28 answers

Nanny Showed up for First Day Dressed "Oddly" According to Husband

This is the weirdest question. Okay, so I am an older mom so not sure what "the kids" are wearing these days. We have a newly hired young nanny (mid-20's) who just started today. She is a single mom. She showed up dressed casually, which is fine with me, of course. I thought nothing of her outfit. Later, my husband said that while he was impressed with her work, he thought she dressed like a Latina gangster. (I need to emphasize that she is a NON-HISPANIC CAUCASIAN.) He said she was wearing what "cholos" wear (I am unsure if this is an offensive term, sorry) like long shorts, a black and white shirt with an elaborate design, and a certain type of sneakers. He said: "I bet that means she hangs out with gangsters or unsavory people." I thought that he was being ridiculous. Kids wear all kinds of things now, what is the big deal? I didn't even notice.

Of course he got me all worried about her possible "connections." She doesn't have a criminal record and had good references. She comes from a working-class background, so maybe it is common to dress like this. I am also not in really in touch with youth culture, so what do I know? Also, the first few times I met her she was dressed in normal, casual clothes. Our last nanny had dreadlocks and body piercings, we cared nothing about that. I thought lots of kids dressed this way now, Latino(a) or not and didn't necessarily think it was a sign of some kind of criminal association. Should I worry about something like this?

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So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone! I know my husband is being unreasonable. He explained that he was trying to be funny but didn't realize that it didn't go over well with me. I reminded him that I am going through a very vulnerable time right now (lots of transitions) and he shouldn't be adding to my anxiety about ridiculous things. So far the nanny has been great-she is very organized and handles the kids well.

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Yep, hubby is being a bit over-the-top. He said it for a reason though...is there a chance he really wasn't impressed by her & is looking for any excuse to move past her? Outside of that, he's just bein' silly. If the both of you agree she's a goodie, then her clothes shouldn't matter (unless she's half naked).

3 moms found this helpful

In the end, a good nanny is hard to find! My own nanny probably doesn't dress particularly "nanny"-like, but she is amazing with my son and flexible with us and is a wonderful person. I wouldn't give her up for another nanny in chinos and a Gap tee!

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You can buy those clothes at Target. MY husband, on the other hand, wouldnt notice if she was wearing a Halloween costume!!!!! Kudos to your Hub for being "fashion conscious"...:)
Young people are young people. If I could fit my fat arse in some of those cute, hip designs, I would!!!!
If she is a good Nanny...live and let live....who knows? maybe her "quirks" will inspire your child!!!!

GL:)

7 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't worry. My mom had (temporary) caregivers for her grandkids who looked like they came right off a night job (not the legitimate kind) and that made people very uncomfortable. It is perfectly fine to have some kind of (practical) dress code, but this sounds like a designer/style preference. I always dressed down a lot when I worked in child care because I was on the floor and playing with kids, not to mention getting messy with snacks and feeding. I imagine your husband just has associations with a specific style. I can't even picture what you're describing, but it doesn't sound odd.

5 moms found this helpful

I agree. Heck! I'm IMPRESSED she had LONG shorts on instead of Daisy Dukes! My daughter goes to high school---snd pretty much everybody dresses like that--it's the style. If she starts getting weird phone calls or "unsavory" people come over--then I would be concerned. Otherwise, live and let live!

Have fun.

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The main thing is that she's a good nanny to your children, not her fashion sense.

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That the "image: of what a "cholo" (cholo btw means male, and chola means female) wears. If you guys want to see what real "cholas" dress like come on to california and I can give you a tour. =) This is also a classic look, worn not only by latino's but also by skaters (of any racial background).
I am near 29 and it was popular for us to dress this way in school. The skater crowd would wear dickies shorts or pants, a skater tee (usually a band t-shirt, or a skateboard brand tee) and converse tennis shoes. The latino crowd wore basically the same thing, but a different kind of tee, and either converse or addidas sneakers. Thats what was popular. Two very different crowds, of all races, wearing basically the same thing.
To me, it's no big deal, it's just a look. If her references were good, and she has no background I wouldn't worry.

4 moms found this helpful

I don't agree that you are judging a book by its cover. I think how someone chooses to dress does say something about their personality and what message they are putting out there.

If you had a 14 year old daughter who came down the steps for school dressed in daisy dukes and a low cut top, what would you say? You wouldn't say "its ok to go to school like that because no one should judge you based on how your dressed". Um, no. You would tell her to get her butt upstairs and put on something appropiate for school. People ARE judged on how they dress. Its no different than if you were going to a job interview for a corporate management position. You would not go to the interview in baggy jeans & a tee shirt. You would wear a nice suit because you want to put a good impression out, because you WILL be judged on how you dress.

If this woman is dressing this way, its because that is the message or image she is putting out there. If it makes you uncomfortable in any way, talk to her about it. She is caring for the most precious thing you have. You need to be 100% comfortable with her. I don't think you are being too judgemental at all. You have every right to scrutinize everything this woman does. Because she is caring for your children. If she was some stranger you saw in the grocery store, I would not judge her. But shes not a stranger, she is the care giver of your children.

Good luck to you and I hope she turns out to be a fabulous nanny. :)

4 moms found this helpful

Personally, I wouldn't worry. Clothes are clothes... Nothing more.

3 moms found this helpful

Yep, hubby is being a bit over-the-top. He said it for a reason though...is there a chance he really wasn't impressed by her & is looking for any excuse to move past her? Outside of that, he's just bein' silly. If the both of you agree she's a goodie, then her clothes shouldn't matter (unless she's half naked).

3 moms found this helpful

A.,
I tend to be overly cautious when it comes to my daughter, as I'm sure we all are. The one thing that I might suggest is to see whether you can find her on facebook or myspace. Web pages say a lot about a person's character in my opinion. I all likelihood you have nothing to worry about, but I think it's also good to know everything you can about anyone who is watching your little one.
K.

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Talk about judging a book by it cover. She came with good references and your children like her. I think she sounds like she was dressed just fine.

2 moms found this helpful

Well...

It sounds as though your husband is applying some major racist stereotypes to this young woman. Not that he's racist against HER, but about the people he's assuming she hangs out with. I agree, it sounds as though he's being ridiculous but also offensive.

However, when it comes to your child and your house, you've got to do whatever you are comfortable with. If he has a bad vibe about her for WHATEVER reason, then I'd find a new nanny. Something like this is not worth fighting about, and it's certainly not worth being wrong about.

If I were in your shoes, I'd be irritated at my husband and make that part clear, but I would also find a new nanny.

2 moms found this helpful

as a nanny myself, your husband is being unreasonable! Honestly, I wear Jeans/khakis & a t-shirt to work almost everyday, most of the time with a pull-over hoodie on. Comfy clothing so I can get on the floor and play with my little girl I watch 40+ hours/week.

Clothing doesn't mean that she associates with anything, if she is anything like my younger 2 sisters, she is dressing with present day apparel.

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Excuse my briefness but, Pay attention to her work, not her appearance. and tell your husband to do the same. If her performance changes, then you should worry.

1 mom found this helpful

I see the whole debate about judging a book by it's cover but I think I would summarize by saying if her boobs & butt aren't hanging out and she is not dressed provocatively--I would be completely unconcerned.
Who cares if she's wearing long shorts? Would he prefer her butt cheeks be hanging out?
I'm 46, but I think your hubby needs to LEAP into this century! LOL

1 mom found this helpful

In the end, a good nanny is hard to find! My own nanny probably doesn't dress particularly "nanny"-like, but she is amazing with my son and flexible with us and is a wonderful person. I wouldn't give her up for another nanny in chinos and a Gap tee!

1 mom found this helpful

The question is: what makes your husband so uncomfortable about this person's clothes? Unless there was reason, I would most certainly *not* ask her about any gang-affiliation, and by "reason" I mean questionable things happening, weird friends dropping by...in short, anything that might be an issue with ANY nanny, regardless of dress.

If it were me, I'd suggest to my husband that he take a half-day at home, just to hang out in the background and listen to her interactions with the kids. If some specific complaint were to come out of that, well, then, time for a conversation.

I know that, as a young nanny and preschool teacher, I often wore unusual clothing combinations. I don't spend a lot of money for my nanny or preschool clothes because chances are, the kids are going to get something (paint, snot, etc.) on them, so wait and see how she's working out before making an issue out of her apparel.

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Absolutely not! Your husband is jumping the gun, and pre-judging by outward appearances. If her work is solid, and you have no reason to worry, then don't!

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Excellent post by MomOfOne !!!!!!!!!!!!

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I'd be more concerned with how she cared for my child instead of how she dressed.

Sounds like your hubby is too quick to judge people.

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I'd not worry one iota about how your nanny is dressed. As long as she takes good care of your child, that's all that should matter.
LBC

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Men's take on women's fashion is dubious at best. Beyond that if you are comfortable with her work ethic, how she treats your children and her behavior with your family, I wouldn't worry about it. If she crosses the line by wearing something too whatever for you (low cut for instance), then you could address that particular situation. Otherwise, I would just let it go. Overall it sounds like your husband made an unfair snap judgement and then ran with it for his own inner reasons/hang ups.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, something is unsettling with him, but on the flip side, it seems you have done your homework and checked her background. I would keep her, but keep your eyes open.

Sometimes we don't realize the message our clothes leave to others. I don't know that I will ever dress like my mother ever did. When I am on my free time, I run around in flip flops, jeans, and hard rock concert T's. That is the casual clothes. If I am on the back of my husbands bike, I am in jeans, boots, black T's and if it is winter, a leather riding shirt or jacket. One might say I hung around unsavory people, but completely the opposite. I hang around professionals, teachers, attorneys, comptroller's, and politicians. I run a business and hold a full time professional job.

Ask him to give it a chance.

1 mom found this helpful

Uh - Obviously we don't know your husbands background - but he seems to know a lot about the attire of Latino gangs and their slang terms. Is he a cop or did he live around that lifestyle?

The point is it sounds like you did your homework - you did the background check. Now, keep up your job of Mom by paying attention to the environment she brings to your children and around your house.

Sterotyping is never pretty or fair. I definitally do not think that this type of outfit is indicative of any gang/cholo relation. It's interesting that you husband would be comfortable with piercings and dreadlocks but not another fashion style, perhaps because it is outside of his known experience. Where did his bias come from watching TV? I feel that you have to rely on your direct experiences with each individual in your life or else you are allowing societal sterotyping based on classism or racism to dictate your world view. It is more work to look at our judgements and where they come from but it is important. We are creating the world for our children and they will follow our model so hopefully that can be a model of acceptance, love and curiousity.
If you want to know ask her, be curious, you want to get to kno the person who is helping to raise your child. You can say, "I am really curious, what kind of clothing style is that? What kinds of things do you like to do in your free time? What is your living situation like? and share information about yourselves with her too, this is the work I do, these are the projects and things that really interest me. I don't think it's necessary to share intimate details of your life but showing that you have a interest in your employees as people and also their well being humanizes your interactions and allows for trust. Trust is the most important thing with childcare afterall isn't it? Do be afraid of something you are unfamililar with, cozy up to it and expand your understanding and then decide if it is a good fit, there doesn't need to be judgement, just knowing what resonates for you and what doesn't.

Go online and see what is the fashion magazines for the working class or students around her age...college. See if her style is featured.
If what she wore is okay it doesn't make any difference. Is your spouse going to put an apron on her and sensible shoes? If your husband wants an English Nanny he is going to have to go through an appropriate agency and pay the price. She won't be a single mom but a professionally trained woman with an impecible background.
*Cholos a Hispanic male dressed in Chinos....a wife beater in an undershirt, teeshirt or flannel shirt. I found the definition online as I am not familiar with the expression.

Updated

Trust your instincts and if your husband is responding in such a way, appropriate commentary or not, clearly something is not consistent with your expectations. I have employed nannies with my kids and my current nanny has been with me for nearly 6 years. Do not forget that being a nanny is her job. You are her employer. You cannot and should not assume any connection between her dress and her activities outside of work, but you are in a position to ask her to follow a certain dress code around your family/children. Tell her to dress in comfortable, more generic clothes around the children. Give her examples, such as jeans and nice shirts/sweatshirts/sweaters, etc (or whatever you feel is appropriate). Tell her that her appearance is not as professional as you would like. First of all if she is only in her 20s, she is still young too and could benefit from some feedback (constructive). This will serve her well in the longer run. She should understand that raising a child means that she is also one of the key role models and she needs to portray the image you are/your family is comfortable with. I am all for diversity and acceptance, but I also believe strongly that you need to communicate on such topics and ensure your values and preferences are reflected day to day with your children. So don't feel bad, just have a conversation and frame it such that it is constructive and for the good of all.

I don't believe you have anything to worry about.

As someone who has worked with children for over 25 years, including being a nanny, I can only say that you have to go with your gut feeling, whether it is being uncomfortable with the way she dresses, or anything else. Many years ago, I took over for a nanny that the parents had funny feelings about, but couldn't pinpoint. It was a nanny share and there were 2 families I worked for in one home. When the little girl that didn't live in the home I worked in arrived on my first day+, she asked her mom to search the house to make sure the old nanny wasn't hiding there somewhere! Again, trust your gut. You can't go wrong. Good luck!

For the record, you can get an au pair for less than you pay a nanny full time. If you need any information, feel free to email me. Best wishes to you and your family!

~P. G.
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