Received Tuesday, May 7, 2008- Perspective & Opinion
I need some advice PLEASE.
I hired a nanny last week. I checked her references and they all had nice things to say about her. One went as far as saying that his wife dealt mostly with her but from what he saw, she was great. He said that he didn’t want to seem like she’s God but she was great with his three kids and that she kept the house tidy. They got rid of her because his mother came to help and financially they couldn’t keep her. He told me that if I didn’t need her to send her back to them and to please have her call the kids because they miss her.
She is a live-in nanny. We provided her with a private furnished bedroom with her own bath on a separate floor so she can have more privacy. We let her eat anything she wants and even provide her with toiletry items, etc. She likes our home so much that she asked if she can live there 7 days a week, to which I said yes. Of course she doesn’t work on the weekends and I would never ask her to. I will probably occasionally as her to baby-sit after the kids have gone to bed so my husband and I can go to a movie or something since we don’t get out much. We would, of course, pay her and it’s totally optional if she wants to or not.
Here is my problem. The first 3 days she was GREAT. She got up early in the morning, made breakfast for the kids, swept the kitchen and tidied up the kitchen/slash great room, playroom, and the kids bedroom which was part of our agreement. We agreed that she would handle ALL childcare-related duties.
After the first three days she no longer swept the floors. I have to do it when I get home from work. She doesn’t make the kids beds or pick up in the toy room. My youngest daughter takes a three hour nap so she has plenty of time to tidy up. It’s not that I’m asking her to mop or clean up after us. We are very neat so she doesn’t have to worry about my husband and I. Plus that’s not part of our deal.
Yesterday I got home early and she wasn’t expecting me. I found my 2-year old screaming. I asked the nanny what was going on. At first she didn’t answer so I asked her again. She told me that she was reading her book and my daughter wouldn’t read her own book and wanted to read hers instead and she wouldn’t let her. Shouldn’t she be reading to her? She’s 2. She can’t read. I forgot to mention that she had the TV on and had my daughter sitting so close to the TV that her head could have touched it. I told her that it’s too close and moved the seat all the way back where it should be.
I was attracted to the fact that she loves to read and was a teacher. We have books everywhere in our house. Literally in every room because we love to read too. I even offered her to feel free and help herself to any of the books, which she has. She has read several books. I don’t mind her reading on her spare time but not when she is supposed to be watching my daughter and engaging her in activities. Also, because she doesn’t drive I’ve had to rearrange all of the kids activities to the weekends when I’m home, which should give her even more time to do her work.
My neighbors and mother-in-law told us that it’s our fault because we treat our nannies like family instead of “help”. They said that we should make it clear that they are the “help” and not family. I have a hard time doing that because it’s not the person that I am. I was brought up to treat everyone the way I would want to be treated. She lives with us. How can I not ask her to eat with us and feel comfortable in our home? We also give her rides to where she wants to go.
I’m starting to think that my mother-in-law and neighbors are right. My neighbors treat their nanny like they are the “help” and their nannies are great. They do their job and don’t complain. They also seem to stay for a very long time. My question is, should I treat her like she is the “help” instead of family? Or should I cut my loses now while it’s early and hire a new nanny? We are going to talk to her today about not doing her job, but I don’t see it getting any better. Being that she just started I would think that this is the time that she should be impressing us. I can only imagine what she will do after she gets really comfortable.
Any advice from parents and nannies would be helpful. Thank you.