Work Life Balance

Working From Home Can Be Really Awkward With My Live-In Nanny

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work from home momI received this message from a stranger last week. It read:

“You mentioned in your book, Wiped! how you felt awkward around your nanny when you first had your daughter. I didn’t have a nanny with my first but I have a live in nanny from the Philippines now and she’s great, but she’s been here for three months already and I still feel really awkward. She’s nice but it’s always awkward when I’m home and she’s with the kids and I feel like she’s judging me if I’m not at work but still want her around to help me. Did you ever feel like that? It’s weird, like I feel like I have to explain myself to her all the time, like take the baby I have to return emails or I have to go grocery shopping. I feel like when I need to be away from the kids that she stands there expectantly wondering why and judging me. Am I being crazy or is this a thing other moms with nannies deal with? And since you seem to be exactly the kind of mother I am I respect your opinion so can you please weigh in on this for me?”

Well, of course I can! (Especially because you respect my opinion!) It IS really awkward when you have a live-in nanny, especially if you work at home, like I do.

I love my nanny. But you have to get used to living with someone else, or rather someone else living in your space, especially someone you barely know. I wrote back to this woman that it IS totally awkward sometimes, but it does get easier, and the nanny isn’t judging her. I reminded her that she is paying her and that’s her nanny’s job to look after the children.

For me, the funniest thing (but not exactly a good thing) is that my nanny doesn’t realize when I’m working even if I’m on the phone and typing away manically at my computer. The other day, for example, I was interviewing someone on the phone, while typing on my computer and she was literally vacuuming under my feet. She actually said, “Can you lift your feet?” as I was interviewing someone. And then, later, she was emptying the dishwasher and everyone knows that emptying the dishwasher is not the most silent of chores.

Pretty much, I have been getting used to all the noise my nanny makes while I work.

But I was telling my fiancé about how she was vacuuming in the room I was working in and needed to concentrate and he said just to tell her that I’m working and can she please do the vacuuming later. However, I’m so torn, because I want a clean house too. Thankfully, like I said, it does get easier.

At first, because she started with us six weeks before my son was born, there was not much for her to do. So those weeks were pretty painful, not just for me, but for her too. There was nothing for her to do and she wanted to work. Also, I knew she was slightly scared to come upstairs at night when she wanted a snack, even though I had told her numerous times to make herself at home, because it IS now her home.

So, now, after nine months, everything feels just right. She eats with us, cooks whenever she wants, and we actually talk about her boyfriend and relationships. She’s kind of become my friend. (As most of my friends say, “I would rather keep the nanny than my husband.”)

I also wrote to this woman that it doesn’t really matter if she is judging you. I can only imagine what my nanny thinks of me when I go upstairs for my one and a half hour nap each day. She probably (I would guess) thinks, “What’s up with this lady? She’s so lazy!”

But now it’s just my routine and she knows it and that’s the way it is. The best thing anyone with a live-in nanny, if they are worried about what the nanny things, is say, “Are you happy?” It opens up a conversation at least. But it is like meeting your roommate at college for the first time. It takes time. Quite frankly, I am used to the vacuuming under my feet while I work away now. Plus, she is not only wonderful with my children, she has great stories about her boyfriend. So I’m keeping her.

(Photo: Bartosz Ostrowski/Shutterstock)