I often say being a nanny is like being a mommy in training. Changing diapers, making meals, helping with homework, driving kids to soccer practice and dance class.. The list is endless. But I am only 19 and I don’t plan on having a kid anytime soon. So I always find it humorous when I take my munchkins out and people mistake me for the mom. When I work for my families with younger-not quite school age yet- kids, I love taking them out to lunch or to the Dollar Store. It gets them out of the house and they love the excitement of shopping and feeling like a big kid. So one day, while on the way to the park, I stopped at the Dollar Store with a 9 month old and a 2 year old to pick up water and a snack since I had forgotten to pack it. Mace, the 2 year old, was extra talkative, pointing out every food item, toy and candy. We kept passing an elderly lady, who would give me the stink eye every time she passed. Of course she thought I was a teen mom, in way over my head. I am old enough to have a two year old and nine month old. I have friends who do. Fast forward and we find ourselves in line behind her at the checkout. Mace saw a toy he really wanted so he said “Miss Kelsey, toy please?” To my surprise the lady turned around and apologized. She had wrongly made assumptions about me being one of “those” girls. She was very impressed by Mace’s vocabulary, manners and personality for a two year old. I said it was a common misconception and I am lucky to have two munchkins as cute and well behaved as these two kiddos. She agreed and went about her merry way.
On another one of our adventures, we went to the park. I was sitting feeding Matt, the 9 month old, a bottle. A mom came up and started lecturing me about how babies should be breast fed as long as possible and formula was bad for their development. And while I agree, there are times where breast milk just isn’t an option. I looked at her, stumped. How could someone come over and voice their opinion so bluntly and accuse me of being a horrible mother? So I looked at her and said I am the nanny, the mom couldn’t breast feed this morning so this is my only option other than letting the baby starve..which when given the option I think I pick formula. I am not the mom nor are you. Thanks for the concern though. Should have seen her face as she walked off.
While on my most recent excursion to Chuck E Cheese, a mom went as far as to give my “son” Mace coins since she felt bad that I probably didn’t have “extra income” to give my kids fun stuff. Can I just say What the H.. E.. double hockey sticks?? While I am not an advocate of teen pregnancy by any means, treating the girls that are young mothers like bums is totally unacceptable! I handed the coins back to her, and said his mom gave us fun money for the afternoon, thanks. Wish you could have seen her face.. it was priceless.
Now please don’t think I am a Smart Alec with all the people who ask me about “my kids”. Often times people are cordial saying “your kids are so well behaved” or “how old is your son”. Some times I just answer “thank you” or “two, thanks” since explaining my job would take to long. Other times, like while waiting in line, I will respond “thank you, but I can’t take all the credit for their manners, I am the nanny”
What is my point? I don’t mind being assumed as the mom of the kids I nanny. In fact, I hope someday my kids are as well behaved, cute and funny as these kids are. But I do mind insensitive and rude comments that are hastily made based on stereotypes and cultural assumptions. My point of this posting is this, be respectful of people’s situations and don’t be quick to judge. Who knows, the young girl with two kids could just be the nanny.
Has this ever happened to you? How did you handle the situation?