Nanny No-Show

Our beloved Super-Nanny didn’t turn up for work on Thursday.

She didn’t answer her phone or respond to my texts.

She didn’t turn up for work on Friday. She didn’t turn up today.

Our Super-Nanny didn’t say anything on Wednesday about needing a few days off. She didn’t say anything about not working for us anymore. She didn’t even say goodbye to Miss M, who was just drifting off to sleep on Wednesday when the nanny’s shift ended.

She did stop on the way to her motorbike and come back to the door to say it was the end of the month. I stared at her for a few seconds, not understanding. Then realised she was asking to be paid.

I am deeply saddened at the nanny’s absence. Darling Man says he’s not surprised at all. He says he’s actually been expecting it.

Without Darling Man’s understanding of Asian culture – his culture – I would be even more upset by the nanny’s no show. I’d probably go through a range of emotions, including anger at being betrayed by someone I considered part of our family, even though it was only four hours on weekdays for the past four months.

Instead of raging against the stony silence of the non-communicative nanny, I can ask Darling Man why. Why, why, WHY?

And he answers calmly….

She has very good English. It’s easy for her to get another job. She doesn’t need a reference or an introduction from us.

It’s easier to leave without saying goodbye. Goodbyes are sad.

No, we probably didn’t do anything to upset her. She just doesn’t need the money anymore, or got a better-paid job.

No, we probably won’t hear from her again.

No, she probably hasn’t had an accident. If she’d had an accident someone would have answered her phone.

And …

Yes, he will help me keep the floors clean. And keep the baby occupied every morning so I can work.

So, that’s it. The Super-Nanny era has ended. No more cooking lessons, no more travel advice, no more reminders to pay our bills on time, no more shouts of tah-leung (prankster) as she chases Miss M around the house.

Sometimes this cross-cultural stuff is hard. I miss Super-Nanny and I can’t understand how she can just disappear from our lives without saying goodbye.

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8 years ago

By: Barbara

A career girl who dropped out, traveled, found love, and never got around to going home again. Now wrangling a cross-cultural relationship and two third culture kids.


  1. Stacey Herbert says:

    Nanny gate!

  2. jan says:

    I too would find it hard to come to terms with. Thank goodness your husband can explain it. Feel sorry for your little girl too.
    jan recently posted..THE GOOD OLD DAYS – NO?

    • Barbara says:

      Thanks, Jan. Yes, my little girl is a bit confused by the nanny’s absence. They had so much fun together. When someone has bathed you, laughed at your fart jokes, chased you round the house, sung and danced with you … you really want to keep playing with them. Poor Miss M.

  3. Amy says:

    Oh Barbara, I’d be beside myself! I remember when our amazing, beloved super-nanny quit. I just wanted to cry! And at least I’d been told about it (and she’d only quit because she’d finished her teaching degree, so she’d got a job as a teacher, instead of a nanny assisting with home schooling).

  4. Dalene says:

    I want to scream: “How Dare She??” but I guess it’s just one of those things we can never understand. Sad.
    Dalene recently posted..NYC View From The Top

    • Barbara says:

      Yes, Dalene, it’s very sad. Darling Man has decided to look on the bright side, though. He says the money we save on the nanny’s salary will pay for a new lens for him to play with!

  5. Aledys Ver says:

    Oh that’s such a strange behaviour, sure it takes some getting used to. What am I saying – if you were in Argentina, you would probably one day discover that you don’t have a nanny anymore. Then, a week or so later she’d probably show up with her lawyer asking for more money. I lived in Argentina for 36 years and I never got used to that!
    Aledys Ver recently posted..There is still Nederland beyond Amsterdam

    • Barbara says:

      Well, Aledys, it hasn’t been a week, so the turning-up-with-a-lawyer could happen. We don’t know enough about Thailand to know what to expect next.

  6. From my expat friends here in Istanbul, I understand this happens a lot too with the nannies whether they are Turkish or other foreigners. The once-a-week cleaning ladies also tend to take this approach. Who knows why!
    Joy (My Turkish Joys) recently posted..Wild Rice Soup with Sucuk

  7. I would be sad too. I have a super nanny, and if she left I think my son would feel as though it was a death in the family.

    I don’t think it’s only cultural. A lot of my friends here in Guatemala experience this. I think it’s just humans.

    I hope you find a great one soon!
    Marina K. Villatoro recently posted..Travel Guide to Honduras

  8. oh my – i am so glad you have a cultural informant, because that is super crazy. it’s got to be hard, in more ways than one. esp since darling daughter is asking for her. oh, such western concepts of attachment (and 2 week notices?!)…
    wandering educators recently posted..Big Earth Explorers

  9. Denise says:

    I was a nanny in Switzerland, and told the family and the child way in advance that I was leaving the country. And I would have never left without saying anything! I cried on the day I said goodbye to the child. It was hard, but it needed to be done.

  10. Ayngelina says:

    That is awful, I don’t have kids but I would find it difficult for someone to leave without a goodbye.

  11. Nancie says:

    That’s so sad! However, I’ve lived in Asia long enough to say I’m not surprised.

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