When I was a nanny in SoCal several years ago, there was one sin a mom could commit that was unforgivable. It wasn’t shoplifting from Gucci. It wasn’t getting injections at a Botox party from the doctor who drove up from Mexico that turned out to be toxic. (Oh yes) It wasn’t even forgetting that it was your day to pick up the kid at school because your housekeeper had the afternoon off.
It was nanny-napping.
Nanny-napping starts out innocently enough. As a nanny, you meet other moms in the neighborhood. You get to know them, chat while pushing the kids on the swings. Talk about what you do as they try to pry how much you make and what your bosses do for a living out of you. You might be asked, ever so casually, if you’d be interested in “babysitting” on a weekend or weeknight for her, so she can attend a dinner with her husband.
And then it happens. One day, out of nowhere, you find yourself presented with a job offer. A panicked mom who just lost her nanny and promises you the moon to come work for her – “Double what they pay you, you can drive the Mercedes, and we’ll fly you to Napa with us twice a year. You can have your own room.”
Or a SAHM who just needs a little more “me” time – “I just need someone to help out with the kids. So I can run errands. You know. Maybe 40, 45 hours a week – max. We’d pay you for all that time whether you work it or not. I just need some help.”
Of course, I turned them down, because the only thing more frowned on than a nanny-napper – is the nanny who was napped.
I’ve always wondered how a mom could do that. Seriously, there are SO many people out there looking for nanny jobs. Why pick someone else’s – who clearly loves the kids, the job, and the bosses?
Until yesterday. I didn’t get it until yesterday.
I haven’t hired a sitter yet. I’ve been on sittercity.com and had 15 nannies; sweet, decent, eager nannies, apply for my job. And I simply can’t bring myself to actually interview any of them. I am so afraid of hiring a serial killer, or having Bella hate them, or trying to work my schedule with theirs. I just want to hire someone I know is good with kids, won’t be a psycho, and Bella feels comfortable with.
So I was at Gymboree. There were three nannies there, and I was watching them reminiscing about my nanny kids. As they laughed and played with their little guys, I could see how much the kids loved them. How they really liked what they did. I suddenly had the desire to ask them, “Are any of you available?” While my position is just a few hours a week (so I probably could ask without being “that mom”), I knew that if I had to hire someone full time, I’d be very tempted to nanny-nap.
Isn’t that awful?
But I get it. I know why, after getting to know someone and realizing they weren’t some kind of freak or killer, a mom would try to nanny-nap. You never know who is going to show up at your door when you try to hire a stranger. You’ve never seen them at their other jobs or have any idea how they interact with children.
Nanny-napping is easier. You get to know that person, you feel comfortable, you know a parent hired them to be with their kid so they must be a sane person. They must love kids. They must be the best nanny ever.
They must be ‘napped.