A working couple hired a nanny for their child. However, problems arose when the husband’s relaxed parenting clashed with the nanny’s more disciplined approach. The nanny shared her concerns with the wife, who then gave the husband an ultimatum: respect the nanny’s methods or handle childcare himself. But was that a fair ask? Here’s the full story, as shared on Reddit:
The Original Poster (OP) has a husband and 3 kids. The youngest is just 10 months old, while the other two are 3 and 6 years old. Needless to say, it’s a handful – especially because they both have jobs. Her husband’s a high-flyer who’s away from home a lot and she works a regular 9 to 5. Given the challenges, they decided to hire some help…
They Hired a Nanny
Their oldest child went to daycare at first. But when their second came along, they decided to bring on board a nanny to look after the kids while OP was at work.
When they had their youngest, doing the night-time routine solo (remember, dad’s traveling for work most of the time) became too overwhelming – a reality made worse by the postpartum depression she’d developed. As a result, they brought the nanny on to help with dinner, bath-time, and bedtime as well.
It’s Working Out Great
This new setup has been great for OP. She’s formed a good relationship with the nanny, who’s amazing with the kids. And together they’ve established a routine and rhythm that works well for everyone. Everyone, that is, apart from Dad…
Problems Occur When Her Husband’s Home
Although her husband’s out or away more often than not, he’s definitely around sometimes. He helps with the childcare at weekends. However, because he works so much, he doesn’t want to be too firm with the children when he’s actually there.
It Impacts the Nanny
Occasionally, OP’s husband will be around at the same time as their nanny. But while she tries to stick to the usual routine and get the kids off to bed, her husband’s more inclined to let them off the hook, allow them to rough house, and muck around.
This might be fun for the kids, but it disrupts their routine and makes them late for bedtime.
The Nanny’s In an Awkward Position
The nanny’s very aware that she’s an employee and the last thing she wants is to undermine anybody. Yet she’s expressed feeling awkward about the situation to OP. Ultimately, the husband being there makes it harder for her to do her job properly.
Her Husband Wants the Nanny There
An obvious solution would be for the nanny to take the evening off when the husband’s home. However, he doesn’t want that to happen because he thinks it’d be too tricky to handle the kids by himself.
OP Wants Him to Follow the Nanny’s Lead
This is where the problem really starts. OP told her husband that if he needs the nanny there, then he should defer to her in caring for the kids. After all, the nanny a) knows the children best and b) is the one who has to deal with the trouble when they start misbehaving. Understandably, perhaps, he isn’t happy…
He Sees Things Differently
From her husband’s perspective, that seems unfair. After all, he’s the dad and the nanny’s an employee – he pays her salary, yet she’s the one giving the orders?
OP Gave Him an Ultimatum
OP’s on nanny’s side. Feeling the situation as it stands is too unfair on her, she gave her husband an ultimatum: either he defers to the nanny at bedtime and bathtime, or he doesn’t help out at all.
Her Husband Feels Replaced
In response to her request/instruction, her husband responded by saying OP’s letting the nanny replace him. Now she’s unsure if she’s the bad guy.
A Privileged Position
OP began her story by acknowledging that what she’s describing is a privileged issue. However, she wanted to get other people’s perspective.
Was she in the wrong for asking her husband to take a backseat when helping out with the kids – especially when he pays the nanny’s salary? Or was it a fair request given the problems that arise when he’s there and the fact it impacts the kids’ behavior when he’s not around?
Reddit had a lot to say…
People (Mostly) Sided With OP
The majority of responses on Reddit were firmly behind OP. The top comment, which has almost 50k upvotes, reads:
“I’m so angry reading these responses. Your husband doesn’t want to parent. Your husband wants to be Funtime Uncle, who comes in roles everyone up, dishes out sweets, makes sure they don’t make their bedtimes and then dips out when the children start having unpleasant reactions to the disruption…Dads also have to ******* parent. It is completely reasonable if the only partner doing any parenting puts their foot down on an unacceptable behavior partner.”
It’s a Common Problem in Society
That previous commenter continued:
“Why does dad always get to be the Funtime guy and mum always has to be the downer doing the actual parenting? This is a huge problem in society…You know what is really good for children having a father who is an active partner in parenting. It’s also completely false that children won’t recognize as they grow that dad didn’t give enough of a **** about them to actually be present in their lives. When they look back as adults it’s going to be mum they respect. Mum who provided the safe healthy environment for them to grow in.”
A Possible Solution
Another top comment agreed with the last and offered thoughts on what they believe should happen:
“Agreed. Dad’s gone all the time so when he’s home, he wants to be seen as the fun friend, not the parent. The nanny either stays as he requests and he follows her routine or the nanny leaves and he deals with the **** part of parenting (bath, bedtimes, etc.) while keeping the kids on their routine. Otherwise eventually they’ll lose the nanny and the only loser there is going to be mom having to deal with all the **** herself when dad’s gone.”
The Husband Should Accept His Inexperience
Some comments honed in on the husband’s apparent inability to handle his three kids, suggesting that’s reason enough for OP to make her request.
One said, “If this guy is not capable of getting a 3 and 6 year old bathed and to bed on his own then he should understand that it’s best to follow the lead of the adult who does it daily, employee or not.”
What Do You Think?
While the vast majority of people on Reddit sided with the OP, there are some dissenting voices that were on the husband’s side. So what do you think? Should OP have asked him to follow the nanny’s lead? Or should she let him continue as he is because he’s the dad? Or is there another way to tackle the problem entirely?
Drop a comment with your thoughts.
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