Sunday

Switching Rooms....

Received Sunday, February 8, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I've been a nanny for the same family for over a year and a half now. Things have been great- the chemistry with both the children and the parents are better than I could hope for. I'm a live in, however, and after a year and a half of living at my workplace, I'm starting to need some more space and privacy. I'm confined to a really small room and bathroom, while on a separate floor from their bedrooms, doesn't offer a lot of privacy as they're consistently in this area of the house. I'm a student as well and don't have any space to study. The children I watch are good, but have some emotional issues and not a weekend goes by where I don't hear at least 2 total meltdowns including screaming and crying (note these kids are upper elementary age and usually do this for attention.) Essentially, I spend my "off" hours at work as well, even if I don't have the same responsibilities.

A few weeks ago I tried to gently approach the idea of my moving out and to say the least, it didn't sit well with my employer. We talked about it again today, and she said she wanted me to give it another go and she would try and work with me to give me a study space in another room in this house, which just so happens to be the girls' playroom. While I don't understand their need for a live in (I have set hours and am more than flexible when needed) I told her I don't mind giving it another shot, to see if we can work it out for their benefit. As I was thinking tonight, I came up with an idea that would please me enough to make me forget about ever moving out. The children rarely, and I mean maybe once a month or so, utilize this play room. There aren't many toys to speak of- most of it could be moved into their bedrooms or transferred to the room I currently live in. The mother herself admitted that they're never downstairs and said that would be great for me to study. The idea of putting my study space down there kind of worries me because one of the children has a very bad habit of being curious and getting into stuff they shouldn't, therefore the idea of leaving ANY of my school stuff down there really concerns me. Getting to the point- I was thinking I could move my entire room downstairs, and set up somewhat of a studio apartment. It's just one room, but could easily accomodate my study area and my sleeping area. I worry about bringing this up to my employer though because I don't want to push the envelope too far. Is it too much to ask her what she thinks of this idea? Should I just be content with her giving me a study space? And if I should ask her, how should I approach it??

Employers, how would you feel if your nanny asked to switch rooms in your house? I don't want to move out; it's obviously cheaper for me to stay here, and I don't mind living at the house, I just feel so confined. I feel with this new room, I would be much more comfortable and happier in my work situation.

26 comments:

M said...

I say ask. Its sounds like it can be a win win situation for everyone. Do they need you on the weekends? How many hrs a week do you work? I personally feel if you are ready to move out then I say go for it. The children are old enough to know the boundaries. I also suggest maybe going to the library/coffee shop in the evenings and on weekends. The coffee shop may be loud but just a different kind of loud. Or even a bookstore might work as well to study.
If you ask and she says no I would start making plans to move. Let us know how it goes. Good luck!

Philly Nanny said...

I vote for asking too. The parents probably know they are really lucky to have such great chemistry with you--maybe that's why they're so desperate to keep you in the house. Perhaps they're worried that you moving out is the first step to you moving on to another job.

It's important that you're upfront with the family about your needs. If you're not, you could end up feeling resentful, which would seriously affect the great thing you've got going on now. Reassure them by letting them know how much you appreciate and enjoy working with them, but make it clear that you are serious about needing some more space away so you can get your work done.

NJ Nanny said...

I'd say ask...

Define normal please said...

I give many kudos to the nannies who are live in. I am a nanny as well but not NOT imagine living where i work. Maybe it's just me but i dont think i could ever feel comfortable living my life in a small room feeling confined. I feel like there could be no social life, i wouldnt feel comfortable having a friend come over in someone elses house, among other personal things. How do you do it? I guess it depends on how comfortable the employers makes you feel, but still, i dont think i could ever be 100 percent comfortable living where I work. I dont mean this AT ALL to sound like its not a good idea to be live in,,, I'm just curious to how it works out on a daily basis. My employer has always had live in nannies until me. Although they were single college students, so maybe it worked. I'm also a college student but i have a house and live with my husband, so thats probably why i couldnt imagine living with my employer. As for the moving, im sure since they dont typically use the room ,they would most likely understand..would THEY want to live their life in one tiny room? NOPE! Especially if they want to you be a live in as you mentioned, I'm SURE they are going to accommodate your situation. Good luck to you!!

Kaitlyn and Daniel said...

I have to go with everyone else and say ask. If she has admitted that they are never downstairs, I don't think she will have a problem with it. Good luck!

Nanny Taxi said...

Just ask. If they agree let them know that you'll do all the moving. Try and pick at time when they are all out of the house.
If they don't agree, like M said try a coffee shop or a bookstore to study. I used to go to a Borders, that had coffee, comfy chairs, tables and wireless internet.

Marypoppin'pills said...

Your Employer obviously likes you very much because when you attempted to leave she asked you to try and give it another go. She will probably do her best to accommodate you... give it a shot and just ask.

Good luck! ;)

OP said...

Hey guys! Thanks so much for the input so far. I'd love to hear back from a few employers as well.

A few extras about my situation:
-I work 35-40 hours a week, depending on what errands need to be run, etc.

- I get off in the evenings and am off on weekends.

- I've tried coffeeshops, as the library is closed by the time I get off, and it's just difficult because of the noise levels and the fact that I can be up studying until midnight or later, after the coffee shop is closed. BUT it was a GREAT suggestions :)

Please keep the feedback coming!

ericsmom said...

Could you afford a hotel once inawhile? I mean to just "get away". Get some studying in, etc. And its not bad if the place has a pool, etc.

Sometimes, I feel like doing that now.
But reality hits when I struck in the head by a flying toy. I am married with a son.

But if I was single and lived-in with a family. I would be tempted to do that at least once a month. So I would have some peace.

Beezle said...

I think (if circumstances allow it), everyone should be entitled to some serene, solitude now and then. You've been with this family long enough to build a trust and comfort level. I don't see how your moving out is any of your employer's concern, so long as it doesn't negatively impact your job performance or unless a live-out situation is against in your original contract.

I'm currently a live-in and am about to become a live-out (the family I work for recently purchased a lovely studio apartment for me to live in around the corner). I've lived with this family for the past three years, I think the only thing that made it doable was the fact that they leave most weekends to go to their country home, which has allowed me some necessary peace. Granted, not all families can afford these luxuries for themselves or their nannies. However, my point being is if your employer is going to resist the idea of you moving out entirely, she should at least make your living situation as comfortable as possible. It's only fair. Your request is beyond reasonable and should be greeted with understanding and compassion.

millows said...

it does not sound unreasonable to ask since they barely use the space. if it can keep you there and your all happy then why not? if they disagree and you continue to be unhappy then its time to move on. you have to have time away from work, even if your just on another floor. listening to the kids scream on the weekend is not a break. good luck, let us know how it goes.

my two cents said...

I suspect they will be willing to negotiate with you, because they may fear you will quit otherwise (if their children have "emotional problems" they are probably even more worried about finding a replacement). If you're nervous about suggesting it, try something like this: "I know we discussed trying to find a study space for me in the house. I was wondering what it would be like for us to move the girls' toys into my room and allow me to use the playroom as a bedroom/study area."
This opens it up to her thoughts without her feeling like she is being forced into anything. Also, it shows you are willing to work with her to solve this problem.

NannyInCharge said...

I would definitely ask. If there is a bigger room that is not being used, why not? Is there anyway you can put a lock on your door so the kids don't get nosy and curious?

If she is not willing to make a switch, and doesn't have a really good reason, then maybe it is time for you to move out. You can still be a great nanny and not live there.

Just My Two Cents said...

I'm an employer, but my nannies have always been live out because we can't really provide a private space for a live-in the way my house is laid out (except in the basement and I don't think of the basement, although finished as a playroom as a warm welcoming living space for anyone). Were I in your employer's shoes I would welcome the suggestion that you move to the playroom, especially if you offer to help set up a nice play area for the children in your old living space (which sounds like it's closer to their rooms anyway so it might be a better location for the playroom). It may be they never thought of their playroom as a suitable living space.

Phoenix said...

I would ask to switch rooms. I understand that you need a quite place to study. I am working on my masters right now and I do not study at home. There are too many distractions and just because I am in the house everyone still thinks that I am at their disposal. So my advice go to a library or go to a campus study room. The coffee shop is also good. It will be back ground noise that you will be able to handle.

Also ask to switch rooms.

OP said...

I really appreciate all of the input. It's been so helpful. Just My Two Cents- yours especially was insightful.

I'm going to approach my boss within the next day or two. I'll definitely be back to give an update!

nyc mom said...

I am an employer. I have had live-out nannies and live-in au pairs (though never a live-in professional nanny). Having someone live in your home is tough for all parties and involves good/bad aspects for everyone. As an employer, it takes a while to get comfortable with having someone live in your home and, in my experience, only works well when that person has an active social life outside the home and prefers to be in their "own" space. I'm sure the converse is that nannies want employers who also respect their privacy (and lots of other issues), but I'm trying to just present what is important as an employer.

In your situation it sounds like you are offering to move to a part of the house that would be more private for you, and afford the family more privacy also. The only possible reason I can see why your employer might not want you to make this move is if they had other plans for the basement. Sometimes we talk privately about what we plan to do with parts of our home, like converting an unused basement playroom into an older themed gameroom with a pool table/ping pong, or having an ailing family member move in, etc. This might just be a dream of theirs or a future goal, but if they did have some plans for the basement space it might take a little thinking for them to reassess their priorities. I still completely think your idea is a great one and would support it, but I agree that it needs to be presented delicately as a suggestion. Sometimes people need time to come to terms with big changes in their household, even if those changes are the right ones.

Finally, the other thing I did not see mentioned in your OP (though sorry if it is) is whether there is a bathroom in the basement. I would want to ensure you had a private bathroom still, for both your benefit and your employers - again all in the interest of privacy for everyone. Good luck!

NannyP said...

OP Please keep us updated on this!

OP said...

So I took the jump and talked to my employer tonight. She shot down the idea immediately, almost as if she knew I was going to ask. She said they're looking to convert the room to a game room for the girls (I honestly would be SHOCKED if this ever happened) but said the biggest reason I couldn't have that room is because I am "a slob and would never be allowed to mess up a space that big." Now, let me mention that while I'm not anal about things, I am not by any means a slob. My room now is a little cluttered, sure, but it's not dirty or even messy. I just have a bookshelf that's full of nicknacks and a dresser thats covered with pictures. Granted every possession I own on this earth is crammed in a 4x9 room, but you know, that's what domestic servants are for, right? I'm not really sure what got into me, thinking that I, a lowly nanny who has given her everything for this family, could request a little larger, unused space in the house. Hit me with the 40 lashes, I was so fucking out of place.

As you can tell, I'm a bit lit right now (as in both mad and had a few too many martinis tonight lol.) Not only am I mad about the extent of her selfishness, but I'm hurt that someone I trusted would say that. She always focuses on how much a part of the family I am, and how I'm not just an employee, but if that were true then she wouldn't be so disrespectful and hurtful.

In any case, I've yet to make any decisions b/c my decision making abilities escape me right now. I will most definitely be leaving the family within the next 6 months if things don't change, I just don't know how soon within. Granted that's if I don't get fired lol. Which with the conflict level as of late being a bit high, I wouldn't be too shocked.

Thanks so much for all the sound advice guys. I know that for once I was totally in the right on this one, and I don't regret asking at all.

I'm a Mom said...

I feel so bad for you, OP. There was no excuse for your employer to say those things to you - I think it was a low blow. She could have just as easily said "no" and left it at that, there was no reason for her to insult you.

If I were you, I would start looking for another job. This household sounds toxic.

nannyneedsanap said...

What a bitch. I can put up with a lot, but if my employer ever disrespected me like that, I'd be looking for a new job ASAP!

Beezle said...

What a snotty cow! That is ridiculous. I'm so sorry to hear she ended up being unreasonable and rude. You deserve to be treated like a human being, not like you're some member of a low-ranking caste. My advice to you now would to start mapping out your escape and withdrawl from the job.

canway443 said...

Im a live out. I cant stand it when the parents come home early or work from home one day. I couldnt imagine being a live in. All I have to say is I am a hot head and I would have flipped out right then and there. Kudos for not jumping across that table and smacking the biotch. I couldnt imagine working for any other family, although they get on my nervs once in a blue moon I love the little girl i watch and there family. good luck with everything

Phoenix said...

Do you have enough money to be a live out? (I don't know if that's the right term)

Why don't you start looking into getting an apartment and tell her that you are, maybe then she will realize that you need the bigger room. You are a woman it's time to bring out the cunning minipulative nature that is within all of us. I don't like to use it very often but sometimes it is our only defense. But be gentle if you are too forward she may freak out on you again. Drop suttle hints about how you need an apartment to store all your "mess".

I am so sorry that this happened to you, it really is a low blow, try to be positive and have fun with the kids while you try to deal with the mother. If you try to move out she may cave to you moving rooms because lord knows that you are still helping even in your off time.

Good luck

mom said...

Wow. I can understand her saying that they are going to convert to a game room, but she didn't need to say the part about you being a slob! That sounds pretty mean, no matter how messy your room might be.
It sounds from your latest comments (tensions being high recently, and the slob comment) that neither of you are very happy with each other anymore.

This job may be winding down. Be aware of that and maybe keep your eyes open for somethign else.

Just My Two Cents said...

OP, look for another job. I would never disrespect any employee by saying those things nor would anyone I know. And, there are still jobs out there for good nannies, despite comments I've seen on several recent threads about the market tightening up.

I am nearing the conclusion of a nanny search myself and I can tell you there is still a shortage of good qualified nannies. (I'm in Westchester County, NY). MANY people applied to my job posting, but most were either recent college grads, or people who could no longer find a job in their field, who had done some babysitting in the past and felt they would try a full time nanny position. My job is difficult (3 under five and the oldest with special needs) and definitely is not one to cut your nanny teeth on and we pay more than the going rate and offer more paid time off because of it. I think you'll find your experience and willingness to work with children that may need a little exta help will make you very marketable.