Nanny is sick of Dad who is always sick

Received Wednesday, August 27, 2008. - Perspective & Opinion
I am going out of my mind. I am a nanny and I work for a couple. The mother and I get on really well. She is a hard working professional, a super mom, completely trusts me and treats me like a professional and is a pleasure to work for and on those few occasions she is home-with.

The father is another story. I take care of just one child. Because of this, I have activities planned so we get out or have playdates over or do things that stimulate his mind. We have a schedule. It includes a nap time and even video time.

I noticed when I first began here that the father would call in sick fairly often. He is a large man of about 6'2, 180 lbs, muscular but I have seen him come through the door at 10 AM because he had a stomache ache or call in to work because he has a sore throat or come home at 11 on a friday because he was "getting a cold".

When he is home, he spends most of his time up in his bed. He plays video games up there and watches television and sleeps. He comes down to eat and to do just enough with his son to rile him up or distract him or to assure that the little boy will be calling "Daddy..." up the stairs for a half hour. I just cannot take it when he is home. In addition to the distraction he causes, he acts like a baby and I have heard him get in fights with his wife on the phone because she didn't call to check on him.

Imagine my face when I saw that he was home from work again on Monday. He had (miraculously) done some yard work and pulled a muscle in his back. This of course required a trip to the emergency room (as does every sore throat and stomach ache). He apparently came home on Sunday with doctor's orders that he take two days off work.
By Monday mid afternoon, I realized he was way over exaggerating. One thing he does is sail past the child and I when we are doing a puzzle or something and pick the child up and zoom him around like an airplane. He did that many times on Monday. I am responsible for the child, his dishes, laundry and keeping his room clean. The mother came home yesterday and I heard her ask him if he got a chance to start a load of laundry. He acted like a baby and said, "I can't lift laundry. Are you kidding. Do you care that I have a back injury?"

Yesterday, the father repeated his same MO. He wants his son to run to him and get excited everytime he sees Daddy, but then he disappears back up to his room. I see that is messing with the kid's mind. The kid doesn't know what is going on. When the mother came home yesterday, she asked me if I could wait while she changed her clothes. I said, of course. (Notice how she cannot ask the father).

The father is outside smoking a ciggarette now. She goes outside and asks him if he can hold the garbage bags open so she can put another bag inside. In essence, double the garbage bags. Again, he freaked out and said she was disrepecting him and didn't realize he was injured. The mother said, "fine, I will ask *me* to help". The father said, "Fuckkkk you" as she was coming inside. The windows were open, so I heard the exchange.The mother came inside and said in essence she needed to get the bags sealed up and asked if I could just hold the bags open for her. It wasn't my job and I was angry that the father didn't help her, but like I said, I really like my boss and of course I helped her. We then dragged the bags to the curb for pick up. It was lawn clippings.

I leave with the hope that the father is returning to work today (Weds).When I arrive his car is still here. I ask my boss if he is going in. She looks mad and embarassed and says that he made an appointment with another doctor and he is going to try and get a week off out of this, so he wants a doctor to give him more time off. I go about my day. The father leaves (walks up and down the stairs just fine, sits outside in his chair to smoke and gets up without trouble). When I return from the park, his car is gone. I am happy. I put on music and set up his toddler video camera on him and he dances for the camera.

We are having all kinds of fun when in comes Dad. According to Dad, he will now be off until Tuesday. He doesn't know what I think of him or have heard from his wife. He tells me he saw a specialist and it is just too risky for him to return to work and that his back is important and he can't take chances with it, so he is off until Tuesday of next week. He interacts with his son for three minutes, has a ciggarette and goes upstairs. In the meantime, his wife calls me on my cell phone. She asks me if he has come home yet. I say he has. She asks me what he told me and I tell her. You can tell she is holding her breath, trying not to lose it. I wonder what it is like to be her, the main money earner, the main parent and the one who takes care of everything around the house. I feel for her but try to think of something to say to fill the silence. "Well at least he has sick time left". She says, "You are kidding, right. He used that up. He is planning to go on short term disability". Our conversation ends and I am in a terrible mood.

I don't think I can work all of these days with him home, doing nothing and complaining about his back. I, too have pulled a muscle in my back. I went to work, even though at the time, I was a nanny for two children who were 2 & 4. I just told them that I couldn't do much lifting that day. THAT DAY.

Help. Someone tell me how I can quickly get over the desire to kill this man. The sight of him makes me sick. I have no desire to show up to work tomorrow or the next day or the next day.... And who knows now if returning to work on Tuesday is even definite?
Has anyone been there? Done this? Lived to tell about it?


Anonymous said...
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re-post from another anon said...

Well, I don't think you should kill him.
3:15 PM

Re-posted because I thought it was funny.

linda said...

I've been in this situation, but as a live-in au pair. Not exactly the same, but quite similar. I quit -not only because of this, but the situation certainly didn't help! I feel really sorry for you OP.. I guess you don't want to talk to the mother either? I would say, try hold out until Tuesday and see what happens. If it doesn't get better, consider talking to the mother -or the father, if you're up for a challenge :P
Good luck!

Anonymous said...
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stop posting as "anonymous" ppl!! said...

Sounds like you're taking care of two kids instead of one. The father is selfish, annoying, irresponsible, and wonder you feel stressed out for your hardworking and long-suffering employer. But take a deep breath and just let it go. It's not your problem and as long as the father does not interfere much with your ability to take care of his son, you should not stress out too much over the situation. It's unfair and I know it hurts to see someone you like being taken advantage of by a complete jerk but there's nothing you could do.


TC said...

Well I have a situation very similar to yours and I'm at my wits end too. All I can say is good luck.

My charge's father owns his own business so he takes off a L O T! and when he does he's here either playing video games or watching TV or watching adult videos (I can hear them...) It drives me nuts because he will come out long enough to kiss his child and rile him up then leave to go back doing whatever he was doing.

My best advice is to stay out of the house as much as possible. That's what we do, we leave as soon as I can get their son dressed in the morning and we come home just in time for nap time. Then when he wakes up we eat snack and head out to the park or just to walk to the neighbors house to play and we don't come home till close to time for me to leave.

little K said...

I wouldn't worry about it to much,Your boss will probably file for divorce by the end of the year!

Rebecca said...

If it's bothering you to the point where you totally resent your job (and believe me, I wouldn't blame you AT ALL for that because he sounds like a royal pain), I'd talk to him AND the mom - or just the mom if you're not comfortable bringing it up with him. Be diplomatic, but make it clear that, while you understand the occasional sick day, you didn't take a job with an at-home parent. You understand that some circumstances are unforeseen, so you'd like to address this and set some rules:

1) If he's going to stay home, he MUST NOT come in contact with the child or let the child see him at all. It confuses the boy, screws up the schedule you've meticulously set, and makes your job very difficult.

2) You are not in any way responsible for taking care of him, or taking care of his household responsibilities.

3) If he is staying home from work but insists of playing with the child - including lifting - then he is obviously capable of taking care of the child. You took a job with working parents - if one is home and capable and not working, you will assume you have the rest of the day off with pay, and leave immediately.

It sounds like the mom is as frustrated as you are. She might even work with you to make him knock off the bs - if you run these conditions past her first to see what she thinks, she might be really happy about it, and maybe he'll realize staying home isn't so cushy.

nannyp said...

He is commiting insurance fraud. call his work and tell them nothing is wrong with him.

Anonymous said...

All I am going to say is that I feel so sorry for this woman. Imagine being married to a man like that!

I don't see any change in this working situation. I suggest you tell the mother that you don't enjoy working in such an environment and that you'd like to move on.

Anonymous said...

Omg he watches porn at home when you and the kid are home? Gross. I'm assuming he does something else in there too. I could never work in a place like that- I am so fortunate.

Rebecca said...

Ha! I change my vote: go with nannyp's suggestion.

BLT said...

"He is commiting insurance fraud. call his work and tell them nothing is wrong with him."

I suspect this was a joke but just in case, please don't do this. Even if he is in the wrong he could still make your life ten times more miserable by pursuing legal action against you.

You have no power to change this situation and you really only have two choices. Stay and suck it up or quit.

Putting yourself in the middle of an unhappily married couple will not end well. You could very easily become the scapegoat target of both of them.

I feel bad for you because you seem like a decent person who cares about the kid but even decent people have to recognize that they have a boiling point.

fg said...

you do need to remember your place. you are the employee- - he is the boss. I guess you either have to accept his behavior and what the future holds or leave- -

Anonymous said...

That is so annoying, obnoxious, frustrating, irritating, and all other similar adjectives!!! Yuck! That family is (unfortunately) in a *messed up* point in life right now and until the mother realizes (in her own time, which could be anytime from tomorrow until never) that she needs to leave that a$$hole, their family will continue to function this way. I know you probably love the kid and want to be there for the child and you like your one boss, but honestly, there is nothing you can personally do to rectify their messed up situation. I would start looking for another job.

prepinparadise said...

Oh, you poor thing. I care for three children and the mother works from home. This makes it extremely difficult for me to properly and effectively discipline said children. If that's not bad enough, the father has now taken a "leave of absence" (God only knows why) and has been home for the past two weeks. He, too, is whiney, complaining of certain illnesses, injury, etc. He's also "apparently" an insomniac and never gets enough sleep, so that was his excuse to sleep until noon today. Oh, and get this, I received a pay-cut back in February because things have been financially difficult for them, yet just yesterday they had a mobile detailer come to their home and fully detail both of their vehicles. Can you even believe that?! I was LIVID!!! I am actively looking for another job, but unfortunately, nothing better has presented itself. Hang in there, and hopefully the loser will go back to work!

prepinparadise said...
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mom said...

Prepinparadise...good luck with the job search. That's terrible for them to do to you!

I really am amazed by the gall of some people! Who are all of these people who seem to think that they are the only ones who matter in the whole world?! And how do they get that way? I'd really like to know because I would hate to be responsible for raising and unleasing such a selfish dirtbag on the world.

cali mom said...

Oh God, OP, I want to SMACK this lazy worthless slob of an overgrown 13 yr old just reading about him. I feel bad for your mom-boss, as she is obviously disgusted by him too. I just don't see anything you can do to change his behavior, and I suspect that talking to the mom about the situation will just make her feel worse and lead to probably futile efforts on her part to get him to get his SH*% together, which will likely make the marriage worse and everyone involved more miserable.

I think TC's advice was great. Just avoid being at home AT ALL. Rebecca's advice was good too though probably wouldn't change anything and just upset Mom. So I'd just maybe let Mom know that it is VERY difficult to do your job properly with so many distractions and unexpected changes in routine, and work out a new schedule that includes not being at their house much.

cali mom said...

prepinparadise, Yes I meant to say that too!

TC said...

Janet I don't care that what he's watching as long as the door is shut and he keeps it to himself, what does get to me is the array of adult magazines all over the family room coffee table...

Other than that I love my job, every job has it's quirks and for me the the pros outweigh the cons. He doesn't invite me to join him and he doesn't make any comments to me so what he watches in his bedroom with the door shut is his business.

jennifer lecarlo said...
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jennifer lecarlo said...

What a situation! Not one I can imagine my nanny ever putting up with. You've got gumption, if you stick it out, but I wouldn't blame you if you just disappeared.

As a working mother, I feel for the mother in this family. She needs to make better decisions for herself and these decisions might include seperating herself from this needy, loathsome husband.

Anonymous said...

TC, I thought you said you can hear him/the movies... which is gross. Who leaves your "adult" stuff on the family table for the world to see? I don't know I just feel bad for you.

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just being nice said...

I'm reposting for someone who posted anonymous (why does everyone keep doing that? lol)

"yikes. hang in there. the good news is he is not a work from home dad that is there 24/7 while you care for the child. although it does sound like he is well on his way. can you imagine being that slacker's wife?" - 9:11am

TC said...

janetenglish I can hear the movies from his bedroom, just like when he watched the news and sports but the door is shut and he keeps it to himself so I'm not so bothered by it that I want to quit.

aliana. and unhappy and underpay nanny from california, soon looking for another job said...

i feel sorry for you and the mother, but she is the one who needs to do something about the situation, perhaps leave him?

paperbagprincess said...

Agh, why do women stay with men like this - he sounds like a complete parasite. OP, can you confide your feelings to your employer - the mom? Maybe she'll let you know if she has any immediate plans to cook that fool.

munchausen's much? said...

at first when i started reading this entry, i thought of munchausen's syndrome.

**Munchausen syndrome is a psychiatric disorder in which those affected fake disease, illness, or psychological trauma in order to draw attention or sympathy to themselves. It is in a class of disorders known as factitious disorders which involve "illnesses" whose symptoms are either self-induced or falsified by the patient. It is also sometimes known as hospital addiction syndrome.**

it's hard to tell if he is just abusing the system and being an ass or if he has deeper lying issues. in any case, it is starting to interfere with your job and your ability to do your job. perhaps you should bring the aspect of 'interference' up to mom. maybe ask her opinion on how you could make it easier to do your job as well as make it easier on a little boy who is getting confused about what daddy is/isn't doing.

good luck!

Glad I left said...

Ugh, I just left a similar situation. The dad started spending lots of time working for home b/c of a back injury. Their marriage was also breaking up and their lives were bizarrely chaotic. If there wasn't a dramatic work crisis involving shouting matches, then there was a meltdown b/c of some family issue or car or home repair, or unexpected house guests or sudden travel plans. It was just horrible.

The worst was that their little kiddo was extremely angry and acting out, and they would not change their behavior or address this.

I tried to address this tactfully with the mom, and suggest that Kiddo should have a more structured day and have some activities outside the house to avoid some of the chaos.
Dad disagreed and decided I was not a trustworthy driver and would not allow me to take the child anywhere, so Kiddo witnessed all sorts of nonsense, getting angrier every day.

When I would try to address Kiddo's outbursts with timeouts, Dad would come downstairs and hold the child on his lap and say, "it's OK, let it out!" and encourage the child to scream, explaining to the other staff that "Kiddo" is angry at Nanny." They would look at me like I was a monster!

Pop went through 4 personal assistants this summer, all of whom quit with no notice. Yet, they were completely stunned and angry when I gave notice.

J Nanny said...


You can't help how you feel about him. He just rubs you the wrong way and you can't deny your feelings.

I think that since you spend so much time in the house, and so does he, you may have to re-evaluate if the job is worth it to stay there.

Just weigh the pros and the cons, realizing that you can't change the situation, it's not your fault, and it's between the mom and dad to work things out.

If it was really bothering me so much, I would probably start looking around for another job. I only say this because of how angry and upset you have become. Once it gets to this point, you have to acknowledge it and do something about it.Sorry.

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