High Profile in Ohio

Received Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN
I am a Nanny for a high profile family in Ohio. The baby is now 20 months old and the mom, who is a stay at home mom told me today they are thinking about putting him in daycare 2 days a week from 830-1230. This is a very prestigious daycare...very expensive, so I'm wondering if it isn't more for the "clout" than for the need. When he was 10 months old, they wanted to do the same thing...supposedly to gain social skills. I explained to them that I was waiting until he was walking to enter him into social activities because I didn't want him crawling on public floors and the such. Well, the saw that I was much more active with him, so they called off putting him in at that time. We do the Zoo, the Museum's, play dates twice a week, one on one with another child and nanny near the same age as my charge. We do story-time, walks, pool time, Infant survival swim, gymnastics and he plays one on one with cousins and the such too. She says to me today that she's concerned that he is only socially exposed in one on one situations and that they are thinking about putting him into this daycare situation to give him more "Group" time. I'm like WTF. I'm sorry, maybe I'm wrong here, but why put a child in that if it's not necessary? He is only freaking 20 months old, my gosh!!!! I tried to hint to her that he was a normal boy for his age and progressing on schedule as to how he interacts and that children usually don't play "together" until they are more like 3 yrs. Anyhow, she said I will need to make up the hours that he is in school by working later and on weekends. I am ON CALL, AS NEEDED and work late now, and most I'm like WTF here....ya know? She snaps her fingers and I run...what else do they want...and why should I have to make concessions because they want to put him in school away from my time with him. To me it is all ridiculous. Can you parents and nannies help me here? Help me understand where they are going with this possibly and if they are right and maybe I'm over reacting? And can you help me with suggestions on how to talk to them about this. I really think he is not in need of the pre school thing right now. I can see him getting sick and picking up bad habits from other children and it's just not necessary yet, you know what I mean? Geez, he's just a new toddler...can't they just let him enjoy it?
-Nanny in Ohio


cali mom said...

Bleah. If they want to put him in the daycare, they will go ahead and do it, though it sounds more like a preschool than a daycare. That is, its focus is on education and socialization more than providing care for children when parents are not available. I don't think it will do him any harm whatsoever to be exposed to this setting for this small amount of time 2x/week, though it does not seem necessary from all his other social activities.

It's really miserable that they suddenly want you to shuffle your hours around to accomodate the change of schedule, and I wonder if you could propose that you either take on some additional tasks *during* the time that he's in school, like many nannies seem to do, or cut your hours back some (and salary), and make it up with a PT job? Neither one is desirable, but they'll make whatever decision they are going to make, and without leaving the job, you'll probably just have to suck it up.

Lola said...

In a way I understand where you are coming from, but it sounds like your speaking about your own child and as if the mother is your mother-in-law, or something. Kind of strange, but I assume you are the one making most of the decisions in his life, so why not this one?

I guess you should be mad about having to work late, I definitely sympathize with you on that. Why can't you make up the time while he's in school, organizing his toys, or other projects around the house, maybe that could be a good compromise. Then again, from your tone, I can imagine you don't DO housework.

deaf nanny said...

I second everything the PP's have said. If they want to put him in "preschool", they can, and I don't see anything wrong with it like you seem to. I do think it's very wrong for them to make this decision without speaking to you, and then REQUIRE that you make up your hours later. I think that as long as they do not have a full-time housekeeper, that you could broach the idea of cleaning up and organizing while he's in school. Or running errands. Anything so that you don't have to stay later than what it sounds like you already are.

MissJamie said...

I don't think the OP was suggesting that it would be detrimental for them to put him in the preschool, just that it is extremely inconvenient for her, and that she doesn't think it is a necessary inconvenience. I totally understand.

If I were you OP, I would tell them that you would like to stick to working your already set hours, and that you can either work in organizing his things, or such like that. It is extremely unfair fr them to require you to work late on Saturday because they have decided to put him in preschool. Try the empathy approach, sometimes it seems really blunt "how would you feel if ____," but it seems to work because it really gets people thinking about things that they maybe weren't considering before. Tell them that most nannies in this situation either just work through the preschool time doing other things...or they just get paid for the original agreed upon hours, whether they are working or not.

djembé said...

Oh geez, you are focusing on the wrong issue in my opinion.

It's really none of your business whether or not the child "needs" preschool at this age. Everyone has differing opinions about that and it's not your child, therefore, not your decision.

HOWEVER -- don't let her get away with telling you you have to "make up" those hours while the child is in school. That's ridiculous. As long as you are on call and could be summoned to care for him (e.g. if he's sick one day or the school is closed one day, etc.), you deserve to be paid. It's not like you can go out and get another job to fill in those few hours each week. It is considered appropriate for parents in this situation to pay the nanny for the hours the child is in school and either just let the nanny be "off" during that time or assign her other responsibilities to do during those hours.

MinuteMuggle said...

As one poster said, you are focusing on the wrong issue. It is their child and what they want to do with him is not your concern. Changing your hours, however, is very much your concern. Do you have a contract? If not, and you do not wish to deal with the changed hours (which I personally would not: that is not fair. They hired you to be a nanny, not an on-call nurse maid) I would start looking for another position.

good luck and keep us posted.

Wicker Park Nanny said...

Is there some sort of class you can join with him that has several children and he's learning something? We have a lot of these things in Chicago... Or since it is summer have him join a public park summer camp where again he'll be interacting with several children.

Last time she complained you stepped up and got him involved, just do the same thing again. It could work...

Good luck!

chgonanny said...

I agree with Wicker Park. When my charge was about 20 months, her parents signed her up for a "Mommy and Me" class for me to take her to. I thought it was pretty lame, since she was too young to really interact with anyone there, but it didn't do any detrimental harm, either.

Now, it sounds like the parents have their hearts set on this preschool. But you shouldn't be forced to do anything that doesn't fit your schedule. I hate to say it, but this sounds like the beginning of bad things ahead. If they're starting this kind of BS now, just think about how they're going to treat you when the kid gets older!

world's best nanny said...

There are things in daycare/preschool that we as nannies don't have an opportunity to teach.

Things like waiting patiently in line even though you are bored or if you are so excited to go ahead and do the task at hand.

Raising your hand and waiting to be acknowledged. Never speaking out of turn, accepting students who are different than them, those who are potty trained, those who are not for example.

The biggest thing is to be good and in control for 4-6 hours a day. Story times, and playgroups last what? An hour? Two tops? I had to deal with hour adjustments when one of my charges headed off to preschool.

Bee'sKnees said...

eek...your attitude really struck a nerve with me.

He isn't your child, so your opinion doesn't matter. You act as if you are his mother and someone is forcing you to do something you do not want to do with YOUR son.

On the other hand-She can't make you stay late. If you don't have a contract you might end up doing some type of housework (you probably won't approve of that either) or taking a pay cut.

You come off as overbearing and pushy. This is obviously only based on your post. You might be a delight in real life, but you seem know-it-all-ish in your post.

NannyJ said...

I think the OP was just frustrated in her post. I was a bit turned off about her attitude as well, but I don't think that WE should get caught up in it. This is a very frustrating situation, and it makes sense that this turned in to a little bit of a rant.
She doesn't think the whole situation is fair, and she doesn't think he needs preschool. I think what is really getting at her is the whole unfair hour adjustment thing, which we can all understand, right?

Talk to them OP, tell them you need to be paid for when you are on call, and that you shouldn't be required to work late on Saturday. Reason with them. Hopefully they'll understand and you will all benefit in the end. Including the child, because like World's Best said: Preschool does teach a lot that we can't teach the child ourselves, they have to live it. Twenty months is fairly young, but oh well!

just another mommy said...

I understand that you have two main concerns here - one is the that the child has no real need to be in the daycare. Two is that you have to change your hours and that is not fair to you. I think I'll only address #2.

Some preschools might allow volunteers to come in and help out. You could check into the possibility of this and then you would essentially still be working the same hours, just helping out at their child's daycare. That might solve the hour situation.

Bix said...

Nanny Jane,
Of course this is only my opinion. I am a bit confused at your post. I think your intent of your questions are " that you care about this child" and question why the child should be placed in " day care" while you have been caring for the child/and are available for the parents at any time. I worked in a very prominent day care as a teaching assistant for 5 yrs. These children came from very well off parents etc. Now the reason why these children were in this daycare was due to both parents worked. Most were Doctors.
These parents had careers that they either had to cease to stay at home w/child and or put the child/children in day care. *or find Nanny or family to watch child. The children were able to start going at 6wks. Would be able to attend until they were enrolled in kindergarten. Many Parents felt that their children were being given the best of both worlds. #1 Loving Care by professionals, #2 Education and age appropriate interaction with other children "socialization".
Not only did the parents feel that their children were in the best of care - If was a way for them as " working parents" to network with other parents and build a support system for their families. I think you have to look at it from a parents point of view.
If I were you, I would start applying your resumes to that daycare and or alike daycare's. You then will broaden your skills and gain steady employment. If Children are your focal point in your career, you will only benefit by working in a daycare. You may find yourself happier and feel less of the demand to be at someone's beck and call within odd hours. Good Luck to You.

mom said...

Bottom line: Their child. They can do what they want.

You don't have to work any hours that you do not want to. It's your choice, but you may have to find a new job.

I understand your frustration at suddenly having your schedule turned upside's just that you have no recourse if they decide to do this.

I disagree that 20 months is too young to need consistent interaction with other children. He does need to be learning to socialize with other children by now...should have started before this, really. Maybe you can avert the daycare situation if you get him involved in Gymboree/Storytime, etc., type activities, start making regular playdates, and get him a lot of playtime at the park with other children. Maybe they will come to see it as a benefit to have you there to guide him as he tries to "pick up bad habits from other children." (That particular comment rubbed me the wrong way just a bit. It makes me wonder if you are actually isolating him and bit...and becoming one of those people who thinks "their" child is somehow superior to other children. Besides, peer pressure is forever. Do you want him to learn to deal with it appropriately, or struggle in vain to keep him from others his age for the rest of his life?)

WTF? said...

I don't think it's really your business if they want to put him daycare for whatever reason. They are the parents and they have the right to make that decision for their child. IMO, it isn't beneifical at that age, but it's not harmful either, so whatever.

That being said, I think it's very rude that they'd expect you to make up those hours, work late, and be on call for them because of the decision they made. That's just ridiculous.

Black Orchid said...

Bix- I agree with your post as far as the benefits of daycare to the child and family. However, if OP is working for a high profile family, she is probably making way more money than she could ever make in a childcare center. I also worked in a daycare/preschool. I was the assistant director of the facility, as well as teaching the 4-5 year old class. I quit because I make over twice the amount working as a nanny that I made as the assistant director.

Also, I can understand OP's confusion because most families hire nannies to avoid putting their young children in daycare. I worked for a family once, and I really felt like they had kids as a status symbol. Something they could use to brag to their friends about. I could see this in the type of activities they enrolled their kids in (things their children had no interest in) and the amount of time they spent with their kids. After I left for the day, an evening nanny would come, and I would often work on the parents' days off. It sounds like this might be a similar situation. OP says "this is a very prestigious daycare." Maybe the parents want bragging rights on the great preschool they send their one year old to. OP may have sounded possessive of the little boy (you are all quick to point out OP is not the mother) because she can see the parents' are doing this in THEIR best interest, not their little boy's. Maybe she is being protective and not possessive. Or maybe I am all wrong. Maybe I am still bitter about the family I worked for and am projecting.

jenuag said...

If it is a popular preschool, they may want to get him in while 3here is an opening. Many nice preschools have waiting list for PK3 and up but spots for toddlers and then current students get preferance later on. Just a thought, but they souldn't make you change your hours.

mom said...

jenuag makes an excellent point.

I went to an uncomfortable dinner party once at which several people extensively and pretensiously discussed which preschool to enroll a newborn in so as to assure him later enrollment at the most prestigious prep school in town.
Real people actually do this. God forbit their kids aren't natural geniuses...they are then doomed to spend an entire childhood disappointing mummy and daddy.

oh well said...

Getting the child in preschool at that age, especially for two mornings, does not seem that far fetched to me. Will you be the one doing the pick ups and drop-offs? You will then be missing about seven hours from your regular schedule. No matter what happens now, you will have to deal with this issue as the child gets older.

Wondering said...

Posts like this make me wonder if I'm an out of touch sap. I have an 8, 6 and 3 year old. The youngest is autistic (high functioning and not difficult, but he gets quite a bit of therapy during the day through a specialized program he is bused to). Here is my LO nanny's normal daily (not just 2 day's a week)schedule: 7:30 arrival, breakfast for 3 kids, put the youngest on his bus which comes to the house by 8:30, take the oldest two a few blocks to school(now that it's summer, they will get picked up at the house by the camp bus), spend the next hours packing lunches, straightening up their rooms, prepping dinner, organizing stuff for the kids for the next day, doing the kids laundry and getting things ready for when they get home). My youngest bus arrives at the house by 2:30 and she has to pick the oldest 2 up at school at 3 (during the summer, the camp bus drops them off at home between 3:30 and 4). She gives them a light snack when they first gets home then spends the next few hours reading with them or doing crafts or an activity like go to the library, park or bike path. She gives them dinner around 5:30 or 6:00 and leaves when we get home at 6:30. On most days from 9 to 2:30 she is doing no childcare and has only light child related chores for this time. But, she is still working and is available if one is sick or if she needs to run out to get something for the next day for the kids. And, weeks like this past one which is between school and camp, she has 3 busy kids to entertain and supervise. It never occurred to me to cut her pay or make-up the time the kids are out of the house as each child got older and went off to school (my youngest unfortunately earlier than expected). Nor did it occur to me to fire my housekeeper and have my nanny pick up her duties. My husband has pointed to a few people who have their nannies go part time once all the kids are in school, but that doesn't work with our schedules since we leave early and come back fairly late so we can't do the drop off or pick up and the kids' school schedoules are not always in synch. (My son's program had spring break a different week than my school district did for example). Is what is being described in this post the norm?

Wicker Park Nanny said...

I think as a family's needs change, then their childcare needs change. I'd say it's pretty common that hours or pay will be docked or the nanny let go when a child reaches the age for school. It's sad, but it's something the nanny should expect when taking a position.

UNLESS, the family specified they wanted a long term nanny, somoene who will stay with them many many years. Most parents will choose nannies based on how long they plan/want to stay with a family. For instance, I only plan on doing this another year or two and then heading back to grad school. My charge will be heading to preschool around this time. It's possible I'll work part time to drop off/pick up and the odd times, but overall it will be the end of an era. ;)

This has been my experience anyhow...

Wicker Park Nanny said...

Oh, and wondering, in this economy many nannies are picking up the lack of housekeeper duties.

My family's housekeeper is now coming twice monthly (from once weekly) and I'm picking up the laundry and dishes. But it should be noted that it is then only fair to give the nanny an increase in wage, I receive an extra $25 a week. [$50 cheaper for them/month]

SAHM said...

I agree with everyone else-the preschool issue is not yours to make-that is a parenting decision.

I also don't think it's right for them to say you have to make up any hours that the child is in preschool (what about when he gets older and they will most likely want him in 3-5 days a week? Are you going to be expected to be available 24/7)?

I would approach the mother and say you are sure the little boy will enjoy preschool (because that's what she wants to hear and he probably will) but that you don't think it's reasonalbe for them to expect you to make up the hours (since it's not your fault the child won't be in your care) and it's not like you can plan other activities during that time because you have to be available if he gets sick, the center is closed for bad weather or a holiday etc.

Good luck-sounds like you are in a bad position and will most likely end up doing it their way or getting a new job!

Anonymous said...
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Manhattan mamma said...

People get their hours changed all the time. My husband was not happy when the firm he works at put him on overnights nor when they changed his schedule to include a weekend day. that's life!

nyc mom said...


My experience as an employer and knowing many other employers is that there is no "norm." I know families who have continued to have their nanny work the normal 8ish-6ish workday, but take on lots of extra duties during the day. This is rarely heavy housekeeping ime, but things like cooking, shopping, organizing, laundry, errands. Again, ime, this has not come with an increased salary, but rather an open and honest negotiation over duties. I also know families who have asked their nanny to add on one evening a week; families who have switched to doing morning drops off themselves and just having pt nannny hours for afterschool (though this requires one parent flexible enough to accomodate sick/vacation days of course). I do think it's less common for a family to be able to maintain full-time employment for their nanny with absolutely no change in duties and 7 hours off work a day - most just don't have this financial luxury anymore.

I think the consistent theme in making this transition successful is to have an open dialogue about both the nanny and family's needs and finding something that works for both parties. We had an unusual situation with our first long-term nanny in between my second and third child. She actually requested to come in the morning, do drop offs, then be offically "off duty" during school hours so that she could nap, go home, attend classes, and do what she chooose; then work again at pick up. She actually preferred to do extra weekend hours to maintain full-time work.

I don't think you are being taken advantage of in any way. You have a situation that works for you and your nanny. However, I have noticed that even families with the best intentions to keep their nanny for many, many years often re-evaluate the financial viability of this after all children are in elementary school.

OP said...

Thank you all for your input!!! It was eye opening and the opinions of many helped me to put things into perspective better. When I was hired, he wasn't born yet. My first day was when he was 7 days old and I was hired because of my experience and knowledge of childcare. I heard how they wanted him to grow up knowing boundaries and discipline, but also be allowed to be a child. Not over stimulating him as some families do with soccer/baseball/swimming/school and camps like everyday.... you know what I'm talking about. And you are right, he's not mine, and they will do what they want in the end. I guess my feathers got ruffled because 1.) I just can't see a benefit right now for the pre-school scene. I've always felt that a child is ready for that when they are at least 2 and a half and three. We do an activity every day and his personality shows me that he's content with this. I guess I feel I was hired to have his best interest always and I have to admit, knowing this child as I do, I can't agree that what his parents are moving toward IS in his best interest. I am on call 24/7 but live out. I am paid the same now whether I work 25 hrs or 70. I was never supposed to work weekends in exchange for my availability during the week because they know these are the ONLY 2 days a week I see my husband. BUT, since April, I have been called in every Saturday, and I have done this without malice. So, yes, 2) I am NOT thrilled that I am expected to do MORE because they are engaging him in activities without me, but as you guessed, I will because I am committed. IMO, I would prefer that they just place him where they are wanting to, and allow me to pick him up when it's time and start my day then. But the mom seems to be unaware that I need a life, have a life and want that life and will have me work even more on the weekends...maybe adding a Sunday to it...therefore not seeing my husband at all. Oh what to do, what to do, LOL Anyway, THANK YOU ALL who listened and commented. Have a wonderful Holiday weekend.

just another said...

I'm going to echo what pretty much everyone else has said- it's their kid, and they can choose to put him in school if they want to, and I'm sure he'll do fine there.
However, it is not fair to you to have these schedule changes with no discussion.
Are you doing the drop-off for school? If so, it doesn't make sense that you would be off for 3 hours and then go back to pick him up. In that case, I would try to negotiate extra responsibilities during that time so you can still be on duty and get paid.
However, if the parents are doing the drop-off, and you don't have to be on duty until you pick him up at 12:30, then I would be more flexible about the hours. I would ask for a set schedule of when these hours will be, but also give your input. For instance, maybe you will work on Saturday, but you don't want to work late during the week or vice versa.
Families' needs do change frequently, so some degree of flexibility is a very good quality in a nanny. But that doesn't mean you have to give up the rest of your life to serve them.

djembé said...

I am NOT thrilled that I am expected to do MORE because they are engaging him in activities without me, but as you guessed, I will because I am committed.

No, that's not commitment, that's a lack of established personal boundaries. If you want to be a professional, you need to correct this lack of boundaries defining and protecting your personal time and space.

mamallama said...

bottom line, not YOUR kid.

sd said...

As a nanny you have to get used to the fact that the situations in a family (whether they be little or big) will change. Sometimes they will benefit you, sometimes they won't. However, the family cannot make all of their parenting decisions based on you. You are the nanny, not a member of the family.

I am a nanny as well, and while I might be irritated as well, I don't think I would try "having a talk" with the Mom. I have no problem putting in my two cents, but I am not going to argue their parenting/family choices. He is going to pick up bad habits from any child, not just the children at that one specific daycare.

Sorry, but I think you just have to get over it and learn to cope!

Nannies are people said...

As djembe said, it is very important to establish boundaries with a family- it is often difficult, but it benefits both you and the family in the long run. I have known nannies who drop everything to be at the beck and call of a family, and they always end up burnt out and resentful.

mom said...

Unfortunately, it is very often true that "high profile" people are used to getting what they want, when they want, and very often do not consider anybody but themselves terribly important, or deserving of concessions and consideration. Furthermore, they tend to see people as expendible...keeping them arouns only so long as they don't make any waves or require significant thought or bother.

I don't know if your employers are like that or not. Hopefully they pay extra well (which is also typical) and that makes it worth it to you to put up with a little crap.

SAHM No 2 said...


Thanks for your follow up comment.

I agree with all the people who suggested a discussion with your employer about what you described, how this is not giving you time for you to have a life, see husband etc. Hopefully a compromise can be made...

As for preschool. After the first year and a half months as a FT SAHM, I was ready for three mornings off. I felt somewhat guilty because i hadn't planned to send him to preschool til 2.5 minimum, but I was burning out.

Almost one year later, I am really glad that I did. My kiddo knows how to separate (into a situation with which he is familiar), knows he needs to wait for other kids to take a turn (not that he likes this or does it most of the time!), is exposed to older and younger kids, and truly has "friends" (as much as you can at that age). The other play dates, mommy and me classes, didn't even come close to what the experience of preschool did.

Now, let me explain that the preschool he attends is in a home, run with a consistent but flexible schedule, licensed as family care and allows a child to be where they are as far as binky, bottles, stuffed animals etc...

I am not sure if the prestigious preschool is right for your charge, but there are great experiences out there for kids younger than two.

SUCKIT said...

Tell them you expect the same amount of money for the same amount of time you were hired for, period, the end. What if he is sick? What about vacations? What about snow days? As long as you are "on call" you deserve the full amount of pay and NO, you do not need to make up the hours by working later and working weekends.

Tell them this and if they can't act decent and give you what they hired you for you don't need the job anyway. Grow a pair. For real.