I worked as a live-in nanny and judged parenting styles

I worked as a live-in nanny and judged parenting styles

The perpetrator was a live-in nanny.
The Ogden case

  • As a former live-in nanny, I’ve seen different parenting styles and sometimes judged them.
  • I often saw parents who either completely ignored their children or did not pay enough attention to them.
  • Some kids even called me “mommy” because their parents didn’t spend enough time with them.

I was a live-in nanny for two years in Sydney. I’d been doing the usual babysitting gigs since I was 14, but when I arrived Down Under with a backpack in hand, I wondered how different a live-in role would be. As it turns out – a lot.

As a childcare provider, I became a fly on the wall with front seats to parenting styles and techniques of all kinds.

I loved all my nanny families and looked after a large group of children. Through all those experiences, I learned to be calm, capable and non-judgmental. But, admittedly, at times, I judged parenting.

Parents abandoning behavioral issues at the interview stage was my biggest problem

During the interview, parents are trying to find the best mutual match for their child and a nanny. For a desperate corporate couple left in the lurch, I can understand the temptation to gloss over an hour’s worth of separation anxiety every morning. But it should remain just that: temptation.

I always hated it when parents didn’t reveal the whole truth about their children during the interview – not describing what the child really needed. Sure, kids can have tantrums, but don’t cover up long-term behavior problems. Do not rush and deceive me about the behavior of your children.

This parenting style is self-serving and not sustainable. Trust me: If I spend 12 hours a day with your child, I’ll pick up on this behavior pretty quickly. I can get to the bottom of the behavior much quicker if we are honest that it exists, and then I can better support your child.

The lack of support for your child was something that really bothered me as well

One of my biggest pet peeves was the classic brush off. Picture this: Your child and I have been enjoying fun activities throughout the day, like trips to the park, ballet class, and finally, some arts and crafts. However, the highlight of each day is the return of Mom and Dad.

But some parents do not understand this. Instead, I’ve seen parents say, “Oh, that’s nice” to a drawing without even a sideways glance. I’ve also heard little voices go down as they realize their ballet class story is going unheard.

I harshly judged any parent who failed to hug their child when they came home from work and showed little interest in their children’s day.

Work is tiring—after 12 hours of babysitting, I’m tired too—but it’s hard not to realize how important that 10-minute delivery is.

Some parents were so detached that their children started calling me ‘mommy’

Sometimes, parents weren’t just tired; they were completely surrendered. I’m not sure if they were so disengaged that they didn’t realize how exposed they had become or if they really didn’t care. But one thing is for sure: I can tell, and your children may subconsciously reconnect elsewhere. This is especially true for younger children, and that’s when they started calling me “mommy.”

Of course, the odd slide happens. But these incidents were different. As I gently corrected each instance by instructing them to say my name instead, he talked about the problematic, displaced attachments.

In that moment, I knew: You’re just not spending enough time with your kids, and it shows.

So while I’d like to reassure the masses that nannies are judgment-free additions to your home, I’ll spare you your intelligence. We live-in nannies quickly grow to care for your children and want only the best for them.

We also worry about the impact of our rotating nuts and bolts contracts. We would like to be that stable figure for your children. But in reality, we know that visas expire and contracts expire. We nannies are only temporary. After all, children only have you, their parent.

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