Nannied Up.

by Risa Green


A couple of years ago, some friends and I were talking about taking on a pretty big volunteer position at our kids’ school, and we were discussing who else we should ask to do it with us. We brought up some names – no, I heard she wants to be a room parent this year; no, I think she’s going back to work full time – and then another name came up and my friend said, yeah, she’d be great, plus, she’s totally nannied up. Nannied up. It’s a term that’s stuck with me, and if I had to write a dictionary definition for it, I think it would go something like this:


na·nnied up: adj.


Being in mother in a state of complete and utter freedom as a result of having one (or more than one) nanny who is always available to drive, cook and clean. Even though she has three kids and doesn’t work, Karen is always free to grab coffee at four o’clock in the afternoon because she is so nannied up.


I think that the whole idea of being nannied up causes people to make a lot of judgments, (i.e., she’s so nannied up, she never even spends any time with her kids or, in the alternative, poor Sue, she spends half her salary being nannied up because she has to put in such long hours at the office) but that’s not why I decided to write about it this week. No, I decided to write about it because I’ve started the next book in my Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball series, and it’s come to my attention that I am not set up for working full time, especially in the summer. I am, decidedly, not nannied up, and it’s becoming a bit of an issue for me.


When my daughter was born eight years ago, we hired a nanny to live with us both because we had an extra bedroom, and because we couldn’t afford to pay for a nanny who “lived out.” Although I was working in an office at the time, it wasn’t a problem for us that she didn’t drive. We live in the middle of the city, with plenty of parks and malls and bus stops within walking distance. By the time my kids started preschool I was working as a writer, from home, and the preschool is just a five minute walk from our house. So when I was working on a book and I needed to work full days, she could go pick up my kids and walk them to the park or to a playdate, while I stayed at my computer, working away.


Now, however, everything is so much more complicated. Our elementary school is a fifteen minute drive from my house, and my kids have art classes and soccer practice and God knows what else after school, all of which require me to essentially end my work day at two thirty so that I can become an unpaid chauffeur. And in the summer, it’s even worse. Camp doesn’t start until nine, and in order to give them both some much needed downtime, they only go three days a week. Which basically means that my work week has now been reduced to three, five hour days. It’s as if I’ve been furloughed by my children.



I totally relate to this. As a professional photographer I find that I long for the days that I have help so I can do my work. I heard a great speaker once though that put it in perspective for me and I try to remember what she said. It was along the lines of not being able to do all things at all times. I chose to have a child and she is my responsibility to care for at this time. It is not the season for me to go out and grow my business, she will only be little once and I will regret not spending time with her when she grows up. The season for growing me to grow my business will come in a few years when my daughter goes to school. Do I feel like I am missing the boat sometimes, absolutely! But I hope that there will be another boat in a few years when she is in school and I then it will be the season for me to really ramp up my business.


For many moms and dads it boils down to an obvious choice - raising their children themselves or not. The choice can be the result of simple mathematics: staying home means no babysitter, daycare or nanny, OR going to work means maintaining an income that is now even more important because of a new addition? One thing for sure, it is never an easy decision.

That is unless you ask yourself - what do I really want? And answer that question honestly.

I stayed at home with each of my three children for one year. Then, my husband and I put on our engineering hats (we are not engineers!) and figured out how we could facilitate me working outside of the house on a part-time basis while keeping our babysitting/nanny expenses to a bare minimum. We somehow always succeeded in figuring it out - where there's a will, I guess.

Great blog entry!


I have a husband, a 3 3/4 year-old (she made me say that), a dog and oh, yeah a nanny. But am I "nannied up"? Nope. That's a dig if I ever heard one.

I am a good mom. And I have a nanny. It's actually possible to be a responsible mom or dad and hire help. Like most working couples I know, my husband and myself, have a nanny out of necessity not luxury. Due to our schedules daycare of 'some sitter' just doesn't cut it.

Our nanny is easy going and adapts to our schedule. I often travel. Sometimes I work in the office. Sometimes I work in my home office. And the nanny is always there to help if we need it.

And believe it or not a nanny can be affordable. In some cases, even less than a sitter. Our nanny is paid just to take care of our daughter. Not to clean the house, make family meals or be at my feet 24/7.

I bet you can find a nanny and not feel nannied up one bit!



I have a husband, 3 3/4 year-old (she made me say that), a dog and oh, yeah a nanny. But am I "nannied up"? Nope. That's a dig if I ever heard one. And clearly a comment made by someone who doesn't know what she's talking about!

I am a good mom. And I have a nanny. It is possible to be a responsible mom (or dad) and hire help. But just because you a nanny doesn't mean you don't lift a finger as a parent.
For most working couples I know, like my husband and myself, have a nanny is a necessity not a luxury. Our nanny is a God send. She is very easy going and adepts to what our needs are. I often travel for work. Sometimes work in the office. Sometimes work in my home office. Day care or some sitter just doesn't cut for us.

And believe it or not our nanny is very affordable. She actually costs list than many sitters in the D.C. area. She is paid to take care of our daughter and that's it. Not to clean our house. Make the family's meals. Or be at my beckon call 24/7. There are lots of nannies out there willing to give a helping hand not clean out your wallet.



Oh God - you live my life! Not really, but I love sharing your angst. My days as a part-time employee are numbered (going back to full-time in September) and I'm scrambling to figure out how to make our life work. When my now-eight year old was small we had someone living with us to cover the odd hours my husband & my work schedule create. It's been just us the last 2 1/2 years & that's NICE... but mabe being nannied-up again is exactly what we need. Sigh. I'm cheering for you girl!


Please don't drive and text. Invest in a small recorder and dictate all your notes to yourself and transcribe later. My cell phone has an application that serves this purpose, and I put it to use when I'm driving and need to get those thoughts down somewhere.