An Uncomfortable Situation

What would you have done?

We have our Loveness, and I love that woman dearly, she is part of our family and she is so kind and loving with Ava and our lives would be much more difficult without her. So I would never ever want to do anything to hurt her or embarrass her.

We are approaching midsummer here, it is scorching hot. Loveness does not live with us, she travels in each day from her flat in the CBD, via taxi, which drops her off on the main road and she walks the 500m’s to our house to start her work day at 07h30 each day. She is super glamorous. Always dressed in a pants suite, with matching bag and shoes. Loveness does not look like a nanny, she refuses to wear those “house dresses” that so many nannies wear. Instead, when she arrives at work, she changes into a pair of tailored shorts with spaghetti strapped top, or a little black dress & on cooler days she keeps a pair of tracksuit pants and a fitted long-sleeved white top and then she begins her work day. When she’s not on the floor playing with Ava, she is working, really really hard. Despite us owning things like mops and wood floor cleaning mops, she still believes in good old-fashioned elbow grease, she will get down on her hands and knees and clean the floors with a cloth, this woman works like a trojan.

So here is the problem, in the past month, more often than not, when I come home from work and scoop my baby up into my arms, I can smell Lovenss’s sweat on her. I can smell sweat on Loveness and I can smell sweat in the cupboard where Loveness keeps her clothes. This beautiful and immaculate woman, works hard and in this heat, I’m not surprised that she sweats, but I really don’t like my baby smelling of sweat.I also have this sneaking suspicion that she doesn’t use deodorant.

I’ve been wracking my brains on how to broach the subject with her. I love her dearly and I know her appearance is important to her and I really don’t want to embarrass her but at the same time I really don’t want my baby smelling sweaty.

So yesterday, on my way home, I stopped at Clicks and picked out a nice fresh smelling bottle of deodorant and a few other toiletries for her which, when she left yesterday, I went and stacked in the cupboard with her work clothes, with a little note stating these were for her use when she was at work.

I almost burst into tears this morning, when she came out dressed for the work day and smelling of the deodorant I’d purchased for her yesterday. I don’t want her to think I’m being mean, I don’t want her to be embarrassed but I really didn’t know how else to handle it without hurting her feelings and making is super uncomfortable for all of us.

How would you have handled it?

December 3, 2010
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20 Comments

  • Reply elna3

    I think you handeled it very well. YOu left some other toiletries as well, and not only deoderant so she might actually think that that was very nice of you and enjoy it all. I think if you had only left deodearnt she might have taken it differently. It is is tricky situation. We once had the same problem with a co -worker and gave him some nice smelling things for Christmas which made a difference.

    December 3, 2010 at 10:41 am
  • Reply waiting4amiracle

    I think that you handled it sensitively. I would have done the same.

    December 3, 2010 at 10:51 am
  • Reply mayflowerladybugs

    I also think you handled it well. It is a tricky situation but I agree I also don’t want to smell sweat on my babies!

    December 3, 2010 at 10:59 am
  • Reply Nisey

    beautifully done! our nanny washes in our bathroom before going home each day and I’m sure she’d be thrilled to have her own toiletries instead of the soap she carries with her each day. much more diplomatic than just leaving the deodarant!!!

    December 3, 2010 at 11:10 am
  • Reply ttcnot2easy

    I think you did a superb job! I would either have handed the toiletries over to her – or do as you did!

    December 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm
  • Reply darylfaure

    You handled that brilliantly Sharon! I would not have known where to even start.

    December 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm
  • Reply tanyakov

    Ditto – I also can’t think of another equally sensitive and PC way.

    December 3, 2010 at 9:34 pm
  • Reply little29

    you handled it wonderfully! and Loveness being none the wiser is probably so chuffed that you bought her nice smellies… right on the mark

    December 3, 2010 at 10:16 pm
  • Reply jonivdw

    I agree, you did it subtly without her feeling insulted or humiliated…. perhaps just ask her if she enjoyed the little treat you left for her and tell her she deserves to be spoilt!

    December 3, 2010 at 10:35 pm
  • Reply lea2109

    I think it was handled perfectly well. You presented it as a gift rather than a “telling off”.

    December 4, 2010 at 5:54 am
  • Reply orbit365

    You know, I think that you handled it perfectly. I would not have known where to start. Chances are I would have just left it and suffered in silence.
    At least now I know of a way to deal with similar situations in the future.
    x

    December 4, 2010 at 10:12 am
  • Reply aussiekim

    Handled perfectly Sharon.

    Perhaps you could leave Loveness some treats in her work cupboard from time to time that include deodorant/toiletries but also perhaps a small box of chocolates or similar. If it comes up in conversation I would say they are a little treat to show your appreciation for all the hard work she does with Ava and to express how much your family values and appreciates her. Adding something small that is not about personal hygiene will kinda balance it out and make it more of a gift than a hint if you know what I mean ;]

    December 5, 2010 at 1:33 pm
  • Reply aussiekim

    Pssst Sharon how did you get on with the doilies? :]

    December 6, 2010 at 12:16 am
    • Reply ttcnot2easy

      Yes!!!! I want to know about the doilies too! 🙂

      December 6, 2010 at 6:33 am
  • Reply hayley

    I think you handled it perfectly!

    December 6, 2010 at 11:00 am
  • Reply coachmarcia

    aaawww, I think you handled it beautifully, Sharon.

    We had this exact situation with V when she first started with us, about 3 weeks into the job.

    I am not one to shy away from things but also didn’t want to be ugly, so I said something like, “oh, i forgot to mention to you (we’d been having lots of these as you can’t possibly cover everything in an interview so as I’d remember, we’d chat about things), I’d like you to make sure that when you have a bath in the morning, that you please use non-perfumed deodorant and a clean top rather than perfume because the babies are prem, have been in NICU, sensitive noses, blah blah.”

    My emphasis was on the perfume/ non-perfume issue rather than the sweat thing. It worked beautifully and we have not had a “situation” since.

    P.S. I also want to find out about the doilies 🙂

    December 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm
  • Reply teamedeling

    You handled it very well! I would have also just done a little smelly gift for Christmas or something…..

    December 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm
  • Reply marina1605

    Hi Sharon, sorry, only getting a chance to catch up on your posts now. I think you handled it very well. Thanks because now I know how to handle the same situation at home with our nanny! 🙂

    December 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm
  • Reply lilla1

    Wow, what an awkward situation! Sounds like you handled it perfectly though!

    December 9, 2010 at 10:43 pm
  • Reply mrssee2

    An old domestic of mine used to wash up in the bathroom before she left. I am pretty sure she showered. It doesn’t bother me and Patience was sweet smelling!!!

    December 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm
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