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Marry the Nanny

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One possible romantic resolution for a single parent is to marry the nanny. Or the governess. Or the Kindly Housekeeper, if she's younger. Or in general, anyone privately hired to care for the kids or the house. Writers abhor single parents, it seems, and marrying them to people who already act as Parental Substitutes to their children is the neatest way of fixing this.

Unless said nanny is secretly a Babysitter from Hell, the children usually 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. This is because said nanny already has their love and trust; making them the legal parent is just icing on the cake. On the parents' end, seeing how good said nanny is with their kids might exacerbate the attraction to them, especially if the nanny fixes the family's issues.


A Temporary Love Interest might get involved to make either side realize they share more than a mutual love for the children.

Compare to Teacher/Parent Romance. Generally falls under the first type ("child approves of the relationship") of Parent with New Paramour. Since this is an employee/employer relationship, subtrope of Unequal Pairing. See also Magical Nanny.


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  • In the Miraculous Ladybug AU Fic Second Chances by TheNovelArtist, Adrien, as a single father, has trouble finding a nanny for his daughter, until Alya recommends him Marinette. Since she is recently widowed herself, it takes them twenty chapters to have a proper date.
  • In the Harry Potter fanfiction, Daddy's Boy, the recently widowed James Potter, hires a nanny named Eloise (Liz), and they fall in love but James has trouble letting go of the memory of his deceased wife but after a bit of matchmaking, he confesses his love for her.

  • In Au Pair, two children successfully scheme to set up their single father with their au pair (a type of nanny).
  • The Beautician and the Beast: Joy is mistakenly hired to be a tutor for the children of Boris, the dictator of a Ruritania. They eventually fall in love.
  • In Corrina, Corrina starring Whoopi Goldberg, Corrina is hired to nanny Manny's daughter Molly. Manny and Corrina find that they are compatible and strike up a relationship.
  • 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.
  • The Rebound sees divorcee Sally fall in love with Aram, her children's much younger babysitter.

  • In Jane Eyre, the title character is initially hired as a governess by the man she eventually marries.
  • In the Agatha Christie novel The Moving Finger, it's revealed that Mr Symmington has been secretly in love with his beautiful nursery governess Elsie Holland, and that he killed his wife in order to marry her.
  • A squickier variation in Ordeal by Innocence, where one of the children seduces the nanny (once he's in his twenties). He always was a vicious manipulative sociopath, getting the nanny to murder his adoptive mother... unfortunately, the nanny discovered she was the Secret Other Family when his actual wife came calling, so she stayed silent, ensuring he died in prison (by sheer coincidence, the man's alibi was unable to provide evidence at the trial).
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist", the young lady who seeks Holmes' help was hired by Mr. Carruther, a rich widower, to be a live-in music teacher for his daughter. Carruther turns out to have been part of a scam to inherit Violet's fortune, but he fell In Love with the Mark and comes to her rescue near the end.
  • In "A Tale of Heroes," a Tarma & Kethry short story in the Heralds of Valdemar series, the pair rescues an inn's chambermaid, Fallan, from her abusive employer and take her with them. She proves to be absolutely hopeless at road life, alienating the two after three days. Fortunately, earlier in the story they guested with Landry, a widower farmer with five children, who had wished for someone to help with the children and house. Fallan proves to be such a perfect fit for the household that after a week, both Tarma and Kethry can see that Landry is already thinking about proposing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Castle:
    • Played for Drama in the episode "Nanny McDead". Sara, the titular dead nanny, was suspected of having an affair with her employer. It turned out that she and her fellow nanny Chloe were having affairs with the same man — Chloe's employer.
    • In another episode the victim was killed by his stepmother and former nanny who had done it because he had come close to realising she had murdered his mother to steal his father.
  • The Nanny: The Unresolved Sexual Tension between Mr. Sheffield and Fran (the titular nanny of Sheffield's children) drove the majority of the series, which ended a single season after they finally got married.
  • Nanny and the Professor showed hints of a romance developing between the titular characters ("Nanny" Phoebe looks after "Professor" Harold's children) before the series' cancellation.
  • Schneider on One Day at a Time (2017) plays this for laughs, since he frequently mentions that his many ex-stepmothers were formerly his nannies as part of his Hilariously Abusive Childhood.
  • A variation on Party of Five — oldest brother Charlie, who is promoted to parental figure following the Salinger parents' deaths, begins an on-off flirtation with Kirsten, the nanny hired for his infant brother.
  • Who's the Boss?. Angela hires Tony as a housekeeper. She becomes a mother figure for Tony's daughter Samantha and Tony becomes a father figure for Angela's son Jonathan. They begin a long Will They or Won't They? relationship, with marriage being considered.
  • American Gods. Essie MacGowan is hired as a wet nurse for the child of a wealth man who's wife died in childbirth. Eventually she seduces him and they get married.

  • The King and I: Anna is hired as a governess for the King of Siam's children. While sparks fly between them, the two of them never act on their love, with the King's death at the end sinking all hopes of a relationship.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • In Fable III, if you have a child with another player, the child will be assigned a nanny as a stand-in for the other player. Assuming that the nanny is of a compatible orientation, you can then woo them and marry them.


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