Monday Problem: Nanny just crossed the line

Disclaimer: all emails are abbreviated and edited for clarity. When you submit to The Nanny Time Bomb please note that there will be edits. All names and info kept confidential. 

Dear Nanny X,

something happened today that totally shook me up and I need validation or input from a childcare viewpoint. I work outside the home in a very demanding job. My two eldest children are in full-time school and after-school programs. We had our last dc late. He’s 18 months old. 

The nanny has been with our dc since birth because I had resumed my career and couldn’t afford any more employment gaps. She’s a real hands on type very methodical and our dc worships her. Great, right? Well no. From the get-go I felt rail-roaded and yes it’s been kind of been my fault. I was so desperate for our baby to feel secure I guess I gave my power away as a mom. Nanny sure filled the vacuum with advice from everything to weaning down to potty training. 

We rely on her so much that acquiescing our authority has gone with the territory. I do get that culpability. But today when I was comforting my son after he toppled over and banged his head, Nanny charged in and literally snatched him from my hands, saying: (name) is here now sweetie, it’s all right, it’s all right”. 

I felt completely usurped and not surprisingly my son calmed down immediately. Perhaps she meant well but I am livid. I am his mother. I was taking control of the situation. She took that from me. My gut is telling me this is unhealthy and that I should let her go. We can find another nanny. I already know a bunch in the neighborhood. The more I think about our nanny’s attitude the more I feel that I must regain control. Dh says it’s my call.

What’s your take?

Heather P

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Dear Heather, 

I think that you see the picture all too clearly: with culpability comes a price. Your nanny moved into a spot that you vacated. Many moms work outside of the home yet maintain their position and authority. It’s not an easy juggle especially if compounded by work demands but it can be done. 

But I don’t like to flog a dead horse. 

You feel justifiably angry. No nanny who has a keen awareness for professionalism and healthy boundaries would snatch a child from its mother. Your nanny has crossed a line and I can’t see her going back now. But you can’t just let her go. Number #1 it’s a dynamic you both sustained, #2 she needs a chance to reform and #3 your child is clearly attached to her. 

Talk to her.

I recommend this so much it feels like a mantra but everyone deserves their day in court so to speak. Did you over react? Clearly she did. Her actions while wrong were rooted in concern for your child. Sit down and explain to her what the parent/nanny partnership involves for your family. Mark your turf and own it. Your anger is a powerful sign that you are in control. It would be easy now to lash out and that could simply cause more problems. 

If your nanny demonstrates a lack of cooperation or dismisses your demand to be respected, then is the time to say: “you know what? This is no longer working for us ….”

Nanny X