We all know that it takes a village to raise a child. And that every person in that village should be shown the appreciation that they wholeheartedly deserve. But there’s a time. And a place. And an appropriate token. And an appropriate execution method. One new dad on Reddit learned the hard way that he was using a totally different playbook than his wife. And, frankly, a totally different playbook than the rest of the village.
The man who originally posted — the “OP” — on the “Am I The A—hole? (AITA)” subreddit is celebrating his son’s first birthday. For the major milestone, he wanted to give presents to not just his son, but the members of his village. Which is a nice thought in theory. But his story puts a whole lot of things into question. Now he’s asking the internet if he is an AH for getting his son’s nanny a present for his son’s first birthday.
And. Well. Um.
People definitely have thoughts and, per usual, Redditors aren’t being quiet about it. And neither, apparently, was his wife.
The First Presents
On the morning of his son’s first birthday, OP gave his wife a couple of sweet gifts. “A necklace that represents her relationship with our son and a personalized coffee mug with his pictures on it.”
The Other Present
He then let his wife know that he also got their nanny a gift.
“I got [her] a keychain as a way of saying thanks that was meant to be given from both of us,” he said. “I didn’t ask my wife for input on the gift because then she would have known I was going to surprise her with a gift as well.”
OP’s wife got visibly upset, yelling and crying, but she [supposedly] would not explain what was wrong.
“I think what it boils down to is she thinks I’m comparing her and our nanny, something I have never done,” OP said. “I constantly tell my wife how awesome she is, and never do it in a way that compares the two of them. I also know for a fact that my wife adores our nanny and raves about her all the time.”
“I see the gift to my wife as a way of celebrating the person who carried him for nine months, has done a great job throughout the year, and will always be his mother,” he continued. “I see the gift to our nanny as a way of saying thanks for doing a great job. They are not comparable.”
OP edited his post to say that he did end up apologizing to his wife. He said “something along the lines of” the following:
“I’m sorry that I gave you the impression that I’m comparing the two of you. There is absolutely no comparison. I gave you your gift as a celebration of [son] and everything you do as his mother. The gift for [nanny] is to thank her for doing a great job. I chose the wrong date to thank her, and I understand why you feel like I’m comparing you.”
He also felt compelled to say, “Since some people are sure to bring it up, my relationship with our nanny is 100% professional.”
The nanny never ended up getting the gift. OP’s wife “cynically” said she would wrap it, hand it to the nanny, and say, “My husband got this for you.”
“I decided rather than let the situation devolve further, I should throw the keychain in the trash, which I did. I’m sure we will show our appreciation on another day (with cash.)”
Reddit generally feels like OP is not a definite a—hole, but what he did — even if it was well-intentioned — was definitely weird.
“I’m a nanny and I don’t find your gift inappropriate, but I understand your wife’s reaction. Even if it wasn’t your intention, you have indeed compared your wife, the mother of this child, with the nanny. You shouldn’t have given her a present on your child’s birthday, you should have given her a present on the anniversary of her contract or the day of her own birthday. With this gift, you associated her with the birth of your son, as if she had something to do with it. Your wife was very happy to feel special and unique, then felt a lot less special when she saw that you were also giving the nanny a present, and I can understand her…You don’t have to thank her on your child’s birthday, there are other occasions to do so.”
“It’s lovely that you appreciate your nanny so much, and the wonderful job that she does caring for him. And it’s not at all inappropriate for you to acknowledge that AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME. The issue here is that your son’s birthday is not the appropriate time.”
“This is weird. I cannot for the life of me think that giving your nanny a gift on your son’s first birthday is normal. Have you got a not-so-secret crush on her? There’s obviously a lot more to this judging by your wife’s reaction.”
“As a nanny, I would never have wanted to receive a gift on the child’s birthday—and from the child’s father without his wife’s knowledge or input no less—because I was not a parent, and while I may love the kid, this is my job and his birthday is just another work day to me beyond celebrating it and making him feel special. I especially don’t want a personalized gift with a picture of your kid on it (is that what it was? You mentioned pictures on the gifts for your wife)…The gifts I wanted as a nanny were a Christmas bonus and PTO for my OWN birthday—monetary compensation for my performance of my job.”
“You thank her for doing a great job by giving her a paycheck and maybe a bonus. But not in the same breath you give your wife a gift. If I was your wife I would assume you’re sleeping with the nanny.”
“Your intentions were good but you did fuck up here.”
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