Q&A: Neighbor stealing her nanny

I'm cranky about this comment trouble. But Alexis is even crankier:

"I have a neighbor (who thank god just moved away) who uses my fulltime nanny constantly for weekends and weeknights.  2 years ago, I invited her to share our nanny, as she had her first child.  Since then the mom has quit her job, and no longer needs regular care.  She did however, continue to use our house as "drop in day care" when she needed it for appointments or whatever.  For the most part, I deemed this acceptable because my oldest loves their oldest.  However, I now have 3 kids (3, 2, and 1 yrs) and that is a lot to handle.

I have spoken to both my nanny and the mom about how I am uncomfortable with how much my former neighbor asks our nanny to work.  This conversation was prompted because my nanny called my husband one day and said he needed him to come home because she had to go across the street!  What? 

Anyway, the mom is totally unresponsive to the fact that I would like to use my nanny on weekends, but I respect that she needs a break and has a life so I tend to not ask her.  When I expressed my discomfort specifically to the mom she said she thinks our nanny has every right to do what she wants and she(the mom) should be able to book her--that I need to just book her then.  They did move away, but not far sot the drop in stuff has stopped, but the other stuff has not.

This weekend, the former neighbors invited her on a weekend trip.  I actually realized this after she left, and  put two and two together that that is why she requested two days off from work from us.  I think she may have extended the weekend trip with her fiance, but I am just appalled that my former neighbor would consider booking my full time nanny for a weekend trip.  I would never in a million years book a friend's full-time nanny for a weekend.  Maybe if I was desperate and cleared it with my friend,but even then just maybe.

Well, my bind is I am extremely displeased with my neighbor, and now so with my nanny and do not know how to address either of them.  I am so mad, I don't know what to say, and I don't even know which of  my expectations are reasonable or which are not.  Please help."

My initial reaction was, "That's screwed up!" Because there are a ton of angles on it. On the one hand, this is a free market economy (for the majority of my readers), so the neighbor is free to hire whoever she wants, and the nanny is free to work for whoever she wants.

On the other hand, it sounds like the neighbor has just gone way too far. Using the nanny as an occasional babysitter seems reasonable to me (especially because it's hard to find a good babysitter, so if you only need one occasionally it's hardly even worth the search and reference checking, etc.). And maybe an occasional night or weekend when the neighbor knows for sure it wouldn't be infringing on the nanny's regular work schedule. But to take the nanny on a trip that would require her to ask for time off from her regular job? That's ridiculous and presumptuous.

On the third hand, what's the nanny thinking? In NYC, where it's a hirer's market for babysitters, the nanny would have been fired for double-timing and requesting days off from one family to work for another. Unless the nanny really doesn't want to work for Alexis anymore, and is pulling the old "I'm too cowardly to break up with her so I'll act like a jerk until she breaks up with me" ploy that works so well for 19-year-old boys.

Either way, I think some confrontation may be in order between Alexis and her nanny. Parameters need to be set about when the nanny can freelance. And if the nanny's not happy about that, then she needs to be honest and resign from working for Alexis.

As for the neighbor? Well, you could always sign her up for a bunch of new magazine subscriptions she doesn't want. If it were me I'd never say anything to the neighbor about it because I'm conflict-averse, but also because the neighbor clearly doesn't get that her behavior is inappropriate. It's hard to talk to someone  who doesn't have the same set of standards and values you do, so sometimes the best you can do is just let it go and move on. Since she doesn't live near Alexis anymore, Alexis never has to see her again, and can just refer to her as "remember that horrible woman who stole my nanny" from now on.

What do you guys think? Are you as scandalized as I was by the situation? It's the sneakiness of it all that upsets me most.

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