Thursday

Overextended Nanny No Longer the Best Fit?

Received Thursday, August 30, 2007-Perspective & Opinion
I am seeking advice regarding my current nanny situation. I am a working mother, and recently had my third child. I am returning to work in about a month. I have two older children, one in grade school, and the other who is three and starting preschool for a few hours every day. My current nanny has been taking care of the older two children for a little less than a year. Since she started with us, she has been good with the older two, keeping them busy on outings, playing with them, organizing play dates, disciplining them and she has always been punctual. She never watches TV and is never on the phone. The children are attached to her as she is really like a playmate to them. Many other parents have come up to me and said what a great nanny she is by observing her on the playground.There have been a few concerns however…she started taking college classes in the evening once she started working for us, and seems stressed and burned out by this. This upcoming semester she is taking on a very big load. She has on several occasions told me at the last minute that she isn’t coming in because of college testing/admissions procedures/etc, which was really difficult with my work schedule, but I understood, b/c we all have those types of moments. She is young and healthy, but almost every other day comes in complaining about various ailments (headaches, sinuses, cramps,stomach problems, knee problems) and on many occasions has come in telling me how she didn’t sleep the previous night. On one occasion, she took some allergy medication that made her sleepy and she actually fell asleep while watching my child. I was horrified but I did appreciate the honesty that she displayed by telling me about the incident. One of my biggest concerns is that my husband and I have had a really difficult time connecting with her. When she comes in our door in the mornings, she barely says hi and then proceeds to retreat into the kids’ room or kitchen or bathroom,despite my attempts at friendly overtures and asking about her night, etc. If she chooses to say something in response to my queries, it is usually a complaint about how ill she feels today or how she didn’t sleep the previous night.!!) She doesn’t even really acknowledge the kids when she comes in either, and that doesn’t really seem to bother them, it just bothers me. Now that I am home with the baby, it just tends to be awkward the entire day, and she retreats even more, and is not very responsive to the baby. I am not expecting her to take care of the baby, but a little positive enthusiasm and energy would be nice. I know some of this behavior is because she is incredibly awkward with other adults around. When I go back to work, I am thinking about hiring another nanny for the baby, especially with winter coming up, for just one year.I know that my current nanny could not handle three kids, even with the older being in school most of the day. I have a person in mind for the baby who is very different culturally than my current nanny(not that it matters). I really need to the two adults in the home to get along and work together, and recently I spoke to my current nanny about this and my concerns regarding her awkwardness. Her response was “Well, I have no choice, so I’ll have to get along with her.” There was no enthusiasm and no energy at all in her statements. All of this just really leaves me uneasy. I just don’t want to return to work and realize that I need to make a change then, when my gut is telling me to do something about it now. I have found someone else who might be better fit for us. I just feel bad terminating her employment with us because 1) the children are attached to her and I don’t want to put the kids, especially the 3yr old, through yet another change and 2) I know that she has taken on more expenses with college. I would plan on giving her two week severance pay and I would give her a good reference regarding her work with the children. I would appreciate any thoughts anyone has on this. Thanks.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

This nanny should be ethanized. I am having a hard time finding any redeeming values here. I hate negativity. What is to complain about? Your kids are probably whiners too. On account of listening to her. I would chose very carefully who I let influence my children. One well paid, positive, professional American nanny can handle all three children! The fact that she has overextended herself is NOT your concern. She hasn't even been there for a YEAR!

Anonymous said...

My last nanny lit up the room when she walked in the house. And when she had something to complain about- she always wove it into a funny ancedote. I don't know how you can deal with the grim reaper showing up everyday. She would ruin my entire day!

Anonymous said...

she sounds like she is depressed. I understand your children are very attached to her but if she is in a depression she needs to get help as it isn't helping her or your children.

Anonymous said...

Had a nanny that made my life misrable- never said hello, left at EXACTLY 5pm not one second over. Could not have been more rude with adults but was amazing with my child. We had arranged when she was hired that she would stay a year, we offered to allow her to leave early she was so misrable- but didn't want to becaue she had " made a deal" Very glad my child was so pleased and happy, but have to say- seeing how quickly he adjusted to the evil nanny leaving and his new lovely nanny beginning to work with him. I wish we would have dumped our nasty one sooner. We explained it to our son that our old nanny needed to go back to be with her mommy. Our son never questioned it and our house is SO much happier. it's a shame as it sounds like she was truly great for a while, just now has other ambitions. Maybe she can stay in the kids life as an occasional evening babysitter if you ever need.

Chicago Mom said...

I just had my 4th baby and have a nanny that I could not live without. She is great with the kids, around the house and is pleasant to spend time with as well. I understand the feelings that your children are attached to the nanny but if you are really unhappy with the way that she behaves I would plan on hiring someone else that you think is a better fit.

My nanny walks in the door and my husband and I end up chatting with her for at least 10-15 minutes while the girls are still sleeping and we are getting ready to leave. At the end of the day it is the same thing. If you are going to be home and she is making this household have a bad feel than I think you are doing the right thing.

I also think that if you aren't sure that she could handle 3 kids on her own that is another excellent reason to look elsewhere, unless you want to hire 2 nannies. I know that finding someone that is able to watch more than 2 children at once takes some searching and that it is exhausting and not many nannies can do it well but when you find the right one (in all aspects) she will make your life so much easier.

I truly do not know what we would do without our nanny and I have no uneasiness about going back to work after my maternity leave this time and leaving her with my 4 girls!

Good Luck!

Chicago Mom

Anonymous said...

I think that in general it is very important to follow your gut with sitters and nannies.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused as to how you just had your third child when you describe having four already.

Nanny Dana From Philly said...

I am a nanny, and I am very much on your side with this. I have an outstanding relationship with my "mom" and "dad" that I work for. When I walk in the door in the morning they get a hello from me, a little conversation (Nothing ever of great detail because the child is usually pulling on my hand to go play with him) I came upon a situation last year during the summer where I went away with them for the first time down to the Jersey shore for 3 weeks. When I was there I got a little miserable, a little depressed, and was not eating. However, it didn't really have anything to do with them. (I was getting married immediately upon my return home from the trip and was very stressed with my wedding planning and being away) However, in spite of all this, I was able to talk to them about it and let them know my stress and despite all the problems that I was having that my stress brought on, I let them know that I was planning on seeking help and if they could just give me a little time to turn it around that I promise them that it will get so much better. And it did. You hire someone to take care of your most prized possessions (your children) They are the end all and be all of your existance, which means that because is such an important job and your children are the most important thing to you, it should make an automatic connection between the parents and the nanny. For your nanny to be walking in the door and barely speaking to you, something is not right. Go with your gut, but maybe try setting up a meeting time with her first. Go out for coffee just you and her..and try to talk..see if there is other things on her mind. Ask her if she thinks she needs some kind of help in any way and you can assist her in finding that help. Show friendship to her. And it seems like you try, but maybe if you try that approach..maybe she doesn't realize how miserable she sounds. When people are depressed, they normally dont realize how much they darken a room. But keep in the back of your mind, that if you do take this approach by helping her seek help if she needs it, that you know what is best for your kids. And if you think that her attitude may start to take a toll on them..then you need to do what you need to do. I mean, I am nanny..and I'm telling this. I would never in my life want my family that I am with to come to me and tell me that they are letting me go for this reason or that reason.. other than the kids are 40 and its time to move on (a little joke) But back to all seriousness.. you are the mom..and you have to do what you feel is right. I know its hard.. because its not like this is some office job, or anything that it.. I mean, its on a very personal level..and your kids love her.. but seeing as though your kids are so young, you still know whats best for them more than they do..

And you to impliment what you think is best for them.. even if its one of the hardest things you ever have to do. With any situation.. not just a nanny situation.. but anything that comes up in their life.

Best of luck and keep us updated.

Anonymous said...

A top professional nanny can handle three children. Rather than two nannies, I would invest the time and $ in finding a really terrific professional. Someone who choose to make this her career, and loves the job. You will be happier, and so will your children.

Anonymous said...

Oh 10:57 I couldn't agree more, stop hiring these people from all walks of life who venture into nannying because it's quick and easy with good pay. Invest in someone who has made this their profession, one who loves kids, loves the work....sure we cost a little more but aren't your children worth it???? AND she's right any halfway decent nanny can soar thru 3 kids....Cut her loose and hire a pro...

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Your nanny needs to go. She does have too much on her plate and she sounds like a real negative nelly. I too, would wonder how that affected your children. I just spent a week with children whose nanny is a real whining bore and the children had picked up some of her negative mannerisms. Very unsettling. I attempted to point it out to the children's mother but she seemed oblivious. (Or didn't want to see).

Nature vs. Nurture.
NURTURE NURTURE NURTURE

cali mom said...

It does sound like a change would be a good thing for your family, and better now than later, after you're all stressed out trying to go back to work and taking care of a newborn.

Anonymous said...

You sound like a wonderful employer and you have more patience than I do. If something out of the ordinary happens that causes you to not get any sleep, that is a story. To come to work bitching about the sleep you didn't get means to me that you are unprepared for work. Knees? Tummy aches?

I understand that your children are attached to her. She must have some very redeeming values for you to still have her there. However, she sounds a far cry from Polly perfect. There are some exceptional nannies out there.

Find a nanny that fits with your family's lifestyle. My ideal candidate would not be in school or have a second job. I would want the person to be excited to come to work-you know the type- her mind is always thinking of what she can do or is going to do?

Don't let yourself get taken advantage of. "well I have no choice I'll just have to get along with her". What??? Being a nanny is not a job for a team player kind of job, so I understand her lack of enthusiasm but unless she is harboring some resenment against you, she should have given you a better response.

As a working mother, home with a newborn- this is time for you and your children. Do you really need this stick in the mud sulking around?

Good luck with everything.

Anonymous said...

If the cultural difference doesn't matter then why did you mention it?

Anonymous said...

again, what are you waiting for..her to sleep with 3 kids home...dont wait until something bad happends...
school and work is hard ( i did it in my 20's )....but when you hire a nannie she should be FULL time a Nannie...
get a new nannie..

the poster said...

Thank you to all who have commented so far. I appreciate all the insightful comments and suggestions. I sat down this morning and spoke to my nanny, and I let her go. It was really one of the most difficult things I've ever done. She didn't understand or see it coming at all, and wasn't really receptive to my suggestions that all is not right, so I didn't push it. I didn't want her to feel worse. I feel really bad for her, but in the end I know that I've made the right decision for my family.

Heidi said...

OP, I am so glad you did not drag it out. It is a stressful wait and wonder thing. Best of luck to you.

Nanny Dana From Philly said...

You did the right thing. I wish you the best of luck with a new nanny. The kids will miss her but they bounce back fast. The nanny will be okay after a little bit of time. Sometimes these things just need to happen.

Anonymous said...

You did the right thing. There may be more going on when you aren't home - who knows. With another nanny around, you'll get extra supervision for your children and may find out that your regular nanny is doing a great job or not. This is a win-win situation for you.

C-

Anonymous said...

C?
hu? the nanny got axed.

Anonymous said...

C?
The nanny got 86'd today

Anonymous said...

Your nanny is obivouly very worn out. You can't take care of kids when you are that worn out. You did the right thing. This will be better for your children and their wellbeing is most important. Good luck with new nanny and try not to beat yourself up over this.

the poster (OP) said...

So I still just feel awful about letting her go. We ended with hugs and tears. I just hope that she can secure another job soon that might be a better fit for her. I think she also realizes that she needs another job (less demanding)that might actually allow her some free time to study. Perhaps she will feel more comfortable and therefore be more communicative with another family. I know that she needs the money and I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility regarding this. In many ways, she is very childlike, which is probably why she is so good with kids, but not the adults. I don't think that she is even remotely aware of the appearance she projects by complaining about lack of sleep and her "ailments". In any case, I just feel horrible.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like she recently got into drugs. I'm just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you would ponder this decision this long. Or even at all. True your childrens happiness is important but their safety is first. If you are uncomfortable with this nanny, dump her. She should be not only kind to your children but to you as well. This is a red flag! And remember children learn what they live, do you want your children learning to be like this person! Your childrens few moments of unhapppiness when your boot this girl will be replaced with months, perhaps years of joy for your children and your peace of mind when you replace your nanny. Get a ggod one, a proffessional. If you are gonna spend the $ for two nanies and one you are already uncomfortable with, why not get one that you can pay well and be comfortable with. After all your current nanny may put all her work and negative attitude on the new nanny. TRUST YOUR GUT, Your kids health, happiness and safety depend on you!

Anonymous said...

Here's the best scenario of all: How about you put down that latte & raise YOUR CHILD. (minus the nanny) Job? Yes, most of us have one (also minus the nanny)

Give the life most of us know a try...you will be amazed...

BTW... I'm not wealthy when it comes to money...but I am blessed more than you will ever be when it comes to the love I receive from my child (and all the unspoken rewards that come with it).

Definition of (PARENT):
1. To bring up to maturity, as young; to educate; to instruct; to foster; love with guidence
2. To act as a parent to; raise and nurture: “A genitor who does not parent the child is not its parent” (Ashley Montagu).

Anonymous said...

12:47: are you just doing a copy and paste of that comment from every post you comment on? I agree with you for the most part, but it kind of loses it's impact when you parrot it over and over verbatim.

Anonymous said...

The kicker was when this nanny feel asleep while the children were in her care. OP said that when she let her go that she wasn't receptive to her suggestions either. I mean, if she didn't fall asleep on duty even though OP said she was honest about it then that might be different. But GodForBid..something could have happened to one of the kids. That would have been bad. I feel bad for nanny in this situation especially since she seemed like she got along with the kids really hard... its very hard when you are let go of a job..BUT OP needed to put her family's welfare first. And if OP let her go, then she felt that is what she really needed to do. I mean, I just can't get past the falling asleep part. And maybe if nanny was able to connect with the adults more, this would not have ended this way.

OP: You should be able to connect with your nanny given that she takes care of your kids. For me, her being able not to connect to you and her falling asleep would have been enough for me to let her go. Even if I felt horrible about it.

Anonymous said...

OK, here is what makes me nutty. If you are a responsible person you will DEFINITELY share *all* with the next family. They need to know what they're getting.

Anonymous said...

OP:

I think if this nanny goes out for another nanny position and they call you for a ref you need to be completely honest. I know you want to help her and not hurt her chances in anyway of finding another job because you feel responsible. But if you felt uncomfortable with your nanny because she was overworked and couldn't connect with adults, then you need to be honest with the next family. Because you wouldn't want to find yourself in this situation again, so you should try to help other people avoid it as much as possible. I mean, this nanny obviously wasn't a horrible person. You say she was great with the kids. I'm not telling you to ruin her career, but be honest when families call you for a reference.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. She was GREAT with the kids, but...... I don't think she can handle more than 2 and she's doesn't connect well with adults, can have a negative outlook sometimes.... blah, blah, blah.

Wendy said...

Well all is well that ends well. The nanny does not need to be black listed because she does not "connect" with the adults in the family. Her job was primarily to take care of the children. The nanny made an error in talking too much about her ailments and her studies. That was not professional. If she is good with children she would find another job soon. I wish both parties luck. And yes I agree that any nanny worth her salt should be able to nurture 3 children with some foresight and planning.

Anonymous said...

If it's no big deal that she isn't good with adults then why not mention it? To me, that would be a big deal. A nanny who can't talk to adults sure in hell isn't having many playdates.

Belinda said...

Here is an idea...since you are home with your baby how about you look after your other 2 kids by yourself as you did choose to give birth to them

Anonymous said...

Excellent point Belinda!

Evil said...

I'm quite surprised that People You'll See In Hell doesn't have more nanny's on it.

Regardless, if the nanny doesn't fit, you're doing your children a disservice by keeping her. With all the problems this one seems to have, I can't see how you can justify keeping her.

Anonymous said...

If YOU can't handle your OWN 3 children without a nanny...WHY would you think that someone else would do it with enthusiasm??? Keep in mind you're paying her to take care of the kids NOT to smile about it.

Anonymous said...

To 8:17...That is a nanny's profession to take care of children, and yes to handle more than one with some enthusiasm. The nanny chose that profession, not the parent, if she doesn't like doing it then she shouldn't have applied for the job. How are people bad mouthing mothers for having nanny's? You are on a site that does nothing but talk about them, if you don't like it get off of the site.

Anonymous said...

Hmm..maybe she doesnt want to talk to you about "her night, etc" because she can pick up from you that you find her "complaining" about certain ailments tormenting her annoying. She why would she want to talk to you at all about anything? Duh!

Anonymous said...

Your current nanny's frequent complaints of physical problems, excuses for tardiness or absence, difficulty interacting with other adults, claims (?) of heavy studying/class schedules, lack of enthusiasm....I think your uneasiness is justified. My gut feeling (suspicion) is substance abuse (drugs? alcohol?) may be involved here...perhaps to self medicate depression or another condition. It just doesn't sound healthy at all; it isn't healthy. Perhaps ask her outright, suggest she get some help. Bottom line, though: get a new nanny. This one's headed for trouble if she isn't already in trouble.

Annette said...

I wonder why you had another child if you can't handle the others when you are home with them? I mean - I have 3 young children and take care of them by myself. I had a nanny when I was pregnant and working with my third child on the way. When she was born I stayed home and watched the other two. Isn't that the job of the mother? I find it sad that you continue having children that you obviously cannot handle. Please don't give birth to any more!

Anonymous said...

This nanny sounds depressed. Especially the "no enthusiasm and no energy at all" in her statements. Miscellaneous pains and physical ailments, maladjusted relationships...You say this leaves you uneasy. Me too. Listen to your instincts. I recommend getting a different nanny. I would be afraid of what a depressed person might do impulsively to herself or others. Especially if she's on antidepressants, some of them cause hostile side effects, as we know from news stories.

Anonymous said...

Here's my take.. it sounds as if your nanny might be partying a bit too much.. all the headaches and falling asleep during work, etc, it just seems a bit too much to be just someone tired from studying, espeically if it happens all the time. I have seen this happen before and from what you posted, it sounds as if all her ailments can't possibly be caused from school alone! In my experience, if that is the case, it will more likely get worse than better. I know a lot of college kids party and that in and of itself is not a horrible thing,in fact it's pretty normal, but if your kids (or you) are feeling the effects, it may be time to move on to a different person with a little more energy.

the op said...

to annette and all the others who are making judgements regarding nannys and moms who are at home together, working mothers and just other silly judgements in general: read the facts before you start writing and judging. OR better yet, don't post.

I am a working mother, and I have to go back to work to help support my family--again, this post wasn't meant to attract those who wish to only degrade working mothers or other types of situations. You have no idea what circumstances I or any others are in--we all do the best we can for our children, in whatever manner and style that works for us.

For the record, while on maternity leave, I employed my nanny because it was my intention for her to continue with us (for the older two) when I go back to work. I didn't think it would be fair to her to get another job just during my leave. And again, the plan was to really find someone else to help with the baby. However, during my maternity leave, I didn't need her that much and really didn't want her around either because of the previously stated behavior, so in fact, she has been off (paid) much of this time, largely because I DID want to care for all the kids myself. I have a few weeks more before I go back to work, and just being with my kids alone is completely worth it. It is fun, and exhausting and fatiguing, but again rewarding and great at the end of the day.
I did end up finally ending her employment with us. I agree with some of the other posters that it seems like depression admixed with some personality issues. I don't think that she would be the substance abusing/party animal type (for religious reasons), but I guess you never know. I did try to broach it with her a few times, but she wasn't receptive to my comments, so I didn't push it. I will be honest if she seeks another job; I feel that we sort of got a false reference from her previous employer, and I know only too well how important references are for parents' peace of mind.

I appreciate all the thoughtful comments that really supported my decision. It is a huge leap of faith to entrust someone else to care for your children during the day (and again, let's not debate about working mothers vs SAHMs)--that person SHOULD care for your children with enthusiasm and professionalism. I realized by going through this process that expecting less was really shortchanging my children and myself.

Anonymous said...

first you need to just chill for a second......as far as the nanny not being excited to tell you about her night....why the hell do you care....that is HER night.....it sounds to me like your looking for a best friend rather than a nanny, just let her do her job and quit looking for negatives....crazy bitch

Anonymous said...

Drug test her.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone listening to OP at all??? She said she already terminated the employment of the nanny. I mean, the OP was having trouble connecting with the nanny and if you read the whole original post..the nanny feel asleep while watching the children. This isn't a good situation. Perhaps the OP would have tried to help her in anyway that she could if the nanny was receptive of her comments and made an effort to be honest if things were bothering her. When you hire someone to take care of your kids, that SHOULD give you an instant relationship and want to make you feel connected with your nanny.

I am totally on OP's side with this and I am a professional nanny of 10 years.

I think you people just get bored and pick fights for no reason. Parents attacked. Nannies attacked. You all just need to get over yourselves and get a life.

Anonymous said...

9:30: You are on here arguing with the other commenters about their opinions and telling them (us) what is right based on your 10 years as a nanny, then you have the gall to tell US to get a life? What is your excuse?

Anonymous said...

Professional Nanny of 10 years,
are you really?
or are ya just a patsy?

i to the single second lettah

Anonymous said...

From your description of the situation, it is time to find a new nanny and let this one go.
Among other things, from what you say, she has all the signs of being out partying (e.g., cocaine) often (excuses such as "allergies" "no sleep" etc. are common, as is the desire to be reclusive "the morning after").
You would be doing your children a DISservice to keep her, in my opinion.
She isn't enthused; she'll find another job and you'll have better care and more comfortable interaction with a new (well-screened) nanny.

Anonymous said...

OP:

I'm a nanny and its a good thing you let this nanny go. When I have a bad day, I try to push it aside when dealing with the children. The parents of the children and the children should not have to suffer if nanny is having a bad day. Seems like perhaps your nanny just had too much going on with school and work..and perhaps depression that she hasn't dealt with.

Good luck with new nanny.

Anonymous said...

I am a nanny of a 3yr old 2yr old and 9 month old, I have been with this family since the 3yr old was 7 months old. (I'm the nanny spotted at the park on fairbank rd in sudbury ma) When I first started I was home with the mom for 4 months, and when the baby was born she was home again for over a month. I can't imagine you not being able to talk to your nanny. I eat meals with my family, stay overnight occasionally, and the mom and I have movie nights and go shopping with and without the children! I even see them on holidays and most days off because they are like a second family. I am hardly one to advicate firing someone, but I think you need to go with the new person who seems to be a better fit. The children although attatched will most likely love the new nanny just as much if not more, because if you get along with her as well as the children then the home will be an even better place.

Anonymous said...

OP:

Did you find a new nanny?

Hows it working out for you? Are you over the guilt of letting go of the other one? Does the children still ask for the other nanny?

OP said...

an update:

I did get a new nanny and she is ABSOLUTELY wonderful with the kids, and me. I have no regrets, and no longer any guilt. I go back to work soon feeling really good about my decision. My kids still ask for the old nanny, but they love the new nanny too (they just want both).

cali mom said...

Is 2:45 that slutty 14 year old who posts potty stuff all day, or some other ignoranus? (No, that's not a typo.)