"Don’t tell your mum." 10 women share their absolute worst nanny horror stories.

When it comes to juggling life, work, and the mental load, sometimes extra help with the kids is necessary.

But finding the perfect nanny (or the perfect family to nanny for) can be a nightmare, and it doesn’t always work out.

We asked 10 women to share their nannying nightmare stories and let’s just say… we’re terrified.

When fathers look after their kids, why do we call it babysitting? Post continues after video. 

The Nanny.

“The kids were crying and I threw up everywhere.”

“I was brutally hungover and looking after my nanny kids. I was walking them home from preschool and the two-year-old boy stepped off the path and went onto the road. I jumped out to grab him (0.4 seconds before he got hit by a car) and we both fell backwards on the ground. While that was happening, the pram I was pushing with the four-year-old girl in it started rolling down the hill so I jumped up and ran after her while she was screaming, with the two-year-old in my hands. I got to the pram just before it went on the road. We all fell in a heap and the kids were crying and I threw up everywhere because I was so hungover and it was such a shock.”

“I waved at the neighbour holding an empty wine bottle.”

“I’ll never forget this one. I was nannying years ago with a nine-month-old baby. It was early afternoon, bub was asleep and I was making a risotto for the family dinner, using some left over wine from the fridge. When I took said wine bottle to the recycling bin, a kindly neighbour across the road saw me. I waved – with the arm containing the empty wine bottle. The said neighbour looked horrified and reported straight back to the family I was nannying for about my ‘drinking habit’. Hilarious in hindsight.”

“Rikki… what is thrush?”

“I was once babysitting a little girl when I was 17 and as I was tucking her nicely into bed she looked me in the eye and said ‘Rikki, what is thrush?’ She was seven.”

“Dad would always catch me out.”

“I babysat my younger siblings heaps and used to let them watch TV until just before mum and dad came home (they’re eight years younger than me). Dad would always catch me out because he’d touch the back of the TV and it would be hot and he would be so mad but it was worth it because now I’m their favourite older sibling forever.”

“I had to fish the poo out with a ladle.”

“I used to babysit for this family fairly regularly and one night I was giving the siblings a bath. It was all going well until a POO FLOATED PAST MY ARM. I had to fish the poo out with a ladle and the whole time the kids were running around squealing with laughter, they thought it was the funniest thing in the world. Still don’t know the culprit. This family also used to party so hard. They’d often get home at 4am so smashed and eat all the leftovers out of the fridge while telling me all about their night and I’d be smiling and nodding but I was so desperate to go home.”


“I had to give them lollies for dinner because that’s all we had.”

“I had to cook chicken for these kids I was nannying one night – I can’t cook and I don’t eat meat. It caught on fire (a small one – it was totally fine and manageable) so I had to give them lollies for dinner because that’s all we had. They didn’t hate it.”

“There is blood on my sheets… change them.”

“When I was doing some nannying I had an agreement with one family to do some light housework but mostly I would be focusing on caring for the children. The ‘light housework’ gradually increased day by day until I was a full blown cleaner/slave while I was still expected to care for the children effectively. The last straw was when the mother waltzed out of the bedroom and without looking at me, waved a hand towards the bedroom saying ‘There is blood on my sheets… change them,’ before continuing into the kitchen. I told her where to stick her job that day. I also had another crazy mother who gradually increased the workload and hours expected, without wanting to pay me any more money. She got so bad that she was calling me at all hours and on my days off to come and work and when I finally declined, she called a meeting with me and sacked me (a few days before Christmas) saying that I was not committed to the position and wasn’t acting in accordance to our original agreement. Fun times!”

“She didn’t believe in rules about food.”

“Usually the parents are worse than the nannies. In one case, I had the mother refuse to wear pants and walk around the house with everything hanging out. She also didn’t believe in rules about food as that would create an eating disorder so her two-year-old was allowed to eat what they wanted, when they wanted. That meant that if they wanted marshmallows and sausage rolls at 4am, I had to get them.”

“Then there was the mother who did not believe in using negative words so I could never say ‘no’ and had to phrase my words differently. I got sacked when I yelled ‘stop no’ as the child went to run into the pool aged three. Let’s not even talk about shared care nannying. It’s like a parent going to school and interfering all day every day with the teacher. Either you let the nanny do their job or you do it yourself.”

“Then there was the first time mother who had triplets and insisted that each child be fed with a seperate bowl and spoon and I had to cook three seperate meals for each child for each meal but feed them all at the same time.”

Meshel Laurie believes there’s no shame in getting nannies and cleaners if you can afford it. Post continues after audio. 

The Mother.

“When I got home, the rest of the champagne was gone.”

“I had a nanny whom I was friendly with years ago – she was older than me, not a young woman – so she joined me in half a glass of champagne one night when she came to babysit, before I went out. When I got home, the rest of the bottle of champagne was gone – she had finished it. I was appalled. I knew we were friendly, but she was still at work – what if she had had to drive my son somewhere urgently? I never used her again, but I did run into her a few months later and it was horribly awkward, because she must have known I was using someone.”


“I also had a babysitter years ago who ‘felt up’ all my wrapped Xmas gifts under the tree. I didn’t realise until I went to put some more gifts there, and noticed ALL the presents had crinkled and even slightly torn wrapping paper – obviously felt up or shaken to see what was inside. She was the only person who could have done that at that time. I was furious, and I never used her again –although, admittedly, I didn’t mind re-wrapping everything because I am obsessed with Christmas.”

“She would be sitting next to the front door and would grunt ‘you’re LATE’ when I was 15 minutes early.”

“I had one lady who was paid to work 10am to 4:30pm, full-time salary (with one month annual leave per year). Everyday she would be sitting next to the front door, bag on her shoulder and would grunt at me ‘you’re LATE’ whenever I got home a MINUTE after 4:15. She felt that because I finished at 4pm, and was sometimes able to get there by 4:15, that any time I wasn’t it was an unacceptable offence!”

“Another one we had was hired as a live in housekeeper. Her duties included light housework, supervising my nine and 13-year-old, and making dinner. After the first week she refused to make dinner, but was otherwise doing well, so I said I was happy to make dinner. One week later I was being confronted by a grumpy 30-year-old woman demanding to know what was for dinner and when I would start cooking THE MOMENT I walked through the door at 4:30. When I said, ‘please just let me sit down for an hour, I will have dinner ready for 6pm’, she would complain about being hungry NOW… that woman didn’t last very long!”

“The next woman stole about 20 towels among other things when she left. When I went to the agency to report the theft, I was blamed for not searching her bags before letting her leave! I may be naive, but I never expected to be robbed by a temporary nanny! When the agency went through her bags they found 20 towels, 15 of my daughter’s dresses, ten pairs of shoes, three of my pairs of shoes, half a dozen pieces of my clothing, jewellery, sunglasses, a handbag, and a knife from our kitchen knife set!”

“She failed to tell me she didn’t have enough seat belts in her car.”

“Where do I start? The one that turned up and asked first and foremost where the TV remote control was, the one who always slept in my armchair while my toddlers played and tried to wake her, the one who called me and wanted to go home because she had a headache even though I had a stomach bug, was one and a half hours away and in the middle of shooting a book cover, or the one who just last week failed to tell me she didn’t have enough seat belts in her car and asked my daughter to hold on tight while she was driving and ‘don’t tell your mum’.”

“The car started to smell like cigarette smoke.”

“The only nanny I ever fired was dishonest. On her first day she tried to renegotiate her salary, ‘I know this is what we agreed, but I just want to talk about my hourly rate before I sign this’. Huge red flag. Should have said no thanks then, but was starting a new job the following Monday. The biggie was when our car that only she drove (with the kids in it) started to smell like cigarette smoke. No one else drives that car, and my one and four-year-old don’t smoke. We had an express condition in her contract with no smoking, no drinking and no drugs at work. She denied it, but the trust was gone.”

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