When it comes to nannies, I’ve had good luck and I’ve had bad luck. We’ve had some delightful women help with our kids and one or two lemons who just weren’t good at their jobs. We had one nanny who wasn’t trustworthy and another whose life was a mess so she missed worked or brought her problems with her. But otherwise, we’ve had really good people helping with our kids.
Having a nanny always seems like a luxury. But for households with two working parents, it’s a necessity (or at least some type of childcare is). Working parents can’t go to work without their nanny coming to work. And so the relationship becomes less about luxury or an extra set of hands and more about a trustworthy professional who is a reliable partner, helping raise your kids in your absence.
Our most recent nanny, Lisa, was with us for three years. She was delightful, kind, caring, and responsible. But with both kids in school, we needed a full-time nanny less and less and decided to let her go.
We viewed Lisa as a partner and treated her as such. But as the months have passed since she left us, my kids have mentioned things that make me think Lisa wasn’t always honest with me while in my employ. Like the other day the little one and I were driving past a mall nowhere near her school or our house. From the back of the car my daughter said, “That’s where I used to go with Lisa all the time.” We passed the same mall with my son in the car and he said the same thing. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why she would take my kids there other than the fact that she personally liked it.
Apparently Lisa also got a pedicure one time when she had my daughter with her. This would be fine except Lisa was working at the time and I wasn’t paying her to get her nails done nor would I want my daughter to spend her afternoon in a nail salon when she could be at the park or playing with a friend. But every time we’ve passed that specific nail salon, my daughter says that’s where she went when Lisa got her nails done. So I’ve come to assume it’s true.
Truth be told, my blood boils when my daughter tells me about going for a pedicure with her nanny. If Lisa was desperate to get her toes painted — after all maybe she had somewhere to be right after work and had no free time –I don’t think I would have minded her asking me if she could run a personal errand with my daughter along for the ride. The same goes for all the times my kids told me Lisa took them to the bank with her or to her own house without my knowledge.
Honestly, there isn’t a day that goes by where I’m driving and one of the kids chimes in from the back of the car with some version of, “That’s the park Lisa took me to.” Or, “We used to go to that restaurant all the time with Lisa.” It’s not that I needed to know everywhere she was at all times. But the places my kids have referenced are nowhere near our house, nor are they on the way to anywhere they’d need to be.
Every time a nanny says something that’s not completely true or seems to intentionally leave out some information, it makes their employer think they are lying about bigger or more important things. So for a while, I considered calling Lisa to ask her about the stories my kids are telling. If she didn’t tell me she took my daughter to the nail salon, what else didn’t she tell me?
But then I realized that I don’t really need to know and probably don’t want to. My kids were always happy in Lisa’s care and have never told me a story in her absence that made me think they were in danger or in the presence of strangers. So they ate at restaurants I would have preferred they didn’t, spent some time at the bank, and went for probably more than one manicure or pedicure on my dime. They’re happy, clean, and safe. That’s all I really need to know.