Darling Diva is a Monster in the Making

opinion 1
I currently have two part time nanny jobs. One is perfect. The other I have struggled with for months. (It’s been a more difficult situation since the beginning (3 years ago) but the last few months have left me dreading the days I’m there.) The family pays well, returns on time, is respectful to me in that degree expects no housekeeping, except for cleaning after the kids.

Where things are quickly becoming impossible is discipline with one of their two children. They have a 2.5 year old son C and a 5 year old daughter M. M is a pageant participant and if you’ve seen toddlers in tiara’s…well the show is no exaggeration. I think they discipline their son fine, but it appears harsh when they don’t discipline their daughter at all. This is none of my business really. When it becomes my business is what happened this past Monday when mom (who works night shift at a second job to help pay for the pageants) went to leave. C said goodbye mommy and ran off to play as he normally does. M, who has for months been upping the drama anytime mommy leaves went into overdrive. Mom played right into her lap giving her 13 goodbye hugs and kisses all while saying mommy is going to be late (yes, I counted) meanwhile M hangs off mom and cries and screams and acts obnoxious.

In the past I have tried to take the child away from the situation with disapproval glances from mom. I feel its best on everyone to do one quick goodbye I love you and out you go. This hanging around stuff is for the birds. The mother has bribed her with money before JUST to allow her to get out the door. It’s crazy. This particular session was going nowhere fast and I was going to have to deal with the back lash so I picked M up and said say goodbye to mom we’re going to go play and went towards their play room. The mom said thanks and rushed out the door. Where in All Hell Broke Loose. M slapped me in the face, kicked my shins when I put her down, punched me in the stomach. I told her very sternly that we do not hit or hurt other people and she was going to need to go to her room to calm down. She continued screaming with this demon possessed look on her face so I picked her up taking more abuse and took her to her room. Surprisingly she didn’t come out of her room, instead she trashed the thing throwing everything she could on the floor, and continued screaming for perhaps 5 minutes, and then silence. I thought she’d exhausted herself into sleep.

I was finishing up dinner, and preparing plates and so I let her “rest” for a few minutes. No more than 10 minutes after the screaming ceased but the child’s mother called me on my cell phone. M had apparently called her from her phone (yes, she has a phone) told her I was mean to her, I don’t know what all. All I know is that Mom called in for the night, came home consoled her daughter, while reminding me that I had no right to discipline her child and had the audacity to tell me to clean up her room. I told her I did not get paid enough for M’s abuse and walked out. The father called the next day trying to smooth things over. Told me his wife wanted to apologize for the way she spoke to me but was afraid I wouldn’t answer the phone for her. (So she didn’t even TRY to call?) He said he knew I was a great nanny and that C and M love me and want me to come back. I told him I cannot work under those circumstances. It is DANGEROUS for that child to believe I hold no authority in their home when the parents are gone. And that also, I was hurt that after all the years (and I have sat for them for years) that she’d immediately believe the lies M told her verses the side I gave the Mom. He apologized profusely, said we’d discuss accessible forms of discipline together as a front in front of both children. All that sounds good and all, but secretly I think DB knows that his daughter is a monster and no one else will stay with her in this condition and they need a sitter and MB is truly not on board and the misery will continue.

Would you stick it out and see what happens after this sit down we’re going to have Monday? The kids have been staying with their grandmother the days I normally have them this week, but DB said that his mother cannot keep them on a long term basis and they really need me to return. I include this because they do have some form of back up should I decide I just can’t do it. Though, I’m not sure who in their right mind would deal with that little girl very long. She’s BEAUTIFUL, and TALENTED, and can be so darn pleasant, but her other side is Diva Monster all the way. (One day she asked me if I did pageants when I was a little girl and I said no and she said “why, because you are too ugly to win?” WHAT?) Does anyone have any experience with this? I’ve worked with a family who simply didn’t know how to discipline and once we were all on the same board the kids turned around in a quick amount of time and it turned out to be a delightful position. I’m just not sure THIS situation will be like that.

I can leave. I love the kids but I learned long ago you love them all, and you miss them for a while but it goes away. I feel sorry for C but he isn’t my kid to save. The biggest problem with leaving is this job works perfectly with my other part time nanny position and I think it might be hard to fill in the blanks. I LOVE my other job, and know that there is no opportunity for more hours there, at least not anytime soon. Does anyone have any advice for me?


slb3334 said...

I know this doesn't have a lot to do with this, but every time I would watch that show,, I would think they need to smack that kid's rear end or take them and leave.

I don't blame you for not wanting to put up with it any more. I would leave if I had another job lined up.

Village said...

I'd leave, and starting taking sitting jobs at a higher rate. Who knows, one of those could turn into a share that fits.

MissMannah said...

Do you need the money or can you make do with your other PT job? If you'll be ok with just that money, forget about it. It isn't worth the effort. If you do need the money and do want to put in the effort, give it another shot, but make sure the mom is absolutely clear that things are going to change. What kind of discipline do they use for their son? I think it is kind of weird they have no problem disciplining him, but they won't do anything with her, especially because he is younger. Anyway, if discipline techniques seem to work for the son, and they are age-appropriate for the daughter, they need to be immediately implemented. If mom isn't on board for any of this, you need to walk.

No, I do not have experience with pageant parents (thank god) but I think I wouldn't even accept a job for a family that did them. Pageants show such a skewed view of reality, it just disgusts me. I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to keep my big mouth shut for too long if I was around it all the time! So, in my opinion, they should start cutting down on the pageants now and eventually withdraw M from all of them...but I doubt they'll do that. Mom seems way too into it. Also, I just want to point out that her "diva" behavior is coming directly from her mother, please don't blame her. When she asked if you were ugly, she was just parroting what she had probably heard her mother say previously. I have no doubt in my mind her mother has told her that the girls who don't win or compete are too ugly to do so.

Wishing you the best said...

If it were me, I'd stick it out for a little while longer to see if maybe this sit down chat thing does have an effect, especially since you want to be able to keep your other job and you aren't sure you could do that if you were to leave this one. Use the time to be searching for another job or two in order to fill the days if you DO decide you absolutely can't work for those people anymore. To me, it's worth sitting down and discussing everything with the parents and seeing if things change... again, if for no other reason than to buy yourself some time to try to find another position that will work with your other job. I don't know what area you live in or what your current hours are, but I've had 1 job I absolutely love for over a year. The hours and days have changed a few times and I was so afraid I wouldn't find other positions to work around it so I could stay, but I always have. Good luck!

Beezus said...

My sister did pageants for a time when we were young. Yes she was a diva from birth. High heels and beady jewelry all the time while wearing curlers in her hair. I was always harassed to them, but they were TOTALLY not my thing. I enjoyed showing dogs lol, not myself.
She was always taunting to me for not doing them as well. "You're just too ugly!!" She definitely got by with a lot and disciplined far less. I'm not sure why parents feed into it. It's weird. Pageant days are so long and so meaningless and by the end of it all for a trophy and ribbon if you were lucky?
I would try and stick with the job if you need it, if you don't then leave. By leaving you'll be teaching this family that not everyone thinks their baby girl is a little fairy princess that rules the world with her golden fingers. Once she starts school, if she hasn't already she won't be allowed to speak to teachers and classmates the way she acts out with you.
Its a lesson learned sooner than later.

MissDee said...

Here's a thought:
Maybe she is so frustrated with pageants that she doesn't want to do them. Maybe she feels pushed into them by her mother, and is afraid of saying no, she doesn't want to do it, so she acts out toward you.

I can just see her in about 5, 10, 15 years. Friendless, lonely and dateless. She already reminds me of girl who, at 11, said the following:

"This is your car? It's gross and it smells. I can't believe my friends are watching me in this car. I am so embarassed!!!"....

Me: "I read the note on your mirror about getting your navel peirced when you are 12. Peircings are a big responsibility..."

Child: "Shut up. I really don't care what you have to say and I don't like you. I have the perfect body now, and the perfect body then and the perfect body for the rest of my life. I always get what I want, no matter how much it cost."

I did a trial of one day. $15/hr (back in 2001) M-F, 12p-6p. I declined the job without giving an explanation. How do you tell parents their daughter is obnoxious?

Beezus said...

You let them know their daughter was obnoxious by simply declining the position.
One day everyone learns that there is always someone prettier, smarter and more talented out there. With the help of the internet it's both a blessing for some and a curse for others.
You can make a child still feel special,significant and valuable without letting them think that they are the center of the universe and that trees and gods will bow before them.

jenkait said...

Wow... I just wanted to post to say GOOD FOR YOU for walking out of an intolerable situation!! I must say I was very impressed when I read that. I am glad that you stood up for yourself.

I think the FACT that you stood up for yourself makes it OK to consider going back, if that makes sense. They now know what you're willing to put up with.

First of all, I want to point something putting her in her room even "discipline" under these circumstances? The primary purpose seems to have been to stop her physical attacks and allow her to calm down. To me this doesn't even seem like a "time-out", it just seems like the only logical response to an out-of-control child.

For the sit-down, I'd keep it short and sweet, but describe again what happened and why you felt unsafe and offended: M was slapping, punching and kicking you (tell them exactly what she did) and you stated "We do not hit" and told her she was being put in her in her room to calm down. You heard her screaming and throwing toys around for five minutes before quieting down, at which point she obviously made the phone call. Reiterate that this was not so much "discipline" as a safety issue and you do not feel you were being "mean". Tell mom that you felt it was incredibly inappropriate to be told to clean up the mess M made during her temper tantrum. I'd also add what your plan was if you had one (ie "Once she calmed down I was going to clean up the room WITH her while discussing why it wasn't nice to hit" or whatever you would have done.)

I agree with you that it's dangerous for the child to believe you have no authority when the parents are gone. Sounds like DB gets that, with the "front". This is worth talking about, too. Give them your bottom line, which I presume is that you are unable and unwiling to work in environment where you are made to put up with physical abuse.

I don't know what's going on here, MB's actions and behavior make me not really trust her, but at least DB sounds reasonable. Maybe MB really did realize she overreacted and is now screwed without you? She doesn't sound too reasonable or particularly charming, but it sounds like you kind of knew that already. IMHO, if the job suits your schedule and the other things are OK, it may be worth giving another try. I'd say a lot depends on the feeling you get in the sit-down, though (do they acknowledge you shouldn't have to put up with abuse, etc.) If do you go back and things don't change, you aren't obligated to stay, right?

Good luck, and let us know what happens.

Pageant supporter said...

First of all, OP: no, I would absolutely not go back. No matter what the dad says.

Secondly, all pageant families are NOT like on Toddlers and Tiaras. Although I am not surprised to hear the judgemental comments here regarding pageants. (Especially from Miss Mannah, who has a real talent for talking about things she knows nothing about.)

This family, OP, has problems raising children. The mother is obviously negligent, and as one above poster said, the child may be lashing out because of the pageants.

However, again, not all pageant families are like this. This is a behavior issue that this mother cannot control.

Beezus said...


MissMannah said she knew nothing about pageants then she stated her opinion and her reasoning as to why she wouldn't work for a pageant family. Nothing wrong with that.
I was super active in competitive dance teams for years and my sister in pageants and some of those dance parents and children can be just as nuts as pageant parents.Of course not everyone competing is insane!We already made that deduction! But I'm willing to bet a magoritty are hence the thriving television show. It does take a certain mindset and moral compilation to launch your son or daughter into any type of competitive sport be it baseball or pro yoyoing; pageantry is just based solely on looks,clothing and a "talent".It is not soccer,horse back riding, or even ballet class once a week-it is a major emotional production for some. Just because you as a parent are not taking winning or losing seriously, it doesn't mean that your child is not. No one likes to be compared on their "look" and "demeanor" and then lose or win accordingly. All I can offer you is to be prepared for opposition. Not too many people will agree that little girls should be putting on make up,fake eyelashes and prancing on a stage in front of MALE and female judges.
Sorry for errors i'm on my phone.

wow. said...

It is a controversial issue, I admit. I am still a supporter. As to this: "pageantry is just based solely on looks,clothing and a "talent", well I could not disagree more. It is based on poise, confidence, grace, and a number of other things.

I teach drama, and I wish some of the children in my classes would take some pageant coaching sessions: it would improve their acting and presentation of themselves.

If you are to critique the mind-set of parents who support their kids in pageants, you must include all forms of acting, modeling, etc. As I said, it is a controversial issue,and a lot of people hate pageants. But then, a lot of people liked Hiter, too. The majority is not always correct. I am prepared for people to disagree with me. Sometimes it is more noble to be an individual than to go along with the herd.

A said...

I don't think I would leave just yet, considering they are at least willing to sit down and talk.

I agree with most other posters; let them know that behavior is NOT acceptable or OK. Also, I'd mention how deteriorating it is to a child's day to have to be played into by getting 100000 hugs and kisses from Mom. EVERY kid that I watch gets a quick goodbye from the parent, because as a nanny that makes my job easier. I am unwilling to deal with unruly, terribly misbehaved children just because they feel guilty about leaving.

Also, to me it seems awkward that you haven't made your discipline style known and asked them what is the proper course FOR discipline for their children. I do not do the 'we do this with baby A, and this with child B, because she's in pageants.' It is an all or nothing situation with me.

Either they both do time-outs for misbehavior, or the parents have an alternative method that I will go along with, but I REALLY love the time-outs. :P

Personally I'd say stick with it if you can. If they are ABSOLUTELY unable to budge and MB doesn't see the errors in her ways (which you should 100% point out!), tell them you are officially giving your notice and you will expect a final payment at the end of your 2 weeks.

I don't advocate simply leaving, even if they have back-up.

MissMannah said...

Thank you. Always nice to be recognized for my many talents.

Beezus said...

In the end, it is poise,grace and confidence coupled with looks,clothing and "talent" that makes the pageant winner a pageant winner. Some kids have a talent for acting. Some kids don't. The ones that don't are likely not going to toss themselves into an acting troupe and most parents while I'm sure would love to make little Jimmy a movie star,know that he has talent elsewhere. I have seen many parents force not just pageants on their children but a whole load of sports, clubs and interests that were theirs not the kids. There are many ways to gain confidence and it is not just through pageantry.
I think it would be more applicable to acquire confidence and poise if these kids were not getting spray tans, wearing flippers and gluing their nails on. Being naturally beautiful is a lost art. If you are going to focus on the superficial aspect of basically a huge "dress up" contest let it be that and let everyone be a winner, don't say these pageants are training this kids to be mannerly little poised angels. These little girls are always going to be thinking in the back of their heads "I was prettier than her and she won!" or "Ughh I'm uglier and fatter than her because I lost!".

wow said...

Pageantry is a form of performance art, just like drag shows or runway shows. In high glitz pageants, the spray tans and the full glitz makeup are all part of it. You don't have to like it, but it is part of the performance art. You and I may have a different opinion of what art is. You might think a picture of a fruit bowl is art, I don't know. But I believe that pageantry is a form of art. It's hard core, and it's not for everyone.

*Melanie Raye* said...

What I find concerning is that the mother told you you weren't allowed to discipline her child. This is disempowering to you as a nanny, and creates a culture of disrespect that flows down from mother to child.

If I were in this position, I personally would not return to this job.

pageant supporter said...

well said, MR. I completely agree. I would never return to an employer who disrespected me so blatently. I would rather work at a gas station or dunks.

Susannah said...

If you want you can talk things over and give them a second chance, but I can promise you this change in heart has more to do with them being screwed in the childcare department than any change of heart.
If you do go back make it clear there will be changes and that you will not accep t certain things.

Susannah said...

@ wow I wouldn't consider it appropriate for a child to participate in runway or a drag show either.

But I also don't think a child's beauty pageant is a form of art. In my opinion in treads a fine line of being something else.

wow said...

I am not surprised that you feel that way.

XTC said...

Susannah, I think I know the "fine line of being something else" is and I must say I agree.

When I was younger my mom had me do pageants, full-on make-up, costume-y dresses and all. I felt like I was being paraded around. She even took me to her work a few times to show me off.

I think it matured me way too fast beyond my years. I should've been able to run around and scratch in the dirt like the other kids. I missed my childhood.

oh well said...

Sounds like the mom has separation issues. It probably affects the little girl, too. And please do not begrudge a five-year-old for telling you that you are too ugly for a pageant. Kids have a way of saying the most awkward things, maybe it was something she heard, maybe she just came up with it herself. I like what the father said about discussing discipline together in front of the child. It sounds like he realizes how things are going. I think you might want to discuss discipline with the parents alone first and to make very clear what your expectations are. Then the parents should talk to their daughter in front of you and tell her that what she did was wrong and ask her to apologize to you. If they are not ready to do this, then it is probably better for you to go. Also, if you feel too angry at them, it is probably better to go as well.

Laura said...

OP, you are a brave, brave person! I couldn't handle what you dealt with here. I would personally wait for the talk and see if anything changes. Mom needs to discipline this child.

But it is not safe for you to remain in this job if the little girl continues to behave this way. If she doesn't improve, LEAVE... as long as you can afford to, and I hope for your sake that you can. Best of luck!

Alice banned from palace said...

Won't get into the pageant debate.

I feel sorry for both children it's clear mom dad have some issues.

It's very concerning the way mom reacted to you.

I'm always one for second chances
but make sure you get a clear plan for discipline and that you, mom, and dad are all on the same page.
If not don't go back.

Or if they agree to one thing and you see no change don't go back.

Three years is a good amount of time with a family sometimes we come to a point of parting ways

Phoenix said...

OP I am very curious how the sit down will go. I think you need to go to it and discuss the discipline with the parents. I would want them to say it in front of their daughter. It really angers me when parents put all their trust in what comes out of their kids mouth. i know more little kids that lie than I know ones who tell the truth.
This little girl is learning how to be manipulative and it isn't right.
I think you handled the situation very well. Telling mom how it is and leaving. You are 100% correct that you don't need to take the abuse. I also give you mad props for keeping your cool with this child. Lots of people would have probably lost it. If it were my son I would have bopped him.

Courtney- Nanny of 3 said...

It is just ridiculous how the parents ALLOW the little girl to walk all over you like that. I would tell the parents that in order for you to come back, they must allow you to discipline both children and must be on board with the discipline (it won't work unless the parents enforce it too). I don't really like sending kids to their rooms because I don't really see that as discipline...time-outs are a lot more beneficial for me. Good luck!

Alicia B said...

Any update on this? I'm super interested.