Received Thursday, February 21, 2008-Perspective & Opinion
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?