Monday

One Nanny's Happy Ending

Received Monday, April 9, 2007
Hi. I am a nanny and have worked as a nanny for four years. About ten months ago, I was working as a nanny on The UWS (Upper West Side, NYC) for a family that never kept to the agreed to schedule. At the end of the week, they would hand me my check and it never reflected the overtime I worked. Never. I had to figure it out for them, break it down, sort it out, graph it, etc. I hated that! I met a mother on maternity leave at a park and to make a long story short, I ended up going to work for her. It was tough at the beginning because my old boss went totally crazy when I gave her notice. She called the building manager and told him I was a thief and not to be aware of me hanging around the building. She called the older child's preschool and warned the school that I might try and pick up the child but that I had been FIRED for STEALING and the police should be called if I came to the school. After a solid two months of stress and repairing my reputation, I settled in to my new position. Now as a nanny for three children, the oldest of whom is 5. I am writing this because I just returned from Spring Break with the family. I won't say where but I just feel so grateful for the family I have ended up working for. We went to a very nice destination where I had a beautiful room on the beach with the youngest child. At 8 in the morning, the mother had a sitter arrive at my room to watch the baby so I could join the rest of the family for breakfast. A leisurely breakfast. After this I would usually take the oldest child swimming in the pool while the parents readied themselves for our daily plans. This included packing lunches, beach gear, etc. I was always invited to come and did participate in many activities with the family. I would get the baby from the hotel babysitter and take her to play on the beach with me (if the family was elsewhere) or with the family if they were beach side. The baby spent about 60-90 minutes on the beach a day. In the late afternoon, I would also take the baby swimming in the pool. Aside from that there was a babysitter in the hotel room all day long for the baby (and on a few occasions for the second youngest). They made the vacation so much fun- for me. So much so that I was in shock! I found a family that I work with as a partner and it is truly a two way street. They are so great with their children, it was only at my suggestion that they take a night for themselves for a romantic dinner. "This is our family vacation" the mother would say. I stayed in such a beautiful room. They paid for everything for me. Not just meals, but things like sunblock. They bought me hats and t-shirts. I "worked" less on this vacation than I did on a normal day, but I did "work" two Saturdays and one Sunday. We returned home early this afternoon. We were all beat so I helped them unpack the children and get the baby down for a nap. The mother kept shooing me away, "you deserve a break" she said repeatedly. After lunch, I went downstairs to my room. I am a live in nanny. I was so tired that I fell asleep. I woke up and there was an envelope under my door. I nearly passed out when I saw what they paid me for "travel". This is on top of treating me like a member of their family and making the vacation so much fun for me. I am so lucky to have found this family. They are so great with their children and such happy people that I look forward to going to work everyday! For all you nannies who are dealing with inconsiderate people, always keep your eyes open. You never know what opportunity is right around the corner!

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's really nice but it sounds like you work for a very wealthy family. Not many families/parents I know could afford this but it doesn't mean they're not just as nice people and parents. Perhaps you need to acknowledge that in your post instead of setting your vacation as some kind of bar because it's not very realistic in my world.

Anonymous said...

So basically working less and getting more perks is what makes you happy.

Join the club!

Anonymous said...

OP you are so right! I too work for a generous family who cares. These type of families really are out there and I consider myself lucky to have found them.

Anonymous said...

727,
I appreciate the liberal melodrama, but let us be realistic. OP used to work on the Upper West Side. So she is in the tri state area. Why would any nanny with experience work for any family that wasn't wealthy? You would have to be an idiot! And for what? So your employer can go on Urban Baby and lament "why is it so hard to get me nanny to clean?"
I would never work for any family that didn't have at least one full time housekeeper. And because of where I live, that is my reality. Go OP! And if you are an employer and you don't have 'that kind of money', then by all means get busy being nice!

Anonymous said...

9:43,

Lovely. So the children of people who can't afford to take their nannies on luxurious vacations don't deserve decent childcare? And who said anything about not being nice or anything about making your nanny do housework? You know it is possible to pay your nanny a good salary, treat her nicely and NOT be able to afford to take her on the type of vacation described.

And your last statement is crass beyond words. I would think people who are inclined to be nice to and cherish their nannies would do so regardless of whether they have "that kind of money" or not. I didn't realize you can buy your way out of being nice. I'm blessed with a nanny with values so I wouldn't need to know about that.

Anonymous said...

Good for you! I also used to work for a horrible family: after I left they spread lies about me, which lucky for me nobody believed.
I now actually get payed alot less (several hundred a month less) but am so much happier because the family is wonderful to me! Money is NOT everything!

Anonymous said...

I think the OP's point was how considerate the family was, not the cost of the vacation.
As for the nanny who will only work for wealthy families, I am a nanny on the UES for children in a tt private school. There are many extremely wealthy and prominent families there, and believe me some of their nannies have the jobs from hell. How a nanny is treated has nothing to do with a family's income, and everything to do with their character.
A nanny

Anonymous said...

Not all nannies are sell-outs for the almighty dollar bill. I've had 2 nannies in my lifetime. Both have worked for extremely wealthy people, yet they are happy working in my humble aboad.

I consider myself (and they will be the first to say it's true) to be an extremely generous person, although not wealthy.

Anonymous said...

If the nanny was posting about what an expensive trip it was, I am sure she could have gone in to MORE details! She didn't. I think her point was how nice the people she works for are. The fact that she went on vacation, apparently got paid well and they had help with their children even outside of her so she could enjoy her time. That is a rare thing! I worked for two years in the nineties as a nanny for a fabulously wealthy family. We flew on their private jet everywehre we went and stayed at the BEST of hotels. I never saw the beach unless it was to schlep something to the beach for the family. I spent all my time as a lifeguard in the kiddy pool. And as an errand girl for my hellcat of a former employer.
You can't buy class. I worked as a nanny to save money for grad school. I didn't take the job because they were wealthy. I took the job because the family presented well in the interview. They seemed nice. They weren't nice people at all! Just like nannies, families can be great actors at that initial interview. I am stronger for having lived through that and I accomplished my goal! I know lots of normal people who employ nannies and treat them with respect and consideration. That is more valuable to anyone than money!

Anonymous said...

I don't think the OP's point was that every family should be able to give them a vacation like that, just that the kindness they showed her went above and beyond what she expected.

The last family I worked for wouldn't be able to afford that for me I don't think but they did go above and beyond what I expected!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you. I have a great nanny and we are fortunate that we can provide a great deal for our nanny. However until this nanny, I never realized how unfair the trade off was. This nanny puts the others to shame. She goes out of her way for me all of the time. She works so hard for us. Comes up with great activities for the children. I am glad I can do something for her in exchange. I think that is the unfortunate thing. There are many mismatches out there. Generous families who work for lazy nannies with a sense of entitlement or hard working, loyal nannies who work for greedy SOBs. When it's right, it's really right!

jar jar said...

When relationships end with nannies, especially nannies you have had a close bond with- it always goes one way or the other. You either stay friends and a part of their lives or one of them- usually the employer- goes out of her way sabotage the nanny's reputation. I am guessing out of fear that she will end up with a better job. Crazy!

Anonymous said...

It's very sad that this nanny was describing a caring and generous moment and it got turned into a money issue. I am an at home mom of 2 years and I am currently seeking a nanny possition despite that I have a great paying career so that I can take care of my daughter as I feel is right for her. ANYONE that is a child care giver has a temendous amount to put up with. I have built two businesses pre-baby and that doesn't come close to the challenges of caring for a child. If I was working I would pay more than half my income to get the best Nanny I could find...my child is worth it and the Nannies who are good out there deserve to be paid for their expertise. These kids are our future and these Nannies are the ones who culitvate their view of the world...they are too important to treat poorly or look down on! Congrats to all you parents who can see the importance of Nannies and treat them like the special people they are and kudo's to the Nannies who demand to be treated well. As other's here have said, it's not nec. about the money...but if you can't pay a lot...then you better make sure you show a TON of appreciation...your children are worth it!
Keri :)

jordan said...

New money and people without real money (ie only possessing the heavily financed illusion of wealth) are so insecure about their own status that they feel they have to creat a deep chasm between them and the help. They are so damn afraid of being mistaken for "the help" that they go out of their way to treat the help like shit and remind the help that they are nothing but employees. If you are a nanny interviewing for a position, ask for a lunch or dinner meeting with the family and watch how they treat the waitress! You can tell a hell of a lot about someone's character by the way they treat the waitstaff!

Anonymous said...

To jar jar:
Why is that? I agree, but it makes me so mad. My last employer did that to me: never came to me with any concerns or problems, yet when I gave notice (about two month's notice: I was leaving to have my baby) they started to act distant and cold, especially the mother, and when I left not only did they make a point to tell me exactly what they would be paying my replacement, which was about twice as much as my pay, but they also went ahead and spread vicious lies about me to other parents who knew me! Luckily these parents saw her for the wacko she was and they still provide me with excellent references (one wacko is sometimes unable to ruin a good rep, thank god) but why do people act like that?
One of the parents who told me about things she said about me mentioned that her marriage was suffering and she was jealous of me and that's why she acted as such. But I don't know. Is it the guilt?
Luckily I am in business for myself right now and everything is going great. But some mothers are so vindictive as to try and ruin someone's rep it astounds me. We are talking about "professionals" here, doctors, etc. Didn't their parents teach them better?

Anonymous said...

Keri -- just curious, but how will you be taking care of your daughter while nannying?

Anonymous said...

Jordan, you're wrong. Some of the truly wealthiest people I've worked for(and I mean real billionaires) are the cheapest and rudest. You can't buy class and kindness.

Anonymous said...

a lot of truly wealthy people are "new money". They are either crazy, idiotic with their money (think rappers with 24k gold toilets and 12 friends on the payroll just to hang out and play X box) or they are ass backwards greedy. Refusing to pay their fare share, mailing high priced goods to other states so they don't have to pay taxes, paying their help under the table, stiffing waitresses. etc. etc.

Either way, new money- both extremes are sickening!

PG, Boston said...

915- What kind of business are you in? I don't know why people behave like this but I am guessing they are the same ones who when the file for divorce end up paying hitmen to off their husbands. I can't believe they would ever want anyone to go on living without them. Perhaps it is a narcissitic type imbalance? Unfortunately the balance of power is such that often employers have extraordinary wealth. This makes it harder to lodge a fight against them, because they can always out lawyer you. But if you win, you might hit big $$$. I did!
Tortious interference with business relationships occurs where the tortfeasor acts to prevent the plaintiff from successfully establishing or maintaining business relationships.

Anonymous said...

boston:
I do part-time childcare from my home three days a week.

Anonymous said...

I've worked for both wealthy families and middle class families...
how much money you have does NOT matter-
what matters is what you decide to spend the money on....

And your child's childhood should always be first on your list!

A nanny is who apprecaited will make the extra effort to go that extra mile....it's just reality.

So if anyone here has been stiffing their nanny- take this oppourtunity to tell her how much you appreciate her- and give examples of what she does that you admire...it will go a LONG way...

Anonymous said...

It's sad that so many people took this entry to mean that less work and more pay equals a happy work environment. Sure, we all dream of that but it just doesn't work out that way. I work for two families with very modest incomes and just turned down an extremely high paying nanny position because families like what she is talking about are just as valuable to a nanny as a quality childcare provider is for a parent. I believe a nanny who spends her day loving your children only wants to feel love and appreciation in return. No one wants to feel taken advantage of when they are loving your children.

Anonymous said...

Booooo!

Anonymous said...

I guess I live a different world but it seems odd to me that the parents emphasized the "family" vacation yet use both a nanny and a hotel sitter so they don't spend any time with their baby?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the baby was too young to be in the sun and doing things like jet skiing. DUh. I know plenty of people who leave their babies at home when they go on FAMILY vacations!

Anonymous said...

12:36 They don't just have the baby. There are two older children they were doing activities with. If you take a vacation with three children all different ages five and under, and don't have help, it will not be fun for anyone! (Not the OP)

Lauren said...

I was a nanny for two different families while I was in college (both positions included PT after-school care during the school year and FT summers).

With the first family-- a mother who was a VP of Investment Banking and a father who ran an independent life insurance company--I was paid a salary that comes close to what I'm making now in my first year out of law school. (How absurd!) Once in a while, the parents would take a moment to tell me how much their little boys loved me and how appreciative they were... but those moments were rare. It was clear that I was the help, and while they were never rude to me, they were never particularly kind or appreciative, either.

On the other hand, I worked for another family who still paid a competitive salary, but far less than I was making with the aforementioned family. The mother was an attorney, and she knew, of course, that I was headed to law school. When she came home from work, she'd talk to me about law school and the legal profession and was always interested in how my applications were coming along. She also told me every single day how happy she was to have me as a nanny for her son. On my last day, she gave me a "going away gift" that consisted of a gift certificate for a restaurant that was popular among students at my law school (she actually called the law school to ask what places were popular among students and then had a gift certificate mailed!) She was so kind and thoughtful that, despite a lesser salary, if I were to go back to nannying, there's no doubt I'd go back to her!

Four years later, I'm married and expecting twins in September. I intend to stay home and raise our babies, but eventually I'd like to return to work, so we'll be looking to employ a nanny. It'll be my personal goal to treat her as well as my employer (the second one) treated me!

Anonymous said...

I find it extremely sad that a family goes on vacation and the parents spend no time with their children. They sound awful.

Anonymous said...

You are extremely lucky. I can tell this family appreciates you very much and that kind of family is very hard to find!