Received Monday, January 2, 2011
I'm not sure what topic this would come under for this blog but I know that my fellow Nannies would like to hear this story as they will be able to understand how awful this situation was better than most of my non-nanny friends.
I was at a holiday party a couple of days ago with my husband and we only knew the hosts so we were doing the standard thing, making small talk, discussing what we did, the city etc etc.. We ended up speaking with one couple, the wife of whom jumped on us when I said I was a nanny. She began launching into a tirade about her own nanny and began pretty much bitching her out to me which I felt was totally inappropriate.
She began by saying that she is a messy person despite this, expects the house to be very clean and spotless when she gets home. She expected the nanny to pick up all her clothes and personal items in the bedroom and bathroom and clean them for her. In my own job I am never expected to clean up after adults, my role is childcare so this is not within my contract. Immediately I began to feel sorry for this nanny but thought that maybe it was a communication issue or something. Then the mother launched into an explanation that these different standards of clean were down to a cultural difference. She explained that because her nanny was from the Philippines then of course their standards of cleaning would be different. How could their Nanny really be expected to know what a large western house should be like when she herself is from a 3rd world country where everyone has dirt floors? I was flabbergasted at this statement? Did she really think people lived in mud huts in the Philippines? Does she know so little about her own Nanny? She said that she wished she could afford a career nanny but that right now the live in caregivers program was the only way they could afford childcare so they were stuck with this sort of situation. I began to talk about how I know lots of families who have very happy relationships with the Nannies that have joined them through this program but I could hardly get a word in edge ways and so the rant continued. By this stage it was getting very uncomfortable and she had begun to use my name instead of the name of her current nanny to give examples of the 'problems' she faced at home. "For example would it be too much to ask you to make me a cup of tea for when I get home. I like tea, you know I like tea..." rant continues. I am trying to edge away to the buffet table and eying up the door for a quick escape by this time.
She goes on to explain that her nanny cannot gain the respect of her children although she does admit they are 'spirited and challenging' 8 and 10 year olds(code word for out of control and spoilt in my book) The children call her at work to 'tattletale' on the nanny. She is the CEO of a large company so I am not sure why she allows non-emergency calls from her kids in the first place. Anyway they tell her that their nanny is pulling their hair and the nanny apparently defends herself in the background by calling out that she did no such thing. The mother had issue with her calling out in the background, apparently it is not the mother's job to have to settle petty disputes like this and she resents the nanny for it. She then went on to say that the Nanny has no idea how to be a parent, that she may have her own child back in the Philippines but that child is only 2 and she left it there anyway so how can she really know what motherhood is all about. I was horrified by this statement, and my husband could see I was seething so we moved away. I wish that I had said something to her about this statement because it was so appalling.
I am a white, north American nanny with a bachelors degree and in my 20s. Often this surprises people of similar ages in the area where i live because most of the nannies in the area are Philippino. Although I am in a very different situation with regards to my background I still feel a solidarity with the other nannies who do the same job as me. Just because they are in the live-in caregivers program they are often taken advantage of with regard to hours, bad treatment and ignorance as demonstrated by this mother. Not to mention insensitivity towards the fact that they have had to leave family and often their own children back in their home country.
Before we could escape the party she came back and made some other awful comments including how she has Nanny-cams that the nanny doesn't know about. I was so glad to leave which was a shame because most of the other people there were very nice. I wondered to myself why she chose me to rant to? Not only did I not sympathise with her on any level but I will also now be letting all the local nannies know that their family should be avoided at all costs. If I could not confront her directly at least I could do that!
I should mention that I work for the most wonderful family who treat me fantastically. I have a great contract and am given lots of room for creativity and fun with the kids. I am never asked to tidy up adult bedrooms, am pretty sure I am not filmed and am never called a bad mother. I love my job!
-Pacific Northwest Nanny