Received Monday, September 29, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
I am a former nanny who now offers care from my home, but still for only one family at a time. Recently I've had to seek employment with a new family, and after four interviews I declined two offers, and was holding out for the family that I thought I would be most compatible with. They did not call for the entire weekend nor by the following Monday afternoon after their Friday afternoon interview. A family that I had turned down due to a lack of consistency in their schedule called me back asking me to consider providing temporary care for their daughter for the remainder of the mother's pregnancy (3 months) because she suddenly found herself on bedrest. They were willing to compromise in scheduling to accommodate me and even share with another family if I found one in the meantime. I agreed.
The next day the family I had been hoping for called me with an offer. I explained that I agreed to a temporary situation already with another family, but that the family was willing to share if they would be open to that. They told me they'd get back with me and then sent me an email asking if I would agree to a reduced rate (about a quarter cut) during the time that they had to share. I agreed that that seemed fair and they agreed to see me in a week from Monday to begin care. During that week and a half they came back to me with an adjustment in their schedule in which they were going to be arriving 45 minutes earlier (5:30am !). I agreed since this is when my husband leaves in the morning anyway. After I started caring for their daughter I realized that they were going to be consistently arriving at around 5:15 am. I approached them about the fact that this was a full hour earlier than we agreed upon in our initial contract, and while it was only five extra hours per week it was a VERY inconvenient five hours. I was perfectly candid with them, and told them that I probably would not have entertained accepting a position with them if these had been the advertised hours. I asked them if they would consider adjusting their rate as I adjusted their schedule. The mother gave me an immediate and adamant NO.
The next thing to happen was when I approached them for a week of vacation time after they'd been with me just over a month. In my contract it states that I will take up to two consecutive (but could be separate) weeks of vacation time, and that I will give them one month notice of time needed. I told them on September 8th that I needed the week of Oct 6-10 to attend a conference with my husband. The mother immediately gave me a firm no, and explained that that was not enough notice for them to make other arrangements. I mentioned that my contract said one month notice, and she responded that this was already the 8th, and that she was "given to understand" that vacation meant summer time. I told her I didn't know who gave her the understanding, because it wasn't I, and that my husband needed me to have this time. I asked her to see what she could arrange before she gave me her answer, and she agreed. She got back to me on it almost a week later and said that they'd arranged something, and was VERY short with me over it. Almost ugly and spiteful in the way she said "so take YOUR vacation, and enjoy it." These two issues compounded with little things here and there really got me considering whether or not I should give them my resignation. It didn't motivate me to stay with them when I began to see how other family is VERY easy going, and great to work for, AND are willing to firm up their schedule for me when the new baby arrives. I agonised over it for a few weeks, and finally when it began to affect my family life (mildly so no details necessary) I decided to resign. I told them last Friday and gave them a very eloquent letter alleviating them of responsibility, and for an entire week the mother has not spoken to me. She corresponds with me through her husband and notes. She won't even look at me when I wave at her. The father told me this past Friday that they found new care, and their daughter's last day would be two weeks from then. TWO more WEEKS? I feel incredibly awkward, and can't stand working with them under these conditions. I feel like I can't call the mother during the day for little details, and the father doesn't have answers to little detail questions. I can't stand the discord, and the feelings it leaves me with long after she's gone. I want to tell her to get over it and act like a professional adult or go ahead and leave. Would you? Or would you just suck it up, and enjoy the little one for the two more weeks?