Tuesday

Mom Wonders if She is Being Overly Sensitive...

Received Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Perspective & Opinion I'm not sure if this is worth posting, but I thought I'd toss it out to other moms to see what they think. I employ a fabulous nanny. We communicate a great deal by email. She had off the last two weeks of the year and was due back on Monday January 5th. On Sunday the 4th I got a long email from her about lots of little things like playdates, homework, etc.

Then at the end of the email there was this: "Please can you make sure that xxxxx gets to sleep at the proper time on Sunday night so that we don't have trouble getting back into routine on Monday." It really rubbed me the wrong way. Am I just being overly sensitive?

38 comments:

Em said...

Are you usually off the schedule when she leaves? If so I can understand her request.
Sounds like a great relationship, and that she feels comfortable with you.
Though she is looking out for your child's best interest, I do understand how it rubbed you the wrong way.
Remember this is her job, and she si just being responsible.

Try not to let it bother you too much especially since she is a great nanny. She seems like she's on top of things and just wants you to work with her to ensure your child's routine is not disrupted too much.

My employers try very hard to keep the kids on schedule on the weekends and when they go away.
I usually comment on the fact that I know I the kids will have to unlearn some things and my employer usually tells them I am going to set them straight, so it's always a big joke.
Its all a matter of personality, and I'm sure she meant no harm.

If you confront her you run the risk of her not feeling empowered to do the job she is being paid to do.
It's tricky because after all, they are your children.
Please try to put it in perspective; put yourself in her shoes.
She is being honest and upfront about her concern regarding the children's schedule rather than grumbling behind your back.

JJ Bloom said...

There is the chance she was just organizing in her head and aloud in an email to you, but if I thought she seriously was instructing or correcting me and my parenting, the locks would have been changed on Janury 5th and she would be on the other side of the door.

Refer to employer rants against nannies to comprehend this grandiosity that some nannies seem to suffer from.

Bedtime Stories... said...

I would be seriously irritated if a nanny felt she should be telling me what to do with my kids on the weekend or any other time. I hate people that feel the need to live and die by a schedule when they are at home with kids. None of my kids have ever had a bedtime, nor a routine, and they are all happy, well-adjusted, good students. I would say something, she sounds really irritating.

tired kids said...

I understand where the nanny was coming from. My bosses sometimes get their three year old to bed as late as 9:00. This leaves him tired and cranky in the morning. I wish I had the balls to say something.

nannyneedsanap said...

Maybe you should take the hint and start putting your kid to bed at a decent hour so he's not a little brat for the nanny the next day.

Emily said...

I think you should put this in perspective.

First of all, are you consistent with bedtime? Consistency is, in my opinion, the hardest challenge with parenting. Nannies are usually able to maintain a better level of consistency for a bunch of different reasons, the simplest being that it's their job not their life. Often in life we fall short of expectations and the laundry isn't done in our own homes or the plants don't get watered, but it's easier to go through a mental checklist at work and hit all the important tasks.

So, assuming that the truth is that you often put your kid to bed late, think of it this way: If you sent your child to school without his gloves & hat, it's very likely that you might get a note from his teacher saying, "Please could you send little Jimmy to school properly attired for the cold weather?" Would that rub you the wrong way? I can see that it might, because it's pointing out a failing in your parenting, but the teacher is one of the best people to point that out to you.

The nanny may have rubbed you the wrong way, but she's also giving you an opportunity to see how you might try and improve for your kid.

chgonanny said...

The problem with email is that it's hard to convey tone. When it's written out it sounds harsh, but if she maybe said it to you (which would have been impossible since she's been on vacation) in a conversational tone, you may not have thought twice about it.

I had the opposite experience. I received a note from the mom I work for asking me to stop napping the 3 year old. Apparently, he was staying up until 9:30. It took me (and the kid) a little while to adjust, but I didn't think the note was her chastising me.

TC said...

I don't think there was anything wrong with what she said.

When a child is off their schedule over the weekend or a long break it makes it harder when things return to normal...I've been there plenty of times working in daycares and now as a nanny. She was trying to make her day easier and I don't blame her.

not a park slope nanny said...

Like Em said, I'm sure she meant no harm, but I can totally see why it bothered you. If she is an otherwise "fabulous" Nanny, and this isn't something she makes a habit of, I would just brush it off.

It's when you have someone constantly sticking their nose in your business or telling you how to raise your child, that you would then need to have a sit down with her.

Happy NY Nanny said...

Have you ever heard the phrase "partner in parenting"? That what a real nanny is. It's quite possible that your nanny has been agonizing over how exactly to bring up the fact that not being consistent with bedtime has a lot of negative repercussions for your child. It's ok to feel a bit put out by having your shortcomings as a parent pointed out, but for your kid's sake you need to take the criticism.

Night Nanny said...

Mondays are the hardest & most frustrating for almost all nannies and children. Most of the time the children have lost their routine & schedule all weekend long. Not to blame the parents, but it just happens. You want to do things on the weekend with your children. It's to be expected. But the best thing you can do for them is to at least make sure they get to bed at a decent hour on Sun night so that they will feel rested and ready for the week again. I'm sure she didn't mean to sound bossy. It sounds to me like she genuinly cares about how their week goes.

marianne said...

I can see where it could have been worded more tactfully, like, "xxxx has a hard time on Monday mornings. How is bedtime going on Sunday nights?"

It sounds more tactless than disrespectful. rather than "we" perhaps the focus should have been "he" has difficulty on Monday morning.

But it does sound like a great relationship. Couldn't you tell her that you felt a bit hurt by her assumption? I certainly would want to hear that from my employer, because I love this family and wouldn't ever want to sound hurtful to this hard working mama. Probably a workable, simple misunderstanding. And, who benefits in the long run? xxxx! :)

Jacqui said...

I think that was a little overbearing on the nanny's part...Is she normally like that? If not, I'd let it go. However, if she keeps it up, I'd have a talk with her.

How often do we hear nannies complaining about employers who interfere during weekends off? It's not exactly the same thing in this situation, but it's similar.

It sounds like you have a great, active and organized nanny. I wouldn't make an issue out of it unless its a common occurrence. I agree with marianne though. It could have been worded differently, perhaps as an inquiry as to whether or not the child is sleeping well on weekends as opposed to a direct order to get him to bed.

Bee'sKnees said...

It isn't so much what she said as how she said it. It comes off as a command. I would be putt off also. I would say something to her about not liking the tone of the email and just make sure she knows you are the parent and she is your employee.

I totally agree that she should feel free to discuss childcare issues with you. She just needs to find a better way to communicate with you.

rooty poo said...

yeah, her tone could have been a bit less snotty. She probably didn't mean it like it sounded.

Mary said...

As a nanny, I think I know where your nanny is coming from. If a parent is inconsistent on the weekends, we as nannies have to deal with it on Monday. It's a well known "nanny fact" that Mondays are usually the worst day. Sometimes it's not even anything the parents do differently or don't do, it's just the simple fact of adjusting back to "real life" after a fun weekend.

It's very hard as a nanny to deal with the Monday issues. If you are putting your child to bed at a later time and the child is cranky the next day, that's all on your nanny. All of the playdates and fun things she has planned are then out the door, because no one wants to take a cranky kid out and do fun things.

I understand where you're coming from being a little upset by the comment. You are the parent and it's your child. But, I think you need to just view it from your nanny's side. It seems to me like she has issues with your child on Monday's and is thinking it's due to a late bedtime. She finally got up the courage to say something in the most polite way she could, and e-mail is the easiest way for us to things, compared to face to face.

Swiss Nanny said...

I have said things similar to that to my employers. It is very frustrating when you routinely put them to bed at a certain time, and then the parents allow them to stay up until X time, and expect them to be able to function properly the next day! OP, I do not see why you should be offended. This is her job. You are paying her for her services. If you had a problem with someone or something at your work place, wouldn't you speak up?

Manhattan Nanny said...

I don't think she is trying to make HER day easier, but your children's.
I can understand your being put off by this, but I don't think she means to tell you how to parent your children. As Chgonanny pointed out, the tone of an e-mail can easily be misunderstood.
When children don't get enough sleep, they feel miserable, and are more likely to come down with colds. Often parents don't realize how hard the following day is for the child when they get to bed late, since they, the parents, aren't there. ( A teacher at my charge's school told me she that on Monday she can always tell who came back from the country late Sunday night......and these are parents who are very invested in academic achievement! )
It sounds like your nanny really cares about your children.

cali mom said...

Yes.

2 weeks off their usual routine can throw a child off. Why are you so offended by her reminder that the child should get a good nights' sleep before getting back into a usual routine?

current nanny is a deadbeat said...

Dear Mom,
If nanny emails you on her off time, she sees you as more than employer. The best nannies are indeed partners. If she ruffled your feathers, I would just smoothe them down and let it go. It's a tiny price to pay for a nanny who is so invested in you and your children.

Trust me, I had a nanny who did everything and took care of the children like her own. There were little things that she said, unintentionally that gave me pause. She wasn't thinking of herself, just of the children, which I imagine your nanny is thinking of.

I would take her back in a heartbeat and welcome her or any nanny who could add to the parenting dynamic. Remember her insight doesn't always have to be spot on, but she has to have it!

oh well said...

I understand how you felt, but I am afraid this is the price to pay for a great nanny. Don't be so insecure and try to laugh about it.

Nanny in Cali said...

I think the nanny was just trying to do what is best for everyone involved here and she did not mean to offend you OP. It probably would be easier for her and your child as well, to have him on a certain schedule so that they can maintain the regular one they have. That way she can schedule playdates and such and it will ensure he will be comfortable as well as everyone else involved.
I would only take offense if she was trying to overstep boundaries. For example, if she said to you, "Please make sure Timmy takes his vitamins and don't forget to give him 3 servings a day of vegetables." Or "Please make sure he has a bath every night after playing." ETC.
She probably was just asking a "favor" that would help things out for the next day.
Do not take offense...this is a good sign that she is a great nanny and has your son's best interests at heart.

WETREDGH said...

yes. you are...

Janet English said...

Perhaps she meant : in order to do those activities is would be helpful if he went to sleep on schedule. i hate it when parents ruin their kids routine but expect nanny to deal with over tired and grumpy kid behaviors as a result. it's not fair. if you don't follow it she shouldn't have to either.
at the end of the day- she's doing what is best for him, you and her!

Gemma said...

Your type A nanny probably doesn't realize that she's being rude because she sees it as a perfectly legit request. Don't over-analyze this because she means no harm.

Rukiya said...

Sheesh, what's the big deal?

Why not just make sure that xxxxx gets to sleep at the proper time on Sunday night so that they don't have trouble getting back into routine on Monday?

Some people are so thin-skinned!

Unprofessional said...

I agree your nanny's intentions were good, but her delivery was not.

I would never send my boss, who presumably had been covering my job while I was on vacation, an email the night before I returned reminding him to make sure he had done the job correctly because I didn't want to deal with the extra work otherwise. I would certainly think this and be annoyed if I returned to extra paperwork or tasks that he should have been keeping up on while I was away. But I would never email him like that to tell him this. It's just not a professional way to deal with the issue.

It would be fine for your nanny to discuss Monday difficulties with you and ask if there was a solution you could work out together. But emailing you as she did was inappropriate and unprofessional. Of course since you say she is fabulous, I would not bring this up as an issue based on one email. I'd let it go as small stuff, but would discuss it if it became a regular problem.

NannyInCharge said...

Although her request is completely understandable to most nannies, and I've felt like that before myself, I would never say anything like that to my employer! We have great communication but at the same time unless she asks for my advice, I don't tell her how to run her home or her children's schedules.

I doubt she was trying to sound pushy, she's just probably had a lot of trouble on recent Mondays. However that just goes along with the nature of the job and I personally wouldn't say anything like that unless asked.

Now regardless of if you approach her about this or not, I'd still try to put your little one to bed at a decent hour. I'm sure your nanny tries to do what she can to make your life easier, so there's no reason you can't do the same for her if you usually like her and value your relationship.

mom said...

I agree with what unprofessional said.
But I wouldn't say anything to her about it. If she's a good nanny, just let it go by.
I'm sure you will now be noticing very acutely if she starts to say similar things. If it keeps up, then you will have to have a talk with her to salvage the relationship, which sounds to be otherwise very good.
You are the mother and she is your helper...not the other way around. I can see why she might be frustrated if he is overly tired on Mondays, but it's not her place to command how you deal with him.

ann coulter is suprisingly fine in person said...

Think skinned is right. The nanny had a thought or concern and shared it. She wasn't passive agressive about it. She didn't say nothing and berate you to everyone because the child was tired. She passed on her concern like a real professional who has confidence in her job.

Sorry to all you douchebags, but that aint a bad thing.

cali mom said...

Actually, I also agree to a great extent with Bedtime Stories. I have never understood these parents who stuff their children into bed at 6:00pm, protesting and fighting the whole way, jumping through hoops to get the kids to settle down and go to sleep, only to bemoan the fact that the kids are jumping out of bed at 5:30, and then complaining that if the child gets "off schedule" by 5 minutes they are impossib;e to deal with for the next 48 hours.

It's true that being with mommy instead of nanny for 2 whole weeks ia a major change and will take some getting accustomed to (just like any of us would have to "get back in the swing" to go back to work after 2 weeks off), but in many cases, I don't think a rigid schedule is essential. With multiple children, yes of course it helps the caregiver, and in some cases, a child with particular special needs may benefit from it, but I've never been convinced of its importance for kids in general. My son has always slept when he is sleepy, eaten when he is hungry, bounced around after resting sufficiently, snuggled when he needs a quiet time, etc, not done these things strictly because mommy is announcing that the clock says it is time to do so. And he is generally easy going, well behaved, active and very sociable.

cali mom said...

To calrify, I meant that going back to being with Nanny after 2 weeks of being with Mommy instead, was a big change in routine.

Florida sun said...

My son is not on a bedtime routine. And hes fine. But I think you really do need one, if you are a working mom. And you need to get yourself and the child out of the house at 7 in the morning.

Miserly Bastard said...

Yes, you are being oversensitive. You probably screw up the child's schedule all the time. (I know my wife and I certainly disrupt our daughter's schedule on most weekends.) So suck it up and work with your nanny; you're both playing for the same team.

mom said...

My children's schedule was fairly flexible (except on school noghts, or some noght when we knew they woudl have to wake up early)and they did just fine. They were also not prone to getting all out of sorts if something didn't go exactly as planned each and every day. I htink there's a certain benefit to teaching children the art of flexibility.

That said, I think you need a fairly consistent and secure overall home life if you're going to be at all random on the daily schedule, because kids do need some sense of structure in order to feel secure. In other words, I think they need to know in general what to expect, but not necessarily to have everything done so rigidly that they become unglued if 7:30 bedtime rolls around and the family is still watching Jonnie's little league game finish.

mom said...

nights...and all the other typos!

OP said...

Thanks everyone.

Moments after posting this I felt foolish. I was being sensitive because my nanny actually put into words the fact that we're just not consistent about bed time even though we get on her to really make sure the kids are in bed during the week. It's not easy to have someone in such an intimate position in your life point that out, but I guess I'm glad she did.

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