As much as we would all like to get along with everyone, we’re bound to have negative experiences with some people.
And those experiences sometimes can leave a serious mark, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
But Redditor CellProfessional8375 had no idea how bothered his wife would be by their new nanny, who she’d known in high school.
When it began to impact their relationship, the Original Poster (OP) realized there was more to their relationship.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for arguing with my wife and refusing to fire the nanny?”
The OP needed to hire a nanny after accepting a promotion.
“I (30s Male) live with my wife (30s Female). We both work full-time jobs and have three kids, ages three, six, and seven.”
“I used to work from home with flexible hours, but I’ve been offered a promotion that requires me to go to work in person. The pay increase is really significant, so my wife and I agreed I should take the promotion and hire a part-time nanny for our kids.”
“I got in touch with a nanny agency and they matched us with someone who lives locally. They only told us her first name, which was a really common name anyway, but for the sake of storytelling, we’ll say her name’s Sarah.”
Hiring Sarah as a nanny quickly became complicated.
“I spoke to Sarah on the phone and she seemed really nice. We arranged a day for her to come over and meet my wife and the kids and for us to show her around the house.”
“When the day came around and we met her, it turned out that my wife already knew Sarah. It was really awkward. I wasn’t sure how they knew each other until afterward.”
“My wife told me that back when she was in high school, her boyfriend at the time cheated on her with Sarah who was in her class.”
“She wasn’t enthusiastic about it but my wife didn’t seem to have a problem with Sarah being our nanny at first. Our kids love her, she has lots of experience and she’s available when we need her.”
“They have other part-time nannies but they all have waiting lists. We were on a waiting list for a while to get Sarah in the first place.”
But the OP didn’t realize how complicated it was until later.
“After a couple of weeks with pretty much no issues, my two oldest kids came to me and said that they don’t want Sarah to come back.”
“I asked them why, and they said she was ‘evil.'”
“I ask why they thought she was evil, and our six-year-old starts crying and says that Sarah is mean and wants to hurt mommy.”
“I talked to my wife in private, and at first, she said she had no idea what the kids were talking about and that it must be because of something Sarah did.”
“When I pressed it, my wife admitted that she told the kids that Sarah is evil.”
The OP’s wife wanted to go in a new direction with the nanny situation.
“She said she knows it was a ridiculous plan, but she was hoping I’d fire her. My wife asked me to fire the nanny because their history makes her uncomfortable.”
“I asked why it wasn’t an issue before.”
“My wife said she just needed to think about it, and she’s decided Sarah has to go.”
“I told my wife that we can find another nanny, but until then, there was no reason to get rid of Sarah, and that she was out of line for trying to weaponize the kids against her when Sarah is no danger to them.”
“My wife disagreed and said that we need to just fire Sarah ASAP and hire a temporary babysitter until we can find another nanny.”
“She said that she wasn’t weaponizing the kids; she was just setting boundaries.”
“This turned into a really heated argument, and I called my wife insecure and controlling and told her she needs to go to therapy.”
“My wife said I’m being inconsiderate of her feelings and need to put myself in her shoes.”
“This was one of our biggest arguments in a very long time, and I just want a neutral opinion on whether I was wrong.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some found both the OP and his wife to be at fault in this situation.
“ESH. Your wife shouldn’t be talking s**t about Sarah to your kids, but you also shouldn’t be insisting that Sarah remain hired. There are plenty of other people who I’m sure would be equally as nice and fun as Sarah, with the added bonus that this one won’t have a painful beef with your wife.” – boredennium
“OP, this is just ridiculous. Your wife was way out of line to say that to the kids and try to use them like that, and it sounds like she did some actual (hopefully just temporary) emotional damage in doing so.”
“But she’s right that Sarah needs to go immediately. Why the h**l would you want to keep your wife in a clearly uncomfortable position, much less continue to keep your KIDS in this situation?”
“Keeping Sarah around for a couple of weeks more just because you don’t want to bother finding someone to fill in until you and your wife find a permanent replacement is a terrible idea, and it shows your wife and kids you don’t give a sh*t about their feelings. Save your kids and your marriage (and Sarah, frankly) any more clusterf**k exposure.” – randomomnsuburbia
“I wonder if the wife was okay with hiring the nanny just so she could fire her. Revenge, of sorts.”
“Clearly, the woman should never have been hired by OP and his wife. This was a disaster waiting to happen. OP’s wife should never have used the kids in her revenge, and OP should have never hired the woman that cheated with his wife’s ex-boyfriend. Duh.”
“OP: save your marriage and replace the nanny with one that has morals and doesn’t sleep with men that are taken, and encourage your wife to grow up. And she needs to apologize to the kids.” – Didisaythatoutloud72
“OP probably shouldn’t have gone through with hiring the nanny once the wife said it was her ex’s AP, even if she said it was fine. There are too many fish in the sea, so to speak. I wouldn’t say that makes him an a**hole, just naive, really.”
“Now that the cat’s out of the bag and the bag’s in the river, the best possible solution is keeping Sarah on until they can find a new nanny. H**l, if they were placed with Sarah through an agency, a simple phone call could likely solve this in relatively short order.”
“A parade of babysitters isn’t going to be best for the kids, and the more people you introduce, the more likely you’ll end up introducing a non-savory person.”
“Where OP’s wife crossed the line into YTA was coaching the children to lie about Sarah. I’d be terrified she’s even capable of this. It’s analogous to parental alienation. What happens if they end up divorcing? Wife’s already shown a willingness to engage in alienation techniques, including coaching the children.” – GodspeedandGoodnight
“Your wife’s behavior is so over the top. I have to agree with you. She needs therapy. If she just needed time to think about it, she should have come to you and been honest.”
“Instead, she tried to poison the children against a nanny that they liked in an attempt to manipulate you, through the children, into firing her. That’s just mental.”
“You shouldn’t insist that Sarah remain hired. Your wife has ruined any chance of Sarah continuing to be effective in her position.”
“I would call the agency and explain that you need a replacement nanny due to personal history with Sarah that has nothing to do with her abilities as a nanny. Give them as much info as they need so that this doesn’t taint Sarah’s ability to find alternative placement with another family. That would make you a partner to your wife’s cruelty.” – myhairs0nfire2
But others were specifically upset with the wife for scaring her kids.
“I’m sorry, my sympathies for the wife left the moment she decided to manipulate her children into perceiving a woman as evil rather than be an adult and properly communicate to her husband the issue.”
“ESH, but she is on the top of the ‘they all suck’ list.” – Environmental_Tank_4
“Yeah, it might be kinda traumatic for a child when their mother says someone is evil and then proceeds to leave the child alone with them all day. Someone who they previously liked and trusted. The mom pulled some serious manipulation there on kids old enough to be impacted by it.” – Maleficient_Mouse1
“She was also weaponizing boundaries. That’s not how boundaries work. We set boundaries for ourselves, for ex: I won’t ever let a man talk down to me, so I break up with him if he ever thinks to get to that point.”
“It’s not using the kids to and manipulating the situation to get Sarah out of the house. She should have had a talk with him from the beginning. OP also should have let go of Sarah because it clearly bothered his wife.” – snakpakkid
“The wife comes across as so unhinged, manipulating the kids, I have to roll my eyes at people calling OP an AH. His mistake was trusting his wife had moved on from high school drama.” – pastrypuffcream
“If you ever get divorced, this is a preview of your future. Weaponizing children is incredibly traumatizing to them! Now, even if they keep the nanny for a few weeks until a replacement is hired, the kids will be mistrustful and afraid of a caregiver that they had a good relationship with! All because mom is toxic AF.”
“I wouldn’t doubt that she thought she could get revenge by hiring and then firing the nanny. It’s a s**tty thing to do mainly because it’s hard for the kids to have to change caregivers like this.”
“Mom needs some therapy. Holding a grudge this many years later over something s**tty the nanny did as a dumb teenager lacks a lot of maturity.” – PlanningMyEscape
The subReddit could understand why the OP’s wife would not want to associate with someone from high school, but they didn’t appreciate how she handled the situation. The nanny shouldn’t have been hired in the first place, but now that she has been, it was time to find a suitable replacement.
Best of luck.