Nightmare nanny diaries: "I was told to 'manage' the kids' headlice, not eradicate it."

Scratch, scratch.

There’s never been a more dreaded sight for a parent than seeing your offspring go to town on their scalp, digging in with their dirty fingernails, while a fine cloud of dry skin wafts into the air.

‘Tis the season to be nitty, and all the kids are bringing home a treat for the school holidays: a big ol’ head of lice.

But you know what’s worse than your kid getting headlice? The little grot you’re babysitting contracting the bugs.

Surely no one but a parent should have to deal with the joyous and not at all gross task of delousing? Right? Right!? RIGHT?


An email came through for the This Glorious Mess podcast this week, from a loyal listener who we shall keep anonymous, and instead call The Nanny.

In her email, The Nanny shared her woeful tale of creepy crawlies.

“I’ve worked as a nanny for five years now, but I was almost put off my by first job. I only lasted three months with the family, because I got headlice from them three times,” she said.

“The kids were constantly scratching their heads and sometimes I could see lice crawling in one of the little girl’s fringes.”

I bet Nanny Fran never had to deal with a nit outbreak. I mean, can you imagine combing out that mane? *shudders*

Yep, that's once a month the little suckers came out to play. Why weren't the parents breaking out the chemicals and dousing the kids scalps? Well, that's the million dollar question.

"The parents saw it as something to 'manage' rather than eradicate," said The Nanny.

"They did nothing about it, but I was expected to do a weekly de-licing session. The kids were great, but I couldn't put up with getting lice myself, and the parents didn't seem to care!"

Who knew 'managing' lice was even an option? I guess it's not a far cry from raising sea monkeys as pets though, is it? Maybe the kids became emotionally attached to the critters. Or maybe the parents were just lazy. Who knows.

When you see a kid scratch their head. via GIPHY

The worst I ever had to deal with as a bright-eyed babysitter was an unsightly puddle of vomit. By the time I had fashioned a scoop out of the box of a freshly polished off pizza (which was now on the floor, pieces of pineapple still discernible) the parents were home. I gave up any hope of a tip when I handed over the box-scoop and fled. I have zero regrets.

That's what parents are for. The filthy jobs that no other human wants to go anywhere near. Just like a teacher would be aghast at changing a nappy, a nanny is not there to deal with your infestation.

Fortunately, The Nanny said she wasn't put off the babysitting gig forever.

"It is the best job, but I do have a lifetime worth of stories from that one first family," she said.

Now if you've made it this far, I bet you $50 you're scratching your head right now. Itchy isn't it?

Got a nanny story to share? Email [email protected] or let us know in the comments.

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