Monday

"My Nanny's Eating Us out of House and Home"....

Received Monday, August 13, 2007 -Perspective & Opinion
My husband and I have a lovely nanny that helps us to care for our infant twins. She is gentle and affectionate with them, and I trust her completely. Lately, however, she is eating us out of house and home; we keep our refrigerator and pantry very well stocked and have told her to help herself, but she’s eating in a day what my husband and I consume in 3 days. I don’t mind spending more on our groceries to please the nanny, but there are two problems. One, if she’s spending all of her time eating, is she neglecting my babies? And two, every time I go to reach for something to prepare a meal with, it’s gone! I’m really, sincerely not trying to be rude, but this is getting out of hand, and I’m not sure what to do. It’s a sensitive subject, so I’m not sure how to approach her with it. Any advice??

137 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a nanny who is always told to "help yourself" to my family's fridge and pantry, I never eat the last item of something or anything that looks like it might be part of a meal. I also make a list for my boss of what groceries I would like for the week, maybe you could try that.

Anonymous said...

What is her ethnicity? I had to fire two nannies of one ethnicty simply because they ate and ate. One was not even heavy. It had to do with food being free. She was a live out but would pack a dinner for herself for the train ride home. She horded apples, bottled water and cans of Bush's baked beans.

Lauren said...

OP here--

The thing is, our nanny does our grocery shopping with my list and instructions for her to feel free to pick up anything she'd like for herself. She knows that I need/want the things on my list, so I'm not sure why she would eat the last of it. It's such a sensitive issue that I'm reluctant to say anything, but it's getting out of hand.

Lauren said...

OP to 3:56-

I employ my nanny so that I can pursue my career as a public interest attorney working on racial justice and discrimination law, so I won't be a captive audience for racial/ethnic attributions. She's a heavyset young woman, and I'm aware that she's just eating a lot of food (not hoarding it.)

Did you speak with your former nannies about the issue, or did you just fire them?

Anonymous said...

I would never hire a nanny who didn't drive or couldn't go to the store to get milk and fruit for my child. My nanny has a credit card of mine ($300 limit). She uses it for things my child needs, an occasional lunch out, groceries, museum admission, etc. I tell her to get what she wants to eat on Monday and keep her stuff in her designated drawer. (A crisper bin). She gets to eat what she wants and doesn't dip in to our foods (minus condiments, etc.) She is happy because she has her food. And she wouldn't go hog wild because even though she is a larger woman, she isn't going to keep a huge stash of junky food in my house. She gets the ingredients for ham and cheese sandwiches, about five yogurts and usually some frozen fruit ices. We never set a limit for what she could or could not buy. She just happens to be a decent person in everyway. I encourage everyone who reads this blog to treat their nannies well. If you have had a nanny for a long while, treat her especially well. '
Don't forget the occasional thank you notes, gift certificates for books or coffee and general reminders that they are appreciated. My nanny makes my life better and she is the shining star for my son while I am working.

Kelly said...

Hi OP, it sure is a sensitive subject, If possible, get an erasable 'grocery list' for your kitchen, and place it where anyone who walks into the kitchen can see it. Let the nanny know that it is for everyone, including you and your partner to write down any food items that have run out. This will enable your nanny to write down (and keep track) of the large amounts of food she is consuming.

This is not to be mean to her, but to help her to have a healthy relationship with food, and to be considerate of others. I'd be really annoyed if I promised my kids icecream sandwiches for dessert, only to find out at 8pm that the treat has disappeared. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Can I just interject something here? Unless your nanny is a live-in, you should not be providing her food. These nannies are so often paid cash, under the table. So they make more than sales clerks secretaries who have to go out to lunch and spend their hard earned money. The nannies get paid lunch. Have them brown bag it. When you interview a live out nanny, tell them they are welcome to all the non alcoholic beverages that they want and then start pitching how wonderful our tap water is in NYC.

Donna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

5:10pm, you are right about many off-the-books nannies making more than many on-the-books office workers. However, OP is an attorney, so she is probably paying her nanny on the books. Off the books is never a good thing for anyone, especially attorneys.

Lauren said...

OP to 5:10--

We pay our nanny the salary that she requested, but I, too, was once in my nanny's shoes; she's a recent college grad who is working to save money for grad school. $800 a week (plus expenses) is hardly putting a dent in her grad school savings account when I'm sure half of it goes to living expenses. So I empathize with my nanny for being hard working, and providing her with food to eat while she's on the job is NOT a problem for me. My problem is finding a sensitive way to ask her to buy enough groceries (from my list) so that I still have what I need after she takes what she wants.

lauren said...

OP to Kelly--

Thank you for your constructive suggestion. I think I'll try that! It's just so hard to address the issue without being offensive. I care very much about the woman to whom I entrust my children, so being polite and respectful about this is a top priority.

lauren said...

And yes, we have a legal payment arrangement.

Amy said...

ummm....brown bagging lunch when working as a nanny? That seems insane! Yes many nannies are paid under the table, but unlike any other job they don't get to take a lunch break. If I tried to tell the nannies that I was interviewing that they would need to provide themselves with their own meals they would probably walk out the door. I (along with many other families I am sure) am gone for at least 2 of the 3 meals that my children are eating. I HAPPILY provide the food for my nanny to enjoy while she is dining with the children or snacking on her own.

To the OP- although this could be extra work for you or your husband, what if there was a calendar or a list of the meals for the week that detailed what was being used to make it? If that was posted on the door of the fridge perhaps she would be more cautious of what she was consuming?

Anonymous said...

You make your nannies pay for their own food!?

Anonymous said...

I am a live out nanny who works Mon-Fri 7 am to 6pm, and my family buys my food for me including lunch and snacks. Why wouldn't you buy your nanny food!? If you are able to hire an on-the-books nanny (which I am) then you are able to cover the expenses of your nannies food. How can you have someone prepare your children's food and then not provide for them or ask them to CHIP IN FOR THE BILL!!!!!????!?!

Anonymous said...

I was a live out nanny, told to help myself to any food/drinks the family had.

Just out of respect, I never ate the last of ANYTHING unless I was shown it and told they weren't going to eat it, so I could. (I usually tried to only eat those foods, since I knew if I didn't eat them they would be thrown out anyway.)

Or I would eat what I made for the little boy. (Raviolli, sandwiches, macarroni, ect.) because they weren't big on using left-overs.

Maybe if she is a live-out, show her some food every morning. "We have some chicken from dinner last night, help yourself to it." or something like that... I don't know how to confront her about it without hurt feelings and uncomfortable moments after...

Anonymous said...

5:30, I am the exact same as you. I never ever eat the last of something because I would feel terrible if they were waiting to have that and then came home and it was gone. These mothers who don't provide food for their caregivers whom "they love and trust so much" are out of their minds.

Anonymous said...

$800 a week is $3200/month. That is the higher end of the salary spectrum for nannies. It sure is more than many Office Administrators who have families earn. She is a lucky woman to have such a caring employee who is willing to pay her well and feed her too. Unless she lives in a one bedroom rental apt on the UES, or has a family, she should be able to make ends meet, and save some. It is called responsibility. She can call Suzie Orman if she needs help allocating that salary.

Lauren said...

OP to 5:32

My husband and I pay our nanny according to her qualifications, our level of trust for her, and the fact that she has two infants in her care. We realize it's on the generous end of the nanny salary spectrum, but I'm a firm believer in getting what you pay for. Other than this food issue, our nanny is an excellent one, and I trust her completely with my children.

That said, I'm not here to argue about nanny salaries. We're content with what we pay and our nanny is content with what she earns. I don't believe that it justifies asking her to bring her own food. Again, that is not the issue; the issue is that she's eating so much that we frequently go to cook and find that the necessary ingredients are gone. I have no problem whatsoever paying more for groceries so that our nanny is happy; but she does the shopping, and she seems to not understand that I don't care how much she spends, so long as I have what I've "ordered" and that she has what she wants.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for deciding not to argue nanny salaries. My nanny makes just over a thousand per week on the books. I won't tell you the ages of my children or how long she has been with us. When it comes to childcare, the absolute best is the only choice for my children. I don't think twice about cutting that check for her either.

Anonymous said...

Then maybe you should say "This is exactly what I need for the week, if you want anything additional then add your portions because it seems like the ingredients I need are sometimes gone or too low and require me to go to the store again. I appreciate everything that you do for us but if we could start doing that, it would be great." There... : )

Anonymous said...

I am not here to argue nanny salaries, I love my job and I know that I am a great nanny for my two charges. I love them and the parents as if they were my own family. I know that when I graduate I could go out and make more but I am choosing to stay with them because I have never been happier.

Lauren said...

5:44--

Do you think that's a sensitive enough approach?

Anonymous said...

5:43pm, you sound like a brag. I don't think 5:32 meant to start a salary brag fight. Possiibly she/he wanted to stress that $3200 a month is more than enough to cover expenses and support a food binge.

Anonymous said...

As a nanny, yes. The point needs to be made that she is eating it all and you are left with little or nothing. I think that the way I said it was clear, not harse in any way and says what you want said. Step lightly because again, you don't want to offend her and reassure her that she is doing a great job but if she could buy extra if she thinks she will want something because then you still will have the amount that you want/need.

Anonymous said...

5:46: Are you OP's nanny? If you are, you need to get your act together and think about your health. It is obvious that money ais not an issue for you and OP, but eating yourself to death is not smart.

Anonymous said...

532 sounded to me like one of those fools who has issues with nannies making good money. There is nothing wrong with a nanny making good money. There are dog trainers that make hundreds of thousands of dollars and hairdressers that make tons. Why not a nanny?

The OP said the nanny was eating her out of house and home. That was a quote mark. To me,that sounds like an anti fat comment.

Anonymous said...

How am I bragging?

Lauren said...

5:56--

It's an expression. I think that I've portrayed that I adore my nanny and that it's important to me to approach this with her sensitively.

Anonymous said...

5:56 #1, no I am not the posters nanny. But I was trying to make a point that I get paid extremely well with tons of perks and my family still provides with food and snacks without thinking twice about it, but then again I am not eating it all.

Lauren said...

5:56-- I agree. There is nothing more important to me than making sure my children are in safe, responsible, and loving hands when I'm not here. The cost is a non-issue.

5:57-- Don't feel bad. You aren't bragging. Apparently some people feel that only those who have money aren't free to talk about it without being targeted as bragging.

Anonymous said...

Thanks 6:01 and so what if I love my family and they love me!!!

Anonymous said...

OP, how about allocating a portion of the fridge to the nanny? You could say something like you are trying to get more organized in preparing the meals - which is after all the truth - would she mind using that shelf for her own needs, so that you will not take her food (the one she chooses to buy with your money for her lunch) and she will not take yours? You could also pin on the wall a list of menus for the week as somebody else suggested, so that the message would be about "organizing" and not monitoring what your nanny is actually eating.

Anonymous said...

To 5:56PM. I am 5:32PM. What is wrong with staring that $3,200 is the higher end of the salary spectrum for nannies? What is wrong with stating the facts? Are you one of those greedy nannies who think that just because your employer makes $200,000, then you are entitiled to 40 percent?

If you have a problem with my saying that $3200 a month is the higher end of the salary spectrum for nannies, tell me what the average weekly nanny salary is for each of the 50 states. I have been a nanny for 20 years, so I know that $800 a week is on the higher end. I am not arguing that OP should pay her nanny less, NO I am NOT.

Lauren said...

6:02--

Thank you. I think that's a good suggestion. I was hoping it wouldn't have to come down to "her food" versus "our food", but if that solves the problem without hurting feelings, it's worth trying!

Anonymous said...

The thing with having a seperate space is that some things are not that easy to seperate. I like the menu idea, so she can see what you will have and maybe be able to see what you will need.

Anonymous said...

I think that 5:44 is the best way go to without alienating her to her own shelf.

holly said...

I wouldn't work for someone who made 200k a year. Not in NY. I wouldn't work for anyone who saw the nanny's salary as any obvious chunk of their salary.

Anonymous said...

not sure if you feel comfortable with this, but when i have to raise a touchy subect i sometimes turn it into a situation where i am asking for help with my own problem.

so in this case, in discussing this week's shopping list i'd ask the nanny if she could help me figure out how much of x or y i really need to prepare a particular dish, because i'm obviously figuring the portions wrong. i'd laugh about how i can't seem to keep it straight, because i keep opening the cabinets expecting to find a particular thing i needed, only to see that we'd used it up ages ago.

i would also ask her to keep an eye on the list items throughout the week -- and to run out mid-week for a second shopping trip if she saw that we had gotten dangerously low on a particular item from the list.

good luck with however you work this out!

Anonymous said...

Why would she play dumb? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Oh Holly! If you are such hot stuff, go make the $200,000 yourself. Poor people can't be too picky.

Lauren said...

Holly--

My husband and I earn enough to be able to very comfortably afford childcare... but I'm not sure that I would hire a nanny who concerned herself with my finances.

Anonymous said...

IF she felt comfortable with it, she would play dumb to avoid initiating a conversation about the NANNY's problem. she would be asking for help with HER OWN problem, so the issue could be resolved (which is her actual goal) without embarrassing the nanny.

holly said...

Hah. One does not need to concern theirself with your finances. A nanny has every right to choose the best employer for her as you do to choose the best nanny for your family. I don't need to look at your bank book to know what you're worth. A simple glance at your your house, your rock, your car, your handbag, etc. You won't find me scooting around town in a Subaru justy or dusting in my downtime. I only work for families that have full time housekeepers.

To each their own.

Lauren said...

I would never expect my nanny to assume housekeeping duties, Holly. Her full attention is to be devoted to my children. She drives our spare car (it's a BMW X5, is that sufficient for you?) and earns a salary that's on the high end for this area (Manhattan suburbs, CT).

I assume we'd fit your description as a suitable family; but I promise, there won't be an arrogant snob around to influence my young, impressionable children.

Meg said...

How is it arrogant for a nanny to tell it straight out like it is?
If you are in the business world, you choose to go work for a company based on what direction that company has for growth. The companies worth has to be considered as do the benefits that the company will be able to offer a person. That doesn't make a nanny a snob. Certainly, you can imagine that a nanny with great references and experience would be highly sought, right? I know it's sensitive for you because they are your children and these great nannies do come to love your children and see you and your family as vital parts of their life and not just a paycheck, but it is somewhat strange to judge a nanny for having her own standards.
I have a nanny myself. I have been to playdates with my three year old and their are houses I prefer to go to with the playdates. Is it wrong to say that? It isn't my preference, I make playdates based on my child's requests, but a nanny has every right to consider her living requirements.

I do take issue with these needer nannies. Those with little to offer, grim faces and their hands perpetually out. They take and take and take and seem to have black hearts. Cold. Dull. Tired.

Lauren said...

6:38--

If I meet my nanny's salary request, what difference should it make to her the size of the rock on my finger or what my handbag collection looks like?

There is a difference between ensuring that a family meets your standards and being a snob.

holly said...

A lot of people use agencies and ask for the best people. The agree to meet the salary and then they nickle and dime the nanny on all kinds of things. Stay late for no pay. "Oh that salary included on weeknight of babysitting". And because they have agreed to meet a salary that they view as high, they are always looking for something else for the nanny to do.
So perhaps, I said it wrong. But I would never want to work for a family that had a problem meeting my salary or chose an unsafe car for me to transport the children around because it was "economical". I had an employer tell me that he would never provide his nanny a "nice car" like some of "those fools do". What is a nanny car for? I am on the road about 4 hours a day- with my employer's children. Just like nannies can be tricky during an interview to get what they want, so can employers!

Nanny b said...

Why not just be honest with her. Just tell her straight up that you often go to the fridge and find ingredients not available. if you bring it up to her and remind her that she is more than welcome to purchase whatever she would like when she goes shopping but that you need those items for dinner. I would go through the list of the meals for the week with her and just point out what you need so that she knows not to use it. Nothing wrong with telling the truth. She will understand if she is a good person.

Anonymous said...

I love how Holly things its justified to be a snob when your riding on the coat tails of SOMEONE ELSE who's rich.

Lauren said...

Holly--

If you could only meet my mother in law, you might see that wealth doesn't necessarily correlate well with generosity.

I am quite the opposite of the employers you're describing. While I was in college, I worked as a nanny during the summers; so I'm aware that some employers do not treat their nannies fairly. But I assure you, their ability to pay is rarely a significant factor in their human decency and respect level.

Before I was married, I was a young attorney making low 6 figures. Now, I earn more, and my husband's salary is far higher than my own. My ability to pay has increased, bu t even when I was living on just a single salary, I would still never treat a nanny the way you've described (assuming I needed one). Having a fancier house, nicer cars, a big rock, and a closet full of great stuff did not change who I am as a person. That was where I took offense to your comment.

holly said...

Riding the coat tails?
I am an employee. I work hard for a living. It's unfortunate that so many people- usually women- are so threatened by nannies that they hate to see them find positions where they have great benefits and perks. There are some amazing positions out there with tremendous perks, world travel, tuition remibursement, medical and dental insurance, etc.

Why is that so threatning to you-anonymous? Because you cannot offer it? You don't have it and so it kills you to imagine a nanny being so close to that which you covet?

How unfortunate.

holly said...

Lauren, I understand what you are saying. I work very hard. I have friends that work for similiar families. They can offer a lot. But I do see what you mean because the turnover is so high. They are always changing nannies. You are the type of employer that someone would probably be so fortunate to work for and have a very long time position where mutual respect was a key feauture. Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Holly,
Be careful. Sometimes the people who spend all of their money on bags, "rocks," cars and the like don't actually have a whole lot in the bank. They may be living way beyond their means with cripling debt. All it takes is something like a job loss, divorce, bad investment and POOF! There goes the "lifestyle" you seem so impressed by. They might not even have enough reserves to cover YOUR salary for that month. You would be surprised, Holly, at how many famlies that LOOK rich are really on the edge. Maybe you SHOULD be looking at their bank books. Have you heard of what's happening with the mortgages and some of the hedge funds? You might want to dust off your resume just in case.

Lauren said...

Holly--

I believe you're right and hope that my nanny feels as appreciated as she is.

If you take anything away from this, I hope it's that whether an employer family earns $200K or $2M often has little bearing on how decent, respectful, and appreciative they will be to their nannies.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people who think they were clever with their "creative" mortgages are going to be falling flat on their asses. People who live beyond their means are the very people that are going to send this country into a recession!

Boooooooooo!!!!!!!!!1

kelly said...

Holly! Come on! There are rich people who don't act like they are, and there are those who are blinged out 24/7. I think there is nothing wrong with either. Just because someone doesn't have a 10 karat stone on their ring does not make them poor. There are also those who act rich and yet they are in serious debt.

I have seen my share of very wealthy families who are not out there to flaunt their stuff. I worked for an UES family that came across as average to me (mimnimalist apartment, and not too expensive), until I travelled with them to their second and very privately located home. Gasp, they were filthy rich! and it was none of my beeswax how much they were worth. What mattered to me was that they were a nice family and paid me well.

darbie said...

My brother is a driver in New Jersey for a high end chauffer service. He says there are 4 kinds of rich people.

Rich & genuinely nice- great tippers

Rich & used to treating people like shit but don't want to be hassled so they will throw money at you to keep your mouth shut- also great tippers but shitty passengers.

The Greedy Rich- bad tippers
(also lack all forms of class and decorum)

and the Drunk Rich- alternately good and bad tippers, depending on 'how high'

kelly said...

Wow, Darbie, that makes sense. :)

Anonymous said...

Holy Moly, Nanny Hungry-Jack has this place buzzin'. Something has to be done about this human waste disposal. I am glad I am not her employer.

Anonymous said...

How about leaving a menu around with what you are planning on making. She then knows what the plan is for certain items. Plus if you notice that she enjoys a certain food, mention if she would like extra, to feel free to grab more while shopping.

Anonymous said...

Get her a long load of store brand bread, a couple packs of Carl Budding lunchmeats and she's done for a week. From that, she gets toast every morning of the week a sandwich everyday of the week and even the option of having a triple decker on thursdays.

Nanny Lexy said...

I can understand not wanting to bring up this touchy subject. Are there foods that she tends to eat more than others? If so, why not ask her to double your food order for those items. Having more around the house will make it so you have a chance to eat the food too! Plus, since your nanny is a great eater, you know it won't go to waste!

Anonymous said...

Double the food order?
Uh, double the pleasure for Nanny HungryJack!

Anonymous said...

Who honestly thinks that $800 is the high end of the nanny spectrum? Maybe in the central part of the US, but no on the coasts. Those of us with many years of experience are making $1500 a week. $32,000 a year is barely middle class these days in a large city.

Michelle said...

I think that 5:44 put it wonderfully. I used to be a nanny (and now I employ one) but if I had been told that when I was working as a nanny I would have taken no offense to that. I say try that!

Lauren said...

10:24--

I don't think being a nanny is a job where one expects to rise above the ranks of the middle class.

Our nanny takes home $800 for a 30 hour work week. We pay her on the books, but we cover her taxes, so her net earnings are still $800/weekly.

I, too, was a nanny while I was a college student; but I didn't expect to get rich doing it.

Anonymous said...

I live in Greenwich and most of the illegal types-Jamaican and Hispanic make over $600. I don't know if they drive, swim, can tutor an 11 year old, etc. We also have a home in the UK so we need someone with a greencard. After a long and excruciating search, we finally found someone who seems to be perfect. We were able to offer top dollar. Money was not the problem-finding the kind of experience and energy we wanted was a problem. Professional Nannies can ask for just about whatever salary they want. If they have the right credentials, I know people who will pay through the roof.

gigi said...

Exactly, Lauren. A nanny is never going to get rich nannying. And in all likelihood, she will cease nannying and move on and have her own family. For an unattatched nanny, why shouldn't she look for the very best benefits and travel opportunities and get help with her college tuition? Of course she should.

Our nanny has been with us for 6 years. She was married 4 years ago and has a daughter that will be 2 in December. She brings her everyday to work with her. Her daughter is a part of our family. We pay her well, but we aren't Hedgefunders. There are lots of things people can do to attract great nannies and hold on to them.
I could not ever imagine wanting a nanny to bring her child to work with her. But when my nanny got pregnant and as the time drew near, I couldn't imagine it any other way.

As for food, make your nanny as comfortable as possible. An overweight nanny might be sensitive to the food issues. YOur nanny probably doesn't shop if you have little ones at home. Just let her know that the last thing you want to do at night when you get home is run out to the store so she should feel comfortable to put everything she needs on a list and leave a note when something is running low.

Anonymous said...

OP,I'm a nanny, and I'd just be straightforward: say something like, "Hey, I really appreciate you doing the grocery shopping for us, and I was wondering if you knew that you are welcome to get more than is on the list so that there's enough for you to have throughout the day and that way I don't run out of the things I need to make dinner. If we do run out of something, could you please write it down on the white board so either you or I can go pick it up next time we go shopping? Thanks!"

Simple, polite, and clear.

Sarah and Mitch said...

Hey OP, I am a nanny... Eating food in someone else's home, from someone else's cabinet can be a tricky issue. Most of the families I have nannied for have repeatedly asked me to help myself, and one family even let me do the grocery shopping where they invited me to buy what I wanted for myself.

First of all, I have only watched one kiddo at a time, so there have always been more than one serving of everything. I usually would share the lunch I prepared for the child, as well as any snacks. Breakfast I would normally bring because I don't want to leave my "weight smart" oatmeal or sometimes too-sugary cereal in their cupboards, it's just a personal thing for me.

I would really suggest one of two things. First, I think you should be honest with her. That could prove extremely difficult to do, because as you said, she is overweight, and so it might make you feel as if you aren't approaching a physical issue, but an emotional one. I understand if that sounds scary and not the best way for you to go about it, but as a nanny, if worded nicely and not in a way as to demean my weight, I would appreciated the direct-forwardness so that I could fix the problem right away.

Another thing though is to designate a crisper drawer. I know it is awkward to do that at first, but as a nanny, I really appreciate being able to have my own food and drinks, knowing that I am not expected to eat the same foods as the child and family ALL the time. You could combine the two, and tell her "We are trying to get more organized with our dinners, and would like to welcome you to have a drawer of your own food so that we don't use something you were planning on having for lunch. It will also make it easier to see what ingredients we have to prepare dinners, and we will know whether or not we need to go to the store to replace anything beforehand. Please feel free to continue helping yourself to what you need, but if you use the last of something, please make a note so we know."

Another thing is start buying popular dinner ingredients in "2's". That way you will always have a backup of peanut butter, dinner rolls, tortillas... whatever it is that you seem to use a lot for dinners.

Sorry if this is getting longwinded... I also had a family who occasionally asked me to prepare dinners, which I was more than happy to do. Often, I would do it during the baby's morning nap, so I could put everything together in the big casserole dish, but also leave a little in a loaf pan so I could make the same version of their dinner for my lunch. If your nanny is open to cooking during naptime, that could be a way to ask her to both help herself, and make sure she doesn't use the ingredients herself.


Lastly, I really don't think she is neglecting the kids. If I remember what I read correctly, they are little and from that, I assume they are nappers, at least one a day. That is the time that I find I eat the most during the day: in down time, when the child is napping, and I have a minute to myself. I really don't think she is putting your kids at risk in order to eat though. You could always drop in around a mealtime to find out though...

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Dear OP,
I would be most concerned about the sugegstion that she was possibly neglecting your children. I am sure many people can and do eat on the fly. I once had a nanny (who did not last very long) who was a very fast and frequent eater of food. She always did it on the sly. I am a stay at home mom and she worked for me when my daughter was 7 months. I would run out to the drugstore and I would return and my dd would have barbecue chip debris on her dress, the would be be crumbs on the counter and little droplets of ice cream. Worst of all was my daughter was often salty or sticky. The nanny had plenty of time to sit down and have a break, so there was no reason for her to eat in what I am guessing to be a maniacal way each time I left the house. One day I had an appointment in NYC and I returned home to the smell of a freshly baked chocolate cake. I had been gone less than three hours. There was no trace of any cake at all. I didn't go looking through the garbage but the case of the missing cake was quite curious. One of my fears was that she, the nanny might choke to death during a feedy frenzy or possibly that she might be consuming something that contained a potential allergin a hurried and haphazzard way that might somehow set off my child. I didn't fire her for her secret eating so much as for her sloppiness. She was a live-in who was content to live in sloth. I think she did (her) laundry one time the whole 6 weeks she was with us.

chick said...

Lauren,

It sounds like you like and respect your nanny very much, which, ironically, may make it harder for you to deal with this food issue.

That said, I think gentle honesty is the best policy here. Tell her "We want to make sure you're comfortable here, and want you to make yourself at home. I know that I am likely to still be asking you to buy just enough food for husband and I, and I want to be sure you know you are free to add more items to the list. I will make the adjustment eventually, but for now, please just purchase anything you'd like. I feel so silly not having said anything before, especially when I've wanted to make XYZ for dinner and realized I hadn't purchased enough for everyone to have some."

Then, make sure you do start adding a higher amount of whatever items you have on your list. If you buy extra, and if you print out a weekly menu (post on frig and say it's to help you stay organized at night), she'll likely take the gentle hints, and the issue will go away.

Good luck!

Lauren said...

OP to Sarah--

Thank you for your helpful suggestions. In my heart, I believed that the best thing to do was just to be honest with her, but I really appreciate your validation and feedback from a nanny's perspective. :) Your suggestion of what to say to my nanny was perfect-- thanks!!

Lauren said...

OP to 12:24--

You highlighted the essence of my concern about how her eating might cause her to be neglectful: it's very secretive.

I have a home office working arrangement now, so I am in the house 75% of the time that the nanny is here. Despite the amount of food that I know she consumes, I have never actually seen her eat! If she is sneaking around and rushing to eat when I am out or consumed on a phone call, I have to wonder about how attentive she is to my babies during those times. They're still very young, so they do nap frequently, but we hope to have our nanny for a year (when she plans to return to school) and as my children get bigger and more mobile, I'm not entirely confident that she can be mindful of their safety as she sneaks around to eat while I'm busy/out.

Lauren said...

OP to Chick--

Thank you for your suggestion! I think that your approach, coupled with Sarah's (above) might be the very best way to approach the issue. I appreciate your taking the time to give some sincere feedback-- thanks! :)

Mariana said...

I just wanted to say that you sound like a great employer!
Just be honest with your nanny. I'm sure she won't be offended.
Good nanny/employer relationships like that are worth fighting for.

Lauren said...

OP to Gigi--

How wonderful that you have such a terrific nanny and that you were both able to accommodate each others' changing needs so that you could keep her as a part of your family! :) I know that, with our current nanny, we won't be as lucky, as she intends to return to graduate school after a year... but hopefully we'll get so lucky with the next one. :)

Since I work predominantly from home, our nanny does do the grocery shopping. I've told her that she's free to pick up anything she'd like for the week (and she does, but apparently not enough). I think I need to reiterate that to her as well as offer her a drawer of her on in the refrigerator, as some of the other posters have (quite helpfully) suggested. :)

Thanks for sharing your insight!

Lauren said...

Thank you, Mariana! I appreciate your comment and insight. :)

Anonymous said...

Your nanny has an eating disorder and if you actually encourage her to buy extra food so she can continue with her binging in an even bigger way, you are enabling her, not helping. Please try to get her the help she needs, and it's NOT groceries.

Anonymous said...

Oh this eating topic gets so intense on this board.

To the OP: you sound like a terrific mom to work for and your nanny is lucky to have you.

I am a nanny myself, and would walk out the door on those of you who insist that Nanny's should not be allowed to eat your food. I have always been encouraged to "help myself" in homes that I have worked in. The first few times I felt as though I was imposing - and brought my own food. Guess what happened? The kids wanted MY food WAY more than their own. I ended up bringing food for myself AND their kids, giving up half (or more) of my lunch, or dealing with massive temper tantrums. It worked out to I was either paying for my lunch and the kids, or I was quite resentful sharing my lunch.

You people who make your nannies bring their own food obviously have no clue.

Love the idea of the weekly menu by the way - posting it on the fridge so she KNOWS you need it, maybe even consulting with her - "hey, DH loves chicken so we're designating Monday as chicken nights" or something like that.

Anonymous said...

Stock your fridge with Slim Fast and encourage her to help herself. Drink one in front of her and exclaim how delicious it is. You might help her with her enormous appetite and resulting obesity. Just a suggestion. Hope it helps.

Anonymous said...

Lauren,

You sound like a good employer, and a kind person. I won't reiterate some of the suggestions above -- it sounds like you've taken them into consideration and will deal with this sensitively. Emphasizing your own desire to be more organized -- especially now that you have twins! -- may deflect some of the embarrassment for her.

You might begin the conversation by praising your nanny and letting her know all the things she is doing right. Also, you might ask your nanny if SHE has any concerns or if anything isn't working out well from her perspective.

It might be good to schedule regular sit-downs with your nanny so that you can both communicate to each other what is working well and what isn't. It will allow you to follow up with this issue (if it isn't resolved) and also to catch other little things before they become issues. And she can feel safe letting you know if she is unhappy with things as well. And if everything is going well for all of you, you'll all know, and no one will worry!

Good luck!

Yes, that Cristi said...

To all those who say their nannies are 'sneaking' around eating:

Being a nanny means you have no designated lunch break. Whenever you sit to eat, it feels like personal time and thus hard to do in front of the parents. I generally do not eat with the children beucause I really don't want to eat what they are eating. So I wait till they are down for quiet time and eat. It still feels like I should be doing something productive instead of 'wasting' my time. I suspect that some (not all...i.e. the sticky baby family) of your nannies are having the same reactions. Especially if you are a stay at home mom. Really, all your nanny needs is permission to eat, not verbal though. Ask her to eat with you. Sit and chat and allow her to feel comfortable eating. Tell her that since the kids are down and you are home, she should feel free to take a few minutes to sit down and relax and eat her lunch. (not to say you are doing her job, but just giving her some time to refresh and renew for the next part of the job)

Yes, that Cristi said...

To the OP:

You have gotten some great advice in here...and it sounds like you have a great nanny too. If she is that wonderful I am sure that she will not want you to be frusterated about this. Approach her, tell her what happened and ask what she thinks is a good idea to make it not happen again. Or if you are not comfortable about it, do the passive-aggressive thing!! Say things like "I was gonna make X for dinner last night but we didnt have Y, can you run to the store and get some so we can have it tonite?" or " Man we had to have pizza for dinner last night again because we ran out of X. It worked out OK, but I really wanted that X...Oh well, next time." Yeah Yeah direct and honest is better, but if you can't at least this brings it up to her attention and lets her fix the problem that she created. There is a good possiblity she doesnt even know it exists yet!!

Oh, can you tell us how it turns out? I would love to hear what you did and how she responded!!

Anonymous said...

Would there even be an issue if the nanny wasn't heavy?

Anonymous said...

Yes there would be an issue if the nanny wasn't heavy.

The OP hasn't said anything bad about her being heavy. The problem is that she is eating all of the families food.

You don't need to search for discrimination all over the place. This isn't a discriminating post, it's the post from someone who has a nanny who eats all the food.

maric said...

For the person who said that you as an employer should not provide food for your nanny who lives-out because they may be paid under the able is WRONG.

Anonymous said...

What about when my nanny family eats MY food? I am a live out nanny, and I am a vegetarian. I sometimes bring my own food, and beverages, and they eat them! My food is more expensive than there's so it kind of ticks me off!

Lil Kim said...

unfortunatley good help is hard to find. feed her!

Anonymous said...

I agree with lil kim here.

Anonymous said...

I am a nanny who "eats on the sly"....I am not overweight but I grew up with a mother who was a closet eater.

The mom works from home in my situation and she barely sees me eat. I am just uncomfortable having her watch me eat, so if she leaves for a few minutes I feel like I have five minutes to just chill the hell out (which does not mean neglect the child--lol). It is so annoying when the parent works from home, because you feel like you HAVE to constantly say "ABCDEFG" even when you don't mean it. The funny thing is, I am a better nanny when the mom ISN'T home partially because I resent her always "listening in on us" from her home office.

Anonymous said...

If this woman is eating the same amount as two grown adults would eat in 3 days she is probably buliamic. That is not healthy. Be blunt, sit her down, and say "we dont mind if you make yourself lunch or a snack during the day, but you have consumed $150 dollars worth of food today. Please stop raiding our fridge, its costly and we are concerned about your health."

Anonymous said...

HEY OP: If your nanny is returning to graduate school next year then suck it up and get over it! The problem will be over fairly soon and then you can smile at your well-stocked fridge and cabinets....

Anonymous said...

2:10 have you read a label of a slim fast? Its sugar! Which is not the best thing to have when trying to lose weight. It isn’t healthy and shouldn’t be consumed in place of meals.

Cozy Sister said...

I don't think it would be at all insulting for you to explain to her that you have plans for the items on your list, so please purchase whatever she wishes to eat in addition to the things on the list. The idea of giving her a designated shelf and refrigerator space is a good one as well.

Anonymous said...

I think it will be awkward any way you look at it. You can't win here.

Anonymous said...

I would not suggest making it a food issue. ALthough I believe it is. Just heard a story about a nanny who left greasy discharge from Allah (sp) all over someone's lagerfield sofa on the east 90's.

She is going to Grad School? Help the Tubster to reduce. Do you have a jog stroller?

Back to the matter at hand just make it like your husband is always hungry and doesnt want to go out at night so you and she need to keep the things stocked.
Say, "I never know what he wants to eat until it's gone and then I hear about it".

She'll get the point and you didn't even to offend Tubbs, the wonder nanny.

Anonymous said...

To give another perspective on this as well, 6:51, I have to completely agree with you. I worked as a nanny through College for a lovely family (with a work-at-home father) I ate on the sly always. Why? Because I felt like I wasn't "allowed" that "break" to eat, and because I felt uncomfortable having him watch me eat, as I also always felt like I was being watched and listened to. (Which obviously can really make a person feel self conscience, after all you have to remember we are in someone else's home, eating their food, and no matter how "at home" we feel there it's still going to feel atleast slightly awkward and "intruding".)

Any way, I the vast majority of the time I did tend to eat when he left, or I knew he was very preoccupied (so he wouldn't be watching me.) I'd just like to mention, that I never once neglected the children in my care to quickly grab a bite to eat (they'd help me prepare the food) or I'd literally walk back and forth from the kitchen into the play area while I prepared the food and then I'd eat it quickly while playing with them etc (again I felt uncomfortable even taking the time to sit down and eat.) I think more nannies than we can even imagine feel uncomfortable and awkward about the whole "break issue"...is is okay for me to sit for 15 mins and have lunch? Is it okay if I have a snack for 4 mins? etc Also, I'd like to mention that I am not overweight, but I did eat more than I've ever ate in my entire life during nannying because it was the most exercise I've ever gotten (and I am an athletic person!) I found that I had to keep my energy up and was hungry more often than normal (yes, I was even able to quit my gym membership! As many of you with children know if you are doing a good job it can be absolutely exhausting.)

Any way, I just wanted to second the eating on the sly, remind of the "break" issue, and comment on the "neglect"...it doesn't take hours to quickly eat a snack, or make a fast sandwich...and I have to say it's nice to finally be able to sit down and eat again! LOL

In closing, I'm sure this is even more awkward for your nanny, as many overweight people are looked down upon in our society and it's Psychologically proven that because of this many of them would prefer to eat in private. Even if you've made it clear to your nanny that it's okay to take a break to eat, you might want to reiderate, my boss stated that it was fine for me, yet on the very rare occasions that I did sit down to eat he'd stand over me and ask stupid questions like "what are you doing?" etc...making it clear to me that I wasn't 'allowed' time off to eat or even rest...inretrospect, I wish I had been forward enough just to ask if it was okay for me take a 20 min. lunch break, or have a 5 min. snack. Communication is key in any healthy relationship including nanny to parent, and parent to nanny. Please put up the menus, give her room for her own food (I would haved LOVED that option, as I was always so uncomfortable eating my employers food that I tended to eat odd things that I knew no one wanted...the 2mweek old left overs for lunch, or my charges half eaten cereal haha) and be open about her being able to sit down and have a half hour lunch while the kids sleep etc. Best of luck, you sound great and so does your nanny!

Anonymous said...

Re: The poster who said you shouldn't provide lunch to nannies who are paid under the table, and can therefore afford to brown bag it. In the kinds of jobs that command year end bonuses that are more than a nanny earns in twenty years, the Co. orders dinner in (from the likes of Nobu) when employees work late. It is a courtesy. If you tell a prospective nanny in an interview that you expect her to brown bag it, she will see that as a red flag for the general way she will be treated, and run for the hills.
BTW, not paying on the books, in addition to being illegal, is exploitive. You are not paying into her S. S. or unemployment insurance.

Anonymous said...

It is apparant that the OP is not concerned as much with the cost of the food rather than the inconvienance of having the food missing when she wants to prepare meals?, Am I getting this wrong, If the OP is not concerned about how much it is costing then she can gently tell the Nanny that she does not have a problem with what she is eating, but she does have a problem with the food not being there when she is expecting to cook the meals, so tell her to please keep a running list on the fridge of what is gone from the fridge and her responsibility should be to always make sure that the fridge is stocked. This may mean that she is going out more often to do the grocery shopping. I don't think it is mean to tell her she must keep the amount of food in the fridge that you have put on the list because YOU need it to make meals for your family. Tell her that you have no problem with her helping herself to food, but she must remember to always keep a running list of what disappears from the Fridge and it is her responsibility to replace it immediately. Ask her to please not take the last portion of something.

Or another good idea is for you to make a list weekly of what meals you will be preparing for your family for dinner and what food items that you must have available to you in the fridge for each of those days. Tell the Nanny that it is her responsibility to make sure that the ingredients that YOU need for each daily dinner is there in the fridge for you..

Anonymous said...

No, the mother is not overly concerned about her ever increasing food bill. However, I believe that this nanny definitely has some kind of eating disorder and the more that there is around to eat, she'll just step up her consumption.

Anonymous said...

8;28 YOU are a horrible b itch for calling that nanny TUBBS

Anonymous said...

8:28 you need to be slapped!

Anonymous said...

Many of you are so damn exhausting! How do you live with yourselves? More importantly, how do your kids live with you? Poor things! You get off the subject, personally insult the person being spoken about (who you dont even know) and are just overall offensive! It makes this website look like its full of nagging bitter bitches who dont have anything else better to do then put people down in order to feel better! So sad! Kudos to those of you who are actually decent and state their opinion without being ignorant!

cali mom said...

Wow, LONG thread!

First, any employer who is so stingy as to expect their nanny to tote along her own cooler of food for the 12 hour shift ought to be worried about how their children are being treated, or where to find their next nanny. You usually get what you pay for and if you treat people like sh*t, that's what you can expect to get back.

As for the original problem, how about a prominent shopping list with absolutely necessary items marked with an asterisk, to make it clear that that's the amount the FAMILY needs available, and assure her that she is ALWAYS welcome to add on to the list for herself, increase the amounts of everything, etc, but you are trying to plan ahead with your meal ingredients so you're specifying how much of everything YOU will need.

ro said...

I think the answers were largely very helpful. From parents and nanny employers. I would venture a guess that the nasty diatribe directed at nannies was posted by the very same SAHM sans nanny who haunts this page attacking both nannies and the people who employ them.

I bet her children hear everyday what a 'sacrifice' she has made for them.

OP Go with the direct approach. She sounds like a great nanny. Make sure she knows how much she is appreciated. A thoughtful greeting card on a friday goes a long way.

Anonymous said...

cali mom, good idea! That will surely get the point across. For good measure, do a computer print-up of the list and highlight the family items.

Anonymous said...

5 words.

NANNY CAMERA IN THE KITCHEN.

Anonymous said...

Ro...there are several people on here that seem to meet that description as well as commenters who use monikers and attack each other mercilessly. No one is terribly tolerant or nice on here. The commenter who said it is exhausting, is right.

ro said...

I don't agree. I see a number of very polite and considerate responses on this thread.

The thing I disagree with is attacking the OP of a nanny sighting for not doing more. Hindsight is 20/20.

Anonymous said...

Ro...who is attacking the OP here? This is a posting about a nanny who is eating all her food.

Is it okay with you that people are referring to this nanny in rude and unpleasant terms? That's okay with you, but it is not okay on other posts if someone expresses that the OP should have done more?

sprak said...

Having read the many comments on here, I really think more emphasis should be placed on the nanny's eating problem. On one hand, it sounds like there's a compulsive eating problem with regard to the nanny which is cutting in on the family's stock of food necessities but to eliminate this from happening, allow the nanny carte blanche at the grocery store so she can buy whatever and eat to her heart's content. A real dilemma here for sure.

chick said...

Sprak, while I agree with you and the others who have mentioned that the the nanny MAY have an eating disorder, I absolutely do NOT think, based on the info we have, that OP is in a position to discuss that aspect of things with nanny.

It sounds as if nanny hasn't been with OP for too long, and IMO, as a nanny, if there isn't a mutually respectful relationship that has built slowly over time, personal discussions are best avoided.

I think that IF nanny has an ED, she will likely be so very mortified by the gentle discussion OP plans about making sure food is on hand for dinners that she will do what she has to do to prevent any further notice of her eating issues.

lauren said...

Chick--

Thanks for addressing that. I know some people have made me out to be a villain because I seem to be ignoring the possibility that my nanny has a food disorder.

It's not that I wish to evade responsibility; it's simply that I feel that it isn't my business to confront a 22 year old, college-educated woman who is in my employ with such a delicate and sensitive personal issue. Our nanny surely has a network of family members and friends that she can turn to for help with personal issues. I think she'd be offended and embarrassed if I, her employer of merely three months, brought up such a sensitive issue to her.

The issue for me is that we hired a nanny partly for convenience so that I can work (from home) without interruption. If our lives weren't so full and busy, it'd be easy for me to just run to the store on a whim to pick up a missing ingredients... but that's not our reality. We're a busy, working family with two tiny, needy infants, so I need to know that the ingredients I've ordered for dinner are going to be there when I go to look for them. I don't have time to run out like that, nor do I necessarily have free time to plan extensive menus in the interest of subtlety.

That said, I think many posters on this thread have offered helpful suggestions. My plan is to be direct about the issue, because being indirect is time-consuming, cowardly, and ultimately will have the same effect on her feelings anyway. I'll tell her that I've noticed that the groceries that I've ordered are often gone when I go to use them. I'll reiterate that she should of course feel free to help herself, but to please make sure she takes her own quantities into account when she does the weekly shopping so that we don't run short. I'll also offer her a place in the refrigerator to store her things. Finally, as per usual, I won't forget to remind her frequently of what a great job she is doing and welcome her to talk to me anytime she has a concern. Did I leave anything out?? :)

needer nanny said...

No, Lauren you have it covered. BUt curiously what happens when she goes off to grad school? I am just curious.

Lauren said...

7:31--

In a year when she leaves to return to college, we'll need to replace her. :)

Anonymous said...

lauren, i am a mom of 3 children and i would love to be your nanny. i am college educated and love kids.

Allie said...

Lauren, you are a nice employer

Anonymous said...

Lots of good comments on here, and lots of mean assumptions.

The size of the nanny is not important. The OP said that this is a very recent thing that has come up, it's possible the nanny is either pregnant or depressed and using food as a comfort. Either way, the employer needs to talk to the nanny to find out if there's a health issue going on. Offer to talk to her as a friend, the nanny could confide what's behind the sudden eating binges.

This is important because if either of those are true, it affects the employer and the child and new arrangements might be made to help out the nanny. If there's depression, it must be dealt with before she continues to care for the small child. If there's a pregnancy, then extra support and a reshuffling of job duties might be in order. The nanny need not be punished in either situation, but as there is a child in the middle, the root of the problem must be figured out.

OP, please just talk to your nanny and find out how she's doing.

Lauren said...

Update:

Today was payday, so I used it as an opportunity to ask my nanny to come sit in my office for a minute. As I was writing her check, I thanked her for the wonderful job that she was doing with the babies and asked her if she had anything she wanted to discuss. Then I brought up the food issue. I told her that recently when I went to look for groceries from the list, they were gone, so she must not be purchasing enough. I reiterated to her that she's welcome to purchase anything she'd like from the store in addition to the things from my list, and I offered her a drawer in the refrigerator to store her things.

She turned a little red and seemed slightly upset, so I tried to make a casual transition to another unrelated, neutral issue. I wanted to end our conversation on a good note so that she didn't go through the day with the food issue being the last thing I discussed with her. This seemed to help, and her disposition was good for the rest of the day.

Thanks again for all of your suggestions! :) Hopefully this solves the problem.

Anonymous said...

maybe she feeds the homneless......or her family

Anonymous said...

I am a nanny who works part time for two different families. Both Mothers right away told me that I am allowed to eat anything I want in the fridge and cupboards. However, I use my common sense. I don't take the steaks out of the freezer and cook them for my personal lunch. If I see something brand new in there, I'll assume it's specifically for a meal or a special time and I won't touch it unless it's already opened and used. Matter of fact, I never open anything for the first time unless it's for the children. One of the mothers just says please eat anything and everything you want because we always end up wasting food. If one of the Mothers has bought something specifically for a meal, they usually end up telling me right away, so it doesn't get used.

I think it's extremely unprofessional to not let your nannies eat from your kitchen. I've only had one job like that, and the Dad worked at home and would come downstairs and make these extravagant, yummy lunches, and not ever once did he offer me any. They said I was allowed to have as much water as I want, and whatever left over coffee they didn't drink in the morning. I lasted about 2 months there! Sure I could have brown bagged it, but with waking up at 5am to be at work by 7, I had no time for breakfast, or packing a lunch! Plus there is no way I would want to brown bag a breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and beverages for myself. Does anyone see how ridiculous that would be?

Anonymous said...

I agree with 11:42am who said...

"Ro...there are several people on here that seem to meet that description as well as commenters who use monikers and attack each other mercilessly. No one is terribly tolerant or nice on here. The commenter who said it is exhausting, is right."

This site is quite popular, so I'd like to think there is more than one person attacking nannies and their employers on this site. I don't think it is a SAHM sans nanny thing. I am a SAHM who is very financially comfortable but without a nanny, and I don't judge anyone's childcare situation.

Anonymous said...

Some people are very enthusiastic about their opinions and get a bit rowdy in defending their stance. What's wrong with that?

cali mom said...

1:40, that is ridiculous indeed and I can only say, what a**holes such people are! I think it reflects on how much they actually care about their children if that's how they treat the peoople who they expect to care for their children.

Anonymous said...

12:34 There is nothing wrong with that except that some people on here personally attack others and make rude geralising opinions and are just downright nasty.

Anonymous said...

what happened to honesty, are you sooo afraid of your nanny that you can't just say please help yourself to this BUT not this because it's for dinner, my children's snacks, my snacks etc....or have her make a list of food items she would like to have in the house & she'll be more likely to stick to it.

Anonymous said...

eh, now I know why I work part time only - the nanny issues would drive me crazy. I have to worry about a housekeeper or what kind car I drive or what kind of bag I carry??? I just thought, pay your sitter well, try to ensure she is comfortable with her job and just get on with it. It gets a little weird otherwise don't you think? Then again I'm not in Manhattan...

andrea said...

I think that good nannies are very hard to come by and you would be foolish to fire her over this matter, how would you feel if in six months time you're still looking for some one who cares for your children like she did?

I think honesty is absolutely the best policy here, if you told her to 'help herself' the worst thing you could do is retract the offer and make her feel greedy or embarrassed. Keep it very very simple, "As I said at the start, feel free to help yourself but when you go grocery shopping could you please buy what you need on top of what is on the list so there's enough food for when you're not here".

Personally, I'd be moritified if the family I worked for thought I was taking advantage of such an offer, I usually only eat leftovers or make myself a sandwich!

The parents I work for are very appreciative of the meals I cook for them from time to time, maybe this is something you could consider including in her contract, that may make her more aware of what needs to be available for cooking evening meals.

Anonymous said...

Lauren, I've been following this thread to see if you posted a follow-up, and I'm glad that the discussion seemed to go well enough with her! I think many of us will benefit from the mostly thoughtful and productive suggestions made here, so thank you for posing the question in the first place.

Rebecca
Chicago, IL.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see all the differing opinions on this subject. If you tell your nanny to have at the pantry don't be surprised when she does, after all, you set the ground rules. Just be polite and confront her if you think there is problem. Treat her with the same respect you would expect in your work place.

When I was a nanny I always carried my own lunch and often found children would want mine instead, which I gladly shared.

When I did short temp work I often found bare as bone pantries. How some of these folks fed families is a mystery to me. Many busy business couples kept home cooked meals to the minimum. I would think the wise thing to do at the beginning is ask the nanny to bring her own lunch. Then as you get to know her better, extend the shared food option.

Again, communication is the key to ANY good working environment.

PEACE

rebecca said...

I don't think anyone else has mentioned this, but in the original post it states that "lately" the nanny has been "eating us out of house and home". If this is a recent change, it may be linked to emotional issues. Might do some good to just talk. As a mother of 4, I know that caring for infants is not all sweetness and light. Why wouldn't nannies get the baby blues too?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the "give her her own fridge space" "shelf space" for her food and tell her she can buy what she likes when she goes to the grocery for you (I imagine she's not buying caviar, champagne.etc.). That's not offensive to anyone; and get the lines established early, just like everything else. You do sound like a very decent person to work for.

Anonymous said...

Lauren....esquire???

julie said...

Nannies should not be getting paid under the table. Being a full time nanny is a career, plain and simple, and she should be treated professionally.

That being said--unless she is cooking an extravagant lunch for the children--a nanny should always bring her own food.

kay grimes said...

Nannies should be treated very respectfully,just like one would treat a schoolteacher,afterall they are the ones you trust your children with.