Received Monday, January 28, 2008-Perspective & Opinion
Dear nannies and mummies,
I have a few questions to ask you... First of all, just so you know, I live in Paris France and not in the states, but your site was the only one I found dealing with nanny/ childcare queries. Let me start, last September I started looking after seven year old twins, one girl one boy, although their mother doesn't work I understand her needing a little help as her husband works in the U.S. so he's only there one week a month. I typically look after the children 25 hours a week on Mondays and Tuesdays I pick them up from school at 4.15 pm and look after them, take them to the park , make sure homework and piano gets done and learnt etc..,prepare their supper (according to instructions that get left out), shower them and put them to bed at 8.30pm after reading a story or two. I leave when the mum gets back from her yoga/drawing/pottery class at 9pm. On Wednesday I pick them up at 1pm ( no school on Wednesday afternoon in France) and take them swimming, (they don't have lessons but as I'm quite a confident swimmer I'm trying to teach them myself) , then depending on the weather we either go to the park or do an arts and crafts project I stay until 8.30 or 9pm. On Saturday morning I pick them up at 9am and take them to a museum or a show or sometimes even to a matinee film (we have to be out as mum has her coffee morning at the apartment before going out), we then go to the library to choose books for the week ( They are both little bookworms and read well above their age range.) We have a late lunch of things we've chosen together at the market that is on our way home from the library and their mum gets back around 3pm. On Sundays I pick them up at 10 and take them to their grandparents in the suburbs (1 hour in he train... i don't drive) and then in the evenings I pick them up at 6 from the station ( their grandmother brings them back to Paris) and drop them back home. I'm not sure I'm really a "nounou" (nanny) as I'm not full time ,I'm still in college and I'm 19 but I am starting to get a bit peeved about just be referred to as their babysitter... I don't just "sit" them , I care about them deeply and try to make their time with me as educational as possible for them without stopping it being fun. I genuinely enjoy their company and whenever I open the door they seem pleased to see me. I love spending time with them and even though I know I'm under paid (7 euros an hour ;the going rate is 8 to 10 and the family does not have money issues they are extremely well off), I prefer looking after them rather that having to deal with the hassle of telling the mum I need a raise etc or working for another family who doesn't share my values and appreciate what I do. However this evening I found out from the cleaning lady that when she looks after the children on the rare occasion I can't make it ( it has happened 3 times since September) she gets 10 euros an hours ( for cleaning she gets 15 euros , I don't know if this applies in the states but in Frances you pay more for cleaning that for childcare it is normal)... I am trilingual, have always been a scholarship kid , I can read music , i consider myself to be fairly well educated I do activities with the children , the cleaning lady is extremely sweet to me and the children but considers plonking the children in front of the T.V. while feeding them whatever they want to be an educational afternoon she does not speak french but the children understand English.I had always thought that the mum just didn't know about the going rate but now i feel abused and betrayed what is going on? I love the children but i need to confront the mum?What should I do?Thank you for taking the time to read my long post. I look forward to reading your suggestions.
-A currently lost french Caregiver