10 of the Weirdest Questions Strangers Ask Nannies
There’s something about the presence of an adorable tot that makes adults feel a diminished sense of propriety and a shocking lack of boundaries when it comes to polite conversation. As someone that’s in the business of escorting cute kids around town, nannies are also uniquely placed to field some strange and even downright offensive questions. These are ten of the most bizarre questions people regularly ask nannies, and ways to respond appropriately.
- “Is She Adopted?” – If you’re of a different ethnicity than your charges, people will still assume that you’re their legal parent. Enter awkward questions about adoption, and the necessity of explaining that you’re the nanny, not the parent.
- “Are You a Legal Citizen?” – One of the most cruel and unfair stereotypes about private childcare providers is that the majority are illegal aliens that aren’t technically eligible for employment. For some reason, strangers seem more comfortable asking a nanny if she’s a legal resident than they would any other unknown person on the street.
- “Do You Pay Taxes?” – The IRS estimates that less than half of all nannies and their employers pay the appropriate taxes, so this is one generalization that does have a bit of basis in truth. Still, some people seem to have no sense of propriety when it comes to such sensitive financial questions, and no compunction about asking them when the idea arises.
- “Are Your Employers Celebrities?” – Though private, in-home childcare can often be less expensive than center-based care, there’s still a widely popular misconception that anyone who has a nanny must be extremely wealthy and probably famous. Be prepared to explain that your employers aren’t famous pop stars. Unless, of course, they actually are.
- “Are You the Grandmother?” – Experience comes with age, which can mean that you’re a bit older than the average parent. That being said, it’s not really anyone’s business how old you are or that you’re not actually the mother of your charges anyway.
- “Do You Plan to Have Your Own Kids?” – Caring for other people’s children and having your own aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but you wouldn’t know that from the way that some people aggressively question nannies. It’s never polite to inquire about a stranger’s plans to procreate, but that’s a simple truth that seems to escape some busybody bystanders.
- “Don’t You Hate Spending All of Your Time With Someone Else’s Kids?” – The assumption that you’re secretly resentful of your charges and would rather work a “real job” is a rude and incorrect one, based largely in the fact that some people refuse to acknowledge childcare as a viable career choice.
- “Don’t Your Employers Feel Weird About Having a Male Nanny?” – Male nannies, or “mannies,” are on the rise across the country. Still, outdated and rude gender preconceptions cause some people to look askance at a male childcare provider, and to aggressively question any man that’s chosen such a career path.
- “Does Your Mom Boss Feel Bad About Working Outside of the Home?” – On the opposite end of the gender-based assumption coin is the idea that your mom boss must be wracked with guilt over “abandoning” her children. You’ll notice, however, that these people never seem to ask if Dad feels terrible about leaving his little ones behind all day.
- “Aren’t You a Little Young to Have Children That Age?” – If you’re a young nanny, be prepared to endure judgmental stares and direct questions about your “young motherhood.” While most people will laughingly apologize when you point out that you’re a childcare provider, they’ll often leave the conversation with a comment about your ability to manage caring for children at your age.
While it may be tempting to point out how rude and presumptuous a stranger is being when he approaches you with an intrusive question, it’s best to avoid any potential for conflict when you’re in the presence of your charges. More often than not, gently correcting a stranger’s assumptions is enough to bring their impoliteness to their attention.← 10 Insect Repelling Alternatives to Bug Spray | How to Foster a Love of Animals in Children →
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