Received Monday, August 3, 2009 - Rants and Warnings
I am sending this as a warning to nannies seeking employment in the Wichita, Ks area. The family that I was previously working for is looking for a new nanny. Please be aware, these are not people you want to work for. He is a doctor, she is a home health care nurse. They have 5 children between them and are living in Andover, KS.
I met the family online through a nanny website. They contacted me, we exchanged a few emails and phone calls, then set up an interview in their home. The interview went well enough, though I got the immediate impression that she was not a pleasant person to be around. We agreed that I would mainly be watching the two youngest, and occasionally dropping off/picking up the 3 oldest and having all 5 for an hour or two in the evenings and also in the summer. In addition to the overall care of the children, I agreed to sweep the kitchen and run the vacuum upstairs once a day. Although I wasn't given a set amount of vacation time, I was told that if I needed time off I only needed to ask and give them a little advance notice so they can find a sitter while I'm gone. The job seemed great. There were some things I didn't like, like the fact that they insisted on paying hourly instead of daily which is how I usually prefer. Also the fact that they thought a written contract was unnecessary (perhaps my greatest mistake) However, the hours and pay rate seemed perfect to me, so I excitedly accepted the job when they offered it.
I have worked for this family for the past 7 months (starting in January and ending last week) and I can honestly say these have been the worst 7 months of my life.
The children are out of control and there is absolutely no discipline in this household. The oldest, the 12 year old boy, is the worst behaved of them all. He has adhd and his parents use this to excuse his out of control, violent behavior. His parents consistently forgot to give him his medication in the morning, leaving me to deal with a child who would scream in my face and call me names, and act out physically towards his siblings.
Another problem I had with them was that I didn't feel they honored our original agreement. Very soon after I started working for them "sweeping and vacuuming" became sweeping, mopping, unloading, loading, and running the dishwasher, vacuuming the entire house, and several loads of laundry daily. They were also very hostile about giving me time off. I asked for 2 fridays off, giving over a month notice for each. The first one, she was very rude with me about. The second time she flat out refused because that was when she wanted to have her garage sale, and she couldn't possibly find anyone else to watch them for even a couple of hours.
Everything else I could have dealt with though, had it not been for the hell they put me through with my payment. In the time I've worked for them I can count on one hand the number of paychecks that have been correct. The first time they underpaid me it was by $30. I came to Mrs. R the next day and explained that she had made a mistake on my paycheck. I showed her the hours I worked (we wrote them down in a pocket calendar in a kitchen drawer) and how it didn't add up to what she paid me. She told me she would add it to my next paycheck. The next day before I left she told me that her husband didn't think they owed me that money and that I'd have to take it up with him. I came in the next morning and the calendar was nowhere to be found. I called Mrs. R and asked her about it and she said she must have lost it (??). Needless to say, they never repaid me the amount they shorted me. Nor did they repay me for any of the other paychecks they shorted me on. Eventually I stopped bringing the "mistakes" to their attention. I just took whatever they paid me, which was usually about $20-$30 less than what they owed me. Then the paychecks started coming late. Sometimes by a few days, sometimes a week, no explanation except "we won't be able to pay you until..." Add to this the numerous lunches she had me buy for the children, toys and video games I was told I'd be reimbursed for, and the cash bar at their wedding ceremony where I was instructed to buy drinks for the kids and their cousins, all of which I was never paid back for. The real kicker came a few days ago when I came to pick up my last paycheck. It was $100 less than they owed me. They subtracted 8 hours from my paycheck, claiming it was because I was inaccurate with my timekeeping. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was shocked! As far as I know, there's no recourse for this. I've been told I can take them to small claims court, but it's my word against theirs. However, I feel if I can save some other poor girl from going through what I went through that I'll be happy. Please do not let this family use you the way they used me and the several nannies they had before me.