Different types of relationships have different sets of rules.
Romantic, platonic, and family, all follow different sets of obligations and social norms.
What happens, though, when someone starts to break those norms?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Financial-Zebra-45 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for firing my nanny/housekeeper after she slut shamed my daughter?”
OP began with some backstory.
“2 years ago I lost my wife in a car accident, it was devastating.”
“She left behind our 3 daughters, 14, 11, and 5.”
“Once I had to go back to work, I needed somebody to help keep the house in order and help with the youngest as she wasn’t in school yet.”
“About a year ago, we hired a woman whom I’ll call Kate.”
“Kate is an older lady and quite religious, which I don’t mind as she was a good worker.”
OP got to the problem at hand by explaining his parenting style.
“I’ve made it a priority to teach my kids to love themselves and not care what others think, or be ashamed of their bodies in any way.”
“4 months ago, my oldest who I’ll call Bre, started wearing more revealing tops. Nothing too crazy obviously as she’s 14”
“I’ve noticed Kate making passive-aggressive comments about it a few times but we just kind of shrugged it off.”
Everything was alright, until…
“3 days ago, Bre called me at work crying.”
“Apparently, she was going out with her friends when Kate stopped her and told her not to leave unless she changed, Bre asked why and she said ‘it makes you look easy, like a slut. Go back upstairs.”‘
“When I got home I confronted Kate and she didn’t even deny it, but claimed she was trying to ‘protect’ her.”
“This was like the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“I told her she was fired.”
“When she asked why I told her there have been too many instances of disrespect for my parenting and I wouldn’t deal with it anymore.”
“Next day I told my parents about it and they went off on me, saying I was an a**hole because I just left an old woman without a job.”
“I said that’s not my problem and hung up. I do feel bad, but her old views aren’t an excuse for slut shaming.”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses pointed to shifting cultures as part of the issue.
“’Kate is an older lady.'”
“So are his parents.”
“This puritanical, slut-shamey, victim-blamey stuff is part and parcel with older generations, and the ‘love your body’ ideal (in parenting, at least) has only been culturally significant within the last 10-20 years or so.”
“Grandparents aren’t often easily brought around on the subject.” ~ punkassjim
Though many were quick to point out that the stereotype is changing.
“My 14-year-old granddaughter likes wearing crop tops.”
“I think they look cute on her, my daughter (her mom) thinks they look cute on her, and, most importantly, they must be in fashion because they are sold everywhere in teens’ shops.”
“Her father and his GF, however, have complained that she dresses provocatively and hyper-sexually. These two are much younger than I am.” ~ mmartinez59
Some responses were very direct.
“NTA if she wanted to keep her job she should have respected your daughter and your parenting.” ~ CatMomma82
Commenters were suspicious of the Grandparents.
“Ikr, I don’t know how the grandparents expected him to have a good relationship with his daughter if he kept the nanny. 🤦♀️.” ~ Soggy-Calligrapher-1
“Assuming they don’t agree with the former nanny, they’re prioritizing a warm body caretaker over their grandkids’ mental well-being and sense of self-worth. YIKES.” ~ raesayshey
“Birds of a feather.”
“They probably also agree that the daughter was dressing too revealing and think the nanny/housekeeper was a good female influence” ~ Opposite-Strategy-28
“What’s the bet the grandparents planted the nanny in the first place? 😳” ~ Broken_but_fighting
Some pointed out that this wasn’t a familial relationship but a monetary one.
“At the end of the day, she’s an employee.”
“OP is her boss. She had a lot of nerve to think she could get away with disrespecting the family of her boss.”
“She should have just kept her mouth shut and done her job.” ~ RedTheDraken
“And really of course the slut shaming makes it worse, but she really seems to have gotten waaaay too comfortable.”
“She’s a worker, not a family member.”
“Unless the family is like, super strict or super lazy to the point of being dangerous and/or abusive you shut your mouth and follow their rules.”
“I would never want to have someone in my home with my (non-existent) kids who was this entitled” ~ MaybeIwasanasshole
Many pointed out that Kate just handled the whole situation badly.
“If the nanny had any issue with how Bre was dressing, it should have been addressed with OP, not with Bre, and especially not by calling her a slut.” ~ Ill-Pomegranate-9259
“Any nanny that called my child a slut to their face would be out instantly. I don’t give a damn if there were any warnings for anything.”
“Some standards of conduct are basic enough that you don’t need to specifically state them, and not calling children sluts and ‘easy’ should be one of them.” ~ IAmMrSpoo
“Calling someone a ‘slut’ is meant to sexualize, belittle, and shame. Calling a CHILD a slut is egregious.”
“So many other ways that request could have been phrased and militant Mary Poppins could have kept her job.”
“At worst it would have been a conversation of ‘as her parent, I don’t want you policing her attire. I’m encouraging my children to express themselves.'”
“But the minute she directed derogatory language at a child, she pushed her own self out into fireable offense territory.” ~ raesayshey
“Not-Grandma overstepped the bounds of employment.”
“Full stop. She’s not the parent. She isn’t supposed to be the parent. And she’s not their grandparent.”
“There are a million ways to tell a young person that what they are wearing doesn’t quite work for the social scenario they are entering- but this wasn’t the right one.”
“Your parents saying you did wrong by leaving an old woman without a job are in the wrong here.”
“You don’t owe someone a job. You don’t owe someone a living. Presumably, she will have a bit of a time where she is without work, and then she will find another family.” ~ ConfidentSeaweed949
For some, it was about priorities.
“Your child(ren) are your priority and responsibility, not Kate.”
“Kate should have called you to ask if it was OK for your daughter to wear something like that.”
“But maybe since you let some little things go, she assumed more responsibility.”
“But telling a child that it makes her look easy, etc would definitely be a fireable offense with me as well.” ~ crbryant1972
“NTA you are protecting your daughters.”
“As far as her being without a job, what was she doing before she worked for you? She can find another job just like she found this one.” ~ MorgainofAvalon
“You are NTA and thank you for being in Bre’s corner.”
“It is concerning what Kate did is considered bullying. You did right putting a stop to Kate’s nonsense”
“If Kate could do that to Bre, she could have moved on to bullying your other daughter next.”
“I shudder to think what would have come next if you had chosen to keep Kate with the kids where Kate bullies Bre for wearing a pretty dress and makeup for her school dance or bringing a male classmate over to your home for a study group.”
“Don’t feel bad about it when you are protecting Bre.” ~ KangarooOk2190
Commenters feared OP might have acted prematurely.
“So I am going NTA either way but have you ever confronted Kate about these comments?”
“Or about questioning your parenting in any other way? If she’s been warned she has no excuse.”
“I still think NTA because just because she helps doesn’t make her an actual parent, so she overstepped. Only that a warning puts OP super in the clear and might have been nice. But still NTA” ~ ZombiScribe
“INFO – Did you ever speak to Kate about her passive-aggressive comments and let her know those kinds of comments would not be tolerated and that what Bre wears is none of her concern?”
“No question that Kate was an AH because she should never have spoken to a child like that.”
“Did she ever have a say in what your kids wear? My job can’t just fire me for behavior that I haven’t been warned about unless it’s extreme.” ~ Aligirl520
“Regardless of the response, my judgment is NTA because that’s not someone you need around teen/tween daughters, BUT did you ever bring any of these occurrences to her attention before now?” ~ Imaginary-Future-627
When dealing with an intimate business arrangement like babysitting or housekeeping the line can easily blur between what is acceptable and not.
Remember to always be open and vocal about your boundaries – both for yourself and for those you care for – no matter who those boundaries might upset.