Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I was recently over at the house of a friend who has a full time nanny. I need some help picking up my daughter after school two days a week and asked the nanny if she had any friends that she thought would be interested. Since I’ve never used a nanny (both my children were in daycare), I also wanted to know what she thought was a fair price to offer. My friend got upset with me and said that it was “inappropriate to discuss money with her employee.”
I was certainly not trying to steal my friend’s nanny, nor was I going behind her back (I asked the questions in front of my friend). Although I apologized to my friend for making her uncomfortable, I am not sure that I did anything wrong. Did I?
Franny Faux Pas
First of all, I’m relieved. When I first started reading this question, I thought you were involved in some kind of international nanny poaching ring and with a heavy heart, I was going to be obligated to turn you into the feds.
Then I read a bit further and thought, “Oh no. This is Nannygate all over again!” I feared your nomination for United States Attorney General was in grave danger of being derailed because of your plans to hire an illegal alien as a caretaker for your child.
But it turns out that you haven’t broken any laws. Except maybe the eleventh commandment, “Thou shalt not talk to my nanny without my permission, especially pertaining to issues of money.” Sure, it would have been a bit more polite to talk to your friend before approaching her nanny. Your friend probably could have given you a lot of insight into what people generally pay their babysitters. There is usually a range based on the region of the country, the experience and the responsibilities. And then you could have spoken to the nanny directly about possible friends who might be looking for work.
But this is hardly some unforgivable atrocity. It sounds like you have already apologized, so don’t give it another thought. Instead focus on finding the right babysitter for your own kids.