Created By: Khantalas on March 22, 2013 Last Edited By: Khantalas on May 29, 2013

Marry The Nanny

When a single parent enters a romantic relationship with a parent figure for their children.

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Not all parents are married to the other parent of their children. Some are not married at all. They might not have been married in the first place, they might have gotten divorced, or they might be widowed. In real life, this is a relatively uncommon situation, and has many different outcomes. In fiction, however, it is far more common than it should be, and has only one suitable resolution: marry the nanny. Or the teacher. Or the housekeeper. Writers abhor single parents, it seems, and getting them married with other people who already act as parental figures to their children is the neatest way of fixing this.

Usually, children do not object to this, like they do with other love interests of their parents. They might even be the ones who try to make it happen in the first place, becoming shippers on deck. A Temporary Love Interest might get involved to make either side realize they share more than a mutual love for the children.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Part two if Sweet Guilty Love Bites largely revolves around Mayu trying to convince Nina, a single mom, that she can become a good substitute parent to Nina's daughter (in addition to being Nina's own lover).

Film
  • The Sound of Music has the lively nun Maria, who comes to the home of Captain Von Trapp to be governess to his seven children. She was kind to them and brought music back into the household. This caused him to begin to fall in love with Maria and they soon married.
  • In Nanny McPhee it's the scullery maid that Mr. Brown marries. Evangeline did settle fights between the children and took the time to listen to them before the nanny got there.

Literature
  • In the classic novel Jane Eyre, the title character is initially hired as a governess by the man she eventually marries.

Live Action TV
  • Who's The Boss?, possibly the Trope Maker in live action TV. Angela was more a mother figure for Samantha than Tony was for Jonathan, despite Tony being the housekeeper hired by Angela, but the dynamic was still there.
  • The Nanny is likely the Trope Codifier, with the Unresolved Sexual Tension between Mr. Sheffield and Fran driving the majority of the series, which ended a single season after they finally got married.
  • In Gilmore Girls, while Lorelai has a number of love interests throughout the show, the first one is one of Rory's teachers, while the Official Couple is her and Luke, the closest thing Rory has to an actual father figure, even more than her biological father.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • March 22, 2013
    Koveras
    I think there was a similar YKTTW around here, somewhere... But anyway.

    • Part two if Sweet Guilty Love Bites largely revolves around Mayu trying to convince Nina, a single mom, that she can become a good substitute parent to Nina's daughter (in addition to being Nina's own lover).
  • March 23, 2013
    Khantalas
    I'll add it, but it would help if you explained how Mayu is already a parent figure for Nina's daughter, because I haven't watched the show.
  • March 24, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ Mayu is her grade school teacher.
  • March 31, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    This was in The Soundof Music, where Captain Von Trapp chose to marry the nun that was looking after his children.
  • April 10, 2013
    randomsurfer
    A commercial for men's hair color has the man's two preteen daughters encourage him to dye his hair in order to attract a woman. "You'd be a really nice catch for somebody."
  • April 12, 2013
    DracMonster
    • In Maison Ikkoku, Godai gets a job at a strip joint and ends up caring for the strippers' kids while they work. One of them suddenly runs off with a customer hoping to secure him as a husband and father for her son and daughter, leaving Godai to care for her kids and try to reassure them momma is coming back (something he's not entirely certain of...)
  • May 6, 2013
    Khantalas
    I'm not sure those two are examples, since this is about the single parent marrying someone who was already acting as a parental substitute for the children, rather than marrying someone so they can become a parent for their children.
  • May 6, 2013
    Marz1200
    Not sure if this is a subversion or not:

    • A twisted example occurs on Dollhouse. One man hired the Dollhouse to program a doll to think she was his wife and the mother of his infant child because he couldn't give his son the love he deserves while dealing with the loss if his wife.
  • May 6, 2013
    MonaNaito
    @Khantalas It sounds like a new title is called for. The current title sounds like the single parent is actively looking for someone to marry so they can become a parent for their children, instead of marrying someone who is already a parental substitute.

    Also, I wouldn't consider single parenthood to be "relatively uncommon."
  • May 7, 2013
    Khantalas
    I briefly considered Marry The Nanny, but since teachers, housekeepers and local coffeeshop owners are also examples, that would have been far too limiting. I had hoped to make what the parental substitute is in the description as a compromise. I'm open to alternatives.

    And single parenthood is relatively uncommon in real life. According to Wikipedia, only 16% of children live in single parent households, where in fiction it seems about every third parent is a single parent.
  • May 7, 2013
    lexicon
    Interesting statistics.

    I agree with Mona Naito. Parental substitute doesn't sound like we're referring to someone who is already in that position. I think Marry The Nanny would actually work if you make it clear in the description that it's not just about nannies.

    Maria, in The Sound Of Music, wasn't just "looking after his children." She was their governess who was kind to them and brought music back into the household.
  • May 7, 2013
    Khantalas
    I didn't actually watch The Sound of Music and am only vaguely familiar with it, so feel free to edit the examples if you see anything missing.
  • May 15, 2013
    MrRuano
    Implied to be the case in Bebes Kids, after Robin realizes that his romantic interest who's raising four kids is taking care of them because of their less than comfortable lives at home. Despite his dislike of the kids, he eventually sucks it up and continues to go out with her to Vegas.
  • May 15, 2013
    lexicon
    • In Nanny Mcphee it's the scullery maid that Mr. Brown marries. Evangeline did settle fights between the children and took the time to listen to them before the nanny got there.
  • May 16, 2013
    Duncan
    • The Fran Drescher film The Beautician and the Beast, which was very similar to her show The Nanny, except she was taking care of the children of a fascist dictator in Ruritania.
  • May 16, 2013
    totorolover33
    • Pretty much the main plot of the film Corrina, Corrina.
  • May 16, 2013
    lexicon
    Both of those would need context. Who is the mother or father figure that the parent marries? What's the relationship like between that person and the children?
  • May 16, 2013
    surgoshan
    • Turns out to be the twisted backstory of an episode of Castle.
  • May 16, 2013
    jbrecken
    In the classic novel Jane Eyre, the title character is initially hired as a governess by the man she eventually marries.
  • May 29, 2013
    kjnoren
    I think Marry The Nanny is fine - it's easily expandable to governesses, au pairs, and so on. I think the definition need to make clear that the childminder should have taking care of the kids as the primary duty, so teachers in school, coffeeshop owners or similar should be excluded.

    (I think there is a related trope in romantic works, where the kids take an active and decisive part in the process, steering their parent to the "right" partner. There will probably be lots of overlap with this.)
  • May 29, 2013
    glisglis
    Marry the Nanny is great. Tropes are flexible, just write it somewhere in the explanation that nanny is meant more broadly. Also, although I can't think of what the trope codifier might be, I'm pretty sure that it's not The Nanny.
  • May 29, 2013
    glisglis
    Based on cursory research, I'd say that Nanny and the Professor is probably closer to the trope codifier. Based on the episode guide, they'd probably got married at the end, were the series not canceled so early on. Marriage is just the natural conclusion to a young woman living with a single man, spending time with him alone, helping him with his work and taking care of his children in the mindset of most of these series.
  • May 29, 2013
    glisglis
    A darker twist on this, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.

    Great trope, by the way. But I would expand the def to encompass both an married and unmarried parent.

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