Wretched Mom Chats up the Wrong Nanny

Received Monday, January 2, 2011
rant 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


a mom said...

The thing I find most amusing is that you talked to her for so long! You need to get better at changing the topic and then excusing yourself.

Bostonnanny said...

Wow, I'm shocked you listened for so long. I know that my boyfriend and I are very vocal when we hear negative, racist things spoken about anyone. I know if I didn't say anything my boyfriend would have. He actually almost lost it when his boss kept calling me a babysitter, I had to calm him down before he got himself fired.

I feel so bad for this nanny, her boss basically wants a slave. I bet if she actually could afford a "career nanny" she would be in shock.

Anywho, I hope you run into her again and bitch her out.

Phoenix said...

How awful! This woman sounds like my mother. They say mean nasty things! My mother just recently told me that I would never know what being a mom is so I don't know how she feels about things. (She said this two days after my hysterectomy I was forced to have) Some people like to be mean and they just can't help themselves for some reason. If I were you I would have started arguing with her about what was coming out of her face. Next time just walk away.

Floor dweller said...

I don't understand all the fuss over being
referred to as a babysitter. I work 50 hours
a week and make over $ 50,000 a year and
I would not be offended to be called babysitter
I actually prefer it. I think nanny is a name
wealthy people thought up to sound more
important. Just my opinion I know not
everyone agrees.

Texas Nanny said...

Ugh. I know what the OP means about sympathizing with other women who nanny, even if they're from totally different backgrounds.

Personally I prefer to spend time with the immigrant nannies in my area than the "career nannies". The immigrant women are always sweet and affectionate with their charges, and are happy talking to me purely about the babies we take care of.

The "career nannies" here - white girls with BAs like me - stand around the park ignoring their charges to chat instead, and all they want to talk about are their personal lives and my job - how much do I make? What's in my contract? How much bonus did I get? None of their &^&%&#ing business! They're all a bunch of greedy little snots.

myra said...

I disagree. I like hanging around the Island nannies because they all hate their employers and dish mad shit about their personal lives. The career nannies are always talking about potty training techniques and how to get kids to eat vegetables. Boring.

Texas Nanny said...

Floor Dweller, I don't mind if the family wants to call me something other than "nanny" - my current family calls me "(Child)'s Friend" because I know the word nanny and the associations make some families uncomfortable. But babysitter is sort of demeaning because of association too.

What do you picture when you hear "babysitter"? A teenager, sitting on the couch watching TV while the kids sleep. And when I babysit for other families, that's what I do. But when I nanny for the family that employs me, I interact with the kids all day, I try to teach them new words and concepts, and I work to build them up developmentally. When someone calls that "babysitting", well... it's just not accurate.


Someone should call the proper authorities on this woman,someone need to look at her, the nanny is probaly being abused and working 100 hours a week!

A,Jamacian, nanny would never put up with a women like that one and those women know better than to speak rude to a,Jamacian! I gurantee a sour woman like dat, her husband surley sees other women!calaloo a sway fi ol lady, but ol lady a plan fi run yu belly

Nanny in AZ said...

I would have said, "With all due respect, as a professional, I do not engage in speaking about others in my field behind their back. Perhaps you could discuss your concerns with your nanny? Please excuse me, I am going to head to (the buffet table, the restroom, the car to get my jacket etc).

Maybe she would get the hint! :)

holiday party said...

It doesn't make it that much better, but I hope she'd had a few too many drinks at that party, and doesn't generally talk about her nanny like this to strangers. But really...nanny should make her a cup of tea and pick up her dirty underwear? She's not a housekeeper, personal assistant, or spouse. She's there to take care of the kids! And, she's a CEO, but they can't afford a "better" nanny?

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I like to use the term "nanny" as opposed to "babysitter." To me, a nanny is someone who is called to the home not just to watch and supervise the children, but also to interact with the children. Whether it be educational play, trips to the park or whatever, a nanny's job is more than just keeping an eye on the kids. She also does some "light household" tasks related to the child and she typically works set schedule per week. A babysitter to me, is someone who may come over for a few hours on occasion to watch the child when the parents go out whether to run an errand, or see a movie. I used to babysit as a teen, now I nanny as an adult. I definitely bring more experience, maturity and education than I did when I used to watch kids in high school.

NVMom-movedtoTX said...

I think this woman (the complainer, not the OP!) sounds abhorrent and typical of many who employ low-paid immigrants.

I will add that she may well have been taking advantage of someone from a rural area. While living in Asia, I saw many women who came to work as housekeepers/nannies who had never seen electric appliances. I also saw women with college degrees who made US$25 a month in the Philippines so they worked as maids for $400/a month. The Third World is more complex than it can seem. Even an education does not always guarantee a better life there.

oh well said...

Phoenix, I just had to stop when reading your comment. Of course it's mean, but more importantly, it is so wrong. Don't you believe one word of what your mother tells you.
You sound like a good and caring person, and I am sure that life has more in store for you than what you expect.

MissMannah said...

This rant made me want to cry. I feel so, so sorry for this woman. If her employer talks like this about her, can you imagine how she treats her in the home? She must be just awful to work for, impossible to please. I'm with Bostonnanny, I can't believe you listened to that crap for so long. I would have been explaining the difference between "nanny" and "slave" because apparently she thinks they're the same thing.

TheOriginalDenverNanny said...

I went to christmas party as a 'mother's helper' to help the parents with their 22 month old triplets. Another mother at the party went on and on about how long she's been wanting me to meet her 'nanny' and went on about how much she loves having a nanny "like you". She then literally TOLD me I should take my charges from where they were playing next to their parents and take them (with any other children) to the basement with the other nanny.
Said 'nanny' turned out to be a 19 y/o, barely english-speaking but constantly texting au pair who didn't even change diapers--seriously, she carried the toddler with a stinky diaper to the mother , who then asked me for diapers & wipes.
Call me a sitter when I'm babysitting if you want, but don't try to 'set up' nanny playdates with your au pair...