In the Home & Garden section of the New York Times, there’s an article called “How to Speak Nanny”. The piece highlights the all-too-often communication breakdowns that can occur between mom and caregiver and discusses why the mom/nanny relationship – especially ones in New York City – often involve a certain degree of strife.
As a mom who employs a part-time nanny, I of course found this major-league interesting. I also found it major-league annoying in that “ugh, the ridiculous crap that goes on in New York” kinda way. The stories of CEO Moms who passively-aggressively communicate with their nannies, and the quotes from the “parenting consultants”….barf. It’s just too much. While I did find a decent amount of the article gross, I did find the central question of the article very, very interesting: When transferring some (or many) of their day-to-day mothering duties to another woman, how does it make moms feel? And, in turn, what do we do with those feelings? A “parenting consultant” (again, gag) in the article suggests that moms who give up a good portion of their child-rearing responsibilities to a nanny feel a certain degree of guilt about doing so and therefore treating their nannies with a certain degree of contempt. And, it also seems, when they’re disappointed with their nanny’s performance – justifiably or otherwise – many moms fear speaking directly with their nannies (as they would any other employee) for fear that the nanny will take any anger she may feel towards the mother out on the kids instead.