• Fri, Oct 28 2011

My Nanny Is Ruining My Child

I’ve had a nanny since the day my daughter was born eight years ago. I live in a metropolis city, where having a nanny is no big deal. Off the top of my head, my five best mommy friends (from various backgrounds) all have nannies and have for years. For each of them, NOT having a nanny wasn’t an option. Even my one friend, who steadfast refused to have a nanny for financial reasons, has just switched teams and hired a nanny once a week. I bet this will turn into two or three days soon enough. And so does she.

Personally, I don’t see how working women who are passionate about their careers can live without a nanny. In fact, when my brother told me how much daycare costs, I was like, “For that amount you could get a nanny!” Outside big cities, I’m guessing daycare is cheaper than $1,500 a month per child. People like my brother argue that daycare has other benefits, like children playing with each other, having a routine and learning, by example of other children, how to eat, go potty and share. Having a nanny, though, makes mommy’s life easier and hopefully will ensure that your child is treated with V.I.P status.

Or so I thought having a nanny was easier. But for how long? When I worked, and my daughter was just a baby and toddler, she was always properly dressed for winters, was always clean and received one-on-one attention. She rarely, if ever, got sick, because she wasn’t catching germs from other children. I understand that many Americans outside of large cities like New York or Chicago don’t have nannies and, in fact, nannies are not something parents even consider. Perhaps, unlike me, these people actually know their neighbors, or perhaps their parents watch their children. And you know what? This may be a good thing.

When I hired my latest nanny two years ago, I made it clear that her job description included keeping the house clean, doing laundry, and making dinners a couple nights a week. Since my daughter is in full-time school, and I drop her off and pick her up, my nanny has become more of a full-time housekeeper. As do most nannies, when the children get older, because they have to fill their hours. And here’s where having your child grow up with a nanny has a downside.

I got into a discussion with my boyfriend about his two girls, ages 10 and 12, after one weekend they spent at my place. By Monday morning, the place looked like a tornado had torn through the house. Their clothes were everywhere, including my bathroom. They didn’t make their beds. There were crumbs on the couch. Their shit was everywhere. Mess makes me highly anxious. I like clutter-free zones, and with their iPads and homework sheets and dirty underwear and hairbrushes everywhere, I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack. So I said something to my boyfriend. I told him his girls were old enough to make their beds and pick up their clothes. And his response was, “They don’t know how. They’ve always had a nanny.”

Now, this may SOUND like the worst excuse in the world, but it made me start to pay attention to the relationship my daughter has with her nanny. I always sit with my daughter when she eats her dinner (prepared by the nanny). This time, after she was finished, I really paid attention to the fact the nanny had taken her plates and put them in the dishwasher. Then, I watched as my nanny gave her a bath. All the towels were picked up, and all the bath toys were put away nicely, as was the hairdryer and hairbrush. Not by my daughter, but my nanny.

When my nanny arrives, early afternoon each day, while I’m working, she’s upstairs making my daughter’s bed, doing her laundry and cleaning her toy room. So I can see how a nanny can ruin a child’s life in the sense that children with nannies may never learn to pick up after themselves. By the time I was 12, you can bet your ass I was doing my own laundry, making my own bed and keeping my room tidy. Then again, I didn’t have a nanny. If you don’t have a nanny then you can’t understand what a predicament this poses. You pay your nanny (in big cities,  a lot of money) to DO these things. What’s the point of paying someone, and then making your child do it? It makes the job, as they say in the corporate world, redundant. And it also makes the nanny feel redundant.

And, of course, I can’t live without my nanny. We’ve become quite close, and she knows where my car keys are, and knows what I like and don’t like to eat and, most importantly, she loves my daughter and my daughter loves her. Make no mistake, I still need a nanny. Although my daughter is in school full-time, as a single mother, I DO need help keeping up with the house, and an extra hand with things like cooking and cleaning, because I have a job that has no real routine and, also, I’m just plain BAD at housework. I’m willing to give up designer boots for a nanny. But I do worry. Will my daughter ever learn to pick up after herself? Will she ever do her own laundry? Does she just think her clothes are magically folded and placed in her drawers?

I’m NOT giving up the nanny, but are those of us with nannies raising a bunch of children who can’t load a washing machine? I don’t even dare ask my 8-year-old what Tide is.

(Photo: Quang Ho/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • Abigail

    Perhaps you could pick several chores that are age appropriate, and require your daughter to do just those. It still gives the idea of responsiblity and learning to do things for herself, without making the nanny redundant. We don’t have a nanny, however we do have a sitter come over twice a week for me to get out to do errands and for a date night. Normally speaking, we all do chores. Even my 20 month old has to participate in cleaning up the toys. And that doesn’t change when the babysitter is there. Yes, she knows she is responsible for making sure things get picked up and dealt with, but she also knows that she doesn’t have to do it alone. At 1 1/2 and 3, both of my boys can take care of their own dishes, help load the dishwasher, clean up their toys (with prompting and encouragement), and put their clothes in the hamper before bed. I think it’s a balance. For us, the sitter is there to monitor, but that doesn’t mean all the work falls on her shoulders.

    • Rei

      I’m with Abigail. There are so many chores that an 8 year old can’t do safely, and getting your kid to do her chores herself will more than make up for any time your nanny won’t spend cleaning herself. Ergo, tell your nanny that Janie is responsible to do [insert list here] on her own and needs to be disciplined if she will not. Basically, tell your nanny what you would do if you were at home more to do it yourself. You can still get your money’s worth, you just have to modify some directives.

  • Emma

    It’s not your nanny who is ruining your child. She is just doing her job. The job you have hired her to do. I’m really surprised you are just thinking now about how having a nanny around as your child grows up will affect her. As children get older a nanny’s duties surrounding the child must change to fit that child’s age and your expectations about chores and her growing responsibilities around the house. Do you really want a 12 year old who doesn’t know or doesn’t care to know how to clean up after herself? Especially since you said you like clutter-free spaces.

  • Judy

    I agree that kids can learn to pick up after themselves even with a nanny. The nanny can still do housework and cooking for you, but you can tell her you want her to require your child to pick up her own dirty clothes, take her own dishes in, etc. Making sure a child actually does her chores is work, too; it is part of the job of teaching and raising a child, which you are paying your nanny to assist with.

  • CW

    To be frank, laziness seems to run in the family. When you mentioned that you had a nanny, I was picturing small children, not an 8 y.o. Most dual income/single parent families with 8 y.o.’s don’t have a nanny but rather send their child(ren) to an afterschool program. Then I realized that what you have is not a nanny but a housekeeper.

    If you want your daughter to stop viewing tidying up as “beneath” her, then you need to set the example yourself. Replace the full-time housekeeper with a once per week cleaning lady for the heavy duty housework & figure out a fair split between yourself and your daughter for the rest.

    • LV

      Yeah, I agree with CW. Why on earth do you still need a nanny if your daughter is eight and in school full-time? I know you mean no harm or offense, but you sound so entitled living in your bubble where you can’t even imagine how other families do it without nannies… and then having the gall to complain about how HARD it is to have a nanny? Are you fucking joking?

      My parents have always worked full-time. We’ve never had a nanny or a housekeeper. Granted, we were lucky to have grandparents nearby to babysit when I was too young to go to school, but after I started I was in after-school daycare. My mom would pick me up and bring me home, where she was perfectly capable of cooking dinner and supervising my baths herself. That’s what parenting IS. You seem to think it actually consists of throwing money at a stranger so they do it for you.

  • Jen

    I’m pretty sure the Nanny won’t be upset if you stop teaching your child to be an entitled brat. Between this and doing her homework for her she is going to be a totally worthless adult if you don’t change YOUR bad behavior.

  • rebecca eckler

    Jen, you are REALLY judgmental. Want to make a friendly bet? How about talk to me in 15 to 20 years and see how my daughter is doing then. Until then, have a happy, productive life and don’t make any sweeping generalizations about my child! You do notice that other commenters actually have good, solid arguments, even if they don’t agree with my columns. Or maybe you’re too busy being the “perfect mother” and your child(ren) are angels, in which case, criticize me all you want!

    • Jen

      Rebecca: You write articles EVERY week talking about your awful parenting, I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that a child who is not made to take any responsibility, not asked to limit themselves in any way and who has a mother who throws tantrums over wedding invitations is NOT headed down a good path. I don’t need to check in with you in 10 to 15 years, I grew up with kids just like your daughter an I can tell you that without their parents continued assistance they would be homeless on the street.

      What’s worse is you KNOW you are wrong and frankly I’m not even certain how much of what you write about is true. You don’t seem like a stupid person, so it’s kind of hard to believe that you could be this incapable of self reflection. I guess the question is are you actually being an irresponsible, entitled parent and not teaching your daughter how to be a functioning human or is it all part of your persona? If it’s just a persona, great job. You do have the gift for making yourself an awesomely disliked person (and read the comments on pretty much any article you’ve penned for this site for proof on that), which is something I guess? But if you are actually, really doing all these things you talk about. But If you really threw a fit about your eight year old not being invited to a stranger’s wedding, and you actually do her homework for her and you actually don’t ask her to make choices about her extracurriculars and drive yourself nuts (and probably her too) trying to schedule everything and you actually have not yet started to teach her to clean up after herself on the regular (I work in a preschool and EVERY 3 and 4 year old is capable of cleaning up their toys, clearing plates and putting folded clothing away), then you’ve provided enough information for any thinking adult to make a pretty clear call on the direction your child is headed. Kids need to learn about making choices and taking responsibility for themselves and disappointment and failure.

      And for the record: I’m not making sweeping generalizations about your daughter, I’m making sweeping generalizations about YOU. YOU are the person who writes with an incredibly entitled world view and YOU are the one who seems to revel in how many bad decisions you make in regards to your child. Saying that you are on the path towards raising an entitled and useless person isn’t saying anything about your daughter. She’s 8, in my experience 8 year olds can’t be entitled or useless because they are 8. BUT, when a 25 year old behaves like an 8 year old because their parent(s) didn’t teach them how to be a functioning human adult the world (employers, friends, professors) do start to make those judgments and by then it will be too late to blame you.

    • Dee

      Two thumbs up for Jen :)

    • Emma

      Rebecca, while Jen might have stated her opinions a little harshly for your liking she does make some very valid points. If you look at your articles as a compilation the picture you are panting of your parenting is not a good one. What is interesting/strange and something that Jen also points out is that you are self aware enough to write about it and reflect but you don’t seem to change much actual behavior or at least that’s how it seems from week to week. Which does make one wonder if it’s part of a web persona, you certainly get a lot of page views and perhaps that’s your primary goal. I also question your objection to Jen being “REALLY judgmental’ as you are writing articles for a public website about parenting with a comment section. By virtue of your job, you are inviting judgment, good or bad.

    • Kel R

      It’s easy to judge someone who is not only epically failing at motherhood but is showcasing it for the world. Doesn’t require a judgmental personality, just requires half a brain. In 15 to 20 years, your daughter will be doing phenomenal, because she was raised by a good nanny. I don’t think she’ll end up bad off. It’s been made very clear that she does just fine without you in the picture. How’s this for a good solid argument: you wouldn’t pay someone to screw your husband, would you? Would you seriously pay someone to be a wife to your husband? Then why the hell would you pay someone to be the mother? You spread your legs, you chose to either get pregnant or put yourself at risk of pregnancy, you should have had the fortitude to suck it up and be an adult and take care of your own shit. Instead, you pay someone to do it for you. Then, not only do you pay someone to ease the terrible burden of your own life choices, but you have the gall to bitch about it even though you admit they do a wonderful job. Sounds to me like you’ve realized you’re a crappy mom, and it stings. And it doesn’t take being a perfect mother to criticize you. That’s easy to do, all you have to do is put in some minimal effort into the raising of your child. Do that, and they’ve got you beat.

    • Amelia

      Hi Rebecca
      I am a 20 year old, just about to become a full time nanny for a family with 2 young ones. I have been babysitting for over 7 years. I love children and how their minds work. I believe that what you have said in your article is half true, Some cases depending on the nanny and her values and expectations. My goal is to do what my job description says, but also teach the kids how housekeeping is done, without doing it all on my own. Making a game out if it or just making the odd time that i ask the kids to pick their toys or laundry up. If your nanny is good with children she will figure it out and realize what’s best for your daughter. Not saying she doesn’t already. I am against the idea of a nanny ruining your child’s life, as you are the parent and have the final say of what your daughter does, and what she is taught. A nanny is their to help you as a mom/family, if you see more ruining and less help. Then i ask you this, why are you making your reality of having a nanny as a must have?

      Thanks Amelia

  • Anastasia

    I would recommend talking to your nanny and having her slowly ask your daughter to do chores. For example, the nanny could say, “Today, why don’t you help me make your bed/pick up your clothes?” If she makes it sound fun and she and your daughter have a good relationship (like you said) then it will probably work. Also, if you have a one on one talk with your daughter and explain to her that you would like her to learn how to do “big girl” things like pick up after herself, keep things clean, ext, and make it sound fun and mature, she’ll probably want to do it! Eventually she can have certain things she does that become part of her routine. Also, if you do some chores in front of her (like make your own bed in the morning and pick things up) she will see that cleaning is not just something nannies do, but something adults do. I hope this helps, and good luck! :)

  • Bob

    “I’m willing to give up designer boots for a nanny”

    This line was the killer app so to speak. I laughed out loud. The article is of course nonsense. No one is this incapable of seeing themselves in the mirror. Though the point (mockery? parody?) is not entirely clear.

    If it is meant as an expose of a type of parent I have no doubt exists however – the type that works about as hard as everyone else but is paid a lot more than everyone else for no other reason than birth privilege and connection (or the vagaries of an unbalanced economy) – and who is desperately worried that they may be found out as being a bit talentless and useless despite what their salary suggests – and lives with the ultimate guilt that they can’t even do the one thing that even the poor can do fine – be a good parent – then I think the article is fine.

    And these people should probably be parodied or exposed more often… wealth won’t help a child avoid the drugs clinics and therapists… and it does take a lot more than giving up a designer pair of boots to raise a child. That was a good, point well made.

  • RighttoWorkMom

    Wow, it seems like several people are taking their issues from previous articles by this author and reigniting their ire here. What on earth is to be gained from that?

    Rebecca, I think you’ve had a few good comments about what to do next. Your nanny really should involve your child in cleaning up, cooking, and other basic chores. You really do need to leave your daughter to do her own homework. You obviously know both of these things, so whether or not you choose to do them is up to you. Hopefully we all try to be the best parents we can be. I sincerely hope the best parent you can be involves teaching your daughter a higher level of responsibility and accountability than your articles suggest.

    That being said, I understood your line about designer boots. You give up certain financial privileges in order to enjoy some domestic relief. Plenty of people make that choice and it isn’t entitled or self-centered. You earn money, so you decide how to spend it. If I could give up my designer shoes and consequently be able to afford in-house help, I would probably take it, too. However, I’m American, and we can’t hire full-time help for the same cost as childcare. My daughter attends a top preschool/daycare in our area, and the cost is still under $1,000 per month. Even if I could find full-time help for that cost, I couldn’t in good conscience hire someone for a salary below the poverty line, but I understand you pay your nanny considerably more.

    I also understand why you have help. I think a lot of people are protesting because we are in a poor economy and those who are struggling often resent such blatant successes. I think your articles do seem a bit overly celebratory of your financial privileges considering the current economic environment, but that’s your choice. I am a hard-working, educated mother who enjoys job stability, yet I cannot afford help. I would love to have someone clean my house while I spend time with my daughter. I think most of us would, but I also understand why so many people are not going to sympathize with you if that’s your biggest problem right now. I imagine you understand as well.

  • Victoria

    Since nanny is raising the child, perhaps talk to her about instilling in your daughter whatever values/character you would like dear daughter to have. Nanny could teach her the worth of self discipline, cleanliness, and an organized mind. They could cook together, clean together, and maybe do schoolwork together, too. I have no doubt of the benefit for your child of such an arrangement.

    I guess this is a good workable situation, like when a man has a mistress and his wife is relieved. If you’re happy with nanny, then you don’t have the situation where the child loves the nanny, and the mom gets jealous and fires the nanny, finds a new one, and the cycle starts again (I get this all from “Nanny Diaries” but oh well) it’s hard on the kid.

    Also, for boyfriend and his kids, I guess just do the visiting at his house. Or have him bring his nanny.

  • Dee

    I was going to write a comment, until I realized that Jen pretty much summed up what I had to say in both of hers.

    Do the world a favor and just… hush.

    • rebecca

      you know, Dee, you have a choice to read or not. I’m just doing my job. Doubtful that I’ll “hush,” but YOU don’t HAVE to read! Just sayin’

    • Dee

      Honey, I’m only saying what everyone else on here is thinking. How about you do your job as a mother and raise your child to be a productive human being instead of handing her off to a nanny, and then complaining that she is “ruining” her? The only person here ruining your daughter is you. Stop projecting, and make an effort to correct your actions instead of just writing about them.

      Just sayin’.

  • Are you kidding me?

    More first world problems from Rebecca Eckler.

  • Hong Mei

    I also have a nanny and with my older daughter (9) had the same problem. She just straight up told me, why should she clean or pick up anything when we have the nanny to do it. That was a reality check, so with my younger daughter (2+) I have already taught her to load the washing machine, put the soap and turn it on (with my supervision of course), clean up her toys and put her clothes away in her drawers (yeah they are a mess inside the drawer but I don’t care, choose your battles right?). These are her “jobs” and she actually gets angry if I am in a hurry and just do them myself to save time. More importantly, I had to teach the nanny that it is not her job to let my kids be lazy bums and that one day they have to be able to take care of themselves, that’s what we’re hoping for anyways. Now if I could get my husband to clean up after himself…

    • Kel R

      Here’s an idea…raise your kids yourself. Then there’s no opportunity for miscommunication, because you are raising your very own children, not paying someone to do a half assed job for you

  • Eleanor

    Wow. Please re-title this article “I am Runing My Child”. Your nanny has absolutely nothing to do with it; she doesn’t make the choices of how your child is raised.

  • Eleanor

    Gah. *Ruining, not Runing…

  • Michelle

    This is text book first world problems.

    The only positive thing I can say is at least you’re helping the economy by creating a job for someone.

  • Edie

    I nannied for years and years. One family had older kids, nine and seven and they were the spoiled, entitled, blame shifting brats you are probably picturing.

    They had nannies since they were born and therefore had been accustomed to being responsible for nothing: chores, their own actions, etc

    The first summer I did what I called Life Skills Boot Camp. They learned to do laundry, fix simple meals, answer the phone like a proper person, write and address a thank you note and other everyday tasks. They each had weekly and daily chores. I was not responsible for them remembering to grab their homework on the way out the door and would not turn back to retrieve it.

    Sadly, their mom never had life Skills Boot Camp and never did anything for herself. I made her Botox appointments and picked up her tampons and Rx for goodness sakes.

    That was years ago, the kids are in high school now and on nanny #20something. I am sure they have no chores and been gifted brand new cars for simply just being, but I did what I could.

  • Courtney

    I read this article a month ago and I still have a nagging urge to respond.

    It sounds like many people have said it very well, It is not your Nanny that is Ruining your children. Although many have been harsh on this article, the title in itself shifted the real blame.

    I have been a nanny for many years and had the pleasure of working for over 25 families. I have seen a lot, been through a lot, and learned even more.

    One of the previous comments by Emma was correct. You explained that you ask your nanny to do laundry, cooking, and cleaning. From your explanation, it sounds like she is doing it very well! And yet you blame her for your children growing up without a sense of responsibility. Yikes, I would not stick around to be the right hand of a person who blames me the better I do the job she asked of me.

    When it comes down to it, I always look to Mary Poppins, probably America’s most praised and beloved nannies. There was a cook and a housekeeper in the home and Mary Poppins’ job was to raise the children. She taught them how to pick up their rooms, be responsible for their toys, imagine, and explore the world. It is extremely difficult to put the children first when you are worried about switching over the laundry, mopping the floors and having a hot meal on the table for when you get home. So my first recommendation, is to realize that when your expectations for your nanny changed so did your nanny’s role. She sounds more like “the help”. There are many other ways for her to fill her hours than picking up not just after your children but you as well.

    Which leads me to my next point, it sounds like your “nanny” is picking up after you as well. I believe you are a good Mom with the best of intentions so be the role model your children need and show them that when Mommy picks up her things so should the children.

    Lastly, you need to empower your nanny. Obviously, your story is one of many that I have heard Mom’s complain about. But when the structure of your house is broken down, you (and any other parent involved) should be the CEO of the household. Your nanny acts like your right hand man/women, implementing rules you have set forth, backing your decisions, acting on your behalf when it comes to the safety and health of your children, and reinforcing the lessons you wish to teach your own children.

    Your expectations need to be realigned and then communicated to your nanny. Priorities that should be stated and not be assumed are things as simple as, “I understand if you don’t finish making dinner tonight because you were in the middle of reinforcing good manners and reasonable expectations to my children.”

    Your nanny is doing what you expect of her. Obviously you are not pleased with the current outcome so take a hard look at your expectations and where you are expecting her to fill her time.

    Lastly, most nannies go into this business because they love working with children and enjoy being a valuable resource to people’s family. The more and more that is asked of me that takes away my time with the children, the more I begin to look for a new family. It is not easy working with other people’s children, reinforcing other people’s values, and most importantly, being responsible for the well-being of a child. But it is all worth it when the love you have for a child is returned and the family shows their appreciation – not when you have finished a week’s worth of laundry in two days….

    • Tersa

      WELL said

    • Angela Roberts

      Couldn’t agree more. I am a nanny for two five year old twin boys. They know how to cook, how to clean, how to be responsible. I always saw my job as a second mother and teacher who provides an environment that teaches leadership. Blaming the nanny is low.

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  • Good one

    How wonderful that she has someone cleaning house, doing laundry, making dinner and raising her daughter all for less than $1 500 a month! Wow, that’s a whole $18 000 a year and in the metropolitan city (I think that’s what she meant) we unfortunately share, it barely buys you a dump to live in. I receive a local newsletter thing that still publishes a “column” by this author and it’s always the same vapid, narcissistic blathering.

  • Rose

    I think the mom has to get the nanny on board with some changes. Mainly, that she help her daughter become more self-sufficient. I was raised by a nanny, and let me tell you, college was a shock. My room was a mess, I kept buying new clothes because I couldn’t keep track of my stuff or put it away, I eventually moved off campus and hired a housekeeper with my allowance, and spent the rest on restaurant meals. I won’t be making the same mistake with my children, I will tell my nanny early on that she is expected to help me by not waiting on my kids, and if she spoils them too much, out she goes. I would not wish my overprivileged upbringing on anyone, and I admire people who have their s—t together. I don’t.

  • Margaret

    Who is willing to work for $1,500/month?

    I live in a medium sized city and just started searching for a family to work for. Most of the families I have talked to are offering really low payment. One family had four kids and offered $5/hr for a live-out position! I was insulted. I finally found a family willing to pay minimum wage, but I expected more.

    But anyway, the lady who wrote the story is missing the point of having a nanny. You have a nanny so YOU can set all the rules. If you don’t like something the nanny is doing, all you have to do is tell her. Simple. If the kid is as lazy and dependant as she makes it sound, then the nanny will get plenty of hours just showing the kid how to do chores and making sure she actually does them. A nanny should help you to raise your children, not pamper and spoil them.

  • Kel R

    So let me get this straight…your nanny is cleaning YOUR house, cooking YOUR meals, running YOUR errands, and raising YOUR kids. Well then…what the hell are you good for? Sounds to me like your life is better without you in it. You’ve allowed this woman to do everything for you, so now that you contribute nothing other than some money, wow…your life has no purpose, and that is sad. Side note, you are questioning if your nanny has turned your kids into spoiled brats, well it actually sounds like she has turned YOU into a spoiled brat, and your kids are simply following suit.

    I’m gonna go ahead and live without a nanny. I’d prefer to raise my children myself. I’d rather live on the $3,000 a month my husband and I bring in (with me working very part time) and be able to make it to my kids soccer games and doctors appointments than to make six figures just to spend a huge chunk of it on a replacement mother. That’s what she is, she’s not a nanny. She’s a replacement mom. You = mom. You, as mom, are responsible for the children. You go to work and can’t be responsible for the children, so you hire a woman who does every single thing you would be doing if you were home, including full care of the children. Thus nanny = replacement mom. That is…so sad.

  • Rebecca J

    Why all the anti-nanny posts? Obviously this woman’s problem is not the nanny who does a great job bother own inadequacy. I have a nanny and my kids love her, I love her. Our children call her grandma and she lives with us. Yes we pay her (very well) and yes she does all of the house cleaning, laundry, some of the cooking, she pretty much runs our household as well as taking my children to the park and playing with them if they want. What do I do? Well, I get to be nice mommy all the time because I am not stressed out about having to buy groceries after I get off wok or being late to work because the kids got up late. I don’t have to do any of the dirty work. I hate this idea that once you have kids you are suppose to give up your entire life and make it revolve around them. I love my kids but I also need my life as well, which involves working and date night with my husband once a week. If our nanny really were my kids grandmother and did what she does for free, no one would criticize but since she is paid then I am seen as a lazy mom who should have never had kids?

    • Claire

      That is such an interesting and shocking statement, “I hate this idea that once you have kids you are suppose to give up your entire life and make it revolve around them.” I just cannot fathom this thought process about family that is so pervasive now. It’s kind of sad, don’t you think?

  • catherine

    Hi Rebecca,
    I was raised by a nanny as a child. I never learned to cook, clean or have in general any “life skills”. When I went to college, for a semester I had laundry service, then I subsequently blew my second semester laundry money on shoes. I subsequently used my allowance to purchase “laundry items” and happily washed my clothes until my sophomore year in college. One day my roommate asked for detergent since she was out. I handed her a bottle and she said it was softener and was shocked to find out I had been washing my clothes with only softener. I didn’t even know there was a difference. My senior year in college, I shared a townhome with 3 girls and 3 months into living there the landlord asked if we owned a vacuum; we did not. I recently purchased a large home with my husband and he having a stay at home mom who did everything for him, is as clueless as I am.

    As an adult, I am as happy as can be. I do not regret my lack of “life skills” at all. These stories are actually hilarious dinner talk to us. We enjoy our childish attempts at cooking, he is much better than I ever will be. And a lot of the people I went to college with, were as clueless as I was. I tell you do not worry at all and the reason why is because above all and despite our lack of skills, we know, love and appreciate a good meal and a clean home. Why? Because our families ensured that we appreciate a certain type of environment. Clearly you are providing that for your daughter.

    A dirty home and clutter causes me anxiety, because I did not grow up in a dirty home. When we realized cleaning was likely above our heads due to our work schedules and as we attempt to take on learning to cook, we have now hired someone to clean our home every 2 weeks. If your daughter turns out like you, she will likely be busy pursuing her career and not worried about the housework. I wish you the best and encourage you to continue as you are. I have never regretted my lack of life skills and in fact look back on it and smile.

  • Courtney T.

    I am a nanny for a messy mom and 4.5 year old with the same habits and a little sister who’s learning from them…and even I have noticed the downside of having a nanny in that aspect. I actually see general tidying up (sweeping floors, dishes, wiping surfaces and putting away odds and ends) as time for the kids to learn to play independently. I encourage the preschooler to take his dish to the sink and ATLEAST put all his toys back in his playroom… (we use their shopping cart and “shop for toys around the house that are for sale and then I scan them and place them into the room” it’s not organized but we’ll have our cleaning days for HIS play room. I also have him feed the dogs and give them water, and I get a sponge ready for him to wipe down the table after we eat. Now this is a challenge but teaching this kid that he can do small jobs on his own and successfully is important to me. Everyday I have to stay consistent and strong as he often is controlling, demanding, sometimes rude… but it’s after a tantrum that he seems to respect, love and respond to me best. I know a nanny is important and that they are getting paid but I think there is a difference between giving the kids some small jobs and expecting them to do everything… and then maybe as they are more capable think of some other tasks *they* can be *in charge* of. The nanny and children relationship should be like a team. they need to be a role model just as you would expect parents to be. Like I said, every day is a struggle but it’s one that I’m committed to. Nannies spend a significant amount of time with the kids and kids are smart. Currently, the 1 1/2 year old sister takes longer naps with me and doesn’t wake up crying… with her mom she is crabby and cries when she wakes up (probably cause she gets a treat for her to “feel better”) IF this happens with me it’s on a Monday after I’m not the one putting her down for naps over the weekend.

  • http://twitter.com/neva_eva_always neva_eva_always

    She tells the nanny to do housework and then wonders why she does everything for her daughter. Daughter probably won’t do it herself and since mom’s so anal about messes nanny probably thinks it’s just easier to do it herself or she’s heard of the horror stories of nanies who get fired for not doing just that. Mom needs to assure the nanny that she’s not going to be fired and daughter should start picking up after herself. It can start with taking her dishes to the kitchen, picking up her toys, or whatever is important. Tried to as a nanny but mom was too busy to deal with day to day stuff so kids didn’t have to do anything and now they’re older and still won’t. Well one has a baby and is finally understanding why I kept telling her don’t let (little sister) do this or that. Now little sister is jealous of the baby and older sister is like I don’t want my baby to be like that. Well guess who turned her like that and even mom said so. Train them early and I think she realizes now why I gave her advice but I was just the nanny.

  • Diana

    I thought this was a parody until about half way through. First world problem to the power of infinity.

    • Kelly

      Right? This makes me so proud to be a stay-at-home mom. I mean, what’s the point of having kids if you don’t raise them? If you are so devoted to a career outside the house, having children probably should be the last thing on your mind.

  • I’m a nanny NOT your maid!

    Umm excuse me but a nanny is NOT a house keeper in any way shape or form! You pay him/her to WATCH YOUR CHILDREN. NOT clean your house! Yes nannies should pick up after themselves and help the children clean up, but beyond that is out of the job description! Sounds like you need a housekeeper, not a nanny.

  • sparklymoose

    I haven’t read other comments, so I apologize if it’s a redundancy. But why not have your nanny teach your child how to do those things, and help her do them? If you were parenting full-time, it’s probably what you would be doing. I don’t see how having the nanny, while primarily responsible, teaching the kid to do it too could have a downside.

  • Teresa

    This sounds like a failure on your part. You should communicate with your nanny that you want her to do more than play maid and play date arranger. It’s your job to instill responsibility and integrity in your children, not your nanny’s. She’s just doing her job.

  • Diana Delk

    I can’t believe this post. Seriously? Your children DESERVE to be ruled by your nanny. Get a life and be a mother. You decided to breed. Apparently you didn’t realize that, at some point, you would actually have to care for your children. Get a life.

  • Angela Roberts

    This irritates me for a number of reasons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=684635482 Katie Sully Sullivan

    I am a nanny to a 3 year old and 6 year old. I do not pick up after them unless the mess is extraordinary. I actually found that before i arrived the parents did everything. Now they both put away their shoes and coats, clean away their plates and generally help out a bit. I was amazed that the 6 year old needed teaching how to put things in a dishwasher! I do feel sometimes that i should be doing these things for them as it is my job but i have plenty of other things to be doing and not waiting on them hand and foot.

  • NannyFaith

    As a nanny, I’m appalled that your nanny is not encouraging your daughter to grow into a fully functional and independent adult, and you should be too!

  • k

    As a nanny (of ten years) it is sometimes our job to teach children to look after themselves. I always tell the kids I look after, “If i do my job right, you won’t need me by the end,” I hope you find a nanny who is able to love, care for, and look after your kids while instilling an sense of responsibility for themselves. If a caregiver of a child who can speak hasn’t said the phrase, “And what is the magic word?” or, “You have big muscles,,,you can pick it up” 50 times a day, she isn’t really doing her job:)

  • Candice

    I work as a nanny and have for 12 years. The most important part about being a nanny is teaching children(even from toddler age) to be respectful, have manners and clean up after yourself. While I did do some of the stuff the author wrote it’s mostly for the fact that children learn from example. I have never worked for a family where the children developed into the description of your boyfriends daughters…and to be quite frank about it, if your a good nanny, a qualified nanny…that wouldn’t happen to being with. I wish you the best of luck.

  • NatalieM

    it’s kind of sad how you talk about your daughter with such a lack of responsibility in terms of her outlook, habits, respectfulness, manners etc. No matter how many hours your nanny is with her, she is your daughter and it is no one’s responsibility but your own to teach her the skills and qualities she will need in life. oh life is so hard, you pay a woman to clean up after your kid, she does so, your kid becomes a becomes someone who doesn’t know how to do things for herself and then you throw your hands up in the air like when did this happen and what can i possibly do?! i have to say judging by even this short glimpse into your mind, it is you teaching you daughter these habits, not anyone else. have fun blaming outside influences for “ruining” your child and stop pretending like you would rather put effort into teaching your kid responsibility if it means having to live in a somewhat messier home. i think your final sentence speaks for itself.

  • India

    I grew up with a nanny who lived with us. She was with me from the time I was 2 until I was 11 or so and we moved and “loosing” her was like loosing a family member because that was how she felt to me. Nowadays I see nannies being treated as glorified slaves by their employers and the children they care for, largely due to how those children s parents portray the nannies role to their children. I was raised to love and above all respect my nanny, I didn’t ever call her nanny, it was always her name and she was part of my family. I knew she was there to keep me safe, feed and help me when my parents couldn’t, not to be my servant. She worked for my parents, not for me. My parents asked her from the beginning specifically not to ever pick up after me or my sister for this exact reason. I, being a normal child who learns solely by example, put my own dishes away, my clothes in the hamper, made my bed, sure as hell picked up my toys.. and never once did I expect her to do these things for me, just like I don’t expect it of my parents now being an older teenager. A nanny cares for a childs well being. A great nanny can maybe have some influence on the person they will became, but that is not by any means in her job description. Isn’t your nanny “earning her hours” by simply being with your children as she is supposed to? Does she have to be constantly running around, sweating, to “earn” her keep? I don’t mean to judge you, I just wanted to put my experience out there as a young woman who grew up with a caregiver other than my parents. I will admit the way you talk about your nanny does sadden me, thinking of my own and how kind, and supportive she was of me everyday, knowing without a doubt she loved me, and how having an individual like that in your child’s life is worth any amount of money. Anyways I hope at least you are treating this woman with respect and paying her to meet not only her role as a caregiver but as a self imposed housekeeper as well. The two aren’t a packaged deal, not sure where you learned that, maybe from one of your many nanny keeping friends. Good luck to you..

  • JenniferC

    Just have the Nanny train your children how to pick up. They will do a bad job at first so the Nanny can fix it up so it looks better but she can train them just as a mother does.

  • RosaG

    Children raised with the help of Nannies can still learn how clean up after themselves.

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  • Maira

    It seems like there are a lot of perfect moms around from the sounds of these comments. Americans have become so judgmental, holier than thou, annoying, little people. Everywhere you look on the internet, blogs, news aggregator sites, the comment section of articles gets quite nasty. For every theme, every opinion, every position, there’s a deluge of “haters” to properly criticize, and often humiliate the author. I just recently visited the Walt Disney World complex in Orlando, and there are still legions of bratty, spoiled, tantrum-prone kids to go around, nanny or no nanny. So wise up “perfect moms”, I’m sure you’re getting it wrong some other way.

  • wow

    Wow – I couldn’t even finish reading this. I got to the paragraph about the boyfriend and his kids staying at your house for the weekend and quit. I don’t know anything about nannies but the writer sounds like a frigid, insufferable bitch.