Why Spy With Your Little Eye?

Howdy! We didn't see you there!

Have you ever watched yourself on video? It's pretty disturbing. Kind of like hearing our own voice and being like "I don't sound like that, do I? Ew."

We look very different from the outside than we do from within, which is why if we all stuck 24/7 cameras on ourselves and then forced ourselves to watch said recording, we'd probably be slightly horrified by what we saw. But of course we would. We are human and we fail. Over and over we fail. Tempers flare, sometimes we lie, go back on our word... look away for two seconds and then WAAAAHHHH!!! Screaming baby flat on her face... We make mistakes and in the heat of certain moments, say things we do not mean.

Shouldn't then we expect others to do the same? Even those we trust to love and protect and take care of our children when we leave them in their care? Shouldn't we expect there will be moments that aren't 100% kosher?

That are, perhaps 98% kosher? On a bad day, 96%? Because lordy knows, I've raised my voice and bared my teeth at Archer in such a way, if I were my own nanny? I'd probably fire me. Because that was a seriously SCARY face.

Of course, how far is too far? And when is it appropriate to spy... on husbands or wives or significant others? On nannies or babysitters or whoever it is we trust to care for our children?

Me, personally? I've always kinda figured that if you can't trust your spouse? Your nanny? Your best friend? Find someone else. Hire a new nanny. Seek out new friendship.

I'll be your friend! Ahhhhhh!!

Then again, I've never experienced what Alice or Daphne's friend has. I have never come home to a bruised child so understandably my perspective is going to be different from those who have dealt with more serious circumstances. If someone laid a finger on one of my kids I would karate chop their tits off for sure. But stick a camera on them? Not so much. Not my thing.

Just because the technology is available? Does not mean we should always take advantage of it.

Behold, more on the subject, here:

My questions to you, dear lovelies:

1. Why leave your child(ren) with a person you are hesitant about?

2. Has trust gone the way of the Dodo?

seriously though...

What a total bummer if that's the case.



Summertime | 9:33 AM

I didn't watch the video, but wanted to say something in response to your questions...

If we can't trust anyone, what are we, or where are we at, as humans? What's the point? You have to allow at least a little bit of trust.

I understand initial hesitation on the kid-watching front, especially when they're very young or it's your first time leaving them. But you have to trust your gut at some point. If it doesn't feel right, don't leave them. If it feels like you're just nervous because you're leaving them period, you have to give it a go and hope for the best.

Rachel | 9:39 AM

I used to nanny a lot, and I always thought if I were nannycammed, they'd find a loving, caring, attentive babysitter-- who talks to herself and picks her nose and her wedgies and her teeth when the kids go to sleep. I mean really-- what do you look like watching tv alone late at night?

dana r | 9:47 AM

I just have to say that you look exactly like Lisa Rinna in the first pic. The resemblance is uncanny.

LucyCooper | 9:52 AM

Gut instinct. That's what I go by. I had a sitter, sent by a nanny service, who was at my house exactly once. Nothing I could put my finger on, just that Feeling. Never had her back.
Like Rachel, I babysat a lot, and if recorded, they probably saw me going through their CDs and mocking their music choices, and drinking all their chocolate milk. Of course these days, I could probably be sued for that.

tracy! | 9:52 AM

I trust every single person I meet until I have a reason not to.

And gasp, I know this is probably going to get me shot but if I have a good feeling about a nanny I don't even check references. I work from home and I'm HERE if she's going to go all psycho on us, in which case I'll tell me dogs to eat her/him.

I just, I trust people. I trust people who make homemade stuff for trick or treaters, I trust people that are babysitters, I trust cleaning ladies [I don't even have one, but if I did I totally would] and I think that's a good thing.

Issa | 10:06 AM

I think we have to trust people. Gut instinct for sure. But it's never certain. I am SUPER protective of who I leave my kids with. Because I know what can happen. Sadly, it's almost never who you'd think would do something to your kid, who does. That's the hard part. When do you just have to hope for the best? There are no easy answers to this one.

That being said, I leave my kids mostly with family. I have some teenage sitters now, but they are all cousins.

Anonymous | 10:06 AM

I agree with you, Rebecca. I saw this thing on Oprah about this guy who wrote a book about to to avoid being a victim and he said if you have a gut instinct don't wait to see it played out in real life, on camera.

Anonymous | 10:09 AM

Yipes! But at least you're honest Tracy!

mfk | 10:12 AM

Just to take the other side for a minute (and disclaimer, I don't have any kids), I feel like spying might be ok when you want to be able to stay in a relationship with someone (husband/ babysitter/ whoever) but have that Feeling as described above. You want to be able to trust people, for sure, but when you get that icky feeling that something is going on, would it be better to just ignore the feeling because you trust them? I agree that if you can't trust someone you shouldn't be with them/ have them working for you... but the only way you find out that you can't trust someone is by finding evidence to the contrary. You can trust someone with all your heart but if they lie to you, you won't know that you shouldn't be trusting them until you see the proof.

That said, I agree that you should still trust someone who is probably 96% perfect. And I certainly wouldn't fire a babysitter for being harsh with my kid once in a while or picking wedgies :). It happens and none of us are immune to either. I guess my point is that I think it's better to fire/ dump someone based on evidence than on an icky feeling about them if you have already established some sort of relationship.

Amy | 10:49 AM

You gotta go with your gut on this one. The nannycam thing? Not so much. Our job is to be parents not detectives. If you have suspicion someone is hurting your child, how in the world could you set up a hidden camera, invite said nanny over again, subject your child to another possible round of abuse or neglect, then come home watch the tape and possibly see something horrible happen to your child knowing you could of prevented it from happening in the first place? No way, you have got to trust your instincts on this one. I don't think it is even about trust. It's about parenting.

Anonymous | 11:11 AM

As someone who has babysat for children of myriad behavior levels (i.e. Damian from the Omen, to total angels), if someone were to videotape me, maybe they'd get insight into how their child behaves when they're not around, which is insight that I think more parents could use. Jokes aside, I agree that the fundamental idea of nanny cams is just wrong. If you think someone is going to do something bad to your child, DON'T let them be around your child. Simple.
Really thought-provoking topic. And the pictures of you and your son are the CUTEST. Thanks for posting!

Swedish Pankakes | 12:04 PM

I think cameras are useful when you feel the person is a repeated offender and would just go out and hurt someone else's kid, mother, grandparent...

THAT's when cameras come in handy...in court of law. But if you don't need the law to get rid of your nanny, and you suspect foul play...just fire her and get it over with.

mommymae | 12:23 PM

i have only left my kids with family members, teachers, or, on one occasion, a sitter my sister used when the kids were asleep. in other words, i rally don't go out much, but i don't mind, 'cause that shit gets expensive, yo.

and this isn't to say i don't trust people, because i do, implicitly, but i have just never been comfortable leaving my babes with someone they've never met

Amanda | 12:30 PM

I just feel like nanny-cams give the parent a sense of control, even when they're gone. I personally wouldn't bother taping someone. If I can't trust them then they are not hired. Period. Gut instincts are very helpful and in my experience usually right.

Ray | 12:49 PM

First off: You and Archer are so cute together. Secondly: in that third photo you reminded me of, "The Other Mother" from the stop-motion movie, "Coraline." =P

Now that, that's out of the way:

I don't have children but if I ever did: I would totally have a nanny-cam! When it comes to your children you have to be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS because there are a lot of evil people out here, dressed in sheep's clothing. To me it's better to be safe than sorry. I'd die if anything bad happened to my child (especially if any sexual abuse occurred while I was not there) and that nanny-cam can be a life saver. It’s either: use the nanny-cam and if anything does occur put that person behind bars, versus; feeling that it's TOO invasive and never knowing what happened to your child when he/or she was (just an example) three years old.

When it comes to a child’s safety: “Nothing is too invasive” in my opinion.

On a side note: I totally get what you’re saying about watching yourself on video! It is, “DISTURBING!” O.o You though: you have a very nice voice and you look great on video. ;o)

Kait | 1:30 PM

It's simple really - I don't leave my children with people I don't trust. I don't spend my time with people I can't trust.

Chantelle {fat mum slim} | 1:36 PM

I am a Nanny and have been for the past 11 years.

I can tell when I don't trust someone... just from their interactions. I think children are a great gauge too. You can tell from their reaction to the carer if they are to be trusted or not (unless they're too young).

I say do what you have to do. If I was taped over the years... well I'd be embarassed... but only because when the parents aren't around I act like a kid around the kids. I dance. Sing. Make up silly stories. I basically entertain them. I have nothing to hide.

Off to watch Momversation clip now. x

JKB | 1:56 PM

I was a nanny for 4+ years for one family, and I did temp jobs on the side during the first year of that job. At one of these temp jobs, I found a little camera poking out from between some books. No joke. This was not one of those normal temp jobs I went to either, it was a 9-midnight gig, for a dad, with a 10 year old son with learning disabilities who was already in bed when I got there. The instant I crossed the threshold into that house I was on edge, when I found the camera I couldn't help but think I was about to be some creeps next victim. I called the agency I was working for and explained the situation, they called the father and asked him to return because I had an emergency to tend too. Needless to say I had my now husband drive over to wait with me while the man returned.
I stopped temping after that incident. Although it is not illegal (in most cases), its a little too much patriot act phone tapping for my taste. It breeds a certain "why should it matter if you have nothing to hide" paranoia that all too often dominos. Before we know it we'll all have bar codes and microphones imbedded under our skin. Maybe I'm exaggerating only a little..just sayin'...All things aside, I have a 4 month old daughter now, and I can honestly say I would never ever think of using a nanny cam, because I would NEVER leave my child with somebody I thought might potentially harm them. After all, if you see something on a video after it has happened, how will that have stopped it from happening in the first place? I say trust your gut, you have it for a reason. And if you are going to use a nanny cam...just hope your nanny doesn't find out about it (especially if she has done nothing wrong but maybe raid your stash of candy you keep hidden behind the bags of rice...) because if she (or he) finds out, i guarantee there will be a whole new set of issues.

Lexington | 2:33 PM

Mmm, another nanny here. I don't know. I feel like it's perfectly legitimate for someone to want to feel %100 sure someone's taking care of their child. Of course, the most they'd probably catch me at would be something like letting the kid get away with watching too much tv cause I was tired or maybe a little sharp when I was at the end of my rope. Right now I'm working as a night nanny for a two week old, so I'm too neurotic to let anything go wrong when I'm in charge of a baby!

That being said, I'd be freaked out if they put a camera someplace like a bathroom or in a place where I could be caught in an awkward position.

lonek8 | 2:34 PM

I personally don't think I could ever leave my kids with someone I didn't trust or felt the need to spy on. Which is why I hardly ever go anywhere without them. Before we moved we had one great babysitter I totally trusted and my kids absolutely loved, and other than that they have only been left with relatives, or on the rare occassion like giving birth, with other people when asleep. And I have only really ever left them in the care of someone not my husband for a couple hours at a time, so I don't know how I would feel if I were working all day. But I think that if I felt the need to spy on my babysitter, then the reality is I probably need a new babysitter. If I were gone for the whole day I owuld love to install cameras so that I could see my kids - but I would tell their caregiver about them. And to be honest, I have often wished I had cameras hidden in their rooms so i can see what they're doing in there at naptime when I hear all kinds of strange noises. :) When it comes down to it, I think there are two reasons you can't trust your babysitter: 1) if they don't seem trustworthy, in which case replace them immediately, and 2) if you are just incapable of trust. In which case you need to look inside yourself to whatever is preventing you from relinquishing control and either fix it or change your situation so that you are with your kids 24/7. For me, I will continue to leave my kids with the loving caring adults in our family, and hope that I can find another great babysitter in our new town.

MePlusMyThree | 3:38 PM

How many times has a serial killer been arrested and all his neighbors talk to the reporters and say "Gee he was such a nice guy"

My brothers babysitter as a young child ended up being an honest to god fucking axe murderer who was arrested for killing two young boys!!

I have never used a camera with anyone watching my kids but I am not opposed to it. You never really know and my children's safety is more important than anything else.

Of course I am a little inconsistent in this regard because I let my kids skateboard without pads but eh....I can live with that.

@sunnywalk | 5:35 PM

i'm blessed enough to live by both mine and my husband's parents so usually they're the babysitters and i do trust them.

on another note - do YOU really hate watching video of yourself? i just think you're the most beautiful woman ever! so photogenic in photos and on film. i had to tell you :)

Jennifer | 6:14 PM

I can understand people wanting to know what goes on with their kids when they are gone,but I agree with Maggie.If you don't trust the person- just find someone else. I couldn't watch a video of someone hurting my child without going freak-crazy on them. And why would I want to put him in a potentially dangerous situation to begin with?

NewSingleMama | 6:37 PM

Gut instinct if I feel something bad is happening or going to happen especially if overwhelming I pull out of the situation right away.

I would consider camming as well although I wouldn't plan on a stranger ever keeping my son until hes old enough to talk to me.

A Lev | 7:02 PM

It's funny because my initial reaction to the question and the video is no, no, no! I would never, ever, ever use a nanny cam. That is crazy. Just like Maggie, if I even suspected that my caregiver was abusing my child, they would be gone. But then I thought about what Alice said. What about the nanny's who come highly recommended? The ones with tons of experience, who seem great? But maybe there is just something not quite right in their vibe. To some degree, don't we have a responsibility to other people who may use their services and not have such a sensitive intuition - or are maybe not quite as confident in their role as parent to fire someone for a feeling? Shouldn't us assertive, mama lion parents do our best to protect other kids as well as our own? Maybe a few of these nanny's caught on camera and removed from the profession isn't such a bad thing. I don't think I could ever use a nanny cam to regularly check up on a caregiver who I feel really good about, but I do think I might consider setting up a camera that I monitored in real time (from a room not far away) if I ever had a real feeling without real proof. That said, if I saw what I suspected, karate chopped-off tits would be the least of their problem.

Nicole | 9:03 PM

I totally agree with the other poster....(totally off topic) but you DO look just like Lisa Rinna in that first pic...bummed that someone else said it first!! LOL!

mrs.notouching | 10:00 PM

Ok first - the pictures are hilarious! Only you would think of putting goofy photos with a touchy topic like that. I love it.
Second - I have a nanny and no plans for camera. I cannot live in paranoia and constant "what if...!" fear. I cannot, don't want to. I am too busy living in order to be sitting and reviewing the tapes.

amyinbc | 10:26 PM

Has never come up. Kids have never been watched on a regular basis by anyone other than the occasional teen sitter when we wanted to go out at night or family.

Would I use one, a nanny cam? Tricky question.. After seeing the results of nanny cams gone bad (sitter hitting child with wooden spoon :(( I am damned glad they were caught. Could I do it? Doubt it. I preferred to never leave them in the care of anyone but myself full time (or hubby). Not slamming anyone for their choices but being with them when they were that young was important to me. I molded my work into a schedule that accommodated their dad being home to care for them.

If I did decide to put them in any sort of day care it would be a registered one in the public. With at least a handful of employees to keep it all above board and running well.

Ugh.. just imagine it though if you did set one up and realize your child(ren) were being abused. I feel sick thinking about it :((

Anonymous | 11:51 PM

I have an opinion from the other side of the nanny-cam thing. My children are pretty much grown and I work as a nanny. I care for a little boy whose parents are both doctors. I wish they did have a nanny-cam, and pretty soon, when the child and I start staying at their home during the day (right now I nanny at mom's office, so the baby can nurse) I hope they do put in a camera. They are wonderful people and the baby is great, but I would feel like it's a silent set of eyes and ears for me. One reason: one day at the office the baby bumped his forehead, right in between his eyes as he went to try and gnaw on the edge of the desk where we were sitting; he was on my lap, as we were watching Elmo on youtube. I had my arms around him and everything, and he just jolted forward! They were nice about it, albeit somewhat upset (it's their first child). If there were a camera there that day, they would believe my story without question. Not saying they didn't believe me, but I think they somewhat doubt that I was holding him tightly. I would feel better having a silent witness, just so that there are never any questions about how much I love and care for their child.

Jasmine | 7:38 AM

I was a private nanny for a long time. At one point one of the kids said, "You know that Mom and Dad have a video camera watching you...." I replied, "well good! they will see how well you clean the house while I watch TV... they should also know I have a copyright on my face and it is illegal to video tape me without my permission..." The little girl announced as soon as her parents got home, "YOU are going to jail!!! Jasmine said sooo."

Needless to say, the camera was never there. It did make me think how dumb, in my opinion, the idea of hiring someone who you don't trust and you have to video is. It seems like there are enough options that you can find SOMEONE trustworthy.

Emsxiety | 11:25 AM

I go by gut feeling often. If something feels off, I listen to it. I think instincts are there for a reason. With that said, I would use a Nanny Cam but I would be very upfront about it. I also like the daycare centers that have open door policies and webcams so you can view your child from your computer at work.

I believe trust is earned and not freely given. If I don't trust you with my ATM card, pin number and pocketbook, I certainly won't be allowing you to watch my children.

If you hurt my children, all bets are off. My brother once spanked my daughter, didn't see her for over a year and never again un-supervised. When it comes to children, better safe than sorry. But yeah, I've let my kids skateboard without pads too.

Unknown | 12:23 PM

putting trust in any person these days has got to be tough (with all the terrible things that people have done or are doing). however, when you go out in your car driving, do you consciously tell yourself that you trust all the other drivers out there? maybe, or maybe not, but at some point (with almost everything) it boils down to trusting SOMEONE to do their job, to take care of you, to not spit in your food or coffee, etc.

when it comes to kids, the parents are putting their trust in a nanny who will hopefully care for their children like they would. and nannies in turn have to trust the families they work for as well, trusting that the family won't abuse their services, underpay them, let their kids hit them, etc. it's a fine line to balance, and a difficult one because it is letting a stranger take the place of the parents for the time needed.

but i have to agree, nobody likes to see themselves mess up---especially on camera! i don't even like the cameras on traffic lights, much less monitoring how i would be doing my job.

Anonymous | 12:48 PM

is it me, or does that distorted first picture of you look like lisa rinna?? puffy lips and all!

Alyxherself | 3:27 PM

I'm going to second @sunnywalk, you are particularly beautiful and photgenic.

I don't think nannycams are bad, but I think the nanny/childminder should know they are there. I mean, you can look up in a store and see that they have you on video, so don't sample the carob raisens from the bin :)

Kinda like stating on a job description that it is a drug free workplace, if people don't wanna pee in the cup, they won't apply. Like wise, if someone has something to hide, they'll find an excuse not to work for you if they know you vidoetape. Right? and also, they might be mindful about nose picking/butt scratching/eating all the chocolate...so you don't have to see that, eh?

Spoken by someone who always manages to look over at another driver just in time to see them and gross me out!

Ps...Thanks for Greatlake Swimmers, have you heard Alexi Murdoch? He's also on the soundtrack for Away We Go, which if you haven't seen it, is one hell of a good movie.

amy | 5:58 PM

definitely not my thing. if i don't feel 178% good about someone, i'm not leaving them with my bun-in-the-oven.

but i did work with a (creepy) guy who had a nanny cam set up that he could access from his work computer. deal was, the nanny was told about it before she accepted the job and knew he would periodically check in on her. no idea how that didn't drive her nuts, but it seemed to work for them. and wasn't technically spying?

to each their own, i s'pose.

SO | 9:50 AM

I had a nanny for a year and a half that I was uncomfortable with. It was complicated. She is my sister. It wasn't that I feared for my daughter's safety when she was around that person, its more the emotional bullshit factor. Thankfully, she moved away and we only have to interact with her when she is visiting now. I'm still uncomfortable leaving my daughter with her for visits, but we really can't be around each other for more than a few minutes and its too much drama if I don't her spend an afternoon with my daughter. Egaaaaad! So glad she doesn't live here.

The Girl | 11:09 AM

See, so many are saying "go with your gut." No... Sometimes your gut isn't enough. I know we all want to think we're hyper aware of our children and other people at all times, almost to the point of having a sixth sense, but that's not always the case.

People who want to hurt children will not let something like other people figuring them out get in their way.

A very good friend of mine had a child that was drugged and suffocated at a baby sitter. The child was one of 6 or 7 babies that this happened to. The parents never had any CLUE anything was amiss, because this woman was very smart and very dedicated to her sickness and preserving her ability to do what she needed to do, which was hurt children. The friend didn't figure out what was happening until there were burst blood vessels and bruises to show what had been happening. My sister and I were abused by a woman in much the same way for YEARS of our childhood, and she didn't let on what was happening, either.

It's sad, and wrong, and fucked up, but there are people out there that will get under your radar and bee-line it right through your gut instinct BECAUSE we, as women, are so trusting and want to believe what we're being shown. We can't always just devine the truth of the situation.

I'm not saying we shouldn't trust each other - because truly, what are we coming to if we can't reach out and trust someone? It takes a village, etc. But I just don't buy the "follow your gut" thing all the time. Sometimes I think it takes more than your gut. What more I don't know, as I'm not about the cameras, either.

I'm just... saying.

Rachele | 12:11 PM

I don't like the idea of having a nanny cam myself, but if I were the caregiver, and I have been in the past, I would appreciate the presence of the camera. It acts as proof that you acted appropriately in any situation where a child may have gotten hurt, allows you to receive recognition for good work, keeps a record of the kids' behavior so you can get support and feedback for responding to a child going through a difficult developmental phase, etc.

Anyway, to play devil's advocate - how did nannying become the one profession where it is somehow unethical and offensive to be supervised or observed by the person who hired you? I mean, my god, if you had a business, and were hiring someone to take care of some aspect of it, you would be expected to be thorough about checking their references and background, even run their credit report or check into their social media activities, and to check in on their progress and performance regardless of whether or not the employee knew they were being watched. But here you are hiring a stranger to come into your HOME and watch your CHILDREN, and that level of scrutiny becomes somehow inappropriate. It almost seems like wishful thinking or romanticism is what drives that reaction to the nanny cam. Maybe we want to feel so certain that we made the right decision, we're not willing to do anything to undermine our own confidence. Or maybe it feels like, for the benefit if having a close bond between the child and caregiver, we've invited this nanny to be an extension of our family, then it must also feel like an enormous betrayal of the relationship you're trying to create to SPY on them.

But you're still their employer. If they were working in retail or food service or an office or some daycare centers, some level of surveillance might even be expected, and certainly wouldn't seem out of place or weird. And in those places, there's a whole system of checks and balances besides the cameras to make sure people are doing what they're supposed to. It's just so bizarre to me that people have such a strong reaction to the scenario where it's probably the most reasonable to keep a camera - to keep an eye on someone charged with protecting and caring for your kids all day, alone, unsupervised, with no witnesses.

Somehow I think that all the negativity towards nanny cams is at least as much about needing to trust ourselves as it is needing to trust the other person.

Natalie | 8:30 AM

Just take a look at this blog and see what you think about trusting care givers. It is a very scary subject. http://www.noahsroad.com/

dxeechick | 5:41 PM

karate chop her tits off!!! Ahahahaha. that was awesome. and i'd love to see it.

Anonymous | 2:02 PM

In the first one you look like Mich Jagger and in the second pic you look like my mom's old neighbor Sophie Markowitz, president of Hadassah in Elberon, New Jersey, and possessor of the most hysterical Nyoo Yawk accent ev-ah!
"So dolling, did you see ha? The one with the big fake cha-chas and the dyed blode hair? Is she fa real? Morris, stop staring!"
THAT Sophie Markowitz.
In the rest of them you look like some random folk singer from the sixties. I know the bangs must stay (do you have Charles Manson's name carved on your forehead?) but how about putting your hair up in a beehive? It would look all retro and early Barbra Streisand-ish, back when her first name had two As.

Miz Kizzle | 2:07 PM

I don't leave my kids with people I'm hesitant about because something about them MAKES me hesitant. They're spacey or they don't have references or they give off a creepy vibe. I'm talking about my kids here, not some book I lend to someone even though I'm not sure she'll return it.
There's such a thing as mother's instinct or plain old feminine instinct. It's what kept us from being hacked to pieces by some psycho when we were young, foolish girls.