Parents banish Nanny and Kids from the house

Received Thursday, August 28, 2008. - Rant
Ok so i have a little rant. First, some background: I have been working for this family for four years and although the parents get on my nerves sometimes it has been a pretty good job. Yesterday it was raining alot here and I had spent the night before throwing up so I was sorta in a bad mood to have to be at work early at 6am, but i knew the mom was out of town and the dad had to be at work so i came in anyways.

There are four children i watch. Three are boys ages 8,6,4 and one is a three year old girl.
Since it was raining alot and I didn't want to drive in the rain plus I did not feel well I just decided to keep the kids at home that day and entertain them there. It is extreamly rare that we are home an entire day. So of course I was there from 6am until 6:30pm with four children the house got a little messy with our games and crafts. But i did clean up at least four times that day, it just still sorta piled up.
When the mom came home I admit the house was not totally clean, some craft stuff on the tables and toys on the kids floor in thier rooms, but it was not horrible. Anyways I said goodbye to the kids and left and the mom never said anything. But, when I came in this morning the dad said that the mom went crazy over the mess last night and that I had to take the kids somewhere today because she didn't want them here playing if it was going to get messy. Ummm first you have four kids and second they don't like to help clean up.

I am so angry because it is storming even worse here today with thunder and lightning and really heavy rain. So, now I am about to pack the kids up and take them to my house to play for awhile until I decided where else we can go all day. I mean really is it that big of a deal that the house was not sparkling clean. Why have that many kids if you want your house to remain perfect and spotless? Am I wrong in being annoyed by this? Now I know I probably could have cleaned up again but I had been there twelve hours and it really was not that bad. Yes, I should have had it all picked up but really does that warrant us being banned from playing in the house on a stormy day?


NannySarah said...

I don't think they should keep you out of the house, but I do think you should have stayed last night and straightened up the mess. It's not fair for you to play with the kids all day and leave a mess, big or small for the parents to take care of when they get home. If I was the mother, I wouldn't have kept you out of the house, but I would ask you to please leave the house in the same shape you found it in the morning. I work by that rule of thumb. I don't want the parents to feel like having me is any extra work. I'm there to help.

nannyinmanhattan said...

You should ask her where she suggest you go with four children, taking into account the horrendous weather outside. The park??

nannyinmanhattan said...

Nanny sarah, I agree with you to a point, the op did say it was this one time and the house wasn't that bad and she wasn't feeling well, it dosen't seem that this is a habit with her.
What do you think?

sahmof3intexas said...

I would much rather come home to a little mess and all my children and nanny safe and sound than for them to try and get out in horrible weather. It is just common sense that the roads are more dangerous is rainy or stormy weather. Seems to me the mother cares more about a spottless house than the safety of her little ones and their caregiver. JMO. Alicia

NannySarah said...

I'm not saying that anyone who is a Nanny should spend hours slaving around the house to make it spotless, but I do know that there are a lot of people that employee nannies to make their life easier, and when the nanny makes it harder, then they get upset. I'm not saying it's right, but sometimes that's the way it is. Like I said, I don't think the kids and the nanny should be banished, but the nanny can save herself some frustration in the future by picking up, since that seems to be what her family expects of her.

If it's any consolation, I can't imagine being stuck inside for 12 hours with 4 kids.. I wouldn't have been exactly jumping at the chance to clean house afterwards.. I guess thats just how it works for some of us.. ho hum :(

NVMom said...

OP, I hope they are paying you well for 12 hours with four children! I don't agree with banning you all from the house. That's ridiculous. Do they always leave the house clean when you arrive after a weekend?
Anyway, if it happens again I would ask that they suggest something (an indoor play place/restaurant if you have one where you are) or something like that, which of course, they would have to pay for. They also have to consider the age differences. Pretty hard to keep an 8-year old and a 3 year old interested in the same thing.
You can also tell them you weren't feeling well that day, and that you when you stay home you will make sure things are cleaned up. The kids are also old enough to pitch in too. I still think they are out of touch on the issue. Good luck

chick said...

I think your employer cares more about her home than her kids. Unless the "mess" you left impaired her ability to cook, bathe the kids, or put them to bed, or her own ability to bathe and sleep, what's the big deal? Was stuff stacked on kitchen counters, in the bathrooms, or on the kids beds?

I'd much rather work for parents who look at a little disarray in the home as proof that their kids have had a fun and busy day with nanny.

mom said...

I'm a little torn on this one. Maybe mom was tired after her trip and extremely disappointed to come home to a messy house?
If it was just this once that she was a little snippy, and you don't plan on leaving a mess again, then the problem should be solved on both sides. If they ask you to be out again all day, then be sure to ask where they want you to take them.
And, don't leave any mess at all anymore, if it has to do with something you did with the kids. That's part of your job to clean it up. I know its hard to be with that many kids indoors all day, but you took the job, and so you need to do it. That said, if you had told the dad that you were sick that day and had come to work only to help him out because you didn't want to disrupt his work schedule, I'll bet they would have been grateful for your thoughtfulness in that regard and overlooked the mess.

In fact, I think you ought to explain the whole thing to the mom and/or dad. That ought to clear everything up. (Unless your night of vomit was caused by excessive which case, keep it to yourself, 'cause they will not look kindly on doing that during the work week.)

youre dumb said...

show some authority and make the kids clean up their own messes.


LindaLou said...

i think you should have left the house clean, however, i understand why you didn't in this situation. more importantly, the kids are old enough to clean up their own toys and games. even the 3 & 4 year old should be able to conribute with the proper direction. i think it's ridiculous that the mom thinks it should be your job to clean up after all 4 of them.

lovesthegirls said...

I know this is a public forum and all, but where is the need or satisfaction in calling this gal "dumb?" Furthermore, you don't know these kids.. or how they act. We all have those days that it just seems as though we can't win, especially when we don't feel well. With all due respect, I don't think calling her dumb helps the OP with anything. :)

Nanny Jess said...

nvmom - SO true (the weekend thing). It is the bane of every nanny's Monday morning to walk in the door and see the playroom in disarray, the kids' bedrooms disasters, and the kitchen filthy!

I also agree with several others that all of the children can and should clean up their things. You can help with the 'real' cleaning (like wiping countertops, vacuuming or sweeping, and sticky/dirty messes that require cleaning products), but all of the kids should learn responsibility for taking care of their own toys. You're not their slave!

One way I always get my little reluctant charges to clean up is to make it a race. Focus on one room or area or toy group and time them to see how quickly everything can be put back in the bins and on the shelves. I've always found that this works like magic - make it a competition or a game. Or pick up everything blue! Or round! Or whatever category you choose! Then, move on to the next category...Can you beat your time with the green toys? The Playmobil pirates? The army men? The stuffed animals? The kids love it, it goes super fast, and then reward them with stickers or a fun snack or whatever they will love and want to work for again :) This really works well when toy storage is kid-friendly - bins with labels (picture labels for the little ones) where they can just sort and toss the toys into the right bin.

Another good technique for persistant refusers in the toy-putting-away realm is make a new rule that any toys left out in the last half hour or hour of your shift will be removed. Find a big box or bag and follow through with it - collect all the toys and clothes lying around and put them in the box. The toys can stay in time-out for as long as you choose - some like to do a 'lost and found' type deal where if the kid is really clamoring for her missing toy, she can retrieve it. Others might want to have the toys stay away for a week, or a month. Whatever works for your particular kids is best (and, of course, get the parents' input as well, as they're probably frustrated that they are catering slavishly to their kids on the nights and weekends :) I was always tripping over my guys' baseball cards and DS games/cords/etc. When the time-out box was instituted (I used a three-day holding period for items put into the box), they took great care to bustle around their house at the end of each day making sure everything was put away so it didn't get "cleaned up" i.e. taken away! Give them a warning each night before you do this...eventually you can phase it out and they'll remember. It's actually kinda fun..."Okay, boys, the box will be making the rounds in 15 minutes!"

From my experience, silliness, treasure hunt and other 'game'-type approaches, and friendly competition between siblings usually saves you a ton of labor with just a little bit of oversight and direction and encouragement :) I think that kids WANT to have responsibilities...they just need to be cheered on and not feel like they're being punished when they are given tasks to complete.

LindaLou said...

great post, nanny jess. :)

ericsmom said...

Maybe, suggest to her that with four kids she really needs a housekeeper. Your not a housekeeper. Really, she should have someone in twice a week to give you a hand.

I would just look for another job taking care of one or two kids. I don't understand the big deal about a messy house. Thats what kids do. I only have one child. Honestly, I really don't get to clean much until he is asleep.

my two cents said...

It does sound like a one-time thing, an unusual combination of circumstances. In itself, I do not think that the suggestion of taking the kids out of the house is a bad one, since they might be a bit more on edge if they get stuck at home for one more day. But the parents should tell you where to take them (a museum, an indoor activity center), and you should not have to take them to your house, unless it is convenient for everyone (and I can't really think why it would be convenient for you).
That said, there is no reason why
the children should not help you clean up the house. The two older ones in particular should be expected to provide substantial help. I think with the younger ones it is more a matter of getting them to experience what cleaning up is about, as it will probably require more energy to make them clean up than to do it for them, however it is a valuable investment. Cleaning up with the children should definitely be part of your everyday routine. Nanny Jess's suggestions sound great. I also find that a reward system, like planning some fun activity after the chores get done, works well.
Also bear in mind that extreme weather is hard on everyone's nerves, so try to relax and keep it all in perspective. Good luck

Anonymous said...

Ugg. That's annoying. That mom has her priorities way out of line. Her kids were happy and healthy on a day when you COULD have called in sick and really screwed them.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
repost of 7:59's anon post said...

I had worked for a family once that had a clean house (housekeeper), but the kids and I were always kicked out of the house- this was everyday. Dad had a very horrible temper and mom never wanted us around. They were always involved with only themselves, not their kids. They had money, careers and their friends- never involved with their kids. It was up to the nanny to pack food for the day and other items needed. It was up to the nanny to plan entire days- all day- we were not allowed home. Kids have to come home some time. SAD!!

7:59 AM

(I'm being nice and re-posting this Anonymous! :) You have to pick a moniker because "Anonymous" posts get deleted.)

gimmeabreak said...

I think you should have cleaned up again before you left last night for good. if you were the one with the kids all day, then you should have cleaned up the mess. Not fair for mom to come home from work and have to do it.

gimmeabreak is full of shit said...

Oh please, lets see you work 12 hours a day. With four kids, that I am sure are not expected to help clean-up. And on top of that you don't feel good. The mom should be happy that the kids have a great nanny that they have fun with . It wasn't like the house was left a disaster. If you have kids you can't expect your house to be in perfect condition.

Some of you have no hearts.

mom said...

Nanny jess,
great suggestions.

your comment, and your moniker are rude. And we don't know if the kids are supposed to help clean up or not. OP never said whether she has them help. OP can certainly get them involved in cleaning, and if she starts with that now (if she doesn't already do that)it will make her job easier in the long run...and it will make her a better nanny overall, because she will be teaching the kids something valuable. But the bottom line is that mom wants the kids messes cleaned up when she returns home...however that may happen. That's not unreasonable. And how that happens is up to nanny, as long as it get done.

But, like I said before, if this is a one time event on both sides, its probably better to just explain to them that she was sick and then let it go. If she didn't tell them that day that she was sick, they had no reason to think anything other than that she left a mess for no particular reason...which gives them a right to be ticked. If it were me, I would want to clear this misunderstanding up for the sake of my reputation with the family.

gimmeabreak said...

Wow-that is pretty darn nasty there-isn't it? yeah, for your info, I do work 12 hours per day and I have 3 kids of my own. so, keep your nasty remarks to yourself! i thought personal attacks weren't allowed on here?

Anyway, it is part of a nannies job to clean up after the kids, so, she dropped the ball here.

nannyj said...

I thought you'd been around awhile. As long as you are not being attacked using racist slurs or soemthing and such, it's basically a free-for-all. I mean, unless of course I think the comment is laden with a bunch of curse words. Maybe a regular like Mom would know better how far it's allowed to go?

gimmeabreak said...

Yeah-I have been around for a while. and, i still think personal attacks are wrong and it was wrong for her to use my name like that in her moniker and I am shocked that MPP let that go through! So, unless someone actually curses at me or uses a racial slur, all is good? Wow, nice to know

mom said...

I don't know exactly what the line is, but I"m sure its very difficult for Jane and MPP when things get ugly. They don't want to let the blog get bogged down in crap and ugliness, but if they go so far as to impose censorship by allowing only nice comments then they will have seriously damaged the flavor and the credibility of ISYN.
So, I think we have to just learn to accept a bit of nastiness here and there and chalk it up to people being extra brave when anonymously writing on the internet. Thankfully, since the new rules have been in place, most everybody is behaving like a group of well behaved grown up ladies and the entire tone has improved 1000%.
Personally, the nastiness of the early days did me a bit of a favor. I learned to grow a thicker skin and not worry about what people say abut me...especially if its ridiculous, inaccurate and anger based.

innocent bystander said...

Honey, you need to grow a thicker skin! What was said to you is NOTHING compared to the nastiness I've seen in the past on this blog. Don't be so sensitive.
Besides, if they were to remove that one little rude comment for you, do you have any idea the amount of bashing THEY would take after all of the preaching about censorship? Get over it. The more you harp on it, the more you'll draw attention to yourself and someone else is going to say something about you being a baby.
I've had it 10x worse, I licked my wounds, and came back the next day!

gimmeabreak said...

How lovely! everyone is so grown up on this site! let's all call each other names, and curse at each other-that is what blogging is all about. it's not censorship if you are protecting people-sheesh

but, from now on, I will feel free to call everyone names and curse them-ok?

Anonymous said...

It's a blog...conflicting opinions and insults are the nature of the beast...and innocentbystander is right...I'm not entirely sure why you're so bent out of shape, gimmeabreak. What was said to you didn't seem all that bad...


gimmeabreak is full of shit said...

No offense Mom

But weren't you the one that mentioned awhile ago, you have a housecleaner come to your house to help clean up. I mean lets get real. If you do have help how can you judge a nanny thats taking care of four kids, and expected to keep everything in order?

Maybe, she needs help too. What is she supernanny?

mom said...

No offense taken. Yeah, I have a housekeeper, but I don't make them clean up crafts, dishes, clothes, or kids toys. They deep clean, dust, change sheets, do the floors, etc.,...all of the things that would take me forever and a day to keep up with after dealing with my kids all day, doing the cooking, day to day cleaning, laundry and picking up the general clutter from day to day living.
No, my house is not always perfect, but we do clean up after ourselves on a daily basis...and if I were being paid by a third party to make sure the kids activities were cleared away and cleaned up by a certain time each day, I think I would schedule that into my workday. No, my husband never cared if there were things on the table when he got home from work and was ready for dinner...but if I just left the mess from our fun activities out for him to have to clean it all up, he just might have been.

When people come home from a hard days work, they have the right to expect the person they have paid to do a certain job has done it...unless there is a special circumstance...which there was for this nanny on this day. I think nanny ought ot explain what happened that day and be done with it.

Aliana. said...

i am sorry but you need to clean up before you go home

kissmyfata--- said...

you guys are all Anal

Oh NO NO NO said...

Hey there Op,

First of all, I have a bad feeling about people who make you feel like you can't call out of work when you are sick, or who you don't feel comfortable explaining that you don't feel well. If I come to work feeling under the weather, the parents tell me to take it easy and just watch TV with the kids. It's the least they can do if they can't let you stay home and rest.

Second of all, who raises their kids to not clean up after themselves and blames you for it? The parents should be working with you and supporting you with rules on cleaning up. I like the rule that you can't take out a new toy or project unless you put away the other one.

Third of all, their priorities are screwed. They want a tidy house and want the kids out of the way, even if the weather conditions are dangerous. It's like they just can't deal with living with their kids.

After four years of service, (and I am assuming it is pretty good service if they kept you that long) why the he11 would anyone treat their nanny like this?

I would tell the parents you don't like driving in the rain for sure, and I would immediately implement a cleaning up chart. Those children need to be responsible for more than just cleaning their own messes too! Make a chart of the chores they can perform alone or with help. The parents need to realize this will raise happy, responsible children!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ImSOTIREDsleepComeQuick! said...

Did it once and learned my lesson- I will NEVER EVER care for more than 2 children and much prefer one with NO cleaning duties beyond picking up what we mess up.

Currently split my time between 2 families, each with one child :) Heaven!

You must be spending your entire days cleaning up after them when you are home with the kids who don't help- and at top speed! Ridiculous. Unless you can keep them confined to the playroom they hopefully have? Even then- 4 kids in one room all day? Yikes.

Sounds more like child wrangling than child care ;)

I would have immediately responded that I was not feeling well- hence the mess and by the way- I won't be in tomorrow. THAT would have shut her up!

It's not as though you normally leave a disaster or anything!

The reason we nannies get so hurt and angry when we are treated as less than people is because we see ourselves as a part of the family. We LOVE these kids! We put our all into each day and those days when we can't we feel guilty. Why? Because we care that much!

The parents see us for a few minutes a day, they battle jealousies and insecurities about our place in their homes and their children's hearts. We are a constant reminder of what they cannot do- which is "it all" that woman feel they should. We are often resented- by even the nicest people. We are kept at a distance and in their eyes, simply employees- being paid enough to include thanks and consideration apparently.

Perspective people. Love them as hard as you want but remember, only the little ones will love you back.

Anal Retentive Patrol Disclaimer: Obviously not in all cases.

Kelsey said...

The mother is sick. Why would you have 4 children if you didn't want your house to become messy? I don't care if you have 1 or 4, kids have toys and toys get left places. Thats just the way it goes.
The kids are old enough to put their toys away, you shouldn't have to. If mom had the big of a problem with it, why didn't she tell her kids to clean up?
Obviously she is living in a dream world where she thinks that having 4 kids won't mess up her house.
If they try and banish you from the house again just tell them that you're planning on taking the kids to a house with a TV and making them sit in front of it all day long since it's raining out and there's no where to go....that should change their minds real quick.

10:56 repost for anonymous said...

I think the mess should have been cleaned before you left, but more importantly, I think you have got to get the children involved in the cleaning!! I am the nanny to three kids, ages 8, 5 and 2 and all three of them clean. All three, even the 2-year-old, knows that they are responsible for cleaning up their breakfast and lunch dishes, putting their shoes away, putting any toys they got out away, and throwing away any trash from art projects, etc that we accumulate throughout the day.

They are more than capable of doing it themselves, are are the ones you watch, and it will teach them to clean up after themselves when they are older and independant as well, not to mention the fact that it will help you out!
-10:56 PM


Cali Nanny said...

holey moley those parents don't realize how lucky they are. when i am ill, i don't lead crafts or initiate games. i may or may not get to the chores. when i or the children are sick we relax and watch TV.

by the way, all parents should realize that due to the nature of working with chidren (especially undisciplined ones who don't help), you may not get to all the chores every day.

Anonymous said...

Really CaliNanny? You just sit around watching TV if you're sick?
That doesn't sit well with me...We're all different though...
If I'm sick, but still well enough to go into work, I may not be as active and upbeat, but I hardly let it hinder my charge's day and I always clean up after myself and my charge. I rest when she naps. The few times I have been sick at work, my employers actually gave me permission to nap and recharge while my charge napped.

I don't mean to sound judgemental. It just surprised me. I guess it really depends how sick you are. If I'm too sick to work, which has happened twice since I've been with this family, I can call out without inconveniencing them TOO much. I understand though that a lot of nannies don't have that luxury and have to be in, no matter how horrible they feel.

paperbagprincess said...

cali nanny, I don't think that is off base. I'm sure any under the weather parent would also scale back activities and veg out a little on a day s/he was sick. It isn't really fair to hold nannies to a higher standard than a parent.

ExAuPair said...

I once nannied in Paris for a family, and the mom was awful. She did NOT make it comfortable for me to explain why things happened a certain way -- she would immediately jump down my throat and end her spiel with a list of expectations. I understand if OP did not mention being sick right off the bat.

Once I had a terrible ear infection and it was in the winter--very chilly outside. I came for my half-day with the kids anyway as I was on antibiotics, but we stayed inside playing. The next morning when I showed up, mom unloaded on me about not taking the kids outside at all the day before and that they need fresh air and that I'm never to have them and not take them outside for at least a little bit. When I tried to explain about my ear infection, she simply said something like "I'm not interested in excuses". Ugh. Luckily, the dad was really nice and I could explain things to him.

On top of this, I had cleaning chores as part of my contract. I did their laundry, hung it on drying racks, cleaned the bathroom and the kitchen (alternating days). I didn't realize how little I was being paid to be a nanny and a maid at the time!! The worst was that the method this family used to mop the fllor was a big scrub brush and a bucket of water and being on your hands and knees (no mop). Granted, this is somewhat common in France, but I always felt a little like Cinderella doing it!

SoCalNanny said...

I saw the comment posted by Calif Nanny and I wanted to clarify..I use that name on here too....but that is not me. I will now change my name to SoCalNanny..just to not be confused.
She also posted at 6am...I dont get up till at least 830am....LOL

UmassSlytherin said...

These children are old enough to clean up themselves, sure you can help them but to me the problem is delegating: you need to make the kids clean up.

The mom sounds like a pain in the ass.

Lizzie said...

"Ummm first you have four kids and second they don't like to help clean up."

That alone tells me you need to stand up and show them who's boss. Make them help. You're in charge, if they don't help clean up their mess...time out!

Its not the nanny's job to clean the mess, its her job to make sure that the kids clean the mess. Or all of them! For me, I clean what I can but I MAKE SURE that the kids know that their mess is their responsibility and my mess is mine.

you should casually ask the parents what you should do if you were sick one day. In case you haven't asked that already : )

cali mom said...

It just now strikes me how sad this is, in a way. A mess is irritating, on the one hand, BUT...ESPECIALLY if I had to travel and be away from my little guy for days on end, I'd be thrilled to see some evidence of what he'd been doing while I was away. I sometimes cringe when I come home after being out for a bit, when my husband is with him and I see the "evidence" of all the rumpuses (rumpi?) that happened in my absence, but at the same time, I really enjoy seeing with my own eyes the inventions he has made with tinkertoys, the construction site of legos, where the work guys built a castle and a garden (with the 4 dinosaurs that were ordered!), the "emergency" where all the fire trucks and ambulances rushed to, the traffic jam he organized of all his tiny toy cars, and the firefighter birthday party that he shared with Daddy, with all of his toy foods and party plates. Sometimes I even take pictures of his arrangements before we put them all away. I could glance around and tell you every book they read, and every toy he played with, and I can't imagine being so bothered by having to see firsthand some of the activities he had been engaged in while I was travelling. I suppose if I had 4 kids I might feel a bit different, but I still think it's sad that the mom is apparently annoyed by any reminders of their very existence.

Marypoppin'pills said...

I really loved your Post, Cali mom! You are so right.

cali mom said...

Hey MPP, thanks :). I bet your little guy gets up to some similar play as mine, he's just a bit older, if I remember correctly.