Oftentimes people fantasize about the lifestyles of the super rich. Obscene opulence in a way has a veneer of fascination surrounding it, with many of the super wealthy's habits and choices making the lives of the Queens and Kings of old feel quaint in relation to the magnitude of wealth and power they possess.
These forms of wealth can make the lifestyles seem downright alien to most people, and in fact even staffers for the rich feel a degree of alienation from the disparity between their lifestyles and that of their bosses. These tories detail the strangest choices made by parents of the super wealthy, as told by nannies. Stories have been edited for clarity.
Breaks My Heart
“The family I work for right now is very wealthy- the live on Fifth Ave right across from Central Park. Three things. The first is the clothes. The girls have numerous name brand clothing items- Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, etc. The 6 year old’s backpack was 85 bucks. I get wanting your kids to have nice things to wear, but they’re growing fast and that stuff’s expensive. The 3 year old outgrew her wardrobe last year, it was all replaced with the same expensive stuff.
Next would have to be scheduling. They want their children to be successful in life, I get it. But every day is something- piano, ballet, tennis, Chinese lessons and squash. They have no time to play.
The last part, which is a bit more sad if you ask me, is the lack of connect between the girls and their parents. It could be as simple as scheduling- for instance, the mom doesn’t know when ballet and tennis is, I do; or as intense as worries and fears. They confide in me and when I bring it up with the mom, she’s surprised to learn they’re not just always happy because they have nice things. There’s definitely something missing there and it shows. The 3 year old slips up and calls me ‘mama’ constantly and it breaks my heart.”
Never There For The Family
“I was surprised at how uninvolved they were with their kids life. I nannied in the US and lived with a (very young) widow whose late husband was a billionaire and had left everything to her and their two boys.
Honestly, if she saw her boys (7 and 4) 10 minutes everyday, that would be a stretch.
She had 3 full time nannies to rotate every hour of the day, plus a cook, a driver and a housekeeper.
The driver drove the kids to school every morning and the nannies would be in charge of homework, meals, shower and bedtime when they got back. She went out every night.
I don’t think she cared. I think she had kids because it’s what you do and she had the means not to be encumbered by raising them. She spent all her days shopping: there were always a metric ton of bags from very expensive brands lying around.
She didn’t spend a lot of time with them and boy did that show in those kids. They were starved for affection and attention. They were super spoiled and didn’t understand the cost of life: I once told them how much I was getting paid and the older one told me that wasn’t a lot, he had gotten that amount for his birthday. They did not understand frustration and everything had to be given to them when they asked.
It was actually kind of sad. I wonder how they are doing now, they should be preteens..”
More Sad Than Crazy
“I briefly worked with a wealthy family a few months ago before I had to leave the job because it was just unbearable. They were pretty nice to me, but terrible to their kid. The kid was 6, for context. These things were more sad than crazy.
The saddest thing I saw was how much money they spent on themselves and paying me, and how little they spent on their kid. I was being paid pretty well (enough to almost match what I was making at my primary job while working half as many hours), the parents would be buying new iPhones, new clothes, insanely expensive bottles in their cellar, etc. Their kid however, had clothes that didn’t fit, broken toys that were ‘too expensive to replace,’ wasn’t enrolled in any after school activities either because it ‘cost money.’
Some other things I noticed was how uninvolved and bad at parenting they were. The kid was 6 still wearing diapers because he hadn’t been fully potty trained. When I asked about it, they said, ‘Oh, we just never fully got around to it, he’s scared to go to the bathroom because one time we spanked him because he peed on the floor.’ He was completely undisciplined and whenever I told him no, he would try and hit me, scream at the top of his lungs, try and bite himself. One time I was with the mom and him in the store, and he tried to take a bunch of candy from a shelf and eat it, and I said he has to wait for his mom to pay for it first, and he LOST it. Tried knocking over shelves, ran around screaming, tried hitting OTHER people, and swearing up a storm. His mom LEFT the store and said, ‘Oh, that’s too much for me to handle, that’s why you’re here.’
In the end I just quit because I couldn’t stand them as parents or people. They were so arrogant, always neglecting their children. The day I left, they wouldn’t even let me say goodbye to their son, who was crying watching me from a window as I walked to my car. I guess they trained him not to say hi to me and give me nasty looks when I see them in town, because they’ll go out of their way to avoid me if we make eye contact in town.”
Didn’t Know How Good They Had It
“I work for a middling-wealthy family, have been for two years. My girls don’t think they’re well-off because they don’t have a tennis court or a rock wall, but they know kids who do. They just have no idea how much money they have. The younger one doesn’t realize why it’s inappropriate to joke about how much money she has stashed away for ‘chores.’ She doesn’t realize that it’s more than I earn in weeks, and that she didn’t actually earn it.”
Casual With Money
“My younger sister nannies for a wealthy couple, and she’s mentioned a few things that really threw her off at first.
The biggest thing was how uninvolved they are with their daughter’s life. She was born early in October and by the end of the month, my sister was already spending 80+ hours a week with her. The husband has only been home one day since she started working for them and the wife is gone from 6 am-9 pm every day.
Then, it was how casual they are with money. They’ve offered to pay for work on her car countless times, and the wife gave my sister all of her Christmas decorations from last year. Most of them still had their tags on them. She spent $20/ornament and didn’t even use them.”
“Most truly wealthy people prefer full-time/live in nannies so you really don’t have set days off even when you are supposed to. You’re usually on salary and exclusive so you can’t sit for anyone else even when you are off. The security checks for some jobs can be extreme and they can get really ticked if you socialize with anyone you meet on the job. I met a guy while sitting who lived in the same building as my clients and they were more than a little put out that he wanted to date me. There’s neighbors and then there’s the ‘help,’ and I was the latter. In their eyes, I had no business talking to him let alone dating him.
They treated me pretty well otherwise but I wasn’t too happy to be told that it was inappropriate for me to date a guy they didn’t even know in the same building just because in their eyes he was ranked higher on the social scale than I was. It was so classist of them. I hated live in jobs and rarely took them. You had no privacy doing those jobs. At one job, they rifled through my suitcase. I don’t like having to be essentially available 24/7 just because I live in. It’s just a little too much like indentured servitude for me.
The perks and the money could be nice but being a nanny to the rich and famous it can be a little degrading at times too. The good people they treat you like family. The not good people they treat you like furniture or like a servant and it’s not so nice. You really have to be very discreet, a hard worker and have to able to let a lot roll off to be able to do that job well. Your dignity gets hit a lot. If the job is good, it’s usually very good, but jobs like that can really be the pits too. Some rich people they are total snobs and think they’re practically gods. There are a lot of nice rich people but too often wealth breeds a warped sense of entitlement.”
“Well just until last week, I was working as a nanny for some wealthy single mom of 2. She had hired me and then eventually my boyfriend to be a nanny and maintenance man respectively, so he was staying over in her place a lot (I was a live-in nanny).
The problem is, my boss is 46 but is still controlled heavily by her parents (she runs her dad’s company). She knew that her parents wouldn’t like the idea of my boyfriend staying over HER house (even though she bought that house by herself and he was staying over under her acknowledgement) so we kept this information away from her parents.
Last week, I went on a holiday with my boyfriend and we came back to the house early in the morning and proceeded to rest. At about lunchtime, I heard banging on my bedroom door. Turns out, one of my boss’ sons had accidentally told his grandma that my boyfriend stays around their house a lot and that my boss was paying him to be the maintenance man and that angered the grandma. She asked me to pack and leave the house right there and then and that I couldn’t even shower or get dressed. She also said that she’d get a grown woman (I’m 21) to take care of my boss’ sons. Next thing I know, she’s called backup from her husband and BIL. Husband and BIL starts calling me a bunch of names asking me who the heck I am to have turned their house into a ‘house of pleasure’ and constantly swears while I was packing my stuff away. At one point my boyfriend was even shoved until his head hit the wall.
I was toying with them the whole time, making jokes and stuff. I didn’t wanna take any nonsense from them because I knew I didn’t do anything wrong. I just packed my stuff, went in an Uber and texted my boss some very angry chain of messages (she was at work when this whole incident happened). Turns out, she didn’t even know her mom was coming into her house and kicking me out, her mom came specifically at that time because she’s a cunning sociopath who knew my boss wouldn’t be able to pick up her phone because she was at a meeting.
That night, I received a lengthy email from my boss profusely apologizing and saying how embarrassed she was of her family. And that she liked having me around not only because I was only good with her boys but because she considered me as a friend because she gets lonely being a single mom for the past 12 years but her mom doesn’t believe in ‘being friends’ with your employees which is a buttload of rich people snobby nonsense (considering her mom came from a poor part of the city, she got lucky she fell pregnant with her rich husband).
I could go on about this story because there is a crazier continuity to it but I guess the craziest part is that rich people think they can trample on you just because you work for them. And honestly it is just disgusting how they think they can get away with anything by threatening and harassing you because they think you would be scared of them. Absolutely repulsive.”
Letting A Fever “Run Its Course”
“My mom used to nanny for a decently wealthy family so I would normally tag along for the rest of the day after school ended. The mom was a doctor and I don’t remember what the dad did. They had a 4 year old son and a 7 year old daughter. The parents, mostly the mom, definitely made some questionable and horrible decisions.
I think one of the more insane moments was when over the span of a week, the girl started getting pretty sick and the mom knew she was sick. She had a fever that just got worse and worse and would throw up occasionally. One of the days I was playing Barbies with her and she started to look worse, flopped on the bed and started talking about and to things that weren’t actually in the room. She was running a horrible fever and when my mom called the woman to explain her daughter needed to be taken to the hospital, the mom refused, saying that we shouldn’t because she was letting the sickness ‘run its course.’ I remember the next day she called us laughing about how the little girl had continued to occasionally hallucinate and vomited everywhere the rest of the night.
My mom quit shortly after that, when the payments started coming in weeks late.
She also kept the girl on some horrendously strict chicken and vegetable diet with an occasional fruit drink and the kid would cry hysterically when someone gave her sweets because she knew she couldn’t have it. The mother’s explanation was she didn’t ever want to put up with her daughter complaining about being fat. The 4 year old was still nursing and had not started being taught how to use the toilet. I still sometimes wonder how those kids are doing now.”
“My roommate nannied for an Asian billionaire who had 7 kids. Only the first kid, a girl, was actually conceived and born from his wife. The other 6 were all carried by surrogate mothers, and they were all selected before birth to be boys. Yeah.
My roommate was really close with the wife, who was like 30 years younger than her husband. She asked her how she met her husband, and the wife says, ‘He was my father’s best friend.’ My roommate tried to play it off all casual, but the wife bursts out with, ‘Is SICK, right? RIGHT? Sometimes I look at him, and I hate him. He watched me grow up. Why he want to marry me?!’ She only married him to make her family happy.”
Gave Them 2 Months Notice
“I have a close friend who was a nanny for a couple years. She routinely called me to vent about the parents. She was paid well and had many perks but she was a live in, so she was always there and was frequently asked to help on her days off.
I flew out to visit her for her birthday weekend for birthday shenanigans. She had previously asked her employers if she could have that Friday off seeing as she had company coming in. They gave her this huge guilt trip, then refused. The dad ended up having the day off and spent it alone up in his study then proceeded to go to the gym and meet friends while I helped my friend watch the kids.
Once, the parents wanted to take a family vacation (my friend included) to Florida. Only the parents decided to go to one place and flew my friend and the kids to the grandparent’s home just a couple hours from where they were staying. There reasoning was they didn’t want to feel guilty for not doing things with the kids…
When my friend quit, she gave them 2 months notice. The mom flipped out, slamming doors, crying, cold shoulder. Gave her a whole speech about 2 months was not enough time to find someone new and that she was essentially leaving them high and dry. Later, the mom came to her all sad faced and apologetic and asked her if she would consider staying longer if they hadn’t found a replacement in time. My friend refused and she got the cold shoulder again. Her replacement showed up a week before she was leaving and was a super sweet girl who she kept in contact with after the fact. Apparently a couple months later, the replacement was fired because she had a Spanish accent and the mom didn’t want her youngest (4) to develop one as well…
My friend says watching ‘The Nanny’ with Scarlett Johansson is so spot on it hurts. It’s such a shame because those kids were so incredibly sweet and their parents are going to ruin them.”
“He Had No True Concept Of Money”
“I used to work at a golf club in a very rich community and people would just drop their kids off at the club and we would end up essentially babysitting them in the restaurant. We had one kid who was probably 11 and he was so stingy. He would complain about any upcharge, how our meals didn’t give enough for their price, and how what we sold was way cheaper at the store. Obviously he was way too young to understand overhead costs.
One time after about 10 minutes of his ranting over how he had to pay more for milk than you would in a store, I just pointed out to him, ‘I get that it’s annoying, but we couldn’t even buy one meal with an hour’s worth of pay before taxes.’
The LOOK on this kids face was just shock. You could tell he had no true concept of money and earning it and that some people got vastly more than others. He never complained to me about cost again and would often tell them adult golfers how unfair it was that we weren’t paid enough (in his opinion).
Makes me wonder how affluent people teach their children about money beyond to complain about having to use it.”
Waste Of Money
“I was not nanny, but rather a sort of a personal ‘fun activity’ guide for three extremely rich children. As in these kids were four places removed from literal royalty. The thing that amazed me was how disconnected they and their parents are from the real world’s standard of living.
As an example – they held a party to celebrate when one of the kids ‘graduated’ from P5 which would be the American equivalent of 5th or 6th grade. This was not anything like a birthday party or a trip to Chucky Cheeses. It was held on one of their estates and involved three different caterers. One was for the hors d’oeuvres, one for the main course and one for the desserts. This is not counting the two bartenders – one for adults and another for the underage crowd. By my estimate, they spent over $20,000 on this affair. It was mind boggling.
They invited my father who lives with me as a matter of etiquette, though I was not sure if they expected him to actually attend. I used half my paycheck to buy him something that would not look like he was there as the gardener’s tool carrier. He protested that he would not know anyone there but I told him it did not matter. I would introduce him to the parents, their children and the immediate staff and that is all he would need to worry about. He grudgingly accepted.
So we are there and I am working with one of the DJs on setting up the equipment. My dad was enjoying the immense swimming pool and the amazing food. Once he got there, he lost all sense of self consciousness and somehow fit right in. Maybe it was the fact that he changed into a bathing suit and that is sort of an equalizer for everyone.
Anyway, we got the sound system setup and then I was asked to help with the bounce house. This was one that could have been straight out of a Class A Theme Park. It was a huge castle that had a dragon lying on the ground with his tail curled all the way around it. That took well over an hour to get staked down, inflated, and tested out.
So then they tell me I am OK to take a 30 minute break for some food. By this time the place is packed. Easily a hundred adult and child guests. I go over to the buffet and fill my plate. Here is where I finally realized how far apart our worlds were.
There we no paper plates one might expect to find. They were literally using these Royal Albert china dishes at a kid’s party. I had my food and was about to sit down when this kid throws a huge beach ball my way, yelling ‘Think fast!’ Well I did not, and I ended up dropping the plate on the ground. It shattered into thousands of pieces. I felt horrible. No one even blinked once. Someone came by, swept it all up and the day carried on as if nothing happened. That plate cost £60.00. I turned around and someone else had already grabbed another one and filled it up with the same food I had chosen before.
That night I asked my dad what he thought of that whole scene. He muttered something about a huge waste of money.”