I am NOT the Mom, I’m the Nanny

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?

6 thoughts on “I am NOT the Mom, I’m the Nanny

  1. Oh my goodness you are always right on target!!! Love hearing this from someone else! When I take the girls out, people always tell me how lucky I am to have twins. I often say, “Yeah I am lucky nanny!” You seem to have a much better handle on these situations than me though. I get incredibly nervous when I know people think they are my kids. I am 21 and the babies are 18 months, so I could easily be married and in an apartment with a husband in the navy or shipyard (common career tracks where I live.) But I’m not! For some reason I feel like a liar if I don’t hastily explain to every nosy nancy the situation at hand. These encounters are so awkward for me. I feel like it’s made even worse because the girls are so close to me, so watching us interact just reinforces people’s judgements. When people compliment them, I often get so nervous I don’t even say thank you!

    • Glad to hear I’m not the only one who has experienced this. I love the compliment that I am a good mom..that’s the hardest for me to correct.There have only been a few situations where I have really snapped back (as seen in the article) but usually I don’t really say anything back either.

      I also live near navy base and have several friends who are young married moms. Not for me!

      I bet the twins are adorable! I love that age! 🙂

      • The hardest to combat is the “stink eye.” When people approach you, you are actually given a chance to set the story straight. When they just give you ugly looks, what are you supposed to do??? I guess ignore them is the best option, but I do get my feelings a little hurt sometimes. I have found the most intuitive ones are other children. They know I am the babysitter through some kind of kid instinct. Its just those daggon parents that don’t get it!

      • I combat the stink eye a couple ways.. One, the kid usually asks me, Miss Kelsey, for something like a toy. Or if they reach for something (while Ms. Stink Eye is within ear reach) I say something along the lines of “I don’t think your mommy would want you to have that (candy, toy etc). That usually clears up their eye issues haha Hopefully something like that can help. I wouldn’t take the look too personally. It comes with the job. Too bad that they feel it necessary to judge us.

  2. I expected to get some judgemental looks when I’m out with my girls (nearly three and just gone 1) as I’m only 22, and we live in an area where most mothers are in their late thirties. However, even though people generally have assumed I’m the mother, I’ve never had any bad attitude shown. I usually do explain I’m the nanny/babysitter because I figure I see these women regularly and it’d be awkward if they saw the same kids with different parents another day! My friend was a mother at 15 and it’s been nice when out with her to see other mothers from her son’s school treating her just like one of them, despite being old enough to be her mother. I think it depends a lot on where you’re from, and I’m sorry to hear that people in your area have such negative ideas about young mothers.

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