"My nanny is holding me hostage. Please help me."

It took us a long time to find “The One.”

This was before we relinquished the idea of spending “The Money”.

We thought there was some hidden loophole in childcare, that someone, somewhere was getting a bargain for a babysitter. We didn’t want to believe the “you get what you pay for” mantra.

And boy, were there some doozies.

There was the $15 per hour lady who did our laundry and occasionally glanced at the children to make sure they weren’t killing each other with pencils.

There was the uni student, who squeezed us in-between her lectures, but was always, always unavailable on a Friday and Saturday night, and had a strangely husky voice on a Monday morning.

There was the young lady in her 20’s who came in smelling of incense, nose-ring intact. She let my son eat an entire jar of play doh before she blithely pulled a bulging piece out of his mouth. His tongue was blue for a week.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte talks to Mamamia about she doesn’t actually want a nanny. (Post continues after audio.)

There was the evangelist who apologised profusely for every minor mishap, who we thought was so incredibly sweet and fragile… until she had a nervous breakdown.

There was the non-English speaker who had to gesticulate wildly for us to understand that all she wanted to do was go to the bathroom. There was the nurse who was excellent in looking after our infant in every way, but left a trail of dirty towels, dishes, and empty peanut packets in her wake.

Then she arrived.

With a whiff of authority, Mary-Poppins style. She landed on our doorstep like a (very expensive) angel. Scooped up our children in her loving, energetic and capable arms, and fed them breakfast without a word.

She took them to the zoo, nursed their bruises, and attended play dates with other children. She rewarded them with frozen yoghurt after school, kissed their scrapes, and had a firm but kind disciplinary style. She was the Goldilocks of age. Not too old (still energetic), and not too young (doesn’t show up hung over). She was perfect in every way.

I’m not sure when the tables started to turn. I guess it was somewhere between “you’re doing a great job” and “OMG what would we do without you, I can’t imagine life before you came to us.”

Check out some of the most famous on-screen nannies. (Post continues after gallery.)


It started with her regularly turning up late. Not just 5 minutes late, but a good half hour.

How did I respond? By coming home 20 minutes late. Passive-aggressive, I know. Then she started to call in sick. A LOT. Like, once a fortnight. How can one person be so unwell all the time? Maybe she has lupus and didn’t tell me.

In the space of the few months she’s been with us, she’s called in absent because her pet turtle died, she needed to take her mother in for a knee operation and my favourite – her best friend got food poisoning.

This was interspersed with genuine bouts illnesses of her own. She also leaves the house looking like it’s been ransacked by a pack of blind possums. It is too much to ask not to step on something warm and sticky as soon as I enter the living room?

I know I painted myself into this corner. I should just confront her about the situation. But what could I say? Call bluff on her ‘excuses’? What’s preventing me from addressing this is fear. Genuine fear of losing the best thing that we’ve ever had as a family (err besides the children of course) – because despite her tardiness and lack of cooking skills, the children adore her and she is incredibly responsible around them.

She's perfect with the kids, just bad at everything else.

This is not a "Made in Chelsea" how-the-other-half live kind of rant.

Well, it is and it isn't. I, like thousands of women across Australia, am practically paying to go to work. If I factor in the cost of childcare, food and road toll, I'm probably making MINUS $3 a day.

I've been told this isn't the way to view the cost of childcare, but from a pure numbers perspective, there's a pretty compelling reason why women choose to stay at home.

And if we do end up working, there are some expectations as to how things should be done.

The point is, when one is making sacrifices to be at work away from the children, it's important that their welfare and happiness with the caretaker is paramount.

To the detriment of everything else... right? We are in this strange relationship triangle, there's me the boss, then her, the employee AND the caretaker of my children, and of course at the top of this pyramid scheme, the kids.

If they are happy, so am I. (grits teeth)