What the Name You Call Your Baby-Sitter Says About You

Nanny: The baby-sitter may be the college girl who lives down the street, but the mom who uses the word, “nanny,” wants you to envision Mary Poppins. She considers the care of her children serious business and she’d only trust a professional to do the job.

Au Pair: This parent knows that using a French word makes everything sound better. That’s why they often say things like touché or au revoir. This is the parent who uses the French pronunciation of croissant: like, they’re at Panera and they say in plain old English, “Can I have a … ” then all of the sudden they remember that time they studied abroad in college and they end the sentence with, “kwu SAHN.”

Caregiver: Either it’s a preschool application or it’s the most vanilla parent you’ve ever met. They ask their spouse if they want to engage in sexual intercourse or fellatio. Nothing involves feelings; everything is clinical. One way to spot this parent: they use the term, “facial tissue,” instead of Kleenex.

Mother’s Helper: The mama who uses this term is all about appearances. She may hire a baby-sitter so she can sit at the spa getting her nails done. But, with the term, “Mother’s Helper,” she wants you to envision a pre-pubescent girl who is there to prep dinner while the self-described supermom is spending quality time with her children working on a craft project. We know better.

Baby-sitter: This is the mom who probably has a nanny, au pair, or caregiver, but doesn’t want to seem pretentious. She wants you to think she’s not spending too much money; she just needed someone with a pulse to be in charge of the kids so that she wasn’t arrested when she left the house.

School: This mom is headed back to work, needs someone to watch her kids, but thinks, “daycare,” is a dirty word. She justifies that this is not daycare because her child is acquiring important social skills, will be working on motor development, and will be refining emotional skills. Even if the child is 12 weeks old. And the “school” is open from 6am-6pm.

Whatever it is you call it, we know you need a break. Take it anyway you can get it.

Julie Forbes

Julie Forbes

Julie Kroenig Forbes graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She spent the next 10 years working as a news anchor and reporter in various cities, most recently in Nashville, Tennessee. After a few years in Northern California, she now lives in New York City with her husband and four kids
Julie Forbes