28 July, 2008

Nanny pays her own way....

Received Monday, July 28, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
I'm a nanny for a fabulous family. I love their children and they've always been generous to me on holidays and my birthday. The problem? Whenever I take the children somewhere - the zoo, aquarium, a museum, or any other activity that charges an admission fee - their mother thinks that she only needs to reimburse me for the children's admission. I feel that since I'm working while I take the children to these different areas, that the family is responsible for my admission. I mean, it's not like I'd be going to the childrens zoo all on my own every other week. How can I approach this with their mother? Or am I wrong, and should I just leave this be? Again, otherwise I am 100% completely content with my job and don't have another complaint in the world. Thanks!


  1. Be completely upfront and honest. Let her know that you would love to take the kids to the zoo, etc. but you'll need the money for admission, food, transportation, etc. for all of you. People often don't realize very obvious things and they just need them pointed out in an unemotional way.

  2. I would definately sit down and tell the parents that you would like to set up some kind of petty cash for you to be able to take the kids places and that of course there should be extra cash for your gas, parking and admission.
    That way you will find out if she is being cheap or if it just didn't register that they should be paying your expenses for these trips.

  3. no me gusta barack y michelleJul 28, 2008, 10:47:00 AM

    The mother is playing some passive agressive games with you. She has an issue with paying you to go to the zoo and movies. Why? She feels it should be her.

    She needs to suck it up, grow a pair and realize every other nanny in America and Guam has their costs covered by their nanny employer!

  4. The mom might also want to know why now are you bringing it up. You said they have always been generous on holidays and birthdays which makes me wonder if you have been there for a while. When I work for a family and they ask me to take the child someplace I always get the cash upfront, I dont need to be reimbursed...

  5. You are right - they should definitely be paying your way as well. It is always hard to bring this stuff up, but it is best that you do it as soon as possible. Let the mom know how happy you are with the job and her family, but you just can't continue to pay your own way on these outings. I'm sure she will understand.

  6. macaroniandcheeseJul 28, 2008, 11:05:00 AM

    They should DEFINITELY pay for your tickets as well.

    If she won't pay up, don't go anymore and when she asks why, say you can't afford it.

    I'd have left this family even if they were generous with holidays and birthdays...

  7. nannyforhire2006,
    it doesn't matter in the slightest if the mom wonders why the nanny is bringing this up now: with the cost of inflation, she needs to bring it up. It SHOULD be retro-active, but this mom sounds like a real piece of work, a real insensitive cheapskate. The nanny should not have to ask. Her park admission etc. is a business expense, and I agree with the posters who have said if she can't pay for the nanny, nanny needs to stop taking them to these places.

    OP: good luck and let us know what happens.

  8. Are we sure it is the mom's fault? Maybe the nanny is the sort of person with no self esteem who said, "no, it's okay" at first. Maybe only now it is bothering the nanny?

    I say this, not as an attack on the nanny but only because I don't know how any employer could be THAT STUPID!

  9. shelf life,
    again, it doesn't matter why the nanny never spoke up before. Maybe she's just really nice and didn't mind doing it but is now starting to feel it financially. Better late than never.

    Even if she said before it was ok, the employer should not have taken advantage of her like that. If the nanny did indeed say that at one point, good for her for now realizing her error.

    Of freaking course it is the mom's fault.

  10. Just be upfront and direct. Explain that with the cost of living on the rise you need all the expenses for outings to be covered. That should do it. Good luck.

  11. no me gusta barack y michelleJul 28, 2008, 11:39:00 AM

    I doubt you'll get any reparations for the past. I would start stealing a few key items and put them on Craigs list or ebay. Use the procedes of those sold items to recoup your past losses.

  12. Ah, mothers.

    I worked for one for about a year, part time usually after school and weekends. At her request I would take them for frozen yogurt, take them to the movies, take them to the pizza buffett or other nearby resaurants, take them to the pottery place where you glaze it yourself, take them bowling, etc; I would also take them to the library and then my apt once a week or so because they would beg every day and neither I nor the mom minded. However she didn't pay for gas (that is one of the reasons I ended up quitting; we lived near to most of these things but over half of my gas each month was spent on work). For the pizza place she paid my way because you cannot go into the buffett area without paying for a buffett; she paid for most of the times I took them to the movies but not all (if, for example, I had asked if I could instead of her asking me to). She never paid for me to do the activities such as the pottery (so I would sit and watch them painstakingly apply several coats of glaze for well over an hour), for me to have a frozen yogurt along with them, or if she had me take them out to a restaurant so if I was hungry I had order/pay for an entree that I probably never would have chosen to go to on my own. One thing I thought was really funny was when she had me take them bowling; when we got back she said she would "like to treat me for these things but it can be so expensive". She thought it was like a price per person and that she shouldn't have to pay for me to do it if it is expensive (so I guess that means I would get to sit out), but in this case it was that you had to pay for the lane by the hour and then it was just $2/person to rent shoes.

    I never said anything about the "admission cost" because we didn't go out that often. However, after a year when I went to mention raise I also inquired about gas as I said above. She agreed to a raise, but said an emphatic "no!" to paying for gas! She said it was like a "slap in the face" for me to even ask because when she had gone on a 3-week vacation with the kids over the summer, she had given me a "bonus" equal to about one week's pay so I could take a break while they were gone and so for me to ask for money was just wrong and I should "consider the summer bonus as gas money for the last year."

    I had thought my employer was really great until that convo, a few days later I gave my notice (she also refused to put my on the books); just a warning for you, sorry to make this post so "me, me, me!". Be prepared to either hear "no" or that you just shouldn't take them on outings anymore, which I know would be really boring for you and the kids. On the other hand, she might be a great person like you think she is and this is something that seems so obvious to us but she may have just completely overlooked/never really thought about and she will be embarrassed and say "of course I will pay your admission!"

  13. You are not wrong at all! Of course they should be paying for your admission also, I mean, you are only going there as part of your job taking their kids there. I would just out and out ask her for the money. What world does she live in that she doesn't pay your fee?

  14. aliana a nanny from californiaJul 28, 2008, 12:23:00 PM

    this is a cheap mother and i know them weel, i work for a good family, but they are very cheap, to the point that there is nothing to eat in the house.
    the only way you chose to go to these places is to take the children and you need to get money for that.

  15. Wow that's so tacky!

    I so agree with the person who said you should stop taking them to the zoo or where ever if it costs you money.
    My employers would never do that to me!

  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  17. Your employer should definitely pay all costs that you incur while caring for the children, period. This includes encouraging you to join in if you take them for pizza, ice cream, or to an event. We have a designated "petty cash" in which I try to leave $40-60 that my nanny can take as needed for events. I know some people instead given their nanny a credit card, but this system has worked fine for us so I've never looked into that.

    Since you say your employers are wonderful in every other way, let me offer two possibilities why they might be making the mistake you describe. One is simply ignorance. I am embarrassed to admit that when I first starting employing professional nannies, I wasn't very good at it. I had never been an employer before and had barely managed employees at work as I was fairly young at the time. I didn't have a written agreement. I didn't specify vacation or sick days and had no idea what was standard. The first year my nanny had 5 weeks vacation, the second year zero - simply because I just did not *think* and she never asked. When my nanny brought it up, I promptly paid her for the unused vacation in the second year and made sure to address many of these issues going forward. And some of the things I've read (on ISYN) that have been hurtful to nannies, I honestly would never even have thought about without someone telling me - such as giving my nanny a card for Mother's Day. So, perhaps, just maybe if your employer is great in every other way, maybe she doesn't even realize the major mistake she is making here.

    The second possibility is that she feels you are taking the kids to too many expensive events and does not know how to tell you that directly, thus she is saying it passively (and, of coure, poorly). I had a part time nanny once when heavily pregnant with my third who would take my older two kids to do extravagant things that were far away in the city. It would get really expensive with the cost of a meal at a trendy theme restaurant, arcade games, a toy, and the taxis both ways. The cost of a day out would easily by $60-100 and was just too much for our budget since we were already stretching to have extra help during my pregnancy. I was happy she was being creative, but these were costs I would never myself have done all in one day, for both money and not wanting to spoil the kids. Plus, we live near a couple of great parks and I'd much prefer the kids be spending some time running around. I did directly address it with her several times, including requesting they stay local and try to eat lunch at home and maybe get ice cream out, etc. Ended up having to go over the day's outline before any day she worked, instead of allowing her discretion, because she simply could not use the judgment herself.

    I offer these two ideas just to give another side to the story, OP. Certainly it's possible that neither applies to you and there is absolutley no doubt you should be getting reimbursed for your expenses also. Good luck!

  18. they should definitely pay for you! that is so cheap. the only problem is, if you bring it up you run the risk of them just saying that you don't have to take the kids anywhere! that is my situation because the parents i work for would NEVER pay for my way into an amusement place. i think it's even worse that the people you work for obviously can afford to pay the kids' way, so why wouldn't they cover you too? i get so sick about these things!

    i would say overall, DO NOT pay for your own. let the mom know you can't afford to pay your own way anymore. so if that means you can't take the kids those places, then that's what it may be for a little while. if you start to get really bored, i would hint to the parents that you may need to get out of the house with the kids. hopefully they will understand that if they don't pay, you won't be able to go, and if you don't go, you will all get bored.

  19. no me gusta barack y michelleJul 28, 2008, 4:00:00 PM

    Back when I was a nanny, 8 years or so ago, (I now work in the private sector), I had an interview with a fairly upscale family in Rye, NY. They had three children and lived in a modern day mansion set on a hill. They went on about how the children liked to go to amusement parks, water parks, craft stores and out to lunch. It sounded wonderful. Then the mother tells me that she usually leaves about $150 of petty cash in a coffee tin in a kitchen drawer. I said, "great". She tells me I should put the receipts in the tin. I say, "great". She then tells me that they are not comfortable with leaving the $150 in petty cash off the bat because they don't know me, so for the first month or so, I should plan activities the day before and leave a note requesting money and stating what it is for. I laughed in their faces. They could not trust me with $150 dollars, but were about to trust me with their three children for 5 12 hour days?

    And when I say, I laughed in their faces, believe me, I laughed in their faces. I told them exactly what I told you and excused myself from the interview.

  20. No Longer Anonymous RegularJul 28, 2008, 4:27:00 PM

    They should pay for you, but you say they are fabulous family so give them the benefit of the doubt. Do you specifically say the trip we planned will cost $x before you go? Maybe they are just guessing the amount and underestimating. Maybe it never ocurred to them or maybe you or a prior nanny or a neighbor had told them they don't have to pay the nanny's way. There is no place that gives you lessons on how to being a nanny employer (except maybe this blog). Just talk to them openly about it. Tell them that you would prefer that they pay in advance for planned activities, including your costs. Arrange for a time at the beginning or end of the week to go over activities you have planned and the budget needed. I doubt they would object to that since you seem to think they are good employers. Personally, I find it easiest to leave petty cash so that my nanny can plan whatever she would like on a daily basis within reason ($25 per child over two was the rule of thumb my co-worker gave me so I always make sure there is at least that much in the envelope) and if there is some special outing she mentions she wants to do that would likely cost more than that, I add extra to cover it, but your employers may not want to go the petty cash approach.

  21. Great post, no me gusta! I'm afraid I would've done the same thing.
    At least you were kind enough to tell them what was so funny!
    Unbelievable, some people will just never get it.

  22. Set up a petty cash fund with them.
    Come up with a good amt that will suffice ALL the expenses you can incur...including your own admission when you take the kids to an outing and approach the parents with this idea.
    It should be reimbursed weekly when you provide reciepts on what you spent.
    Keep in mind moderation as it is not for personal fulfillment.

  23. The parents should be paying your way. I work with my family with the understanding that if they want me to take the kids out to a certain place then they pay the way, but if I decide I want to take them out to a certain place then I pay the way. This works well for my situation. Also I agree with the above poster--moderation is important.

  24. Bring it up. Definitely bring it up. It can be awkward after you've been doing it this way for while, but if you don't bring it up you'll get resentful. For my first year with this job I was given $20 a week, cash, for gas. Now, at the time, my job included driving an average of 120 miles a week NOT INCLUDING any activities of our choosing (mine and the child's). $20 didn't begin to cover it, but I felt weird about saying anything. Finally I brought it up at my year review. Before I'd even finished my sentence the mom interrupted and offered to pay ALL the gas from then on, including what I used on my personal time. Really, you just don't know until you ask. If she refuses to pay, find a new job because she's taking advantage of you. Hopefully, though, she's just clueless. Give her the benefit unless you have a reason not to.

  25. As a former nanny, I feel like you should voice your concern/opinion in a polite way. The mom may not understand that you are not in the position to pay your way.

    Suggest a Zoo Pass that you are on and then just pack a lunch to go with you instead of asking for Petty Cash. Or - suggest a petty cash fund for such instances (it could even be in the form of a reloadable visa that you and mom can both check the charges and funds on).

    At my previous job (I SAH now) I was added on the zoo pass, local science center pass and left a petty cash fund on those days.

  26. They definintly need to be paying for your admission as well. Otherwise, stop taking the kids anywhere, keep them home everyday so they go stir crazy for their parents every night, and when they ask you why you don't go anywhere anymore, inform them that you don't have the money to be paying your own admission to places the kids want to go to.
    And most families get memberships to all these places anyways, they need to get on the bandwagon.

  27. Unbelievable.

    Why would you ever let your employer get over on you like that?

    Please update us and tell us you have checked her!

  28. Seriously, to even respond to where the responsibilities lie in this post is embarrassing.
    Seriously nannies (those to whom this applies), stop letting employers walk over you.
    You think because employers pay you, and give you a bonus, they are somehow God's gift to mankind.
    News Flash! they are supposed to do these things.
    How how on God's green earth did paying your way to children's events become a question??? ridiculous.
    No money, no outing, how hard is that to figure out?
    This is not a question to be posed, but rather a statement. Make your statement today!

  29. I would definitely say something! I am a nanny and I bring my own children to work with me. The past two families I have worked for have not only paid for my expenses, but also for my childrens'!

  30. This is a very delicate situation and it is completely understandable why you are having difficulty approaching this issue with the family. Just as other people have commented, you should be upfront and honest about this with the family and try not to feel emotional when you speak with them but rather calm, assertive and logical. Explain to them that going to the zoo is an extra expense for you that you shouldn't have to take on yourself. Good luck!

  31. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


ISYN loves comments!
Please instead of using "anonymous", click name/url and chose a moniker.
You do not need to register! If you have problems commenting, please email us.
Email us at isynblog@gmail.com