Assuming I Am the Nanny Is Rude!


As soon as you have children, the rude and presumptuous questions begin. People you never even met ask you if you plan to breastfeed, what kind of labor you plan to have, and if you and your husband are ready (code for: are you married?). But never was I as annoyed as when people would ask me if I was my child's nanny.

It happened all the time. I was in my 20s when my daughter was born, which was a fair amount younger than many other new moms in my city, and boy, did I pay for that. I hated it and felt like it negated me as a person, implied that the person speaking knew more about parenthood than me, and generally made me feel like the speaker was being condescending. And it happened again and again -- at the park, at the pool, at my child's school!

It turns out, I am not alone. Rose Arce is a senior producer at CNN and she wrote an essay on what it's like to constantly be asked if she is her child's nanny. She says:

You can't take down that solid identity with a few words of brazen stereotyping. I have heard it all before. People have called me 'senorita' and 'spic' and grabbed my arm on the way to a restaurant restroom to demand: 'Can I get some service here?' So when a lady cab driver asked me how much I get for baby sitting her, it really shouldn't have rocked my sense of self.

Ah, but it does. And mine isn't even racially motivated. Arce says one father at the park told her his daughter had never met a Latina woman who wasn't a nanny. Nice move, dad!

In this day and age, families come in so many different shapes and sizes, it almost seems presumptuous and quite ill-informed to ask such a question. Maybe I am the stepmom or maybe I adopted my daughter with my wife. You just have no idea when you see a person what their family make-up is. We aren't all married with a white picket fence, Donna Reed hair, and cookies baking in the oven. Thank goodness for that!

So, hey, if you see a person at the park hanging with a bunch of kids, don't assume anything except they're there to have fun the same as anyone else. If she volunteers more information, by all means, listen. But don't ask that which is none of your business.

Do you get annoyed with rude park questions?


racial issues


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Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I used to get asked that question a lot because my son looked nothing like me. My hubby and I are both white with blue eyes but apart from that we're very dissimilar. He's tall, I'm short. He's a beanpole, I'm...not. He has the roman nose, I have the button nose. My son got everything from his dad. He's five now and looks a bit like me but he's still tall, skinny, and blonde. Whenever people asked I'd just smile and say "He's just a clone of his father, secret government experiment." I find joking about it makes them realize what a stupid question it is without me having to actually insult them.

BayNo... BayNoelle

A friend of mine is Hispanic and married to a white man. They have the most adorable little girl, she has the same face shape as her mother and the same big brown eyes, but that's about it. She has red curly hair, pale skin and freckles. A few months ago, she was asked if she was the nanny. And she was livid, understandably so. It just amazes me that so many people seem to have no filter between their minds and their mouths.

momav... momavanessa

Wow a story that I can for ONCE agree with you. I get the "are you the nanny" comment ALL THE TIME!! Nobody believes my boys are mine and I gave birth to blonde, blue eyed, and fair skinned boys!  Well the fact is I am only half African American. My mother is from Mexico but her and her family are fair skinned with green, hazel, and even blue eyes!  So I also have that in my genes. Plus my husband is Norweigan and Greek so that Norweigan blood is very over powering! Him and his brother are both blonde with blue eyes! They're dad is olive skinned with brown eyes.  I also get really evil looks when they find out I am the mom too.

TC00 TC00

I am a nanny and the kids I watch are the same skin tone and have the same color eyes so people assume I'm the mom. When I correct them they walk away, they sneer, they don't allow their kids to play with mine.

The sterotype goes both ways.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

Norwegian genes sure are pushy! Moral of today's story? If you want your kids to look like you don't marry a guy of Norwegian descent.

kjbug... kjbugsmom1517

Wow... I'm sure its horrible. I can honestly say that my kids r my clone so I don't get this. I also don't ask stupid questions when I see someone with a bunch of kids.

nonmember avatar Laura

Uhg!! I'm a young mom (had my daughter when I was in my early 20's) so people assume if I'm the nanny all the time. When I correct them they always give me very judgmental looks. I guess they assume I was an un-wed teenage mother?? I've even had a woman try to give me money to "help out during a hard time." Um, this isn’t a hard time, I have been happily married since I was 20. And even if I wasn't married, whose business is that? When I was pregnant it was way worse. People would stare at my belly and strangers would tell me “it‘ll be all right.”. One time I was at a play and this lady was (loudly) saying that it was sad that young people had no shame these days and just flaunted their sin everywhere. My friend, God love her, walked over to the lady and told her, “Are you so old you’ve gone blind? There’s a wedding ring on her hand. She’s been married for two years.” Made my day. Judgmental people suck.

Emily Chappell-Root

My three kids are all Blonde haired and blue eyed. And I'm a larger woman, so I just look fat when I'm pregnant. With the first two, I always got asked, "Oh, who are you babysitting for" Noone, dammit, these are MY KIDS. Now that I've got three, and that "frazzled mommy look" no one does it, but it's still aggrivating.


kisse... kisses5050

I have two abnormally attractive kids..I am not attractive. I also use to baby sit four kids ..that stair stepped in age all six kids had blue eyes... well we were standing in line to get icecream and the kids were amazingly well behaved  this man looks at my two and says what beautiful girls. I say thank you.. Andhe looks at all the kids and says sooooo well behaved....and gorgeous blue eyes! ' He looks at me and my hazel eyes They must have got their dads eyes...without missing a beat my daughter says " we all have different dads"

Blueb... Bluebonnet72

  Better to be called the nanny then the grandma. 

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