Tuesday

Petty Father

Received Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN
I work for a divorced couple. Along with taking care of their three children, I clean both of their houses. When they were together it wasn't so bad. One house to keep clean wasn't too much. Now that they are divorced it's a lot to keep up with. Actually, the father's house is a lot to keep up with. I clean two bathrooms, vacuum the whole house, mop the kitchen, dust, wipe up the counters and clean up his messes from the weekend. The mother's house is pretty clean to start with, so I basically just vacuum, run the Swiffer over the kitchen and dining room floors, and put away laundry. I know everyone is going to tell me I shouldn't be cleaning, that it shouldn't be part of my job. But I agreed to it, and learned the hard way. Never again will I accept a job with cleaning.

The oldest is in school all day and the younger two go to school for 2 and a half hours three times a week. One morning I'm off, one I spend at the mother's, and one I spend at the father's. That 2 and a half hours while the kids are at school isn't enough time to do all the cleaning that needs to be done at the father's and I pretty much work my ass off every day I'm there trying to keep up with it all. The mother is not a pig. She does her share, and her home is always clean with minimal effort from me.

A couple months ago I accidentally bleached a couple of the father's dish towels This made him refuse to buy me spray cleaner of any sort and to get Clorox wipes for me to clean everything with. At the time I didn't let it get to me. If he wants me to use wipes, I'll use wipes.

So today I pulled out the wipes to clean, and there was a sticky not attached saying that I should not be going through the wipes so fast and to use them more sparingly because they are costly to replace. At this point I don't really know what he expects me to do. If he'd allow me to use spray cleaner (he's more than welcome to get a non-bleach cleaner) then it would go a lot further. As long as I'm using only wipes to clean, they are going to go fast. I use them the same way I use wipes to clean my own house....and yes, when I clean his piss off the outside of the toilet bowl, I like to double up the wipes!

It seems so extremely petty for him to complain about wipes. I've been with this family for three and a half years. As far as I know, he has no complaints about the care I provide for his children. (I'm sure he'd let me know if he did) I go above and beyond every day. I take the kids on trips, we do educational activities, arts and crafts, and read a ton. Everyone tells me how amazing I am, but he just doesn't appreciate what I do.

When I take his kids to the airport to see the planes, I don't ask for the $3.00 for parking. When I take his kids to the zoo, I don't ask for the $1...00 for goat feed. When I decided to start teaching the kids Spanish, I paid for the flash cards and work books, and I've never asked for gas money to drive his kids around all day. Considering the amount of money I spend on his children, I just can't believe he'd complain about Clorox wipes! I don't even know what to say to him. Am I wrong here, or is he out of line?

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23 comments:

What an ingrate! said...

It's simple. He's gotten way too lax about being a good employer and you aren't standing up for yourself. You sound like an amazing nanny and any parent would be lucky to have you. Stop cleaning his house for a week and let him know you wanted to save him the $3 on the wipes, so you decided not to do any of that sort of cleaning.

Jacqui said...

He sounds like an ass. Maybe it's the divorce stress too?
Either way, I don't blame you for being pissed. Sounds like he's taking advantage of all those little things you do for him and his children..those little that may go unnoticed but definitely add up. I like WhatAnIngrate's idea :-)

fox in socks said...

It is obnoxious that he left a sticky note on the wipes saying that. What can you do. He doesn't realize he is being petty. He is not thinking of all that you do for him and for his family. Try not to let it bother you. You could talk to him and say, "Maybe you would like to try some spray cleaner. X, Y and Z are types that don't have bleach. If you want I can buy a bottle and you can reimburse me. It's more economical to use a spray cleaner."

I'm wondering about something. If you don't have enough time to do everything you need to do, and you are off one morning, maybe you can see if your employers will pay you for more hours and you can make more money and have enough time to do everything. Just an idea. If you decide to do this, start by explaining to the mother that you are happy to do everything you do, but that you have to race to finish everything, and there is always more to do, so maybe they can hire you for that one morning as well.

Good luck and let us know how things turn out.

Nanny Taxi said...

I think it's time to say something. Why are you cleaning his place to begin with?
I have always worked with a "clear air policy." If someone has an issue, say so. Don't let it fester. He had the nads to say something about the wipes, it's time for you to step up to the plate and speak your peace.

just another mommy said...

Whose house do you actually watch the kids at? I would say that is the only house you agreed to clean in the first place. If you truly do watch them at both places equally, then I'd sit down with the parents, explain that when you took the job, there was one house to clean/maintain, but now that there are two, it is just too much for you. Let them know that you are willing to still do cleaning, but not at both places. Hope you get some changes made soon.

Been there too said...

You are not out of line. He is CHEAP!! You know, I run into this problem a lot as a nanny. I work for parents who have more money than I do and live a much better lifestyle. However, when it comes down to what they give me or what they do not give me, I am stunned by how stingy some people must be!! Case in point: I was overpaid $6 bucks for this one family and the father had the nerve to call me up at 9PM and tell me that I was overpaid $6!!! I told him that since I am always punctual, reliable + I take such great care of his children while he is at work, can't he just write it off as a nice bonus or tip, etc??! I mean, you cannot put a price tag on a good nanny for your kids.
Anyway, thanks for your posting. I know not all families are this cheap!!

DenverNanny said...

I like just another mommy's suggestion...

I don't think just addressing the dad's behavior will change anything long-term-- he'll just find something else to complain about. Maybe ask for a review and explain that while you did agree to clean, but you are not okay with TWO houses. Your job description has changed and so should your salary. Then dad can decide if he wants to pay more for you to clean, or suck it up and do it himself.

While you're at it, you might want to ask for a gas allowance... I'm pretty sure you're shelling out a lot more for gas now than you were 3 years ago.

twinkiesmom said...

It seems you're letting them take advantage of you...Do you have an "in" with the mom that you could divorce dad too? Or were you split in two in the custody agreement?

Village said...

Do for him what you do for her, and no more. Vacuum, dust, change the linens. I wouldn't even do his clothes.

This is about his controlling you, not about the cleaning. The sooner you realize you can't do enough to please him, the easier it will get. He will always complain. Just give him more to complain about.

Manhattan Nanny said...

You've received good advice above on the cleaning issue, so I'll address the money you are spending on the children. The dad is probably totally oblivious to the fact that you are spending your own money on things for the children, so don't expect any appreciation.
You need to have a talk. Explain that you are feeling the effects of the recession, and you can no longer pay for the gas to drive the children around. In addition, you need petty cash for incidentals like goat feed.
Seriously, nannies should not have to spend their own money for gas, excursions, or things like flash cards and workbooks. If the children are school age, you need to have petty cash, and some discretion about spending for small things. You can always check with the parents to get an ok for a larger expenditure, (and get the $ first! )

kc said...

Part of the problem is you ABSOLUTELY should be asking for those petty three and one dollar charges. That should be the parents' money being spent, not yours! You are putting him in a position to think he can take advantage of you. My advice is to tell him exactly what you've said here about non-bleach spray cleaner, and to ask for a petty cash envelope.

MPP/Jane, I also respectfully request that the comment by "Brainy Shit" at 10:51 be deleted. It is crude and offensive.

mom said...

Village has a great suggestion about the cleaning. Just do the basics and let him clean his own extra messes. If he complains, tell him you do the same things at his house that you do at his wife's house and that you don't have time to do more because of the children. I have a housekeeper, but we clean up all of our own dishes and "extra" messes before they arrive. That way, they know each week exactly what to expect when they arrive, because it is always the same work. We don't have to do that, but it seems like a common courtesy to them to have them be able to plan their schedules around something consistent. I don't feel it should be their problem if my daughter decides to try on 30 outfits before leaving for school, for example...so she hangs up everything before they arrive. Seems like your male boss ought to extend the same courtesy to you.

nanny said...

"When I take his kids to the airport to see the planes, I don't ask for the $3.00 for parking. When I take his kids to the zoo, I don't ask for the $1...00 for goat feed. When I decided to start teaching the kids Spanish, I paid for the flash cards and work books, and I've never asked for gas money to drive his kids around all day"

I have done this before... You non-verbally said "walk alllll over me". If you do not draw the line, it will get stepped over. I highly suggest sitting down with both parents and expressing your frustrations in a professional manner. Its business. Explain that you need somethings to change in order for this position to work for you, lay out your terms, and see if it works for the. He does sound like a petty prick. It also bugs me that you were suddenly expected to clean 2 houses. Im going to take a shot in the dark and assume that you are not paid any extra? Put your foot down before it gets worse.

Justine said...

I also wanted to point out that when you have people in your house cleaning, that it's sort of a given for "mistakes" to happen. Like the occasional breaking of something while cleaning. In this case, the bleaching. COME ON! Like you did it on purpose? It's like he's punishing you for it. He knows it's going to make your job harder without the other products. If you value the job enough, definitely let them know you aren't happy about certain things. It's surprising how some people can turn around and make things a WHOLE lot better just talking about it. Wishing you luck!

Anonymous said...
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philos said...

OP, I really don't understand why you are cleaning two houses? Was this cleaning arrangement "re-arranged" when the divorce happened? Did you re-negotiate to be making more money for the extra house you would be cleaning? Common sense makes me think there must have been a re-negotiation...

Please respond and clear this up for us, I think it could make a big difference in the advice you get...

I mean, the guy is taking advantage either way, imo, - evidenced by the fact that you don't have any sort of petty cash available etc.

- but if there was no renegotiation, and it was just somehow assumed that you would clean any and all houses that they decide to buy - well that's just beyond the pale.

And oh yeah - NEVER clean the piss off the front of the toilet bowl. If it gets so bad that he notices it - what's he gonna do? come complain that you're not cleaning his piss up properly? I'm betting that if he finds himself in that position, of noticing his own dribbling piss trail, that he will be too embarrassed by his disgusting-ness and will knuckle down and clean it himself.

philos said...

OP, I really don't understand why you are cleaning two houses? Was this cleaning arrangement "re-arranged" when the divorce happened? Did you re-negotiate to be making more money for the extra house you would be cleaning? Common sense makes me think there must have been a re-negotiation...

Please respond and clear this up for us, I think it could make a big difference in the advice you get...

I mean, the guy is taking advantage either way, imo, - evidenced by the fact that you don't have any sort of petty cash available etc.

- but if there was no renegotiation, and it was just somehow assumed that you would clean any and all houses that they decide to buy - well that's just beyond the pale.

And oh yeah - NEVER clean the piss off the front of the toilet bowl. If it gets so bad that he notices it - what's he gonna do? come complain that you're not cleaning his piss up properly? I'm betting that if he finds himself in that position, of noticing his own dribbling piss trail, that he will be too embarrassed by his disgusting-ness and will knuckle down and clean it himself.

Anonymous said...
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Veronika said...

Isn't the solution here very simple? Find another job!

OP said...

When the parents divorced I was told (not asked) that I'd be cleaning both houses and getting a raise. My raise turned out to be a whopping $10.00/week! It was pretty insulting considering they paid a housecleaner $10.00/hr three years ago before they hired me! I guess the biggest problem is that I'm a wimp. I'm afraid to say anything because I don't want to loose this job. It's not that I couldn't get another job, but I am so in love with these kids. The parents have them on a crazy schedual. They are carted back and forth every other day and I feel like I'm the only stability in their lives right now. It kills me when they ask "where am I sleeping tonight?" I have a year and half left with them before all the kids go to school all day. At that point they'll all be in a great school with a great after school program. If I left now the younger ones would get stuck at the daycare center at the parents work, which is absolutely horrible! I wouldn't send my dog there let alone my children, but their parents don't want to hear it when I say anything bad about the place. I'm hoping that when they are all in school, I can leave on good terms, and know the kids are in good hands at school. Honestly, I don't mind spending a little of my money on the kids, but if their dad is going to get on my case about a $5.00 bottle of wipes, then I'm going to get on his case about $1.00 in goat feed. I am going to talk to him today. Thanks for all the good feedback!

Phoenix said...

Clean with water then

great nanny! said...

You sound like such a great nanny! I nannied for 7yrs for one family....spent MUCH of my own money on the children and never asked for money back. 1 day the father flipped out on me for not buying milk when it was gone. I didnt have money to buy milk and it was not my household to support. Leave petty cash if you want me to pick up things! Also got mad that I turned the heat up because I was always cold in their house!

End of the story said...

You wanted to spend money on the kids. He didn't tell you to. Before you go somewhere with his children, ask for money. Since he doesn't want to pay for extra wipes, he should pay for whatever is needed for his children.
You work for 3 years to those people...have you gotten a raise yet??Make them pay extra for cleaning their house since he doesn't want to payu extra for wipes.
End of the story.