Worst Nanny Jobs- Part I- continued
Sunday, February 11, 2007.
We are printing the ten best submissions we received thus far on our blog today. If you haven't yet sent in your story but would like to be included in Part II of this feature (to be published Sunday, February 18), please email us!
1) I have bad jobs. And this was not that. It was just kind of sad. I had worked for a family for three years. We went on vacations together. I lived in an apartment over their garage. They treated me absolutely like a part of the family and they were really nice people raising great children. Just after I had been there three years, the wife started having an affair with “someone”. I knew about it because the wife who was my friend involved me in it. She made me part of it. She put me in a position where I lied to her husband who I considered a friend. I was closer to the mother because she was a stay at home mother but I felt sick all of the time. Sometimes the husband would be talking to me about a child’s baseball game and I would just feel that he could see it in my eyes. I didn’t want to be there when the husband found out and the children. I just feared they would all fall apart and be ruined by this. The stress was getting to me. I ended up making up a lie about a sick relative and needing to relocate and left. I kept in contact with them by sending emails for about 3 months, but it was too much to even wonder how the children were fairing (as the mother let some things through). She clearly had fallen for the guy she had an affair with. I had to cut ties with them so I could live without the guilt.
2) I worked for a family of 5 kids (twins and triplets). The job started out good, I was hired by an agency and there was suppose to be a contract with the family (never happened). I did normal nanny things like laundry, care of kids...but as time went on (I stayed with them for 4 years) they began to take advantage of the situation. I started taking care of their two dogs(1 being a new puppy), cooking, I did not have set hours-I pretty much worked 60+ hours a week, mopped and vacuumed. Sometimes I was so busy with the list of things she left me to do, that the kids would ask me to play and I couldn't because I had to get these things done. Not to mention that I got paid horribly (400/wk). In all fairness though I was a live-in and I do understand that live-ins sometimes has to go above and beyond what they should do. I did bring the fact that I was working very hard to my boss’s attention several times and her response was amongst other things "we don't think that we are asking too much from you". I have since moved on to another position (this was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do because I loved and still love the kids so much!!!) Parents please be aware that nannies are NOT housekeepers! Nannies are supposed to be taking care of the children and doing housekeeping that pertains to the children only! Also keep in mind that we are people too and sometimes need a break...just like you!
3) Worst job I ever had was taking a job for a recently widowed woman and her two children. If it sounds sad, you have no idea. The woman held it together okay as did the older boy but the youngest boy was not doing at all okay. He was acting out. Even violently. I had a lot of empathy for the whole situation and family. I left after the 7 year old child through a corning ware casserole dish (ceramic) at my head and knocked me out cold. I had to go to the hospital. The good news is they got him the help he needed after that. I always wonder how they are doing and I know I could find out if I tried, I would just be afraid to learn that they weren’t all okay.
4) I worked for an alcoholic man once. Only I didn’t know he was an alcoholic. I would take him to the train station every morning as part of my job-then my day started with their child. As soon as the husband got in the car, he would pop his briefcase lock and pull out a bottle of vodka and drink it straight. He never said a word to me. One night about 7 weeks into working, I overheard a fight where the wife was accusing him of drinking again. She painfully begged him to get help and go to a meeting and he screamed at her that she was crazy. It was a scary scene, even just overhearing it. Their child was down with them at the time. I was in my room. The husband was not a friendly or nice man; he never spoke a word to me except ‘good morning’, ‘good night’ or ‘thank you’. I had moved from 2000 miles a way to take this live in position and I let the agency know what was going on. The agency director told me that I had to give notice. I packed up one Friday night when they were out and left without notice. After only 8 weeks, I didn’t think I needed to be in a position where I risked my involvement in such an odd situation.
5) The worst kind of jobs are for tight bosses. I have worked for two. The worst of the two was in XXX, New York. The woman wooed me to her job by promising a certain salary for a certain amount of work and a certain number of hours. To get the salary she promised, I had to work more hours than agreed and do everything she asked, including walking her dog. I was a live out. She asked me to watch her dog one weekend for her. I agreed to do so but did not agree on a salary. She lived in a large house in an impressive suburb. It should have been a red flag when she never paid me for that weekend of dog watching and acted like being able to ‘visit’ her nice house a few times a day should have been payment enough. !!! She would send me to the store to get things like a half gallon of milk or to the deli to pick up a sandwich for her. She had a home office and worked from there. She never ever gave me enough money. I was always short by 30cents or a dollar. I realized that she expected me to not ask for it. And I did feel cheap for telling her that I was 39 cents short. But I did. Still, she would always short me. I used my own gas and she would say she would pay me on Friday for gas. We agreed on 20 a week and know that she got more than 20 worth of gas out of me. But when it came to Friday, she always forgot. Until a month or so would go by. I would be forced to bring it up in person after my notes went unresponded to. By then it would be about $80 due. She would always try and pay me less than we agreed. She would say “I’ll give you 50 now and 50 next week”. Or “80 sounds like a lot, especially since last week was thanksgiving and you didn’t work”. The worst thing is that this woman had money. She was just incredibly tight. With everything, but especially with me. I stayed for six months. We ended up getting a huge fight over what else-money she owed me. She then fired me for basically ‘taking a tone’ with her. If you don’t want your nanny to take a tone with you, don’t put her in a position where she is begging you for the money you owe her! And when I left that job, I went to work three blocks away and let me tell you, my new boss loved everyone of my stories of employer “A”. In fact, I think I made her tightness a town legacy!
6) Call this “the paranoid boss”. I got a job working for a wealthy woman in New York. Things were going great. Her kids were great, she was generous and she & her husband were rarely around. He worked in the city and she worked for a non profit group 1-2 days a week but for the most part was never in my hair. On the surface she was nice, but she would do things that scared the hell out of me & out of the blue.
One time she came home and came up to me and stood right next to me. I was making a sandwich for her daughter. She took three deep breaths. Very exaggerated breaths that let both me and her child know she was gaining her composure. I stood still and she was literally six inches from me and she said “you are wearing my perfume”. I was shocked. I denied it. She demanded to know what it was. I told her that her daughter and I were making a collage out of old magazines so it could have been any perfume from the Vogue sample pages. She said “I don’t believe you and I WILL get to the bottom of this”. Then she huffed upstairs. Her little girl looked at me and said “can you put fluff on that sandwich”. I guess she knew her mom already.
This woman was as I have said, on the surface very nice. She was tired a lot and would take a nap before dinner but other than that, she appeared normal. One day I walked in the kitchen to get something to drink and she was making soup. She was chopping celery. She dramatically slammed the knife back and then picked it up, looked at it and said “You find XXX (husband) attractive, don’t you”. I said, “I really never thought about it”. She said, “You could NEVER have him”. I stood there in shock. She turned around and grabbed the pot of stock and dumped it in the sink. Then she through the celery, knife and cutting board in the sink and again, huffed upstairs. I was shocked. Then she was fine for a few weeks.
One morning I came to work on a school holiday. The children were watching cartoon. She said, “X and X, go upstairs, I need to talk to X (me).” The children were scared. They turned off the TV & walked away. She ordered me to sit down. I sat down. She had a folded piece of paper in her hand and a pen. She said “I need a handwriting sample from you now. You can either give it to me or walk out the door”. I tried to calm her down and said something like “of course, may I ask why”. She was evasive at why she needed it but asked me to write “the quick brown fox” both in print and block style. If I had to do it over again, I would not have been so gracious, but I was. I wrote what she asked and gave it to her. Then she commented on the weather and asked me if I wanted a cup of tea. The rest of the day went fine.
I stayed for five months. There was no one thing that caused me to quit. I seriously think the mother just had mental problems. Among the other things I had to put up with over that period of time was her accusation that I had a dog and was tracking dog hair in to her house. (I did not), that people “must have a hard time trusting you”, she accused me of using her lipstick (but I was able to produce my tube from my handbag, which she took and made a mark with on a napkin SO SHE COULD COMPARE. One day she was in a good mood laughing and I was talking to her about my boyfriend and she said, out of the blue- in that odd cold & sudden mood “I know you think about my husband when you are with your boyfriend”. I was speechless. I left on good terms by making a story up about being inspired to return to school. I took a job with a family 20 minutes away making $250 a week LESS. They are nice, normal & predictable- nearly boring in comparison.
7) Bar none the worst job I ever had was working for a man and woman who had just gotten married and were merging their families together. She had two children and he had one child living with him and one away at school. They were all good children. The man was a complete pr_ck to her children. As time went on, the woman even started showing preferential treatment to his child. Her children were always with me. His children had an open invitation to join them anywhere anytime, whether out to dinner or on vacation. I think I lost a part of myself watching that mother crush her children’s self esteem. I was helpless to make them feel better. They didn’t want me, they wanted mother’ attention. The job made me physically sick.
8) I had been babysitting for a wealthy family for about a year and a half. They were young parents of one 2 year old girl and I had become friendly with them - chatting before & after a babysitting shift and emailing with the mom. The mom was a total snob in ALL respects, but I usually enjoyed chatting with her. Even her name had snob written all over it. A very simple common name spelled traditionally, but pronounced an accent to make it sound somewhat aristocratic.
I received an email from the mom last February. It was an email sent to me and 2 other babysitters that this family had used.
The several paragraph email contained an accusatory assertion telling all 3 of us that several pieces of her favorite jewelry were missing and that she suspected one of us had stolen it. Consequently, she claimed none of us were welcome back in her home and all of our names were to be given to the police (unless the perpetrator came forward within 24 hours).
I followed up by calling the mom and emailing her, as I was extremely upset that a family I babysat for would think I was stealing from them!! There was no response until 2 days later, when the mom called me, embarrassed to say she had found the jewelry in an overnight bag from her holiday travel.
She didn't call me for several weeks, and then out of the blue emailed me with a "hope you are enjoying the spring weather" intro and a request to baby-sit for her. I promptly told her that I would never feel comfortable in her home again and would no longer be interested in babysitting. This, incidentally, was very sad for me because I totally loved her little daughter!
Also - I see this mom regularly on the streets of Back Bay & Beacon Hill, with her daughter and now newborn son. For instance, in line at Starbucks where she went out of her way to completely ignore me. Good job, Mom - way to be a complete loser.
9) I worked as a nanny 10 years ago. I wasn’t the best nanny either. I wasn’t mean or abusive but I never took to my charges the way some of these nannies did. I didn’t think about them once I was done working and I was always aware I was on the clock.
I worked for a strict kind controlling woman and her average husband. I got caught doing something by him. It did not involve the children but involved damage to a vehicle. He bailed me out and told me that we should keep it secret from his wife. He also covered the expenses himself. I was young and naïve, a live in nanny in a state far from home. I had signed a one year contract with the agency and I stuck it out for a year but I allowed myself to be in a position where I let the husband blackmail me into performing favors for him. I still feel sick just thinking about it.
10) My worst job was my third nanny job. Working, let’s say in a NE suburb for a high level executive female (and her husband). The woman was nice the first two weeks of my employment. I chose going to work for her over 4 other offers based on her children and the kindness she demonstrated. After two weeks, it was gone. She was the most intensely suspicious, anal person I have ever met. I used house money to run errands for her and she added it up once a week. With a calculator and she came to me when she was “short”. And by short I mean, I had used a $1 to buy her child a water bottle but didn’t get a receipt. She acted forgiving about that (after verifying the cost and size of the bottle and where I obtained it). I also was not allowed to answer the door to the house. Ever. And don’t think I would try behind her back because she had her front door and 3 other locations in the house directly connected to her computer at work! I kid you not. If someone came to the door, she would always need to be phoned and verify who they were and what they were there for (for example measuring the den for carpet). I was off as soon as she got home but as time went on, the children let some things slip regarding their parent’s personal life. This left me feeling horrible for the children. I had reason to believe those things that left slip. This combined with being literally in a fishbowl left me no choice but to quit. So I quit and gave notice. I didn’t even give her two weeks notice. I said I would stay a minimum of two weeks or until she found someone. She thanked me. She didn’t say much that Friday when I gave notice, her husband was pretty understanding and kept everything calm. An hour after I got home, she called and said “Don’t bother coming back” and slammed the phone down on me. An hour after that I get a call from the police station saying that she summoned them to her house because she was afraid of me and I refused to return her house key. What?? Thank goodness the cops understood that I was the sane person. I brought the key to the police station and never had to deal with her again. Now I work for an amazing single, sane mother!
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