This is a brief disclaimer: the following post is Suburban Mommy’s thoughts and true opinions about NYC nannies. This is a story that I have been told time-and -time again so thought it was fair game to share it with you. Here goes:
My now three and a half year old daughter was born in NYC at NYU after a frantic early morning cab ride through empty Manhattan streets. The cab driver freaked out and almost got into an accident right in front of the hospital when he ran a red light. Apparently I was screaming, even though I don’t remember it that way.
We moved out of NYC when my daughter was 16 months old to sunny Southern California, to be closer family and because my husband got an awesome job offer. I cried and cried. I missed my beautiful co-op apartment, the trees out the master bedroom, the wood floors – each piece hand selected on a hot fourth of July, my awesome neighbor down the hall at whose place I spent so much time her husband said he thought he lived in an episode of Big Love. My best friend whose daughter was 2 weeks older than mine and who met me almost every day at the Park or Starbucks or one of our apartments. The food, the food delivery, Fresh Direct, the moms at the swings, being snotty about playground rules, staying in shape by just walking the city. I felt like part of some international tribe of mommies who stayed at home despite being highly educated.
I thought life was the best in NYC. I was wrong. So so wrong. (Although the mommies still are awesome).
We have visited the noisy, dirty, crazy, crowded City twice since we moved. Each time I couldn’t wait to escape back to my isolated sunny bubble. Sure, it was harder to make friends. But that was about all that was harder.
Our last visit was a disaster. I should’ve known it wouldn’t end well when we arrived at 9pm with two cranky, hungry kids. While unloading, a homeless guy asked us for money. Being familiar with NYC, we politely but firmly said “no” and thought that was the end of it. Nope. The guy kept asking, getting in between us and the kids and the bags and cab, literally standing amongst our belongings (We packed for a 2 week trip) begging, asking to help, getting more and more frantic and pissed off that we ignored him. I finally yelled at him and some other New Yorkers, sitting at an outside bar watching us, intervened.
But I digress. My first topic is one that has literally pissed me off an untold amount of time: Nannies. New York Nannies Suck. They suck for the kids, they suck for the Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs), they plain suck. Yes, yes, there are some good ones. There are ones that care, blah blah blah. But in general they suck.
They talk on cell phones nonstop, they push kids in strollers while doing nothing but shopping. They talk on cell phones, or to each other, while pushing kids in swings for ridiculous amounts of time while a line forms. They don’t mind the kids they are watching on the playground. So many times I’ve had to corral some brat or stop them from dumping sand on my kid because the nanny is no where in sight. I don’t understand why NYC moms don’t spend one day wandering Central Park watching nannies and think “There is no way my kid is going to be raised by one of these women, I’m moving out so we can have a better quality of life.” I’m grateful for the chance to stay home, but that choice was made – despite a hard earned and prestigious law degree – in part because I almost cried half the time I saw babies and toddlers being neglected by nannies and couldn’t imagine my own child in that position.
So Cal nannies can suck. But in general the overall impression is overwhelmingly good. In fact, they seem to love the kids and pamper them more. Sure, they sit around and talk to each other, but the kids seem politer, happier, more managed. One of my friend’s nannies asked her to put a special outfit on the baby because she was going to show her nanny friend the baby for the first time. I swear, they seem to love the babies as if they were their own.
I do think a lot of it has to do with the fact that NYC nannies though feel like they are at a premium. So they are lazier. And oh so unhelpful and downright hostile to NYC SAHM mommies. I think they know that we tell on them. So Cal nannies are friendlier. They will take care of not only their own charges, but sometimes yours as well at the playground. I’ve found numerous babysitters that way.
It did occur to me that NYC nannies might be of poorer quality because they are treated worse. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. I know the mommies on both coasts who have nannies, and they both have high standards and are demanding. In fact, I think the So Cal mommies are more demanding and less hesitant to fire someone. Partially because a lot of them don’t need the nannies for work. They work from home or they work on themselves.
It seems to make NYC working mommies crazier too. They install nanny cams as a matter of course. They relate stories of getting into physical altercations with nannys. I’ve heard of at least two where the nanny and mommy came to blows. There are stories of having to fire a nanny and miss work because they realize their kid is being seriously neglected or the nanny has just decided to ignore all the mom’s rules. Who wants to live with that stress?
It always made me upset to go to a playground in NYC and see it filled with nannies. I know my NYC mommy friends avoid classes where nannies are known to congregate. They hate that the way the nannies treat their charges. They hate how unfriendly the nannies are. They get into fights with the nannies over minor things. The nannies fill playrooms for hours and hours, making messes, stinking it with diapers and food. And it shocks me and saddens me that a generation of NYC kids is being raised by these women, who often seem relatively uneducated, uncultured, unrefined, large (sorry, but if they are feeding themselves poorly, how are they feeding your kids?), loud, obnoxious and rude. It honestly stressed me out and they weren’t my kids.
Here, I almost always smile when I watch a nanny taking care of the kids (there are some exceptions. But they are notable and the moms generally know which nanny it is. No asking Meetup group boards about whether someone might know a nanny who was seen being grossly negligent). And it makes me happy to have left.