Nanny Drama: My Lessons Learned The Hard Way

by Christina Simon, Contributor, Super Mommy...Not
Many moms, including me, have had –or are having– “nanny drama.” But how many moms can say their nanny had a self-described “nervous breakdown” on the job? Unfortunately, I can.

After I had my first child, I was working full-time and planned to return to the office after a three-month maternity leave. Naively, I assumed I’d find a great daycare near my house. After touring several daycares and putting our name on the wait-lists, no spots opened up once my daughter was born. And, to complicate matters, my company asked me to come back to work a month early for a big project.

Cutting my maternity leave short meant I’d need to find a good nanny— and fast. Since I didn’t know more than one or two friends with babies, I went through a reputable nanny agency in the Valley. Looking back, I shudder at how little I knew about what I was getting myself into. If Craigs list was around, I might as well have used it to find child care.
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Common Sense says... said...

Am I the only one who doesn't feel that sorry for this woman? You loaned her large amounts of money, didn't listen to other moms who tried to tell you she was no good, and ignored huge red flags? And then, gasp! Surprise! The woman didn't work out!

googlebutt said...

My husband would have fired her on the spot for showing up at the house unannounced, especially for bringing along her daughter.

The author of this caused the problem. You can tell because she clearly says she doesn't want her as a member of the family yet she's loaning her money? Mixed signals, much?

She does take responsibility for missing the boat. Just be glad the children were never hurt.

Siriusly_James said...

Common Sense... No, you're not.

Well, I do feel a little bit sorry for her, because after all, who deserves to have a nanny like this woman, who does indeed sound horrible?

However, I thought it would occur to all people to spend a little more time woorying about their child.
This mom actually describes many red flags along the way, INCLUDING other women trying to talk to her about her nanny being no good, but according to this story, mom is way too busy with her work to give it more than a minute's thought.

So yeah, I guess I feel sorry for her, but I also think much of what she experienced was self-inflicted - I mean, who in their right mind loans their nanny money??

MissMannah said...

Just when I think people can't get any more dumb...smh.

BKmommy said...

It took her two years to start figuring out this wasn't working out?!? WTH is wrong with some parents????

JustaNanny said...

I am simply irked by her not wanting the nanny to be a part of the family and to be all business etc... it seems like she's pretty cold. I mean, I don't expect to be BFFLs with MB/DB but if I'm nurturing your child in your absence how do I not have a close bond with at least the child.

nenanny said...

I don't think it's wrong for her not to want the nanny to be a part of the family.

A nanny is an employee. Being a nanny is just a job.

I always keep that in the back of my mind, but I nearly always end up becoming part of the family.

As for this lady, at least she woke up before the child was seriously harmed.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I enjoyed reading this article. It was very well~written and entertaining as well as informative.

It seems this mother was just trying to establish a comfortable and respectful relationship w/"Linda" which unfortunately backfired.
I think she was a fair employer and even went the extra mile to appease "Linda," yet "Linda" took full advantage of this and unfortunately things turned out bad.

I agree w/everything the writer of this article states except the part where she doesn't feel a nanny should still be in contact w/the family once the child outgrows the nanny. She even says she will tell any future nannies this up front.

I would personally be very offended if a family told me this in the beginning.
Like,"We just wanted to clarify that this is a JOB....You come in in the morning, care for our child, then go home at the end of the day. Once our child is old enough to not need a nanny anymore, we do not think it is a good idea to keep in contact since this is a professional situation...nothing more."

If a family told me this, I would be gone in an instant.
I have been a nanny for many yrs and for the most part I keep in touch w/my former charges.
I like to see how much they have grown up and like to visit every now and then.

Is this weird?
Yes, I understand that us nannies are not true "family members." However, I would hope that I would be treated better than just the "hired help."

Penelope said...

career obsessed mother. who goes back to work a month early? that nanny saved the ungrateful shrews career

areader said...

Personally, I don't think it's wrong for parents to prohibit future contact between their child and the nanny.

It's probably best she's upfront with this. It's a good way to weed out the codependent and obsessive nannies.

ericsmom said...

I worked for great families. We never kept in touch after the position was over. Basically, it was like any other job. Once its over its over.

novananny81 said...

Jeez, how often do nannies go all "Hand that Rocks the Cradle" on these people? I don't always keep in touch with the families I've worked for - it kind of depends on the situation - but if I were a parent, I'd kind of hope that my nanny would care for my children beyond the level of a school teacher. Especially with little ones - I feel like any good nanny is going to treat her charges like she would her own, and I do not mean like they WERE her own, but the same level of care an attention. I would throw myself in front of a bus for the children I care for, and I'm pretty sure most moms would appreciate that! I make no pretenses about them being "my" children and when I'm done with them, I may never seen them again, but while I'm caring for them, I'm the next best thing to an actual parent, so I'll do what is within my power to make sure they're safe and loved.

Niko sunshine said...

I'm a schoolteacher and I keep in contact with former students. my husband is a coach and keeps in contact with his.former players. As a parent, if that threatens you, you're an asshole.

MissMannah said...

Penelope, that was very offensive. Some women have no choice. You know, paid maternity leave is not required in most states.

notablyso said...

I had a nanny for twelve years. When she left, I dreamed if hearing from her. We are children, if you make us feel love & cared for and can walk away and not look back, why don't you know the pain you caused?

notablyso said...

yes, by all means, we should teach children that they are not lovable and affection is a tradable commodity. Remember in the wild, parents exercise their parental authority by raising their young. In this country especially, parents seek to exercise their parental authority by emotionally sabotaging their children. Shameful.

monica said...

Why wasn't Craigslist around then? Is she 70?

Bethany said...

I think Christina is simply trying to protect herself from another painful situation. She is overcompensating by being somewhat "cold" to all nannies after Linda.

She was too nice to Linda and got burned so now she's playing it safe.

Nanny/ Family relationships develop on their own some you are closer to than others.

I can say I love all my charges past and present. I love to know they are doing well and hope their lives will always bring them happiness.

That said I do not keep in touch with all my former families. Some I did for a bit, but we eventually lost touch . That's okay they move on.

I'm more concerned by families that forbid their nannies to give hugs or kisses or admit that they change nannies yearly to prevent attachment. Than those that prefer to keep a formal relationship with the nanny.

Nay The Nanny said...

I am upfront when searching for new nanny positions that I do believe a nanny should be an extension of the family...yes, it is important to remain professional but it isn't just a job to me. I take care of infants/ not love them when I am spending 45+ hours with them per week is insane to me. And to think of not keeping in contact with my full time families breaks my heart. I would never want the kids to think I just forgot about them. I moved across the country and still keep in touch with and visit my previous 2 families when I am in town to see my own. I can't fathom it being any other way. I genuinely love them. I guess each family/nanny relationship is different and it is important to make sure you are on the same page before you start.

RBTC said...

some of the people being hard on this person have never been in the position of hiring someone who is unstable, one aspect that disappoints me about some of the comments are - this Op is darned either way

if she had fired the nut after one or two red flags she would be described as too harsh - but she really needed this nanny - trusted her, tried to help her and then became her victim and has learned from it

and probably will not be so open and trusting in the future

i get it

the op has done nothing wrong

Linda said...


Just because a nanny wants to keep in contact w/her former charges does not make her "co-dependent" or "obsessive." You are simply attaching negative adjectives to someone who does not deserve them at all.

How about I attach some to you?

Heartless. Uneducated. Stupid.

areader said...

Linda, that was rude and uncalled for.

I'm going to have to insist you apologize for calling me stupid.

Is it wrong for a nanny to want to keep up with her charges after the job ends?


I do think turning down a job because the parents expressed that they'd like to keep things strictly at a professional level, borders on codependence.

I feel that many nannies either consciously or unconsciously try to substitute the families they are employed by for their own family.

That's unhealthy in my opinion.

Extremely unhealthy when it gets to the point of nannies becoming severely depressed when a job comes to a natural end and they are unable to take another nanny job or focus on their new job. In my opinion that is not love for your charges or healthy.

It is one thing for the relationship between the nanny and the family she works for to develop over time so that it is like family.

It is entirely a different for the nanny to insist she be treated and thought of like family from the start.

i aint skeered said...

Ooooh, Linda, are you skeered? She insists that you apologize for making her look like an idiot.

And before you can insist, a reader, I apologize for making fun of you and poking fun at your stupidity.

call me impressed said...

Novananny, I'd hire you in a nanosecond, pay you handsomely (on the books), and give you a Christmas bonus. And when it was all over, we would beg you to stay in our lives. Your attitude is awesome and whatever family you work for is Lucky to have you.

katydid said...

I think we can agree or disagree without name calling.

We are supposed to be professionals.

Calling someone stupid or an idiot because they disagree with your opinion reflect poorly on you.

It takes away any credibility you may have.

The administrators are working extremely hard to attract readers to this blog.
A variety of readers means we aren't always going to agree with the opinions of other posters.

We can either have healthy debates or resort to name calling.

I'd rather we stick to healthy debates.

I do not want to return to the nastiness and drama that existed not long ago.

After all we are all supposed to be adults and professionals, and as we all tell our charges if you can't say something constructively perhaps you shouldn't say it or in this case write it at all.

katydid said...

The original poster made mistakes.

It's common for first time nanny employers to make mistakes and end up in a sour situation.

I do not think she is a horrible woman or a horrible boss because of her past errors in judgment, and I do not think she is a horrible or selfish parent because she now prefers to limit contact between her family and the nanny once the position comes to an end.

katydid said...

For the part of the family discussion my opinion is this:

Professionalism does not equal not loving your charges.

Professionalism does not equal void of all emotion.

Keeping in contact with a former family does not mean you are a more caring nanny than someone that does not.

Not keeping in contact with a former family does not take away from the loving care you provided during your time with your family, and it absolutely does not mean you don't carry a spot in your heart for your charges.

Meredith said...

you sound weird. I wouldn't want you to care for my child. professionalism as applied to a nanny is not the same as any other. I can't imagine hiring a baby nurse or nanny who didn't come to have affection for your child! Are you a robot? I have had three nannies. one mediocre, one great and one amazing. the two better stayed longer. their interaction with the children helped build a foundation that has grounded them, and made them emotionally stable and available. I thank God I brought these people in our lives. They are not physically near us, but they maintain some level of contact. I liken it to a garden they spent years cultivating that now thrives. You better believe my children are better peop

Rome said...

Let's be honest. For the nannies that care for young children it's not truthfully you being worried they'd think you have abandoned them.

It's you worrying they'd forget about you. It's all about you.

Stop trying to frame yourself as the selfless nanny because you keep contact for years and years.

Are you really family?

stop and think about who makes all the effort into staying in contact.

If it's not going two ways you are not family.

I also feel there is a level of the matyr sybdrome and codependence that exists in several of the regular posters here.

They are overly invested in their jobs.

They need their families to approve of everything they do as a nanny or otherwise.

They can't imagine their life without they family they work for.

The family wouldn't be happy without them and the next nanny will never be as good as they are.

They have break downs when the job ends, and want to leave their career.

Above all else they have a constant need to prove they are the world's best nanny!!!!

Their responses to posters aren't a simple statement of their opinions or their days. No it instantly comes a competition because they have to prove to everyone they are the best.

They insult no matter how subtly they try any nanny who isn't exactly like them no matter how great that nanny maybe. Simply because they have the need to be the best and how their family can't go on with out them.

Why is that? That isn't the mark of a healthy relationship to me.

Take a look at your life and your reasons before you go around accusing people of being horrible nannies, stupid and robots.