26 August, 2009

Nanny's Feelings Hurt Over Complaints and Accusations

Received Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN Want to know if I'm being silly here. I have worked for a family with one 11 mo old girl, started shortly after her birth. I work about 50 hours per week. I really like the family. They are polite and pleasant. I have been a nanny for 11 years and pride myself on doing my best. I do not mind criticism if deserved, but things have gotten a bit odd. My other families always had nice words for me and were happy with my work.

Every month the Mom and I have a sit down, touch base conversation. I have had no complaints and tell her so. She then proceeds to give me a laundry list of petty complaints, almost all that I am not at all guilty of. I explain my view on these complaints politely in return. I get the vibe Mom thinks I'm just making excuses and that shes "set me straight". After 8 months of going above and beyond for them (doing laundry constantly of entire house, staying late with little warning, cleaning up outside babies needs, coming early frequently, staying at house and dog sitting while they vacation, and lots more.) I am really getting hurt feelings and feeling totally unappreciated. All my former bosses loved me and had no complaints. Here's the list from todays meeting:

* accused me of making out of area phone calls (I never use their phone except to call Mom.)

* said TV sound was left on too loud. I do not watch TV.

* said I shrunk a pair of dry clean shorts in the wash (her husband threw them in the wash bin and had no washing instructions.)

* said Dad came home at lunch and found baby wet (Mom had forgotten to buy diapers, I don't drive and home is no where near store so I had emergency rigged towels till Mom came home.)

* said I "yelled" at the dog in Dads presence. (Dog barks a lot and wakes baby constantly who cries for 30 minutes afterward.) I simply said the dogs name sharply, just as the parents do, no yelling.

After I explain my take on these accusations she just seems exasperated, as if I'm lying. Every month its been petty untrue stuff like above. Its just eating at me in an otherwise great position. Neither parent ever praises me for anything, even though the house is spotless, baby is happy and loves me and is walking and talking at 11 months. I know I'm lucky to have a job in this economy, but I get anxious wondering what I'll get tagged for next, and why they've never even said one "good job"? They are always polite but I feel like I'm being watched for failure.

25 comments:

too close to home said...

Dear Nanny,

I have been there. Please, PLEASE get out before it is too late and you (and you heart) are completely invested in the child. These people aren't going to change. Find another job (or try to) and get out while you still have a shred of dignity intact.

sprak said...

Schedule your own meeting with the b*tch and draw up a list of pertinent issues that you wish to discuss with her, such as the ones mentioned in your post. Don't back down. Don't be intimidated. Let the chips fall where they may.

bleh said...

I agree with the others. You sound like a great nanny and you shouldn't be putting up with that bitch.

world's best nanny said...

Leave, before she accuses you of something despicable with the baby.

emily said...

I do think that in the end the only real answer for your own sanity will be for you to leave. However, I do think you have a chance to help this family and possibly stay on at the job if that is what you'd like to do.

I think you should:

1) Call a meeting like sprak suggested, not one of your normal monthly ones. That way you can control the conversation.

2) Bring up all the things that you are unhappy with. But most importantly you need to bring up the issue of all of her complaints that are unfounded. Make it clear to her that your job functions on having her trust, otherwise how can you care for her most prized possessions (her kids)? Don't say it overtly, but imply that if things don't change, you'll be forced to find a position where you can have a healthy trusting relationship with the parents.

3) See how she reacts. She probably thinks she's just being a good manager with her laundry list of complaints. She's most likely never thought of things from your perspective.

Now, I'm not sure that she'll be able to change, most people are who they are, end of story. But, at least if you do this you'll be able to walk away knowing you put forth a good faith effort.

Good luck!

Upstate Mom said...

my thoughts coincide with emily, in that as a good "manager" she must think she needs to come up with some complaint. I've found that at work.....when they do your annual reviews, a manager has to come up with something for you to improve or there is no reason to have a mid-level-manager supervising you. This might be her style at her regular job. Of course, she isn't thinking of how it affects you. I would encourage you to have your own meeting. Your post here was quite clear and not irrational, so using that as a guide with your notes for a meeting seems reasonable. You deserve to feel better about your role. Also, if they complain about how you do laundry......stop doing it; it didn't sound like it was in you contract. Don't go "above and beyond" and see if they miss it, and learn to appreciate you more. Good luck. I wouldn't leave, but I think some changes need to be made.

MinuteMuggle said...

OP,

I don't know why you start off describing the family as "polite and pleasant" and then go on to contradict yourself. Stop being so polite: they are not nice and these complaints would drive me crazy as well!

You sound like a GREAT NANNY! If I could afford someone like you I would praise you, not complain! Some people do not know what they have until it is gone.

You have gotten some great advice here from the above posters: take it! Voice your own concerns. You have a right to. Please keep us posted and good luck.

Momkat said...

Wow! Are you sure you're not working for my husband? He's very quick to criticize little junk (just like your employers do), and forgets to tell you the good stuff. I think it's just personality...my hubby's getting better because I point it out. But working for people like that stinks!!!! I agree...I would find another job where you're more appreciated. You'll be so happy you did =)

just another mommy said...

I don't think this is a good or nice family to work for. I don't know why you've put up with this for so long. If she is making up things about you, then you never know when she might make up something really horrible and get the police involved. Please get out now for your sanity and safety. This is not a nice family.

DowntoEarth said...

There has to be another job for you out there some where. The more you do for these people the more they complain.
Let them get someone in there that will not keep their home clean and work extra hours for nothing.
It seems to me that since she is the one that is not providing diapers for her child that she is blaming you. She lied to her husband and she put the blame on you so she has to tell you that it is your fault.
Get your own meeting with the two of them and let it all out and if they want to let you go fine. You have good references find a better job.
And smack that barking dog with a rolled up newspaper lol

aliana said...

she wants to get rid of you,she wants you to leave,this lady is doing all thesethigs on porpuse,i avery sorry about your situation,i hope you can soon find another job.

not telling said...

Maybe it's because you are doing such a good job that they feel somehow threatened. Or, they could be having problems in their marriage and are therefore scapegoating you to avoid those issues.
You could try talking to them, but I think unless you are a trained therapist, I would be wary of that approach. Either way, I think you are in a dangerous situation, because they are not only nitpicking, they are actually making things up. I agree with world's best nanny- you need to leave before the accusations get more serious.

perhaps she's jealous said...

your next sit down, after she gives you all the negative little stuff, ask her for a few positives. see what she has to say then. if she can't come up with anything right then and there, leave.

Lola said...

I think 'not telling' hit the nail on the head. Sounds like a cover up! The long distance charges, perhaps, came from an internet lover.....

MissMannah said...

Why do you not voice your complaints at your monthly meeting? No wonder she's walking all over you, you're letting her!

Next time she accuses you of something ridiculous (ie: long distance phone calls), vehemently deny it and ask her to dig up some proof. If it didn't happen, she'll have no proof and then she'll learn to take you seriously. Odds are, she'll find something else to complain about so you should start looking elsewhere anyway.

TC said...

I would stop doing the laundry.

It sounds like daddy is to much of a wimp to 'confront' you. He needs to grow some balls. How hard would it have been for him to ask you why the baby was wet? Then you could have explained to him that you didn't have diapers and if he was a REAL father he would have left right then and there and bought a package of diapers........

Really they are petty enough that they have to call attention to you 'yelling' at the dog? Man they wouldn't like me. The family I work for has a lab, cute dog but man is she bad. I've YELLED her name so many times that my oldest charge now does the same when the dog barks. Her parents think it's funny.

I would ask to see a detailed phone bill. Have them highlight each and every number the think you called and you two can go over the list and figure out who's number it is.

I would look for another job, it really does sound like they want you to leave but they don't want to fire you.

Kristen said...

The mom sounds like a pain! Those complaints are ridiculous! Can you talk to the dad about it? I guess that would be going around the mom a little bit unless he is like her too. Honestly, do not worry about those complaints because they are ridiculous. Has it gotten worse? If you can put up with it and are happy then stay but if not I'd find another job. Those things are so stupid and really if they matter I cannot understand why she doesn't mention them when you "do" them. You should ask to see the phone bill or something because for her to accuse you of long distance calls when you don't make them isn't fair. And for the tv to be too loud? Seriously!

Only Dad Here said...

Sorry for your toubles. If you're not comfortable confonting her you could be a little passive agressive next time.

"Mrs. X I thought I was doing a good job but everytime we meet you seem to be unhappy with me. Should I be looking for another position?"

Then sit back and see how she reacts. She'll either be horrified at the thought of losing you and back down, or she'll say yes and you know where you stand.

Ashley said...

It ain't you girlfriend. This family clearly has issues unrelated to you. I'd find a new one.

greysareevil said...

It's not that she brings these things up that worries me, I would talk to my nanny if I thought they left my kid wet purposely or unnecessarily lost their temper with an animal in the kid's presence. It's that she gets "frustrated" with your "excuses" when you give her perfectly reasonable responses to her unfounded accusations. I think you've done all the talking you can do at this point, she's a brick wall with no patience for reason. You can give her the "shape up or I'm out" lecture, but someone who can find a way to put all their screw-ups on you will just as easily find a way to fire you without notice and feel justified that it was the only option you left them. And you're right, in this economy, you are lucky to have a job. I would find another family who is willing to wait a couple weeks to hire you full time and give her notice to find another nanny. It's sad, especially for the innocent kids involved, but the only way that family will get a nanny who can develop a life-long relationship with the child is if they stop treating them like they do you. And the only way they will be motivated to do that is to have their attitude affect their lifestyle (having to reprioritize life to watch the kids themselves or contantly interviewing perspective nannies after the last one left.)

Micromanagers suck said...

Go with what "Only Dad Here" said - it's perfect. That way it gives her a chance to understand and won't make it weird afterwards if she starts micro-managing less.

mom said...

These complaints mostly seem too small to bother raising at a "monthly meeting." Although some of them I would definitely mention right up front right when they happened (which makes small incidents remain small, as they should be)...perhaps ask about long distance charges, question why my baby was wearing a wet towel instead of a diaper and mention if the tv was being played too loudly, or somebody had reported you "yelling" at my dogs...although I would also hopefully take your responses at face value. (It also sounds like these complaints may actually be coming from the dad, and maybe mom is only delivering these messages at his insistence. If that is the case, he could be exaggerating things to her...
I would tell her at your next monthly meeting that you feel that you are going above and beyond for them and that, no matter what you do, she seems to find fault with oyur work, and never has any praise. Then do as dad said and ask if her complaints represent a general dissatisfaction with your job performance, or whether she is just constantly looking for ways to suggest improvement (as in, like somebody suggested, a "managerial duty.")

Then you will know if this is a misunderstanding of her intended message to you, or if she is truly wacky and impossible to satisfy.

But I wouldn't quit, or even mention quitting, until oyu have something else lined up. Working for a "B" stinks...but being hungry or getting evicted from your home stinks way more.

mom said...

PS If the complaints are actually comning to her from the dad and he is exaggerating the incidents to her, it may explain her reluctance to believe you. It would put her in the position of getting two opposing versions of the truth, and her having to decide whether her husband is lying to her, or you are. In her mind, she probably sees no gain for dad in lying...but your motive would be obvious. Maybe she's not the "B." Maybe he is and she is just in the mddle?

thisisannoying said...

yea, you're probably too nice. and the mom may have a personality disorder.

Rachael said...

omg
this sounds exactly like what I am going through and YES it is the b@T*** dad that doing the complaining. I need to take this advice and move on because every time I think it is getting better it just ends up getting worse. It is like being in an abusive relationship!
Leave now! I will too!