Nanny Camaraderie

I am an avid reader of this blog, but this is my first time submitting. "Jane" is my 13 month girl I watch. I am a nanny, and where I work there's more SAHMs than Nannies. I see other nannies from time to time, but today I met a Nanny and an Au pair. They just started coming to Storytime at the Library a couple weeks ago, but today we made introductions. I met the Au pair first, and I don't know... she just came across as shady to me. First of all... she's caring for boy/girl twins who are almost 2, and she had earphones in her ears!!! Sitting in a chair... tapping her foot, and quietly humming. Sure, she was watching them, but come on, earphones, really?! Her clothes, I don't think were job appropriate. Her shorts were practically booty shorts and her top was super low. I'm not a prude nor am I saying you have to dress like a prude, but at least be appropriate. You're watching children, save that outfit for the bar.

We made small talk about our charges, work day, etc. Then "Jane" and I went to read in the corner. She came over a couple minutes later and starting talking to me again WHILE I was reading to the baby! She started asking me more questions which lead to personal questions; how do I like the family, what do they do for a living, do I do housework, am I under the table or on the books, how much do I get paid!!! I am a very private person as it is with people I know, but for someone I just met to start shooting me these questions?!? I don't talk about specifics of my job, or answer personal questions... so I just nicely told her she was asking too personal of questions, and went back to reading to Jane. She gave me a look and was like, "Seriously?! I just wanted to compare."

I know how much Au pairs make, and honestly I didn't want to make her feel bad. I just don't think she understands there is a slight difference between a nanny and au pair. The Nanny I had just met, on the other hand, was absolutely wonderful!!! After me and Jane left the library we decided to meet her at the park. There were a ton of kids there running around, but she still managed an 8 month old on her hip while helping the 2 yr old up and down the slide. She was attentive, loving, encouraging, and experienced. The girls were so well behaved too! She actually reminded me of... well me (haha)! We're both young, professional (she dressed appropriate and still stylish), we've been nannying for 5+ years, and we just get where the other is coming from. I have friends who are moms, but it's not the same.

We're both American, but we do incorporate our native tongues into our charges lives (she's Latina and I'm Asian). When asked (in Spanish) to say hello to me the 2 yr old said "hola, L****". Even though we work in the city, there's still not that many nannies around our particular area, so to have met another nanny you click with... it's like a breath of fresh air!! We exchanged numbers and plan on meeting up with the kids after I come back from vacay! I think it'll be good for the girls. Jane just turned 1, aside from weekly Storytime and kids she sees running around at the park, it's mostly her and her nanny (me) all day! And new nanny friend said that since her charge left daycare, she's become really shy and reserved. Nanny really seemed to love her job and the girls she was caring for, which is something I didn't get from the Au pair. I don't believe she's a bad caregiver either, I just think she has a lot to learn.

Do you guys think there's a difference between a nanny and an au pair? Does it make you uncomfortable when people ask you specifics about your job? How do you handle it? Before people make negative comments, yes, I think those questions she asked me were too personal. Quite frankly, my job specifics are no one else's business. It wasn't just that she asked them, it was her demeanor and the way that she asked. Another thing, I don't like to gloat. I'm not going to throw my salary around in someone's face, especially if I know they do the same job as I do, but are making less. So please don't turn this posting into a riot. Thanks! - Lo
Readers: Please be respectful of OP's request for no flaming in her thread. Thank you! ~ MPP


jenna said...

It's good you found someone. Sounds like you need some friends. You're a little too judgmental dear.
The way people dress is none of your business. Was she from another country? Sometimes foreigners can be more direct in conversation than Americans. Take that into consideration next time.

Do you REALLY know how much she is paid? Or are you assuming?
Maybe you're just overpaid? Did you think of that?

You sound like you have a lot to learn in the people skills department.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

Regarding the au pair's clothing, it could be a cultural thing. Maybe where she is from, it is acceptable to dress like that while on the job. I agree that she should tone it down, however it IS summer and maybe I am just being ethnocentric here. LOL.

I think it was wrong of her to wear headphones, but since she was in the library and her eyes were on the kids, maybe she was just going to listen to some music while the kids listened to stories.
It's not something I would do, however not everyone thinks like me.

I think it is fantastic that you found a new "nanny friend." This will help you in that your charge will learn socialization skills and your day will be much less boring and isolating. ☺

I think it is rude to ask someone how much they make....but I admit...I sometimes goof at this myself. I am ashamed to say this, but when I meet other nannies I try to "hint" to see how much they make. They usually make more than I do, sadly. LOL.

Anyway, I would just enjoy your newfound friendship w/this new nanny friend and enjoy your job.

Have fun!~

another nanny said...

I don't like to answer many questions about my nanny job or about myself, especially with people I just met. However, I would phrase it as, "I'm uncomfortable answering those questions" rather than "You are asking questions that are too personal." Just because I'm very private doesn't mean everyone is, and that's okay.
Also, as you point out, nannies and Au Pairs are different. While many nannies consider themselves professionals, many Au Pairs do not. They are drawn in with the promise of a cultural experience in exchange for some easy childcare. So, yes, the mindset may be different, but I don't see that as being a flaw of the au pair, just a difference in the type of childcare the parents chose.
Finally, congrats on finding a new nanny friend! It's definitely nice to have someone compatible like that for playdates, etc.

Jessica said...

I had a situation like this once only I was stupid and actually told the Nanny what I made I was also curious what she made. Well I had one charge she had four charges under the age of 5 and I made double her salary. As you can imagine it didn't go well. She became defensive and asked why I was so overpaid. She got down right nasty. I simply stated that was how much I was worth. Im older now and would never answer/ask how much a Nanny made. If I am asked I smile and say Im not comfortable discussing my salary. The problem is there are no regulations in professional childcare and anyone who babysits once offers services as a professional Nanny. They think they should make just as much as someone with 5+ years of experience as a professional full time Nanny. Another problem is parents who can't afford day care start looking for a "nanny" or au pair as a cheaper option because articles all over the internet talk about how affordable a Nanny can be. My favorite analogy for this non sense is If you can't afford to go out to eat what makes you think you can afford a professional chef to come to your home and cook your meals? You are not over paid no professional Nanny is. This career path is hard work but brings with it tremendous joy. I love my professional career and ask a proper wage for all the hard work I do. I have a ton of Nanny friends who all feel the same way. Surround yourself with professional Nannies who would never ask personal questions about you or your career. If you encounter an unprofessional "nanny" or au pair smile, be polite, and move on.

MissMannah said...

I think it is ALWAYS inappropriate to ask someone else how much they make, especially a stranger! Jessica provided us with an excellent example of why it is a bad idea.

Maybe you were being a little too judgmental when it comes to the Au pair's outfit, but you know what, I would have thought the exact same thing. We've had parents come on here and talk about how it embarrasses them when the nanny isn't appropriately covered up, so I think it is a valid opinion that we need to dress modestly on the job.

I'm glad you found someone you can enjoy playdates with. It helps the job immensely to have another adult to talk to from time to time.

Manhattan Nanny said...

OP, That is great that you met a nanny to have playdates with. It will be good for both your care and you. As for the nosey au pair, I would be more judgmental of her employers. I don't think an au pair is a good choice to care for toddler twins. That is a demanding job for an experienced nanny.
Au pairs come to the USA for a cultural experience. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity to further their education, polish their English and travel in exchange for babysitting. They are required to take classes and are supposed to live with an American family as a family member, not an employee.
Unfortunately, many agencies tout au pairs to American families as a form of cheap childcare. They are not nannies! With such different expectations on both sides, there is bound to be disappointment and frustration
An au pair can contribute a lot to a family with school age children. She is like a big sister who can babysit and help out in general with the added bonus of exposing the children to another language and culture.

RBTC said...

what you wear is important, it does matter and someone who is wise will be circumspect about their wardrobe in any professional situation

thank you Op - for taking the time to post and tell your story - very interesting !

Let's take a moment said...

It's great that you found a nanny friend (and a playmate for little "Jane"). A little more social interaction will do you both good.

I don't blame you for keeping your business private. My mom always told me to never discuss your pay (except she meant with coworkers, but whatever. Same reasoning behind it). Oh, and yes, au pair could've kept it kid-friendly (but what can one do?).

JustSayNoToAuPairs said...

I've read countless stories about au pairs. All situations will not qualify for the following. However, there are seemingly endless stories online regarding nightmare au pair stories. Au pair agency exaggerate or down right lie about the au pairs experience as well as their English speaking skills. Some agencies even write email responses for the au pairs. And some parents have noticed that some au pairs have rehearsed answers. They've learned to ask unique questions to test their understanding of English. Soooo many families have said hiring an au pair is like paying to have a big teenager in your house that you have to take care of. Her choice in clothing doesn't surprise me. The one word that comes to mind when I think of au pairs is: unprofessional. said...

Because au pairs make a set amount set by the government.

ericsmom said...

What the hell do you expect when the poor girls are usually paid under $300 a week. Most are treated like slaves. Work more hours than allowed. Are expected to be the housekeepers on top of it.

What I think of most of the parents that hire Au pairs: Assholes

Heavens said...

There is a certain irony in a poster that comes across extremely snobby and judgmental not wanting to be "flamed" on her post.

To answer your question. I lovely very skilled au pairs that could run circles around many of the professional nannies I have met and deserved to be paid far more than they are.

JustSayNoToAuPairs said...

Well I would expect them to at least keep the children safe. These girls I speak of have no manners, play online all day, sleep while they're charges play unattended, sleep around & have additional habits that endanger the family. Are they underpaid? Maybe yes. Maybe no. Either way, that wouldn't justify the behavior.

nycmom said...

Manhattan Nanny is correct. Unfortunately new parents who are not experienced in hiring childcare providers and au pairs (often young women away from home for the first time) are very much misled by the agencies as to what to expect. Families are told they are getting 45 hours of childcare from an experienced provider, in addition to a cultural exchange (though the educational/cultural component is greatly downplayed to parents). Au pairs are told they are coming to learn, be students, be a part of the family and babysit in the form of a mother's helper. They do lie about their experience and are often encouraged to do so to get picked.

Both sides have completely different expectations and the rematch rate (which agencies tend to refuse to reveal though I have had counselors report it) is over 50% for very good reason. I think the fault lies primarily with the agencies. Certainly there are horrible au pairs and horrible families. However, if they were each told the reality of the situation most of these problems would go away. Au pairs are one of several reasonable choices for wrap-around care for school age kids who want a big sister type relationship. The rare au pair can manage the nanny role. Most cannot and have no desire to work that hard.

boggled said...

Heavens said: "I lovely very skilled au pairs that could run circles around many of the professional nannies I have met and deserved to be paid far more than they are."


Lizzy Lindell said...


Rosario said...

I do feel rather awkward when some job specifics are asked. For example the other day this other nanny at the park said, "how long have you had your green card?". well, I am an black american who speaks fluent spanish (dominican) so I felt a bit odd saying "I was born here". Then she responded by asking me how much I made, and I told her. But it really got awkward when she told me that she was illegal, and that she made 75K under the table. I felt bad for here at that point because in this day and age you should never go around telling people who you met 30 mins ago that you are an illegal immigrant. It just seems like such a risk! I have nothing against immigrants and I feel like it should be easier to gain citizenship but it seems like a sure fire way to get depoorted if you tell strangers about your immigration status and that you are being paid under the table.

Manhattan Nanny said...

I think she was spoofing you as my charges would say. Maybe she was embarrassed because you make a lot more than she does?
In my experience families who pay in the 75K range do not hire illegals and pay under the table. They are in a tax bracket that makes them more likely to be audited, and their accountants don't want to do anything illegal either. If they have children, auditors will question them about housekeepers and nannies.

run! said...

Rosario.....I'm pretty sure she was BSing you. Either way, she sounds crazy.

Rosario said...

haha thanks Manhattan Nanny... Ill have to use that term "spoofing" lol but I wasn't even throwing around my salary like it was amazing or anything. she told me then that they just write off her salary as "donations" which I thought was illegal anyway bc wouldnt they get extra tax *breaks*. anyway... it should be no surprise to you all that when I saw her later (the next day) i had to take "THE MOST URGENT PHONE CALL EVER" (as my MB calls them when you "answer" your phone to avoid someone). We live in DC and I know quite a few people who are illegal, it just took me as odd that she was so willing to volunteer that information to me.

me said...

You can't write off what you pay your nanny as a donation. In order to write off a donation, the IRS requires you to give the business name, address & their tax ID number of the business who received your donation. You don't get tax credit for giving people money, lol.

This woman is clearly a liar. And not a very good one at that!

Rosario said...

thats what I thought. I knew there was some way that you couldnt write everything off as a "donation". hell, i wish my MB would pay me as a "donation" lol. i dont really see what she would have to lie about but hey i guess if she felt it was necessary....

no moniker #1 said...

Re-post for Anonymous...
I think there is a difference, and big difference between a nanny and an Au Pair. I was Au Pair before, and then a nanny for the same family. However, not many families get the whole picture about this difference, and not my experience, but from other friends who were au pairs, they were doing more than a nanny and working over 50 hours per week with the salary stated by the government and the program. Now, I understand the way she asked you, but I would say that she wasn't being rude to you. The culture or country where she comes from might be, or it is, totally different from here. I agree that it is also a question that you never ask here, specially if you are in America. Before coming to USA, I traveled to many countries in Central and South America, and I understand how different their cultures can be. Some are reserved, some are blunt even with a stranger, with not hard feelings. But if somebody asks me about my job, I don´t really have any problem, I answer, politely and try to lead the conservation to another subject. While being Au Pair for two years, I encountered myself in many situations like that but it was from parents that were asking questions about the Au Pair thing because they wanted to join the program. I had to be very honest with them regarding salary, duties, requirements, from them and from the Au Pair. But I always gave them the information of my counselor so they could talk directly. Just try to understand the way she asked... that is where lie the secret to understand this whole world. :) And I can see she was full of curiosity. Between Au Pairs there is no hiding of any information, though I personally kept my boundaries between privacy and friendship. The Au Pair might probably thought the same way, that there wasn't any harm to ask you such questions. Maybe it is her culture... who knows.Sorry she failed to reach you in the proper way.

OP here.... said...

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't been in here sooner, I'm on vacay!

Anyways, thanks for all your feedback, good and bad. I realized some of my comments did come off judgmental about au pair. I've always worked for professional families, and as a professional nanny I've always dressed and acted appropriately on the job. I've also been thinking about it, and I didn't give her a fair chance. I don't know her situation, and the last thing she probably needs is to be judged.

Nanny friend and I plan to do a picnic in the park when I go back to work to hopefully get the girls aquainted. I get really excited whenever I can put "Jane" in a social setting because she just loves people. And of course, I'm happy when she's happy!

Jenna- I didn't appreciate your comment about me needing friends just because I was happy to have met another nanny in my area. And thanks for your concern about my people skills, but I'm good. Also, the day a family offers me $50 an hour then I will take in consideration about being overpaid.

UmassSlytherin said...

Snob City, if you ask me.