Nanny making comments about our income

(175 Posts)
MrsLion Sat 02-Mar-13 22:54:08

I have just gone back to work 3 days a week and have hired a nanny to look after my 3 dc- (6,3 and 1). 

She is about 50 and is definitely a 'mrs doubtfire' type of nanny. Very efficient, very proactive, works hard and is great with the kids (a little strict- but they still love her).

But, there are a few comments she has made about our income which have rubbed me up with wrong way.

I'll give you some examples and the context:

1) When talking about ponies and children
Nanny: you better not get DD2 anywhere near a pony, because then she'll want one- and you can't afford it.

2) Telling her what our weekly food budget was (she does grocery shopping sometimes) 
Nanny: Oh right, well, of course I'm used to working for doctors and lawyers

3) Telling her about school drop off and uniform etc
Nanny: Of course I'm more used to private schools as i often work with really wealthy families

4) When talking about dd1 spelling and reading homework 
Nanny: you should see what they're doing in the private schools- way more than this at your age (said to DD) 

So I generally completely ignore these comments and brightly change the subject without responding at all. At first I put them down to an unfortunate turn of phrase but as there have been a few I am now feeling a bit pissed off.

Ok so the last two are not directly income related but felt it was said indirectly. Btw I'm not remotely jealous of private school for a 6yo- we are very happy indeed with her local primary school. 

So, AIBU to think this is rude and out of line to make these comments. I have no desire to prove whether or not we can afford a pony- actually we couldn't. But more annoyed she felt it was her place to comment in the first place.  How do you think should I handle it- especially considering she's an excellent nanny in every other way.

Or am I overeacting - we've had some financial difficulties over the last year or two and maybe I'm a bit oversensitive. 

Hit me with it! 

Teapot13 Sat 02-Mar-13 23:26:35

Totally out of order.

I also find it extremely odd for her to be basically boasting about her wealthy employers -- as if their wealth is a reflection on her. She works as a nanny and presumably cannot afford most of the things she is talking about, so who is she to act superior? (I'm not saying it would be acceptable to make these rude comments if she were wealthy herself -- it would just be less odd.)

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Sun 03-Mar-13 08:27:31

Maybe there's a reason she's had to lower herself to working for such poor people

zwischenzug Sun 03-Mar-13 08:35:41

It wouldn't surprise me if she is just a fantasist who is making it up to try to make herself look important.

HecateWhoopass Sun 03-Mar-13 08:37:51

Just tell her you don't like it.

You can pay her salary so you aren't doing that badly!

She is being very rude.

voscar Sun 03-Mar-13 08:38:36

Yanbu,however - in the same way that you're elderly granny refers to 'darkies' and' them gays' - and you have to cringingly accept that you cant change them and they mean no harm- its just the way they've lived. she's a product of her age/environment and no doubt means no harm. If she's excellent at everything else then you have to accept she's lived 30 odd years the other way, you can't expect the differences to go un-commented upon. At least a little.

The stuff to your daughter I would bring up - saying I didn't want her insecure that she wasn't good enough.

newbielisa Sun 03-Mar-13 08:39:09

Totally agree with Teapot, their wealth doesn't reflect on her. She's not wealthy herself she has to work.

It's like going in to a posh shop and the assistants being snooty I want to give them the finger and say you do the same job as someone in Poundland (but they are generally nicer).

She is the employee version of a celebrity name dropper.

Eastpoint Sun 03-Mar-13 08:42:03

I think lots of nannies, gardeners etc over identify with their employers living arrangements. I bought some flowers and our cleaner told me her previous employer had a 'flower lady who comes in every Friday to re-do the flowers in the house'. Lucky her. Mind you the previous employer didn't work, had a nanny, cook, flower lady & gardeners - different lifestyle.

HintofBream Sun 03-Mar-13 08:44:10

How about wheeling out MN's legendary " Did you mean to sound so rude?"

CabbageLeaves Sun 03-Mar-13 08:45:34

Tbh her remarks would irk me but I think any attempt to stop them will result in an offended stand off (might be wrong...she might be upset if she realised how she came over)

Why don't you try a polite 'not sure if you realise this but your comments come across as quite belittling' (or your choice of adjective)

Give her 3 warnings like this and then either accept she won't change and decide to part with her or live with it

Wishihadabs Sun 03-Mar-13 08:46:43

And this is why we no longer have a nanny

My nanny is also super experienced, has worked for super rich families etc. Only ever talks to me about it in a light hearted way, how ridiculous some of the houses were etc and goes to great pains to often say why she loves working for us in our decrepitude instead!

TroublesomeEx Sun 03-Mar-13 08:51:18

Perhaps she's a bit narked off that she isn't getting some of the perks she is used to with very wealthy families.

My friend is a nanny and some of the perks are pretty good!

But that's her problem and not yours.

Just ignore her. As long as you're paying her, what does she care what else you can afford?

I had a TA in a classroom who was a bit like this once, a right royal PITA with ideas above her 'station' which generally resulted in her finding constant fault with me.

montmartre Sun 03-Mar-13 08:54:30

Gosh! How astonishingly rude shock

You'd think in these straightened times shed be thinking thank goodness people are still using nannies. Did she take a step-down in pay to come to you?

MrsLion Sun 03-Mar-13 08:58:05

Thanks for your replies.
Yes it's very odd to have this attitude when I'm paying her salary confused

However, I'm going to try not to take it to heart or see it as a personal attack.
She seems like someone who tales pride in being a 'straight talker' so I may just have to be straight right back next time.
Especially if she says anything else about DDs education.
She is back on Wednesday so I'll be back with an update if there are any more comments.
I guess despite my comments about being a good nanny otherwise, I have a red flag now that she's not diplomatic and could upset the dc by something she says - so I might just keep an eye out.

PurpleRayne Sun 03-Mar-13 09:01:41

She is being plain rude. Nothing to do with age.

MrsLion Sun 03-Mar-13 09:01:51

takes pride

peggyblackett Sun 03-Mar-13 09:09:45

I would get rid personally. We have had lovely down to earth nannies over the years (just as well really grin) - you don't need to put up with this shit.

montage Sun 03-Mar-13 09:11:02

Talking down your daughter's work to her is not on. I would turn it around when she does this so she has to raise the issue with you (instead of commenting at your child)

If she does that again, sit down with them and tell your daughter how well she is doing learning her spelling, how her teacher is great and knows what level to give her etc etc. Counteract it immediately, directly in front of Nanny basically.

And if she says anything explain that you don't think it's appropriate to run down a 6 year's old homework to her, and you would prefer she approached you privately if she has any difficulties.

As these are non-issues she is raising, she will likely realise she has nothing to raise but she will see you've taken notice.

FWIW people sometimes comment on my son's appearance to him (he is very obviously disabled) as they assume that is ok when he can't reply and they are "making conversation" with me. I immediately get down to his level and tell him he's gorgeous. Which stops them. I think it reminds them they are talking to a child and what they are saying is not appropriate.

flatbread Sun 03-Mar-13 09:12:22

I don't see what is wrong with her telling your dc that she needs to work harder on her spelling?

Why does she need to be more 'diplomatic' to your dc. Will they wilt if they are not told they are the bestest and brightest every minute of the day?

KatyTheCleaningLady Sun 03-Mar-13 09:13:29

A good reply to the pony comment would be something like, "True, but we can afford you, which is all you need to worry about."

flatbread Sun 03-Mar-13 09:14:22

Btw, I think the pony and weekly shop budget were a bit pointed, but so what. Grow a thick skin. And appreciate that you have a nanny who is good in the things that matter..

In the old days, maids and servants got their status from their employers. It was reflecting better on the maid to be in service with Lord Winterbottom than with the cobbler down the road.

I reckon the poor old nanny is trying to come to terms with growing old, and not having secured a nannying position with a wealthy family who would take her on for the rest of her life.

Just a few years ago I got talking to two elderly ladies in a coffee shop (west London) One was a retired nanny. She talked about how she had spent most of her life with "her family" and when the children were grown up, and they did not need a nanny any more, it was the done thing in wealthy families to let the nanny stay on and just potter with house duties, until retirement. She lived in a loft extension at "her family"s home, like a granny. She said it was quite common in "her days" that the wealthy kept their nannies on and provided retirement housing for them. Where else could they go? No children of their own, and having spent a life serving a family, you got to stay.

Doubt really your nanny was hoping for the above, but I thought it was quite sweet.

Cherriesarelovely Sun 03-Mar-13 09:25:10

That would get right up my nose. I would find those comments unbelievably rude.

MrsLion Sun 03-Mar-13 09:25:46

No she didn't say that my daughter should work harder at her spelling.
She has no idea how well my daughter is performing I was simply stating what homework she has.

My nanny's comment was - you should see what they're doing in the private schools- and that students in private schools do a lot more and are spelling much more difficult words.

It would be rather an odd comment to make just to me- why would I be concerned what other schools, private or not are teaching their students?

But to say it to my daughter is inappropriate.

I don't expect my dc to be told the are the bestest and brightest- because they're not.
However, I do expect her not to make comments to their faces that imply other children have it better.

nosleeps Sun 03-Mar-13 09:29:05

I don't see why op should have to grow a thick skin when she is paying for a service. It's also not anything like yer granny's racism as someone else suggested. You don't pay you granny.
I think she's sounds like a snob who possibly thinks she's slumming it.

I think you need to have a word, or let her go. Your dcs do not need someone undermining them.

Act soon though.

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