Tuesday

It feels like a smack in the face...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008-Rant
I am an at home daycare provider. I have 6 kids, most of which, 5 of them, have been with me over 2 years. I have been open for almost 2 and a half years. Last week I had a bit of a situation and just wanted others opinions. I took a day off last Tuesday to get some medical testing done. This is my SECOND day off in 2 and a half years. (I was closed for 3 days last winter when an ice storm knocked out our power, we went to a hotel because it was so cold in our home, so I don't consider that my fault, or my choice.) Anyway's, I gave 3 weeks notice. I would have given more but, the doctor pretty much was only available then. Out of the 6 families...5 never batted an eye. But one family, one I feel closest to, not only mentioned how un-convenient it was to them numerous times the week before the appointment, but also was the only family to dock my pay. All the other families said they were paying full price because I am all too reliable for them and they are thankful. And I did not expect any of them to do this, and I am not saying that the other family should have, but it feels like a smack in the face. Maybe more so because I always flex to take their child early as needed, for no change in pay. Their child is also asthmatic and I have to plan my day around her breathing treatments, which in all reality isn't the biggest of all deals, but certainly is more than what I have to do for my other kids. Considering I have to make sure her treatments are timely. Because I would do anything for any of my families , I just don't understand the grief of all the comments they made. I truly felt like sh#t for making them scramble for a sitter. I just want to know am I wrong to think that (money issue aside) the comments were ignorant on their part? It's been on my mind ever since. Thanks!

32 comments:

NVNanny said...

you need a contract. and it should stipulate X amount of days for leave per year. especially if you are going to give them that much notice and received so much crap.

just anonymous said...

That was not fair of that family. My friend's son is in an at home daycare and that lady takes days off left and right and they constantly have to come up w/ last minute childcare, and they still pay her b/c she is great at what she does. Just like a normal day care, you pay 52 weeks a year.
I agree that you need to draw up a contract for the families stating that you get up to so many days off per calendar year, paid.
Good luck. Don't let snarky family get you down. There's always got to be one bad egg in each crowd.

Anonymous said...

I would give that family notice and have them remove their child from your care then advertise that you have an opening. With the referencs the other families give, you should have no problem filling it. And definitely make a contract that you may need to take X amount of days off of days sick/personal time off, with ample notice. However, you can't expect a family to pay you for time off and pay another sitter. YOU own a business, and business owners don't get paid when they don't work. It's a down side to being your own boss. Good luck with everything!

Upstate Mom said...

I am sorry you were treated that way. We should all learn to consider our daycare provider's lives as well as our own. My mother-in-law used to watch her first grand-daughter (before I entered the picture) during the day....for free, buying diapers etc. and cooking dinner the whole family could eat after they came home from work. She never took a day off for more than 2 years. Then, she told her son and daughter-in-law that they wanted a week's vacation. Her daughter-in-law looked at her (mind you, her mother never watched the baby) and said, "I always knew you'd be unreliable". Some people are just too self absorbed to see around them and appreciate what they got. Good luck, and don't let that jade you and stop you from being a good caretaker!

atl nanny said...

8:50 -- I beg to differ. It is perfectly legitimate (and commonplace) for an in-home day care provider to write a week or two of PTO into her contracts. Parents generally are required to pay for 52 weeks of care regardless of what type of childcare they use. It is very unusual for a day care provider's time off to be unpaid.

If parents are unwilling to sign a contract giving their day care provider a week of PTO, that's their prerogative. But given this woman's experience and references, I'm guessing she'd have no problem filling her spots even with this time off written into her contract.

OP -- this kind of behavior is unacceptable. As a nanny, I had an employer like this once. I worked for them for 2.5 years without taking a sick day, and when I became violently ill and had to miss a day because I was in the ER, they yelled at me and gave me a guilt trip. I quit and wound up with a MUCH better job. I know you are attached to this child, but if I were you, I'd seriously consider giving this family notice and replacing them. And you definitely need to adjust your contracts so that you are guaranteed a week of PTO for emergencies like this.

Anonymous said...

From the gist of this post it sounds like OP runs a casual center, with no agreement. And while Atl is right, if there is no agreement, she can't expect to be paid.

Things must be different in Atlanta, because in this area of NJ, while we do pay for 52 weeks of care, which allows for a weeks closing at Christmas and again Spring break, If In Home child care centers close for any other reason during the year, the cost for that day's car is credited back. At least that's how it works for my child's in home care.

emily said...

Did you tell the family what you told us? If you had a close relationship with them, bring how they've made you feel to their attention. They probably weren't thinking about the extra effort you must put in to accompdate their changing schedules.

Be open & honest. Then, if you don't receive a good response, inform the family that you will be instating a contract that includes X amount of paid personal days. If they don't want to sign & change your relationship going forward, I would sever ties.

Anonymous said...

It always hurts when you find out you don't really have the relationship YOU thought you had with people you're providing a much valuable service to. Yes - that couple is ignorant and selfish, uncaring and ungrateful. You are not their employee. You are a business owner and a service provider. They are not your employers, they are you clients. However, if you do not have a formal contract, stating your own requirements for paid time off (planned or unexpected, by the parents or yourself), then you're at the mercy of their good-will, or their selfishness.

I was a in-home daycare provider for 7 years. I started out very casually (taking too much on faith /no contracts, at first). I quickly realized it wasn't very professional on my part to simply hope and pray and trust in the goodwill of the parents (clients)I was providing childcare services to. I had to first see myself, then present myself, as a professional in order to gaurantee I'd be treated as one. I had to figure out what I needed in order to make my home daycare business viable. My rates, policies for payment, illness, time off, vacations,etc...all of it had to work for ME, as well as, being as fair and considerate as I could for the parents.

The only parents unwilling to sign my contract were those who were looking for a CHEAP alternative to a large daycare. I didn't want clients who cared so little about their children. I was fortunate to have long-term clients who genuinely valued their children and the quality of loving care and individual attention a GOOD in-home childcare provider can give.

It sounds like you have some caring and considerate parents as clients, and you are conscientious about the quality of care you provide their children. But...you also need to be a smart business person, and treat youself as a professional. Start writing up that contract!

Sandie said...

I also provide home child care. Hopefully, you have a written contract with these families. I take off 15 PAID vacation days a year and build in 3 PAID sick days. You deserve to get paid.. especially if you are a good provider.

I am sorry this family treated you like that. From past experience, I feel like the more I give families, the more they take and feel entitled to. Sad, but true.

op said...

Op here..

I do have a contract. It does give me way more sick days than I actually take...I believe it says 5 a year..I don't know right off hand because I never use them, like I said this is my second day in 2 and a half years. I was pretty lax when I had our lawyer draw it up, and since I was new to the bussiness I just went with 5 unpaid sick days and 1 week of vacation (summer) all of which I agreed to be unpaid. In hindsight I was worried about building up my kids, and didn't know if the families I would get would be able to handle paying me and someone else when I was off. But I am positive now that I will be fixing that. And although I could have mentioned the fact that my contract let me have the day off, I don't think it would have stopped this family (which was primarily just the mom) from saying all the comments that week. She was just so bitter about one day off she couldn't handle herself. I would love to drop them and fill the spot, because in the entire 2 years I have had a waiting list. But I love their child as if she were my own and I am not about to break her little heart. I think I am just going to play it by ear, and if anything like this happens again, I might have to replace them then. I mean I don't want it getting to the point were I am taken advantage of.

Sorry this is so long by the way.

So my other dilemma is... My husband and I are thinking of trying to have a baby. What did you other home daycare providers do? My plan is to attempt to be due in the summer, when I can hire 2 college students to run daycare in my home so that my daycare parents are not scrambling for sitters for 2 months and also that works as job security for me so that they do not go elsewhere and not want to come back. any thoughts?

thanks!

A nanny who cares said...

"I mean I don't want it getting to the point were I am taken advantage of."

I hate to tell you OP, but the family already has taken advantage of you! I really encourage you, as hard as it may be, to have a talk with the mother. If after over 2 years of providing extra care to her daughter, and being flexible to change your hours for them, she can't be emphathetic to you and give you a paid day off, she isn't a good parent to work with. You are being taken advantage of. I know how hard it can be in this field to leave, I've been a nanny 7 years and it breaks my heart to leave a family. But, we are people too, and we deserve to be happy and appreciated! Please talk to this mother and find out if she is worth keeping, it sounds to me as if she isn't. I'm sure you'll love the child in the new spot in no time!

jenuag said...

I was once the director of a daycare and one of our babies passed away and we closed the center so the teachers who wished to could attend the funeral, we had two families pull their kids out because it was "unprofessional". We were a small church daycare with less than 45 children(excluding aftercare), so everyone knew the child and wanted to attend the service. Oh and we even prorated the weekly fee.

jennifers mom said...

I would take out a copy of your contract and show her the area (highlighted) about sick days, etc.
If she doesn't like it tough. Tell her she will have to make other arrangements, because its not going to work out. Give her 2-3 weeks to find someone else.
Maybe, even give her numbers of other daycare providers in the area. They are probably charging more and won't put up with her bull.


You gave them plenty of notice about being out for the day. In three weeks she could have made other plans.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone recommend a great home daycare in Northern New Jersey? I would like to find one that would work with someone with a part-time schedule. Three days a week to be exact.

thanks

Anonymous said...

I do home daycare and it's just standard for there to always be one squeaky wheel.
This past year my husband had surgery and I had a sub come so that I could go with him to the hospital. Of the three families I cared for, two of them said they would not bring their child that day and of course pay me, out of a courtesy. (I am very reliable and do not charge late fees and have babysat the children in off hours including overnights and taking them on out of state outings with our own child.) The one family who said they would bring their child in and didn't mind a sub (it says in my contract that we will always have a sub if I am ill or there is a family emergency, we do not close unless it is a paid holiday, and I get one week unpaid vaca too of my choice and i give eight weeks notice for that) brought their child in. It was their perogative.
That being said, I think any parent who will give you negative comments about the care you provide should not have their child there at all. If you are unsatisfied with the care, find something better I always say.
But good luck, OP. Home daycare sucks. It is a thankless job in general.
:)

Hellcat said...

jenuag, that's horrible!
I bet if it was one of THEIR children that died they wouldn't have thought it was unprofessional. It's common decently and a great sign if respect.


Also, in my opinion three weeks notice is plenty of notice. That is, if they didn't spend it pissing and moaning about how inconvenient it is/was.

Sue said...

Maybe it's time that your money boundaries were as good as theirs.

mom said...

How sad that between the two parents, neither one of them was able to handle the thought of having to think about what to do with their daughter for ONE day with three weeks advance notice.

You have five available sick days per year. Usually sickness comes on quickly. I'd hate to think how these people will react when one day (it is inevitable over a long enough period) you are sick without giving them several weeks advance notice.

I understand what you mean about adoring the child though.

Still, I would say something polite but firm right back to her each and every time she makes a snide uncalled for comment. She sounds very rude and self centered.

And a big GOOD GRIEF about the horrible people who complained about the teachers going to a child's funeral...at their CHURCH no less. really, how selfish can some people be?!

cali mom said...

I'm jumping ahead here, but OP, as a business owner, you don't have to put up w/this %&#*. If you were their employee, I'd say they were nasty employers but since YOU are the business owner, I'd consider refusing to do business with them anymore. And as everyone has pointed out, you SHOULD have some terms and policies specified with new and current families stating your PTO policies so THEY don't get to decide when they feel like paying you and when they don't. That's a benefit of owning your own business! And at my son's preschool, the tuition is the same every month, whether the school is closed for a 2 week winter vacation, or one day for parent-teacher conferences, etc.

Are you licensed and/or certified? If you are, that makes a world of difference and professionalism, but if not, people may just see you as a "babysitter" who watches kids at her house.

aliana said...

listen to this,i had child care for 2years and one of the reasons why i closei was because of the parents, i felt like a slave , could nver take any day off, i ndrstand your pain.

Anonymous said...

As a nanny, its so easy to get sick from all those germs the kids bring home from school and activities. I worked for a family in philly that were sooo inconsiderate!

I always had a cold from their kids coughing in my face.. all the health supplements, purell and hand washing in the world couldn't protect me.

Once I got so sick, mind you my immune system was so worn out most likely from working 70/week- 20h more than I should 6 days a week for year!

I worked a 7am-8pm day with a 4yr old kid who was hitting and kicking me-usual antics and i could feel my voice go. I then had to run 4 blocks at 7pm in the rain to get cold medicine for the youngest kid and had the mom yell at me in the house because I couldn't get the boy to go to bed when he was supposed to. I cried all the way home.

I was so worn out, physically from my cold, and complete larongites by 9pm that night that I ended up taking the next day off- I texted- couldn't call- her at 6am to let her know and she, who is a stay at home mom, was furious. They didn't give me any sick days in my contract and they thus didn't pay me for the off day. Regardless of the fact that I was sick, they made me work the Saturday too.

I HATED them. Yes you Mrs Harycki. You are so full of yourself but your nothing than classless new money married to a pig of a husband! Your disgusting. I hope you don't ruin your your youngest daughter that little brat of a son of yours is already just like mom and dad.

So glad I quit. Just too bad it took me so long.

Anonymous said...

Ask the mom if her employer docks her pay if she has to call in sick........

Anonymous said...

I can sooo relate to your situation. I was a home day care provider in Florida for 6 years, and it is hard to take days off, because you feel a sense of obligation first to the families you serve. However, it is necessary sometimes. Just like you, I had parents who were WONDERFUL about the occasional day that I had to take, with at least 3 to 4 weeks notice, but ONE family always had issue, and this was the family that could easily adjust their schedules or even take a day off. They just didn't want to take care of their own child....period. Their care was paid for by state subsidy (not low income, the child was in foster care with them and they were trying to adopt her) so they didn't even PAY for her care. You definately need to have a contract that covers any and every situation that comes up. But you are always going to encounter those parents.

In the end, when I closed (due to our family moving to another state) she went to a provider friend of mine to interview for one of her spots, and proceeded to badmouth me about all this time I took off (like you, maybe a couple days a year for doctor/dentist, and holidays) and the provider refused the spot to her because of that. So, she lost out on a GREAT home provider because of her big mouth and attitude.

emily said...

Did everyone miss the fact that the OP has a contract stipulating that each family should dock her pay in the event of sickness or personal days?

puss 'n boots said...

OP
I definately suggest re-writing that contract and allowing yourself PAID time-off for sick/personal/Holidays.

Aren't you worth it?

Princes Raja said...

I was a nanny for a lady who's son had a bad stomach virus and she still expected me to work. Inevitably I got sick and was out for two days. Of course she didn't pay me.....

I now work for the sweetest lady in the world. I was really bad sick and it wasn't from her child. I ended up having to call in and she sent me text messages the next day checking on me and she even paid me for the day I didn't work.

That made all the difference in the world to me.

Anonymous said...

OP,

I just wanted to say I feel bad for you that you have to deal with such idiots!

Anonymous said...

I have 2 boys in and in home licensed daycare and the contract states she gets paid holidays, vacation and 5 sick days a year. Depending on when the holidays fall of course like Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. She is a 24/7 daycare though. I don't exactly like having to scramble for a sitter, but it happens and people should be used to it. We have been with her for 1 1/2 years and I have a backup in case something happens. That's the way it works.

cali mom said...

A 24/7 daycare? I have never heard of one of those. They could charge a fortune! What a great idea.

Anonymous said...

24/7 daycare? whaaaa? How much do you pay for that? Is she state lisc? If you want to talk about truly scrambling, I am supposed to pick my child up every day at 530- with a grace period that goes to 5:45!

Anonymous said...

Oh and I chose the daycare I did because of her reccomendations, the fact that she had been a nanny for 12 years and that her ratio was 3:1

SAHM said...

I feel bad for you but you should think about it. The parents are too selfish to give up anything to raise their own kids. Why would you think they'd be unselfish with you?????