Or, why I don’t blog about my summer job.
The premise is this: a Park Slope nanny kept a personal weblog, which she showed to her employer. Her employer followed the blog “obsessively,” and was so offended by what she wrote that she eventually fired the nanny — and then wrote a piece for the New York Times calling the nanny a promiscuous pill-popping alcoholic who wants to do Tucker Carlson six ways to Sunday, has bisexual fantasies about girls in 19th century garb, and touches her breasts while reading. The last straw, apparently, was when the nanny wrote this: “I am having the type of workweek that makes me think being an evil corporate lawyer would be O.K. Seriously. Contemplated sterilizing myself yesterday.”
All right, look. Taking care of other peoples’ kids is hard work. And nannying is a whole different story than babysitting for a few hours — you’re with the kid(s) all day, almost every day. Some nannies live in-house, meaning that you always have to be “on.” Many people who employ nannies want them to be “part of the family,” and as a nanny, sometimes you feel like that’s exactly what you are — but the fact is, you’re not. You are an employee, but you’re doing a different kind of work — you’re being paid to provide intangibles, like care and love. You’re working. And just like actual parents, some days aren’t so great. I’m quite sure that there were times when I was a kid that my mom wanted to lock my in my room just to get some peace, and I’m sure there were days when she swore up and down that she would never reproduce again. I think all parents get frustrated from time to time. Well, so do nannies. Even if we love your kids — and most long-term nannies do, I think, really fall in love with the kids they’re watching — we aren’t Mary Poppins. We’re going to have bad days. Occassionally, your kids are going to be such brats that we’re going to think, “My God, I am never having children.” Other days, your kids are going to be so adorable that we’ll feel sad just knowing that the job is temporary.
What the woman who wrote the Times article was apparently so offended at — having too much “personal information” about her nanny and her nanny’s views posted online — is peanuts compared to what she did in return. The nanny leveled a few compaints on a personal blog that couldn’t have been read by more than a handful of people, and was fired. Her employer writes an article in the most widely-read newspaper in America, in which she basically says, “Ugh, my nanny is such a slut,” and presumably expects the reader to feel sorry for her.
Particularly interesting, though, is what she uses to paint her nanny as a “bad” (or at least questionable) person: She has sex with her boyfriend. She had an abortion. She made a comment about a girl being hot (which the employer translated into the idea that she was “determined she’d had more female sexual partners than her boyfriend”). She takes over-the-counter sleeping pills. She goes out for drinks with her friends. The employer mentions her irritation at the nanny for blogging at work (while the child was taking a nap — what else should she be doing? Scrubbing the floors?) and for having the nerve to get sick twice when the rest of the family only got sick once, but that doesn’t seem to be the reason that she fired her. Her sex life is, apparently, more problematic.
Get the nanny’s side of the story here.