Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Détente…Fancy Style

I do believe that I have found the solution to the ever-difficult “Grandma versus the Nanny” tension. You don’t know what that is? Oh surely you can guess. If Grandmas like telling mothers what to do, what do you think happens when you introduce an employee to the scene? At least if it’s your own mother you can either tell her off or ignore her. But if you are the hired help, you must dance a little jig, trying to balance being respectful with keeping your job.

I have a deep understanding of this Grandma-Nanny relationship after H and I tried to go on holiday last year. I will spare you the details. But it wasn’t pretty. As the door closed behind me, my mother announced that things would be going her way, ripped up my typed 6 pages of instructions and made my Nannies’ lives miserable. I’m sure she meant well and thought she was just being a good Grandma. I didn’t grow up with Nannies, you know, and my Mom didn’t quite understand that at the end of our trip, she’d be gone and then Nannies would still be there.

Shortly after we returned, she gained that understanding.

Now my Mom is great and very respectful of our employees although she still finds the situation slightly awkward. As for the Nannies, I’ve just told them all to back off if one of the Grandmothers does something differently or even expressly against my wishes and tell me later. I will also deal with any name-calling or physical altercations. (It hasn’t gotten to that point ever, but now I’m on heightened alert.)

However, I do believe I have solved the issue. I am actually waiting for the US government to send me on a peacekeeping mission to the Middle East. How did Frau Fancy accomplish this? How exactly did I make my mother understand that Nannies are to be cherished and treated with kindness and respect?

Easy. I brought the Minis to her house. Without the Nanny.

My sister just called me. My folks didn’t want to say anything but it seems things are different here with my two whirling dervishes. My parents are feeling stressed. My father referred to them as “exponentially magnified” toddlers. My mother went to bed last night at 8pm. And apparently next time, maybe they could make up another room. For a Nanny.

Problem solved.


  1. Love it! I can just see the smug satisfaction on your face (despite the fact that, you know, I've never actually seen you face...). But what does 'exponentially magnified' mean?!

  2. ah Kate. One plus one is not two. It's 10,000. One baby reads a book in the corner. Two empty every cupboard in the kitchen and then crawl in and out of's not bad parenting, I swear!

  3. “exponentially magnified” toddlers. Love it. Sounds like something my father in law would say. OH and I went to Paris this weekend and his parents looked after 1yo and 3yo. They were all exponentially grateful when we arrived home.

  4. Fabulous! Really enjoyed reading this post. They should definitely send you to the Middle East - you'd sort it out toot sweet.


  5. exponentially magnified toddlers is my new catchphrase. Chapeau to Grandpa!