Dad Says Ex-MIL Tries to Undermine His Kids' Nanny Because She's Just 'the Help' & He's Over It

older woman lecturing younger woman

Figuring out the best way to set boundaries with in-laws or even former in-laws can feel like a lifelong battle, especially when you're a parent. One widower, who detailed recent stressful situation on Reddit, is trying to figure out how his ex-mother-in-law fits into his life. Writing on the Am I the A--hole subreddit, the original poster (OP) asked if he's a jerk for siding with his kids' nanny over his late ex-wife's mom. 

  • The OP said he has three kids, and his ex passed away a little after their divorce five years ago.

    "I've had a couple of nannies since then to help me, but currently have one we'll call Vanessa," he noted. "She's awesome, great with the kids and acts as a household manager of sorts."

    Meanwhile, his ex-MIL, Trudy, has always been in his kids' lives. "I never wanted to cut her or my kids' extended maternal family out," the OP noted.

  • Advertisement
  • In the past, Trudy visited her grandkids while the old nanny was there, and it was all good.

    Then, two years ago, the OP brought on Vanessa. Still no issues, because Trudy could never come over when Vanessa was there. But now, Trudy is unemployed, so she's been coming over more. 

    "At first Vanessa was okay with it, but recently she told me that Trudy undermines her authority, gives the kids stuff after she said no, let's my youngest skip his nap, let's my oldest watch stuff I wouldn't," noted the OP. "It puts Vanessa in a weird spot."

  • If that wasn't enough, Trudy tried to "help" Vanessa clean, according to the OP.

    "While Vanessa appreciates the sentiment, she has her own way," explained the OP. "So, I talked to Trudy. Told her that she needs to respect Vanessa and when I'm not home, she's in charge. Also, please let Vanessa do her job and clean on her own. Trudy said that she's the grandma and Vanessa is 'just the babysitter,' which to me insults Vanessa's role in this house."

  • The OP shared that he ended up banning Trudy from coming over while Vanessa is working.

    "She can still see the kids but only at night or on the weekends or my other days off," he said. "This has been taken as an overreaction by that side of the family who says I should put Trudy's feelings first. To me, I need to keep the nanny happy."

    He then turned it over to the Reddit community, asking if he's wrong.

  • Most commenters cheered on the OP for setting necessary boundaries.

    "You set boundaries with your MIL, she overstepped and now has to deal with the consequences," one person wrote. "Just because she's grandma doesn't mean that the rules for your kids don't apply to her. I'm sure Vanessa appreciates not having someone undermining her and giving her orders all day too. ... I'd probably give her another shot after some time has passed to see if she can abide by the boundaries you set. It shows some benevolence on your part. If she acts out again, then you re-institute the ban."

    Another applauded the OP: "Good job for sticking up for Vanessa! She can't do her job whilst being undermined and disrespected."

    A third Redditor, who identified herself as a nanny, thanked the OP for standing up for Vanessa. "Grandparents often tell themselves they’re helping when, in reality, 99% of the time they make our jobs miserable and infinitely harder," she noted.

    Another commenter who said she's a single mom remarked, "A good nanny is worth her weight in gold! I had a live-in nanny for five years, and I wish I still had her as a house manager!"

  • In response to the commentary, the OP sang Vanessa's praises.

    "I had to interview several [nannies] to find Vanessa. Finding a good house manager is difficult, one that all three kids connect with and love, one that will follow all of your rules," he noted. "One that you trust. She does come before MIL's feelings." 

    Here's hoping the OP inspired other parents to set similar boundaries with anyone who dare get in the way of them, their kids, and a beloved, valued caregiver.