissed and said of course he looks like me, he's my brother! I never saw her at the park again.

My charge looks very similar to me. To someone who isn't Hispanic or Indian you would think he was mine. I had a mother at playgroup for a year think he was mine even tho I refered to myself has his nanny and hungout with other nannies:

TC said...

Wow some of you are taking what Texas Nanny said wayyy out of context.

As a Texan myself, I understand what she is saying. That is how we are raised, and it has nothing to do with being Catholic, I believe all Christian based churches teach abstinence before marriage. You are taught at an early age to wait till marriage before sex, and along with that to not have kids before marriage.

I don't see anything wrong with that, in fact I think that's actually a good thing to be taught but that also doesn't mean that everyone follows that 'rule'

I am a single mother who has never been married. I don't look down on any single parent but I still think it's a good idea to wait until marriage to bring children into this world


I have been mistaken for one of the daughters of a family I used to work for! it didnt go over to well with the mom, she was only 10 years older than me! I guess staying out of the sun is good advice

DealWIthIt said...

Just because it is 2010 and more known people are having children when single/not married does NOT mean it's a good idea or should be acceptable to EVERYONE.

Maybe if more parents taught their kids to have a little MORE judgment, there would be more rocks on fingers before the children came.

There are tons of single mothers out there. That doesn't mean they're all brilliant and need to be told they did the right thing just because they don't want to be judged for making a decision others see as...not the best idea.

Get over it. When you make a choice, you may be judged for it. Oh, well. Own it.

So sick of the
"I'm a single mother,you have no idea how hard it is, you can't judge me." Sure I can, if I want to. So can anyone else.

I don't feel sorry for nor do I laud anyone who makes their own choices in life, whether I agree or disagree.

If you made a hard choice, well, whose fault was that? Deal with it and stop expecting so much applause for doing what others may see as uninformed, bad ideas.

DealWIthIt said...

This was not meant for TC, who IS brilliant and deserves credit.

Texas Nanny said...

I see nothing wrong with being a single mom. In fact, I think some women are much smarter to stay single when they want to keep their babies than to think that just because a guy got them knocked up he'll make a good husband/father.

But I grew up in a strict Lutheran family (one of my cousins got pregnant before marriage and her parents forced her into a "shotgun wedding" and this was in 1991) and I work in a conservative area where a lot of the kids my charges play with get brought to the park by their grandmothers. I get looked at askance and yes, it bothers me because I am NOT a single mom. It's one thing when you go out saying "I'm a proud single mom who made the best choice for my child and I don't deserve your scorn!" But when I go out, I'm just trying to have a good time with the kiddos. I was not prepared to start receiving snarky comments or worse, pity.

FrmrNannyNowaMom said...

I am a single mother, and let me tell you, when you walk down the street with your baby, almost everyone notices whether or not you have a ring on your finger. I have seen people do it, and I hate to admit, I have done it myself. I dont judge anyone, its more curiosity.
The thing is, you shouldnt care. You are not a single mother, so why does it matter what a stranger thinks....and if you ARE a single mother, the perception of others is something I am sure you considered in your decision making. (and if you didnt you were just being naive)

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and I dont take offense at yours, but realise that just as you have the right to judge women for their "uninformed bad decisions" (and please keep in mind how many different situations create a single mother) We have the right to judge you for your attitude......go ahead and assume what those judgements are, Im sure at least some of them will be right

northshorenanny said...

I always have a strong reaction when people think my charge is mine, which always ends up upsetting me because I love him to death. Why wouldn't I want him to be mine! I am often told that I look 10-12 years younger than my 31 years so I think I'm conscious of the moms in this very conservative community judging me. Which is completely ridiculous!

DealWIthIt said...

I'm not really judging anyone. I'm presenting a different side that can be seen by many people. I don't care what other people do with their lives, to be honest. And I definitely don't care what other people think of what I do with mine. I don't want children, and I'm pro-choice. I live with a man I am not married to and may never marry because I don't know if I care to be married. Believe me when I say, I am no stranger to being held accountable for what are often seen as unpopular beliefs. I just don't care. People judge. I deal with it.

It's like telling someone, "hey you can't be racist, that's not right". Well, on the same token, you can't make someone not be racist because you think it's wrong. It also doesn't make it 'right' to think this way, either, but people think what they think and have the right to think that way whether or not someone agrees with it. Do I think racism is right? No. Do I think redneck racists with their Confederate flags and pick-em-up trucks are disgusting? Yes. Does that make me as judgmental of them as they are of other races? Sure.

I know everyone is entitled to their own opinions--people who are judged and people who judge. That was my point, so thank you for helping me to make it. And that's not sarcasm.

DealWIthIt said...

"If you made a hard choice, well, whose fault was that? Deal with it and stop expecting so much applause for doing what others may see as uninformed, bad ideas."

This is what I said--NOT that every single mother on the planet made an uninformed, bad decision.

Please do not twist what I am saying or have said to suit your argument.

DealWIthIt said...

Wait, maybe I jumped the gun.

You don't take offense to what I said, but you want the right to judge what I said because it's unfair to judge you cause you don't want to be judged? So everyone has the right to an opinion without being judged except for those who disagree with you?

Maybe you didn't help me make my point. But you did prove to be an example of the very situation I am talking about.

Not everyone is going to pat you on the back for being a single mom, no matter what the circumstances. Sorry.

You're clueless and I find that disappointing. I shouldn't have read so fast, I guess. My bad. At least I can be honest with myself, though.

SBelle said...

Everyone has their own opinions. No one will ever be "right". Single moms you do get offended. People do judge whether they admit it or not.Everyone judges it just happens. Maybe that is what ya'll are getting at but it's getting lost cause you all are arguing.

A nanny who cares said...

I find this whole post bizarre! I am a married woman with no kids of my own, but I never wear my wedding ring or engagement ring to work because I wash my hands so much and I'm afraid of hurting one of the kids. I haven't ever noticed people looking at me funny for not wearing a ring, and I live in very conservative Orange County. However that may be because when I'm with the kids I'm focused on them, not the other people around me. Quite honestly, I'm sure the stuff I do with the kids probably makes me look weird to the other moms. But, I'm always having fun and they always look like they have a stick up their butts, so I really don't care!

dkny said...

I agree with a nanny who cares! Some of you must live in the bible belt or something, lol. I don't wear a ring, either. It is marquis cut and a bit over 1 carat so it easily snags on soft or drappy fabrics. Not once have I ever noticed another person looking at me cross-eyed when I'm with the kids. I just assumed it was because single-motherhood was completely acceptable in this day and age. Another thing, not really to change the subject, but it must be about where you are from because on the occasion we see a gay couple walking hand and hand while out shopping or something, hardly anyone bats an eye.

I think it's just over time we lose our sensitivity to such things. It doesn't bother me so I just figured it didn't bother others! lol

Anonymous said...

People ALWAYS assume my charges are mine, even though that would mean I started at about 15. I just let them think what they want, I don't correct them. It's just not worth the effort, in my opinion. Sometimes, the kids will correct them, and then I say, "Yes, I'm their nanny." At first I did feel self-conscious simply because being a teenage mother is not a choice I personally would have made. (I do understand that everyone makes their own choices, and I don't judge them for it.) But most people have kind expressions and are just admiring the kids. They are GORGEOUS kids. And they do look like they could be mine, especially the youngest--they have the same coloring as I do. So I mostly look at it as a compliment, and since I'll most likely never see the person who comments again, I just let it slide--who cares if they judge me?

Cund said...

Rocket Scientist, how dare you be so callous and judgmental? All women become single moms through no fault of their own and are amazing and perfect people. Honestly, how dare you? If you don't have a kid before the age of 16 and you're single, you must be doing something wrong or you're ugly or something.

Nannette said...

consider it a compliment when children are so happy and comfortable with charges people don't believe we're the nanny's they can't be that happy

former nanny said...

I know so many people who are married and their relationship is so incredibly screwed up. Being a single mom has absolutely nothing to do with morality or ability to cope with one's own life.

Most rich married couples have kids to accessorize their outfits, home and car. That is all kids are to some people.

The bottom line is that you don't know someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. There are losers and good people in the world, and being married doesn't automatically make you good, just as being a single mother for whatever reason doesn't automatically make you a loser.

KB in NJ said...

Lol, my first charge was a blond haired, pale skinned Caucasian baby and I'm an African-American woman. People always thought I was his mother. It was pretty bizzare! One day his mother took him to Gymboree and another mom there asked her who she was. She said she was his mother and the other mom said she thought I was his mom. We still laugh about that!

Hypocrite Much said...

"Being a single mom has absolutely nothing to do with morality or ability to cope with one's own life.

Most rich married couples have kids to accessorize their outfits, home and car."

So single moms are saints no matter what, and married people with money just have children to become an accessorized package. Oh, I'm sorry, it's just MOST married people with children that feel this way.

Got it. Good to know.

Student Nanny said...

My 8 year old twin Korean charges were mistaken for my own this past summer. I'm 19 and as Irish looking as can be. What did I do, adopt them when I was 11?!? We were at a library function for 7-9 year olds too, so there was no mistaking them for younger than they are.

Sheeeeeeesh said...

Who cares if anyone thinks you're a single mom, or are married and have money, or have accessory-kids, or your kids are asian when you're irish?


Coming From a Nanny said...

Nannies: Maybe people assume they aren't yours, but to err on the side of caution they act like they think they're yours so they don't offend. It sounds crazy, but it could be a possibility!

Sheeeeeeesh said...

That last comment is right on.

Since you can't say anything to anyone that isn't seen as offensive anymore, people are too careful--annoyingly careful. They may think you have adopted kids and don't want to hear the endless 'just because I didn't grow them in my womb does not mean they not my real children' diatribe.

Can't say I blame them, really.

Big deal said...

I think there is just a natural assumption for most people, that if you're with a child they must be yours. I doubt it has anything to do with how they look.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Coming From A Nanny, I agree wholeheartedly with your comment. I usually watch children who look nothing like me, absolutely NOTHING and I do notice parents looking at me curiously at me for a few minutes before they ask me any questions about "my" child. I know they are pretty positive the child is not mine, but they choose to err on the side of caution and refer to him as my child to avoid offending me. I do the same thing when I see a child with his or her grandparents. While I am like 97% sure that he or she is with their grandparents, I choose to err on the side of caution and refer to the child as "your child" to the adult. I usually get a "Oh thank you so much for saying that, but actually this is my grandchild..."
As for the single parent issue, I understand that you were raised in a strict religious home environment with strict morals. Were you also raised to believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman? That being gay is a sin and those that are will go to hell? Such beliefs are extreme to me.
I used to work in a predominately gay community (for a straight couple) and I used to take my charge for walks. At times, I would bring along one of my friends for company and we would laugh at the fact that people who saw us out together with my charge probably thought we were a gay couple who adopted my charge (since he looked nothing at all like either of us.) Who cared if they did? Why would anyone care what strangers thought of them? It's not like they are never going to see you again and truthfully they may never give you a passing thought unless they see you again.
It's 2010...almost 2011. Are we still so close-minded about single mothers in this day and age?

sad but true said...

Two Cents:

Obviously some people ARE that closed minded, sadly.

Anonymous said...

I got these comments several times as a nanny, and none of my charges looked a bit like me (that I can see, at least). It was always awkward, when someone would say "Oh, she looks just like you!", or "he has your eyes!". Do you embarrass the person, and tell them you're just the nanny, or just laugh/smile it off to avoid embarrassing them? Which, by the way-going that route will leave you feeling like a crazy, psycho Lifetime movie nanny. I never took these sentiments as offensive. Just awkward because I didn't want to embarrass anyone. I would be happy to know that I looked so natural/happy to outsiders, that they could mistake me for the parent. Because that meant I will truly happy to be there, and my feelings towards my charge were palpable. On the single mom issue? Right out of college, I had charges that were 1 and 2.5 years old. I'd take them to the park, where all of the moms would talk and shoot the breeze, never so much as acknowledging me. I'd try to engage them, and would always be friendly-but they only initiated communication with me when my charge would "borrow" their kids' sand toys. Once I dropped the bomb that I was just the nanny? Yeah, still treated me differently, but a little less icy. They totally thought I was a young (wedding ring free) mom, and punished me for it. RIDICULOUS.


Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

It's so weird that this is 2010 and we are still debating the whole single mother issue as being a moral issue. Hasn't society evolved since the '50's? Guess not as much as I thought or had hoped. Why I remember the whole Dan Quayle/Murphy Brown thing in the late 80's, that was like 20 yrs ago.
Why are single mothers the ones who get all the judgment? It is like the SCARLET LETTER all over again. What about all the fathers who left? After all, for every single mother out there, there is a single father as well, but he doesn't have to face judgment. Unfair.
People should not be so quick to judge. Sure, there are some single mothers out there who are immoral and sleep with anyone (but don't some married woman as well? Hmmm.) But no one takes into consideration that each single mother has her own story to tell. Perhaps she was the one who was abandoned. Or maybe she was forced to leave over abuse issues. Maybe her husband died. Ectetra.
Until you have walked in the shoes of another, you have no right to judge anyone.
Remember: When you point your finger at someone else, there are always three fingers pointing right back at you! Try it, you'll see what I mean.

we're both nannies! said...

I used to work part-time alongside a FT nanny, to provide the educational enrichment to supplement her day-to-day care. I was the same race as the children and the FT nanny was not. When we were out together with the kids, I used to beg her to let me push the stroller, let me carry the diaper bag, and so on, because I knew people would assume I was the mom, and I didn't want anyone to think I was one of "those" moms (ie, the kind who spend quality time with their kids by having the nanny do all the grunt work)

Silly said...

Not wanting to be a single mother does not make one closed-minded. For some, it has nothing to do with morals and everything to do with personal choice. Some people don't want cats. Does that mean they hate animals and think it's immoral to have one? No. They're just not interested in that situation.

Why is it so hard to believe that just because there are so many single mothers, that not EVERYONE on the planet thinks it's such a great thing? Why does it make someone a bad person for not wanting that for herself, or not thinking it's the best idea ever for anyone else? Why is it only people who feel oppressed and offended are allowed to have opinions on any subject?

This is silly. Anyone who gets all up in arms and feels the need to defend their choices to strangers clearly has a problem with their own choice.

silly is as silly does. said...

To "silly":

as a single mother myself, I can honestly say that often women certainly not choose to be a single mother. When I got married, I did not get married wanting to be a single mother. I got married trusting that my husband would honor his wedding vows which he did not. In the sense that I chose being a single mom over being abused, then yes I guess it is a choice.

But it is neither here nor there: if you have disdain for the concept of being a single mother, you are closed-minded. If you see being a single mother as a conscious choice, which it rarely is, then you are ignorant. And very silly.

Silly said...

Well, you're clearly missing my point. I guess that makes you closed-minded for not having the ability to see it any way other than your own. Oh, well. In that case, we're even. Moving right along.

Rebecca said...

It would never bother me to be mistaken for a single mother. I would happily be a single mother! I would adopt as a single parent in a heartbeat if I could afford it! Here in Marin, many people have the baby first and think about marriage later, including many close friends of mine. But you know what I really hate? When at the checkout lane at Safeway they hand me my receipt and say, "Thank you Mrs. Lubin!"
I always correct them with a simple, "Mrs. Lubin is my Mother."

MissMannah said...

My first nanny job was when I was 22. I'm Indian, the children were adopted from Guatemala and the parents were as white as can be. When we were all out in public, yes everyone assumed I was the mother. I was always embarrassed by it but the parents thought it was hilarious. The mother often commented on how her daughter looked so much like me.

My most recent nanny job, the children were Mexican so of course we looked similar again. We were once at a store and an elderly gentleman asked the 6-year-old if he was helping mommy with the shopping and he said "Don't be silly, she's not my mommy, she's my Amanda!" Crisis averted, and in the most adorable way.

MissMannah said...

And as for the whole "single mother" debate...

Many of you are accusing Texas Nanny, et al of being judgmental but keep in're also judging our part of the country at the same time. She (and TC) live in Texas, I live in Oklahoma. I am going to make the assumption that we were all raised similarly, and that would be that you remain abstinent until marriage. Many kids are raised that way. And unfortunately, the Christian denomination I was raised in doesn't really believe in divorce and also leads you to believe that if a woman doesn't have a wedding ring on, she must live an immoral life if she has children.

NOTE: This does NOT mean we actually think this way! It just means this is how we were raised when we were young and impressionable before we learned how to think for ourselves. If I still believed that nonsense, my fiance would be a very frustrated man. But it is difficult to get that little niggling thought out of the back of my head that says "sinner sinner sinner!" and every once in awhile I will find myself judging young single mothers. So if I judge occasionally, it is very safe to say that the older ladies are still constantly sticking their noses where they don't belong and judging young single mothers.

Sorry for the diatribe, I just wanted to (hopefully) expand on what Texas Nanny was saying.

LovingNanny said...

I think we are taking ourselves a little bit too serious.
Come on, you are all making a big deal out of a small situation.
Everyday people misstake me as the mother of my charge. So what? She is a beautiful, happy, loving girl. Why in the world would that be a problem for me and even worse, why should I bother and think about why the person said that? You are waisting so much of your valuable time with that nonsense.
I simply say: "Thank you but I am her nanny." or I just say "Thank you".
So come on, get over yourselves and enjoy the time you get to spend with those lovable children.

Shame said...

Rebecca, what you did should be seen as judgmental by both single and married mothers everywhere! How dare you?! Shame on you for denouncing marriage and spitting on married people!

Rebecca said...

Huh? I like married people. Mrs Lubin, however is not my name. It belongs to my mother. She's married to my father, Mr. Lubin. It's her name, not mine. Should I be fortunate to be married someday I shall cease being Miss Lubin and become something else.
All I was saying was that people everywhere, including the checkers at Safeway, make assumptions and mistakes on our identities. Settle down you.

Shame said...

LOL@ "settle down you".

I like you, Rebecca. And I was being totally sarcastic. Aren't they supposed to invent a 'sarcasm quotation mark'? I think it's time for one!

cold nanny said...

Jeez, some people here like to get their panties all twisted. Don't worry about it, Rebecca. You don't owe an explanation. Whatever happened to the crazy, carefree people that used to visit this board? Now we have all virgins?

Get This.. said...

I work for 2 gay dads. Everyone thinks my charges are mine, which doesn't bother me- we do look pretty similar. What is funny is when I am with both dads and the kids as nobody can work out the situation. I look young for my age and the dads are older so it looks like a strange set up!

rebecca said...

Shame: Hahahahahaha!!!

I should have known you were not serious. Let's make up our own "sarcastic quotation icon."

My column next week is going to be called "Duct tape: A solution to unruly charges?"

I hope no angered contractors weigh in with "Rebecca! You are spiting upon the basic tools of my chosen profession!"

; )> (That means sarcasm)


Shame said...

Rebecca, I love it! Can't wait to read the next story!

Nanny Sarah said...

To silly is as silly does...I agree with you that no one chooses to be a single mother in life. Life happens. Ahhh....
To me, being a single mother deserves much praise and less disdain. There are many women who choose to stay in a marriage they are not happy in or are being mistreated, but they stay because they do not want to be alone, esp. with child (ren). A woman who is independent and self sufficient enough to leave is a hero in my eyes. I admire single mothers and think they should have their own special day, but due to the way society views them, doubtful that will ever happen!!
I am glad that the majority of responders on here find nothing wrong with being a single mother and hopefully we can move on to the next topic.

TheOriginalDenverNanny said...

Ring or no ring, I've commented to women about "their" children because I've suspected they were nannies. I thought that was more polite than asking if they are a nanny-- I've had a few moms get offended when I asked if the kids are nanny charges!

Babydust said...

OP, I know how you feel dealing with infertility, and just wanted to say hang in there. Medicine has come a long way and a diagnosis of infertility doesn't have to be a death sentence to your dream of having a biological child. Good Luck and keep on loving those babies :)

Vanessa said...

I've gotten it with my charge as well. I take it as a compliment,but seriously, we could not look any more different! There is nothing about her that resembles me. I always have a laugh with her mom because we're like 'Ummm no, we look nothing alike.' I guess people assume I'm the mom and maybe want to be polite? because they see she looks nothing like me? Who knows.

Gynn said...

Nanny Sarah, for most of us it's hardly disdain. It's honestly more indifference than anything else. We're just not impressed as much as single moms may want us to be. The only way some single moms will ever be happy is if someone rolls out the red carpet for them everywhere they go, and it just doesn't work that way. Some people just don't care and don't see it as any more worthy than anyone else dealing with the situation they've chosen AND/OR been given. And when you're indifferent, as most people are, it's taken offensively by the single mom--and that's just annoying.

In other words, if you're a single mom, be thrilled with yourself if you wish, but don't expect a standing ovation for everything you do just because you're raising a child on your own.

There are people in FAR worse situations who get no attention, no recognition, no pat on the back. You're no more special than anyone else, and the whole entitlement mentality is what turns people off. This whole discussion is just ridiculous, really.

Nervous Nanny said...

Boston Nanny,
I had the same issue. My little sister was born when I was 14, and I am always mistaken for her mother, since the time she was born. As a teen, I would take her out all the time to the mall, movies, etc, and I used to get people giving me looks. It is offensive to me.
Even now, she is 8, I am 22 and people always think she is my daughter. I think it is because I am so affectionate with her (holding her hand, kissing her on the top of her head, etc.) I always correct people though.

Anonymous said...

LOL, not about nannying, but I just remembered a story from when I was in HS. My mother taught at my (small) HS. She, her TWIN sister and I were all out together at a restaurant or something. The principle's wife (who also worked at the school and new my mom and me) came over and said hello to my mom's "mother"!! Haha Needless to say, my aunt was not happy about that. And the kicker is that you can absolutely tell they are the same age!

Anonymous said...

*knew Oops!

Bostonn said...

Nervous nanny,
Yeah it sucked because I happened to attend a different hs my freshmen year and when I came back everyone thought I left because I had a kid( i really left because it was a racist town with no other Hispanic families besides my own) so when I took my brother out, people would pity me and make nasty comments because I was a "an uneducated hispanic teenage mother on welfare" which was a stereotype I never was.
For being an upper middle class, highly educated town near boston, everyone was very ignorant.

Anywho it took a few nasty comments from my mother to set some people straight. What surprised me the most was I was very very petite like 80lbs, didn't hit puberty til I was 16, so I didn't understand how anyone
could like I pushed out kid.

Now when I walk around with my charge who looks very similar to me, they just think I'm a young mother. I wear a ring my bf gave me, so some think I'm a young married
mother to an indian boy haha. It works in my favor tho because none every questions my authority over my charge, so when he goes for time out or I let him cry no one ever says a word.
But my previous charge looked nothing like me and if I'd punish him in public for misbehavior I'd get dirty looks from parents who knew I was the nanny.

Anonymous said...

Bostonnanny and Nervous Nanny, I can totally relate! I became an aunt at 13, and as I have always loved babies (especially my awesome nephews and nieces) I would hold him, push the stroller, etc., whenever we went out and about. Whether I was right next to my SIL or mother or in a different part of the store, it didn't matter...people assumed he was mine. Some people stared daggers at me, others looked at me with pity. I was about 5'7" or so already, but I definitely looked very young. Maybe those memories are why it took me a while to get used to people thinking my current charges are my children.

celisu said...


I do not want any sort of recognition for being a single mom. And if you have "indifference" for this issue, I feel sorry for you because it can happen to anyone.

Personally, I think from your post you sound very young and naive. For the world's sake, I hope you do not choose a career in human services. You would be ill-suited to helping people and having a non-judgmental heart. You sort of sound like an ass.

single_mom_of_one said...

Wow, who the hell asked for a red carpet? All most single mom's want is acceptance. And whether we choose to be a single mom or it is thrown at us, none of us wants to be treated with disdain. I don't expect a pat on the back from anyone, it is my job to raise my child. But I do agree with part of Nanny's Sarah's post where a single mom that gets out and survives an abusive relationship is a hero... to her kids! Personally, I find your post insensitive and over-dramatic.

celisu said...

p.s. and to gynn:

you wrote: "And when you're indifferent, as most people are, it's taken offensively by the single mom--and that's just annoying."

"most" people are not indifferent. That is a grave misconception on your part. I am a single mom not by choice. I work full time to support my child. I am profoundly grateful for the help we have been given by my community. I don't expect anything from my community, but I am grateful for the help my community and parish have given us.

If you are "indifferent" to domestic abuse, I feel sorry for you.

Get educated. Stop feeling "indifferent" to relevant social issues.

HungryCollegeStudent said...

I've got a brother 13 years younger than me, and we look just alike. I've always looked REALLY young for my age (I'm 5 ft 2 and freckled), so when I would take him with me to different places, I definitely got some comments. I didn't really notice the looks, but some people could be really rude: people I didn't know would come up to me and actually ask how old I was when I had him or if he was mine!!! At first I took offense (I was raised in the Bible belt), then I just let it slide. It's not really the single mother mentality that offended me the most, but the outright rude questions and judgments people would make instantaneously.

With that being said, I don't see anything wrong with being an unwed mom, but it's not a choice I would make for myself.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Basically, anyone who cares what a stranger thinks of them is a very insecure person in general. So what if I am with a child who looks like me and I am not wearing a wedding ring? So what is someone looks down on me since they assume I am a single mother? Why do I need the acceptance of a complete stranger in order for me to be content in my own life. If one is truly comfortable in his or her own skin,then they do not live to please others..esp. complete strangers on the street! Texas Nanny has extreme security issues and belongs in therapy, not on ISYN. And Gynn, where did you ever get the idea that single mother expect "red carpet" treatment?

choice? said...

I'm getting really annoyed with people on this thread saying that being a single mom is a "choice." I don't know about other single moms but it was not a choice for me!

She has your legs... said...

Recently I received the compliment, "She's got great legs like her mom." Well first of all she is 3. And I am very short and my legs arent quite my best feature. So....maybe they meant to say, "both of your legs are similar in length." lol.

I also got "cool mom" the other day. Being in my early 20s and nowhere close to having my own children, I shot back, "I am not a mom, Do I look like a mom?!" Later I analyzed that statement, because I'm not entirely sure what I meant by it. I think I meant, "do i look older than i am?"

Gynn. said...

Please don't ask for 'praise' and then say you don't expect anything.

Stop putting words in my mouth, and bringing in domestic abuse and human resource jobs and other things I said NOTHING about. That's just ridiculous. GROW UP.

By indifferent, I mean that it means nothing to me whether someone is a single mother or not. I don't praise nor do I belittle them. They are people just like everyone else. Why can't a single mom just be a person? Why does she have to be identified by that and that alone? I don't get it.

I am child-free by choice. But that certainly isn't how I introduce myself to people. I just am who I am, and that's a part of it.

Sorry that my being accepting is such a horrible thing to you, but to me, it's reality and just as it should be.

Get over yourself. If it makes you feel better about yourself to twist my words and put me down. Luckily for me, I know myself, and you don't, and I don't care what you think since you obviously cannot grasp my point.

Gynn said...

Oops, I forgot a 'go for it' in there. Sorry.

NOLA said...

I don't have anything against single moms, but a lot of you are really overly defensive about it. People who are not single moms are allowed to have opinions too, just cause they aren't kissing your ass doesn't mean they don't like you. Stop being so defensive.

Rebecca said...

Here's a classic case of mistake identity:
When my older brother was about two years old, my parents were walking with him, holding hands, with my Dad in the middle and my older brother on one side, Mom on the other. My Mom, aged 24, had her hair in braids. My Dad, aged 25, was prematurely bald. A well meaning stranger came up to them and said to my Dad, "My your children are far apart in age!"
It took years for my father to recover!!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Gynn: You DID mention "red carpet" and I would not twist your wording. I actually read your post before I commented.
To She Had Your Legs: LOL. I had three children by the time I was 23 so I would never take offense to such a statement. ;)

Nervous Nanny said...

Boston Nanny:

My similar situation was that my sister was born the summer before I started high school. When my mom took me to high school orientation, many people assumed she was mine. What was harder was that it was a bigger group of students, so not everyone knew she was my sister. I had other freshmen assuming I had a baby.

Rocket Scientist:
The same thing would happen to me too in public! Once, my mom was at the DMV, and I took my toddler sister into the children's store next to it to kill time while she was in line. When my mom joined us, the cashier assumed she was the grandmother, and my mom definitely took offense.

My little sister is a beautiful, smart, funny girl and I like spending time with her. It's not that I am offended at being thought of as a single mom, but more of being a "teen mom" (although I'm not a teen anymore). I'd be lucky if she was my child, but she is not, so I do feel the need to correct people. The same goes for my charges.

Gynn said...

JMTC, my response was to several posts, so if it didn't apply directly to you, it applied to another's post. Sorry for any confusion!

Shanna said...

Anytime you have a child, you stand a chance of raising a child alone. Fathers, too. People get divorced, people die, people leave and people get left. When you have a child, everything about that decision is a choice and a risk you choose to take. I am single mom, and I can accept this.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Thanks Gynn for clearing up that confusion. :)
Shanna yes so true. That is the reality of life. Everything beautiful and special (marriage,kids, etc.) comes with a risk involved. Everything has a trade off. If you take the risk and get married and have kids, you also take the risk you will someday be left alone with children to raise alone. But those that do not take risks, are not living life at full capacity anyway and no one should EVER have to apologize for the circumstances that they are in. EVER. As long as we can live with our own decisions, who cares what anyone else thinks?

Shanna said...

Yes, everyone takes risks to live, we all know that. But no one asked us to apologize for being a single mom. I'm certainly not. But I know my situation and while I don't apologize, I don't want a pat on the back either. So I don't ask for anything and I don't make any apologies. Why should I?

BeantownNanny said...

I have worked for my family for one year, since their son was born. The resemblance between my charge and I is super strange and I look about 25 so the shoe fits. Everywhere we go people are constantly telling me how he's my carbon copy. I used to explain that he isn't mine and go into the whole back and forth thing. After a few too many "You spend so much time together you look alike!" I finally began responding with a grin and a thank you and am so glad I did.

@ Texas Nanny, I have the same phobia about people grilling my empty ring finger!