The Nanny Diaries...

[deleted account] ( 7 moms have responded )

On a hot afternoon in New York City, my friend Miriam was sitting at a grassy public venue, watching her child play alongside other kids in the care of various moms and nannies.

A long-time New York resident, Miriam is fully aware of the city’s urban imperative: mind your own business.

But she couldn’t help but notice the crying of a nearby baby, approximately nine months old, strapped in his stroller facing the sun, while his nanny ignored him and chatted with another nanny.

The minutes passed…5…10…15…the baby’s skin got redder, the crying persisted, and the nanny’s only response was to periodically bark, “Shh! Be quiet!” while brusquely shaking the baby’s stroller.

And that is when Miriam decided she had to do something: she had to stop minding her own business.

In New York, where the number of scary nanny stories surpasses the number of scary subway stories, an increasing number of citizens are posting reports about bad nanny behavior on a blog called I Saw Your Nanny.

The posts—complete with date, time, location, physical descriptions of nanny and child, and sometimes a cell phone photo—will stop the heart of any parent who recognizes his or her nanny or child: I saw your nanny …grabbing your boy by the ear and twisting him…mistreating and roughly handling your 3-5 year old girl…fell asleep right on the bench where she was sitting with her back to your son.

Launched in August 2006, the blog has sparked a debate about the obligations—and limits—of personal responsibility. Critics contend that it’s potentially libelous for strangers to publicly attack a nanny’s professional performance.

But that didn’t stop Miriam from confronting the nanny about the neglected baby. “She told me to mind my own business. Then she started yanking the baby in the stroller. That’s when I told her I was calling 911.”

Aware that NYPD was on its way, the nanny bolted to leave the location, still yelling, “Mind your own business!” Miriam ran ahead of the woman and snapped her picture with her cell phone. But by the time the police arrived, the nanny was gone.

Tell us what you think: When is it right to stop minding your own business and start minding someone else’s? How far would you go in reporting disturbing behavior by a nanny or anyone else?

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Sharon - posted on 02/25/2010




I think the site can be abused. Its a good idea but to easily abused.

There is a picture of me & my son as we walk into the zoo, my husband ran ahead to get pictures of us walking in.

He tripped. I was holding his hand and jerked his arm up. he looks like he's being thrown about by me. Its a horrible picture. I saved him from a skinned knee and scratched toes but anyone could say "hey in that picture that woman is abusing the kid!"

I've also grabbed my sons' ear and mock twisted it in a playful/warning manner. He makes a huge fuss as if he's being tortured but the truth is I barely tweaked the soft foldable portion.

Nope, you can't believe pictures. Video is better. hahaha

I think a simple "I saw what you did, it wasn't right." as you pass by is sufficient warning and if they don't change their behaviour, call the police discretly. Chances are the smug bitch will still be sitting there letting the child roast when they show up.

Amy - posted on 02/25/2010




I think the site is great. If nothing else it hopefully will scare people into doing the right thing if they think they are being watched. I defiantly would mention that stuff to people when I see it, I'd first talk to them rather than hide behind a blog though. If they didn't listen I'd defiantly take a pic with my phone and post it!

[deleted account]

Hey, I'd be there filming them and posting if I thought what I saw was wrong - if I was a mother of a child in the care of a nanny I would want to know.

Sarah - posted on 02/25/2010




While i agree that if someone see's a nanny (or parent) mistreating a child, it should be reported, i do think this website thing could be wrongly used.
What if another nanny of similar description was accused of mistreating a child?
What if someone just wanted to get back at someone?
Seems like a good idea, but i'm not entirely convinced.

Shelby - posted on 02/25/2010




While I agree, And I can only speak from I've seen in the U.S. as unfortunately I'm not very worldly :-( but, like so many other things our society has a tendency to run away with things. To report something when it is clearly for a child's or victim's best interest is of course the best thing, and the most ( humanly) responsible thing to do,It is all to clear to me, that it is more so just people butting in to your business to push their opinions and beliefs on you.

As far as how far I would go, I would stop at nothing...short of endangering anyone else, or the child/victim any further to stop it. I have no problem reporting it when wrong is wrong. I have had to make calls to ACS to report child abuse, and have NEVER done so anonymously. If I report someone its because they are doing real harm and it needs to be stopped.

Lady - posted on 02/25/2010




As a society we have a duty to look out for those who need us. I don't know if you remeber the case of Jamie Bulger who was taken from a shopping centre by older boys, walked for quite a while before they torchered and killed him - plenty people saw him and could tell he was not happy and was far too young alone with just other children but no one said anything or stepped in and Jamie was killed - maybe if someone had not 'minded their own business' that would not have been the case.

[deleted account]

If I were to see a child being mistreated by anyone,including a parent,I would definitely report it to the appropriate authorities.Of course this would not include a little smack on the butt type of thing.In the case of the nanny in the park, I would have followed her and found out who the parents were and notified them about the incident.

Wouldn’t you appreciate it if you were helpless and being mistreated and somebody stepped in on your behalf? Prior to Americans getting more involved in each other’s lives, women were raped and beaten by their own husbands to an even greater extent than today; children were abused and neglected by their families at alarming rates (when is the last time you saw a kid with rickets at the playground?).

There is a thing called social pressure. Peer pressure. External social control. All societies have it. Churches have it. Even the counterculture has it. We decide that we like to see clean, healthy, well-dressed children. Families who cannot live up to these standards are not welcomed into the fold of the majority, who do. If we were to go back to facing forward and ignoring the plight of others, we would not be doing society any kind of service.

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