Saturday

What can I do to improve my situation?

Received Saturday, May 12, 2007
I've been a nanny with the same family for two years now. I genuinely adore the three children I care for and am always taking them places (parks, museums, zoo, story time, music). The majority of our nice spring, summer and fall days are spent playing outside in the backyard or at a park. We usually come home for lunch (there would be no money provided for buying food out and these kids aren't sandwich eaters). Since the beginning, mom has made numerous insinuations about how time is spent but it has gotten more frequent in recent months. For example, if she comes in right after the children have eaten lunch and I'm in the process of cleaning up, she'll say "Why aren't you guys outside??" in an annoyed manner. This happens any time she comes home and the kids are inside, regardless of the reason. However, if the kids are outside when she comes home, she often makes comments like "Why aren't you guys clean??" when she comes home and the kids aren't bathed yet. The important thing with that is to note that mom is home often and bath time never happens before 7pm, so I'm confused by her implication that I've done the wrong thing when the kids are playing outside at 6pm. Bedtime isn't the issue, as the children go to bed much later in the evening. I've tried to address this before with her, but I feel like it doesn't help. I'm left feeling like no matter what I do with her wonderful children, I've somehow done it wrong. I know I'm a good nanny, but my ability to address these types of passive-aggressive comments seems to be lacking. I always ask her when she's home what she would prefer me to do and 98% of the time the answer is "Whatever" What can I do to improve my situation? Or is it possible that I'm working for someone who is perpetually dissatisfied no matter what? Have any of the nannies who read this site worked for someone like this and how did you handle it?

48 comments:

Run Away said...

Get out now!!! Its starts off that way with the small complaints, then pretty soon you'll be stealing money, sleeping with her husband and abusing her kids. Get out now while she has a little ounce of respect for you. If you talked to her before and nothing has changed that should be a red flag right there. Parents are crazy. Shes angry about something. If you think im BSing watch and see. It happens.

Anonymous said...

I have not worked for someone like this, but she sounds absolutely horrible. I would venture to guess that she isn't going to change, and to confront her about her attitude will not bode well for you.
I would start looking for another job. You are worth more than that.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like she is uncomfortable about her lack of involvement with the children, rather than unhappy with you.
I would ask for a time to sit down and talk. She may not be aware that she is making these comments that come across as criticism of you. It might also be helpful to write a daily log, like you do for infants, so she can see how you spend your day.
A Nanny

Anonymous said...

This one is easy.
Mom is incapable. She doesn't know how to have fun with her children. She sure as crap doesn't know how to balance things like baths and playtime. When she sees you doing so succesful, she seeks to ruin your efforts. She wants you to feel as awful as she feels. Misery loves company. NEVER NEVER NEVER ever take a job working for a mother who is incapable of caring for her own children. NEVER. It is worth no amount of money. And you will probably need mental help when you leave the job!

Yaya said...

I have had a boss just like this. If you meet her absurd requirement w/ one aspect, she'll switch and start being passive-aggressive-obsessive about something else. You will never be good enough, no matter what (in her eyes), and this will wear on your self-esteem. Get out now, seriously. You can't feel bad for the kids, even though you will, b/c you have to do what is best for you.

Anonymous said...

Run to a new job!

Anonymous said...

Please get out while you can. I love children but found when I worked for people like one who who just described, I wound up stressed and it reflected my patience with the kids in the long run. For your sake and the kids sake get out now!

Anonymous said...

I'm a mom and I say RUN. But please give notice. :0)

Anonymous said...

If you give notice, she'll want an explanation as to why. Chances are you will lose her recommendation for future references no matter which way you choose to leave.
May I suggest the following:
Offer resignation with a copy of your letter....and offer to have an exit conference with her. Explain that you love the children, and would prefer for them not to have to go through another adjustment, if unnecesssary.
My belief is ...she may not even be aware of those comments digging power.
My mom used to come over and as her eyes scanned the room...only fix this, clean that or put that away exited her lips. When I asked her about those negative comments...she explained...
"oh my, I didn't realize...let me tell you what I was thinking.....
the flowers look lovely...."but that book needs to be moved"....how pretty the new tablecloth is..."if we cleared away the mail on the table".....etc... Often people say things...like u said passive aggressively....she probably wants the best for her kids and feels powerless because she isn't there to do it herself.
You sound very smart... I suspect she won't want to lose you. Talk it out...maybe u could use these comments as a starting point.
Lots of Luck....PS...my son really needs a good tutor....if all else fails there...LOL. Betty

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

1150, think your a little long winded there? Funny, but seriously, who will have time to sit and read all that? Yawn...

rachel said...

funny?
or informative advice for anyone dealing with a mental as an employer?
Un believable!

Anonymous said...

Three things: Don't let it effect how you treat the kids while you are still there, never stay in an unhealthy relationship 'for the kids', and know that some people just are never happy.
I had a similar experience like this. The mother worked outside the house - the father inside. I took care of their 18 mo. old daughter. She is their first child. If she cried (frustration over being unable to do something, etc) he'd come running downstairs and demand to know what was/had happened to her, and why didn't I stop her crying. This was difficult because she often cried and wouldn't allow me to console because she was waiting for him to answer her cry. (don't even get me started on nap time!) When he was already there and she'd cry out he hush her (and not in a consoling way). Kids cry, it is a way they get what they want, and one way they tell us what they are thinking and feeling when they can't talk - he never got that. I tried to talk to him alone and also them together about it, how it made me feel, without attacking him - but it didn't work. Nothing changed - he only got defensive.
I loved being with the child, but the atmosphere was toxic. The Nanny and Parent should always try to work in tandem. If he felt unable to trust me with his child I wish he had installed cameras rather than constantly questioning me (by that I do mean multiple times a day).
I planned on finding a new job and quitting-but my dissatisfaction with the atmosphere made it hard to drag myself out of bed at 5am every morning and I was 20 minutes late one too many mornings.
The thing is- if you can't openly talk about problems with the parents it will effect your self-esteem and your mental state. It may not bring about your being fired, but it will adversely effect the environment the children are living in. Think of yourself as another partner added onto the mother and father partnership- is this a healthy partnership for the children to witness?
If you do decide to save yourself, tell her that as much as you love her kids you can not continue to take care of her kids for her if she continues with her conflicting criticizing statements.

jess said...

Holy terminology overload!
I think I did work however briefly for a mother who was every bit the "Nada".
When I think of her children, I still get sad.

Anonymous said...

As hard as it is to admit, You (we) can't save everyone.

Anonymous said...

Some say that Borderline personality disorder is the dianosis for not figuring out any diagnosis and some experts dispute the existance of this disorder.

mn said...

i dont know about all of that termininology but I do know I used to work as an assistant to a high level VP. She made me miserable. Constant Chaos- that was her. Also a sign of BP.

I think BP is just a catch all for people who are crazy and unhappy with who they are so they seek to destroy everyone around them.

Anonymous said...

She sounds crazy.

Have you heard of a "NADA"

Nada - a name for a mother who may have had BPD, who was ’nothing, nada, zilch’ as a parent. Many adult children of BP mothers feel that nada our BP mothers and the fact that they were NOT mothers to us. They played a role, for a time if the child were "lucky" and then they quit. Many feel that they never had real mothers, just a woman playing a part when it was time to "put on the show." Hence, the term nada.

Read this:
http://www.bpd411.org/glossary.html

ro said...

The best thing you can do for yourself is TODAY. Look at the classified ads. Screen your employer every bit as employers should be screening nannies. Ask for references from a previous nanny. What is the best possible outcome in your situation? You aren't going to save anyone. In the end, you will probably be fired. Suddenly. Never work with insane people. They are just as dangerous in a private home as they are in a grain mill.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of the phrase nada nor the resource you sited. I don't quite understand it as it related to this post but I do understand it as it related to mother's day. Today my brothers will drive ample distance with their children in tow to celebrate mother's day with our mother. Certainly they see the past as clearly as I and so I cannot grasp why they should fete her on this day. I was fortunate that a number of wonderful teachers, instructors and parents of friends took an interest in me at a young age and provided the mothering that I did not get from my own mother. The only time it seemed I could ever please her was when I was properly defeated, in angst or suffering. You see- this is what brought her pleasure. My childhood would have been so different if I had a nanny, although I am ever so certain mother would not have tolerated the existence of someone with a heart so close to home.

My husband and I employed a nanny for our children when they were 2 and 4. In retrospect I understand the hell I put the nanny through and why. I worked so hard to be everything that my mother wasn't that the introduction of an solid professional into our routine triggered feelings of failure and distress. She lasted only a couple of months before I made the decision to stay at home full time, but this was not based on her ineptitude but rather her excellence. We never kept in contact as I was quite ruthless in my dealings with her. My then 4 year old still remembers her and has occasion to reference some of the magical things she did with the children during her brief stay. My children are now 10 & 12.

And so, to April from North Dakota and to lasting impressions- the good ones I say,
"peace be with you".

jmt said...

A great therapist friend of mine who used to work with a very difficult clientele (many Borderline patients) once told me "If you have a patient who makes you feel like YOU are crazy, they are Borderline" .
RIP Nancy. :(

Anonymous said...

9:25 AM
As a nanny, I found your post very moving. It made me realize that I sometimes judge parents harshly who may have had miserable experiences such as yours, and deserve some sympathy.
It sounds like you have worked on your issues and gained a lot of insight into your own behavior.
A very happy Mother's Day to you!

Anonymous said...

I work part-time for a Dad that has a negative thing to say everytime I bring his son home for a outing , he works at home so I have to bring the poor kid out in all types of weather (with no money).So I have learned that the comments are not about me but his guilt so I never take them to heart ,because I know I am doing the best I can for his son. I don't know if I could be as strong if I had to do it more than twice a week ,the other families I work for are great.Just know it really is not about you.

d hill said...

yes jmt,
borderlines are called the crazy makers. and sometimes you don't realize what is going on until you are removed from the situation. it's also hard to extricate yourself from a borderline's grip. they are methodical in their manipulation-gulit-anger cycle.
Remember the mother who started the howsmynanny stroller business? nannyies would have a liscence plate # assigned to their stroller- well I for sure think all borderlines should have a flashing beacon that extends two feet from the tip of their heads. That would save a whole lot of people a lot of headache. Especially the men who mistakenly mate with the borderline. No one has it as awful as the child of a BP.

Anonymous said...

sometimes they are
and sometimes they are not
and therein lies the prob

Anonymous said...

To the Borderline Disorder expert, how are they with regard to personal hygiene? Is there a problem?

Annie said...

9:25: Thank you for what you wrote. It clearly came from the heart, and you clearly have really struggled to be a better person and a better mother. Happy Mother's Day to you. I'm sure your children are greatful for the ways in which you've grown along with them.

Anonymous said...

I keep an advanced weekly schedule on hand for mom and dad to see how we're planning our days (outings, etc.) and I update it daily with unavoidable changes, naptimes, and the like. Everyone loves the structured routines, esp. the kids. :)

Anonymous said...

Since Borderlines have many traits of a narcissist and must keep the focus always on themselves; hygiene is not an issue they usually struggle with. Borderline men have often been called dapper and woman usually spend a lot of time indulging themselves in products, potions, fashions and other things so that they look good.

(famous borderline-Joan Crawford)

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't someone come up with the idea for doing a background check for crazy ass parents?? My best friend in the world worked for a family that fired her and let the new nanny tell her. She showed up to her job and and the new nanny was there playing with the kid. She said the nanny asked her to leave the key and told her that the family wanted to try something new. I also worked for a mother who had a nanny camera and would call me exactly one hour after I left to ask me questions she already knew the answers to because SHE HAD IT ON FILM!! I quit after she was leaving money around to see if I was going to steal it. By the way she never told me she had a camera I found it. Some parents are off the rocker and need help. This lady is probably depressed and guilty for having a nanny. It happens. But if you have talked to her and nothing has happened maybe its time to find a new job. Good Luck!!

Kelly said...

Run! As much as you love the kids, you have to save yourself. Somethimes the most wonderful kids have monsters for parents.

As for the Resignation Notice, don't even to there. She will become very hostile as the final date approaches and will do something crazy like accuse you of abusing the kids, stealing etc. She may even hire a new nanny and ask the nanny to fire you!

Find a new job in a different neighborhood, then quit your job by dropping off a goodbye letter with your crazy boss's doorman when you leave work on a friday night. I know this sounds crazy, but you are in an abusive relationship and you need to jump ship right away.

Also make sure that you confide in those who know you very well. When my friend quit her abusive job, her former boss spread rumors that the nanny was cold and rude, but those you knew the nanny well knew that the former boss had finally lost her mind.

Anonymous said...

I think quitting a job over this seems a little reactionary. I'd hate to think that I couldn't ask questions of my nanny without fear that she would take it as passive-aggressive criticism and quit without warning. I already feel like I bend over backwards for my nanny - telling her how much I appreciate her and giving her small gifts whenever I can and giving her time off every time she asks with pay. And when I come home from work, I feel like I should be able to ask the nanny how the day was and what she and my child did and whether they played outside, etc. And I would hope the nanny did not take this the wrong way - like I'm checking up on her or second-guessing her in any way.

It's hard to leave your child every day in someone else's care to go to work (and please no flames about how I should stay home to raise my own kids). And it's hard to find a good nanny, whom you trust with your child. And so when you've found a good nanny, I feel like I have to jump through hoops so that the nanny will be happy at her job.

Anyways, before I get too far off the topic, I just want the original poster to consider everything before she decides to quit.

Kelly said...

I still think the nanny should fnd another job. I have seen a lot of nannys complain about how the boss wants them to be always doing something.

Even I was a victim of the slave-owner-type boss. If I was not literally jumping up and down with the toddler, I was supposed to be ironing the laundry, If I wasn't ironing the laundry, I was supposed to be doing some very manual labor. I lost 20 pounds in two months, and got very skeletal (I am already a tiny person). The only time I rested was when I was sitting on the toilet for two minutes. If I spent more than a few minutes in the bathroom, I was summoned to "entertain the kids". When I gave my boss one month notice, she started to get very hostile, and worked me even more, and had resorted to yelling at me as if I was s tupid person, and yet I already had 10 years experience as a professional nanny. Talking to this woman was a waste ot time, she would get defensive and say "just fold the laundry". I just had to leave a week early, she was driving me nuts.

Last I heard, my abusive former boss has been going through nannies like toilet paper. They keep quitting on her.

I still think this woman should leave her abusive slave-owner-type boss, or she will lose her dignity. There are some great people to work for out there, so lady, go get yoursel a nice boss.

Anonymous said...

I agree, get out while you can. You deserve better. I was a nanny for 10 years and ended up in similar situations a couple of times. The parents feel guilty and let it out on you.
There are great families out there, but check the people out. Get references.

Original Poster E said...

Thanks for the advice everyone. I think looking for another job is probably the right solution. There are other issues aside from the passive-aggressive stuff as well. I do deserve better, I appreciate all the input.

11:44AM:

My boss does NOT appreciate me (or anyone else in her life, to be honest). If I'm sick, I get no pay. If I need a day off, I get no pay. My vacation time can only be used concurrently with their vacation. If my boss sends me home early, I don't get paid for the regular day. I have to beg to get my schedule for the month and I'm expected to be available on a given day from 6am til midnight, depending on her whims (she may want me for 4 hours, maybe 14). I'm forever watching extra kids. I get lists of (absurd) chores left for me. Typing this out really has helped me see that my situation simply isn't right compared to what the norm is for nannies. It's what she says, it's HOW she says it. It's very accusatory and not at all curious sounding.

It wasn't always like this, but my mistake was letting things slide because they were supposed to be once in awhile. Now they've become the norm and that's not cool. I think a change will be good for me!

Anonymous said...

the snide comments under her breath, the looks of utter contempt, ignoring me, passive aggressive / touch of the munchausen's (sp?) / BPD / etc. Wish I could mention the exact quotes she has said to me - un.believable. um, employees don't generally want gifts and to be constantly bombarded every day with 5 minute speeches about how great, excellent, and amazing we are. Treat people well. Just treat people well. If you passive-aggressively criticize your nanny, if you are psychotically manipulative, if you try to elicit guilty feelings from her for things she did that made you unhappy, then you are not treating her well, regardless of the number of "you're great"s you smear around the house. To the original: you cannot solve the little problems because they aren't real. There will always be more and more... so jump through hoops and there will be more hoops. we've all known people like this. i want to have a sense of humor about it, but really, it's just not funny.

fg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kelly said...

Did somoeone say Munchausen? One of the reasons I was glad to leave my slave-owner-type boss was because whenever she was all alone with the kids, she had a tendency to get very ill, then relatives would drive in to help her. I was always afraid that the situation might turn into Munchausen by Proxy, and poor me would get caught up in the dysfunctional mess. This was the only really wierd person I worked for.

The other families that I worked for were great, and I will always love them. I will always be thankful for the nice families that helped me pay for my college education.

jmt said...

fg: Dyke? Did you have to go there?
I'll leave it to the actual lesbians on this site to ream you out if they care to. I'm tired of people like you.

jmt said...

BTW, I totally missed the deleted post @ 11:30 PM. I take it it was full of info/comment on borderline issues. Why was it removed?

Anonymous said...

yes, i know what you mean..this woman is just a bitch plain and simply put.

Jane Doe said...

Reminder:
We're not big on censoring- but we do have our limits!

Comment Policy:
http://i116.photobucket.com/albums/o12/isawyournanny/commentpolicy.jpg

Jane Doe said...

JMT-
The deleted post at 11:50 PM contained the ENTIRE contents of this page:
http://www.bpd411.org/glossary.html

Anonymous said...

what does that mean JD?

Jane Doe said...

Which comment are you refering to?

fg said...

and... JMT, self-appointed chief of thought police on this blog,
I wonder what these ladies (below) would have to say with regard to your "overly politically correct" obsession? It seems that they do not share your views, and btw, I have NO problem with lesbians. My best friend from second grade on died about ten years ago from ovarian cancer. She was gay, and it never ever affected, changed or altered our wonderful friendship. It just was. I still miss her. As she would say,
Peace-

About "dykes"

In the late 20th and early 21st century, the term was reclaimed by many lesbians (to a far greater extent than, for example, "fag" for gay men). Examples in the culture include the comic strip "Dykes to Watch out For" and the traditional Dykes on Bikes that lead pride parades.

Matters came to a head when the United States Patent and Trademark Office denied lesbian motorcycle group Dykes on Bikes a trademark for its name, on the grounds that "dyke" was an offensive word. In 2005, after a prolonged court battle involving testimony on the word's changing role in the lesbian community, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board permitted the group to register its name. (365gay.com)

"Dyke Marches" have become a popular Pride event nationwide. They are generally non-commercial, often in sharp contrast to corporate-sponsored pride events, and are usually inclusive of lesbian, bi, and trans women.

jmt said...

fg:
Thought Police? Never
Written Word Police? Occasionally

What you, and Sprak and the ever-courageous "Anonymous" need to understand is that you are not talking to your BFFs, the readers dont GET you, we don't KNOW you or your histories, or how funny your friends would think your comments are. For 95% of the readers, your words are not understood to be casual comments. And the way you talked about Joan Crawford, calling her ugly and a dyke sounded hateful to me. You sounded more like Donald Trump than an actual thoughtful human being.
Words are powerful. Use them with consideration of your audience.

Anonymous said...

yes, I thought Trump called Rosie a dyke.