Saturday

Two Dads, one house...

Hi,

I have a bit of a issue that I'm not sure how to handle, or even if I should say anything at all. To give some background: I've found the family I work for online, and from the ad itself it was clear to me that there's something unusual about the family since they used a word 'spouse' instead wife or husband. Anyhow, before the interview with the family, I was given the website that the parents kept a blog on and I learnt that it's a two-dad household. I don't mind or care particularly so I went for the interview. I think that the dads were a little concerned at the interview that I didn't bring up the fact they are gay parents because they brought it up towards the end as in 'so, you are aware we are gay dads, just so you are ok with that' kind of the way to which I was kind of 'good for you'. For me it's the same if I nannied for a family that's black or Asian (I'm white), blended (step parents) or was a single dad/mum family-different doesn't mean wrong. I've worked for them for couple of months now and I'm very happy, and the kids are simply wonderful!

But I have an issue with the cleaner/housekeeper...When I started they had a Polish woman who would ask me all sorts of questions about the family and kids, like how did the parents get the kids, did they adopt, who's the bio dad, bio mum, etc. I found it a little awkward (especially since she worked for the family since before the kids were born, and anyway, it's kind of a personal family business, isn't it?), but shared what I knew from the blog (which is very basic stuff that the parents made public themselves). There was some awkward musings on her part on which child looks like which dad, but that was kind of all of it. But then the family let that cleaner go and got a cleaning service instead. The woman from there, on the other hand not only had the same awkward questions but also made some comments that I (!) feel kind of offended/concerned by. Just today she commented on the little girl 'poor thing doesn't have a mother' and 'it's wrong for the kids to be in that lifestyle'. I kind of shrugged off the mother comment because the kids and I were going to the bathroom to brush teeth (they are still very young and wouldn't understand anyhow), but the other comment annoyed me enough that I snapped (I was preparing lunch in the kitchen while kids were playing in the living room/playroom) at her that they are loved and most of all kids need to be loved by their parents. I also said something kind of like, there's plenty of single parent homes where there's no dad or mum, and kids are fine ao the fact there no mother in the picture doesn't mean anything. There's plenty of unloved, uncared for kids and even kids living in abusive household - those are the 'poor things', not my charges! The cleaning lady didn't say anything to it so I'm hoping that's the end of these comments, but it really bothers me. The kids are getting older and they will start noticing such things. I don't want to cause this woman to lose her job, and she does clean really well, so there's that. Also I keep the kids away from her so we don't disturb her - we go to the gym, etc, so there's no interaction between them other than 'hi'. I'm also a little uncomfortable bringing it to the parent's attention - I'm sure they deal with this stuff enough as it is. And then, there are the kids - she's nothing but smiles (she doesn't speak much English and speaks a broken Polish/Russian to me) to them, but the fact itself that she comes to their house with that attitude makes me uncomfortable. So, I'm not sure what to do. I would really appreciate advice from other nannies as well as parent, perhaps someone has been in that situation? If any gay parents read this - would you want to know about it?

Thanks!

6 comments:

Isabel said...

100% tell the parents, please!

Gay or not, ANYONE would want to know if someone working in their home, especially around their children, was speaking out against their family.

If you feel awkward bringing this up, please put your own feelings aside and just be honest and direct. For example, "This is something I have wanted to bring up for weeks and haven't because I felt upset and uncomfortable. (Name) made negative remarks about families with gay parents. I immediately took the children out of the room. I feel terrible having to relay this to you but thought you'd want to know."

For the record, I am not a gay parents but have very close friends who are (and who are wonderful parents!). They would be devastated if this happened in their home. They would absolutely want to know.

Jess said...

Tell them! They have a right to know this and to choose what kind of people enter their house! The fact that they had prospective nannies learn about them being a gay before coming for interview clearly means they don't want homophobes coming to their house! Also don't feel like you have to answer the housekeepers questions about the family! It is family business, and you as a nanny have become a bit like family to them (which is why you know certain facts that outsiders won't). Good luck!

Rebeca Johnson said...

You need to let them know! It is disrespectful to them and their family. Their children are going to keep growing and start to pick up on things and if they hear what she has to say, they are going to think that their family isn't okay. That is something that they don't need in their lives.

MaryJaneP said...

Haha, this is so crazy but I used nanny for a gay couple ( 2 moms) and got all these questions from the housekeeper, and even their occasional babysitter. I think people are just curious, and since you as a nanny are on more equal footing with them, they ask you. I'd answer the questions but keep it general. As to the housekeeper's comments - def tell the dads. They will want to know! If the woman works for a cleaning service then she probably won't lose her job, just the client and the service will send someone else. Even if the children or the parents cannot understand the words, they understand the tone and her feelings!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely think you should address it, and my bet is that they will be VERY glad you did! As a former nanny and someone who is in a relationship with another woman, I would be very thankful for you bringing it up because I cannot stress how important it is for the children to be around people who promote and accept their family in all ways especially paid employees! I would suggest maybe bringing it up in an email so they don't have to have any reaction in front of you which may be more comfortable for both of you. Good luck, awesome that you care enough to ask!

OP said...

Thank you! I wasn't sure if I'm oversensitive since I've never dealt with such blatant discrimination (I'm a European nanny from a small country and still quite new to USA) before and if I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill :)