Why Do Some Moms Avoid Nannies Like The Plague?

opinion 2 Hi ISYN, I was wondering if you could post this question to your readers (specifically the moms out there). I have been a nanny for over 10 years now and I absolutely love it! For the most part all of the families I have worked for have been wonderful (though there has been some "horror" stories) and all the children I cared for have been great and left an imprint on my heart. I love my profession and wouldn't change it for the world. But I have a question for all the moms out there.

In all my years of being a nanny I notice a common "theme". While at parks, playgroups, or general outings I would strike up conversations with various moms. The conversations start great but the minute I mention that I am not my charge's mother the conversations stops almost immediately and then I am avoided like the plague. It seems as though once they find out I am the nanny I am "beneath" them. Or just because I am the nanny I cannot carry out an intelligent conversation (which is odd because just minutes before we were having a great conversation).

Usually at the playground it seems like there are 2 groups: the moms and the nannies. The moms tend to clique up and the nannies do the same. I personally never grouped myself into either, as I am usually busy with my charges, but now and then I will strike up conversations with other adults. I know being a nanny is not about conversations with adults but I am just curious why mothers tend to avoid conversing with nannies. I do not take offense to it so I am not whining/complaining. I know I am intelligent and all around awesome so it's their loss for dismissing me. I am just genuinely curious why mothers tend to do this.

In my years of being a nanny, I even had mothers remove themselves and children away from me and my charge after they found out I was the nanny! I am then left with a confused child who doesn't understand why their new friend was moved to the other side of the playgroup to sit with the other mothers with children. It's heartbreaking to witness! I would also like to add not all mothers do this so I am not lumping all mothers in the same boat. It's just that a majority of the mothers have this "attitude" towards nannies. I've spoken with other nannies before about this and they've also expressed how they were treated differently after they revealed that they were not the mother of the child.

So if any moms out there have some feedback to this type of behavior that would be great! Also, I would love to hear nannies' perspectives/stories about this subject.


Sarah said...

I've noticed this as well. Although the location where I nanny there aren't really alot of nannies so I tended to be left all by myself, which was fine with three little ones to run after all day! However i did find that the dads with their kids at the playgrounds didn't discriminate between nannies and other parents. They just seemed to be happy to have someone else to help keep an eye out for their little ones!

Earth Angel said...

I have noticed this in the pass when i was Nannying, mothers would jump at ANY chance to get away from nannies and their charges but the fathers with children won't discriminate. I've also noticed where i live nannies stick to themselves in fear of being discriminated..

ericsmom said...

I am sorry you went thru this OP. In the past I was a full time nanny. Now I am a mom. Knowing what they go thru on a day to day basis, I have more feelings for a nanny. So when I meet one at a park I always talk to them if my child is playing with their charge.

P.S. It could be that their envious that you are able to leave at the end of the night. LOL and they are "stuck" 24/7

Nannycaroline said...

That happens to me a lot too! It makes me sad. Now I just chat with the moms a little, and try to avoid mentioning that I am his nanny. I wish there were more nannies in my area to hang out with.

Nanny Franny said...

Perhaps they may think of you as someone "beneath" them as you stated. Or maybe they think you are just some "college kid" not experienced enough for true child-related conversation. It's stupid, I know.

The reason the fathers are more friendly is that typically men are more laid back and women tend to be more about drama and catty towards one another. Again...stupid.

You sound like a nice girl and I am sorry this stuff keeps happening to you OP. Remember: it's not you, it is them. Really.

mom of 3 said...

I think the reverse happens as well. Nannies stick together because they don't want to feel judged or feel like a mom is watching their every move and will perhaps report back to their boss on their interactions with their charges. Many times I've commented to a nanny that their charge was cute or something and the nanny acknowledges and quickly moves away or hurries along...I have also had 5 nannies whose charges my kids would have regular playdates with and who I got to know pretty well as a result. I've found the bench nannies to be least friendly toward moms (and I'm sure they know they are doing a crappy job)...on the other hand, the nannies who are OK being friendly with moms are usually really good nannies who seem to genuinely care for their charge. You also have a lot of moms who, like the OP said, just feel that they are above nannies and would never socialize with one. Moms who will hang with a nanny while kids play are probably just as rare as those good nanny who are willing to hang with moms.

Belle Vierge said...

When I was an au pair in France, I mostly hung out with other au pairs while waiting for our kids because 1) we were all the same age and 2) we all spoke English (although I speak French). But I also was quite friendly with the mothers of my kids' friends. I've only been in my current nanny position a month, but so far, the few parents with whom I've interacted have all been friendly.

MissMannah said...

I've experienced this as well and like Sarah, I don't have any nanny friends so I'm often just odd woman out. (I don't go out with my current charge so it doesn't matter now.) In the past whenever I would tell a mom on the playground I was a nanny, I would almost always get 1 of 2 reactions:

"Oh I would love to be able to afford a nanny! How much do they pay you?" None of your damn business!

"Do you have any children of your own?" When I would admit that I don't, they would look kind of let down and eventually walk away. I think they just figure they don't have anything in common with us.

justthenanny said...

I've experienced the same thing. There are very few nannies in my area and I have no nanny friends. When I tell them I am the nanny, not the mother, one of 2 things happen. They continue talking with me, or they drop the conversation. Or, sometimes they ask me if I work full-time in which I answer yes, then they ask if I know anyone who nannies. Ha!

Scary nanny said...

I am so used to this after many years of being a nanny, now I am surprised if the conversation continues after I disclose that I'm not the mom. Once I had a mom approach me in the park full of hope she said, "I've seen you guys at the park, story time, kindergym, every where we go, our daughters seem the same age,". I could see it in her eyes she had planned to try to make a connection like a boy asking a girl to go out for the first time. I was interested I'd been looking for a park playmate and an adult to chat with, well I say..."Oh, I'm her nanny, but they do look to be the same age." As I'm saying this she has sopped all conversation turned and walked away saying "Oh," in the most disappointed of tones. I went and sat with my home daycare ladies who've hung at this park daily for 15 years & who the moms ignore until they're ready to go back to work. I don't know why, but some moms are scared of nannies!

Sarah said...

Miss Mannah..I've defiantly gotten both of those reactions...people thought that my 'kids' were mine all the time...mind you I am 22, look about 16 and my 'kids' are 5, 3 and 2... Seriously people use your brains!

Phoenix said...

personally I think they think that you are below them. You can't make the final decision about the children so they don't feel that they need to talk to you.

Not wow said...

I'm a nanny in DC, and I've had mostly good experiences so far.

When my charge goes to the park, she usually sees and plays with the children she already knows. Most of those kids come with their moms or dads, and they all know that I'm the nanny.

Everyone I've spoken to has gone out of their way to be friendly and include me in conversation, even exchanging numbers with me so arranging play dates will be easier in the future.

Of course, only 24 and most of them are at least in their 30's, with families, etc, so we don't have a whole lot in common. I'm at a different place in my life than them, and I don't expect them to include me in their "mom talk" and gossip about their mutual acquaintances, but they've all been very friendly and welcoming.

I haven't yet tried to meet and talk with people who don't know my charge at all; maybe the response would be more like what you've all experienced.

On the other hand, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm not her mom. I look younger than I am, so I would have to be a very young mom with a child in a very affluent area. Not too common.

TC said...

Where I work the majority of nannies are Mexican and speak very little English (not a jab, just stating fact) so it's hard for me to interact with them. I'm white and although I should know Spanish I don't so I have the nannies I can't communicate with and the moms who wont talk to me because I'm the nanny.

I also don't disclose I am the nanny unless I have to because of this, I couldn't care less if they like me but when you spent 10+ hours a day with a small child it's nice to have adult conversations. I can talk to people for know just idle chit chat but the moment they find out I'm the nanny that's it.

I do have some moms who are down to earth and have no problem with me but sadly I can count on one hand how many mother 'friends' we've made in the 4 yrs I've been with this family.

nannyb said...

I was just about to post a question like the OP.
I belong to a Playgroup and while it is a fantastic playgroup I am an outsider.
and I also experience the dropping of conversations. They also ask why my husband and o do not have kids (married one whole month!).
I think moms think nannies don't take child care seriously.
Its getting old that's for sure. I've considered starting my own nanny Playgroup. I want my charge to be social but I'm sick of the dirty looks and awkward situations.

Upstate Mom said...

Although I have spoken with various nannies at the park, indoor playground etc. the fact is that many stay at home mom's are lonely and want a friendship that might extend to their spouses meeting, dinner out and the kids "growing up" together if the friendship flourishes. That would be less likely to happen with a nanny who may or may not stay with the kid as they "grow up". In this busy world of ours, there is a chance that a mother would not have time to cultivate a friendship with someone who might not meet their needs in their lonliness. It might not have anything to do with the nanny, and everything to do with what the mother is looking for.

Texas Nanny said...

I've also experienced this as a nanny. In my area most spots have three basic social groups: the agency nannies, the non-agency nannies including the immigrant women, and the moms.

I'm an agency nanny, but the agency nannies here are often very stuck up, so I prefer to talk to non-agency nannies and moms, but moms will often lose interest in talking to me when I mention I'm a nanny.

It drives me crazy because the other reason I ever approach anyone in the park or library is if their kids are my charges' ages, to discuss developmental stuff, but I feel like I have to lie about not being a parent to get a good talk going. I don't think these parents realize how involved I am in my charges' lives.

You know who is great besides dads and other nannies, though? Grandmothers! I've had so much fun talking to grandmothers at the park on occasion, but of course I usually just let them assume I'm the mother.

Manhattan Nanny said...

The playground snub when they find out I'm not the mom happens occasionally. Oh well,I don't want to be distracted by chat anyway, I'm trying to keep on top of two or three kids!
I have had mostly good experiences with the parents from my charges schools. There are a few who share my interests in books, theatre, current events etc. and we have a lot to talk about. Those who would rather not have a playdate with a nanny are probably right. I overhear the endless discussions of hair styles, real estate and designer bags at pickup, and have nothing to contribute to that.
I think it is a shame though, that so many of them seem to think they can only relate to people just like themselves. I have gotten to know nannies from so many different cultures, and learned so much from them. It is one of the things I love about NYC.

oh well said...

I think it is easier for a mom to relate to another mom than to a nanny. A SAHM might expect more of a relationship with another SAHM than with someone who is on a different life path.
But to be honest, as a mom who has witnessed and experienced snobbery from other moms, I do think that some mothers like to socialize 'upwards'. I do find that mothers who tend to think of others as 'not good enough' are shallow individuals, so you are probably not missing much if one of these moms gives you the cold shoulder.

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

I blogged about this a long while my name to find the post on my blog!

Nanny 1 said...

To tales fromthe(nanny)hodd.
I agree with you i thought i had read another blog about this.

Scary Nanny said...

It's a great discussion for once! I guess it's good to take all these comments into consideration when being social with the moms and other nannies. What we have to remember is we not there to make best friends, but some adult conversation is refreshing in a ten hour day! Also, it's rude to drop a conversation!

OP.... said...

OP here!

Thank you everyone for your kind words and feedback. It's great to hear from everyone's perspective.

I have to agree. When I talk to fathers and explain that I am a nanny they are more laid back and do not care. But perhaps they are just finding a way in to indulge in a "nanny fantasy" LOL HA.JUST KIDDING!. But I do appreciate them being nice and showing interested in my job.

I am always nice to anyone that speaks with me. And I understand if they ignore me after I say I am the nanny then that's their lost. I just feel bad when my charge is affected by the snub.

But I noticed this snub often happens with my younger charges. In the past when I was an after school/evening nanny, parents were more "accepting" of myself due to the fact they knew the parents and the children. So they would have small talk with myself and even set up play dates with my charges.

@NannyB that's a great idea to start a playgroup for nannies and their charges. Sort of like Mommy and Me but instead Nanny and Me ha :)

Also, I enjoyed your blog TFTNH. You described a situation that I experienced often. The "Mom Freeze" is a great way to describe the awkward silence and drop in convo!

Thank you once again everyone for sharing your stories and feedback. I appreciate all the commments!