Just say No

Being a nanny must be a crazy job.

I chat with nannies at the dojo who talk about how hard it is to discipline the kids because the parents consistently undermine them in order to be the good guys.  The parents don’t want to spend the little amount of time they have with their kids disciplining them, so they get away with murder while mom and dad are around, and harass the nanny with “mom lets me do that” when they’re not.  It’s an uphill battle.  I can’t imagine working for people who aren’t on board with setting up some kind of structure with their kids.  Why send a kid mixed messages?  What a complete waste of time.

that's a "bad choice"

I’ve told a few nannies (and parents) that they can just say no to their kids, but they don’t want to be too strict because they’re afraid of losing their job.  When one nanny said this, I was baffled.  Wasn’t her job to act like a parent in the absence of the parents?  She responded, “They (the kids) will lie to their parents that I’m hurting them, or ‘she made us to this or that.'”  WHAT?!  Jesus.

There are a couple of kids at our dojo whose behavior has improved since they started taking classes with us, but they still do stuff at home like intentionally break windows and hugely expensive flat screen TVs, and fight violently with each other.  I saw a new woman with them last week, so I took a moment to chat with her.  I asked if she was the new nanny, to which she grimaced, “Yeah, unfortunately.”  I was struck dumb for a few seconds.  I must have looked really, really stupid.  I just couldn’t think of what to say to a nanny who didn’t want to be a nanny.  How long have you been with them, I asked.  One and a half months.  And she’s already miserable.  The kids are out of control, the parents undermine her, she’s afraid of being too strict; it goes on and on.  I gave her some advice (don’t give up, talk with the parents, make sure you’re on the same page, ask for their support, feel free to put the kids on timeout if they misbehave), and walked away shaking my head.

So now I have a question: Who in their right mind wants to become a nanny?  Who aspires to raise someone else’s kid?  Is this a profession like bus driver, filled with people who just couldn’t cut it in any other industry?  My morbid curiosity has been piqued.

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About Toph Beifong

www.tigerlilytoph.com View all posts by Toph Beifong

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