2013 August 13
From The Daily Summer: The Hand That Mocks The Cradle
(NEW YORK) Ever wondered what the nanny really thinks? In the latest installment of our gleefully anonymous tell-all series, a très-grumpy Southampton live-in dishes long and hard about the “crazy” mom and gropey dad that pay her $250-a-day salary, surviving on Top Ramen, and the occassional joys of raising baby-quattro. INTERVIEW BY EDDIE ROCHE
What are your daily responsibilities?
I’m expected to help clean up the house, wake up the kids in the morning and get them dressed, feed them, and spend the entire day looking after them. I look after four kids, all under 8-years-old. They’re all difficult kids and play off of each other’s bad behavior.
Do you like their parents?
I’m sure I would like them if I wasn’t watching their kids, but not really. They don’t do anything with their kids! In all honesty, I would be gone from this job in a heartbeat but feel obligated to stick around because of the kids. They’ve had a lot of nannies come in and out of their lives and I don’t want to be just another face for them.
What annoys you about the parents?
The father is always working so I understand why he’s not around, but the mother doesn’t have a job. She just goes shopping, or to the gym. They have a home gym, but she still goes to the gym in Southampton just to get out of the house. She shops and hangs out with her friends and goes to dinner while her husband is in the city working and I’m home with the kids. When I had my job interview the father pulled me aside and told me that when I worked for them I would have to make sure to babysit his wife, too, because she has no idea what she’s doing. He was half kidding, but I was still a little weirded out.
Was he correct?
Unfortunately! The wife will tell the husband that she is out doing all of this stuff all day, but she really just sits in her bedroom on her computer, shopping online. She once left pasta boiling on the stove and started a huge fire. She just ran away from it because she didn’t know what to do, then blamed it on the other nanny who was working with us. I couldn’t believe what was happening!
Yikes! What do you usually do with the kids?
I try to leave the house every day because they get restless if we don’t, but we pretty much do the same thing every day. The mom will drop us off at the park or the beach club or in town and I’ll get lunch with them. She just brings me places and leaves me there.
How many days a week do you work?
They generally have me working five days a week, but my schedule changes all the time in the summer because the kids go to camp or they have people coming to visit. They need me the most on the weekends when the kids aren’t in camp. Sometimes I work 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
It doesn’t sound like they enjoy having kids...
I’m not sure they do, actually. All four kids are absolutely beautiful, but I sometimes think they just had them to show people, like, “Hey, look what I did!” All of their friends started having kids so they decided to have kids, I guess.
Do you feed the kids, too?
There’s a live-in housekeeper who does the main meals. We didn’t have that last year, but this summer they hired one and she cooks a lot. Last summer I had to do the kids’ cooking. The parents go out to dinner every night, either together or separately.
What do they feed you?
All they buy for me at the house is rice and Ramen because all of the nannies in the past have been Filipino and they lump me in with them.
Watch out for scurvey! Do you drink a lot?
I wish. It’s actually the opposite. Having to go in and deal with these kids when I’m hungover is a nightmare. They’re usually pulling at my hair at 5 a.m. to wake me up.
Do the kids love their mother?
Oh, yeah, they love her. They don’t get away with anything with me, and they get away with everything with her!
Do you feel like they love you?
There have been a few situations where the kids haven’t wanted her, and just wanted me, but she didn’t like that. They want their mom when they’re being fed, but they don’t want her to change them, and they don’t want her to put them to bed. They also don’t want to deal with her in the day time. If they’re playing and she comes in, they usually want nothing to do with her. If they’re crying, they immediately come running to me. She doesn’t like it at all.
Has the father ever hit on you?
Ha! He has, though I think it was unintentional—or he said it was, at least. He was drinking a lot and his wife and I are very similar looking. We’re both petite brunettes. He thought I was her and came up behind me and slapped my butt. I turned around and he looked really scared for a second, but then he smiled and said, “I’m not sorry.” I was like, “Oh my god!”
Did you tell the wife?
Absolutely not. Never. She’s crazy!
Is he attractive?
Not at all. There was another time where his married brother-in-law also hit on me. I went away with them on vacation to an island and it happened to be my birthday. They felt bad, so after I put the kids to bed they invited me to go to a party with them.
Did you have fun?
As much fun as I could have getting wasted with my employers! It was one of the strangest nights ever. He was on the dance floor trying to grind with me, and then they invited me to another party afterwards, and the whole time the brother-in-law was trying to hold my hand. I ended up ditching them and taking a cab back to the hotel.
Have other nannies you know had affairs with their employers?
Not really. I thought it would be way more common, but I don’t hear about anything like that. Most nannies I’ve encountered are Filipino women, and they’re all around the same age, in their late 30s or early 40s. They tend to be very respectful. For example, they don’t call their bosses by their names, but instead will say “Mr. Ben” or “Ms. Jane.” They’re very proper.
Would you hire a nanny someday?
I wouldn’t. Before I was a nanny I hadn’t given it too much thought. I wouldn’t have said no right away, but after nannying I think it’s so sad because there’s another person taking care of your kids. I don’t really get it. Most people have kids because they want to raise them and they want to teach them their values. If someone has a full-time job I could understand it. But I don’t get how wives that do nothing justify having one.
What would you like to say to the mother of the children you look after?
Spend as much time with your kids as you can because it goes fast and you’re not going to experience any of it. I have a lot of other words I’d like to say to her!
How much do nannies get paid?
They generally get paid more than me. I bring home about $250 a day.
Are you happy with that rate?
I am. It's hard work, but a lot of it is sitting at the pool or watching them play at the beach. I'm being paid to be a mom.
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