Guest Column by Nanny Lexie - The Nightmare Employer

Received Friday, June 27, 2008
The Nightmare Employer
By: Nanny Lexie

It’s been one month since I walked out on what became my worst job ever! Which is weird, because for almost an entire year it was one of my favorite jobs. I worked for a family that lived about 30-45 minutes away from me. And, it was foolish of me from the start to even think I would be okay with driving that far, even just three times a week. But, the family promised me gas and toll road money for compensation. The job seemed easy enough. One toddler boy, barely old enough to talk, which is one of my favorite stages. I just love that they learn new things daily, and every little thing, is such a huge deal to them because they are experiencing it for the very first time. The parents also seemed really nice and laid back, so I took the job.

The first year was amazing! Every day me and the little boy, I will call Kyle, would go to the park, or the beach, or somewhere fun. I always looked forward to going to work and seeing Kyle. When I first got there we spent about 3 hours together and then he would go down for a typically 3 hour nap. Since I was only there 6-8 hours, I normally played with him for a little while until his mother came home, and then went home. During the 3 hours he napped I got to do homework, which was a total blessing, and also watch TV, or go on the computer. It really was a dream job. I was getting paid a total of $12 an hour which included gas and toll road compensation, which wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either.

About 6 months into my job, the mother got pregnant. It wasn’t planned, but they decided they could afford another child. In my opinion they really couldn’t afford another child, and I knew deep down that once the baby came, our arrangement wasn’t going to work anymore. But, she assured me she loved and needed me to help her. About 2 weeks before the baby is due she informs me that she can’t afford to pay me more money for the new baby, so she began taking the baby on her small business deliveries. I knew something like this was going to happen when I kept trying to bring up my raise for the new baby and being there over a year, and she kept putting it off.

When the mother was supposed to be on maternity leave, I planned a vacation with my boyfriend and told her I would be gone 3 working days. She got really upset and asked me what she was supposed to do with her kids. I told her, “I’m sorry, but I need vacation time, this is the first time off in a year and I NEED it!” After I came back from my trip she began treating me horribly. She was always late, and even when I told her I needed to be gone by a certain time she would still be late, sometimes even later. She was constantly asking me to take him places, and buy him things, and would never give me any money. And, when I would ask for money she would always ask me, well don’t I pay you? So, you think she was bad? Well, her husband was worse!

He was a pig of an old man, his wife being probably 15 years his junior. He had a son my age, but that never stopped him from hitting on me. He constantly made sexual comments or jokes about me. One day I came over in a white shirt, and he told his son who was playing with the hose to spray my shirt! Which, of course his son did, and then he told me I could always take it off and he would dry it for me in a very suggestive way. Another time I forgot my keys to the house and he told me he needed to spank me. When he said that I gave him the nastiest look and after that he pretty much stopped. Which was good, because I was 1 comment away from concerning his wife in the matter. To make this guy even worse, he would stay home smoking pot until about 12 or 1pm before finally getting in the shower and leaving the house. It was creepy the way he was always there, or hot boxing the bathroom!

On top of all this, they refused to parent their son. Kyle would be horrible around them, hit, yell, misbehave, be hysterical, and the second they left, he was perfect. But, whenever they were around he was a nightmare! The parents just flat out refused to parent him. If he threw a fit, they would hug and hold, and tickle him and then give into his wishes. I tried to give them suggestions on what to do a few times, but they were always too tired.
So, finally a month ago, I had enough of constantly being stressed over work and that family.

I came to work on a Saturday as a favor to the family for a few hours. She told me she would be gone no more than 4 hours. Needless to say, she was late, 2 ½ hours late! I had completely missed my favorite neighborhood annual event, that she had promised me I would be home in time for. No explanations, phone calls, or real apologies, I think she mumbled “sorry”. I showed her that her son had bitten me so hard it broke the skin, and she asked me why her son did it. I told her he got mad at me, and bit my stomach, and then refused to apologize. Kyle was 2 ½ years old and was fully willing and able to say sorry most of the time. But, not that day. That day he would not budge, so I told him he needed to stay in his room until his mom came home, which was about 10 minutes, and we would decide a punishment. Only, she didn’t want to punish him. So, I told her right there. I don’t want to come back here anymore. I can’t be in a place where the parent refuses to parent. I gave her the keys. She gave me a check, and we haven’t spoken since. It really breaks my heart not to see Kyle, but I know I had to leave for my own sanity! And, I’ve loved every minute of not having a steady employer!


Anonymous said...

That is ridiculous. I hope the dad didn't make you feel too threatened because that is just one of the worse things that can happen in a nannying situation. Even though I know you loved the child, I'm glad you got yourself out of the situation before it got any worse than it did- you made the smart, although hard, decision.

Anonymous said...

OP you made a wide decision. It would have gotten worse, and while I feel sorry for this little boy and the child on the way you did the right thing by leaving.
Good Luck to you on your new job.

Anonymous said...

Employers will take advantage of a nanny one way ..... or another.

Anonymous said...

10:15 I hate to have to agree with you but I do, though not completely. Maybe not intentionally, but it happens more often than not. I think that's just one of the perils of being a so-called "domestic worker"--you become a fixture in the employer's home whom they rely on more and more as time goes on. And really, aren't most people going to do their best to get the most for their money?

Anonymous said...

Or the worst -- like this male employer. Taking advantage of this nanny, trying to get more bang for HIS buck! What a jackhole! (I think that word belongs to Lindalou, hope she doesn't mind me borrowing it here, because it fits!)

Anonymous said...

I speculate that employers attempt to take advantage of their nannies (one way or the other) more often than in other jobs because the nanny is bonded to their child. This poses two problems, one for the employer and one for the nanny. The problem for the employer is that another person is bonded to their child. I don't think most people will admit it, but only the most secure parents are not at least a little insecure about someone else having their child's love, even if they are mostly really glad that the child and the nanny are bonded. But I think that the resentment, confusion, and jealousy that I believe *most* people feel somewhere under the surface in this situation comes out in subtle or not-so-subtle aggression and taking advantage of the nanny. The problem with being bonded to the child from the nanny's perspective is that she will put up with things no employee should put up with because she loves the child. Employers also subconsciously know this and use it to their advantage.

Unfortunately, the only way to avoid these problems is for the nanny not to bond strongly to the child, and that is unfortunate for the child.

The more I read and observe, the more I think that having a paid nanny or sitter be the *primary* caregiver is a bad, bad idea. I'm all for part-time babysitters and even daycare (where the issues are different; the caregivers are not substitute parents in the same way a nanny is). I just do not think that hiring someone to be your child's *primary* caregiver, for 40+ hours a week, in your home, is a situation that often has a happy ending.

Sometimes it may seem to have a happy ending, but it's a bit bittersweet. A good friend of mine was basically raised by her nanny while her professional parents worked long hours at their job. She is now, as a 35-yo woman, closer to this nanny, with whom she has retained close contact, than her parents. She still loves her parents, of course, but they are not the ones she saw 10 hours a day for most of her childhood.

Just my thoughts.

aliana said...

thats good thing you are not there, and if i was you i would sue the father for sexual harrasment at work, do it now before its too late!

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:00am - You stated the root of most nanny/employer problems (in my opinion, anyway)so very, very well! All the benefits (to the parents) of having a fulltime, paid in-home caregiver for your children is obvious and appealing, but it can also push lots emotional buttons, bringing out the absolute worst and craziest behavior in those employers who lack the maturity and insight to understand or handle their own feelings that arise as a result of having someone else raise your own children. Many of these parents have been over-indulged growing up, and continue to be self-indulgent as adults, with an attitude of entitlement and superiority...not the recipe for creating a mature adult, a decent parent, or a fair and respectful employer.

Anonymous said...

I really miss jane and the regular blog!!

Anonymous said...

I think your comment is pretty rude. It was Jane's idea to have these guest columns run, and she or MPP, another blog administrator, approved them all, so this IS the "regular blog."

I personally have enjoyed all of the guest columns, and most of them have gotten many responses and sparked great conversations.

Anonymous said...

If there aren't any sightings, what else do you propose be done? The blog needs people to contribute, and the posters that were nice enough to do guest columns kept it updated in Jane's absence.
Your comment was pretty insensitive, especially to those that put in a lot of time trying to do something for this blog.
What did you do ..... but complain about it?

UmassSlytherin said...


two words for you.

Nawt Hawt.

Anonymous said...

How mean, 3:41.

Personally, I love the guest columns, and I hope Jane continues to do them!

Anonymous said...

I thought your column was awesome Umass, and I hope you'll write another one again soon!

Anonymous said...

well, I am truly happy for all of you and glad that you like the blog this week but I don't. So,now that you have all stated how rude I am I hope you feel fabulous. I did not realize that unless I feel exactly as all of you do I was not allowed to post my feelings! What is up with all the attacks this week?
I was not rude,did not single anyone out nor did I name call...I just miss jane and the way the blog runs when she is here!
I am sorry that I do not think along the same lines as all of you..sometimes a few sheep escape the herd, not all of us are followers!

UmassSlytherin said...

Thank you, anons. I do my best. It was difficult for me, actually, to write a piece that did not include information on Michael Pitt. It went against my nature. I thank you for reading it.

To 3:41,
sorry you felt attacked. And sorry I called you nawt hawt. I didn't mean that you were not attractive. You may be. I just meant that the implication that the guest pieces took away from the blog was nawt really that hawt. I think people may have felt insulted. I didn't, personally. People insult me all the time, way worse than that.
I hope you have a good night and feel better, k? :)

Anonymous said...

I can understand missing Jane, but I don't understand what you mean by "regular blog"?
Is it the guest columns that you don't like? That's the only thing that's been done differently since Jane's been gone, and she had asked for several days before she left for her posters to contribute them. Just curious what you mean, I'm not trying to be rude.

lorenza said...

This is the regular blog. Many columists have guest columists write columns in their absence so I think Jane's idea was good and I'm lovin' the stories, all of them. Good job writing OP and thanx.

Anonymous said...

Good for you for leaving. Who wants to work in an environment where you are just walked over constantly?

mom said...

Like the story. Umass, are you the author, Lexie?

3:41 While oyu may not have meant ot be insulting, can oyu at least see how your comment may have made the guest contributors feel insulted? (Personally, I like the mix of sightings and guest columns and hope Jane keeps it up.)

Also, Marypoppinpills has been kind enough to keep the blog up for Jane in her absence, and I saw somewhere where she said it has been a lot fo work. Your comment might have made her feel that you don't appreciate her efforts. Would you have rather had nothing new posted at all?