The Hands Off Nanny ...

Received Friday, May 30, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
I have a situation with a neighbor of mine that I am not on the best of terms with. She has two children between 7-10 and one nanny who has been with her two months. The nanny looks like the perfect nanny. She is tanned, toned, wears no make-up, hair in a pony tail and is always dressed for a sporty activity. Unfortunately, I never see her with the children. During the day, she runs errands as part of her job but when the children come home, I imagine her job as a nanny is to take care of the children. I have told these children not to come over before 4:30 because my children are taking care of homework and other responsibilities. These children are out in the street playing soccer, football and running around. By the time 4:30 rolls around they are waiting outside of our house. My children don't mind, but I mind. The nanny is nowhere in sight. I never see her lean out and check on the children nor do they reference having to check in. I understand that they are old enough to play outside in our very safe, residential area. The children also want to come in to our house and play. My youngest child is a favorite playmate for both of them. Children come over, I understand that but these children are always over. I have even sought to send my children there but they have told me "Megan doesn't want any over to mess up the house" or a similar sentiment. Last week when it was raining, they were riding their bikes in the rain, having the time of their life. My question to you is how would I tip off this woman that her nanny isn't really doing her job? I don't want to get involved. I don't like this woman and don't socialize with her at all. Still I cannot help but think the nanny is taking advantage of me as she takes advantage of her, too. Because the incident all take place in our very immediate, secluded residential area, it is unlikely anyone but a handful of immediate neighbors are aware of this situation. Just the same, I would like it to end. Any ideas?


Anonymous said...

Honestly, if it were me, I would send her an anonymous note from "a neighbor". There is no way she would know who it was and if I were that woman, I would want to know what my nanny is doing (or rather, not doing). You will be able to get the message to her without causing further conflict.

seattlenannypro said...

Why not tell the kids that a play date needs to be scheduled before they can come over to play? It seems that by not saying anything and letting this go on you have caused the problem yourself. Have you ever asked the nanny to come supervise the children? Obviously they are not in any danger and you're not paying her so why are you so concerned with what she is doing while the children are in your home? IF you don't want them their that is your business. If you don't want them there because you feel that the nanny is getting a break she doesn't deserve -that is none of your business, she's not your employee.

shel said...

Perhaps you could ask the children the next time they come over to go back home and get the nanny so you can talk to her about setting up a playdate schedule. See what she does then. From there, I would do second the motion on the anon letter.

marypoppin'pills said...

Drop an anonymous note late at night in her mailbox with her name and address on it (just in case the Nanny picks up the mail. And use nice stationary, the Nanny will think it's a lunch or party invite) - explain that you're a concerned neighbor and you ALWAYS see the kids running around outside, rain or shine, and you NEVER see her peek out after them.

Good lookin' out, neighbor! ☺

Kaitlyn said...

I understand that you don't always want the neighbor's kids over at your house, and I believe all your concerns are legitimate. Except you have no idea whether or not the nanny is checking in on these kids. You can't possibly know that she's not looking out the window every ten minutes! And what makes her the perfect nanny besides the way she is dressed? That's what you make it sound like. If you are having a problem with the children being over all the time, speak to their parents, but I wouldn't butt in about their nanny. That's none of your business and the children are safe and sound.

Anonymous said...

The nanny is definitely taking advantage of you. Take action! I definitely agree with the "anonymous neighborly letter" thing, but you could also try this:

You say the neighbor kids are at your doorstep at 4:30. Why not making your kids unavailable at that time? If at all possible, take them to the supermarket, bring them to a friend's house, take them to a park to play - just get them out of the house. After a few days, the neighbor kids might take the hint. If they don't, simply tell them that your children aren't available to play, and if they want to play, your kids have to go to their house. If they protest, so what? Your kids might be angry at you for a little while, but at least it'll get the other kids out of your hair.

Rebecca said...

This sentence made me pause: '"they have told me "Megan doesn't want any over to mess up the house."' I've known parents who were CRAZY anal about keeping their house clean/tidy - WAY past what a normal person would consider clean/tidy. Is the nanny responsible for cleaning the house as well as caring for the children? If so, a clean house is the first thing the parents will notice - not whether or not their children have been read to, played with, or well-supervised. Is it possible that this nanny is having to spend all afternoon cleaning, and/or is paranoid about keeping the house pristine because of over-exacting parents? Consider that, because I have known many nannies in just that situation - I've BEEN a nanny in that situation.

I think you should speak to the nanny about your concerns before you go to the parents. Give her the benefit of the doubt. As a previous person commented, maybe she IS constantly checking on them from a window. And maybe she IS doing the job the parents hired her to do. It's unfair for you to have to deal with the children every afternoon, and you obviously don't want the responsibility (who could blame you?), so, as shel said, ask the nanny about setting up a playdate schedule and let her know you can't have the kids coming over everyday.

Also, if you're concerned that she's not keeping an eye on the kids, ask her about that. You can be tactful - ask her about her job: what duties she's required to perform, what hours she works, how sh likes her job. Maybe she'll tell you that she's exhausted from trying to keep the kids in check, doing all the family laundry, organizing the closets, running the errands, cooking dinner, and cleaning the house. Or maybe she'll tell you that it's the easiest job she's ever had because the kids entertain themselves while she reads People. Or maybe she won't tell you anything useful, and you'll still see the kids out, possibly unsupervised, every day. Talk to the nanny a bit, give her the benefit of the doubt, and if you're still having concerns, THEN talk to the parents.

LindaLou said...

you don't have to let the children in just because they show up. let them and the nanny know that all play dates need to be prearranged by telephone prior to their showing up.

Anonymous said...

"The nanny is definitely taking advantage of you. Take action!"

Yes, OP.
Stop letting them in the door!
Your allowing yourself to be the doormat.

And I'll bet Rebecca is right. This nanny may be one those HOUSEKEEPER/nannies. And it may be more of a priority to the parents. (I despise employers like that, by the way!)

"You can be tactful - ask her about her job: what duties she's required to perform, what hours she works, how she likes her job."

But Rebecca, I seriously doubt this OP wants to play 20 questions with the nanny, and this nanny will think OP is a budinsky for asking so many (almost) personal questions.
Other than that, great post.

OP said...

Oh my. I attempted to keep the question brief but I left out some pertinent details. The nanny is not a nanny/housekeeper. She does run errands during the day but she is a full charge nanny.

As for not being available on Thursday, I am available. We get through homework and the other stuff just because our children have that 4:30 time to run about and play. Our neighborhood is a cul de sec where on good days you will see a mothers or nannies in the driveway watching the children. Sometimes it is a younger mother with her two toddlers in a pull cart, other times it might be me on the steps going through the mail while across the street another works in her yard while her girls play nearby.

The nanny seems to want the children out of the house and she doesn't come out herself. I would know. Please don't presuppose to know whether I could know if someone is checking on the children in her charge or not. If they walk in my door at 430 and are still hanging around as I am calling my own to the table at 6:00, something is odd. It isn't these children. If I didn't have these children over, I would have others. But usually mothers show up or call over and ask their children home for dinner or reciprocate the next day. Nothing.

The nanny they had previous to this one had the same general appearance. (Athletic looking, young, fit). She would ride bikes with the children, play soccer with them, take them to the park, yell for them to come and finish their homework, etc. It's none of my business. It's just odd. These children have parents who keep very long hours. Part of my hesitancy in getting involved is because there is a 50% chance that she won't care because she is a bit removed from her own role as mother.


Anonymous said...

Well. That sounds truly pathetic. And you know what, OP? They ARE making it your business. If these kids are getting dumped in your lap for half the day, there is definately something wrong with this picture.
Poor kids.
I wonder what they'd do without YOU?

Anonymous said...

Hey OP, did you ever wonder if that other nanny isn't there any more because she wasn't doing the job the parents wanted (ie keeping the house immaculate and instead playing with the kids)?

I worked for that type of family. They'd talk about how they wanted their kids to do things all the time like being outside, special trips, playdates. Which is all well and good, but when you fill the day with stuff like that, the other things on their "to do" list didn't happen. They would bitch constantly if everything wasn't clean.

And if mom is as removed as you say, she probably doesn't care. She probably wants a housekeeper/nanny who keeps the kids alive til she gets back and keeps her house clean and has a limited relationship with the kids.

Anonymous said...

These kids are not your problem. That nanny can take them to the park or out bike riding, that's her job. It's not your job to keep them busy. Talk to the nanny and tell her that you need to establish "play dates" ( I HATE that term!!) and that everything has to be scheduled. That alone should solve the problem.

-NYC Mom

just anonymous said...

Yeah, that was my first thought. I bet the nanny is busy doing laundry, preparing dinner and such while the kids are told to busy themselves out of the house. Seriously, some parents are nuts about their houses always being perfect.

a texas nanny said...

I must agree with anon who hates the term "play date"... I can't stand it and avoid using it! When I was a kid we didn't have playdates or often arrange that sort of thing in advance, unless it was a sleepover or something (and that was rare to even plan one of those in advance). Usually it was "Mom, can Mary come over and play?" or "Can I go over to Mary's today?"

fg said...

texas nanny,
Did you recently mention that you are expecting your first child? I'm not trying to be nosy but I was just wondering if it's so and when????

Anonymous said...

There's 2 of them: "A texas nanny" and then there's "Texas nanny" ... the latter is soon to give birth.

And what's wrong with playdate?? I think it's cutsie.

And to OP:
DON'T OPEN THE DOOR! They will eventually go away!

Anonymous said...

calif nanny...the kids are 7 and 10 and you live in a cul de sac? They dont really need constant supervision, do they? Its light outside and all now. My charges are 3 and 5 and the parents themselves dont stay outside and watch their kids...the kids have been known to play doorbell ditch and have been caught peeing on the cars on the street. On the otherhand when Im there..they arent even allowed out the door till Im with them. Everyone has their own idea on this. I dont allow other kids in our house because if anything were to break or whatever I would be held responsible. I wouldnt like my kids in other peoples home either, too much liablity. Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

3 & 5 yr. olds playing "doorbell ditch", lmao. That's kinda young, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

imao???? what is that?

Anonymous said...

um, very quietly you stake out a neighbors house. run up, ring the doorbell and run.
sometimes it's better to do it during dinner time ... and do it 2 or 3 times. Hee-hee!
Most of us did it as kids.

Anonymous said...

It is not the OP 's problem if that nanny has to keep the house clean. Her problem is the nanny is dumping those kids at her door for 2 hours a day while she is cleaning or whatever,
How does that nanny know where those kids are if she doesn't even bother to call or go over there to see where they are?
It is not Op's job to take care of her charges while she does house work. She needs to tell the nanny just that! Also she needs to tell her to set up a play time and if she continues to see those kids out in the rain ,and being neglected she will tell the parents.

UmassSlytherin said...

I think the direct approach is best. Unfortunately, OP, if you are to take a direct, pro-active approach, there is no way you will not "be involved," at least on a general level.
I would not suggest sending an anon letter: that is creepy imho.
I would, however, take the advice of some other posters and either a) speak with the nanny yourself and be very clear with her that her charges are under no circumstances allowed over your house unless their mom calls first to schedule a "hang-out/play date" (this way you my dear are actually allowed to decline, which is YOUR RIGHT!) OR
b) speak with the mother directly some evening and let her know what the sitch is.

Either way, good luck: you have your own kids to take care of.

Let us know how it works out if you can!

rhyming rodney said...

I wish I knew you.
You know you.
You fuck up every thread.
usally when I'm in bed.
It's never nanny's fault.
It becomes an assault.
The way it comes across,
it has to be the evil boss.
And never just a nanny scheming,
Sister, you're surely dreaming.
Most nannies, they don't rate
But go on, don't hesitate-
Blame the employer-
You thread destroyer.

Marissa M. said...

So it's OK for them to dirty up your house but not theirs? What a load of nonsense. From no on, tell the nanny she has to schedule play dates in advance and she has to be on the premises when there is one going on so that she can clean up after her kids before they leave(after all that is what nannies do) because "you don't like for your house to get all messed up either" I bet you she just said that because she doesn't want to clean up after them in her own house.

Sorry you are in this situation.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a delicate situation, since you are not friends with the mother. You should find an arrangement you are comfortable with, certainly
having the kids every afternoon is too much. I agree with one of the previous posters, you should talk either to the nanny or to the mom, just at least to get an idea of what is going on. This is not easy. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Good looking out OP...I'm usually one of the first to jump to a nanny's defense, but I can't find anything in your post or the comments that convinces me that this nanny is anything but lazy and taking advantage of you.

I think you should do as others suggested...don't let the kids in! Nevermind an anonymous note...just put an end to it and keep your door closed!

Texas Nanny said...

Well you could try to get stuff out of the kids but I think your best bet would be just to stop the kids at the door and say I'm sorry we are busy and you can't come over to play.
Could you talk to other people on your street and see if they think the same thing you do? Maybe another one of the neighbors is closer to the family and can talk to them about their nanny.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure OP wants to be confrontational with either the nanny or the parent. They may be slightly offended if she tells them that their kids need somewhere else to play. No matter how she puts it, it's still the same: the kids are bothering us, coming over day in and day out.
She also wants to report to the parent that this is a lazy, good-for-nothing nanny. That would be hard to do face to face.
Also, if she were to just shut and lock the door "to put an end to it", her kids would be upset and possibly lose the friendship. I doubt OP wants to go that far. Nevermind that the kids getting the door shut in their face would be upset.

I think an anonymous note is the best way to go.
OP, please tell us which you would prefer to do. Let us know what's been happening.

Upstate Mom said...

I thought 9:16 had a good idea. Playdates are in advance, and nanny joins the kids at your house, so she can monitor them, actually "work" rather than laze around her employer's home, and help serve snacks, clean up, whatever. That is her job. It sounds as though the nanny's employers are taking advantage of you too......we don't want our house dirty, so they will play at yours. Then, nanny has time to futher clean their house, or do laundry, get dinner ready, without any of the distractions of the kids they chose to bring into the world.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, kids these age can be very stubborn and independent. As a nanny, I don't like when the kids are out riding their bikes too much because it IS hard to watch them. I also don't prefer the kids I watch to go to someone else's house. But at this age it's very hard to control the kids if the parents are too relaxed and don't control the situation.
So, you will have to talk to the mom and dad if you want to keep the kids from coming over too much.

Anonymous said...

When "my" oldest goes out to play, I don't always stick my head out the door. I can usually see him from the windows.

But the kids coming over every day like that without returning the favor? That needs to stop.

Send a note if you don't want to get involved. Or send your kids over there before 4:30.

Anonymous said...

Did some of you miss where OP said the kids came INSIDE her house?
How is this Nanny going to peek out a window and keep an eye on them - they are nowhere to be found - because they are INSIDE the neighbors house.
This Nanny sucks, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to approach the problem indirectly.
Find an excuse to have a talk with the mother when she is around and be sure to mention casually in the friendly chit-chat that the kids come to your house every day, and that you never see the nanny even at dinner-time "your kids must be having dinner really late, don't they?". As for the kids, you should give a polite excuse whenever you do not feel like having them. "I am sorry, this is not possible today" is all it takes. Stay out of the nanny/employer relationship and focus on your needs.

please update us!!!!!!!! said...

Ugh! Where's the update?
Hello, OP? Where arrrre Youuuu?
Please tell us what you are gonna do.

~ signed,
poster that loves updates

mom said...

I would not worry too much about this situation overall and simply make your own changes at your end to accomodate your own family and your schedules.
When her kids come to the house to play (mine always had to ask me if it was a good time before they invited guests into the house, do yours?), and if your kids come to ask you, and if you don't want guests at the moment, then have your children send them away. If you find that you would otherwise like to see your children having a guest over at that time, but want to say no to these children simply because you feel taken advantage of by their mom or nanny....I would just try to get past that feeling and let the kids play and enjoy themselves. Your kids are having fun...and does it really matter who they are playing with as long as it is a convenient time for you to have guests, and as long as the kids are good playmates and well behaved? A lot of times stay at home moms do the bulk of the entertaining for the neighborhood...but that was fine by me...I just made sure it was a good time is all. I always took the position that I would rather have them at my house where I know they are well taken care of than force some kind of reciprocity from a mom or caregiver I wasn't 100% sure about. I figured it was one of the "costs" and "priveleges" of being a SAHM.

Which brings me to my next point: Don't send your kids over to play at the negligent nanny's house! Who cares if it isn't fair. You're going to endanger your kids for a few hours of "free" or "reciprocal" childcare? I think not.

We had a similar situatin with a family down the street from us. They were really weird, but my son liked their son. They sent their kindergartener over almost daily,uninvited, all by himself, after school. (I have written about them before...he was the overweight swimmer who wouldn't walk 2 blocks to the pool.)I said yes to him coming in sometimes and no others. Sometimse the mom or grandma (grandma was often in charge after school until mom came home) would come over to plead his case when I said no...and, as long as they were at it, try to pawn their two year off on me as well. I had to learn to be firm with them.

One day directly after school the boy asked in front of his mom if he could come over. I said yes. She explained to him that she needed to take him home first to do some disgusting procedure for his ear infection and that she would send him over right after. The boy threw a screaming tantrum on the spot, inisiting that he wanted to come over RIGHT NOW! So she let him come home with us, but then appeared at my door a few minutes later with a bag full of stuff and proceeded to irrigate and clean his ear and put drops in it in my family he screeched and fought her every step of the way. I was just looking at the crap ooozing out of his ear, trying not to barf and hoping she would not get any of it on my carpet. (Did I mention they lived practically next door and it would have been easier for her to just do it at home and send him after!?) It was really disgusting...but not nearly so much as what happened a few weeks later....
The boys were playing neither of our houses..just out front. My son came bursting in with the boy and announced that the boy had to poop. This was a MESSY kid in the bathroom, so I said, "He can poop at his house." They left, I thought to go poop at his own house. Two minutes later there was a knock at my door. It was the boy's mom and she said, "Markie has to go poo poo and I need to help clean him when he is done." Kind of in shock, I let them in. They went into my son's bathroom together and when they were done she left. I went into my son's bathroom afterward to find that she had wetted my son's hand towel and washed her son's poop off his butt with it...and left it there on the counter, covered in poop. It was such a mess I have to assume she didn't even try to use toilet paper first. Who comes to somebody else's house to do that!?

They were such weird people! I let my son play with him though and sort of grinned and bore it as best I could. I didn't let my son go play there for safety reasons. Eventually my son didn't like playing with that boy anymore (I was so thankful) so I could then happily say no every time he showed up uninvited.

Once the mom confronted me angrily outside the classroom one morning. She said she had brought her son by my house to play the night before (uninvited) and I had not answered the door...which caused her son to have such a fit that she "had to take him to Chuck E. Cheese to calm him down." I kid you not! I told her I had taken my kids for a walk around the block while dinner cooked. She didn't believe me because she had heard through our door that the television was on. Oh well, it was the if I owed her the indulgence of showing up at dinner time and foisting her kid on me anyway!

Anyway, my point is that sometimes "The Kool Aid Mom" has to do some looking th eother direction in terms of who does the most for the kids. Just put up whatever boundaries you need to to make it tolerable for yourself, compromise where you can for the benefit of your kids, and try to remember to BE THANKFUL that you CAN be the mom there with your kids (and sometimes other people's), instead of the mom with the crappy nanny and the kids who don't get the best of care because she can't be there with them.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

That was more like a quarter! LOL
I do love your stories, Ma!

-OP said...

I just returned home. I drove to a town about 10 minutes away and mailed my neighbor the letter I printed out on the computer. I don't want her to think for a minute that it is me so I started the letter with, "You don't know me, but I know your nanny." Stay tuned. -OP

anonymous1 said...

please do update us! when my kids were younger several moms in the neighborhood were the same way and i found their kids at my door all the time. one girl told me her mom said she didn't want to babysit anyone else's kids. another mom said she didn't want her house messed up, etc. etc. i didn't like those mothers needless to say- -

Anonymous said...

I would love for you to let us know what your letter said. Would you mind?