Willing to tolerate what?

Received Tuesday, February 12, 2008- Perpective & Opinion
As an employer who is struggling with adapting to our second nanny in four months, I would like to know what imperfect behavior other employers are willing to tolerate from their nanny. The idea of transitioning another nanny into this house is not at all appealing.


erics mom said...


I am assuming you fired your last nanny, for some kind of improper behavior?? Can you explain in more details.


op of willing to tolerate said...

Eric's Mom,
I have not fired her. I don't think she is the best fit. I work part time, but those times I have to be in her company are quite grueling. She has been late a few times already, lost her cellphone;when I needed to reach her, seems unable to follow simple pre prep dinner plans. For example, I have asked her to make a salad for dinner. The first time I came home and it was just lettuce. Enormous pieces of lettuce. The next time I asked her to chop lettuce, tomato, onions and carrots for a dinner salad. She couldn't handle that-and she is a bright girl-so I stopped asking. When I come home, she'll see me setting the table and say, "Oh I forgot" or "Oh I meant to do that". These are things we agreed upon up front. I know she has time for them, but if the chidlren's basic childcare needs are being met, I feel like I shouldn't risk terminating this person. I feel that the next person could be worse. (!) I'm writing quickly, so I apologize if this is rambling.

Lorenza said...

First of all, have a talk with her. Remind her of what you'd agreed upon and ask her if she has a problem with those tasks. Maybe just forget the food preparation (many young women really don't know how to cook and don't want to know) and settle for having the table set up for dinner. Compromise on that but don't accept tardiness and be clear that it's important that you can reach her when you need to on her cell phone. These are just a few of my thoughts. I always found that being a bit flexible and a bit forgiving helped myself and my employees find a happy medium when I was in management. Good Luck.

A Fabulous Nanny said...

I think that you need to sit down with her and talk before doing anything drastic like firing her. Just tell her you need to have a meeting, and then I'd go over once more anything that you agreed to when she signed up with you. Also, be very detailed and specific during this meeting. Just as employers can't help their nannies if they won't tell them their issues, a nanny can't make changes if she doesn't know.

A nanny is supposed to improve your life, not take away from it. But I do think that a nanny is a childcare position- not cook, not housecleaner. If you're asking her to do these things and she's not following through, maybe she has the same mentality? Just talk to her about it- communication is key.

A Fabulous Nanny said...

Ha, Lorenza posted while I was typing- so in a nutshell- what she said :D

erics mom said...

Hi O.P.

Well I would be concerned about her being late to work. I would address that.

I kinda of laughed about the salad thing. My husband had to teach me how to make a nice salad. Hes a cook, by nature owning his own restaurant in the past, etc. So I needed someone to show me how to make a simple salad.

I am assuming you like the idea of her prepping dinner before you come home because thats one last thing for you to do. If shes really horrid in the kitchen is their another task she can do to lighten your load. Lets say you make the salad. Can she load the dishwasher or empty it. Or can she do the laundry instead, or maybe give your kids a bath? Or in a nice way, show her how to make a salad, without hurting her feelings. If your kids like her, and shes good with them don't be fast to replace her.

One last thing, maybe shes busier than you think during the day with the kids. Not sure of their ages, or if they are in school part of the time.
I was a nanny when I was younger and never felt appreciated. I don't think they realized how hard it can be during the day. Between shuttling two kids back and forth to after school activities (at least 6 a week), doing errands while they were in school. Washing the laundry and cleanaing the house. Bringing the cars in for repairs. Picking up the Prozac for the mom at the drug store, buying birthday presents, etc. I couldn't handle it after six months. Especially, when the mom complained to me one morning about the house being messy. Hello, they were the ones that would take showers, and drop their towels wherever they felt like it.

thanks for reading

ro said...

Dear OP,
If you look a little harder, you can find someone with a work ethic and a brain!

Anonymous said...

OP She is your NANNY not your COOK, make the damn salad your self and clean the house yourself. you hired her to look after your children not you.

Anonymous said...

Pipe down nanny. Since this by op's claim was agreed to in advance, then it would seem to me that nanny's job was to start dinner or set the table. I would suggest nanny make the G D salad.
But then, I wouldn't keep an employee around that needed her hand held.

Anonymous said...

OP, you are expecting way more from these "nannies" than they are actually capable of. It's ridiculous that a household helper doesn't know how to make a salad or perhaps to set the table. You are not hiring a high enough caliber person. Find a person who is smart and professional. You have not found anyone good.

I would not be willing to tolerate it as you describe. You keep telling a person and telling a person the MOST BASIC things about childcare or whatever the case may be (salads or whatever is part of the job description) and they just don't get it -- well they are incapable of getting it. The sooner you realize this and move on to a higher caliber professional type -- and probably one that you will have to pay much more -- the happier you and your family will be.

If you think she is incompetent with respect to these tasks you've mentioned, you have no idea how badly her misjudgment is affecting your children. Get rid of her ASAP.

erics mom said...

Come on, just because she doesn't know how to make a salad doesn't mean shes not capable of being a good nanny. This is going overboard.

Being late all the time is not excusable. But salad making? Lets cut the drama.

melamonk said...

eric's mom,
But alas good nannies are fired every day for ridiculous reasons, for example for being too good at their jobs. I have a not so dear friend who proudly boasts that she fired her last nanny for chattiness. She was great with the kids, just too chatty. Oh, the horror!

Anonymous said...

does this mean I should add my salad making abilities to my resume?

erics mom said...

Hi Melamonk

Sounds like shes a terrible mother. Why would she get rid of someone thats so good with the kids

SupernannyNNJ said...

Hi OP!

Ask yourself these questions.

Are you paying the nanny a living wage and are you hiring people with strong, verifiable references? If the answer is no to either or both a large part of the problem is there.

People desperate for work will agree to do almost anything. If they actually perform the tasks they are supposed to is another matter. The fact that you are on your second nanny in 4 months makes me think the problem may be in your hiring practices or your expectations being unrealistic.

What you should NEVER do is settle for fear someone else might be worse. It may take time and patience but the right nanny is out there if you do things the right way.

If you are paying the nanny a fair wage and verified her references thoroughly then please sit down with her immediately and go over a list of things you will require her to do. Let her know in no uncertain terms if the list of tasks is not met she will be let go. Please keep the list outside of childcare duties to a minimum. Of course, any nanny worth her salt will clean up after the kids and herself and maybe run errands here and there if provided with either a vehicle or reimbursement for gas and wear and tear. But also keep in mind if you have a tough time doing all the other things and taking care of the kids then your nanny is only human and she will be stressed as well. A nanny is a nanny and her primary duty should be looking after your children. Not meeting basic childcare needs but providing great care! Also remember that sometimes , people just won't gel. Sometimes you find the perfect nanny the first time and sometimes you have to go through a few. Just hang in there and don't settle. Good luck!

Elizabeth said...

I think that the issue of whether or not the nanny can make a salad (or, for that matter, SHOULD make a salad) has been covered. I wanted to address another part of the OP's comment-- s/he wondered "if the children's basic childcare needs are being met," should s/he fire the nanny? Well, if only the BASIC childcare needs are being met, I think it's perfectly reasonable to fire her. Your children (and any children) deserve intellectually stimulating activities and a warm and generous nanny who truly enjoys being around them-- not just someone who will pick them up from school and make sure that they don't get into trouble.

Before you DO anything, you need to have a serious and honest conversation with your nanny about your different expectations... but I don't think that whether or not she can or will make a salad should have has much influence on the situation as what her care of the children is like. That is the crux of the matter, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with not tolerating this behavior out of fear that someone else might be worse. In my experience, the salad thing sounds like a class-based attempt to get out of a chore she doesn't like, and it is taking advantage of your good nature. If she agreed to do it and will not, what other rules or duties is she modifying with out your knowledge?

just anonymous said...

You sound obnoxious to work for. You are more concerned with how your salad is prepared than with the level of care your children are receiving. Priorities!

cali mom said...

I do agree 8:36. The kids should be more imprtant than the salad and it doesn't sound like she's spectacular with them.

I also agree though, that if she agreed to do these things and is now NOT doing them, there may be other areas you are not aware of where she is cutting corners off the job.

Melinda said...

I was a live-in nanny. Each day the mom gave me more and more non-agreed upon, non-children-related tasks. You sound just like her with your salad requirements. By the end of week 1 she told me to plant flowers all around the perimeter of her enormous deck. I quit after Week 2.

A nanny is not your:

prep chef
best friend
errand runner

A nanny IS:


Anonymous said...

I find it amazing that within all these critical comments, not one person has actually answered OPs orginial question.

I have had two wonderful nannies (and several bad ones in between these two) in the past 6 years. What they both had in common was that they were on time, responsible, and loving/kind to my children. They were also both able and willing to follow directions and showed independent thought and initiative in solving new problems.

However, they each had areas I would have liked done differently and these were things I tolerated because they were wonderful overall. Some of these are admittedly small and silly, but they annoyed me nonetheless and I pass them on to be helpful to OP. Most of these I addressed with the nanny early on, but when they continued to happen, decided to live with it.

Nanny #1
-put the kids laundry away in the wrong places for four years so that I always had to rearrange it
-encouraged my kids to eat too much, too quickly, and always finish everything even if they were full
-was a bit overly focused on money and raises (though we gave competitive annual raises and bonuses). seemed to happen in spurts so I'm guessing it reflected hard financial times in her own life, but she definitely approached it poorly.
-was somewhat distant with us, not mean or rude, just not warm (though was with the kids). for example, never said thanks for christmas or bday gifts.

Nanny #2
-needs reminding every few months in regard to tasks we agreed upon at hiring (changing kids sheets, refilling diaper rack, etc).
-not as hands on or playful as Nanny #1. Kids are always cared for and things in order, but not the type to get down on the floor to play.
-can be a bit bossy in regards to imposing her own ideas about baby's schedule, though does ultimately respect my wishes.

Also, just my two cents, but if OP hired someone as a Nanny/Cook and the person agreed to do those tasks, why is it a problem to so many on here? If you advertise for the job you need, pay accordingly, and stick to your work agreement then how is that unfair to anyone? Even though OP refers to her employee solely as the nanny, clearly food prep was included in the hiring discussion. We have no idea of OP/nanny's situation and the kids' schedules so are in no position to judge what are unreasonable or excessive requests.

Anonymous said...

Being on time is important, you need to talk to her about that.
Was the cell phone she lost her own, or one you provided? If you consider being able to contact her when she is out of the house a necessity, you should provide the phone. You really aren't justified in being annoyed if she lost her own. (Maybe she just said she did because you are running up her minutes?)
As many have pointed out, salad making is not child care, which is what a nanny does. If you made that a part of the job description however, she should do it. Talk, talk, talk. Communication is the key. There may be a reason, hectic pre dinner time, not sure how you want the salad made, who knows if you don't ask!

fg said...

Well, that was one side of the story, IF that was even Mom's Son. I wonder what her side of the story is?

Anonymous said...

OOOO maybe it was She-Who-Must-not-be-named.


vi said...

I thought about that, too 11:03.
Some of us have been on here long enough that really anybody could piece together a post like that.

And for the people that are slamming her -- why can't you use your monikers? I think you are posting anonymous because you know she is a favorite around here and don't want to out yourself and look bad later.

Anonymous said...

i like your post, but it's really not funny.

Anonymous said...

You're complaining because your nanny isn't making a SALAD to your specifications... go ahead and fire her over a few cucumbers - if you are that uptight, she is probably looking for a way out anyway. Good luck on the new nanny hunt.

Anonymous said...

Vi - I have never used a moniker nor seen the need for one. I've found they just add a personal/gossipy construct that often obscures the point of the post. People get caught up defending/attacking each other rather than addressing the actual issues.

So, it is and always will be Anonymous for me. Although I'm sure "She who. . ." would have lots of desire to write something like Mom's Son, her past posts have suggested she lacks the literacy skills to put it together in such a cohesive well-spoken form. I've picked up lots of details about Mom on here before too, but have never seen her refer to her daughter by the initial D - have others seen this? This is one of the details in Mom's son's post that made me feel sure it was real.

I also agree with fg that this is only one side of a story, but do we really need to hear more? We already know that Mom is fairly absent and uninvolved in her kids lives, leaving them feeling alone and sad. So alone in fact that he is begging and reaching out in the only forum he can think of - just to get her attention away from the computer screen. I'm sure there are lots of details of teenage misdeeds that Mom could come up with, but this isn't an argument over who is right or wrong between Mom and her son. The problem is far, far beyond that. The mere fact that her son feels so much isolation, frustration, and genuine love and need for his mom says it all for me.

Anonymous said...

I have a GREAT, not perfect, nanny. The things that irk me, but I tolerate and would never make an issue of because she treats my children so well are:
--Not refilling toilet paper, paper towels, wipes, diaper bin when they run out
--Leaving some art supplies out after a particularly crafty day
Leaving a few plates in the sink at the end of the day
--Eating in the car, although we've asked her not and not to allow the kids to
--Treating my kids to McDonalds once and awhile (about once every two weeks) even though we would prefer the petty cash we leave would go to a healthier restaurant choice (but she does order on the healthy side for them)
--Not making sure the kids clean up in the bathroom (nothing gross, but I always find the cap off the kids toothpaste and their toothbrushes tossed on the counter)
I would not tolerate repeated lateness. If you provided the cell phone, I would have an issue that she lost it. If you didn't, not your business. My nanny cooks dinner for the kids as part of the job, so never encountered the salad thing. She choses what she wants to make and we make sure we buy the groceries she wants us to.

mom said...

I hate to even read the other threads!
My son just left for school...which I had to push him out the door to get to on time as he wished to address you all himself this morning. He is not the author of the post that had everybody up all night speculating about whether Mom's kids are starving, being beaten, and clinging to my ankles begging for attention. (Gee, I wonder what would happen if somebody came on claiming to have "proof" that I am a 50 year old naked guy!)

I ordinarily avoid responding at all to negativity, but I do like this site and do not want to let this one stand unanswered. Plus, being a mom is the most important thing I have ever done and somehow my reputation as a mom, even to strangers, is important to me.

Maybe a brief recap of my weekend will give you a picture of our typical family life:

Friday...took the kids to an NBA basketball game.

Saturday...Took son and girlfriend to their school to help with the junior prom fundraiser project. Meanwhile Dad and daughter had guitar lessons at home. Took daughter to dinner and movie. (Son and girlfriend had other plans.)

Sunday..took kids to church and out to lunch afterwards. Then shopping for valentines day for son's girlfriend at sons request. Dropped kids home b/c we need new carpet and they balked heavily at the idea of carpet shopping. Spent evening at home.

Monday ( Also Wed., and some Fridays)...we do karate and then a fitness class together as a family in the evenings.

Wed...Daughter and I have a "girl's dinner out"...every week, between her piano lesson and karate class.

Tues./Thurs we typically veg here.

(Last Tuesday BTW, I drove two hours...each way..to have lunch with my son in college...so I doubt he would be writing any hatefuil e-mails about me either.)

Our weekends are all a little different, except Sunday morning and afternoons...but typically planned around the kids' plans.

Like MaryPP, most of my activity on here occurs while my kids are at school or work, or otherwise occupied. I typically check in the mornings when I read my e-mails, after they go to school. Some days, when I am in my office doing one or another thing all day long, I may check several times throughout the day...which does make me feel a little guilty for the "time wasting" (and CaliMom was right about me being here more those last couple of days b/c of the sensitive nature of the posts.) To the extent I am on the computer at all when my kids are home, they are 8 feet behind me doing their homework on their own computers, which are set up in my office so I can monitor their web activity.

So, I would think if my son or daughter have something to say, they know where to find me most all of the time. In fact, we laugh, because if I am not here when the kids get home, my son always immediately calls to see where I am. (Whereas daughter deosn't seem to bat an eyelash.)If I cannot be here, I always try to make sure to have my phone on hand for his call....which makes my husband roll his eyes 'cause the kid is off to college next year and he thinks maybe a half hour of not knowing where mom is might just not kill him at his age.

Anyway, that's the scoop on "mama's family."

BTW, I never claimed to be the perfect mom, for whoever called me sanctimonious. In fact, many times I have written here about things I am embarrassed about having done as a mom...in hopes somebody else might see it and not do that to their kids.

MissDee said...

OP: I agree with SuperNannyNNJ and disagree 8:36. NNJ made a good point: what are your hiring practices? Are you hiring good candidates? I am not trying to attack you, I'm trying to help you. Melinda was also right when she said that a nanny is a nanny, not other positions plus a nanny. If this nanny agreed to a WA, and in the WA it states that she must prepare dinner or a salad, then ok, yes that is one of her duties. If she is supposed to prepare dinner for the kids, then yes, she should be doing that too. Talk with her, and ask her how she thinks things are going. Listen to her concerns and let her know in a nice way, things that you think she can improve upon. Whatever you choose to do, be nice about it. Let us know what happens!

Here's a thought:
Why do parents hire nannies that can't handle the job as a nanny? I interviewed for a position in which the mother went on and on for about 45 minutes regarding her nanny, and how bad she is. The little girl and the nanny kept getting into arguments, the nanny didn't know age appropriate activities and soforth. I also had another interview with a family of twin girls, and the parents explained that the nanny was pregnant, and wasn't able to handle the job anymore. At one point in the interview, the mother said, "that's what you get when you hire a pregnant 18 year old". Family number 1 I turned down, since they didn't want to pay me enough and Family number 2 decided to keep their nanny. These seem like red flags to me, parents talking bad about their current nanny to other potiental nannies and then keeping the bad nanny. Why do parents hire such nannies?

k said...

I had my first nanny for 7 years. When the children went off to school during the day, that became her time and we paid her for it because she deserved a break by then. And we couldn't dream of replacing her with a part time nanny. When she left to get married, we did hire a new nanny. And because she would have so many free hours, some of her duties, which were clearly described to her at the get go were to wait for service appointments that I would schedule between 12 & 2 during the day, to do some meal prep and to keep the children's toy area and rooms organized. No cleaning, just organization. She started work and was great for six weeks. Then things started to look sloppy. The closets were in disarray, the toys were a mess. So I talked to her about it. Her response? "Well I am a nanny, not a professional organizer".

Some of these nannies, you nannies have some nerve! If you take a job and the job description dictates that you do x,y and z- you best damn do x, y and z. And if you demonstrate you can do x, y and z during your trial period, then you best damn keep up with it.

I know what a nanny is. I had the best for several years. She was strictly childcare. Never had to wash a piece of children's clothing.

But my needs have changed. You should be certain to know, I fired that nanny and hired someone with a clearer work ethic.

Some of the things she does are not "nanny jobs", but they supplement her "nanny hours" with additional work hours and that allows her to be a full time employee. On the books, with health insurance.

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

Thank you so much. ☺

I am so glad to hear that post was BS. As you can see in my post @ 4:34, my gut was trying to tell me something. I'd like to think that even though we don't know you personally ... we know enough about each other (obviously, because SOMEONE took advantage of that last night!) -- that we would know whether or not a person had such serious issues.

I must say that it is quite scary that someone would go through THAT much trouble to slam you. Hopefully everyone has learned a valuable lesson and from now on, let's wait to hear it from 'the horses mouth' (so to speak).

melamonk said...

The posts may seem to have targeted "M", but really someone was going after all of you. Did you see the comments about "you know it all bitches", "one of you got served", "one of you who is on here all of the time got slammed". Joy and jubilation. From someone who dislikes all of us who make up this blog. And it could be anyone besided the obvious suspect.

All of the regular commenting authors on this blog, especially those who adopt a moniker, well we participate in making this blog great. Legendary, in fact.

And some anonymous hack isn't going to dissuade me in the least. The one thing I find odd is the constant references to the "amount of time" "M" was on the blog. While she may post here and there, this is not a chatroom, so even posting three times on "open" thread would only take about ten minutes per day!

melamonk said...

Sorry, I should have added that although I haven't posted much recently, it is only because by the time I have read the responses from Eric's Mom, Cali Mom, MPP and Mom- everything I thought has been said! Still, it is always a great read.

Call it validation.

Anonymous said...

I am a frequent, but always anonymous poster. I am a bit fanatical about remaining anonymous. There are things I reveal online I would not want to speak about openly and become subjects of gossip in the real world. There have been times that I've debated adopting a moniker to make it easier than referring myself by a time stamp or a snippet of the conversation on a string, but what just happened to Mom confirms why I prefer to post anonymously. Someone pieced together information from several posts to attempt to embarass her in the virtual world. Hopefully, the person is not malicious enough to attempt the same in the real world because Mom has revealed so many details about her life, she could be recognized by someone who knows her. (Though don't know if her postings could really fuel any gossip mill. Although Mom has shared very personal information and what she considers errors in judgement here, nothing she has ever posted is anything she should be ashamed of). --a cowardly always anonymous poster

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

I caught most of it. Not the "you got served..." stuff, though.
But all that matters in the end is that we know it was an imposter. I can't imagine the amount of time it must've taken to put that fake post together, though.

Anyway, whether some want to think there is a click here or not, we are all here for one reason ... and that's for the kids.

I guess the reason Mom was targeted is because some might consider her "Queen Bee", lol.
I've heard on more than one occasion: "Mom and her group of friends" (or stooges, or groupies, or whatever the hell you want to call it!).

Personally, I don't 'follow' anybody. If someone has a good post, I tell them so. It just so happens that I agree with a lot of what Mom has to say. As for each one of the regulars, I have my own reasons why I appreciate them. For example: One poster (I won't name names!) ... likes to "tell it like it is", with a little bit of attitude, and I like that. There are times she's saying what I'm thinking but just so happens to be the one with the balls to do it.
Others I like because their responses are so clever.
Example: (And too bad, because I think they posted anonymous) but they made the comment about the uterus. I almost fell out of my chair! That one wins for "comment of the day"!

Anyway, thanks for the insight melamonk. I'm glad you won't allow yourself to be pushed around either!

Anonymous said...

Miss Dee: I don't think most parents intentionally hires a nanny unable to do the job. There are many unqualified people trying to get into this line of work because it pays better than other jobs they can get and sometimes these unqualified people get past your radar. Personally, I think "radar" is over rated - and you could unfairly weed out someone who could be very good based on some prejudice you hold simply on appearance. I've caught FIVE candidates who sailed through a 30 minute very detailed phone interview and were strong on their in person interview who falsified references. (That made me wonder if my job posting was too detail since they obviously were creating fictional jobs to match it). I've also hired a nanny who did good during the trial period and then slacked way off and tried to change their duties from those we agreed to (and are in our written agreement). As a new nanny employer it is hard to admit or reach the conclusion you made a mistake. You have to judge whether your expectations and disappointment are fair without a benchmark. I commend the OP on coming here to try to get that benchmark even though I'm sure if she looked at any of the strings on the site she knew to expect plenty of negative comments.

OP: One of the posters here suggested there is something wrong because you've had 2 nannies in 4 months. Ignore that. Don't worry about how many false starts it takes before you find the right fit. The fact that you don't say that she does a good job with the kids, but that she "meets the children's basic childcare needs", means you are not thrilled with the one thing that you should never compromise on. If you find yourself saying things like "it could be worse" or "at least the kids are safe with her", you don't have a proper nanny. As difficult as it is, let her go, with notice and severence (you want to be fair) and keep looking until you get it right. I went through several nannies before I found the right fit for us. There is no shame in admitting an error, just in perpetuating it.

vi said...

you call it validation? I call it professional jealously! there's a pig running around here thats just pissed off because they grew up their whole life being on the fringes of the "in" crowd, and they can't stand it so they have to pick some blog to go on and harrass others to make themselves feel better!

mom said...

Mom here again...
Somebody mentioned something that I also was thinking about as I did my erraqnds this morning...I have left a lot of personal information on here. I need to be a little more careful.
I have tried to be mindful ever since my husband got on to read a few of crazy 2XAs posts (after I told her about them) and he became alarmed and told me I needed to be very careful not to leave any traceable information that could lead such a lunatic to finding us. That is great advice for ALL of us to remember.

Since then I have been extra careful. I never use any of our real names and have tried to be much more general about our lives.
As I was writing this morning I did realize that anybody who knows me and reads this will recognize me in a heartbeat (although, I think, none of it could lead a stranger to me)...but I don't care if anybody who knows me well recognizes me here. They would know me well enough to know what is crap and what is true...and they already now all of our weekly plans and schedules anyway...as well as where we live, should they want to come kill or kidnap me. They know my parenting style and my views about most everything by now...if they friends enough to recognize my schedule.

Also, one reason I try to use my moniker (almost always...sometimes I like to stay anonymous on really volatile subjects..but that's pretty rare)is that I do want to hold myself to a certain standard of "accountability" for what I post here. It keeps me from slamming (or, as my kids say, "flaming") at times when it might be easy. So, if you do know me "in real life," hello. I'm not ashamed of what I post here...although I do cringe and think twice at times sometimes before posting my worst parenting blunders. Although, I suppose I might be a bit sheepish about the abuse thread the other day...oh well.

PS Something funny. The post of last night did inspire guilt in one area. I ran to check my milk supply this morning...'cause I do sometimes run out...which, for moms is somehow a cardinal sin. Phew...plenty..and not yet expired. (Although, admittedly, that one could have gone either way. In my defense though...my daughter hates milk altogether and my son won't drink it...only uses it for cereal.)

Anonymous said...

Hi OP:

I have a nanny who is very loving and caring with db, but just seems to lack common sense and has to be shown how to do things many many times. She's been with us for 7 months and things aren't getting better and we will start looking for a new nanny at some point. All are "minor" issues, but they add up:

- Common sense things (these are things I've seen recently): wiped a toy with a clorox wipe ... put db's pacifier in the diaper pad section of the diaper bag, not wrapped in a tissue or ziplock, and actually facing the change pad ... left db on the change table while she walked across the room with back turned ... woke up db who had fever to feed her (cmon, let a sick child sleep!) ... this is a weird one: but if we're taking db somewhere in the evening, she'll ask my dh (who is home early) to call me to see if what db is wearing is okay. invariably, i say yes, and then she changes her anyway (i just don't get it) ... until i realized it, she fed db straight out of the baby food containers (back when db was eating 1/2 jars) ... i seriously don't think she can use a ziplock bag, she just folds it over.

- things she just doesn't "get" -- how to change the diaper genie, how to fold the maclaren, if i ask her to cook something for db, it takes her 3 times + to make it decent (yet i know she can cook bc she's brought some leftovers of pretty tasty things for us)

- Little things i wouldn't even mention to her: she'd never change our garbage bag (we live in the city and just use supermarket bags so they fill up quickly), she'd never wash a single non-db dish that is in the sink

these are just some examples that I jotted down, there are lots. i think the deal breaker is that we often decide to not bother having nanny do something with or for db because of the effort required to show her how to do it. i think another poster said that nannies are supposed to make your life easier, and i find that my nanny -- although very loving -- acts like a babysitter sometimes. also, she is not same nationality as most nannies in my neighborhood and pretty much told me that she wouldn't socialize on her own with those nannies (although she'd of course go on a play date if i set it up) -- this isn't an issue now, but will be soon and i can't set up all of db's playdates going forward. anyway, sorry to rant...

melamonk said...

I was saying that I was validated by reading other people's opinions that were in line with mine!

Jeesh. You are so not original Vi.

Anonymous said...

If you are saying you want to get a nanny of the same nationalities as most in the neighborhood to make making playdates easier, I wouldn't. I had to arrange most playdates in the beginning with my wonderful nanny, and I'm glad I did. I know the families and their nannies better than I would have because I arranged it and I don't have to worry about possibly insulting her by questioning her judgement (which is very good on most things) by checking on a family she made an arrangement for a playdate with. After she had a playdate or two with a new family, she would then do the arranging herself with the Mom or the nanny. You should go with the most qualified person, regardlesss of nationality and take the lead on playdate scheduling.

(BTW, the reason I had to do this has much to do with the racial lines many of the nanny groups in my neighborhood divide into. My nanny is hispanic, but third generation, born, raised and educated in top schools here. But because she is and looks hispanic, the Carribean and European nannies did not reach out to befriend her. Because she does not speak spanish well, she tends not to socialize much with many of the spanish nannies. It was only after she worked for us for several months that some of the other American nannies she now socializes with got to know her through playdates.)

Anonymous said...

Here is a question for nannies/employers:

If you were getting "temporary nannies" (aka someone who is qualified to be a nanny but in your particular case is only working a day or two) from an agency to come in and take care of your kids, would you ask them to do housework not childcare related?

I am one such nanny and have always been sure to clean up any messes the kids and/or I make (i.e. from meals, arts and crafts, toys, etc.). However a family I sat for recently had me do other things. I get the feeling they want to make sure they get the absolute most for their money, so the other day during the 30 or so minutes of the 9 hour day when I had nothing to do because the two younger boys were taking a late nap and the oldest son was not yet home from school, the mom asked that I vacuum the upstairs (playroom, one child's room, living area, hallway)... and of course to vacuum properly you have to pick up all the toys and clothes left on the floor! Once I had finished, there was about 10 minutes to go and I intended to get a spot of studying in before eldest got off bus but then mom asked me to empty dishwasher (as if I know where everything goes because I have only been there once!) and proceed to load the full sink of dishes/all the dishes scattered throughout kitchen/dining room.

Anonymous said...

You know, it's not a stretch to think MOM might now be lying so she doesn't look so bad in the light of day. Just a suggestion. Not an attack. I don't know anyone here well enough to like, dislike or even be sure who you really are. This is, after all a blog of faceless posters. Mom, anyone or even I could very well be a 50 year old naked man LOL...we can never be sure. That's why I enjoy blogs like this but I don't get emotionally involved with anyone on them.


Anonymous said...

I employed temporaries twice--once for two months and once for three weeks. I actually limited them to strictly childcare because I wanted to make sure they focused on playing with and engaging the kids who were missing their regular caregiver. My regular nanny cooks all the kids meals and does light housekeeping --straightening clutter and toys in the playroom and kids' rooms, sweeping up the kitchen after meals and wiping the counters and tables, emptying and loading the dishwasher, the kids laundry and emptying the diaper pail. I would not ask my nanny to vacuum (although my regular nanny does take out the vacuum cleaner if needed to clean a mess--like when a full container of glitter fell on the floor during a craft session-- and I would expect the same of any adult).

Helaine said...

I think it is a bit of a stretch.

If a teenage boy wrote like that, I mean seriously- he would have to be a total nerd geek-loser. Everyone knows the CODE of being a teenager is you didn't see anything. 100 teenagers standing in a hallway and one gets shoved. No one sees anything. That email was written by a female. A bitch type. Bored, desperate and hoping to convolute the blog and antagonize the regulars.

Sorry, not happening.

vi said...

I guess it's hard to come across in a computer, but I was flaming the person that attacked mom, not you. I am in full agreement with you and also wanted to put in my little dig against her.
What do you mean I am not original?

Original Vi said...

I had been posting as Vi for months. Just so you are aware, I will know refer to myself as Original Vi. Fortunately for you, I hadn't developed a cultish following.


vi said...

sorry. I kinda noticed the other day. I can change it if you want. Or maybe now you will get a cult following as you stand out more? LOL

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 12:21, I would never be able to put up with these things myself. I'm glad you like your "nanny" but I would not be happy. If she makes you happy then great. But this kind of situation -- which of course I've heard of before, either on this blog or in life -- just strikes me as so perplexing. I don't understand how a "nanny" like this would give me confidence that my children were in good hands, etc.

She doesn't sound like a professional nanny AT ALL. This is the kind of person that I would suspect you would find totally unacceptable if you complicated her world by having another child. There is so much more juggling involved and attending to everyone's needs can be complicated.

It would not bother me in the least to take the lead on playdates, in fact I'd prefer it. But all the other things you mention that you label common sense things and things she just doesn't get -- well I don't see how I could deal with a caregiver who does not know how to do the most basic things. Her standards seem low and she does not seem to be very smart from what you describe. I guess that is why it is too hard to teach her new things and you've just given up because it is more effort than it's worth!

I just don't understand why people hire people to "nanny" who cannot do basic childcare. There are certain things that people need to do when they take care of children, like keep pacifiers away from poop, fold their strollers when it's very necessary, and let sick children sleep.

If this woman has such trouble with all the things you mention, how can you have confidence that she will know how to handle a situation that comes up, or will make good judgements in an emergency?

One never knows what disasters are around the corner. One would hope one's sitter or nanny would handle things well.

Anonymous said...

12:21 doesn't seem to have much confidence in her Nanny and I worry whether or not she'd be able to function in an Emergency.

Sarah and Mitch said...


Although nannies agree to a lot upon employment, sometimes we still don't know quite what to expect from the family's standards.

The cooking thing is fine, if you both agreed to it, but maybe her cooking skills are limited to basic abilities. Maybe you could suggest she cook a couple of your family's favorite meals WITH you so she can see how you prepare, and you can casually make suggestions as to the way you like lettuce chopped or whatnot.

If there are daily tasks aside from the basics (refilling diaper stack when it's empty, picking up after the child), then make it a point the have a communication/daily journal for everyone. In it, she can write a little about the day, any milestones or fun things that happened, and if you need certain groceries or craft supplies. And you can write your feedback of their day, suggestions of activities you would like her to do with the kids, and any simple errands such as unloading the dishwasher or vacuuming the kids play areas. (Not to wander too much, but I always found it very awkward to vacuum or otherwise clean the parents' rooms. It's their private space, and when you are in someone's house all day long, there are just some places that need to be left sacred for the family and this is one of them.)

Having a log always helped with families I worked for, but I really think it has to go both ways. I would take time to write in detail about my day with the child, what errands and tasks we got done, what projects we did, etc... and from one particular family I never received any feedback. At all. So I started writing more vague entries, and still no feedback.

With another family, they wrote in the journal as well, and it really helped to have a visual "to-do" list for me during the day. A day with a child, or many of them, can get hectic and fun, and you lose sight of your goals for the day as far as errands and chores go. Having the journal to refer to all day long as I was writing kept me on track.

I know it's long... but I hope I was able to help you a little bit. Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

11:26 and 2:37, you both mentioned things that I have thought of myslef: what would happen in an emergency and can the nanny handle a second baby. I know she cannot handel 2 kids -- she does everything in advance -- like put out the jar of apple sauce for lunch. Sometimes I catch her off guard and ask her to give the baby breakfast as soon as she comes (usually I give breakfast, but of course, schedules are sometimes off!) and its like she's lost. she puts the baby in the high chair before she even boils the water for the cereal (she's not into microwaves) -- this takes 10+ minutes and baby does not have the patience to sit through that and then eat ... with 2 kids, you clearly can't plan everything in advance. I'm at least a year away from having a second, but still ...

The emergency situation worries me a lot. The one good thing I can say is that she truely loves the baby, so I think she'd risk her life to helf db. I'm not sure if a competant but uninterested nanny (and I know friends with nannies like this) would do the same.

Its funny, I worred about posting here because some people think I'm making a big deal out of little things, but its just so many little things and they add up to a not-so-great picture. She worked for her previous family for 5 years, btw, until the little girl went to kindergarden. I have a feeling that the mom was really anal and liked to do everything herself ... not sure... but she gave rave reviews. to each his own I guess.

on the good side, she is very rarely, if ever late (and we ask her to stay even a minute late in the evenings) and, again, she's very loving. but clearly, this situation will not work out much longer.

signed 12:21 mom

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

12:21 Mom

Your Nanny sounds lovely ... but I'm afraid she's a ninny. I really hope you let her go before your 2nd baby comes along.

Part of me worries why you would 'settle' for her. But I think I got my answer when you said you had friends with uninterested Nannies. And yes, I find that to be a form of neglect.

You seem like a very caring Mother, but you probably should've spent a little more time looking, because this one doesn't sound like your perfect fit. Rave reviews or not, she may have meshed well with another Family, but obviously not yours.

As soon as you get pregnant next time around, start early and find exactly what your looking for, know that your going to pay for what you get ... and don't settle!

Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

OP: You don't mention how many kids you have--but you do say children, so more than one, and how old. The lateness thing is unacceptable, but you should evaluate how hard the job is before you judge her on her ability to do household tasks. I have 3 kids from infant to 5 years old and caring for them is HARD. There is never a time my nanny does not have at least one child with her and most of the time she has several. The kids rarely nap at the same time and the few times they do she needs to take advantage of that to sit and gather her energy for when they are awake again. If your kids are young, rather than have her rush and do something half-assed because she's trying to occupy the kids as she's doing it, why not come home 30 minutes before she leaves so that you can get dinner going while she cares for the children.

op said...

Hello everyone. My nanny has 3.5 hours until she is finished work. At the end of the day today, we are going to give here 2 weeks severence and terminate her relationship. I have an ad slated to run this weekend and I am hoping to talk to a large number of people. Problems look different in print than they do in real life. I appreciate your many words of wisdom, to all who responded.

Anonymous said...

OP, Best of luck with your search!

If you a paying a fair wage and take your time interviewing people, you should find the right person.

Anonymous said...

To 12:21 mom,

This is me at 11:26. It sounds like you have completely changed your mind about your nanny from your first post to your second, possibly due to our comments here.

I just wanted to say that I can see that a family could possibly keep her for 5 years. Maybe it was a mom who worked part time, or someone who was home a lot and the nanny was more of a mother's helper than a nanny. She seems well suited to being a mother's helper perhaps.

When you say that some people say you're making a big deal out of a few small things according to some people, I guess these people are friends who know you and your nanny? They think you are overreacting?

The emergency thing still concerns me even if she loves your baby and would do anything to help. I wonder if she would make wise decisions, that's all. Anything could happen at any time, and that's why we have to be very careful about who we leave our kids with.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

K- you just decribed the duties of a personal assistant (PA)- why on earth would you hire a nanny to do that? LMAO duh

it seems SOME mommies try to get the biggest bang for their buck and PILE on duties that are impossible to finish while caring for kids. Then you are pissed they are not done? NANNIES< do child care and pick up after the children and themselves. ANYTHING above that you are just greedy and ridiculous and short changing your children as well as the nanny. That 1-2 hr nap you kinds MIGHT take- concider it her break and time to pick up the mess they've made so far and prep time for art/learning activities. You people are unfreakinbelieveable.

Anonymous said...

8:27 AMEN!

I love it when the mom says to me "Can you just get X,Y and Z done while she takes her nap because you do have 2 hours down time"
Of course, these duties are usually never related to the child or part of my agreed upon workday. Also "She" hasn't taken a two hour nap in about 4 months now. She takes about a 40 minute nap these days, which the mother would know if she spent anytime waking time with her daughter. I am the weekday nanny and they have a weekend mother's helper. Yup, 7 day a week help for a 30 year old SAHM with one kid and way too much money.

Anonymous said...


Are you serious? So what does she do all day? Is she in the house with you most of the time? Sounds like a spoiled brat. The mother that is. Sounds like they can't even spend any alone time with their child. They probably have a night nanny too. I wonder if the husbands of these women get pissed off at times. Here they are going to work, while their wives sit on their butts.

Anonymous said...

And by the way I hope you tell her, no she doesn't take two hour naps anymore. So I can't do ----

Anonymous said...

So Salad Lady whats the update?

Anonymous said...

Wow, OP this is really sad. I am an American born nanny, whom is college education, and working on a masters degree in education. The family I work for also thinks a lot of stuff they "demand" of me is things we talked about. Did you tell her that she had to be your personal assistant slave? Maybe she makes a shitty salad for you so you will stop asking her to do things that have nothing to do with being a Nanny. I would make you a bad salad too, if you came home and gave me that attitude. Actually, I wouldn't work for you, because, I am a Nanny to work with children and to education, not to chop your onions. Life your own life, make your own salad, and stop trying to pawn off everything you don't want to do on a Nanny. Look up a Nanny's true job description. I hope for your nanny's sake that you fire her, so she can go find a decent employer to work for. I pity the next "Nanny" you hire.

op said...

This is the OP again. I am somewhat hesitant to provide a truthful update on account of the recent spiteful commentary. Let me say this first, we hired this nanny and met her price-higher than we were offering and she agreed to meet our job description. Whether I asked her to play chess with my uncle henry for 2 hours a day or start a salad is completely up to me as the employer. That is the benefit of being an employer. You hire who you want to work for you. If I had bold type, I would highlight work and you. I really don't understand how anyone can complain about the job they took. We explained her job responsibilities in plain English in writing and on paper.

A group of you is clearly optimistic as being designated as a nanny and you think 'nanny' should only mean some sort of overpaid goddess who does nothing but tend to the children. Archaic and inaccurate. The term nanny happens to cover too many independant quacks who have never read a single book in their life and claim to have been teachers in their previous countries. That's a bunch of inaccurate b.s.

My new job description is going to include more than starting a salad. I am going to through on light dinner prep. And I would like the reyclables taken to the curb on Thursday. And what else would work for our family? Yes, I really need someone to start picking up the drycleaning since the children wear so many drycleanables these days. Not that I have to justify that. Even if my children did not have drycleanables, I could ask her to pick up my drycleaning on Tuesday and Friday at 12:30 and guess what, that would be her g-damn job.

I had the forsight to ask my husband to come home early and we let her go about an hour early. She was surprised by caught off guard and we sent her with a thank you and a check. We let her say good bye to the children as I had taken them aside at the first to secretly tell them that "she" had go home to take care of her mother.

We started getting phonecalls on Saturday. Some of the prospects look good. We had a three day weekend to find someone. We set up a handful of interviews. Then we received more calls and would you know that her nanny friends started calling. We fielded at least five phone calls from extensions of the disgruntled nanny. One told us that "she" was very upset and didnt feel she had closure and wanted to come back and talk to us about what went wrong. Another woman called and told us that what we did was so wrong and we made a big mistake and people were gonna hear all about it. Another nanny friend who works for a neigbor of mine called and said we should reconsider because we will never find another nanny like her.

In fielding these calls, I became upset that perhaps we would inadvertantly be welcoming in the nanny's friends as potential interviewees and so we canceled the upcoming interviews. The last thing I wanted to do was find myself set up by some ring of organzied nannis.

This morning I was still a wreck. I asked my husband to call the nanny and ask her to have friends stop bothering us. I called an agency that specializes in temporary nannies. Now I can decide what to do. I may end up using a nanny agency if I can find a reputable one. I would be very interested in hiring someone who was English and fifty-ish. I think that would be the best fit for our family. I am not happy how it worked out after termninating her. We rounded up her two weeks salary so it was more like 2 weeks, 2 days salary. I really thought severance given as a way to give a definitive good bye.

I dont regret firing this nanny. She wasnt a bad nanny. I am shocked at how quickly she seemed to innegrate herselves with the nannies around. She hadn't been here that long. That part was shocking.

And for the record, I think any nanny who is fired and who has their friends and mother call and ask why she was fired and beg them for another chance is completetely in the wrong and has overstepped the line.

Anonymous said...

IMHO, if you want her to be availble by cell (on call 24/7) then you should be providing her with a cell...

Second... are you paying enough? I know this sounds silly, but for what you are asking, you might not be meeting the basic salary requirements...

..you pay crap, you get crap...

I know it's sad, but it's true!

Anonymous said...


it sounds like you want an AuPair or Household Manager... not just a nanny...

Look into that... greataupair.com

your supervisor said...

Let me show you the hierarchy, okay?

Teen Babysitter
College Babysitter
Mother's Helper/ (tie) Doula
Au Pair
Nanny (tied with babynurse, assuming it is a real baby nurse)
Butler/ Ladie's Secretary
Estate Manager/House Manager
Personal Assistant

§marypoppin'pills§ said...

So you decided to let her go. I guess you figured it wasn't worth sitting down this "decent Nanny that just didn't know how to make you a salad", and talk it out.

I hope for your kids sake you don't 'backslide'. What do I mean, you ask? Well, you gave up a perfectly good Nanny, that had a few short-comings, that was good to your kids ... and now you may find yourself stuck with one that will be lazy, mean to your kids, and talk on her cell phone all day - but hey, at least she'll have a cellphone, right?
And don't think for a second your going to be like Spiderman and have 'Spidey powers' and know that you picked up a crappy Nanny right away.
Even the best Parents, with the best of intentions, get screwed.

Tell me, did your kids cry because of the way you booted her out so quickly? Oh I forgot, you lied to them ... so maybe it wasn't too traumatic for them.

I hope for the sake of your kids that your next Nanny knows how to make a damn salad.

Anonymous said...

To OP:

"Whether I asked her to play chess with my uncle henry for 2 hours a day or start a salad is completely up to me as the employer. That is the benefit of being an employer."
-- so your a slavedriver?

"A group of you is clearly optimistic as being designated as a nanny and you think 'nanny' should only mean some sort of overpaid goddess who does nothing but tend to the children. Archaic and inaccurate."
-- so ... you DON'T want the best for your children?

"She was surprised by caught off guard and we sent her with a thank you and a check."
-- Gee ... don't do her any favors, please.

"We let her say good bye to the children as I had taken them aside at the first to secretly tell them that "she" had go home to take care of her mother."
-- What a way to set an example for your kids, lying like that.

"We fielded at least five phone calls from extensions of the disgruntled nanny. One told us that "she" was very upset and didn't feel she had closure and wanted to come back and talk to us about what went wrong."
-- Do you think it had anything to do with being so disrespectfully "kicked to the curb", with no notice?

You got some nerve, lady.

Kate in PA said...

op said: "A group of you is clearly optimistic as being designated as a nanny and you think 'nanny' should only mean some sort of overpaid goddess who does nothing but tend to the children. Archaic and inaccurate. The term nanny happens to cover too many independant quacks who have never read a single book in their life and claim to have been teachers in their previous countries. That's a bunch of inaccurate b.s."

Excuse me, but THAT is a bunch of inaccurate bs. If you were looking for a professional nanny, you would know the difference. Like 9:11 pm said much earlier, a nanny is hired to care for your children. If you were home all day doing it, you would understand how much work it is to provide excellent care and education. Nannies are not "overpaid goddesses" and tending to children (if you are actually doing it right) is pretty darn challenging, not to mention exhausting!

If you want a Household Manager (which, btw, you do), then fine. Good for you. But that is a much different job than a nanny's. Please stop putting down true professional nannies and the work they do.

op said...

What does "professional" mean? Anyone can be a professional. Is a blogger a blogger or a professional blogger? The whole nanny body of work needs to be retooled. Too many people are calling themselves nannies. And what rates as a 'professional' nanny in California would never fly in England. And likewise what rates as professional in Savannah is a gag gift here. Come on. Start a union or create a new job title where only people with credentials can call themselves nannies. That is my point. Well one of them. But it is late and I have gone on a bit too much. It has been a very long weekend.

I am not a slavedriver. Maybe what I mean to say is that I can describe my job in the paper and they who answer the job description should do the job as graciously as I pay it. I am not one of these employers who changes the rules for the nanny or adds more and more. She has plenty of time sans children to complete the non nanny tasks. But the term nanny is so "muddled" then who is to say what a nanny is? In the midwest, every nanny cooks and cleans. This is my job description. It is more accurate to call it a nanny than it is to call it a salad maker!@

Anonymous said...

If you don't know the difference between a professional nanny and a lazy park bench nanny, then you need to keep your ass at home and take care of your own kids.

Kate in PA said...

First of all, a professional nanny would not work for someone like you.

Second, a professional nanny has an education in something to do with childcare (early childhood/elementary education, child psychology, etc.), and strives to continue that education even after getting a degree.

Third, I won't rehash the whole union debate. That has been discussed and would never work in the nanny field. But google nanny credential and you will see that nannies are banding together to get a system in place that will truly let people know who the professional nannies are.

Does that help?

Anonymous said...

You cannot call yourself an elecrtrician unless you are a certified electrician, so why is it so hard for you to see that the problems with the world, this blog and the playground is that so many people are running around falsely labeled as nannies. A nanny IS A PROFESSIONAL childcare provider. I know what that comprises. But all these Tom, Dick and Harry's keeping up with the Jones's want to call their hoodrats 'nannies' and they aren't. A nanny speaks English. She is college educated. So dare I ask if you have looked at a new York playground and seen the sloth operating under the title nanny? The INA should be kicking themselves in the teeth. They represent these rupugnant pieces of trash?

Anonymous said...

OP- you are ridiculous. The only one who doesn't see it is you. I'm sure the people in your life and all who come in contact would agree, you're insecurities and low self esteem are transparently evident in your behavior and negativity. Your power trip is an attempt to make yourself important and your neglect towards your family is disgusting. I feel poorly for your children, they deserve better. You are never happy and will always lead a miserable existance. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

With all respect, due and undue, you remind me of myself. When I was a raging drunk. Step away from the bottle of alcohol.

Anonymous said...

I wish we could get the other side of story from the former employee.....

Anonymous said...

She needs to get laid....

Anonymous said...

.... and not from her husband.
May I suggest the pool boy?

Anonymous said...

FWIW... Kate in PA hit the nail on the head...

this OP is crazy!

Anonymous said...

I agree with OP on two points: As in any job, the employer should list and discuss all of her job requirements in details up front. The employee who takes a position knowing full well what the job is has an obligation to do them, just as the employer has an obligation not to change the job the employee interviewed for. If employers were open and honest about their needs and employees were open and honest about what they will and will not accept in a job, rather than all the passive aggressive junk described on this site, it would be far easier for nannies and employers to find situations that made them happy.

I also think it is wrong of the nanny's friends calling the OP and it validates she made the right choice. When we let our first "nanny" go after several weeks and many attempts to work out her inability to do the job (net, net she just did not want to work as hard as a nanny job requires and was not engaging or supervising my kids properly), several of the "nannies" in the area told me I made a mistake, stopped setting up playdates between their charges and my kids, and were unpleasant to our new nanny. Guess the park bench group just doesn't want a competent nanny as a benchmark for their employers. For a few kids, I went around the nanny to nanny playdate discussion and set up playdates directly through the parents. Funny thing is though my new nanny (who is wonderful and has VERY strong opinions on the park bench clique) said she's happy to do these playdates if it makes my daughter happy, but she wants them at our house since she doesn't feel comfortable leaving my child in these women's care.

OP: It is good you are being very specific about what you need your new employee to do. My nanny cooks full meals as part of her job and she does the children's laundry, empties the diaper pail, and straightens up after herself and the kids. Although I've asked her to not let the older kids slide on cleaning up after themselves, which actually takes more time than if she does it herself for them-I know she still spends time cleaning up because the house is always in good order at the end for the day. If you need a nanny/household manager, that's what you should hire, but give careful consideration to what your kids' needs are and what the day realistically is like as you add non-childcare related tasks to your job description. Time she spends doing tasks other than childcare is time she's not 100% focused on your kids. For example, although my nanny normally cooks and does the kids laundry, I did the kids laundry this weekend and pre-cooked a few meals because my oldest is home from school this week on holiday and it will be a busier than normal week. Having found a true nanny who plays with and plans fun activities for my kids, I would much rather have her doing one of the many art projects, puzzles, books or games she brings with her every week than have her hauling them in and out of the car doing errands. That's why it annoys me when park bench babysitters who leave kids to their own devices are called "nanny". It does create confusion over the term. Going with an agency, you likely have a better chance of finding a real nanny than an ad in the newspaper. Good Luck.

mom said...

IMO I think people are being a little harsh with OP.
Maybe nannies don't make dinner, but it sounds like this one agreed to start dinner as part of her employment contract. If she were a professional, shouldn't she have said something up front rather than behave in such a passive aggressive manner after the fact as to repeatedly "forget" to do parts of her agreed upon job description? Maybe if the problem was the QUALITY of the salads, OP ought to have taught her how to make it the way she wanted, but it sounds like that was just one of many things, and for some reason people latched onto that.

For me, the lack of sense in putting a pacifier next to a changing pad that had been used in public would speak volumes about her ability to use common sense in everyday situations. Of course, you could talk to her about that too, and she would probably stop doing it...but how can one possibly foresee the infinite number of scenarios where common sense might be required and manage to preemptively address them all?

On the one hand, people jump all over moms for having nannies, or any childcare situation, that is anything but top notch. On the other hand, here is a mom who has a feeling that this nanny is not up to the job...for reasons having to do with childcare, and reasons having to do with maturity, common sense and ethics, and we jump all down her throat for being too picky?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:18 PM, I really agree with you! Thanks for saying it well. I want to add that it is not only that the Tom Dick and Harrys who try to keep up with the Joneses that are creating this problem; it is also the so called "nannies" themselves! They should not be calling themselves "nannies." They are not educated people who deserve the title.

While the OP may be getting a bit excited in her posts, I don't think she is off base. Her point is that she is trying to hire someone to take care of the kids and do general basic easy household-running tasks, that which she or any other mother would do if she were a full time stay at home mom!

These things are often something that a paid caregiver does. The OP is not asking for anything excessive in her salad-making job description. It sounds to me like she just has not hired high-enough-level help so far. It can be very hard to find. If it were me, I would not even know where to look to try to find well educated household help, a nanny or an overseer of sorts.

If the OP spelled out the job description, like: bring the kids to school, pick them up from school and play with them, or take them to their activities, then at the end of the day cook everyone's dinner (including the parents), and do certain errands during the day, this is not at all unreasonable to ask from one's paid help!

So, I don't think everyone should jump down her throat. Remember, the OP is going through a tough weekend, having to get rid of some household help that couldn't do basic tasks (and they were agreed upon from the outset).

cathyrn said...

When I terminated my nanny of 7 months because she was unresponsive to the child crying as witnessed by more than one person-and another woman in our building saw her run out for a coffee with the baby in blanket but bare feet. When I did this, the nannies retalliated by being evil to me and the new nanny and shunning our children. This is not uncommon! And also probably a sign that the nanny is no good.

motheroffive said...

I agree that if the nanny agreed to do these things she should do it, but I, sitting here at my computer with no true ties to anyone else on this website, felt offended by the OPs posts, esp. the 9:54 one.

I understand that she is confusing the term "household manager" with "nanny," but she is saying things in such an offensive and, honestly, snooty way that even if her nanny was fired for valid reasons, I would still feel bad for the nanny. Actually, the OP kind of reminds me of the mother in The Nanny Diaries.

So, that's my issue. Everyone's entitled to their own job description, but please, use the right label.

OP, you are not getting the quality that you want because a professional nanny would not do the things that you are asking. A personal assistant or household manager would. Start labeling the job for what it truly is and then you may start getting the quality people that you are looking for.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. You said it much more eloquently than I could have!

Anonymous said...

To 7:11, i don't agree with you on certain points.

It seems to me that the OP does not curently have a profesional nanny who is refusing to do certain tasks that are beneath her (as you seem to suggest).

I get the opposite impression - she has a non professional nanny who is probably not qualified to work at MacDonald's, and she doesn't know how to follow the OP's easy salad instructions.

It doesn't seem to be a housemanager that is necessary in my view. The point is to find someone who is smart & energetic & professional enough to handle all the tasks that the job requires.

Anonymous said...

To 7:11, sorry, I should have referred to you as motheroffive.

Anonymous said...

I called an agency at the beginning of a year about a house manager. We have a nanny who does strictly nanny work. The price for a housemanager who could do what I wanted with the experience I sought, (5 yrs) was 85-110K per year. But you are all saying that a regular person cannot ask a nanny to make a salad? Sheeeeeeesh.
Read the article about the au pairs posted today. It relates to the nannies today!

Kate in PA said...

Au Pairs are also a different job description than nannies. I agree with Anon at 8:27... some moms are just trying to get the most for their buck. That's fine at the grocery store, but nannies are human beings. And professionals, if that is who you are truly looking for.

I am not opposed to nannies doing anything extra. I occasionally do some laundry and cook dinner for my nanny family, but I offered and it is not expected or demanded of me. And let me point out that a "Thank you, we really appreciate all you do" goes a long way. The last family I worked for demanded extra things of me (and then criticized me each day when the house was not perfect), and when they told me to clean off the patio (leaves and outdoor furniture, not kid toys), that was the last straw. It's not that I am incapable, it's that I am a nanny, not a maid and certainly not a lawn care company.

If you are going to ask for all the extras on top of childcare, then pay the big bucks for a house manager. If you don't want to pay someone for all that, then do it yourself. Seems simple to me.

Anonymous said...

Although I agree she could have said it in a nicer way, what is the OP really asking for that is out of scope of a nanny position? She is not asking for lawn care. Cooking full meals, let alone making a salad, is not an unusual task to include in a nanny's job description. I think the "playing chess with Uncle Henry" and "hauling recyclables to the curb" is going a bit far, but she was obviously upset and being a bit sarcastic. (Although BTW, taking out the trash if you fill it up is not unusual either. It would be rude to leave a mess you created.) Running erands like picking up drycleaning, groceries or diapers are not unusual jobs for a nanny. Depends on the number and ages of the children whether the demands are reasonable, and that's up to the nanny applying for the job to judge.

Also, I object to the suggestion that nannies who do more than strictly childcare are no longer nannies. I've seen nannies take on non-childcare related duties in order to keep full time employment once the children reach school age to stay with a family they care about. It's unrealistic to think that an employer would continue to pay your full time salary while you do nothing for the 30+ hours a week the kids are in school because other things are not childcare. It's up to the nanny whether she feels a job is within the scope of what she's willing to do and up to the employer to be upfront about those things rather than trying to "sneak" them in by imposing on the nanny's good will. Net, net "Nanny" is a title to be earned and be proud of. Doing other things to make your employers lives easier means you are a good nanny, not a "household manager" or "sanitation engineer".

chick said...

OP, you said:

"I would be very interested in hiring someone who was English and fifty-ish. I think that would be the best fit for our family."

I am going to assume that by "English" you mean British, and that by British, you mean you want a trained proper nanny, a woman who has gone through NNEB schooling.

A proper British NNEB nanny is not going to take a job where she does anything BUT care for your children.

She won't make YOU a salad (although she'll make a spiffy one for the kids), she won't play chess with elderly relatives (although she might teach your kids chess), and if you tell her to take your recycleable to the curb, she will tell you politely to kiss her NNEB rear-end.

What you want and need is a "nanny manager" - this person can deal with household issues while your children are at school, and then perform childcare tasks when the kids are home. She'll multi-task, keep your kids entertained, and help your home run more smoothly, but she won't be the classic British Nanny.

The classic British nanny would look at your job description and tell you she would gladly start working for you when you hired the Cook, the Housekeeper, and Personal Assistant.

OP said...

I don't have an Uncle Henry. And I do wonder what is the huge difference between cooking an entire meal for the children-which nannies DO or just making a salad for the family?

Anyone picking a battle with me isn't going to win. I've got reason on my side.

Kate in PA said...

Perhaps the difference is, a nanny is hired to care for your children and not for you? Or maybe because the children will eat the meal they are given whereas the mother will complain about how the salad is made...

I feel I need to explain my spitefulness about this. On the surface, no it does not seem a big deal. But with many nannies, it only starts this way. First they are asked to "prep dinner" (i.e. make a salad). Next thing you know, the nanny is in charge of elaborate meals for entire family each night. Then the nanny is being taken advantage of and asked for more and more with no extra compensation. It happens more than you know.

So forgive me if you are not that type of employer, but most nanny employers are. Even if they think they aren't, it usually turns out that way. That's why I'm making such a big deal over a seemingly small task.

§mpp§ said...

Kate in Pa
I had to let out a little giggle when I read your 1:42 post.
There must something in the water, because I also quit a Nanny job where the duties started to pile up on me. The last straw:
Sweeping the leaves off of the back patio and wiping down the patio furniture!
I started doing it, but after an hour or so I thought, "this is absolutely ridiculous!" I hadn't been compensated for other "extras", and just at that moment felt so used!
I was very careful after that about what I would or would not agree to because yes -- some Employers can get carried away.

Anonymous said...

Do you have a teenage daughter? We were wondering if the post "Bethenny's Nanny", was your nanny.

mom said...

I didn't mean I thought this OP was the mom from the other post...only that perhaps some nanny who had been fired was acting in the same way as hers...or maybe one of that nanny's (from the other post) friends. I just never knew before that they ganged up that way.

chick said...


"And I do wonder what is the huge difference between cooking an entire meal for the children-which nannies DO or just making a salad for the family?"

The difference is whether the stated expectations match what's in the work agreement. If you employ nanny to cook for your children, it's an imposition to expect her to cook for you. If you employ nanny to cook for the family, then if she doesn't do so she is imposing on YOU.

News flash for you - most good nannies are very accomodating. The families that KEEP those good nannies are the ones that don't have a "job creep" issue - the employers don't expect nanny to do more than she is contracted to do, and if nanny does go above and beyond, they thank her. They do NOT expect that extra effort 100% of the time. And because they don't expect the extras, they tend to GET them. It's a complex thing, but it boils down to this:

If you don't expect or demand extra from nanny, she will likely GIVE you extra anyway, because she is a caring person. If you do demand extra, you will lose nanny when she can no longer deal with her resntment that you take advantage of her nature.

"Anyone picking a battle with me isn't going to win. I've got reason on my side."

Nah, you don't really, since you seem ignorant of what a nanny is versus a nanny/manager versus a housekeeper. Best of luck with your search - hope you can find someone who meets your expectations, and that you don't critique her efforts too much.

hb said...

I'm sorry Chick, but Whaaaaaaaaaa?

The OP should employ a house manager because she wants someone to make a salad at night? The Op clearly said this was in her original job description, so I agree with the OP that whatever the job is, it is. Titles are meaningless. If you take money to do a, b and c- be a dear and don't forget b. How hard is that?

We are after all talking about a salad. Why do I feel like I am in some other world where salad preparation is all consuming and only a task that can and should be assigned to those who have professionally trained in managing country estates?

I have a housekeeper. She has been with me four years. I advertised the position under the header, "Housekeeper". The job description included "must love dogs". I explained to the housekeeper that the housekeeping position included keeping the dogs water clean and filled while she was there, washing their bowls once a week, washing their dog beds. The housekeeper assured me she was okay with that. Four years later, the housekeeper is still doing the same job she was hired to do. Life isn't that complicated, it's lazy people that seem to complicate life.

There is nothing wrong with any employer be it fry cook or oil baron demanding that his or her job description be executed.

All this pissing and moaning makes me want to slap the next nanny I see. Not seriously, but you know what I mean. It's surely enough!

chick said...

hb, I am not disputing the OP's absolute right to expect "nanny" to cook, clean, do trash duty, run errands. As you say, if she hires someone to do all that stuff, she has every right to expect them to fulfill their duties.

That said...

There is a job duties distinction that professional nannies feel is important - I don't think any of the nannies here are looking to be classic british nannies who do NOTHING but child related tasks, but I, personally, am tired of seeing ads for "nannies" who are also expected to clean, cook, and do all the family laundry. That's not a nanny, it's a housekeeper.

If I wanted to clean, I would be a housekeeper. If I wanted to do laundry I would be a laundress. If I wanted to cook, I would be a chef.

I don't want to clean, launder and cook - I want to care for chuildren. That is my focus, because I am a nanny.

One of the biggest issues in the US when it comes to household employees is the blurred definitions. I think it's a liberal guilt/class thing - many people feel uncomfortable having help, and they try to define it in a way that sounds less "posh".

If OP wants someone who will not be focused on childcare most of the time, she needs to hire a housekeeper or nanny/manager. Period.

fyi said...

A nanny/manager would be less likely to cook and clean than a nanny. Since a manager is at the top of the escalon and a nanny is in the middle, a nanny manager would be HIGHER up than a nanny, now lower.

Anonymous said...

EXCELLENT posts! You are def. one of my favs!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but after reading all this, I agree with OP. Sounds like a lot of you are taking out your past bad experiences on her. If she really was crystal clear that these tasks are in the job description, then it is reasonable to let someone go who is not performing them. Chick, Kate, MPP, sounds like you would not take the job as described. That's fine. Looking for a job that fits within the lines of what you want to do is the right thing for you to do. But the OP is also doing the right thing giving out the information needed for a candidate to make that informed choice rather than trying to sneak those tasks in as it sounds like your past employers did. And please don't assume that because someone does agree to cook and do the children laundry (I draw the line at cleaning and the family's laundry--those are a housekeeper's responsibilities), that means they are not a professional nanny who provides excellent care for their charges.

chick said...

fyi/12:13am, a NANNY manager is in charge of light household things such as simple cleaning, errands, cooking, etc. while the kids are NOT in the house. When the kids are home, she is in charge of them, as well as keeping the house running smoothly. Typically, if a nanny wants to stay with a family once all the kids are in school FT, she evolves into a nanny manager.

YOU are thinking of a HOUSE manager, who is, indeed, the modern equivalent of a formal Butler. A House Manager is in charge of any other household employees, such as nannies, housekeepers, etc. House Managers generally only do childcare if Nanny is out of work and no substitute can be found.

chick said...

Annon/8:17, I have no issue with the OP as far as her needs for someone who will fulfill ALL the defined duties. My issue is with her terminology, and her assumptions that "nanny" should include housekeeping and cooking for the family. A traditional nanny does not do family meals or cleaning.

She might have better luck advertising for a nanny manager, or for a nanny/housekeeper if the division of labor between house and kids is pretty evenly split.

Generally, a nanny who wants to focus on childcare won't be all that interested in the OP's job once the terms are clear. Advertising more specifically might save OP and the interested job seekers some time and make OP's search more efficient.

Of course, not knowing where OP lives, I might be all wrong - maybe she lives in an area where the term "nanny" is misused for housekeepers? In that case, she needs to go with local terminology, even if it's not technically correct.

rolling my eyes in Dallas said...

A nanny manager? I have never heard of such a thing. When our children were in school full time, we no longer needed our nanny all day long but our nanny wanted to retain full time hours. We considered what the best response would be to honor her service to us for the five years she had been with us and yet retain the best match for our home. What we decided was we would have the nanny work the same hours as always and we negotiated some responsibilities with her to make it worth our while. She runs a whole lot of errands. She doesn't clean, she's not much of a cook (but she will try). But what she is- is a nanny. Our two children have missed a combined 9 days of school THIS YEAR from the flu. I say we made the right decision to keep the nanny as is. At least for now. But you Americans are too title happy. She's still a nanny.
A nanny. Not a nanny manager. Last week she made tostadas for the entire family on my birthday. She's still a nanny. A thoughtful, excellent nanny, but a nanny.

A nanny manager is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. Unless you are talking about a nanny manager who is the head nanny on a staff of 4 or 5 nannies. Otherwise, lose the phrase nanny manager.

§mpp§ said...

I never said I would mind doing other tasks beyond taking care of the children. It's only when they started to take advantage of me and have me scrub their patio furniture that I would draw the line.

Personally, I don't mind errands at all. I've done everything from picking up the drycleaning, going to the Florist, wrapping gifts (which I love to do), and picking up a few things from the Grocer.

Tasks around the house I would do include setting the table (no, I don't mind), I have on occasion put away laundry (not just the kids), feed and watered cats, dogs, gerbils and ferrets, and put away dishes. (I'm not including things like feeding kids and cleaning up after them, which are a given).

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that we all have our limits. No I won't make the Parents bed, clean their bathroom, or walk their dog ... all things I've been asked to do.

Each Nanny has to work out with their Family what they're willing to do or not do. And this is where a good WA comes in handy.

Also ... another poster mentioned that they offer to do some extra chores that they would normally not do, "because they weren't asked". I was good about doing this too, if I happened to find myself with some free time.

chick said...

9:54 eye roller,

Feel free to take it up with whoever invented that "title" - 'twasn't me!

Maybe it's a southern thing. I know of a number of agencies down here that use that term.

Anonymous said...

i've heard of it before, too. not that i think it makes sense.

Anonymous said...

As a business owner and employer for many people over many years, one should not have to tolerate anything. Employment is a contract for services and if the services supplied, the contract is null and void. When I hired my first nanny I too tolerated far too much, much more than i would have from any employee. I must add that my business has had many, many long term employess who often come back and have maintained a friendship with my business partner and myself. We are fair, trusting, concerned and caring employers. We expect the same from our employees. We trust that they will know their jobs, do their jobs and show the utmost care and respect in the preformance of their jobs. After a disasterous first nanny who left my child to play unattended in the park day after day, I have come to realize that employment expectations cannot be lowered for someone who cares for your child. There are quite a few nannies that treat children as bargaining chips. This practice sickens me and I don't want my child around such people. There are good, hardworking and honest people out there who are willing to do the job as described. You were specific with your nanny in the duties you required. As with any job, the employer outlines the needs and the employee fills them for a certain wage. If both sides don't agree and the contract is not met, you either renogotiate or rehire. I have chosen to rehire and have been lucky. I also monitor employee performance and behavior (including nanny) like a hawk. If my controller makes one mistake, omits one number from my records that costs my company, they are released from the job. If my nanny makes mistakes that reflect carelessness and 'forgetfullness', they too will also be released. As employers and mothers we should not have to deal with unprofessionalism at any level. We strive to do our best, perform to the limits, all while showing respect and care for others and we should expect no less from others. As our employers are not expected to tolerate our shortcomings, I would not expect anyone to tolerate these shortcomings especially when it comes to our children and their care.

Anonymous said...

O.k., you sound like a robot!

motheroffive said...

Whoa, 5:44, you sound just like the OP, pretentious, arrogant and entitled. YOU never make mistakes? You go on and on about how you would have no qualms about firing someone if they make a single mistake, but what about yourself?

Have you no decency (sp?), no common respect? Have you never heard of the golden rule?

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how some use these forums to post their personal critiques on people based on advise given. It's fine to disagree with the advise posted. Just an FYI; in high level professional settings, a costly mistake will almost always cost a job. An honest mistake may not. I don't classify acts of laziness, unwillingness and disinterest in a job as 'mistakes'. I don't tolerate 'mistakes' when it comes to the care of my child. My remarks are based on my experience of running a business that maintains employees...many emplopyees. As a mother I am passing along my educated and experienced opinion to another mother...not stooping to the lowest of low and passing judgement or drawing simplistic conclusions about a person. I strive to operate on a higher level both personally and professionally - this is my golden rule.

HappyNanny:) said...

If the HUGE stick up your arse is apparent just from reading your so called advice/opinions then I seriously feel poorly for those who need to come in contact with you on a regular basis.

Life, my dear- is too short to be a bi*ch.

Sarah and Mitch said...

I really don't agree with the op firing her nanny for the reasons she has listed, it seems petty and immature to do so, especially in the manner which she fired the nanny.

But I also don't think the problem here is whether a nanny cooks or provides for the famiy or not. It is the expectation OP had for the nanny to do so. Obviously, the nanny had no problem cooking, so that's a moot point. But the OP didn't like the way she chopped her lettuce? And rather than teach and give her another chance, because obviously her cooking skills aren't up to par with Chef OP, she fired her with no notice, no explanation, no reference, and no chance to say goodbye to the children she has been spending ALL day every day with.

I think it is rude and crass, and unless there is more to the situation that hasn't be said yet, I really think that this OP doesn't need a nanny OR a house manager. She needs to do the job herself because obviously she is micromanaging every aspect of her kids' day, and nobody will be able to do anything good enough except the OP herself.

Anonymous said...

sarah and mitch ~
you said it cookie!! great post!