My Ninth Nanny.

I just lost my ninth nanny. I go through nannies the way some women go through men. Nine nannies in seven years seems suspect. Some wonder if we’re secretly beating the nannies or keeping them chained inside the playroom. Why else would we have had such a spectacular run of bad luck in keeping childcare?


Our latest casualty is Stephanie, an attractive, athletic, marathon running Mormon who has been with us for a year. My kids adore her, she even took them camping a few weeks ago. Always anxious that I’m going to lose a good nanny, I tried to keep the love alive by throwing in job perks including free gym membership and tutoring. (I rewrote all of her English papers last semester.) I even indulged Stephanie in her various and pricey diets – from the all organic cleansing one to Weight Watchers. And this summer, knowing how Stephanie likes the outdoors, I got her a gig at my children’s day camp. After a raise and the promise of a roundtrip ticket back to Utah during Christmas, Stephanie committed to staying with us another year. We were thrilled. And then, my nightmare replayed itself, Stephanie got poached.


At 10 pm, two nights ago Stephanie announced to me that she would be leaving in a couple of weeks because a mom in a neighboring, tonier town offered her more money and THREE roundtrip tickets to Utah each year.


First I was shocked; then I got angry. Strangely I was more peeved at the mom who poached my nanny than at Stephanie herself. I see Stephanie as a kid who is being practical and is trying to put herself through school. At least this is what I tried to convince myself in between spurts of crying to my husband about how our kids are going to be crushed when Stephanie leaves. I also felt like a total sucker. I was buying her organic raspberries in November! While I felt betrayed by Stephanie and nauseated by the thought of finding someone new and integrating them into our chaotic family, I was seething that another mom – for the second time – had poached one of my nannies. About a year ago my nanny Sally was spotted on the playground by a predator mom and offered more money to leave us. But Sally didn’t even have the courage or decency to tell me she got a new job. She simply moved out on a Friday night without our knowing and never said goodbye to my kids. It was devastating.


I don’t know how moms could do this to each other. There should be a non-poaching pact among us. Stealing another woman’s nanny is like sleeping with her husband – maybe even worse. Robbing a working mother of good childcare could more quickly destroy the fabric of a family than a one night stand. I’d seriously sacrifice my husband for a fling faster than I would want to lose a good nanny to another family.


My nanny dramas are legendary. There was Vanessa, the Mexican hottie who we flew in from Mexico City and showed up dripping in Chanel. Within a few weeks, she contracted Scabies or some other itchy ailment and after three unsuccessful visits to a dermatologist, she too packed up and without warning disappeared. There was the Czech nanny who told me she didn’t like my children and after four days in my house, I deposited her in another town with garbage bags full of her clothes.



As someone who used to nanny, the comments about no loyalty are a bit one sided. You know why I finally stopped? I was great at my job, families loved me- that is until someone found out they had a nanny. Then they would impart that they got help from significantly cheaper sources that didn't mind being paid under the table. I would go from being "the best thing that ever happened to us" to we're going to have to let you go in two weeks. They didn't bat an eye on dropping me for someone cheaper that they didn't have to legally pay. It's heartbreaking to invest so much into my career, giving up my own goals and aspects of my personal life for people who care more about saving a buck or two than about who and how well someone is caring for their child(ren). Loyalty goes both ways.


Sorry bout your issues! I have similar ones. No matter how I reward, I can't keep a nanny. It certainly doesn't help that I'm not very good at hiring in the first place. I think I could weed out some of these I could read people better.

And about the comments about how not everyone can afford a nanny, I get so tired of that. I make huge sacrifices to keep a nanny at home because childcare in our town is really bad. It's not always this big luxury people seem to assume it is.


Its really hard to find a loyal and dependable nanny these days. You never know if that smiling face is also the same when you left the house. Just be more careful and never give your full trust. Some people take advantage of it.


Glad you all have the luxuries of a nanny. Being a working mom as well I would love one but even though I have a great salary..i just can't afford one, so my children's child care center which never flakes on me and they are always open, caring , and a licensed state approved preschool and gives my oldest son whom has autism special attention(when he is not in school) right along with my 2 year old and 4 mo old. THEY treat them like GOLD. I wish finding a nanny was a problem for me.


Whether it is your regular babysitter or your nanny - that's just not right! One of my neighbors tried to steal my au pair and I still don't talk to her.

What she doesn't seem to know is that there is no way the agency would have allowed it unless we had done something wrong. The great thing about the Au Pair programs is that the fee is determined by the State Dept, so someone can not legally bribe your cherished caretaker with money. Plus, the annual fee is much more cost effective than most nannies and even more cost effective than a lot of out of home options. This is the hidden gem of childcare! (Shh... our little secret!)


Your ninth nanny. Ok. I think the "no loyalty" comment was key. It's just a job to most people, and they will leave for a better situation. If you really don't want to go through the nanny mill, why not consider childcare out of the home? (Gasp). I had my girls in a licensed, small family day care (not even a preschool) for two years and you know what, it was great. They got plenty of attention and the provider didn't ever flake or quit on us because she was invested in the daycare, it was her livelihood. Sorry for all the flakes you've encountered. I also don't see what the nationalities of the girls has to do with anything, frankly it sounds kind of patronizing to me.


This is a funny, clever blog. Sent it on to many others. But...we need to remember that most people can't even afford quality child care, let alone a nanny who gets a free gym membership. I feel your pain, but we need to keep it in perspective.


I feel your pain. Keeping a good Nanny is almost as hard as finding one. And there is no loyalty at the end of the day! If I were you, I'd track down the Nanny Poacher and...well... I guess I have to be realistic, if it were me, I'd want to do that, but with a full time career, kids, house, husband, etc. There's scarcely any time to start the veritable hell called the Nanny Search. I have had similar experiences with many of my nannies--including paying for a round-trip ticket for the teenage daughter of my nanny for Christmas, only to find that in January, she had registered for high school down the street and was going to live with us! They had cashed in the return trip and bought school clothes! Like I said...I feel your pain...


That's horrible. If I had been you, I would have tracked down 'Nanny Poacher' myself and gave her a piece of my mind. She ought to know better.


I feel your pain I can't seam to keep a good babysitter. I had one for 3 years and then DD started school and she did not want to drive to our house 3 times a week for only half a day. The struggle to find a new one is no fun. I ended up using the 13 year old neighbor not my ideal situation but somebody to call 911 if necessary. If I live in NYC and was not practically married I would watch your kids for you and I would not let anybody take me away from you. I hope you find a nanny soon.