Meyer von Bremen
I have three children, the youngest is 15 months. I have been a working mother always, taking between 5-9 weeks off for maternity for each child. I have always used nannies. Our current nanny came to use when my youngest was just four months. My youngest has started calling her Mama. I understand the confusion, and it would normally only induce the appropriate mom guilt. The nanny doesn't correct the child and in fact seems to enjoy this confusion. This has me seething. Am I totally wrong? If someone else's child called me mom, I would gently correct them by stating my name. I don't see how that would be harmful. When I brought this to Nanny's attention, the nanny said, "His needs are being met by me, it's normal". I feel that was a slap in the face and a dig and still didn't address what I think is basic nanny/child minder etiquette and that is to help the child learn your name.  I don't think she understood my offense to it, because she even joked, "if I start to answer to it, than you should be worried". This is my third child. I've had nannies before. I don't think I am too sensitive. I think she is so inappropriate that I am beginning to question her judgement. And that is the question I put to you all? Your thoughts?


this_nick said...

I get that you don't want to be overbearing with the nanny (which as a nanny I greatly appreciate), but there are times when you have to put your foot down and let the nanny know what's up. In this case, that you expect her to correct your child when he does this. Explain that you want to eliminate any confusion and the sooner you two nip this in the bud, the better.

It's tough to tell if the nanny is actually revelling in the mistake or just simply amused by it, and kinda tone deaf not to realize why it would bother you. I don't think her statement about meeting his needs was a slight to you, just a logical reason she sees for his confusion. After all, if you didn't work she wouldn't be there so why crap on the reason she's employed?

I just think there's the possibility you're seeing this through guilt-covered glasses and that your nanny's a bit oblivious to the conflict working moms go through. However, if you see signs she's encouraging the behavior, you definitely need to sit her down and review appropriate boundaries.

Good luck!

P.S. One of my charges occasionally calls me "mama", and I find it all kinds of awkward. At first his parents and I assumed it was a variation of "um um", which he used to refer to food - so we figured he was just hungry. However it started, he must have caught the horrified look on my face because he continued doing it from time to time, I think to mess with me LOL.

He stepped it up to a full-on "mommy!" at the book store last week, delighting in my abject terror. Since he comes from a two-dad family and there's no mommy to upset it's not a huge deal, but I tell this story because while you want to correct your little guy, it's important that both you and the nanny appear unruffled by it, lest it becomes an "I can make the grown-ups cringe" kinda game for him.

Nanny said...

Your nanny is rude AND wrong! She can easily correct him gently. She's being passive aggressive.

Alice said...

this_nick hit it on the head. :)

Anonymous said...

The nanny is completely disrespectful and in the wrong. I always correct kids immediately.

This is one issue brought to your attention and given her disrespectful reply, it makes me wonder what else is going on you haven't seen yet

A relationship without trust isn't a relationship.


thirty something said...

I'm a stay at home mom. My daughter went through a phase of also calling her father mama for a period between when she was 12-18 months or so. He takes most care of her at the weekends/ evenings and is also very nurturing. He corrected her the first few times, but as it made no difference, we just left her to it until she made the differentiation herself otherwise he would have spent their whole time together saying 'no, i am papa' to no avail. I think your nanny is right in that it is just a normal phase and you should only worry if she seems like she is trying to usurp your role.

Nanny said...

I agree with this comment completely.

RBTC said...

lot's of good advice here - her response to you did seem cavalier - keep your eyes open ;)