The 50 Thoughts a Nanny Never Says Out Loud

"Don't be weird about the money. It's a job."

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A nanny is like a member of your extended family: They want money, they might leave at any moment, and your kid adores them. This creates an utterly unique social situation in which a professional person is paid to establish and maintain a personal relationship with a child while parents look on with skepticism and hope. It’s fraught for all concerned so, naturally, a lot is left unsaid. As intimate as the nanny-parent relationship can become, there’s always a bit of distance. Some of that has to do with bonuses and negotiations, but a lot of that has to do with the alienation of being a stranger in a strange land. Other people’s families are strange and walking into that situation is, by definition, bizarre.

Nannies and au pairs keep their jobs by keeping their mouths shut about the weirdness, the cheapness, and the questionable decor. If they’re good, they focus on the kid. If they’re great, they make their job seem like a pleasure. It is and it isn’t. It may be fun at times, but it remains a job. Here’s what nannies think about their bosses and never say.

  1. Make me wait outside instead of answering the door in the bathrobe. I get that we’re all friends here, but we’re not close friends.
  2. If you play TV shows before I show up, then I’m just the person who turns off the TV. It’s a bad look. 
  3. Sometimes people think your kid is mine and I don’t correct them.
  4. Yes, your kid cares about me. 
  5. Yes, there are days when your kid is an angel. I’m paid for the days when that’s not the case.
  6. Your phone is synced to your kid’s iPad. I can see your texts. Some of them are gross.
  7. Of course I’ve looked through the medicine cabinet.
  8. Don’t talk shit about other people who have worked for you. It will just make me wonder what you say about me.
  9. Perks go a long way. Not having to pay for lunch would be helpful.
  10. When you have me take care of your sick, contagious kid, I feel like Beth from Little Women right before she gets scarlet fever.
  11. If you cancel without ample notice, please offer to pay me something.
  12. Don’t brag about the fact that your baby eats sushi.
  13. Don’t offer me your baby’s leftovers.
  14. I didn’t teach the kid to swear. We all taught the kid to swear.
  15. I’m going to screw up sometimes.
  16. If you encourage your kid to be a snitch, you’re going to have a crappy kid and need a new nanny.
  17. It’s okay if you don’t ask my opinion. That’s way better than asking and ignoring it.
  18. If I’m “never” allowed to be late, neither are you.  
  19. We’re both going to be late. Let’s at least be honest about that.
  20. I lied about speaking “some French.”
  21. I need backup. I’m going to get sick and take vacations. I’m a human person so you need a more elaborate plan.
  22. Don’t be weird about the money. It’s a job.
  23. I was the one who ate all the cheddar bunnies.
  24. If you want me to put away your laundry, find a different spot for the vibrator.
  25. If you’re home, your kid knows and will find you.
  26. That is not my fault.
  27. If I want to tell you about my personal life, I will.
  28. Taking taxes out of my pay is fine, but don’t you dare tell me after I already accepted the position at a certain rate. 
  29. Your kids act out when you get home from work because they’re excited to see you. It’s not a reflection of how the day was. Take it as a compliment.
  30. Don’t worry, my boyfriend wouldn’t come over even if I wanted him to.
  31. I both fear and respect visiting grandparents.  
  32. I understand having a person in your home requires a huge amount of trust and you have great taste, but I also have no interest in stealing your shit.
  33. I will regrettably take items off your hands during spring cleaning or a move and contemplate calling out of work under a pile of clutter.
  34. It’s funny when you’re drunk and pretending not to be.
  35. You’re not creepy, but when you try too hard not to be creepy it teeters on the edge of creepiness.
  36. Thank you for making sure I get home safe late at night.
  37. If you think I may ask for a raise (and you can afford it) just give me one.
  38. Please don’t ask me who I voted for.
  39. You’re also the first adult I’ve talked to today and I relate to your loneliness more than you know.
  40. If you have a nanny cam, it’s fine. A bit 1990s, but fine.
  41. Just tell me a camera is there so I don’t fart, dance weird, or take off my spit up-covered shirt in front of it.
  42. Your house is fine and everything, but it’s not a privilege to hang out in it. It’s not my house.
  43. I send you pictures of the kid because I think the kid is cute. Also, I want you to think that I think the kid is cute. It can be both.
  44. For the love of god, don’t tell me how much you spend on anything. You know how much I make.
  45. Don’t encourage me to have “one of my own.” Again, you know how much I make.
  46. I’m not tired. I’m hungover.
  47. You don’t have to tell me who did cocaine at your wedding for me to think you’re cool.
  48. I have goals and I am going to leave you one day. It’s not personal.
  49. You guys seem like you love each other a lot.
  50. That makes a gig that isn’t always easy a whole lot better.

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