Monday

Employer feels nanny is making herself too comfy

Monday, December 22, 2008.
Perspective & Opinion Help - What is the polite way to tell a nanny to occupy herself in her quarters after hours? We have a new nanny and we told her to make herself at home and last night she was sprawled out on the sofa in the main living room wearing a flannel nightgown and cuddled up in my snuggie. We want her to feel at home but ...

55 comments:

bi*** said...

Why do you care if she lays on your couch?

Do you expect her to sit in her bedroom ALL the time?

Duck! said...

Oy! This is gonna get ugly.

i hate junk mail said...

Quarters? Did you really say that? What is she, a servant? Oh, and let me guess, you're an asshole?

TC said...

So making herself at home doesn't mean that does it?

Making yourself at home means stay in your room when you aren't watching my kids. THAT is what you should have told her from the very beginning.

Now I do think just wearing her nightgown like that is a little much, but is that what you are upset about? That she was in her nightgown? Or were you upset because she was using the couch...just like she would in her own home

Vi said...

I don't understand you're problem. Perhaps you are one of the many who really cannot afford a nanny on staff and is shoving someone into that position to accomodate your needs.

I have a live-in nanny and I have made sure that her area of the home feels like a home. She has tv, cable, a comfortable sofa, a small bedroom, a private bathroom and a six foot counter that has a mini refrigerator, sink, microwave, etc.

It's preposterous to think a nanny should stay in her quarters if her quarters are little more than a bedroom next to the childrens with a television with rabbit ears!

really? said...

Has anyone seen the new SNL sketch on weekend update..."Seriously" lol... they take RIDICULOUS events in the news and chastise them.... THIS needs to be on there. Get over yourself. SHE IS A HUMAN BEING... NOT A ROBOT THAT YOU CAN TAKE IN AND OUT OF THE CLOSET.

bi*** said...

It wasnt even a nightgown a snuggle is an oversized blanket with sleeves!

Lady Luck said...

"SHE IS A HUMAN BEING... NOT A ROBOT THAT YOU CAN TAKE IN AND OUT OF THE CLOSET."

Let's not have closet references...

Anonymous said...

Maybe make youself at home, as you said, means "make yourself at home".

Wearing her own nightgown, and your snuggle, on your couch, watching your tv after taking care of your children....

Maybe you should say what you mean, and explain it if necessary so there are no more "misunderstandings". Seems if you are well off enough to have a live in nanny, then you should be educated enough to figure this one out.

Swiss Nanny said...

I am a live-in nanny who is lucky enough to have my own studio apartment within the house, so there is no reason for me to be in any other parts of the house. However, it I didn't have my own kitchenette, tv, dvd player, bathroom, etc, then you can bet Id be upstairs (or wherever)to occupy myself! I think this is a very heartless post. So, she is good enough to watch your most "prized" possesions (did I spell that right??), but she cannot lay on your couch?? I just do not understand some people. If you do not want someone to feel welcome in your home and to be a part of your family, then specify that when you hire someone!! And make it a live-out position. Geesh...

seppa said...

I'm just going to grab some popcorn, sit back, and watch the show. I don't want to miss this.

Duck! said...

Seppa
Got enough to share? lol

carla said...

"NOT A ROBOT THAT YOU CAN TAKE IN AND OUT OF THE CLOSET."

That's right, lol! OP is treating her nanny just like some beat up old vacuum cleaner. How awful!

Happy Hanukkah said...

You sure are quick to play the class card, aren't you? I have a throw on my sofa and it is my blanket. My husband doesn't put it on himself, I shudder to think my reaction to a nanny burrying herself in it.

A nanny should make herself comfortable, but where did she think the employers were going to be?

I think this is a question of tact.

Mammah said...

What is a snuggie? Is that like a blankie? If so, I can see how the OP would be a little put out. I spend a lot of time crochetting blankies for family & friends. The one I made for my husband lives on our living room couch, but every one knows that he's the only one who ever snuggles up in it. It's just one of those unspoken family rules. If anybody else, particularly a non-family member, snuggled up in it, we'd have an uncomfortable situation on our hands.

It might have been a good idea for the new nanny to have hung back & gotten a lay of the land before completely "making herself at home," kind of like one would do when at someone else's home as a guest. But, to expect that she'd just disappear during her off hours is totally unrealistic and just plain dumb.

Swiss Nanny said...

Okay...if someone tells me to "make myself at home", I would assume its okay to lay in my pj's on the couch. But maybe that is just me? I mean, for crying out loud...it's not like the nanny was wearing her bra and underwear or skimpy nightgown in the kitchen or something. Its a couch!

Anonymous said...

If her quaters come with the same things your livingroom offers, I would understand. If it doesn't suck it up.

Phoenix said...

I would feel the same way you do. I understand that you may not want to come home to relax and someone is on your couch. But that is why I would never hire someone to live with me. My space, my time. you should have thought about that before you had a live in nanny.

gimmeabreak said...

You want her to feel at home yet she should hide in her bedroom at night? So, then, umm, you don't really want her to feel at home. you want her to disappear from your site the minute the kids are no longer around.

Don't tell people to make themselves at home and then when they do, get upset about it!

As for wearing a nightgown, you said it was a flannel nightgown, right? She wasn't sitting there in a lace teddy? So, that can't be an issue with you, right/

Just be honest with her and say that you really don't want her to feel at home, you want her to disappear to her room the second the kids are gone so you don't have to look at her. You must be a joy to work for!

fox in socks said...

This does seem weird to me. Perhaps it's just the image of a brand new nanny "sprawled out" in her flannel nightgown. She's in the main living room, no less, not even one of the secondary living rooms. (Tee hee!) I'm not sure what a snuggie is, but I don't think I'd want my new nanny wearing mine.

It's true that if you told her to make herself at home, then this is what she's going to do if this is what she does at home.

However, it really doesn't sound like the OP would do this herself in her own home.

The only thing you can do is tell her you'd like her to stay in her quarters when she's not working. This will go over better if you're working constantly and hardly ever get to see your kids for some alone-family-time. Then she will be more understanding.

These are the perils of having someone living with you, that someone is always around, and can be in your private space, regardless of the number of main and secondary living rooms you may have!

snips and snails said...

I have had "boarders" NOT room mates. I rented them a room and everything in the house was mine. They were allowed everywhere but my bedroom. I kept my personal space under lock and key for my privacy.

You invited the nanny to make herself at home and you can't fault her for doing it, You are either going to have to tell her you changed your mind and need more private space - send her to her room with a nice plasma t.v with comfy chair. or build her a nice living space of her own.

That said, I understand wanting quiet family time, but it isn't her fault she has joined in as asked.

SurprisedNanny said...

If you told her to make herself at home, then I do not think she was out of line for laying on your couch, in her nightgown and bundled up. If someone tells me to make myself at home, I assume that means to make myself as comfortable as possible. I do understand there are boundaries such as no snooping or wearing my boss's clothes, etc. but what your nanny was doing was harmless. I can't believe that it bothers you. I hope you think about this....she is the one who takes care of your child (ren) when you cannot and I do not think laying on your sofa is too much to ask for someone who cares for your child (ren) when you cannot.

Understand. said...

OP - I think I understand where you are coming from. I rented a room in a house once and though the whole house was "ours" we stayed in our rooms when the home owner was home and in the living room. I mean we would come out and get food from the kitchen and stuff but we wouldn't lounge on the couch with her. She worked three jobs and was rarely home and out of respect I gave her the living room for alone time when she could be home.

former nanny said...

I can understand that you would want your privacy and space with your husband after working all day without having your nanny hanging out with you both every night. what does her area look like? how big is it? Would you want to be there every evening? Make it osy and inviting and then suggest to her that you welcome her using any of the comon areas of the house when you are not home but wish to have alone time with your husband and family when you are. I don't think it is unreasonable. I have been a live in nanny but although my room was tiny, I did have a separate (equally tiny but at least private) living room space for myself with a desk, armchair and tv in it. Also perhaps buy her a snuggle for Christmas!

Manhattan Nanny said...

OP, please describe the nanny's "quarters", and we can give a more informed opinion on whether or not she should feel entitled to use the main living room.
As for the snggie, I'm not sure how that should be categorized. Is it like a throw, which, if found on a couch can be assumed to be for the use of whomever is chilly. or would it be like your bathrobe on the couch (in the MAIN living room, of all horrors), which no one else should use? Maybe you could give the nanny her own snggie for Christmas.
My guess is, you want all the convenience of a live in, without any of the inconvenience.

Juju....nos EUA.. vida de nanny!! said...

Well! i am a live in nanny and do love to be in my room alone after a long day of work!! I never sit at the living room with them.. i respect their privacy and love my own!!!

i remember having a nanny when I wad little and my parents didn`t like either to have her sitting in their, laying in the couch, I understand what you say!!!
But is just my opinion as a nanny!

seppa said...

Duck--Of course, I have a bunch! :) I'm saving the rest for the Holiday Bonuses read haha

you and my gran said...

You bought a snuggie?

mom said...

I can see OPs point. This is a brand new nanny, and perhaps by "make yourself at home" she meant that she should feel comfortable to eat what she wants when she wants, come and go as she pleases from room to room, and perhaps even feel free to join the family as they gather to watch a movie in the living room together, etc. But what she probably didn't expect right off the bat was to have her family have to be the ones joining in with her nanny's use of the family room and television. For instance, in my family we will often decide together on a movie and then go to watch it together. I can't imagine then going into the television room to find somebody sprawled in their PJs across the main seating area and us having to either watch what she's watching, or feel really rude for asking her to turn her program off. But then again, I'm very private in my home and would never want anybody to live with us...even if they did every single awful chore I hate doing for free! (So maybe I'm not the best person to give an opinion on this one.) So the scenario OP paints here sounds very uncomfortable to me.

I think if I were the nanny I might reserve the PJs in the main part of the house until a little later into my live-in experience...and I might steer clear of prime time to occupy the main television...or maybe at least go to the parents and say, "Are you planning to watch television now? because there's a program I like that's on right now if you're not." But again, that's me and I'm rather shy...especially at first. Not everybody is that shy.

But I do agree with the others that she should not be expected to stay confined in just a bedroom during her off hours. If she has a small space, you ought to make sure she has a pretty nice television set up in there. That way, it wouldn't be rude to say, "I'm sorry. We had hoped to watch a family movie together, Would you mind finishing that program on your television...unless you'd prefer to join us, which you are welcome to do.

Em said...

I have to say that I did chuckle at some of the earlier comments, but I seriously understand where this Op is coming from.

I think making oneself comfortable means different things to different people.

I enjoy my private space and even when invited/begged to hang out, I defer to my own space.

I think if I employed someone and told them to make themselves comfortable I'd be shocked if they were snuggled up in my couch in my personal space. I know I wouldn't like that, especially if I hadn't known them for long.

It is possible this nanny would be comfortable if the situation were reversed.

Let's face it, not everybody understands personal space.
I do hope she has all the amenities in her space to make her comfortable.

My employers rarely see me on the weekends, and after work as much as I can help it; and I would not take a job where I did not have the basic things in my space to make me feel comfortable.

Additionally, if this is a young nanny, I could understand why she probably thought it was a good idea. I would understand that more than I would a grown woman.

Anyway, you've gotten yourself in quite the pickle, and now you must find some tactful way to resolve it.

I think the suggestions about giving her a snuggie and also making sure her space has a living area are excellent ideas. If you are one that has only given her a room, then you've got a serious problem on your hands, as everybody needs a lounge area to unwind.

Westchester nanny said...

I feel badly for the girl! Here we all are talking about her behind her back. Like many said if her "quarters" are livable (i.e. with tv, internet etc) then I think you could TACTFULLY say to her that you would like private family time at night. If not you can't expect her to stay in her room all the time! When you hire a live-in nanny you are essentially saying this is your home while you work here.
Frankly as a live-in I wanted time apart from the family but never felt I was not welcomed if I did want to hang with them.
This is a tough situation and you must handle it delicately. You all have to share the same space and if nanny feels put out you could be finding yourself looking for a new nanny.

i miss austin said...

First of all, for everyone asking what a snuggie is, click the link above...

It's like a blanket with sleeves and sorta looks like a goofy medieval monk's robe.

Now that that's cleared up... :)

That is a tricky one. As everyone before me has already said, we can't really make any suggestion until we know exactly what you provide in her quarters. I personally wouldn't ever really feel comfortable just laying across someone else's couch watching their tv if we hadn't sat down and agreed to watch something there together in the first place. To do that knowing it was likely that they may want to come in and use the tv themselves is just awkward...

BayAreaMom said...

This is what I say to my live-in nannies: "My husband and I work a lot and it's important for us to have time together when we get home". I'm on my second live-in nanny and they both stay out of the living room once their day's work is done. That said, the nanny room has all the amenities including a TV and a computer with internet.

Annie said...

First you should learn what I teach my kids. If you have a special item that you don't want others to use, put it away when you aren't playing with it. Leaving it out indicates that you are willing to share.
Second, the living room is a space for all the occupants of the house. If you want privacy, take your snuggie and go to your own "quarters".
I am a nanny, and I have been with the same family for 9 years. I have stayed because they treat me with respect.

Keiko said...

It is SOOOooooo tacky to have one of those Snuggies out on the sofa. I saw them advertied on TV last night; They are 2 for $19.99 and with that you get two free booklights.

cali mom said...

Well, from OP's use of the term "main living room", I get the impression that there is more than one living room, and that suggests more than one couch, TV, etc. So correct me OP if I'm wrong, but this doesn't sound to me like a case of the nanny hogging all the available resources so much as it does a case of OP just not wanting to have to share space with a person who she has hired to share space with her. As someone above said, you can't hire a live-in without having to deal with them living in your home. It's their home as well. So, assuming you DO have a secondary living room, couch, tv, etc, you could tactfully clarify to her that the "family room" is where the FAMILY likes to enjoy FAMILY time together in the evenings, and she is either welcome to join the FAMILY (so she can't feel put out if the FAMILY comes to join HER and wants to change the channel, sit on the couch with her, etc), or she can use one of the other areas for her evening relaxation.

And as everyone has pointed out, if she does not have an actual LIVING space (that means not just a bed and a chest of drawers), it's completely unreasonable and not well thought out to expect her to sit in her bedroom and stare at her 4 walls every evening after she is off duty. I think OP might want to clarify the situation better if all the responses here have been off target and based on incorrect assumptions. And put away your things if you don't want to share them!

PinkNanny said...

wait a minute OP, if she lives with you, isn't your house her home now?

if it's not her home, then where is?

think about it. maybe you are not the right fit for a live-in nanny.

i would not be comfortable living in your home as your nanny,

understanding said...

I can understand the OPs feelings. I was a live-in too in the past. Yes, I made myself at home when they weren't there. But at nite when I was off, I would go out. Or watch tv in my own area, etc. I mean I see the kids all day why would I want to see them at nite too.

Plus, when the parents got home, they want to relax in the evening. Talk, hang out together on the couch,etc. Thats not comfortable to do with someone else there.
And what if you want to burp or fart? You want to feel relaxed in your own home.

Tiffany Twisted said...

Is your nanny Jamaican? I think this is a problem recurring with Jamaicans. They will seize upon anything they think is a perk or a payout, regardless of the inconvenience or distress caused you.

An American nanny is able to visualize herself as a nanny employer and has a better respect for boundaries.

Hire American.

rolling my eyes said...

looks like the racist busybody is out an about this evening.

rolling my eyes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tiffany twisted said...

and oddly so is the duplicitous dipshit.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's weird!

NannyInCharge said...

Regardless of the living situation, you need to be upfront with your nanny and tell her what is on and off limits. Also, if you have a speical snuggie or blankie or whatever - Why don't you keep it in the linen closet, or somewhere close by the family room so when you want to use it, you can take it out. I fully agree that if it's sitting out, that means it's fair game.

And just because one family has an "unspoken rule" how is the nanny supposed to know about that rule? Did she have "mindreader" on her list of qualifications? If not, then employers need to be detailed upfront about what is acceptable and what is not. It's very frustrating to guess what is okay and not okay in a new work setting and if some parents would just be a little more direct and stop assuming every home that nanny has worked in is all the same, maybe these problems wouldn't so frequently arise.

Mammah said...

I wish the OP was brave enough to come back and answer our questions and give some kind of follow up. She has got to be here, reading the comments....

Come on, OP, suck it up and finish what you started!

fox in socks said...

If a snuggie really is a blanket with sleeves, as seen on tv, it seems strange that a person with main and secondary living rooms would buy one of these, and that it would be left out in the main living room.

Hmmmm . . . .

When is the OP going to come back and tell us how she handled this situation?

OP (normal person) said...

The main living room is a room we reserve mainly for entertaining. The "snuggy" was a gift for my Dec 13th birthday from one of my children and it was left in the family room.

With regards to the nanny's quarters, she has a mother in law style "suite". The televisions in the living rooms are quite large, but hers is very respectable flat screened television.

Personally, if I were a nanny, I would relish my own space. Her space is hers to do whatever she wishes with.

Thank you for your responses but I received some better advice from a friend of mine who suggested that after the holidays, she (our nanny) and I order some new linens and a new desk for her room and let her pick out the linens and things that she likes.

The only reason I asked this question is because I would never want to hurt her feelings. I know very well that she takes care of our children. Some of you are so jaded if you truly think that things like this don't come up. It doesn't make me a bad person or bad employer. Normal people have boundaries.

Em said...

I am a nanny, and my space is soooo important, I can't wait to relax in it far away from work.
One of my employers seems to want me around all the time. It is soooo irritating,
Like I said, they don't see me unless I'm going out and they happen to be around.

I do like these people, but I crave 'me' time.

This nanny is obviously the opposite.
I think the many suggestions you got here mimics the one you got from your friend...make her suite/space complete.

I had to request a desk at my job to complete my space.
I'm not sure how a desk and new linen remedies that particular situation, she clearly wants to be in the family area where the 'family' convenes.

What other reason is there to snuggle up with a snuggie on your employers couch while they're there.
Hmm, are you one of those parents who tells the nanny,'you're a part of my family?'

You know your nanny more than we do, but try not to discount advice given here as a lot of it comes from nannies, and who better to tell you what a nanny needs than a nanny herself.

fox in socks said...

OP, it's a really nice idea to take her shopping to pick out what she would like for her room. However, I have the impression that someone like her who doesn't have a good understanding of boundaries may not get the hint. I think that the longer you wait to say something about this (assuming it's ongoing since your original post) the more ingrained her habits of being in your space will be.

I think you may just have to try to think of a nice way of telling her that you'd prefer her to give your family some alone time when she's off the clock.

Fira said...

I think shopping for new things is nice but indirect.

Just tell her what you need. Like they say in Redirecting Children's Behavior, you have to just say what you want. (Even though she's not a child it's the same idea.)

Just say, do you mind if my hubby and I use this room in the evenings to have alone time? That won't hurt her feelings.

Also, how can you not share something called a "snuggie". That sounds mean.

Em said...

lol fira.
I'd just get her a snuggie. 2 for 19.99, you can't beat that.

Honestly though, I don't think she really cares about the snuggie; she just wants to show the family just how comfortable she is with them, so until she (the employer) spells it out, she'll continue to be in their space.

I hate passive aggressiveness. The worst thing is when the light bulb does go off , lord knows how long, and then you start wondering what else you have been doing that they didn't like. It can make you paranoid, and worse, not trust them.

I always believe honesty is the best policy. When you say how you feel, it leaves no question in the minds of others how you feel.
Be gentle, be direct, make a joke (don't like this approach) but tell her! I wish we could.
employers are never on the same blog!
How is it Nannies and thier

nycnanny said...

I don't know whats funnier-that you actually BOUGHT a snuggie and would actually wear one or that she wanted to wear one. I mean seriously. Have you seen those things? I get hysterical every time I see that commercial for them.LOL.

mom said...

If my kids bought me a snuggie you can bet I'd be wearing it, and often. heck, I've appeared in public more times that I can count wearing macaroni around my neck...and proudly at that.

nycnanny said...

lol, i missed the part that her kids bought the snuggie. still, they are beyond hideous. why would the nanny want to wear it? just put a friggin blanket on like a normal person!

Em said...

I agree about the snuggie. I'm always thinking , what the heck.
This is the reason I tell people not to get me presents. I hate presents because of things like the snuggie.
I got an ipod last year and it's still sitting in my drawer. Clearly if I felt I needed one I would have bought one.

What the heck happened to last sentence in my last post, lol.
I meant to ask the question,'why are nannies and their employers not on the same blogs'
Don't know what happened there.