Monday Problem: My Neighbor’s Nanny gossips …

Dear Nanny X,

I live in a condo in a small but supportive SoHo collective. My neighbor is one floor down and she, like me, hires a full-time Nanny. Our children are the same age and while we’re not best buddies, our kids do neighborhood stuff together and enjoy regular playdates. Our Nanny has gotten close to my neighbor’s Nanny too. Anyway … over the last couple of weeks my Nanny has been revealing the intimate details of my neighbor’s life, like what she does all day (she’s a SAHM) or doesn’t do, plus some nitty gritty gossip like where the family is vacationing this year and why, etc, etc. 

I feel bad for my neighbor that her Nanny is talking behind her back but I also don’t want to open up a can of worms. My neighbor and her kids seem quite happy with the Nanny and she in turn looks and acts cheerful. Not sure what to do?

Angie B

Dear Angie B,

I hate to be the one to break it to you but the real gossip could lie closer to home. Have you ever considered the fact that your own Nanny, the font of this notorious information is a) breaking a colleague’s trust by relating information related to her? b) is not telling the whole truth, and c) may in fact be feeding the other Nanny information about you? d) and that that information may be going back to your neighbor?

While not excusable – it is human nature for staff to discuss personal sometimes intimate details of other people’s lives with peers. It is not a positive trait but it happens. What is going wrong here is that the “talk” has strayed and is now becoming gossip. However as previously stated, you would not have known about any of this without your own Nanny spilling the beans. I would have serious trust issues with that alone. 

My advice to you is this, sit down with your Nanny and tell her it is inappropriate for her to discuss or listen to and then repeat private information about your neighbor. Nip it in the bud, as the saying goes, and from now on be extremely cautious about what you reveal to your own Nanny. I’m not painting anyone as the villain or the saint here. Gossip is a part of human nature and unfortunately a by-product of living and working in close proximity to one another. But you can remove yourself from its harmful consequences. 

Nanny X