Rich people can afford a lot of things us non-rich people can’t. Fancy cars, million-dollar mansions and a person who pays your bills, buys your groceries and nannies your kids. This person is called a house manager and I talked to one about banana hammocks, $12,000 spending sprees and that time her client threatened her with a butcher knife. Here are her confessions:
Is it weird running someone else’s house?
No, not really. Many of my clients are grateful for the help and appreciate your time and commitment to their family.
What’s the best thing about your job? The worst?
The best thing is almost always the children.
The worst? The employers. Some can be very obnoxious in how they act or treat other people. I just recently left a position where the mom was a pretty pathetic parent but imagined herself the best mother around. She attacked everything I did. If I did X, she wanted Y. So, I did Y and she complained that was wrong. I was even chastised for having her child pick up her own toys. Heaven forbid! I said a prayer for nanny victim #4 who was lured into her clutches.
What’s the most ridiculous rich-person thing you’ve ever seen your clients buy?
I took a 12-year-old shopping for Christmas. Grand total for the shopping spree… just over $12,000!
How many household managers are there in Charlotte?
I honestly have no idea how many have true household managers. Some think they do, but they just have glorified nannies willing to pick up the slack for their employers.
Have you ever seen something in a client’s house that you weren’t supposed to?
A large leopard print banana hammock! That experience made me create a whole new set of rules: no adult laundry, no looking under beds and definitely no looking in bedside tables. I generally say the parent’s room is not my territory.
Do you ever judge the families you work with for not doing the household management themselves?
I respect that some people have demanding careers and want to be able to come home and spend quality time with their children and spouses. I enjoy helping them out.
I do judge clients who work hard but neglect their children. These are the ones who chose to spend their free time grabbing coffee, getting a manicure or tinkering in the garage all while I’m the one spending time with their kids.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you at work?
Walking in on my male boss making coffee… completely naked. He never even flinched. Just greeted me and calmly walked down the hall.
I also worked for a mother with postpartum depression. One day when I tried to leave she raised a huge butcher knife at me and told me that I had to stay. I ended up sitting across the street waiting for the police to arrive so I could get my shoes and keys.
Any other confessions?
I’ve seen parents bully and belittle their children, let their small children roam freely and even some who blatantly favor one child over another. Those jobs are painful, each and every day.
I’ve also seen spouses cheating on each other, worked for alcoholics and people who I suspected were abusing drugs. I had one client get so drunk that she’d pee her bed every night. She’d blame it on her child, but we all knew the truth. Usually I just turn a blind eye towards these things. After all, it’s none of my business.