07 July, 2009

Nanny's Responsibilities, Babysitter's Hours, Mother's Helper Wage

Received Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I need some insight into this situation from other childcare providers. The mother wants help for her twin babies and two-year-old, as well as housework. The hours she wants are two or three times a week, four- to ten-hour shifts. We have a work-hour schedule, but she will frequently call the day before and change the hours of the next day's work. She wants to pay $7/hour instead of $8 because she is home (she feels her presence makes the job easier), but wants someone who will do work without asking questions about what to do when, effectively making herself unavailable, and the childcare provider feel like she is not doing the job if she asks questions.
However, she does not provide schedules for the twin babies, or any kind of material so the sitter/helper/nanny can refer to it and know what things the babies may need at a given time, or approximately what to do when. And she doesn't realize it's ok to sometimes let babies cry. The position seems to be a nanny's responsibilities, at a young teenage babysitter's hours, at a mother's helper wage, and requires near-telepathy to do it without feeling like the nanny isn't doing her job.
My question is, is this normal or an ok situation to work? Is $7/hour any kind of reasonable compensation for twin babies and a 2 y/o plus housework with very little direction for any of them?

56 comments:

glamnan said...

NOPE! This trick is CRAZY! You have to be someone with a serious backbone to take her on and triumph. I say RUN FAST!

lovesthegirls said...

RUN run as fast as you possibly bloody can before you form a bond with the children and are trapped in that job. You can make more money aiting tables, I am sure.
R U N

lovesthegirls said...

*waiting

Former nanny said...

I nannied in the past for twin newborns and a 2 year old, and their mother didn't have a job. I also made 20 dollars an hour, and at times I was like.. there is not enough money in the world to put up with this situation!

7 dollars an hour? I rather work at burger king, honestly.

Nanny in Beautiful San Diego said...

OP, she is just awful to think that because she is "present", then it is okay to pay less. I worked in situations where the parent is in the house and it is much HARDER when the child knows that the parent is there in regard to their behavior, etc. The job is made easier when the parent is gone, believe me. What a idiot the mother is. What good is that she is there, she won't answer any questions for you and you have her there all day, looking over your shoulder, criticizing you when the baby cries, etc. A fair wage would be $30/hr for the care of three small children, a house and a picky mother.
Quit....and don't worry about giving her any notice since she is a SAHM and I am sure will be forced to handle the house and 3 small children...then maybe she can appreciate all you do for her and offer you much much more. If not, let her find someone else.

NVMom said...

I am a Mom of twins and I totally agree! This is a terrible wage for that much responsibility! When I had a Mother's helper, they truly helped me as an assistant, not a replacement!

WTF? said...

She isn't paying nearly enough. It should be AT LEAST double that, IMO.

That being said, I wouldn't personally want a nanny who thought it was okay to let my baby cry. I never did and I'd be very distressed if their caretaker did. Luckily, I took care of my own kids when they were infants (still do) and didn't have to worry about that. Babies cry because it's the only way they can communicate with you.

please go said...

I'm sure you already know this is not right. Look at all these red flags- changing your hours constantly, expecting you to read her mind, a high level of work and responsibility at a (very, very) low level of pay (is that even minimum wage in your state?). I really think you should leave now.

NannyJ said...

NO! No no no no no!

NannyJ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CuriousDad said...

Ummm, WOW!
From the Federal Labor Website:
"The FLSA requires that most employees in the United States be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek."
What state do you live in??
Check this website out becuase some states have a higher then federal minimium wage.
http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/america.htm
And more importantly!
"The federal minimum wage provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The federal minimum wage is $6.55 per hour effective July 24, 2008; and $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009."
If you are actually a Nanny and not classified as a au pair, babysitter or mothers helper, then she soon will be legally, underpaying you anyway.
So is she willing to pay the nanny taxes for you? Or is this under the table? Not a good deal for you in the long term.
You can easily get a better job with better benefits, so run like hell!

pick a name said...

No, that's insane. You need to clarify right now what the expectations are. I'd say at a MINIMUM you should be getting paid $12/hour, if not 15-18 depending on where you are.

Sounds like she is a sahm who is looking for a nanny, but wants to pay less than half the cost. If you are soley responsible for the children, their care and planning, and housework, you need to be getting paid a lot more.

Also, as their parent, it is her responsibility to put together a schedule and expectations for the kids, of some sort. Or be available for questions and non judgemental about it.

NannyM2 said...

Wow.

She sounds like she subscribes to the same beliefs as some of the parents we read about on CL-WTF.

Get out now!

chgonanny said...

I watch three kids and I make $16/hr. I also do NO HOUSEWORK. And my schedule is set in stone.

Every once in a while I have a Wednesday (like today, I'm not looking forward to work) the mom tags along with us, and the kids are AWFUL. They act out and the mom always gets frustrated, and ugh... anyway, I digress.

GET OUT!

world's best nanny said...

Are these middle to lower class families calling their 'sitter" a "nanny?"

Teenagers make $7 an hour and they are called babysitters. Their main function is to play with the kids.

Nannies are professionals, some have early education/medical backgrounds. We play, discipline, prepare meals, take to soccer, dance class, karate, MD appointments, care for fevers, sunburns, and tantrums. We cook, not heat up, meals, we also clean.
With this sort of work load $7 an hour is a joke. Stop calling your sitters nannies! If you can afford to pay $18 an hour and up, you are "wealthy" enough to have yourself a nanny.

CuriousDad said...

Well, the title does say Nanny's Responibilities, BabySitters Hours, Mothers Helpers wage. And as the OP says in the last paragraph:
The position seems to be a nanny's responsibilities, at a young teenage babysitter's hours, at a mother's helper wage, and requires near-telepathy to do it without feeling like the nanny isn't doing her job.

Bee'sKnees said...

The mom's idea of a decent wage us way off. That being said, I don't think it is alright to just let a baby cry. Babies cry for a reason. I wouldn't hire a nanny/babysitter who thought otherwise...not even for the bargain price of $7 an hour.

Oz said...

That is crazy. I wouldn't do that no matter what they paid! I charge $30/hour and would not accept that family. I will only work with Mum/family if they are easy to talk to and a team approach to caring for children. I cannot stand families who want the Nanny to step in and do everything while they just watch - either help or go find something else to do! I work with twins/triplets often (I only do short term placements by choice) and I think the OP is referring to the fact that if there is one of you and newborn twins plus 2year old then at some point in time someone will have to cry for a few minutes. I do NOT agree with leaving babies to cry, but when there are multiple babies and another child you aren't superhuman.

Can't do it any longer... said...

Wow, I get $30 an hour for twins and feel I should get paid a whole load more..... but then again, the parents aren't involved in any way so it's like I am bringing them up myself. Am quitting soon; my employers are a nightmare.. you can have my job if you want :)

DenverNanny said...

$16/hour is the minimum I would even consider for that position-- I made $7/hour watching one kid when I was 11...
As far as letting babies cry, I agree with the PP, it's multiples AND a toddler-- somebody is gonna be crying occasionally. Even childcare textbooks and pediatricians will tell you sometimes babies just cry.

Bee'sKnees said...

And she doesn't realize it's ok to sometimes let babies cry.
-op


Watching two babies and a toddler is hard work for sure, but the OP's use of the word LET implies that you would be allowing a baby to cry even though you have other options.

I also assume she is not talking about the toddler, because she used the word "babies" not "kids" or "her children" or "babies and toddlers".

I don't believe you can be too busy to offer some type of comfort to a crying child...toddlers included. It is also my personal opinion that you should not just let babies cry.

Wicker Park Nanny said...

This is a terrible job! If you are doing it now, QUIT! If you are considering, DON'T DO IT!

What a crazy lady!

For this job you should make a minimum of $15/hour even if the mother is home. 3 kids + housekeeping + other duties = lots of money!

and yes, you could make $7/hour at burger king and not deal with near as much stress.

MinuteMuggle said...

no. no.
and no.

ericsmom said...

About the crying babies

With three children there's no way that you can comfort them 100% of the time.

Ever try making bottles for twins? Do you really think they sit patiently while you are doing this? You hurry and do what you have to do, and get back to them

mom said...

I don't know what minimum wage is anymore. Is it more than $7.00?

This sounds like a wage for a teenage mother's helper, which is what it sounds like she needs. Either that or she is hoping for somebody illegal.

I personally wouldn't work for that wage...unless I was an inexperienced teenager or an illegal alien without options. What is your age/experience as a nanny? From reading here for so long, I believe that those two factors come together to measure your worth above all else.

PS And I would not have anybody helping me with my kids who thought babies ought to be left to cry...or somebody who thought they were "spoiled" for crying, or looked askance at me for picking them up every time they did. Do you not realize that that is the ONLY form of communication a baby has? I believe that the sooner a baby is picked up when it cries, and the more consistently, the sooner that baby probably grasps the concept of comminucation, and cause and effect. Getting those neural pathways" under construction" (which happens through learning) as early as possible can only serve to maximize the potential of the child to learn during the time when his brain is most actively soaking up information. Leaving him to cry does not teach him that mom and dad are boss, as some boneheads reason. Instead, it simply teaches them, in effect, "I may as well not try to communicate. Nobody will respond anyway." Ever seen a Russian orphanage on television? That's a very, very, very extreme example of what happens to kids when they are not nurtured and their communication is repeatedly ignored. The reason that they don't cry isn't because they have been taught to be well behaved babies. It's because they have given up. Does anybody want their baby to come to even a miniscule fraction of that "giving up" resolution jsut because it makes it easier on the parents or caregiver not to be bothered too much? That "self soothing" so many parent brag of having taught their children is a minor form of "giving up"...knowing that nobody's coming anyway.

mom said...

eric's mom,
You posted when I did. It's a little different when multiple babies are crying, of course...and moms/nannies are not robots, so sure, from time to time things are unpreventable. (Thank goodness kids can come out well even though we aren't perfect parents 24/7. Phew!) But you still need to go in and let the baby know you heard them. You can put the babies in infant seats near where you are preparing their food and coo at them and let them know you are nearby and aware of their distress.

And there's a huge difference between a baby crying for a few momets here and there when mommy is in the bathroom, etc., and a general habit of letting them scream it out, or a beilef that it is in their best interset to do so.

Wicker Park Nanny said...

mom, i completely disagree with you. do i think a child should be left to "cry it out" unmercifullessly? no. but there is something to be said about allowing your child to feel their emotions (i'm talking toddler age here 1-3). if you are constantly soothing the child whenever it cries out for something they will learn to depend on you 100% never developing a self-trust or self-dependency.

also, 1-3 year olds can communicate. through sign language. works great with my little guy!

Della said...

wow! i just had to post a coment after reading this story! that is a terrible pay wage. don't accept the job unless you are desperate. for twin babies, a 2 year old and housecleaning, i would suggest the rate would be based on your education and experience. if you are 13 years old, perhaps 9-10 per hour. if you are an adult and this is your sole income, at least 13 per hour! i watch 2 children while the mom is sometimes home. i charge $15 per hour and at the time, feel i should be making about $18-$20. i work hard and also do all of the housework. i mean everything... i don't just pick up toys and do laundry. i clean the entire home, do the bathrooms, dust, vacuum, even organize! if i were you i would try looking elsewhere for a better job that pays appropriately.

Lola said...

I know many parents who do the sign language thing, as early as six months. And it works.

On the other hand, what about when a baby/toddler falls. Do you rush to soothe them? In my personal experience, this is WHEN they start crying. My kids don't think falling or scraping a knee is cause for alarm unless they are truly injured. And they aren't whiny crybabies, who look around and wait to cry until someone notices them. Which I have seen. A lot. Possibly from kids that were constantly attended to about every little thing. And it's not "giving up" It's understanding that everything is not such a big deal.

mom said...

Wicker Park Nanny,
Yes, but yours is a toddler. Many can already start to communicate in single word "sentences" by the age of one...or at least nod yes or no when you ask them things like, "Are you thirsty," "Do you want me to hold you," etc.... and understand when you say, "I'll be right back," or other simple phrases that let them know you heard and understand.

And a toddler can walk to you and put his arms up to be held, or bring you a sippee cup, etc. A baby has no options but to lay there crying and hope somebody comes.

A three year old in no way needs to lean on crying as a form of communication. When mine were that old I would assess the reason for the crying and react accordingly. If they were hurt (or some other reasonable reason for crying), I comforted them and let them cry it out. If they were simply having a tantrum, or using crying as a form of asking for something or getting their way, I would tell them that they were welcome to cry, but that nobody wanted ot hear them do it...so they could go to the privacy of their own room, shut the door, and cry to their heart's content and come back out then they were done.

Babies in my house get picked up every time.

mom said...

Good post Lola. All of it. I completely agree.

MY husband and I would sit there and wait, breath held, at some of the more painful looking tumbles, and try not to react until we saw if the child cried. Sometimes they looked at us to see what we though, and we tried to look as unfazed as possible. (Not easy.) Then we knew if cries came anyway, it must have really hurt.
Once my sister and I were pushing my three year old on the swings. He got pushed (I can't remember which on of us did it)and flew out of the swing, did a complete flip, and landed hard smack on his back in the sand. We stood over him, holding our breath. He was so stunend he just laid there looking up, obviously confused as to what he ought to do. (I know it had to HURT.)Finally my sister said to him, very excitedly, "You flew like Superman!!!" (Or whatever superhero he was pretending to be that week.) He laid there a minute, obviously still comtemplating whether he ought to cry, and finally smiled a big smile and said "Yeah!" and ran off to play.

Village said...

I pay my housekeeper $25 an hour. No kids.

RUN LIKE HELL!

Portlander said...

I've taken care of multiples, and there are often times when both babies are crying (usually because if one hears the other cry then that one starts crying too) and you can only help them one at a time. But in those cases you talk to both babies, speaking calmly. I'm not sure if the OP meant that the mother wasn't a proponent of letting babies "cry it out," which I'm not a fan of, or if the mother was upset about unavoidable crying.

Just to add to the crowd, there is no way that $7/hr is fair for that job. I made that much as a teenager in the 1990s.

MinuteMuggle said...

I don't believe in CIO.
Just saying.

mouse said...

minute muggle, why don't we stick to the subject of "nanny's responsibilities, babysitter's hours, mother's helper wage" and not get off the topic so much. i read a lot of your comments and they are so distant. it really turns things in different directions... Not a good thing either.

cali mom said...

I agree with all the others. Not a snowball's chance in hell, unless you have been on unemployment for 11 months and your benefits are about to run out and you've exhausted ALL other options.

ummm said...

I made more than $7/hour when I was in high school in 1997. And that was just babysitting for neighborhood kids. How anyone could pay this wage for 3 young children is beyond me. Quit now and dont let her take advantage of you!!

MinuteMuggle said...

mouse. eat my shorts. with relish.

Overworked nanny said...

RUN!!!!!!!

NannyJ said...

Even some middle schoolers that I know make $10/hr baby sitting... and I am not in a high income city (though I am in a high minimum wage state...)!

For the crying thing... I take care of a 6 mo old, and sometimes he cries just because he is being impatient, and that is the truth. He may be hungry...but he didn't start crying until I started preparing the bottle! Or he'll be perfectly happy until I put him down to start something or other and then he'll start wailing. Usually I pick him up right away...but sometimes I figure it will not hurt him to wait for a minute.
When the 16 mo old starts crying for seemingly no reason (he can communicate fine) I put him down on the floor in a safe place and let him kick and flail and cry it out, when he realizes he is not getting what he wants from his tantrum he will stop crying and come over and reach his hands up to me to be held. Crying procedure all depends on the circumstances in my mind, however it is a very debatable topic. Obviously a baby should not be ignored more often than not. However, I do not see the harm in letting a baby cry for a minute or two if you have put them in their crib for a nap and they are merely crying because they don't want to be left (and they are cranky and sleepy!). In general, I am a sucker, and can't stand to hear the 6 mo old cry too much because it breaks my heart a bit...but I also don't want him to learn that just because he doesn't want to do something, (like sit in his infant chair for a minute or two while I pee)that doesn't mean he can get his way all the time.

Mom in IL said...

I paid a high school student $10 per hour to come HELP with my baby. (Not two and a toddler and there was NO cleaning involved.) Now childcare is expensive in my area but $7 for all that you are doing seems much too little.

mom said...

NannyJ,
Sounds like you do a great job on the crying thing to me. And I do think that by the time a baby is old enough to "work the system" by crying to manipulate, then you can safely assume that he understands the concept of communication and can be put in a crib and allowed to cry for a few moments before he goes to sleep. (Although I'm not so sure a 6 month old can be assumed to be being manipulative...that seems pretty young to me.) The 16 month old, yeah. We had two that resisted sleep as toddlers...and with one we even had to resort to sitting outside his bedroom door and holding it shut from the outside when he climbed out of his crib and got up repeatedly. He banged his body into the door, screaming and sobbing, until he fiiiiiiinally exhausted himself and fell asleep against the door. Then we had to nuddge the door open while carefully scooting his sleeping body away from the door, and place him in his crib, fast asleep. Two miserable nights in a row we did this and it really sucked...on too many levels to mention. Third night he decided to give it a half hearted try, but gave in almost immediately. After that, he stayed in bed when we put him there. But he was well old enough by then to understand perfectly when we said, "You have to stay in bed." He just didn't want to, and wanted to test to make sure there wasn't some "compromise" we might make, I suppose. That's completely different than an infant crying in a crib.

nannyinmanhattan said...

I think you already know the answer to this question.

Good Luck!

WTF? said...

NannyJ, you'd never be my nanny. That's for sure. If I was having someone take care of my INFANT and VERY YOUNG TODDLER, I'd expect them to have at least a rudimentary knowledge basic child development.

NannyJ said...

Thanks mom. :)
Though I didn't mean to make it seem like I think that the 6 mo old is being manipulative, I know he is not. :) I only meant that oftentimes if I put him in his crib at nap time and he cries for a minute or two because he didn't want to be put down I don't think he needs to be snatched right up, or at least not necessarily, especially since the reason he is really crying is because he is sleepy and cranky. (If I am being perfectly honest...I usually do pick him up...and I also let him sleep in my arms more often than not).
I'm glad you were able to resolve that issue with your son! That would have been hard to deal with for a long period of time! The 16 mo old has recently learned how to get out of his crib, and it makes me very nervous! (Though he has only done it for mommy... still makes me nervous just knowing he can do it!)

DenverNanny said...

NannyJ:
Sounds like you know what you're doing :)

NannyJ said...

ps. WTF?:
I am working towards my BA in Elementary Education and have taken quite a few ECE classes, so I would say that my knowledge is at least rudimentary. Where exactly do you see my flaws?

Thanks Denver Nanny. :)

Ashley said...

Please run, run RUN! Trust me and everyone below me when we say we KNOW!

ignore said...

NannyJ,

just ignore WTF. you sound educated and caring. WTF just likes to stir the pot...

WTF? said...

NannyJ, you did backpedal on the manipulation thing with the 6 month old so I'll give you that. It did sound like that was what you were getting at. That being said, I wouldn't want you treating my 16 month old the way you described either. Just because a child cannot articulate what's going on (and very few ONE YEAR OLDS can) doesn't mean they are crying for "no reason." The fact is, I'd never have a nanny, period, but I especially wouldn't have one who didn't agree with my parenting philosophy. I don't believe in letting young children cry alone, and so far my philosophy has played out just fine in my own family as my children are older now and very independent. It really pisses me off when people (general) refer to things like not letting AN INFANT "get his way all the time." Babies are supposed to get their way. That's how they learn to trust and form bonds! It's just something I feel very strongly about.

NannyJ said...

I read through my earlier post, and I understand how it could have sounded. That being said... I ALWAYS follow the parent's parenting philosophy, always. And with that particular 16 mo old...his mom and I have talked about it, and sometimes we really can not figure out why he is crying (more like tantruming), so instead of holding the flailing child I put him on the carpet where he can not flail into anything (like the coffee table) and let him kick it out (I don't leave him, I just don't hold him). Like I said, he can communicate fine. He is a very bright child and he has many words and uses baby sign. Just that particular situation. With the baby... he has definitely formed a bond with me, and he seems to trust me. But what is a person supposed to do? Hold the baby while they use the restroom because he cries when he is put in his infant seat? I really don't think the parents would go for that.

I understand that you feel strongly about this subject, and so I respect your opinion. However, if you would never have a nanny at all, don't single me out as a nanny that you would never have! I mean I guess it doesn't really matter, since the family that I work for is very happy with my work :).

mom said...

Nanny J,
Really, you don't need to keep explaining yourself. Only one person had anything negative to say, and it seems that the rest understand the difference between an infant and a 16 month old.

Unless you are secretly some sort of superhero, nobody expects you to hold a toddler when you go to the bathroom. There is a stage where some kids cry when their mommy/nanny "ignores" them to use the potty. Mine used to either stand outside the door crying for me, or insist on sitting on my lap. One of my sons was also in the habit of wedging his body between my legs and the cabinets whenever I tried to wash dishes and using all of his might to push me away from the sink far enough that he could reach his arms up to me and insist "hold you!"

WTF? said...

Oh, brother! No one is suggesting that the nanny is supposed skip using the bathroom. ::eye roll::

cali mom said...

LOL, Mom. My little guy did that too for a while until he figured out the you-me deal. "You want your water" and "scoot you up" :). Then he was starting to figure it out and asked a kid at the playground "what's my name?" when he was trying to be sociable. Too cute!

mom said...

Cali,
Aren't those early years sooooooo precious? I never tired of watching my kids try so hard to learn new things so that they would be "Big" too.

Another big favorite of mine was the waving goodbye stage where they waved their little hands at their OWN faces and watched so proudly as they made their own little fist open and close. My older son had a habit of saying to his grandparents (or anybody special, really) when they left, "Bye! I love you more than anything in the whole world!" His baby brother started his own goodbye tradition at the same time: He waved his fist at his own face and yelled, "Bye! Reeeaaaald!" ("world" in baby talk.)

I really miss my babies! There are fun things about every age, but those "wonder years" are indescribably adorable. (Which is why I feel so bad for parents who have to, or choose to, miss out on them....especially those who have no choice.)

Polkadotmoon said...

I have had several nanny jobs and the worst one was for a stay at home mom who was home but never avialable. This is a very awkward situation. And the pay she is offering you is not fair the amount and type of work she is asking of you.