Mistaken Identity

It wasn’t more than two months ago that people informed me that I didn’t look any older than 13.  However, now that I consistently care for 2 grade schoolers and a baby at work, I find myself often mistaken for the children’s mother.  This always leads to a feeling of awkwardness when people ask about “my children” at the store or the school secretary informs the teachers that “their mom” is here to pick them up.  Do I hastily correct their assumption or do I just ignore the innocuous error?

Even more awkward is when people compliment me on the baby’s looks.  You see, Baby has everything needed for adorableness:  Chubby cheeks, curly hair, and a gregarious grin.  Obviously, I have nothing to do with these attributes.  So, when people say, “Oh, he’s so cute!”, I find myself responding with something like this:

i know, right

As Baby’s nanny, I can objectively agree that he is a cute baby because I have no parental bias.  However, it suddenly struck me the other day that if I was Baby’s mom, then I would have something to do with his looks.  Consequently, if people think I’m Baby’s mother, my response might seem a bit vain–like I was responding with, “I know, his father and I gave him some awesome genes!”  Now I’m hyper-aware of the words that leave my mouth when I have the children with me.  This leads to lots of stammering and long, unasked for explanations about how I’m a nanny.

Fortunately, I’ve come up with a solution:

i am nanny


That should take out all the ambiguity of my social interactions.  However, my arm may get tired carrying around a sign all day.

Have you ever been mistaken for another child’s parent?  What do you do in those situations?



2 Comments on “Mistaken Identity”

  1. Sara Pokas says:

    I am a nanny and have been mistaken for a child’s parent/aunt/sister more than once. I guess it could be because, somehow, someway — the kids in my care look like me. We have the same coloring, hair type, chubby cheeks. It is uncanny, especially the little girl. My response is usually — yeah, they look at lot like their mom and dad. It is a vague way of implying that I am not the child’s mother, without saying “well I’m just the nanny.”


    • Katrina says:

      I’ve been trying to work on subtly mentioning the children’s parents as well when interacting with strangers. It definitely makes things less awkward than saying, “Oh, they’re not my children.” 🙂

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