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When polite reserve barely disguises mutual antipathy.....

(62 Posts)
BlindinglyObvious Fri 15-Jun-07 11:27:29

I've changed my name for this just in case my nanny happens to scan these boards. You know who am though - really. <<Casts around for identifying information known to Mnet not nanny and can't think of any beyond Herr Von Bratwurst.>>

Our live-in nanny will depart this summer by agreement - our circumstances will change and we will no longer need her. She is an impeccably professional, responsible and thoughtful woman with superb childcare skills who enjoys her job, likes the children (particularly the younger one who is still at home) and is probably and deservedly much loved by her family and friends. And she hates me. Actually that's overstating it; she dislikes me and I suspect, whilst she could write as fairly about me as I've done about her, finds my whole personality profoundly irritating. Always has done. We've held it together for nearly two years through a combination of professionalism on her side and determination on mine, but with the finishing tape in view, it is really beginning to fall apart. Her silent irritation is making me feel uncomfortable in my own home and awkward with my children. I am also harbouring very unworthy fantasies about circumstances that could force her early departure whilst allowing me to remain politely gracious.

The most obvious course of action, to talk to her, would be the least appropriate. She simply doesn't do those conversations; the last time we had a conversation around a tricky issue the fall-out was extreme and prolonged. What I need here is a survival strategy so that I can continue to share my home and my children with someone I have begun to dislike as much as she dislikes me. I'm thinking calm, distant, friendly, if slightly formal, scrupulous politeness might just get me through, if I can pull it off.

DH, who gets on quite well with our nanny (a recommendation for her in itself) is understandably exasperated by being caught in what is fast turning into a silent female maelstrom. I think he is particularly right to be exasperated by me as I am the senior partner in the relationship with our nanny and I really should have been able to Rise Above It.

Suggestions, a bracing quick slap and extreme humour would all be welcome. Actually the brisk slapping won't be that welcome but is probably what is required.

soapbox Fri 15-Jun-07 11:41:38

What is it that she doesn't like about you, do you think?

I'd be tempted to just grin and bear it for a few more weeks. It'll soon pass

Just keep imagining the dance you'll do round the house the first day you come home and she is gone - and inwardly smirk when you think of it when she is being vile

NineUnlikelyTales Fri 15-Jun-07 11:41:49

"a survival strategy so that I can continue to share my home and my children with someone I have begun to dislike as much as she dislikes me" I don't think that is even possible! How horrible for you. It all sounds a bit Hand That Rocks The Cradle (if she nicks your asthma medication, definitely call the police).

If she is as professional as you say she is, she should be able to take professional criticism and that includes being polite and respectful towards your employer. I disagree with your DH about your having to rise above it - would he rise above it if the situation were reversed and he was sharing a house with someone who was unpleasant to him?

I think an honest chat with the nanny is in order. Say that you can sense there is an atmosphere, which is not nice for anyone her included, and what can you do together, as a family, as employers and as employee, to resolve the situation so the last few weeks are more pleasant for everyone. I don't see how you can do it any other way. I certainly don't see why you should be made to feel an outsider in your own home.

Not an easy situation - good luck with it

jura Fri 15-Jun-07 11:43:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BlindinglyObvious Fri 15-Jun-07 11:44:04

Don't think so Jura.

Quattrocento Fri 15-Jun-07 11:44:53

I think this is a lovely post actually. You are being so kind about someone you don't like - that's lovely!

jura Fri 15-Jun-07 11:44:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pamina Fri 15-Jun-07 11:44:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Quattrocento Fri 15-Jun-07 11:45:28

Just keep it up for a few more weeks ....

Marina Fri 15-Jun-07 11:45:31

I don't know a single person who has been able to Rise Above the Silent Treatment from their nanny, or their colleagues, or anyone else not family that they are obliged to collaborate with or manage. It is one of the most uncomfortable human conditions to live with and your nanny knows it
I would recommend counting the days (I am sure you are already). Maybe also, it sounds a bit odd I agree, but can you imagine role-playing a woman who is just not bothered by this?
I think your dh should be more supportive though O Obvious one. If there are quick slaps to be dished out here...

jura Fri 15-Jun-07 11:45:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TranquilaManana Fri 15-Jun-07 11:46:27

good lord, get rid. how can you be expected to live with that kind of strress?? in your own home?? making you uncomfortable with your own dc???

i'll come round and be the bitch for you if you like, ive nothing to lose.

god i sympathise. ive had a situation a lot like that.
thought i could do what you do... but in the end got rid. couldnt BEAR it.

think dh should be more supportive of you tbh.

Pamina Fri 15-Jun-07 11:46:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NineUnlikelyTales Fri 15-Jun-07 11:47:05

All right well if you can't have a conversation about it, obviously you have to be passive aggressive instead. Could you do ominous silences when she enters the room, etc?

Marina Fri 15-Jun-07 11:48:54

Oh was I ever. I think I once advised shove and lock use of the freezer that caused so much heartache Except that the individual in question clearly liked a frosty environment...

TranquilaManana Fri 15-Jun-07 11:51:01

NUT, yes but why should she have the cold war going on in her own home??? madness i tell you...

NineUnlikelyTales Fri 15-Jun-07 11:53:05

Oh yes I agree Tranquila (see earlier post) but failing that, it's a toss up between cold war and cat fight. I'm more of a cold war person myself

AngharadGoldenhand Fri 15-Jun-07 11:53:17

Can dh talk to her?

Do you think she's envious of you?

soapbox Fri 15-Jun-07 11:54:49

Have you got a new nanny sorted out yet? When do they start?
When is the current one expected to leave?

If it really is stressing you out - give her notice and hire a temp to cover the summer.

TranquilaManana Fri 15-Jun-07 11:57:13

lol. yes, i wouldve said same thing, only i tried it once with bloody awful woman i had as temporary nanny to take load off me when i was home alone with 2 under 3 and had SPD as was heavily pg with no 3. tried and tried to tell myself just to grin and bear it as was only for a few months... but found myself 'talkinbg' to her and 1/2 hour later, all v amicably , driving her to the train station!! god i cheered when she got out the car.... <shudder>

TranquilaManana Fri 15-Jun-07 11:58:29

i seemed to have unconciously decided that coping with SPD was easier than coping with rotten relationship at home!!

Pamina Fri 15-Jun-07 11:58:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mumpbump Fri 15-Jun-07 12:08:37

I'd minimise contact, but go out of my way to be super nice when face-to-face contact is unavoidable if you really can't get rid of her early. Might improve the situation and, even if it doesn't, it's better than having massive silences... If she's professional, as you say, she's hardly going to cut you dead!

Bink Fri 15-Jun-07 12:15:01

Completely agree with Marina about the role-play if you can manage it.

I have a dear friend whose mother (a quite flamboyant actress person)'s best advice to sticky situations was "just pretend you are in a play". It's amazing how some kind of instinct skill kicks in, even to those of us the limelight has not called.

I don't know her, but I do know you, and I really can't believe her disliking you - but I can believe that you have both just got tired of each other. Which is just totally natural - when people are thrown together so closely as employer & nanny are, their relationship either grows (as yours did with a previous nanny, didn't it?) when there is congeniality - or - it just wears itself out. Unless you do actually have stuff to reproach yourself with (which I can't believe) just tell yourself neither of you have done anything wrong, things are just reaching a natural end.

Bink Fri 15-Jun-07 12:19:23

(And, just to hijack, I am feeling bad about a really petty thing with my nanny - I think she left ds's scooter at a party, and don't want to follow that up as there may be a Feeling that the presence of ds's scooter in the mix was a camel-back-breaker inconsiderately introduced by me.)

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