Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors’ nanny.

March 30, 2011

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 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.


  • Mom Went Crazy

    April 1, 2011 at 10:45 am

    This is hilarious! I think it’s akin to husband-nappers. My hubby said ever since he’s had a wedding ring on and goes out with the kids, more woman than ever come talk to him. Who’s more likely to commit than a guy who is already committed? same story

  • Law Momma

    March 31, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Yeah, I get it.

    Also I need a nanny. Move to Savannah and you can be J’s nanny? 🙂

    1. Diana

      March 31, 2011 at 9:22 am

      You know, I totally thought about it if we were to live close enough… 🙂

  • Jen

    March 30, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    You’ll find a non-serial killer soon. I think Mary Poppins is still available. She’s like 70 now, but you could get a senior discount.

    1. Diana

      March 31, 2011 at 9:21 am

      BWAHAHAHAHA – I should advertise for that.

  • kim

    March 30, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Nanny Napping!! I love it! Who knew there was a term?? And just so you know, if I’d met you back then? I’d have been all over you, luring you away.

    1. Diana

      March 31, 2011 at 9:21 am

      You wouldn’t have had to. We would have met and I would have promptly quit whatever job I was at to be at your beck and call. That’s how awesome you are.

      And Violet and I would be best friends. I just know I’m going to love her.

  • Katrina

    March 30, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I definitely understand! I’m a SAHM…and it is SO hard to trust anyone in this day and age! My husband hates the idea of having someone come watch the kids in our home because he’s afraid that we’ll have stuff come up missing. Being in the military and moving around a lot makes it even more difficult; just about the time you get to know and trust someone you’re moving again!
    We found a great sitter for when we go out at our church – the only problem is that she lives 30 minutes away and is very allergic to animals (we have a dog). This makes it difficult for later night dates!
    My sister was a nanny for a while and wound up in a great position with people that had been complete strangers – even though she doesn’t nanny for them anymore they are still great friends. I hope you find someone!!!

    1. Diana

      March 31, 2011 at 9:19 am

      Military does make it hard. Even now, I have to explain to all the sitters who apply that this is short term. And it bums me out to think that I’m going to find someone great and then do it all over again.

      But maybe it’s just good practice. 🙂

  • Miranda H.

    March 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I love this, its true though when you think about it… i however don’t know if ill have the strength to find a sitter….

    im also afraid of killers… blame it on all the crime shows i watch.

    1. Diana

      March 31, 2011 at 9:18 am

      I’m watching Grey’s so all I can think of is the many different ways my child can be injured or maimed. It does take some kind of strength to find someone to trust your child with for any period of time.

      Btw – your profile pic is adorable.

  • Lisa

    March 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I was never a nanny but did a lot of babysitting. I was a great feeling to be totally sought after!! Why not ask a current nanny if they KNOW someone who is available. If you’re just looking for a few hours, maybe they’ll be looking for something more and speak up, or maybe they’ll know someone really great. I know even as a teen I never gave anyone numbers of friends I didn’t thoroughly trust because it might make me look bad too.
    I totally get what you’re saying though. It’s soooo hard to find someone from cold calls!

    1. Diana

      March 31, 2011 at 9:15 am

      Hands down the best advice I’ve gotten. And you know what? I’m actually going to do this. I’m going to ask them next week if they have friends who are looking for something.

      Great advice Lisa – thank you so much!

      1. Lisa

        March 31, 2011 at 9:23 am

        glad I could help!! I have a good thought every now and then. Of course now I’ve used one up so it’ll be awhile until I have another LOL
        Hope it works out as well in practice as it sounds in theory!! 🙂

  • Dana K

    March 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    HAHAHA! I was just talking to some friends about my experiences being a nanny. Several moms totally tried to nanny-nap me! They were insidious…they would even try to get me to commit to things like New Year’s Eve MONTHS in advance!!! I felt like I was the only cow at a meat market sometimes.

    You’ll find the right person! Good luck!

    1. Diana

      March 31, 2011 at 9:14 am

      LOL – I also remember the advance bookings! Isn’t that funny. But now I totally get it. You just feel so comfortable with that person, you’d do anything to make sure they’re with your family.

  • Samantha

    March 30, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I was a nanny a few years ago too – East Coast. I got ‘napped once 🙂 and went from a job with really sweet parents and kids to a holy mess. No money in the world is worth it if you’re treated like crap – you know? But I totally get it, I know why someone would nanny-nap.

    1. Diana

      March 31, 2011 at 9:13 am

      It’s hard not to want to nap someone who is fabulous.

  • t.bird

    March 30, 2011 at 10:13 am

    i love my nanny. if anyone tries to nap her i’ll cut them.

    1. Diana

      March 31, 2011 at 9:13 am

      This should be my new slogan once I find one. 🙂

  • Jen @TidsAndBits

    March 30, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Don’t forget that at some point you were the stranger at the door, and so were these nannies…one day you will interview one and it will be AMAZING. I felt the exact same way just finding a sitter for my three for date night. I got a number from a friend that met a stranger, gave her a call, and now I want to lock her in my house and I don’t tell anyone about how amazing she is so she won’t get stolen! I bet you will find someone fast as soon as you are ready.

    1. Diana

      March 31, 2011 at 9:13 am

      I do forget that. It’s so true, at one point that was me. Reading this made me go back and try again on sittercity, so we’ll see what happens.

  • beth

    March 30, 2011 at 8:10 am

    I totally get it.

    I actually wrote a post about this topic awhile back. Once you find a good one, hold her tight and DO NOT SHARE HER WITH ANYONE!!!

    1. Diana

      March 31, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Lol, I plan on doing just that. 🙂 Your blog is super cute btw.

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