Our iPad Nanny: Can We Live Without Him?

We have a nanny. We call him Paddy for short after he insisted we drop the ‘i’ before his name.

Oh, how I love him at times. But oh, how that love can change to hatred in an instant. I’ve never had a relationship like it. My emotions are all over the place and I’m not sure what to do.

As nannies go, he’s very reliable. Always on time, always ready to get cracking with the children (as long as he’s had a chance to recharge his batteries overnight) and always keen to work whatever hours are needed.

We agreed to up his hours during the holidays. I had such good intentions of entertaining the children myself but soon realised I needed him more and more. Paddy seemed keen for the work and the children were thrilled.

You see, the children love him. Well, they think they love him and generally it’s happy days for the first hour. Then he starts to annoy them. And they fight for his attention. Before I know it I’ve flown through in a rage to find out what’s going on, and demanded that Paddy ‘Please LEAVE!’

Well, between you and me, I’ve been known to grab him roughly and throw him into another room.

Let’s hope he doesn’t report me…

Sometimes though, as I’m angrily manhandling him, he starts to talk to me, and before I know it he’s calmed me down. I can open up to him about anything that’s bothering me from ‘how to get that poo stain out of the carpet’ (not mine obviously) to ‘whatever happened to Zammo, Roland and Gripper from Grange Hill?’ And he’s the only person who truly knows the extent of my obsession with the cast of Made in Chelsea.

The children are enraged when they find me hanging out with their beloved nanny. “How come you get to spend time with Paddy? It’s not fair!”

At this point I realise that I’ve spent long enough on my own with him – people might talk – and quietly suggest that he knock off early for the day. We need some family time.

Always amenable, he heads off to have a rest and recharge.

We cope brilliantly without him. In fact, the children almost forget they ever had a nanny and they play! Yes, they actually play with each other and I play with them. I can’t help but glow at my ‘hands on’ motherly skills.

After this success, I plan to give Paddy a couple of days off but have a change of heart when I remember the long car journey the next day to visit Great Aunty Marjorie.

Paddy is happy to come along despite my suggestion that he stay in the car once we get there. I explain that Aunty Marj would most definitely disapprove of me having him.

As usual it all starts well, I even ask him to play an educational game with each child in turn (this relieves the guilt that I should be going old skool, with wholesome car journey games such as I spy.) But the calm is only temporary as tempers begin to fray in the back as he starts provoking them again. Everyone wants Paddy’s attention. I lose it once more and demand that he come and sit with me in the front.

The inevitable tears of frustration follow – from both myself and the children – and for once we are all relieved that Aunty Marj has her plate of stale Bourbon biscuits at the ready for us.

When the Husband arrives home that evening, he asks where Paddy is. I explain that he is resting – it’s been a busy day.

The Husband then disappears after dinner. I soon discover him and Paddy hanging out in the other room talking about sport again. They’ve struck up quite a bond and that familiar feeling of jealousy seeps through me. Jealousy that he’d rather hang out with Paddy than me, coupled with annoyance that actually I’d quite like to continue my discussion with Paddy about denim dungarees and whether or not I’m too old for them.

I quietly leave the room (neither of them had even noticed I was there anyway) and start to wonder about our nanny. Was it really such a good idea employing him in the first place? He’s taken over our family. We all vie for his attention and have stopped taking notice of each other. I need to reclaim control.

When the Husband eventually says goodnight to his new best friend, and comes to bed, I voice my concerns. He agrees and we discuss the benefits to us all if we give him his notice.

But not before we’ve asked him to come on holiday with us, of course – we’re just not sure we can cope with the two hour flight without him.

Oh Paddy, as much as I love to hate you, I think you might be here to stay.

As featured in Huffington Post UK.


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  1. webmdiva
    January 27, 2017 / 6:55 pm

    Paddy is a keeper. I don’t care what anyone says! Good help is hard to come by, right? Thanks for the laugh!

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      January 27, 2017 / 7:14 pm

      Totes agree, we couldn’t do without our Paddy now, in fact we’ve hired another one – eek! So glad it made you giggle xx

  2. January 28, 2017 / 2:44 pm

    I wonder whether nanny and au pair agencies are affected adversely by this? They certainly don’t need holiday pay or eat everything in yr fridge. Our Paddy is often AWOL. Trouble is I put her (yes all electronic equipment in this house is her – like ships) somewhere ‘safe’ that busy little hands can’t always find. Then I can’t remember where safe is. Jo #fridayfrolics

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      January 28, 2017 / 3:53 pm

      Hi Jo, I’m loving that all electronic devices in your house are female! I also make Paddy sit up high sometimes and can’t get him down myself when I want to. We’ve now increased our number of Paddy’s (eek) – it’s a slippery slope towards full-time childcare! Thanks for the comment x

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 1, 2017 / 7:45 am

      Glad you enjoyed it – think we’re all being taken over by the iPad nanny brigade! Thx for the comment #FridayFrolics x

  3. February 6, 2017 / 2:12 am

    Haha – that’s a whole new way of your husband running off with the nanny! Jude Law probably would have got in less trouble with this nanny! Thanks so much for joining us on #FridayFrolics

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 6, 2017 / 5:15 pm

      Ha ha! Yes, Paddy at least causes less problems in that department!! Thx for the comment and for having me on #FridayFrolics x

  4. February 20, 2017 / 6:34 pm

    We definitely relied on the TV babysitter when my kids were little. Sometimes you just have those days. When we got an iPad, I set up a folder of pseudo-educational games that my kids could play whenever we were out and about. It’s all about balance, isn’t it?

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 20, 2017 / 8:23 pm

      It is about balance and we can’t deny that Paddy is here to stay in our house – Paddy now has some friends too! I’m impressed by your pseudo-educational games. Minecraft seems to be on ours most of the time! Thx for the comment x

  5. February 21, 2017 / 1:41 pm

    Haha I swore before I had my little man that I wouldn’t be one of those parents wh relies on the iPad… but I have to say in the mornings and at nap time it is SO AMAZINGLY USEFUL! And to be honest I went to a prints evening at his jersey and they actually asked me if he could use one? Apparently it is necessary now in Schools for children to need to use technology… evolution baby! <3 #globalblogging

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 21, 2017 / 8:45 pm

      that’s real evolution and relieves the parental guilt! Thanks for the comment #globalblogging x

  6. February 24, 2017 / 10:18 am

    Much as I’d love to keep little one engaged with ‘real’ activities, sometimes you’ve just gotta get something done and the iPad is your best pal. I’m a huge fan of the ‘Lonely Beast’ Apps, they’re fun and educational, often giving me the ten-minute window needed, and I feel less guilty about the screentime!

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 25, 2017 / 4:04 pm

      Must check out Lonely Best Apps – my 10 min window always seems to become uch longer! Thx for the comment

  7. February 26, 2017 / 1:57 am

    Haha! I often ask people they parented before technology!!! Love the name Paddy, so clever… We live in Michigan, 4/5 months of snow… I NEED PADDY!!! Thanks for sharing #globalblogging

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      February 26, 2017 / 10:35 am

      You absolutely need Paddy! It’s imperative in long months of nothing but snow! As it’s Sunday morning, Paddy is doing a very long shift in our house at the moment! Thanks for commenting x

  8. April 3, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    Lol. Very good. I think Paddy can teach children a lot. As long as he isn’t replacing human communication. I’ve seen entire families in restaurants all on a different device and not one person interacts for a whole hour. Apart from the kids being told, don’t lose that expensive device when they take it up to get ice cream! Lol.

    Paddy has a place he just needs to learn it. ????

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      April 4, 2017 / 7:15 pm

      I know those families too with screens galore and not one syllable uttered between them – it’s sad to see and I’m determined we will not lose the art of conversation by being glued to our screens permanently. I totally agree that Paddy needs to know his shifts and just not venture into overtime, unless it suits me! Thx for commenting xx

  9. April 15, 2017 / 11:53 pm

    We’ve just had another baby and for the past week or so our 4 year old has been on the “patch” (she called it that once when she was really young and the name stuck). It’s been a lifesaver but I’m worried about what’s going to happen when I start to regulate its use!

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      April 19, 2017 / 8:54 am

      Loving the ‘patch’! It certainly has its uses, such as when you’ve just had a baby. Like you say, it’s the regulation of overuse that we all need to address, and I’m guilty of very much making up rules that suit me, rather than consistent ones. The poor kids don’t have a clue what the rules of the day are! thx for commenting.

  10. August 6, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    In many ways I’m glad I started my family back in the dark ages when iPads weren’t even a thing. Back in the 90s we didn’t even have CBeebies never mind a twenty four hour nanny service in the form of a tablet 😉

    • Susie | So Happy In Town
      August 13, 2017 / 6:12 pm

      It’s hard to imagine a world pre CBeebies and 24 hour kids’ TV on tap, never mind no screens. I’m glad I grew up in an era where screens weren’t an option. It’s a neverending battle with this generation of kids as it’s their world. Thx for reading x

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