Craigslist’s “Exceptional nanny” talks (did you guess right?)
Yesterday I re-published a nanny ad from Craigslist by someone called “Exceptional nanny”. Her post was so satirical it sounded Jacobean. What had this nanny gone through to pen such a scathing critique? I, amongst many others, wanted to know. I replied:
Dear “Exceptional nanny” I was touched by your poignant ad on Craigslist yesterday. I am a working nanny myself this is my blog ……… would you be willing to talk about your experiences? Confidentiality 100% ensured. If you feel safer texting please text me here ………… I am looking forward to hearing from you.
I received no reply but at 5:48pm “Exceptional nanny” texted me.
is this exceptional nanny?
thank you for replying. I have so many questions, let me begin by asking : are you young, educated and from new york?
a Grad student?
major in …
had any nanny job offers from your post 😉 ?
😉 no ;( but some nice messages from other nannies
are you still looking for work?
i have 2 babysitting jobs right now but i don’t know how long they’ll last. so yes always looking.
why did you post the ad?
needed to vent about the way some people think its ok to treat nannies.
time-wasting. it’s my biggest beef. i did everything right. I mean I showed up early, dressed appropriately, came with paperwork, got references, brought id. around 85% of the time they (prospective employers) showed up late. not like 5 minutes but sometimes up to 45 min late. I’d be left sitting with some adorable housekeeper talking to me in spanish offering me glass after glass of water. then they would arrive so nonchalantly like i had nowhere else to be.
in your ad you say:
I am an experienced, smart, legal, gifted caregiver although I only speak English I am willing to learn Mandarin Chinese because it will help your child be even more successful than you are. I would prefer a decent salary but when I meet you in your penthouse if all you can afford is $12 an hour I will take it. I am agency screened and come with a contract but DON’T be put off! I’m okay with being treated like an undocumented worker or a human trafficking victim.
sounds like you know your audience?
i do! as soon as they opened their mouths it was this ridiculously long list of requirements. i get that you want a good nanny but do you really need ‘3 additional languages’ like really? how about you actually talk to your kids in english first … so i’d say “i only speak english and a little spanish” and you’d literally see them sweating and i’m like ‘oh yeah? you want someone born here, educated who happens to speak chinese? that person is at NYU studying some quantum physics Ph.D and they ain’t gonna work for $12 an hour lady.
second issue = $ these people were all wealthy like the 000.1%. jets to the islands. we always met in pent houses then they’d low-ball me. I’m looking right over their shoulder at Van Goghs and they’re low-balling me down to $12 for 3 kids? It was obnoxious. and sometimes and this is the worst part they’d have their personal assistant doing all the talking and the agency would say ‘yeah don’t make eye contact unless they look at you, talk to their assistant’. I was constantly horrified by obnoxious people and the sycophants they surround themselves with like the agents.
tell me about the agents?
some are good but some are just awful they actually lie about clients. they tell you sob stories or BS about a kid whose sick whatever and the families are either crazy or plain obnoxious.
all the things you wrote in your ad were what you experienced?
right ok so there was one family who took me on for the summer and at the interview it’s all like ‘you’ll get plenty of downtime, nights off, a car to drive, a room separate from the kids wing (their mansion had wings) bla bla bla’ so I get to …….. and nothing they promised was true. I was a slave for 3 weeks until I quit and the husband had to come get me, that was the worst trip back to the City … ever!
what were your main issues?
being lied to. I shared a room with the kids. they were all out of control and had a ton of crazy issues like one couldn’t eat a nut or they’d die, another couldn’t watch tv or they’d have a fit, another one couldn’t get stung by a bee or they’d fall into a coma. can you imagine the stress and they were all on a ton of meds. I was always on edge. I thought every day ‘oh crap will one of them croak today?’ Just so stressful and the mom was nuts. she dumped me at the beach every morning and went for tennis lessons or whatever then she’d come back around 6 kiss the kids goodnight then go out for dinner, that drove them nuts, then she’d come home wasted and sit on my bed crying about her jerk husband. I was like ‘lady I’ve been in charge of a gang of wild animals all day and I’m exhausted’. I never got any time off. she made excuse after excuse not to be with her kids. I never got a car! it was the worst experience of my life.
what’s up with employers like that?
they’re crazy! Or ridiculously shallow or self-absorbed or all 3. Parents have kids and then do everything not to be with them. the kids go nuts and act up. I would be expected to control them but the parents would break every rule they made. Like I was always the bad guy. I felt constantly undermined and it’s crazy-making in the end you feel like crap.
one thing that rang true for me is what you said about ‘being good but not too good’ how did that work for you?
it means you can not ever upstage the mom (sometimes the dad if he’s a micromanaging moron who just got laid off) no matter how awful they are. so you never ever get rewarded for say helping a toddler with major separation anxiety, or a pre-schooler resolve anger issues, NO WAY, that’s not your job. your job is to be the crap one, the one they all really hate so it makes it easier to dump you when you’re no longer needed. seriously I want to tell every new nanny, ‘don’t out-shine the mom remember she needs everyone to wet the bed when she leaves for some dead-beat job’.
so why do you stay babysitting?
I’m an awful waitress. It’s about paying the bills at this point. but I had started out so enthusiastic. I was that big puppy of a college grad all smiles and fantastic ideas snatched from kids camp forums. but you soon learn.
do you think parents who treat nannies like this are only hurting themselves?
totally! but you can never ever say it. it’s like opening Pandora’s Box on how fake their whole existence really is. I had one nanny friend who got let go just because she couldn’t work a night when the mom was going out to an Occupy Wall Street benefit. That’s how insanely hypocritical these people are.
Then you know if you piss enough moms off it’s like ‘you’ll never work in this town again’ like dealing with mob wives. you hit a maternal ceiling fast. I’m serious.
agents also add to the problem by covering up awful behavior. then you have all the blogs about bad nannies , like we don’t get enough bad press? Hello …. I would LOVE someone to start a I SAW YOUR LAME ASSED PARENT blog. I would die if it was out there. I see parents doing all the same stuff they blame nannies for. It’s the double-standards and the hypocrisy that sets nannies up like good nannies to fail.
any advice for new nannies?
dog walk bar tend pole dance 😉
LOL ; – ) can we do a follow-up another time to see how you’re doing?