An update on Nudity at the Nanny’s

So, as it turns out, I did not need to address the nudity issue again, because our nanny wanted to address it. And she was MAD.

Friday afternoon I went to pick-up and my daughter was still asleep and the nanny’s son was playing in the basement (obviously planned). She said she wanted to talk to me about pick-up the preceding day and how I was obviously uncomfortable with her son being naked. This is nuanced, but I was not uncomfortable with him being naked. I was uncomfortable dropping my daughter off into an environment where he was touching himself, playing with the same toys, sitting on surfaces she crawls on, and about to eat breakfast. I told her that I completely understood that he enjoys being naked in his own home, and I fully support that, but for the reasons above, I do not want him to be naked while she is around. I told her we pay for her to care for our daughter, and we would like him to be clothed when she is there. I explained to her that I never instructed him he needed to be clothed in his home, I told him we were not going to play with his rubber stamps if he was not wearing pants. I told her I had the same standard for our daughter, and if there were people who are not immediately family in our home, she would be wearing, at the very least, pants.

It became clear to me that she thought I was body-shaming her son and telling him he should not be naked. She pointed out, not incorrectly, that I did not want to engage with him while he was naked. I tried to make clear that I said nothing about his body on purpose, and he can be as naked as he wants, but not while my daughter is there, on the floor, playing with toys, crawling around. She eventually accepted the hygiene aspect of the conversation, and she said that he does consider us family, which is why it is appropriate for him to be naked around us and why he thought it would be okay. I actually completely disagree that he thinks it’s okay to be naked around us and not others, I’m pretty positive he thinks he can be naked around anyone (because he has walked out onto the front porch down to the sidewalk without pants on at least once), but I didn’t say that.

At the end of the conversation, she obviously felt a lot better. The problem is, I don’t. I’m super annoyed that she thought she was going to push back against be about him not wearing pants. I’m super irritated that it would not occur to her in the first place that he should not be pants-less around my daughter in that way. Aside: I still know and am  comfortable with the fact that he’ll use the restroom, change into swim shorts, and occasionally need to change clothes in her presence. I’m irritated that she did not listen to my very intentional words to him – that we were not going to play until he was ready to play, or that we could wait outside until he was ready if we needed to. In my mind, it’s simple: playing with a friend (any friend) means having at least underwear on for hygiene reasons. Being comfortable and and naked in your own space with immediate family (or others who you trust and have consented to said nudity) is totally fine.

In the realm of childcare issues, this is relatively small. Our daughter loves her, she loves our daughter, and I do not fear for her immediate safety. In many ways, our childcare situation is ideal – she’s flexible, affordable, they do fun things, conveniently located, and we actually like that she has an older child to learn from. However, I’m a little stuck on this issue (and some small, irritating frictions that have come up over the past 6+ months). The last thing we need, or our daughter needs, is a big change in the routine, and I do NOT want to start interviewing new caretakers. But, should I? I wish I felt 100% great about the person my daughter spends 24-30ish hours a week with! But maybe I wouldn’t feel 100% great about anyone, because I could nit-pick anyone who is caring for my daughter. Any insight is appreciated.

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9 responses

  1. That’s a hard one. I mean, if your daughter was in a daycare, the other kids would have clothes on. It doesn’t seem unreasonable, given that the nanny is being paid to take care of your child, to expect that her child wear undies when your daughter is around – especially now that you’ve asked them to do that. And I think there’s a big difference between a bit of nudity while changing, toileting, etc., versus hanging out in the buff for a long period of time.

    I don’t have any experience with choosing daycare providers, but I think that it’d be quite difficult to find someone that I felt 100% good about. I’d hope for 95%-ish, I think? And after a conflict like this, I can imagine feeling less than sure – maybe give it a few days to see if you’re feeling better about it?

    • Yeah – I’m going to see how the next two weeks go and see how I feel. In my past I have made a lot of impulse decisions, and I’ve learned as I’ve aged that I need to let things settle a bit before jumping the gun…

  2. I got the heebies reading these two posts. I think I’d be interviewing me nannies, which is a huge pain in the arse I know. I just think the potential for a lot of naked if you aren’t around is problematic. Ick.

    • It’s amazing how hard it seems to have become for parents to draw firm guidelines. Obviously this kind of thing would never happen in some cultures and some decades past (not that I’m advocating we move backward). Kids aren’t changing that much, it seems like the pendulum has swung so far that NO guidance or discipline is utilized in some circles.

      • I don’t know, I’ve heard some pretty hilarious (and sometimes disgusting) stories from the past. I think in general our supervision and expectations for kids are so much higher in general that those who don’t supervise so closely stand out a lot more. I think it also may be less acceptable to parent other people’s children in public areas, though that may not be true either.

  3. This is bizarre.

    I think I felt the most uncomfortable in her attempts to shame you into not wanting to…hang out with a naked four year old? That whole line of thinking seemed really off-base to me. I find it hard to believe this is shocking for her. Personally, I’d be pretty off-put if someone walked into my house and was like “well, we can’t play until you are comfortably naked, Scarlett!” Just, this is sort of weird.

    With that said, I also think she was probably a bit embarrassed and maybe felt her relationship with you was different than it clearly is, but that’s really both not your fault and none of your burden. She is, first and foremost beyond any other relationship, your caregiver. So I’d probably be keeping in my back pocket the idea of needing to find a new one if the situation becomes any more bizarre.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. No one wants to feel the least bit awkward about who they leave their children with and no, I’m sure you’d never find someone you were 100% happy with all of the time, but this feels like a pretty big faux pas on her end.

    Bonkers.

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