Learning to Speak Nanny

Suzanne Murray
boy getting hair cut

Photo by MomToAnArmyOf3

Pop quiz.

Your nanny takes your kid for a haircut. You didn't ask her to and you liked your kid's hair the way it was. What do you do?

a. You nicely ask her not to do it again.

b. You go ballistic on her.

c. You give her a look that you hope she understands to mean please don't do it again.

If you answered a, you probably don't have a nanny. If you answered b, you probably don't have a nanny and think that all moms who hire them are like the super bitches depicted in The Nanny Diaries and Nanny Returns. If you answered c, you probably have a nanny.

According to Why Moms Need to Learn to Communicate With Nannies, the truth is, most moms who hire nannies find it extremely difficult to tell them exactly what they expect.

Moms and nannies often have differing views on nutrition, discipline, what household duties and errands are part of the job description, and even when it's okay to get a kid's hair cut. No matter what their personality or profession (tough prosecutor, CEO), many moms bite their lips and are afraid to give their nannies the ground rules given the personal nature of the relationship.

But nannies want—and need—to know what you expect. So tell them. Some tips:

1. Say what you mean.

2. If it's hard for you to say it in person, write it down. Leave your nanny a to-do list every day.

3. Start out with a written contract that explicitly lays out all the duties of the position.

4. No matter how much you, or your kids, love the nanny, remember she is an employee not a family member.


Do you have a nanny? Do you have a hard time telling her what you really want?

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