A member in a local online parenting group I'm a member of posed a question that caused a mild stir. This generous mom employs a nanny whom has no family nearby to spend Thanksgiving with, and she was curious to know other mom's opinions if she were to invite her children's nanny over for the holidays to their big extended family dinner. Another mom chimed in and wondered the same thing about her family's big Hanukkah dinner.
Many moms and nannies were touched by her thoughtfulness, saying how nice it was to think of her. There were some moms who thought it crossed a serious professional line, and many nannies said they would respectfully decline to keep their family life separate. This caused me to consider my own past over the many years I was a nanny, far away from relatives that were not close enough to road trip there.
If you too are considering inviting your nanny or housekeeper over for the holidays, take a moment to consider these points.
Notice of the state and nature of your relationship.
Do you ask about your employee's weekend, or know small details of his or her personal life like their family, or partner's name? Do you laugh about things in life beyond your children and home? Do you view this person with complete trust, just as family? If so, it would not be a shock to invite them to dinner, and they would likely be honored that you thought of them.
Consider the affect of inviting your nanny or housekeeper into a family setting.
If your relationship is a lot more casual and friendly as we discussed above, your invitation and their attendance will likely only bring you closer in the long run. If you view your nanny as a member of the family, this is a great thing! But if you maintain that the nanny reports to your home to do their job and leave her personal beliefs and life out of conversation, and they accept the invitation, would you feel uncomfortable and distracted, and unable to fully enjoy your family time?
Be clear about your invitation.
Be sure to state that this is in invitation to be a guest -- not an employee. Treat him or her as such: offer them a drink, clear their plate, allow them to sit and don't expect them to clean up after the children. If the expectation is that they continue their duties as they usually would, then this isn't an invitation, but a work day (which is totally fine if that is discussed, and they are paid as such).
Only invite him or her if you genuinely want them there, not because you feel sorry.
This goes without stating: a invitation made in pity will be obvious, and won't be given serious thought. Speaking from my own personal experience, if you genuinely give your invitation, your nanny will really appreciate and be touched by the offer, even if he or she declines.
The bottom line is that if your nanny feels like a member of the family, their presence will not feel out of place or inappropriate.
However, if you don't feel quite close with your nanny yet, having your nanny over for the holidays may be a distraction to your family-time.
Neither of these scenarios are bad!
There is no rushing connection and trust.
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