Employers of nannies need nannying from NYT

The New York Times has a helpful article guiding moms called "How to Speak Nanny" (because nannies don't speak upper-class-ese?). It includes such illuminating tales as:
Carolyn Kavanaugh, a director of Northwest Nannies Inc. in Portland, Ore., which runs a nanny-training institute and a placement agency, recalls a telephone call she received from a mother asking if it was acceptable to ask her nanny to do the children’s laundry as part of her job. Yes, Ms. Kavanaugh said, children’s laundry is a typical part of a nanny’s job. The mother reported that she told the nanny, “If you have time, would you mind doing the children’s laundry?” The nanny apparently had not had time. The laundry remained undone. Ms. Kavanaugh said that she explained to the mother that she had to be more direct and tell the nanny that doing the laundry was part of her job....

[Another] mother had a list of complaints, including that the nanny wasn’t folding the laundry right. Asked if she had told the nanny that she’d prefer that the clothes be folded a different way, the woman said: “No, I didn’t think I had to. Doesn’t she see that I refold them?”...

[Another mother] thought about saying something [about the fact that the nanny had toilet-trained her son]. Instead, she asked the nanny to accompany her and her son to the pediatrician’s office, where she asked the doctor in the nanny’s presence, “Isn’t it too early for toilet training?”...

A year ago, Ms. Hershenov, the Hastings-on-Hudson lawyer, bought her children a puppy, a rambunctious yellow Labrador retriever. The straightforward thing to do, she acknowledged, would have been to sit down with her nanny and ask her if she would be willing to take on new responsibilities, like feeding the puppy and walking it. But she didn’t ask. Perhaps out of guilt, perhaps out of uncertainty about what was appropriate, she dealt with the situation by not dealing with it, leaving her nanny to essentially read her mind and take it upon herself to feed the puppy and take him outside...

[After giving a child a haircut], the nanny arrived the next morning. Ms. Quan said, “Good morning.” The nanny brought up the haircut immediately and explained the situation, as the son had the night before: it was in his eyes, and he wanted it trimmed. “O.K.,” Ms. Quan said. She thought the nanny understood that her look meant don’t do it again. As so often happens, though, she was wrong. Not long after, she and the nanny parted ways. She now has a new nanny.

Good Lord. These people don't don't need to learn how to "speak nanny." They need to learn how to behave like straightforward adults, and not like petulant self-centered children. Helpful hint: it's a good idea to lose the passive-aggression, even when you're not talking to your nanny!

And you knew this was coming:
In the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area, Gold Parent Coaching of Short Hills, N.J., one of many consulting businesses that have sprung up in recent years to counsel parents on how to handle everything from a baby who won’t go to sleep to a toddler’s tantrums, has increasingly branched out into a new service: mediating the parent-nanny relationship. Tammy Gold, the owner, brings her experience as a psychotherapist to help mother and nanny be more direct with each other, approaching the situation, she says, “the same as a marriage with issues.”

I'm taking my children and heading for the hills. Or opening a consulting firm. Can't decide which yet.


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    When I get done pounding my head on the keyboard, perhaps I will try to come up with something cogent to say. In the meantime, it seems to be helping.

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  2. I sympathize, but I am in the midst of reading this and this graf stands out: But, she said, the corporate training “didn’t translate over” to talking with her nanny.

    “It’s never been easy,” Ms. Hershenov sighed. “It’s an employer-employee relationship, but it’s also in your home — and with someone who is taking care of your most cherished relations.”

    Plus, she said, “I’m asking for exactly the things I can’t ask for in the office — to do something for the kids, something personal, pick up something.”

    It is a tricky relationship, especially if your children view the nanny as part of the family. I understand how people might not feel comfortable laying out the ground rules. It is kind of strange to command someone to love your kids. We are talking about nanny and not housekeeper.

    Luckily, my mother helps take care of my kids during the day so it is family, and she has free rein over them. The love and the trust is baked into the pie, as it were.

    I do agree though, that some of these women are just nutso, like the woman who was upset to tears that her child was potty trained without her, as though the nanny would have been perfectly happy to continue to clean up dirty diapers from a two year old until the mother figured she could fit toilet training into HER schedule. You know dearie, it ain't all about you.

    If my mother were to toilet train my 17 month old on her own and was successful, I would be ecstatic. No more poopie diapers!

    One question, why are rich, successful women so neurotic?