Stella McCartney Won’t Use The Word ‘Nanny’ And That’s Okay

nannyWhen I first heard that fashion designer Stella McCartney refuses to use the word “nanny” to describe her, well, nanny, I  thought, “Get over yourself, lady.” Truth is, this is a woman who cares for her four young children day in and day out. She may be like family but, at the end of the day, she is paid to look after the kids.

McCartney prefers the word “friend” she finds it less jarring but her employee is not being paid to be her friend. She’s being paid to ensure that little Miller, Beckett, Bailey and Riley are happy and safe. Sure, they may have developed a genuine friendship along the way, but that doesn’t change the fact that this woman’s job is to care for these children.

But the more I thought about it, and the more I chatted with friends and colleagues, I came to realize that McCartney has a point. I myself have a nanny who looks after my boys while I’m at work and, in the two-plus years since she’s been with us, she has become so much more than a nanny. She is someone I can rely as much as family (sometimes even more), and I most certainly trust her in the same way I trust even my closest friends. When I introduce her to someone new, I simply say, “This is Lyn” which is the same thing I would say if I were introducing anyone, really (barring family members).

Am I opposed to the title “nanny?” Of course not. Lyn may be like family, but she is still my children’s nanny. It’s her job title, and I see nothing wrong with it. Interestingly, I know a lot of women who shy away from the title not because they find it demeaning but because they think that the word “babysitter” has less of a stigma. Fair enough. But I don’t think that McCartney was really worried about stigmas, or how people perceive her, when she chose “friend” over “nanny.” I think she was simply making the point that her children’s caregiver is so much more than an easy-to-replace employee. Which, if you ask me, is all healthy and good.

How about you? Do you differentiate between nanny and sitter and where does friendship come into play?

(Photo: Lia Toby/

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