I was the “nanny wedge” in my employer’s marriage

by Jessie K on September 12, 2012

I just read Bari Nan Cohen’s Babble piece Buyer Beware: Having a Nanny Can Be Hazardous to Your Marriage and I could not agree with her thesis more — that outside help can drive a wedge in a marriage —  though in my case, the wedge was a bit more corrosive than disputes over the division of labor.

I was a nanny for two families over a period of five years–from my late teens to my early 20s. It was how I paid my way through college. While it was a tremendous learning experience that helped pave the way for my future career, I learned more about family dynamics and dysfunction than I cared to.

Continue reading here. 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob F September 13, 2012 at 10:37 am


Wow! What an experience Jessie – talk about living a reality show. I admire your fortitude and being able live through all of that – what a lesson in life you learned. Also, this experience would make an excellent article for an appropriate publication – perhaps you can help others in similar situations.

Janelle September 13, 2012 at 5:16 pm


Wow, Jessie. This is the most thought provoking piece *for me* that you have ever written. As my husband is very loving and caring toward me, and we adore each other ’til the end of the earth, I am completely unaware of what happens with my friends’ and their relationships behind closed doors. I know that these kinds of relationships are out there, but I don’t know of them nor do I care to read books about them. Your piece here is profound for me in so many ways.

Cassie September 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm


Very interesting & thought provoking piece.

Michele September 14, 2012 at 7:14 pm


How interesting. While you were the outsider brought into their family dynamic, I was an insider. You described my ex-h, and what I am sure looked like my marriage. All I can say is, it is a much different thing being on the inside than judging from the outside.

Nothing is random, we all experience exactly what we are meant to experience, and we are all infinitely strong. I know this now. While the few years spent in that relationship may never make sense to me, they happened, and I just don’t look back. xox

Sarina September 17, 2012 at 9:10 am


I know a lot of people have public and private personalities. My father was a clear example of that.. he could be raging at something one minute.. the phone would ring and he could put on his “telephone voice”… acting like nothing was wrong.

I would say that virtually everyone behaves badly at one time or another. I am sure there are little fits we may pitch that we would be mortified if someone outside our family saw how we behaved! To a certain extent, I think it is ok to lose it just a little in the privacy of our own homes. A pattern of derision and abuse.. especially if it seeps over into public is not acceptable… but I have been known to pout when I didn’t get my way.. and probably have blown things out of proportion at times too.

I would think another issue with the nanny would be that the parents may feel marginalized as the care givers.. If the nanny is the one spending all the time caring and nurturing the child.. the parent’s feelings can be hurt when the child runs to the nanny instead of the parent to show off.. or to be hugged!

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