Take it from me, stay away from French nannies
Finding good child care can be dangerous, especially if you’re just a guy trying to do right by your mate.
Several weeks ago, I received a phone call from an old buddy of mine. During the catch-up phase of our conversation, we discussed jobs, kids and wives, and then as an aside, we launched into a conversation about the cost and trouble of finding good and safe child care.
My friend told me he envies my situation, which I admit is about as perfect as it gets for someone who has to work.
My mom currently takes care of our daughter, Isabell, on the days Bev and I slave away, and I’m happy to say that I can’t think of person I’d trust more with the care and feeding of my daughter.
We pay mom, by the way, but not nearly as much as she is worth.
My friend, however, lives near Washington, D.C., and he says the cost of child care is staggering. But that’s not the worst of it. The hard part, he said, is finding someone he trusts with his kids without having to install spy cameras for protection.
And it is this need for dependable day care that drove him to his most desperate and foolish decision. He decided to hire a nanny.
At first, I thought it was a good idea. After all, having one older, responsible person watching your kids day in and day out should take some of the risk out of child care.
Then he mentioned that his nanny was going to be an 18-year-old French girl and the warning lights buried deep in my brain sounded.
I’ve been around the block a few times, and I’ve been happily married for more years than many. Even so, I rarely dole out advice when it comes to marriage.
I learned long ago that the dynamics of relationships vary widely, and women are – and I’m saying this with all due respect and love for the opposite sex – unpredictable.
To overcome this relationship randomness, I’ve personally developed a kind of warning system that not only tells me when trouble looms but also shows me the way out – much like a defensive driving course – of almost any difficulty.
When my friend told me about his nanny idea, I reacted like any longtime married man would. I howled with laughter, rolled on the floor, kicked and giggled.
My friend was none too happy with my attitude, and he launched into a tirade to explain all the benefits of having a French teenager come and live in his home.
He explained how the girl would do the dishes, keep the house clean and take care of the kids. She would be there, he said, to help his wife relax, give her time to work, read and maybe even enjoy an occasional evening at the movies.
He was serious. My friend actually believed he was doing a good thing. He felt he was bestowing free time on his wife.
Being the tactful guy that I am, the only comment I managed to squeak out was, “Huba, huba, huba. Do you think Bev would let me have one of those?”
Then I broke out in a fresh round of giggles and my friend hung up the phone.
Several more weeks passed before I received news that the situation with the nanny wasn’t all smiles and hugs.
It seems that after the girl arrived, no matter how my friend acts, he’s in trouble. If he’s nice to the nanny his wife yells. If he ignores the nanny his wife wants to know why? If he looks at the nanny, he’s a masher and if he doesn’t, his wife figures he’s guilty of something.
So watch out guys. Kick that husbandly warning system into high gear and don’t make the same mistake or you might end up in a dangerous childcare situation.
Which reminds me. I want to ask my wife if I can hire a Swedish girl named Ingrid to bring me bottles of beer and at the same time watch Isabell.
Think she’ll buy it?
Andrew Gmerek writes a Friday
column for the Summit Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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