Monday

Who's Your Baby?

OPINION
I've been a nanny for several years, but despite the fact that I'm used to hearing random compliments about "your baby", I still struggle with responding. I find it really hard to just say "thank you" without specifying that I can't actually take any credit, but then I feel awkward when I say "Thank you, but X is not my child." And I definitely don't feel very polite if I just smile and nod.

Do other nannies struggle with this? How do you respond to people complimenting your infant/toddler charges when they are not able to thank the person themselves? On a similar approach, if someone approaches you with questions about your charge (particularly parents with children in similar age ranges) how do you respond to that? Do you just answer the questions without specifying who you are in relation? Or do you say something like "I'm a nanny, but..." I'm sure I'm totally overthinking this, but I'm truly curious. I can't be the ONLY nanny who hasn't figured out a comfortable way to handle the situation...right? - Anonymous

21 comments:

gypsy said...

I don't talk to strangers. When someone compliments my child, I smile & nod.

I hate it when people do that. Its so embarassing.

NannyPants said...

I hear ya!! It happens all the time and is awkward. I sometimes say I'm the nanny, sometimes I don't it depends on the nature of the question or statement said by the other person. More often than anything people will make comments to my charge like "Out shopping with mama today?" and smile and move on...I don't stop them and correct them because that would probably be more awkward. When the questions are more specific like "Is he your only child?" or "Do you get to stay home with him?" I tell them I am the nanny.

Lyn said...

More often then not I just say thank you. I know i don't want to give a stranger too much information about my relationship with my charge because you just never know who is talking to you. So if it's just a random compliment I say thanks. If it's a mom I see at the park everyday with her kids I let them know I'm the Nanny in conversation.
Just use your gut in these situations. :)

NannyEm said...

I live in an area where nannies are pretty much unheard of, so I get comments all the time. Like the PP, I usually ignore them unless they are more direct, like how old is your son or something like that. Lots of times people tell my four year old charge, oh helping your mommy or something like that, and she usually corrects them and says, that's Emily. It can be awkward but I hate to correct it everytime bc it always seems to lead into a long discussion as people are curious about nannies

Nanny of One said...

Dear OP.

Lucky for me, my charge will state, this is not my mommy,this is my nanny so that clears the confusion right away.

Although I do not encourage talking to strangers I have different rules regarding it. If my charge asks me first if its safe and I give permission then it is okay. So she will ask, can I tell them that your not my nanny and from there they will hear right there.

MissMannah said...

Like the PPs, it depends on the situation as to how I respond. If it is just a passing "Oh your baby is so cute" I just smile and say "thank you." If it is a mom on the playground, for example, wanting to have an actual conversation I will explain I am her nanny. Not everyone in the world needs to know you're the nanny and you aren't being disloyal to the parents if you don't get into the explanation every time.

Belle Vierge said...

I guess maybe because I'm young enough, and in both my past au pair jobs, my kids were old enough, my immediate response was to burst out laughing. If I had been the mother of my charges, I would've been knocked up at 13. I've always just laughed and said something like "Oh, I'm not the mother, just the au pair. They're great kids, though, and I'm lucky to take care of them."

Although frequently I would say that in French, so it wouldn't be quite as eloquent. :)

nashville nanny said...

I nanny for a well known country music star. I frequently have people assume I am the "mom" because her 16yr old and I could be siblings with our blonde hair and blue eyes. I am only 33, so we always laugh when people make the mistake, but we usually don't correct them.

missmary said...

When people tell me how adorable "my baby" is (and omg, is he ever adorable), I can't help but squeal and go "OMG I KNOW! Look at this hair!! His parents did a great job!"
Ever stranger because I'm white and he's Indian. I guess people just don't think white people nanny for people of color.

Wendi said...

I am Asian and my charges are usually Caucasian. I notice many parents look at us curiously at first...sizing us up before they comment. Usually they say to me, "Oh...your son/daughter is so cute!!" In this day and age of interracial adoption, I guess they are erring on the side of caution.

I simply laugh and say, "Oh...why thank you, however I cannot take credit since I am his/her nanny. I will pass along the compliment to his/her parents when I see them!!" And I usually do.

justthenanny said...

I get comments like that all the time. When my charge was younger, I would just smile and nod, especially if in a hurry. However, now my charge is 4...and when people say that to me, she answers for me and tells them, "She's not my mommy, she's my nanny!! Mommy is at work.". I usually tell them (in her presence) that she looks exactly like her Mommy, which is true. :) I now get the same comments with the baby sibling. I have noticed my charge does not really like when I get mistaken for Mommy, but I explain people we do not know, just don't know.

Namaste said...

I nannied for a family for three years who were first generation Americans from India. Being very pale white myself and out with dark children , we got stared at a lot. Frequently people would rudely ask me " oh, is their father from India?" My immediate response was always " both of their parents are from India and I am their nanny". I don't really know why, but that question always rubbed me wrong, it always seemed to be a negatively judgemental query.

Thinking of this reminds me of when the four year old was trying to teach me some basic Hindi and I tried to use the words I knew whenever I had an opportunity. We were driving to the library and we were playfully bantering back and forth. I jokingly asked her in Hindi if she was being silly. Her very serious response was " no way! I'm wearing clothes". Haha, apparently I confused my words and asked her if she was naked.

no name #1 said...

RE-post for Anonymous...
This happens to me all the time. Especially because the baby I watch looks like the "Gerber baby". I just say thanks. When I mentioned this to the dad and told him I take credit for it. He responded with "well you do get a lot of credit for how she behaves". which makes sense. No matter how beautiful the baby is, if he/she is crying, or throwing a tantrum, most likely people aren't going to compliment, right? So enjoy it, and take a little credit from strangers. It means you are doing a good job!
(YOU NEED A MONIKER!)

Chelsea said...

OP here --

@Bella Vierge, I'm 22, and I actually get mistaken for being in the 14-17 range quite a bit of the time. That can make it a little more difficult NOT to respond because sometimes people give you the very distinct feeling that they're complimenting you just to see if you're ACTUALLY the parent, and if you don't specify, you get scowled at or mumbled about later, lol.

@MissMannah -- I think you hit the nail on the head mentioning disloyalty. That's how I feel if I just accept compliments. But hearing how most of you just accept the passing compliments but specify with people you regularly encounter makes a lot of sense.

Tricky... said...

I have this problem now with my foster child. I usually say 'thank you' because I'm trying to teach her that it the appropriate response to a compliment. If it is someone who I think we will see more times, I'll say something like "thank you - she's lucky she got her mommy's hair" (she obviously did not get her hair from me!!) or "thanks - her parents made a cute kid"

TC said...

I just say thank you and move on. It used to bother me but after 5 years it no longer does.

iindsay said...

I get that all the time. When she was a baby, I would tell my charge "say thank you - just kidding, you're an infant, you can't talk yet". Now that she's a toddler, I'll still prompt her to say "thank you" and she will. If it's a stranger I'll only see in passing, I usually don't correct them. But if it's someone I expect to see often, or that I'm having a conversation with, I'll say "I'm not her mother".

Ice Queen said...

If someone says 'She's cute' or 'What a cute little blonde pair they make' etc, I don't correct them. They are cute. ;)

If they mention 'YOUR son/daughter' or etc, I specify I'm just the nanny.

Other than that I smile and say thank you and move on.

Bethany said...

Typically I just smile and nod and/or say thanks.


If it's a siuation where I see the person regularly like another playgroup mom I'l let them know I'm the nanny.

As far as questions, I'll answer general ones, but I don't get too personal with answers as they are not my children.

Nay The Nanny said...

This happens when I am out with my little charge all the time. She's just shy of 11 months and really is a cutie...I generally will say something along the lines of "Thanks! I can agree without much bias because she isn't mine!" This usually gets the point across respectfully and also gets a positive reaction since I clearly love her to pieces. I guess I just feel like allowing people to think I'm her mommy if I can avoid it isn't right...I like to consider MB's feelings since I know if she could stay home with her she would. :)

Lyn said...

Just yesterday as I was getting my charges out of their carseats a very pleasant man struck up a quick conversation laughing about how bad my parking was, I laughed and agreed with him. In parting he said "you have a beautiful little family!" I said "thank you!" Wished him a good day and my charges and I started inside the library. When my MB came home that night I told her "I feel like I should pass this on to you" and told her about the compliment. She laughed and smiled and my oldest charge (3) said, "Miss Lyn is part of our family!" Mb said "that's right baby! And we are so lucky to have her!"

Like I said in a previous post, I always say thank you and then give mom the compliment later. Unless I see the complimenter regularly, like a mom at the park or any of the parents from story time. :) All the regulars know I'm the Nanny.