Appreciations · Babysitting Stories · General Ramblings

Mama Drama in Nannying

I started watching Beverly Hills Nannies last night on the recommendation of a friend. It’s a show about a group of nannies in upscale Beverly Hills. They have everything they want – awesome cars, vacations, luxury apartments, all the money they can charge, and yet their jobs are ten million times harder than mine ever has been or could be. They deal with mothers who are more than just Type A personalities. They have to acquiesce to any and all demands. They’re treated like they’re subhuman, basically. And the competition is insane.

Here in Toronto, nannying is, well, simpler. I work for a group of families who treat me like I’m worth gold. I truly enjoy working for them, because I am treated like one of the family, in a good way. I’m greeted cheerfully, there’s always food in the fridge for me, they give me Christmas presents and care about my life. The children are pleasant and lovable, I have mostly free rein to take care of them as I feel is best, and communication is open. I am never asked to scrub out a filthy bird cage or take a toothbrush to the shower grout. I am never treated like I’m not a human being. If someone has a problem with me, they discuss it with me like the adults we are. It seems insane to me to give that up for luxury items and a ton of money.

I’ve had my mama drama – way back when I was in university, I worked for a single mom who was very busy running a restaurant. Her children were adorable, but she had no time for them. She insisted that for the low wage of $7 an hour, that I become a nanny and a housekeeper. The nanny part was mentioned in my contract. The housekeeper part was added on – and when I expressed concern about this, I was told that I could be replaced in a heartbeat. Yeah. No one likes to feel like that – and no one should.

Her children were sweet, but had issues that the mother refused to acknowledge. I was told many times a day that the kids were only [their specific age], and how dare I say that they were less than perfect? As a result, the older daughter knew that she could get away with anything – because Mommy never backed me up on my discipline. I thankfully left that job after about 9 months – and haven’t worked for anyone like that since.

It’s not that I blame that mother for being harassed and upset all the time. Her life was stressful. But her daughters may have benefited more from a daycare situation than a full-time nanny. I felt constantly stressed and under-appreciated, knowing that any moment she could fire me if she wanted to. That’s how these nannies on Beverly Hills Nannies feel, too.

Life doesn’t have to be like the Nanny Diaries when you’re hiring a nanny. This is why I always advise people that nannies need to be a good fit with your family. If you hate the person who is looking after your children, or don’t respect them, they’re not a good fit, and you won’t ever have a good relationship.

That all being said, I’m looking forward to the next installment of my new favourite trashy show!


4 thoughts on “Mama Drama in Nannying

  1. I’ve seen some nannies treated pretty terribly, even here. Especially non-white nannies, and especially in my neighbourhood. Sometimes I worry that Theo is going to grow up assuming that the role of Filipino women is to care for white people’s children.

    This is a great piece! Didn’t mean to derail it with that comment – I guess what I am hinting at is that I would love to see you write something about race and nannying in TO 🙂

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