Thursday

Food Issues and the Nanny...

Received Thursday, February 21, 2008-Perspective & Opinion
Hello everyone,
I was hoping that you might be able to assist me with some food issues I am having with my nanny. My former nanny left in October and the new nanny started in November right before Thanksgiving. We were doing a lot of entertaining and hosting a lot of visiting family, so we always had a ton of food in the house. All sorts of foods, holiday fair, appetizers, etc. The nanny was welcomed to have lunch from our refrigerator. When she would see my cooking in the evening, I would say there would be leftovers and ask her if I should save her some. She was very polite and asked that I would. This surplus of food went on through the holidays.

In January, we began eating normally again. I work from home and have a home office that is detached from the home, so while I may come in for a meal, I am never underfoot of the nanny. She knows my schedule and is free to set up her own with the child, which cannot involve me when I am working. The nanny gets the children's lunch ready for a certain time and I come over to have lunch with the children and will usually have a lean cuisine or when I am out meeting clients in the morning, I might pick up a chicken salad or a sandwich. The benefit of working from home is that I get to join my children for their meals and sit down and talk to them. If I ask the nanny if she is eating, she always say, "I couldn't find anything". Then I throw a bunch of suggestions at her. I have shared sandwiches with her, given her lean cuisines, etc. This is problem 1. It seems I am now responsible for her lunch. Quite frankly, I don't want to be responsible for her lunch.

But that is not the only problem. My previous nanny was quite overweight, but I never noticed that she depleted our food supply. She seemed quite modest with her food intake, at least when our food was concerned. I have two children under 3.5. The house is stalked with a lot of child friendly foods including yogurts, cheeses, animal crackers, kids meals, kids mac, chicken nuggets, oatmeal's, kid's cereals, milk, chocolate milk, oatmeal, etc. And I am constantly running out of things. I don't know where she puts it. The amount of milk we are going through is outrageous with two children in the house. I don't know when she eats it or where she puts it. I wouldn't call her thin, but she is not fat. To be honest, I am less likely to want to address this problem and more concerned about the lunch problem.

The nanny's hours are M-Thursday from 8-6 and Friday from 8AM-1Pm. She is not paid on the books, but is paid $750 per week cash. We live in an area where if she wanted to get out, she could put the children in the stroller and walk to town and get herself what she wanted. She is not stuck in the house, I encourage her to take the children out. She walks to our house from the train station every morning and each night. So aside from being fit enough to turn an outing for the children into an opportunity to pick up a lunch she might like, we also have a nanny vehicle available for her to drive around town.

The last problem I have is that the nanny takes the train home and only recently I have observed her packing a bag for the train. The bag usually involves a juice box or water bottle, a sandwich and a baggy full of gold fish or animal crackers or something. I know calling this a "problem" is a stretch. I am not a petty person, quite frankly I am more concerned where this is heading. Is this normal conduct for a live out nanny? If it, I will surely adjust my attitude. Maybe having an overweight nanny who was overly conscience of what she ate around us might have spoiled me a bit to the real food needs of an adult? I am asking for serious advice from nannies or employers. As a mom who works out of the home, it is especially important to me to have a solid relationship with my nanny and I have to admit, a part of me resents what I sometimes feel is greediness. Am I wrong?

134 comments:

Jenna said...

I think you are over reacting. She spends 10 hours with you M-Th - you can't expect her to not eat during that time. Also, it may appear that she is eating the kids food more because it's easier to grab and eat quickly while she's watching your kids. Typically an adult meal takes longer to prepare - she doesn't have enough time to cook herself some pasta for lunch (it's easier to grab a bowl of cereal). Maybe you should ask her what lunch things she would like in the house? I nannied for a family for 3 years and my employer always had the lunch meats that I liked available to me so I didn't have to eat chicken nuggets. It wouldn't be much money to buy 1/2 lb of turkey every week.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I agree. I think if you were to sit down with her and ask what 'few things' she would like it would take care of her rifling through your kids food.

She is there for 10 hrs. a day ... that's long enough for the average person to consume 3 meals and a snack. I'm sure if she were to go out and buy every meal, every day ... that would get extremely expensive.

Be the 'good guy' ... feed your Nanny. ☺

Anonymous said...

I'm an RN and I work 12 hour shifts. When I want to eat a real meal, I go to the cafeteria and buy it. If not, I pack a lunch. It does sound a bit like greed to me. Especially the packing up to take food from your home!

Anonymous said...

I think that packing a bag of food to take with her when she leaves each night may be a bit much. Other than that, it seems pretty normal, and not unacceptable. Also, despite the fact that most people realise there is more food around the house during the holidays, this initiation time obviously lead her to believe you had no issues sharing your food. I think the suggestion of providing some things for her lunch and maybe a few snacks is a good one

gloria said...

You shouldn't have to provider her lunch or worry about her meals. You have a job that you should be worrying about, isn't that why you have a nanny? Some of these nannies want to be taken on like additional children. No thank you. If I wanted that responsibility, I would hire an au pair!

I had the same situation once. We spoke about meals in advance because my husband works from home. She was going to bring her own in. My husband has an office right off of the kitchen, probably not an ideal set up for any nanny.
Every day he would make a hero sandwich. He would go to the deli 2 or 3 times a week and get cheeses, meats and wedge buns. And his sandwiches are huge, roast beef, turkey and swiss.

While I am off working all day in a real office with no time for such sandwich making, my husband and nanny start comparing sandwich notes. Apparently nanny is a sandwich affecianado. So dh, being the tool that he is starts making her a sandwich here or there. Soon, she recriprocates. I don't know any of this until I come home one day, sick with a virus that had gone around my stagnate office and see nanny and dh sitting in comfort at the kitchen table with impossibly proportioned submarine sandwiches. Nanny is reading a novel, dh is reading the paper. The children are in school and napping. Still, for some reason it pissed me off. I don't know how much he was spending on coldcuts, as outrageous as it was, just the two of them sitting their so comfortably pissed me off to no end. And I let it be known. It was completely irrational and to this day it is a running joke between the nanny, dh and I. That was over two years ago.

The point of my story, is anything food related- if it doesn't have to do with your children's diet- let it go! If you have a good nanny, you have to allow for some other things. I don't know anyone who has a perfect nanny or a perfect nanny set up. And I don't know any perfect employers. Ebb & flo.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I'm sorry, I forgot to address the packing food issue ...

I'm guessing she is doing this to eat on the train ride home. If she has something to eat in the evening, maybe she would stop doing this because this is unacceptable. Packing food from your fridge and taking it without asking is kind of rude and presumptuous.

mom said...

I agree with most posters here. I would get her some food to eat during the day.
But I think it is really rude and presumptious of her to pack food from your fridge for after work.

Once my brother and sister in law and kids came to stay with us for a few days before taking a driving trip of about 5-6 hours to see some other relatives in another state. Before they left on their drive, my bro in law asked to borrow our cooler so they could have drinks and snacks for the trip. I assumed that they were going to stop by the grocery store 4 blocks away to get some ice, drinks and snacks. I gave him the cooler and my husband and I stood there aghast as he proceeded to empty our ice bin into the cooler and then filled it up with most of the soft drinks in our fridge and a whole bunch of food from our fridge as well! Who does that?

Anonymous said...

lol - rude & presumptuous people, of course!
Not.nice.

anonymous1 said...

I think I saw those same relatives of yours, mom, in a Chevy Chase movie about the Christmas Holiday!

Sarah said...

With every family I have nannied for, they have always provided all the food for the time I was there. That's not to say I ate them out of house & home or took advantage of them. A lot of the time, I would do the family grocery shopping as well, and every family I worked for asked that I please get myself some groceries too, so I could have lunches and snacks with the kids.

If you don't think you should be providing her lunch, think about it.. she has to get ready in the morning to come to your house, she has to be around "snack monsters" all day long (kids), she wears herself out playing with them and having fun (hopefully), and then has to take a big commute home.

I think that spending an extra $20 per week on groceries and snacks for her would be helpful. That, or be prepared to make a shelf in both the fridge and cabinet for her to put her food, exclusively saved for her only. Even when parents bought my food, they wouldn't touch it, although I never asked them not to. They just didn't.

Anonymous said...

Most(if not all) nannies get food as part of the package. In general, nannies eat when the kids eat.

What you should do:

ask nanny to write a list of what she needs for food so that you can buy it when you do your groceries.

I agree that packaging food home is not normal but it's also possible that she does this because she hasn't had much to eat during the day and needs it to survive the trip home;)

Parents: If you don't provide food for your nanny, please state this upfront because most nannying positions offer food as part of the package !

Sarah said...

By the way, I am not saying that taking food from your home is acceptable. I really don't think that's the issue though with her. Maybe buy her a small gift (no you don't HAVE to, but hang on before ya flame me), of a traveler's water bottle and a box of her favorite crystal geyser. That way, she knows that is what you expect her to use when she leaves, if anything at all. Talk to her about bringing snacks home with her, and you can even say it confuses you why she does it. A snack baggie of goldfish, in my mind, is not a big deal. Still rude, but not the end of the world. But sandwiches, the kids' juice boxes, etc. is inappropriate. Just ask her to bring along a few boxes of her favorite snacks so she can pack THOSE to bring home, and you can say it's because when you go to get the kids' snacks, it is sometimes missing or almost gone. And that's hard to plan grocery shopping around. And leave it at that.

Just remember, like I said, if she does bring her own things, respect that they are hers and don't eat/drink them. That will hopefully set the example that you wish to receive from her.

mom said...

Hehehe!
Actually my husband's sister IS like that...ALL THE TIME...but not the brother who did this. (I think that's why we stood in shock and said nothing. It was completely out of character for them. I cannot imagine what they were thinking!)

Don't even get me started on the sister. She is truly like a comic book hero whose amazing superpower is the ability to mooch from everybody around her...and lacks the shame to even try to hide it.

Here is but one (OK two) small example(s): (Way to go wayyyy off topic, eh?) MY husband's sister's husband is an airline pilot and gets free passes to fly. These can be given to immediate family members. She offered these tickets to us on a number of occasions, which was nice (or so we thought)and all we had to do was "reimburse" them for the "small tax fee" the airline would charge them. Fair enough. But the tickets got more and more expensive each time(and there was always some logical explanation as to why...(rising jet fuel costs, etc.) But soon the tickets were barely any cheaper than simply buying our own, and we always risked being bumped from our flights with the "free" ones. So, I happened to mention to one of our friends, who happened to be in management at the same airline, that we were going to stop using the "free" tickets altogether because with the price being so close to a regular ticket, it seemed pointless. He then asked me what we had last paid my husband's sister for our "free" tickets, and when I told him his face completely fell. They had been charging us more than $200.00 per ticet for tickets that were costing them between $15.00 and $35.00 each, depending on where we flew. Good thing our friend agreed to look the other way and not have her husband fired...'cause the airline considers selling the tickets to third parties STEALING.

This is the same sister who moved to our state over the summer and announced that she and her husband had determned that they could completely recoup their moving expenses by simply moving their entire family in with us for the summer, eating all of their meals at our house...and, oh yeah, it would sure help out a lot also if they could store all of their furniture and belongings throughout our house while their house was under construction for 6 months. (She reported that her mom said it was the "least we could do.") We, as politely as possible, let them know that that wasn't going to work out for us...and so she went to the whole family and told them a sob story about (and I'm not exaggerating) how they were "homeless" HOMELESS! and we "turned them into the street all alone," when they could have "really used a home cooked meal." Oh brother! Her husband was making $250,000.00 per year at the time. Oh brother! And maybe we would have let her stay if we hadn't alread been so sick of her taking advantage in every way possible at every turn for the previous decade.

Anonymous said...

This doesn't seem like much of a problem. Of course you should make sure that you have food for the nanny to eat at lunch (within reason). It's absolutely rude to expect that she'll feed your children all day and also be expected to pack and plan her own food.

Feeding her is one way of making her feel welcome and valued. It's kind; it's thoughtful. It brings her into the family instead of setting her apart.

I'd want my nanny to feel she was welcome to eat in my home. She's spending too many hours a day there to get petty over something so relatively small.

Taking snacks home on the train? If it bothers you (and I think that's fair), I'd tell her you prefer that she bring her own snacks for the trip. Give her her own place for them, if you like, and make sure no one touches her stuff.

In any case, whatever choices you make should all be absolutely clear up front. Nobody can complain if there are no surprises.

Anonymous said...

I worked for a family once that literally never had any food in the house, and it was miserable. My charge was an infant and her mom was trying to lose weight, so there were pre-made nutritionist-approved meals for their dinner and NOTHING else in the house to tempt her. I had to bring my lunch every day or have lunch out. Totally unfair to me since she had told me in the interview that lunch would be included and they'd stock whatever I wanted. So this is an issue that always jumps out at me.

In general, this is my stance on food issues: If you have an otherwise wonderful nanny, and she is not being unreasonable or rude (ie making a full-on steak dinner for lunch or devouring the imported chocolates you got for Valentine's Day), suck it up. It's not worth losing a great nanny over a little extra in the grocery bill.

In your case, I would ask her to make a list of things she wants stocked in the house regularly and keep them handy. If she doesn't make the list, of if you buy things and she doesn't eat them, that's her problem. You no longer need to feel responsible for her lunch -- don't even ask if she's eaten.

I will also say I think it's very strange that she is packing a snack to take home. That is definitely not standard. I think it's presumptuous and rude, personally. Is it worth confronting her? Eh, that's your call. It makes my active imagination wonder if she has food at home. On what you pay her, she SHOULD be able to afford food, but maybe she has expenses you don't know about (debt? drugs?) and she's so desperate for money that she takes home sandwiches and goldfish to avoid buying dinner. Clearly that is not your issue -- you pay a fair rate. But if I were you, I'd be wondering. On the other hand, maybe she's just clueless and thinks this is normal. Who knows.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes work at home and I think the lunch time is awkward with my nanny. Since it's my home, I feel like it's rude of me to make myself lunch and not offer to make her lunch as well. But I also felt something was not right about my having to cook for us while she got to tend to the baby. I'd rather spend 30 minutes playing with the baby than cooking lunch. But then again, I can't expect her to cook my lunch either. And also not efficient use of our time to each individually cook our separate lunches. So I can totally relate to the OP. I totally get that I should stock the fridge with stuff that the nanny likes to eat. But when it comes to preparing lunch, should it be every man for himself or what? I'd love to hear from nannies who have been there.

a texas nanny said...

OP... I agree with most of what everyone else has said. You shouldn't be making her lunch, but you should provide food for it. It is miserable to work a job where parents expect you to bring your own food because usually the job starts early in the morning and you don't have the clarity of mind to get it together in the morning! Expecting that she walk to town to buy lunch is also odd. Personally, I would feel weird about doing that- maybe she thinks you wouldn't approve of her spending time enjoying lunch at a restaurant? Or else perhaps she doesn't want to spend money every day buying lunch. I agree that you should sit down with her and discuss the food situation, offer to buy either some lunch meats/bread or lean cuisines or whatever specifically for her so that the kids' items don't go missing.

The taking food home thing is odd. Address that; then again, maybe if she feels able to help herself to her own little area of food throughout the day she wouldn't have to sneak a baggie of goldfish in so she doesn't faint on the trainride home! Not sure about that...

I'm surprised no one has flamed OP yet for not paying on the books. I'll just leave that comment at that...

Also, please do not say "frankly, I am concerned where this is heading" when you talk to her. Once I was set to go to my evening part time nanny position in about an hour or so. I had stripped my bed to wash my sheets and then realized that my roommate had borrowed my quarters, and I wouldn't have time to get some from the store and wash the stuff before I had to be at work. I would get home too late to do my laundry (and who wants to put dirty sheets back on the bed?). As I had been with the family for several months at this point, I called the mom and explained the situation and asked if it would be alright if I brought my own detergent and washed them while I was there? I had never asked anything like this before and it was clearly just a one time minor emergency type situation. She agreed, but only after sighing heavily and making sure that "this isn't going to become a regular thing, is it?"... a comment that seems quite similar to the "concerned where this is heading" comment and really annoyed me. It's like saying you expect her to take advantage of you or be a greedy slob or something lol.
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To the previous poster with the cooking lunch for nanny question...

I don't know if this helps you out any, but when I did the previously mentioned evening job I would usually make dinner for the kids and usually help myself. Sometimes the mom ate with us. Sometimes the mom made dinner. It was like a collaberation. Maybe she would get the stuff prepped and I would cook it all, or she would have made part of it earlier in the day and I would make the sides. Or sometimes I would cook the whole thing and she would just eat with us.

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Also to mom- I know what you mean about moochy relatives! My aunt (mom's older sister) is just like that. She keeps a big plastic Whataburger cup in her truck at all times. Whenever she is thirsty, instead of buying a drink she drives to the nearest Whataburger, goes inside, and gets a "free refill" in her cup! Sick!

Also, she once went to my parents' house to see my sister. My parents shop at costco and had bought eggs, which of course come in like a 24pack. She says "Oh, I need some eggs and they have so many I'm sure they won't finish them before they go bad!" And just grabs 6 and proceeds to walk out with them!

They moved from a nearby city last year (it's about 3 hours away) and the process was like a 6 month deal because they didn't have to hurry and sell it or anything. Well, while she is here in our town she needs to do some laundry. Her laundry detergent was in her old house, though. Even though laundry detergent doesn't "expire" like food, she didn't want to waste money by buying more? (This baffled me... she will need more eventually...) So she asked my mom if she could come over and borrow the detergent! So weird.

Anonymous said...

I dont get where the nanny is in danger of fainting after working a 10 hour day taking care of children in what is probably a nice, safe and climate controlled atmosphere. You bleeding heart liberals, piss me off. No wonder our nation is populated by a bunch of bums looking to do little for more and give less. Makes me sad.

Think of the guys dying in the coal mines, our soldiers fighting overseas and nannies who work longer hours for LESS money. WTF?

Adria said...

My boss had an office at home that she could get away with doing most of her work in, then would be gone all day with meetings or errands for three out of five days of the week. We had a pretty good unspoken system when it came to food.

I'd make the kiddo lunch and sit with him til he finished. I'd usually grab a handful of baby carrots or take a few bites of whatever protein I was giving him to hold me over til I could make my lunch (which was 2 hours later.)
I always brought my breakfast with me and would stop to get coffee before arriving.
After he finished eating, she'd come out of her office to avoid a screaming fit from the kiddo and make her lunch.

I'd put him down for his nap, rush to change into my work out clothes and make my way out to the shop to exercise since she was in the house and would let me know if he woke up or needed something.
After that was done with, I'd make my lunch. I kinda set rules for myself as far as food goes.
*I never ate the last of anything unless it was lunch meat and there was another full package of it waiting to be opened.
*I only ate leftovers if they were still in the fridge after two nights. If they made it the night prior I didn't want to eat it in case they planned to have it again for dinner.
*I never ate huge portions by any means. An average lunch would be a sandwich, pretzels or pita chips of some sort and either fruit or veggies. I ate a lot of carrots, broccoli and grapes since she always had a ton of all of those.
*She was into the south beach diet program, so she had their granola bars and random snacks which I also never ate. I would look to see what there was and figure out what *I* would and would not want a person eating if it had been my fridge.

As far as I know it was never a problem. I was an amazing nanny, I know I was. I took him to classes at the library, to the park, bought him sugar free sno-cones in the summer, shared my muffin or scone I'd brought for breakfast with me.. So I think the parents would have felt absurd to even attempt to bring the food issue up. Keeping in mind if I had made an amazing dinner the night before, I would bring leftovers from my house or grab something when I was out with him just in case they had nothing to eat. (Which happened on occasion. They had tons of food that could be prepared.. but not in the ten minutes I usually had before he would up or I had something to do.)

I wouldn't take juice boxes or bags of goldfish home with me.. but around 4 I was start to get hungry and would grab a nutrigrain bar from the pantry and a soda to have while driving him home from the park or me driving back to my house. They likely figured the five or less dollars they'd spend on me to eat daily was worth it to have a nanny who adored their child and vice versa.

I'd say it is a bit of an overreaction. Granted, taking home your fridge in her purse is definately not okay.. do your kids adore her? Do you trust her with your kids? If it's a yes, then try to shrug this off. If she starts to eat things you had saved for you for dinner or starts binging on baked goods you had made for a special occasion, discuss it with her. Also, don't feel bad about asking her if she ate. She's a grown up.. she can fend for herself. Offering suggestions for what your kid should eat is understandable, but you shouldn't have to put any thought into what SHE eats. If she doesn't find anything, then so be it!

Anonymous said...

5:35 I think that's comparing apples to oranges.

If I didn't eat for 10 hours, I would faint-I'm hypoglycemic. It has nothing to do with the climate I've worked in all day.

So many people who post on here have a propensity for hyperbole.

ro said...

Some people on here have the propensity for failing to be able to comprehend. And also for having the propensity to hide behind 'anonymous'.

The employer is alread assuming responsibility for the nanny's lunch. Additionally, there is a lot of milk and what sounds like breakfast food missing. Sounds like nanny is trying to get three squares in a day on her employer's dime.

Nowhere does it say she isn't eating all day. Sounds to me like she is eating them out of house and home.

Anonymous said...

UNBELIEVABLE! The nanny who said.. "If you don't think you should be providing her lunch, think about it.. she has to get ready in the morning to come to your house." Uhhh.. yeah it's called a JOB! Before I get attacked, I'm a nanny as well. Every job I had before I was a nanny I had to bring my own lunch. I get paid really well, I don't believe I should rely on the people I work for to provide me with food. I do on occasion snack with the kids but it’s written into my contract that I'm welcome to any food in the house. I'm a grown up and I'm there to provide care for them not the other way around.

a texas nanny said...

I definitely wouldn't eat breakfast at the emloyers home- when I work 8-5 jobs, I eat breakfast at home or pick something up on the way, if I don't I deal with it until lunch. Normally I would snack on whatever the kids were having for whichever meal I'm feeding them (make extra pasta or an extra grilled cheese sandwich or whatever) and that's that.

Also to whoever called me a bleeding-heart lib... not exactly. I just know that after I eat my bagel with cheese with the kids at noon while they are having their lunch, I have to wait until 6pm to eat again and if that was a particularly busy day (for example, last week we went to the park 2x in the same day, they live in a hilly neighborhood and I was pushing a heavy stroller, and then I also did kid's yoga with the older one for half an hour... and general playing with kids can be tiring!) then I am starting to feel a bit tipsy on my way home.

Don't even start with me on the sad state of affairs in this world- of course there will always be a worse situation then the one you are in, that doesn't stop you from trying to fix the situation!

Missiechan said...

I'm a nanny and my employer offered to buy in food for me, but I declined and said I'd scavenge from whatever she already has. It was very generous of her to offer in the first place but I simply don't have time during the day to actually cook something for myself.(Also, I'm a vegetarian so I don't scavenge from the kid's dinner.)

I run a ten hour day in which I drop the kids to school and playschool on the bus, tidy the house, collect the youngest child, clean some more, collect the other two children, help them with homework, make dinner, break up fights and wash up before their mother gets home. I do it on seven or eight cups of tea, two cheese sandwiches and some leftover pasta if the kids haven't gotten to it first. I raid their biscuit tins to get the sugar rush I need to get out the door. My employer doesn't have a problem with this, sometimes she gives me food when I'm going home. Minding children takes a lot of energy and it's a hugely isolating job too so you're frequently tempted to comfort eat. Get some snacks for your nanny, lady. Or do you think she's not worth it?

Anonymous said...

Let your nanny have lunch in your home. She's watching your kids, not working on an assembly line. You can ask her to stop taking snacks but I think it's extremely petty. It's not that much to keep things around that she likes to eat. We do it for our nanny. It's a small gesture and it goes a long way. This isn't a normal employer/employee relationship. And, since you asked, yes you are being petty.

leah said...

Anonymous @ 5:35,

I'm not certain that coal mines have anything to do with baggies of goldfish for the train, and whether or not I am a liberal has nothing to do with the fact that I am delighted to share my household food supply with he who takes care of my kids. (my manny and my children both like chocolate granola bars from trader joes's, just to throw it out there. they were the kids' first, but who's counting?)

Anonymous said...

This nanny sounds rude. Yes, it is wonderful when the family is generous and offers their food to the nanny. But this nanny is taking advantage of this. I can't believe she packs a bag to take home!
I don't think your last nanny didn't eat your food because of weight conscience, I think she was just considerate.
I don't really know how you would approach this with her. It's hard to change the food rules now, but maybe mention the next time you go to grab something from the cabinet, "hmmm...where did all the _______ disappear to?".

Nanny B said...

I'm a live-in nanny and in my contract it stated that all food, including my meals on the weekend (if at home) are covered. That was until they realized how big of an OJ drinker I am. I drink about a gallon of OJ in a week and as you know that can be quite a bit. So now I buy my own. and I also buy all my own snacks and keep them in my room so they can't touch it. Its just the way it is. but if your nanny is there for 10 hours a day and you don't want to feed her lunch, shame on you. and even giving her a small snack to take on her ride home wouldn't be such a bad idea eiher. shrug, what happened to the golden rule?

Anonymous said...

5:35
get down off the soapbox. we aren't dealing with world issues here, just lunch.

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6:07
they offered you food in your contract. you decided NOT to take advantage of their generosity. it is quite common for nannies to be fed. op should accede.

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sprak said...

I think a good nanny hungryjack story is always enjoyable and brings lots of good comments about moochers, food pilferers as well as advice on the problem at hand. I think this nanny is exceeding her allotment of food and needs the all-you-can eat policy canceled forthwith.

Anonymous said...

Most of the families I've worked for asked about foods and beverages I would like to have on hand. Considerate gestures like this can be big factors in establishing a good relationship with your nanny.
I don't think she should be packing a picnic for the train from your fridge. It would be an uncomfortable thing to bring up though, and maybe not worth it if she isn't eating that much during the day.

Anonymous said...

*eye roll* Bitches like the OP are why most of the nannies I know don't bother to eat at work (during a 10-12 hour day mind you). If spending an extra $20 a week on snacks in putting a serious strain on your budget, you can't afford a nanny. And for goodness sake, if you don't WANT to feed your nanny.... TELL HER during the interview. Between employers who complain about feeding their nanny and the ones who complain that nanny actually eats lunch... You people are insane.

erics mom said...

You mention you come out to have lunch with your kids. Why don't you then give her a lunch break of her own? That way she can go out either walk or with the car, and get something. If shes working 8-6 which is a long day to begin with. You could always give her a break 45 minutes or to that effect. Lets face it most jobs give you at least a half hour to have lunch, with pay. And NO don't expect her to take the kids with her. Thats her time.

I personally don't see the problem with her having lunch at the house. But if it bothers you give her a lunch break.

As for grabbing food before leaving. I wouldn't say anything if its just a bottle of water or coke and a snack. If its a whole bag as you described I don't think thats right.

Anonymous said...

I work 12 hour days..6am to 6pm. My former employer had horrible taste in food...and kept nasty rotting food all threw the fridge...needless to say I brought my own food. My other family had 3 extremely busy kids and I still brought food, but most days I raided the snack cupboard and left me lunch alone, only because I had less that 2 minutes to scarf down a granola bar before the next child needed something.

Sarah said...

This is really all you have to bitch about? You're lucky. And, you must have a lot of time on your hands to be so concerned with something this trivial. This woman is caring for your precious children all day long, let her leave with a sandwich... seriously.

chick said...

OP, from your description:

"If I ask the nanny if she is eating, she always say, "I couldn't find anything". Then I throw a bunch of suggestions at her. I have shared sandwiches with her, given her lean cuisines, etc. This is problem 1. It seems I am now responsible for her lunch. Quite frankly, I don't want to be responsible for her lunch."

I think that YOU made yourself responsible for her lunch, and that you can easily shuck that responsibility. All you need to do is decide if you are willing to provide her with items she lists on the grocery list, or whether you want to tell her to bring her own food.

If you are willing to purchase: "Nanny, please write on the grocery list what you would like for lunch for the next week."

If you aren't willing to purchase: "Nanny, I've noticed you don't seem to be able to find anything to eat for lunch here - do you think it would be better for you to just bring what you prefer from home?"

What not to do: Enable her helplessness by suggesting food to her in an effort to solve her problem. She's an adult, she makes 39K a year CASH (which ticks me off, but that's another post), she should be able to figure out what to eat for lunch.

Disengage. Don't even discuss food with her when you come in to eat. Make it clear that she is responsible for her own nutrition by not offering her any help.

As far as the snacks she takes home, again you can either ask her if there is something you can provide for her, or you can tell her to stop. I don't really see that as a big issue, but I am not you. :-)

§mpp§ said...

Chick
Very cool post.

Anonymous said...

I think u should sit down and talk w/ her. All the familys I have worked for told me to help myself. Infact there was a few times the last family I worked for the mom would take me and her son out too lunch. If there wasnt anything for me to eat and I ordered in, I would share w. their child. I was also allowed to use the phone and computer when he was down for his nap.

Anonymous said...

As a general rule, if you preface a sentence with "I'm not a petty person, but..."

--then you most likely are.

SupernannyNNJ said...

I will never get why people feel a nanny is entitled to food from her employer. Having worked in the corporate world for over a decade, I can tell you, except for special occasions, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks were my financial responsibility. And one of my jobs required long hours.

While it's very generous of an employer to open her refrigerator to her a nanny, I feel a true professional would not take advantage of it as this woman is. While I admit there have been times when I have accepted my bosses generous offer of help myself to anything, I do so only if I truly did not have the opportunity to eat and always reciprocate by taking the kids out for lunch on me in the near future.

I think it's very unprofessional for her to be making herself a doggie bag on your dime. You pay her a fair wage. Sit her down and be candid with her. If she is a professional she will understand.

Good luck OP!

Anonymous said...

I'm an employer in nyc and have had three full time nannies and several parttime nannies in the past 8 years. I have always provided food. I keep a running grocery/need to buy list and encourage my nanny to write anything she wants on it. I also keep $20 or more in petty cash and tell her she is welcome to pick up groceries from the store if it is something I forget or can't easily get.

I do not ever prepare food for my nanny. I am lucky I prepare food for the kids and we order out most nights. I never ask her if she ate or what she ate at the end of the workday. Every few weeks, if I notice she hasn't written anything on the grocery list, I encourage her to do so because it is my only reference when shopping.

I am glad to provide groceries for my nanny, but I do not expect to buy her take out. About the only thing I have ever been annoyed to purchase is bottled water and that's because we drink tap water, I hate the waste, and I know nyc tap water is very safe. But I had one nanny who was convinced tap water was unsafe and I did buy the bottles despite my personal issues with bottled water!

I would be very annoyed if my nanny was packing food to take home. She can eat whatever she wants when she is here working, but food-to-go is taking advantage. I had one part-time nanny who would arrive in the morning and expect to prepare herself breakfast and have time to eat it after her workday had started. Not surprisingly she had numerous other issues and did not last long.

Interestingly, the really great nannies I've had have all been shy about asking for the groceries they want and barely ate much during their workday OR brought their own snacks even when I told them many times I would be glad to provide them. I agree that the food issues with OPs nanny are not huge, but I'm guessing it will end up being a window into her nanny's character and other problems will arise.

NanJulia said...

I agree with Sarah, typically meals are provided by the employer for the nanny. Why? Because most of us don't get breaks for meals. We work through our lunches etc, and we feed our charges their meals-which means we are constantly watching others eat.

When I first started nannying I was terrified of being rude and eating my employers food, but absolutely starving from suddenly being on my feet all day... not only chasing my 2 charges around (both boys under 4 and full of energy), taking them on long outings, playing sports, climbing jungle gyms, long commutes and getting up early etc, but also watching them shove their sweet little faces full of food. LOL I actually dropped a bit too much weight out of fear of being rude, and started to feel weak, before forcing myself to eat meals (which my employers had okayed.)

If you are at your job for 10 hours a day, you need to eat! If your job involves food/ working with food (even working in restaurants) one of the few perks USUALLY is being fed for free.

I now eat breakfast and lunch at work (I am not a live in, but do arrive early and feed my charges breakfast every morning), and I eat a late dinner once I get home. For breakfast I typically eat a bowl of cereal regardless of what I feed my charges...i.e pancakes for the boys, cereal for me) the boys snack before lunch, and than we all take lunch together, they usually have left overs or something they love (hot dogs, ravioli etc) and I'll usually have a sandwich. Other than that, if I'm really hungry I may having something simple for a snack like an apple, a cookie, or a snack packet, but to be perfectly honest by the time I get home for dinner I am STARVING! Physical jobs make you hungry, it's exercise, and long hours, if your nannies doing it right she's going to be hungry. If I wasn't raised the way I was (don't be greedy be polite etc) I would probably shove my face too! ha ha I'm also an average weight, and healthy, but that much running around just makes you hungry-your body needs fuel to keep your energy level up.

In all honesty, I don't think your nannies trying to be rude, she's just hungry. If you don't like the snack pack home, than politely bring it up, otherwise she's perfectly normal!

Anonymous said...

Can she use the toilet paper, to wipe her butt?

Anonymous said...

I think she should bring her own food to work with her. She should also eat with the child, or perhaps make enough lunch for both her and the child to model good eating habits. As far as the ride home goes, well, I know that taking public transportation can be hard, and after working a 8-10 hour day, you want to stretch out and relax on the way home. I had a commute which wasn't that long, and I would bring snacks to eat on the way home. I had purchased them with my own money and brought them with me. Eating a small portion of the child's lunch is fine, bringing her own lunch and snacks is professional, taking your food that you buy for your family, especially the snacks, is ignorant and rude.

lisa said...

I sympathize with you. I have a nanny who is a size 4/6. She eats breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day at our home. Even if she comes in for 4 hours, the first thing she does is make herself breakfast. My husband wanted to fire her over this. It is a window in to her character, she does have an entitled sort of personality. Stubborn, too. But when she isn't eating or cooking for herself, she is magnificent with the baby, so that is what I focus on! Some days, it's really hard. I once said to her as I was leaving, "there is a chicken salad in a white container and I was planning on having that when I come home". She replied, "uhmmm hummm". I thought I had said it in a casual and normal way, instead of leaving a note- but she had immediate and obvious attitude about it. My chicken salad.

Anonymous said...

253 am,
obviously with all that food she is piling in on the job, she likely has 2-3 bowel movements per day.

Anonymous said...

maybe 4-5 bowel movements

mom said...

I am quite thin and eat like a horse. Appetites don't necessarily dictate size. However, I would never presume to make a noticeable dent in somebody else's food supply, even if I did work in their home every day. Somebody above said it best, "If I wasn't raised the way I was (don't be greedy be polite etc) I would probably shove my face too!" The bottom line is, "Don't be greedy. Be polite." It's impolite to plow through somebody else's cupboard...even if only because they don't want to have to make a career of grocery shopping on your behalf. If they offered, I would probably eat reasonably sized meals there with the children...but also bring some of my own food to make up for the freakish amount of food I seem to consume daily. I assume when somebody is polite enough to say "Help yourself" that they don't actually mean, "Gorge yourself on everything you can manage to stuff into your face." This nanny is taking advantage...not terribly...but advantage nevertheless.

And ladies, let's stop calling each other fat when we don't like one another's posts. I believe the current PC term is "Weight Challenged American."

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

Weight Challenged American? NO!

I happen to like "fluffy".


Remember those shirts from long ago:
"I'm not fat, I'm fluffy".
lol!

mom said...

OK then, "Fluffy American."
It's kind of hard to keep a flame war going when somebody has been accused of being a "Fluffy American," wouldn't you say so?

mom said...

PS My husband would probably label me a "Pointy American," since it is apparently a bit painful for me to sit my bony posterior on his lap for any extended length of time. (But it does come in handy when he is rolling his eyes at my insistence that we wait for a booth in every restaurant we go to, since hard chairs are not my friend.)
Now, because I get hungry on the ride home from dinner, I usually hide a kitchen size garbage bag in my purse when we go to a Mexican restaurant, and every time the waiter turns his back I dump the whole bowl of chips into my handy little sack, causing them to immediately refill the bowl. When the waiter starts to look puzzled at the volume of chips I have apparently consumed, I simply shrug and smile. By the time we leave I have several gallons of chips handy for my ride home. I simply shove the bag under my coat and mutter "weight challenged American" on my way out the door so as to divert suspicion. That way I don't faint on the ride home from the Coal Miner level of energy I have expended during the day. I'm sure the restaurant doesn't mind a bit, since the chips are free and they thoughtfully make them available for my enjoyment throughout my stay at their establishment!

I rather not say said...

Okay wait....

How is this different a nanny eats food at the employers house. Everyone says not to be a pig about it. To not overdo it.

Now for the restaurant. I don't think its right, to steal the chips from the table and put them in your bag. Come on your kidding right? Yes, the chips are there for your enjoyment, but not to take home a full bag. Maybe, a small container, so you can have with any leftovers you may have.

If you want chips go to your local grocery store and keep them stashed in your car. For the lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng ride home.


Oh brother!

Anonymous said...

Mom your kidding right?

mom said...

Yes, I was kidding! Obviously I am not going to shove a giant bag of chips under my coat and try to pass myself off as a "fluffy" person on the way out the door. (I figured that part would make it clear just in case anybody might think I was serious.)

But, you're right...it's no different that the nanny packing a bag of food from her employer's pantry and fridge for after work. For gosh sakes, eat like a normal person, not a starving band of lumberjacks, when offered food at somebody else's house, and take responsibility for ALL of your after hours eating on your own nickel. That was my point.

Laura said...

Why dont you clear a space for her in the pantry and in the fridge and tell her she is more then welcome to bring and store her food in those spots. I had a family who did this and although i was welcome to eat something in the fridge, this provided me with my own area so I know what I had.

I would palce snacks, drinks, food, and whatever else i could fit.

I also agree with adria I would never eat the last, the first, the saved or that whatever else it may be. I only eat a small portion of food that will not be missed or something cheap to replace (P&J sandwhich, cup of noodles, cereal, mac and cheese). Most of the time I really just find my self finishing what the kids didnt eat such as a few nuggets, half their sandwhich, the scoop of mac and cheese or pasta..you know whatever it is your chhild might be eating at the time.

I just have to comment on this because i guess it botherd me being slightly overweight. Why the heck does it matter if she is slightly bigger? I dont see how this means she must eat more. I know tons of the skinny folks who eat more than I do. And if i was your nanny and found out about this post I would be crushed you even comparied my weight to food intake.

Sarah said...

Off topic for a sec here.... just wanted to FYI that I guess there are 2 Sarahs now. The post before this one didn't come from me. But, I will just have to log with another name, if there is another Sarah posting here in blue.

Anonymous said...

OP, it seems excessive. Bottom line, the nanny should not be doing what she's doing. She's taking advantage and being very greedy. It is bizarre for her to take a juice box and snack of crackers for her ride home. She can just as easily pack something for herself at home the night before so she has a snack for the ride home.

It seems very unprofessional, most particularly to do this every day.

Anonymous said...

I think OP said her previous nanny was overweight but never annihilated her grocery supply. So it was sort of like a shout out to fatties who know their place.

Lindsey said...

The Nanny stays in your home for at least 10 hours. It's not reasonable to expect her to bring all her meals. She should be able to eat with the kids in the morning weather it be cereal or toast and eggs, w/e it is. She should also be able to eat lunch with them. PB&J, grilled chees, a nice salad, again whatever it is. You should provide the food.

However her packing a bag to leave is just beyond me. I would be in total shock to see her doing this and I just might stop her and say "What are you doing?" Provide her a spot in the cupboard for her designated snacks. Also tell her that she is welcome to have whatever breakfast and lunch the kids have. You have to tell her to stop packing a bag. It may be a little awkward for awhile but you'll both get over it. If you don't say anything then you will go insane with annoyance, and she might just eat you out of house and home. So set some guidlines and I am sure everything will be fine.

She can't read your mind. She may not think she is doing anything wrong.

~Lindsey, SAHM in California~

Anonymous said...

I was a nanny for over 10 years and picked and choose which employer`s home I would eat from. Most times I brought my food because I am a very clean person and if I did not see how the food was prepared, I would not eat it. I never had milk or juice from a container I did not open because I had witnessed some employers drinking right out of the container.Therefore , I brought my own food. Never had a problem with food.Even when food was offered to me, which were many times, I respectfully responded `no thank you.`

Anonymous said...

We had/have the same problems with our nanny. Only, she was arriving here in the morning and immediatly making herself breakfast everyday. Fortunately for me, this issue was easy to address one afternoon when she fell apart while putting the baby down for a nap because she explained that she hadn't eaten all day. It had been a busy morning, no chance for her to make herself breakfast and the baby was reluctant to go down for a nap so it was past the noon hour. I calmed the situation down and then the next day addressed the issue by telling her that I thought it was inappropriate for her to arrive here and eat breakfast and I used the example that she should be prepared to hit the ground running when she gets to work. Personally, I feel like this is a perk that many nanny's take advantage of. I don't expect my boss to buy me lunch. My nanny can leave the house to buy her lunch or she can bring one just like me. We eat almost exclusively organic foods. Our nanny is not a large person but she can and does eat a lot. She has told me on several occassions how much she indulges herself when eating on someone else's dime. So, I know that this is a perk that she enjoys capitalizing on. At the end of the day, every single person comes with thier bag of good and bad. No nanny is perfect and you have to pick your poison. If I had to choose which thing to be frustrated with my nanny about this would be it. And $20 a week is a huge underestimate. Our nanny eats $20 a day - I've added it up - she eats a lot - but it's only an extra $100 per week. Yesterday, I had someone fill in for her because she needed a day off and the person locked my two and a half year old in her room and told her not to come out until she calmed herself down! Today - I see my overeating nanny in a new light.

That being said. Managing people is no fun. Find a way to diplomatically and tactfully bring up her bag of food that she leaves with. That behavior needs to be reigned in. As far as worrying about her having food for lunch. If there is appropriate food for you then there is appropriate food for her. If she doesn't like lean cuisine etc.. Then she can bring her lunch. I'm not sure I would ask her what she would like you to stock up on because I have two friends that made that mistake with thier nannies and they had them running around to various stores to them special and in one case only organic food - when the family didn't eat organic. She a big girl, no pun intended, she can figure out how to solve her own lunch problem.

Anonymous said...

People. Please stop saying "I don't expect my boss to provide my lunch"

You do not work in a house for 10-12 hours a day with no guarantee of any down time. You have a paid lunch break. You are not subject to the bitchy whims of employers who leave notes around requesting extra help with whatever they've thought of. You want your nanny to go out and eat her lunch? How does that work exactly? Put the kids in the stroller. Walk em' down to the store to pick up food. Sit down and attempt to eat... Kid starts crying. Person posts about awful neglectful nanny on this board who was too busy eating lunch to play with her charge. Or maybe nanny takes lunch home. Kids are likely to eat more of her lunch than she is. Seriously. And of course if you wander in and nanny doesn't want to share her salad with Junior, you'll be on the board bitching about what a selfish witch she is.

Raise your own damn kids then.

Anonymous said...

I think it is hilarious and obvious when a parent has *never* spent 10+ hours a day every day with kids.

Lindsey said...

5:00

When you go to work its for 8 hours, you get at least a 30 minute lunch, which you don't have to work during under any circumstances unless you choose to. You get at least 2 10-15 minute breaks to do as you please.

The nanny however gets no breaks, if you call putting the baby down for a nap a break you are highly mistaken. I was a nanny before I had my own children. I loved this child as I do my own and when I put him for a nap, I was doing his laundry and cleaning up all his toys, and washing out his bottles and dishes. I rarely had a chance to go to the bathroom. This may be TMI but on the occasion I had to go to #2 I would take the baby in his boucer seat and put him in the bathroom with me. I didn't like him being out by him self if I was going to take 10 min or so. The Mother had the nerve to tell me she didn't want him in the bathroom with me (he was 5 months old) Which lead me to belive she had a nanny cam because I never told her I did that. I didn't care though because I had nothing to hide. I ended up leaving after I got pregnant. Anyway, the point is that being a Nanny is not like a regular 9-5 job. They come early, stay late, and never get any breaks, the least you could do is feed your damn nanny. I was alwayd provided food, and if there was ever a time anything was off limits she would tell me, like when she made something for a dinner party, she just said thats for my party but as always your welcome to anything else. Why is that so difficult? I have a hard time beleiveing someone could eat $20 in food a day. What do you keep stocked? Filet Mignon and cavier? Really I think you're being ridiculous.

6:36 I agree completely. I couldn't have said it better myself.

~Lindsey, SAHM in California~

cali mom said...

6:36, you do have a point, same as the poster who asked if the nanny was allowed to use the household toilet paper, or if she was expected to bring her own.

I HAVE worked at many corporate jobs where I DID put in 12 hour days or longer, and many times, if this was due to a major deadline and they really wanted all employees on the project to be available at all times, they DID provide lunch. Sometimes dinner. Under regular circumstances, yes, in a corporate job you can and do get a paid break of at least 20 minutes but with childcare, it just isn't a guarantee. And you can just bet that if a nanny was running off to the cafe to spend $10 daily on a sandwich and a soda, some employers would be sniffing about how inefficiently the nanny manages her personal finances, and how it means she's unfit for the job. And many nannies probably don't even get the opportunity to do that regularly, even if they DON"T mind spending the money on restaurant food every day.

I see nothing unreasonable about asking the nanny if she'd like you to keep some BASICS on hand for her (nothing more expensive than the family eats), and give her a designated spot to keep her food, whether you provide all of it or if she brings some in as well. Maybe talk with her and agree on what is a reasonable amount of foods (5 microwave dinners per week plus her own fruits, a bottle of juice, and some of her own pretzels/chips, etc.) That way if she goes through it all ahead of time, you've fulfilled your end of the agreement and she can supply her own food if she feels she needs more, or she can approach you and ask for more and you can then revisit the topic.

I don't see why this needs to be or even SHOULD be a huge issue. In a 10 hour day, people eat, and it only makes sense to lay out a plan for how meals and snacks will be handled. If you'd rather she take the kids and walk up to the cafe in town and buy herself something, she needs to have a guaranteed window of opportunity to do so, and you really can't demand that she spend her own money as you feel she should. So if that's your preference for how she handles her meals, you should give her an allowance to do that. It seems much more reasonable to just agree on some staples that you can keep on hand for her, but with certain limitations that you can both agree on.

Anonymous said...

Of course "corporate" jobs don't provide lunch, because you have a LUNCH HOUR, and even coffee breaks. You can go out and buy lunch, or bring it and relax at your desk or in the park with a book. You have a choice.
In most jobs, if you are asked to work through your lunch hour, or stay late in the evening, food is brought in, at the employer's expense.

Nannies are responsible for their cares every minute of their ten hour days. That is why it is traditional for the family to provide her lunch. A good employer will be happy to provide this, and a professional nanny will not take advantage.

cali mom said...

Lindsey, ROFLMAO about the bathroom! It's obvious that some of the employers here have never even spent enough time alone with their own child to encounter such a situation.

I'd like to see any corporate employee who says they are expected to take their boss into the bathroom stall with them and conduct business as usual while they're sitting on the toilet. And as for that mom you worked for, you just know that if the baby had started crying while you were "busy" for a few minutes, she would have been griping about that.

Anonymous said...

An allowance for food? Really? This nanny is not a live in so why would it be nessasary to give her an allowance for food? She makes $3000 take home (tsk tsk on you OP for paying under the table) I think the nanny can afford to buy her own snacks for the train ride home. Just my opinion *SHRUG*

636 said...

I do agree taking food home on a regular basis is a bit insane. I take the train to work every day. My bag is filled for snacks for me to eat on the way home.

§mpp§ said...

Mom
I guess they'd have to know you to realize you were being sarcastic ... I thought your post was funny.



Anon/4:28
I swear I do the same thing, and I honestly think it's a form of OCD! I have to see exactly how certain (cooked) foods are prepared, or I won't eat it. I guess I'm afraid it might not have been handled properly ... or that they hadn't washed their hands, ewww.

cali mom said...

7:54, I only mentioned that because the OP seemed to be of the opinion that the nanny should just buy herself something to eat at a restaurant every day. IMO it would be much more reasonable to just keep some basics on hand, and I meant to make the point that the OP can't really dictate that to the nanny.

Anonymous said...

3:13pm here again. I think it can be very sticky to offer to buy the nanny her groceries. It's one thing if the nanny's responsibilities include doing the food shopping for the family. Then, it's no problem. If the nanny's not in charge of doing the food shopping, then the OP is inviting trouble. It can become quite a chore to insure that you have the nanny's preferred items on hand all the time. This nanny in question has already shown that she has no idea, or does not care, that she is overstepping some boundaries (to say the least), so of course it is to be expected that her list of preferred items, if she were asked for such a list, will probably be lavish.

There's a lot of harumphing going on here on this thread -- people are marvelling that the nannies never get any sort of guaranteed break time for eating and are saying that in the corporate world that would never be the case. And then there's more harumphing that some mothers posting on this board have probably never spent a 10-12 hour day alone with their own kids.

Well, here's some news for you. In high level corporate jobs, I mean very high level, there is very very often NO time to eat. People go for many more hours than the nanny would, without having a chance to eat. (At least the nanny can grab one bite of a kid's chicken nugget, or have a sip of their juice -- not that this is adequate, but still.) And in extremely high level jobs, people do take their cell phones to the bathroom if they really need to go, and can no longer put it off, because they can't miss an important conference call or whatever.

You guys are complaining that no one knows how hard it is for the nannies. And I do agree that sometimes people don't realize how hard it is to take care of the kids all day. BUT, most of the comments have indicated that you guys have no idea how things are in the corporate world, really.

Guaranteed breaks! Ha. Now that is truly funny.

Maybe for the cashiers at Target, yes. But never for very high level jobs!

And by the way I do not have one of those high level corporate jobs. I'm happy to be able to be a stay at home mom who does not have a nanny. So I know how hard it is to take care of the kids all day.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering how those of you who are grossed out by food that you have not seen prepared ever eat at restaurants?

Anonymous said...

When I negotiated my previous part time nanny job I didn't realize that when I brought my own food I would have to share it with my charge! I ended up having to either eat an early dinner while she napped (she napped in the late afternoon) or tell her my meal was "spicy." Don't mind sharing, once in awhile, but I wasn't offered any of their food (or bottled water) so once mine was gone it was gone. Feed your nanny people!

Anonymous said...

Most nanny jobs ARE very demanding! All the more reason to pack your lunch/snacks at home for the day. That way when you "couldn't find anything" (quote taken from OP post) you won't have to worry because you brought something you like from your own home. Easy pleasy ;)

PS I'm LOVING this post. Everyone has so much to say about it. Makes me giggle..

§mpp§ said...

8:42
Thanks for asking.
In my case, my husband is a Fine Dining Restaurant Manager and the (exquisite) Chef will make me anything I want and is a close friend of ours.

april s said...

I am a succesful woman working on Wall Street. Even though I can send someone out for lunch, most days it's just something I don't want to save time for so I pack a lunch for myself. I also grab a health bar and a coffee as I leave my home to catch the 6:12 AM train for the city. My nanny arrives by 8:30 when my husband leaves for work. I am home every night by 6:30 when the nanny gets off. My day is demanding. If you are going to eat at someone else's house, improvise. How hard is it to scramble an egg with toast or make a bowl of pasta? Why do these some of these nannies think they are deserving of Board head coldcuts on Bling-Bling-Cha-Ching with Whole Foods produce?

So many people say how a nanny job is 'so demanding'. I thought people worked as nannies because they loved working with children. Where is the demanding part? I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

You wouldn't know raising children is demanding. Since, you hire someone else to do it for you.

Anonymous said...

oh no! April S you're going to get it for your comment, You better take cover!

cali mom said...

April, perhaps you would "get it" if you ever took care of your own children. If the person who raises your children isn't worthy of a sandwich, then it shows how much you value your children.

No, I'm not a nanny. But there is a big difference between providing the nanny with Board head (whatever that is, must be something quite special) coldcuts on bling bling chacha diamond encrusted artisan bread with whole foods produce and picking her up some apples, pretzels and sandwich makings when you do YOUR grocery shopping.
Oh, but I guess you don't do YOUR grocery shopping either.

Anonymous said...

I think that the problem is that some of the nannies come up from the Bronx of what not, where they are used to eating Budding meat sandwiches with government cheese on day old bread and just because they are working for a wealthy family, they feel entitled to a smorgasboard of organic and upscale delights.

erics mom said...

Yeah I think she meant Boars Head.

I didn't mean to go annoymous with my post at 10:42

sorry
hit wrong button

cali mom said...

Oh, ok. I'm not familiar with Boar's Head either, and I don't really care what sort of judgements any Botox Bitches make about that.

Actually, I remember someone here bragging that she laughed at her nanny and crossed it off the shopping list when the nanny had written that in.

Anonymous said...

Where do you get your coldcuts?

cali mom said...

Um, at the grocery store.

Where do you get yours?

Lindsey said...

WOW @ Budding lunch meat and Government cheese..... Maybe she could afford the Boar's head and fine imported cheese' you are so privleged to, if you payed her what she is worth. Not everyone is as stuck up and as full of them selves as you are.

Our family lives a pretty good life, but I still buy my meat at the same store as the families who are using their WIC checks. I don't think of my self better then anyone else just because my Husband has a good job. Come back down to earth Hunny! You aren't the queen Sheba.

~Lindsey, SAHM in California~

a texas nanny said...

This is the second time on this site that I have seen nanny employers scoff at the idea of a nanny eating Boar's
Head meats on artisan bread. I know that Boar's Head is a good brand, but seriously it is only about $2 more per pound than the other brands- it's not like it is imported salt-cured paper-thin presliced meats from Italy! It's like saying someone who works in a "blue collar" job cannot afford to spend then extra $1 for free range eggs lol! Sure they are a bit more expensive, but not to the point of breaking the bank. How silly, that cracks me up.

You're right, as I nanny I probably cannot afford to spend $8 for that pound of Boar's Head ham to last for a week's worth of sandwiches, I must save some money and buy the $4 pound-sized bag of store brand bologna!

Anonymous said...

The board head comment stems from a long time ago thread where a nanny left a grocery list for her employer that requested 12 ounce bottles of crystal geiser water, and a bunch of other very specific things including boars head bologna. The woman kept bologna in the house for her husband and children and it was Oscar Meyer but the nanny tsk tsk'd it. Now call me crazy, but that is funny. Some 50k a year nanny training up to a country mansion only to decide that she deserves better than them. And yes, everyone in the house drank bottled water, except the nanny who claimed it tasted funny. So while boars head isn't all that or uber expensive, I think everyone remembers boars head bologna nanny, who if i recall correctly did have a bread choice to. Mom kept wheat bread and some other bread like white or potato in the house and nanny requested, "italian". Seriously?

tt said...

I hate lazy and greedy employers.
People with chips on their shoulders. Entitled people. Scheming and manipulative phonies who slap your children when you are at work and greet you with a smile and a lolly when you come through the door.

Cheers to all of you who have lucked out. To all of you stuck with psycho nannies eating you out of house and home, corrupting your youth and just plain making a mockery out of your family, I say, stay home and raise your babies.
Raise them well.

NannyInNY said...

I have been a professional (yes educated with degrees in child dev. and nursing as well as working on masters in psych) nanny off and on for many years. At every one of my positions the families offered to buy me items when they or I went shopping and always told me to help myself.When the parents were in for lunch and would order things, they always bought for me and quite often, when they've ordered in for dinner have invited me to stay. When I have taken my charges out to somewhere that requires we buy lunch, the parents always provide enough cash to include mine as well.

Now, I am a picky eater and usually bring my own things but when asked I tell them I like Poland Spring water, soup and fruit. I am polite in how I order and in what little I consume.

On the flip side, if I bake cookies- I bring some in. If I have something for lunch my charge wants too- I split it with her, if she wants a pc. of my muffin- of course I share.

My current employers tell me they want to keep me happy, that's why they do things like buy my lunch or include extra in my pay or give me lots of surprise paid days off.
They give me a car to drive, memberships to the gym and museums and always remember me on the holidays. They go out of their way to make sure I am happy working for their family and I go out of my way to be flexible to their needs and be the very best nanny I can be.

I guess that's why I have stayed on at my current family even though at this point the position is hardly conducive to my schedule or finances. I could quite easily find another position with longer hours better suited to my needs. I don't because I AM a part of their family, my commitment to their child is important to me and knowing I am appreciated makes it an easy choice.

Think about that while you are complaining about a snack that amounts to 75 cents.

Do you HAVE to provide food/snacks? No. But think of all the little things that a nanny doesn't HAVE to do to make sure your child is happy, healthy and entertained. It's all about what you want to put into it.

You get what you give.

original vi said...

nannyinny,
I agree with what you stated as there was a time not too long ago when I had a nanny I couldn't do enough for. And she reciprocated. She couldn't do enough for my family and my children. I went out of my way too. It was a wonderful relationship for all involved. I must say the person I currently employ just doesn't compare to the former nanny. She does what is asked of her, is careful to never do more and I find myself less than inspired to go out of my way. Those times I have, I have found myself left in the lurch without so much as a thank you or acknowledgement. There are ways a nanny can bring more to her job, to the lives of the children she cares for and the home she works in. If you have one of those nannies, you are in the lucky minority, but I beg of you to please surround them in kindness and bequeth them with your generosity. There is nothing in the world that compares to having your children taken care of by someone you love and trust.

chick said...

April S, I'm not sure whether you

a) spend so little time with your children that you have no clue how hard caring for them can be

or

b) work with a bunch of people who ACT like overgrown children and therefore know what you're talking about, because badly behaved adults are 10 times worse than the average child in full tantrum mode

Either way, I feel for your nanny, because you obviously don't respect her work at all.

And if you're going to rant, at least spell things correctly: Boar's Head. Not Board Head.

§mpp§ said...

lol, gotta love chick.

Personally, I think Boars Head sucks. I like Deitz and Watson myself.
And I'm allergic to Government cheese. lol

Anonymous said...

So you can see why the nanny who demanded boars head while the family ate oscar meyer had so much nerve!

Anonymous said...

Dear Op,
You are so funny to mention the size of your previous nanny vs. the size of the overeater. I am a very thin nanny myself, but I can eat and will eat anything. My employers do not put a cap on anything, they have always said I can eat whatever I want or add things to the list. The funny thing is that my employers have a live in housekeeper who is morbidly obese. I know for a fact she buys a lot of her own food because she enjoys specialty food of her ethnicity. But sometimes when I am making the list with the mom, she will be looking at the shelves and say, "Wow those oreos went fast" and I will say nothing and my employer will say, "obviously 'the housekeeper' really likes them, so get 2 boxes" And the housekeeper doesn't eat oreos, ever! It's all me and the children. The housekeeper eats a lot of food but not the junk I eat. And no one ever thinks it's me. Just thought I would share my skinny girl rules the world story with you!

mom said...

Wow, you girls have been busy!
few random thoughts:

My husband won't eat things people at work make and bring in if he hasn't seen their kitchens and doesn't know if they are "clean" cookers...yet he willingly eats at restaurants. One of my friends, and her husband and children, have, for many years, been snippy with the food service people at our pool...treating them like they are beneath them. When my son grew up he got a job as a lifeguard at that same pool, and the first thing he had to tell me was that every employee at that pool hated everybody in my friend's family and made a sport of messing with their food...even to the point of saving dead bugs and moldy meat, etc., and setting it aside for when they saw their name come up on a grill ticket. Ewwww. Rule #1--treat the person handling your food with respect, or you will be swapping spit...at BEST.

As for buying a few items for your nanny to eat during the day. That sounds like a nice idea. You want her to feel valued, comfortable and "at home." BUT if you offer to buy her a few things and she starts requesting expensive specialty items, or items that will require you to make extra stops to buy then that is WAY out of line and you have every right to say no. Maybe instead of asking her to make a specific list, you can ask what "kinds" of foods you might pick up at the grocery to keep on hand for her. Keep it general, like "Do you prefer pasta. lunch meats or soup? I'll get some extra for your lunches." If she requests items from a specialty store, then you can simply say, "Oh, they don't have that at my grocery store and I don't go to trader Joes (or wherever) regularly. I'll make a space for you in the fridge/pantry and you can pick some of that up yourself and keep it handy here." If she wants certain kinds/brands of bread or water, or whatever, say something like, "Oh, if you like specific brands, why don't you go ahead and grab what you like best and I will make some extra space for you to store it here." You might even compromise by saying you will buy her some food to eat at lunch and also make some space for her to bring any extra or specialty items she might like to keep on hand for herself, in case she gets extra hungry or wants snacks on hand for her trip home. Stop making her lunch if you don't want to cook for her. If it were me, I would change my routine for a while, rather than address ti directly, so that she ends up making her own lunch naturally for a time and then you can reappear and make just your lunch without it seeming awkward. And next time she packs a meal for on the way home, it will be awkward, but maybe just say, "I'm going to clear some space in here for you to bring a few items for your after work meals so that you don't have to eat kiddie snacks for dinner and I don't have to shop so often. I think that will probably make us both happier. Why don't you go ahead and get some things tonight and I'll have a space ready for you in the morniing."
Because, in the end, I don't think it's really so much about the money (although whoever said it is way more than $20.00 a week was very right) as it is about feeling taken advantage of. Nobody likes that, because it really makes you feel sort of disrespected. And you want to feel comfortable and that you each respect one another when you have somebody working in such a personal space as your home day after day. And, BTW, I have yet to see a person with an attitude of entitlement who is a really GOOD employee anyway. That "entitled" mentality tends to go along with a certain bitterness and a "screw you" attitude toward the employer.

mom said...

11:14 That's not really so nice for the housekeeper.

Jackie said...

1:00

Most nannies do get cars to drive, if they are transporting the kids around.

And if I couldn't make ends meet, I wouldn't stay with a family. I mean your educated. I am sure you can find a nice family again to work for with better pay.

Why not work as a labor or postpartum doula on the side. They make good moeny

Jackie said...

opps I meant money

Anonymous said...

April, and other WOHMs who don't think a nanny job is exhausting. You must be the typical working mom who's husband is there some of the time on evenings and weekends. Try caring for your children ALONE for ten hours straight every day for five days. You may not spend any time doing anything for yourself. You must go to the playground every day, and do elaborate art projects. Make sure at the end of 10 hours all the toys are put away,and the kitchen is cleaned up. It will be easier for you because you will be in the comfort of your own home, so when the baby vomits on your shirt, you can change. And of course, they aren't someone else's children.

J said...

Anon @531-
I have 2 small children and I don't have a nanny. I do have a full time housekeeper who does dishes, empties the dishwasher and keeps the house clean. I care for the children alone 10 hours a day and I am unscathed. Maybe you weren't meant to be a mother? It really isn't that complicated. Giraffes do it, hippos do it, I think we humans can do it too.

cali mom said...

J, you must be joking. A housekeeper takes care of everything else in your house BUT your children, and presumably you don't have someone sitting in judgement on your caregiving skills 24/7, and charging you for every bite of food you eat in a day, so you are trying to compare noodles to beer.

That's like saying "sure I commute to work every day so I know what it's like. My driver picks me up at 8am sharp and I have to just sit there in the back seat waiting patiently until we get to the office. Sometimes there might be another car on the road so I just let them know I'll be late." A mommy pig lays around on her side with 12 babies suckling so by your loghic, there's nothing to it. You just lay there and wait for the farmer to bring you your slop bucket, right?

636 said...

OK J. So basically... You have a full time housekeeper who cleans up after you and your entire family. Neato. Most SAHMs and nannies actually clean up after themselves and the kids. Caring for kids is hard work. At least if you're doing something other than putting on the TV for hours a day and doing crosswords instead of playing with them and teaching them. I love being a nanny, but most of my friends have office jobs that would be a lot easier than caring for twin babies 10 hours a day!

Anonymous said...

i DO NOT think you are overreacting. that is OUTRAGEOUS. you did not agree to feed her. and she's a grown woman. To say to you, "I couldn't find anything," is completely passive-aggressive and weird. Sounds like she has food and greed issues.

Helaine said...

Sprak,
I had my own nanny hungry jack situation two years back. I promptly brought out my dieter's scale and several measuring cups and made certain to measure the children's things in front of her and my own portions. I explained to the nanny that we wanted to make certain the children ate appropriate serving sizes. When she watched me weighing my turkey before I put it on my whole wheat bread, I am sure she thought better of snarfing her usual mammoth amount. Problem solved.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

j
I'm sorry, but you've got it pretty easy breezy. Of course just watching children can whipe you out emotionally and physically after 10 hrs., but try it while picking up every toy they leave trailing behind them, making their meals/feeding their meals/then doing the dishes, vacuuming, dusting ...

It's alwways nice to have a hand around the house, but the point is doing it all without help. Most Nannies do not have help when taking care of the children.
They are on their own.

Anonymous said...

J, most human children are a little different than hippos and giraffes and most human mothers (and nannies!) invest more psychological effort in raising their young, but maybe you are the exception.

jackie said...

So what you watch your child ten hours a day. They are your children. And honestly, I think its easier for a mom than a nanny to watch the children. First, they are your own children, so you have no one to answer too. A mother can let the house go, and just explain to herself or significant other, I didn't have time. Or I was really tired. While it seems if a nanny does that forget it. They will be viewed as lazy. Questioned what did you do all day, etc.

It must be nice to have a full-time housecleaner, to clean up after you.


Try having a husband that goes into work usually at 2-3pm and doesn't get home until after midnite. Even though I am married, I feel sometimes like I am a single parent. So basically, as everyone that has a toddler knows, you can't just sit around the house quietly. When the weather is nice we are always out. And even if its cold we are somewhere. Try going to all these places alone, six days a week.

Anonymous said...

8:40 PM
"In high level corporate jobs, I mean very high level, there is very very often NO time to eat. People go for many more hours than the nanny would, without having a chance to eat."

Presumably people in those very high level jobs feel the very high level salaries and bonuses, company stock, retirement plans and health coverage make it worth it.

Anonymous said...

not to mention u are sitting on your ass nearly the entire time! lmfao.

Even SAHM's are not act active with kids as nannies are! We are in perpetual motion, it's just not the same.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

Since we always seem to have a built-in Spellchecker on board, I though I'd correct myself before anyone else had a chance to:

whipe - uh, no
wipe - yep, that's what I meant

just anonymous said...

So at your *fabulous* corporate jobs you're telling me you never go to paid meals at expensive restaurants? You never have lunch ordered for you during meetings? Give me a break, I know you aren't packing your little baggie lunch everyday.

OP-this is off the food issue, but personally it would annoy the crap out of me if you were coming in for lunch everyday. Kids are different around their parents then with the nanny. You coming for lunch is probably throwing off their routine and then the nanny has to settle the kids down again before nap time. So while you think it's wonderful to spend lunch with your kids, I'm betting the nanny is rolling her eyes and annoyed.

Adria-You would work out during work? Were you paid for that time? Seems presumptuous.

Anonymous said...

If nannies are always on the go and never have time to eat, why are so many of them so fat?

Anonymous said...

9:22
Maybe so many nannies are fat asses where YOU live because where you live people are fat asses an unhealthy in general. Nice environment for the kids momzy- don't you have a nise or ass to wipe? Get back to your poor kids.

Anonymous said...

HUH??

Anonymous said...

Nannies are like moms. Especially, SAHM they comfort eat. Especially, in the winter. Thats the time when you are confined more.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's very accurate about eating more when being confined. Naturally, it is more common in some areas where winters are more severe.

Lorenza said...

me, Lorenza above

Anonymous said...

Fat nannies are usually hired by insecure mommies who don't want daddy doing the help. Just saying.

USR NJ Mom of 2 said...

My fat nanny could do laps around you thin or average nanny. You might see her running around the playground with the child. putting him on the swings, on the slide, showing enthusiasm for his every accomplishment, raking leaves for him to jump in, teaching him to throw a football, skating behind his push tryke. seriously, don't judge a book by it's cover. the worst nannies are lazy. lazy comes in all shapes and sizes. And I am 100 percent confident that my husband's member salutes me and only me. No confidence problems here.

aliana said...

i dont know what to say, i work in a home where there is nothing to eat, so..i dont eat, better for my waistline.
i have resigned myself to pack lunch.

Anonymous said...

Upper Saddler River mom is right.

Just because your heavy doesn't mean your lazy. May mean you are depressed, you hate life, you hate your job. And the same with thin nannies. They are just lucky it doesn't stick to them

§marypoppin'pills§ said...


usr:

"And I am 100 percent confident that my husband's member salutes me and only me."

Lmao! .... Line of the Day!

Just perfect!

Adria said...

Adria-You would work out during work? Were you paid for that time? Seems presumptuous.


I'm not sure what you mean by the comment. How is it presumptuous? My bosses bought some workout equipment which they put into their shop and offered to let me use it while the kiddo took his nap. (On the days when his mom would be working in her home office.) Not sure what is presumptuous about that. Of course I got paid. I was paid salary weekly, regardless of sick time or pre-scheduled vacation time by them. It helped with the stress factor a lot, too. If B was being wretched and refusing to listen to ANYONE, I'd go into the shop once I put him down and exercise some steam off. Very effective.

I had a two hour window of time everyday while he slept. That was my break.. and I could do whatever I wanted in that time. Usually, that meant exercising.

What nanny DOESN'T get paid while the child is napping? So why would you sound so shocked that I got paid to exercise?

cali mom said...

11:43, you hit the nail on the head!

Anonymous said...

if boss lady isn't making her scrub toilets like some employers try to do while baby is napping, and knows she's working out, there should be no problem.

Anonymous said...

I am a nanny struggling with my weight because when I arrive home exhausted and famished, I tend to eat fast food or junk, rather than taking the time to prepare a healthy dinner.
I am welcome to food at my work family, but meals with the children are hectic, A wants more, B needs his cut into bites, A spilled her milk, infant C is crying, and I just have a bite here and there on the go.
So the next time you see an over weight nanny, please don't assume she is lazy, or eating her employers out of house and home!

Anonymous said...

1:25
I feel for you sweetie, because I used to be overweight.
Try to at least stay away from those fast foods, though .... they will add the most weight.

I know you're tired, and don't want to cook, but that doesn't mean you can't eat healthy.
If you drink soda, drink diet. Drink lots of water, it pushes all the bad stuff out of your system. Load up your fridge with lots of fresh fruit & veggies. Buy some lean turkey and wheat bread for quick sandwiches. For dinner, try Lean Cuisine or one of those micro meals. And if you have a sweet tooth, don't deny it, just be moderate.

I always found when I craved something (it was never how MUCH I ate, but WHAT I ate) ... I would just try to be mindful and not over-do it.

I lost 40 lbs. in 5 mo., without killing myself. The first 10 lbs. were so easy to lose because I cut out the sugary sodas! :)

mom said...

1:25
Have you thought of packing a tiny cooler with some healthy food for after work so that you are not so famished when you get home?
When my husband and I first got married we were students without much money. We couldn't spare the cash to buy lunches at school, so I got two little coolers and we packed really great lunches at night. (It also helped that we could hardly afford to buy unhealthy prepared foods like chips.) I usually made a sandwich with a lot of vegetables on it, some carrotts and apples and a refillable jug of juice...and maybe a cookie or two. Did the trick. I gave my husband good leftovers from dinner a lot of times b/c he had acces to a microwave at his school, whereas I usually ate out of my car on the run.
Funny thing is my hisband always felt a little sorry for himself that he (in graduate school) had to eat out of a cooler while his peers all ate from the cafeteria. Years later, one of his friends, said to us, "We were all so jealous of 'Mark' because he had all of that homecooked food all the time and we had to buy from the cafeteria!" My husband and I just started laughing because it really is all in the perception...and I guess the grass really is always greener on the other side of the fence.

§mpp§ said...

Cute!

Anonymous said...

I'm an employer and it's my understanding that food is generally included in the package. (I know people who MAKE meals for their nannies; I don't, but I do provide easy-to-prepare ingredients.) Consider it a fringe benefit, but you really should find a meeting of the minds and have an explicit understanding about what is and isn't appropriate. (I agree packing a bag is inappropriate only because she hasn't consulted you first, but if she has a long commute, you may want to offer to provide her a meal for the road.)

I would sit down with her and ask her what she would like you to provide in terms of meals/ingredients for her. Find out what she likes. Or offer to pay her an additional X dollars per day to cover getting her own meals elsewhere (and/or bringing them in). If she is there more than 8 hours (I think she is, if I read that right), then you really should provide three squares or compensate her for getting her own. (Compensate her well if she's there for 10 hours plus has to commute; chances are that she has little time to shop or prepare at home.)

We have an account at the local deli and the nanny is able to buy lunch there on our dime any day that she works for us. And our nanny works roughly 15 hours a week, so we're just part-timers. If I could afford to do more for her, I would.

I really do think that it's important to take care of nannies well; good nannies are hard to find. And keep in mind that they will seek a better situation if they're unappreciated or uncomfortable.

sprak said...

I love the idea of the account at the deli that the nanny can use. How convenient it would be for her to just call in an order and have it delivered and meanwhile, just be going about her business.

Anonymous said...

We had a nanny who helped herself to our food (yes, we always told her that she is welcome to our food), but her tendancy was to literally overeat everything I made, and leave a little bit at the bottom of the dish. She would rarely bring food and become so hungry that she would go through the freezer foods to find anything she could heat up quickly. Things I thought I had in the freezer were not there when I looked for them. She also felt no shame about finishing off some meals I prepared, saying that they were so delicious she couldn't help herself from eating it all - I mean whole dishes of food that were meant for dinner. Foods I meant to last for several days didn't last more than a day with the nanny's eating habits. All nanny's should be welcome to the family's food, but they should be considerate enough to bring their own meals for lunch and not take advantage. Just like any other job, they should prepare their own meals and bring them to work, it's called being responsible and being an adult.

Anonymous said...

I did not read through all 133 comments, but here are my thoughts as a nanny:

You have to admit, sometimes it is hard to resist kid foods. She may be eating those more regularly than the other foods in your house, making it easier to spot. I know when I used to work 8-10 hour days I would eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in the home with the kids. Think of how much you would eat in your home as an adult 3 meals a day, multiple days a week.

It's great that she feels comfortable enough to pack a bag for the train home. However, she may not want you to think she's eating you out of house and home, so that could explain the "i couldn't find anything" excuse for lunch...when really she's eating when you aren't watching. I know I always feel a little weird when my boss sees me eat her food...no matter how long I've been with them.

Also, it seems that you are paying her quite a lot, but perhaps where you are, the cost of living is high, so it makes sense for her to mostly eat at your house.

Perhaps you could just mention "we seem to be running out of ________ REALLY fast." That could be enough to get her to stop.