"Am I Just a Spoiled Nanny?"

Received Monday, October 5, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I work for a family with twin infants. The babies have significant health problems along with severe colic, so needless to say, this job has been very challenging. I get paid VERY little but accepted the job because I love what I do and the hours worked well for me. The pay issue is difficult but I manage. The real issues are much larger. First, I was told that I would get paid weekly but now this has changed to bi-weekly. This would have been fine had this information been brought to my attention from the get-go. Another issue has been the food and drink dilemma. I was told upon hire that I would have access to snacks and drinks. Ok fine. But I drank the last Diet Coke the other day and am now being asked to replace the entire 12 pack. How does this work?? There has also been a problem with Mom getting home later and later and I have missed engagements due to her tardiness. I spoke to her about this and she she apologized but it still happens from time to time. Perhaps the biggest problem has been with vacation time. I do not have any plans for vacation. I was told at the time of hire that they would not be going on vacation until next summer. Now, they are traveling cross country for Thanksgiving for a period of 3 weeks. I was told that I will NOT be paid for this time unless I make up the hours on weekends. With every other family I have worked for, I have been paid during the family's vacation. We do have a contract but there was no clause concerning vacation time. Only sick days. I have never experienced problems like this with any family that I have worked for. Perhaps I have been spoiled but this is just hard to swallow. Like I mentioned ealier, I have talked to the mother but it does not seem to work. It is not very realistic for me to pick up and get another job because I am starting nursing school in January and do not want to get a job and have to quit when that time comes. This family knows I will be leaving in January. Am I just a spoiled nanny? Are all of these issues truly issues or am I making something out of nothing? Thanks!


Bint Ethel said...

Run and run fast!
It is not fair for them to go on vacation for 3 weeks and expect you to find a job in the mean time.
You should have hashed out vacation in the contract.
I don't understand what your question is. You said you can't leave and find another job.
I would leave and find something else honestly, if not suck it up.
You are not being a spoiled nanny. I can't believe your MB asked you to replace the entire case of soda. I mean really, is money that tight?

say something said...

I would say they are all very real issues and you do not sound spoiled at all.

If you agreed to be paid weekly, you need to get paid weekly, unless both parties discuss otherwise. Maybe you were looking forward to a paycheck to pay a certain bill and if you don't have that paycheck until the next week, they can't just expect you to not pay your bills because they changed things around last minute.

The vacation issue is touchy, since it seems like you did not discuss it before hand. I too have worked for families that paid me when they left on vacations, but I have also worked for families that didn't. It's just a subject that needs to be discussed before hand. Hopefully they are giving you a lot of notice. And now you will have to tell them that in the future, you will need to be paid, if that's something you need. Understandably!

As far as the mother's tardiness, that is a huge issue. I would tell her that from now on, you will have to charge double time when she is late. That might get her home on time, but then again it might not. Sometimes it's just part of the job, but at least you can get some overtime if the behavior continues.

You have to put your foot down. You sound like a great nanny and since you already are not being paid much, it sounds like they know you aren't going anywhere and they will continue to take advantage. Put your foot down now, or it will just get worse.

and.... said...

Oh, yeah and the coke issue is just beyond hilarious! DO NOT REPLACE IT! Tell her that unless you are told to save something, there is no way you could have known. I usually don't eat or drink the last of anything at work, but on the few occasions that I have, I have never been asked about it or told to replace it. It's not like she was going to use it for a certain recipe!! That is the silliest thing I have ever heard.

JK said...

I would try to get a retail Holiday job that would only last thru Christmas and then give notice to the family. Retail might not be your thing but maybe try a Children's shop of some type.... at least it would get you thru until you start school.

nyc mom said...

They are very real issues and if I were you I would give two week's notice and leave. They are taking advantage because they figure they have you in a bind since you plan to leave in January. The vacation is debatable since it was not discussed (though I strongly believe you should be paid). The diet coke, delayed pay, and lateness are just ridiculous.

It's already October and you only have 3 months of work left. They have already told you you aren't getting paid for 3 of the 12 remaining weeks. No way I would stick this position out. You don't need the reference since you are already accepted to start nursing school. I think JK's idea is excellent - just get a holiday retail position and move on.

Manhattan Nanny said...

You are certainly not spoiled. Your employers sound horrid. As I see it, you have three choices.

Look for another job, which I understand you are reluctant to do.

As you will be leaving in Jan. you could just suck it up for the three months to come, knowing it will soon be over.

You could ask for a sit down and have a serious talk. Make it clear that being laid off for three weeks is a financial hardship that you simply cannot accept. I don't think they can replace you easily on short notice, and they must know they are in the wrong doing this, so you are in a good negotiating position.

Good luck, let us know what happens, and next time, don't drink the last coke!

Ariel-chan said...

These are all things that should have been written into the contract and discussed before taking the job! If you want these things, you can't count on your employer's good will to take care of you - you have to ask for it up front from the beginning.

LoveChapstick said...

This is insane! I'm not sure if standing up for yourself will do any good with these people. Just run!

If you can't find temp nanny gig, just pick up a holiday sales job or something until your classes start.

You seem like you have a very big heart and I'm sure you care a lot about the twins. But these people don't seem to appreciate what you do for them, and you're clearly destined for bigger things.

Best of luck.

MinuteMuggle said...

Time to start job-hunting. They sooo do not deserve you!

Don't worry, you sound great, you will find something else. Just use your time to find another job and you will get one, even if it is in a childcare center.

And spoiled? HA! More like they (the family) SUCK!!!!!

mom said...

They sound difficult, HOWEVER, since it is already almost mid October, I would personally just suck it up and be happy knowing it will end very soon. Yes, it feels soooooo good to ride off on your high horse...until it comes time to feed it.

If you ever choose to nanny again, you can use this valuable experience to insist on better terms in your contract from the start.

OP said...

OP here. Several people mentioned the contract. I am not a new kid on the block. I have nannied for years, so I know how to navigate through the ups and downs of issues like contracts. I did not see the need for a vacation time clause because I was assured they were not intending to take a vacation. My fault. Yes I got that. But the other stuff was negotiated in the contract. I will be charging overtime from now on each time she is late. As for the food/drink issue, I will just NOT eat or drink anything. I will bring my own from home. I think I am just going to stick it out. Maybe not. Who knows? Thanks for the advice.

Only Dad Here said...

Ok let's get real here. You know and I know that you drank all of those cokes. We used to think our Nanny was wonderful until one day she finished the last slice of salami, and boy did I let her have it. Let's just say she will never again touch a piece of dry aged pork product in my fridge.

Pay up what you owe and replace those cokes; and while you're about it pick me up some salami I'm almost out.

grumble grumble "You Nannies are all the same" grumble grumble


You seem nice and they sound terrible. It can't hurt to look for something else while you endure the next 12 weeks.

mom said...

Why not just buy a six pack and call it even. (Unless...did you, by chance, drink most or all of the 12 pack over the course of several days?) It's easier not to cause tension where you are going to be working for just a short time now....even if you are completely in the right. There is a lot to be said for not having to work in a tense environment. (But I would keep eating there because that is the agreement.)
And if you all of a sudden start charging overtime, they may just fire you out of the blue...knowing that you are leaving in January anyway.
Maybe that's just fine with you, but at least consider the possibility. At this point, you need to decide what you you ultimately want and do the best for yourself in this interim period. You do have the option of going seasonal retail...but that is also on the minds of every other person out of work right ow, so who knows how available those jobs are going to be this season, as compared to prior years.
I'm fairly conservative..."a "bird in the hand" kind of person. You may be different.

mom said...

PS I don't mean to imply that you shouldn't have consumed all the Cokes...I'm just trying to wrap my mind around why she suddenly snapped over them and expects you to replace them when you are supposed to be allowed to eat there.

My bro in law used to visit often, and my husband was working out of town. We started with about a case of beer in the fridge (which I drank none of because i was pregnant.) I always gave him free reign of the fridge, and he enjoyed a few beers each visit. Until one time he came over and was aggravated because there was no beer. It occurred to me only then that he had consumed the entire case himself. I had not kept an eye on the supply because we were not drinking beer.

OP again said...

Dear Dad- No I most certainly did NOT drink all of the sodas. MB took one in her lunch most days. I had 2 out of the entire 12 pack. Don't assume things. Because clearly you have no idea. I can only hope that you were kidding. Mom, the only reason I mentioned overtime was because she gets home 30 minutes to an hour late than the agreed upon time. I babysit on the side and have been late to several jobs because of this. I told her and she does not seem to care.

helaine said...

I would fire you for your lack of intelligence and reasoning abilities. If you cannot recognize sarcasm, perhaps you might too struggle with fear, danger, need.

OP! said...

Thanks Helaine. Perhaps you did not read where I said I can only hope you are kidding. But thanks for your sound advice! Hope you can catch the sarcasm.

Village said...

Run and run fast is GREAT advice. These people are takers. And they will take and take and take. You need to find a new job ASAP, and use the Thanksgiving break as your notice.

OP again said...

That's a good point Village. Thanks to everyone. Most of you have been quite helpful. Nice to know there is a "cyber support system". I appreciate this site and all of you. Thanks gain.

Been there 2 said...

OP, your dilemma is the perfect illustration of how horrible families treat their nannies. We work so much, work for little pay..and this is the respect we get!
This family makes me so angry, my blood boils.

shel said...

promise to ask for a contract in your next job. promise me this. it's the one thing that you can fall back on if you need to. without it,'s he said, she said, you're screwed.

you are not a spoiled nanny, but you are being taken full advantage of.

shel said...

dangit, hit send too fast.

ask the parents to sit down with you and list out all you told us (in a professional way). such as: "when i first started this job you told me a, b and c. now you are saying x, y and z which is totally different than we originally discussed. what should i go by?"

if they work with you to adjust things and make it work, then perhaps you can ask for it all in writing "so that everyone is clear and there is no confusion". or write one up yourself.

or, look for a job where they respect you. good luck!

world's best nanny said...

You are not spoiled. Your employers are walking all over you!

I normally would advise someone to run quickly away, but since you start school in January, just stick it out 'til then.

No family will hire a nanny that'll only we working for 2/3 months. However, I hope this family is not mean enough to let you go say on Christmas Day!

anonymouse said...

OP, onlydadhere did write that he was kidding. Before I read the part where he said he was joking, I was ready to go off on him too, but you made yourself much less likable with your little freak out at him.

But besides that, don't buy them any coke. That's ridiculous.
I know you said you would probably just suck it up and keep the job, but if you do you are seriously getting ripped off. I would make a run for it, especially if you can find a temp nanny job or holiday retail job. Mom makes a good point about that being the go-to job for everyone who is unemployed right now though.

And Shel, OP already said she had a contract and specified why vacation time was not included in it.

Vanessa said...

Yup get out of there as soon as possible. You have not been spoiled. You have been treated the way parents should treat their nannies, with respect and consideration. This family has absolutely no respect for you. Get another job.

MinuteMuggle said...


I didn't find OP to be any less likable when she went off on Dad. it was a pretty long joke and when I first read it I thought he was serious too.

and shel already said "hit send to fast" in her second post meaning that she now understood that OP had a contract. Seems like we are not the only ones who skim things too fast sometimes!
(you do too!)

Anonymouse said...

MinuteMuggle, I did see that Shel said she hit send too fast, I just took it as her not done with her comment, and not as her now knowing about the contract. That was actually not totally clarified in her 2nd post.
Also, I said in my post that I also was annoyed about the dad's post before I saw that he was kidding. Honestly, I am totally on OP's side here. I think the family she works for sucks and that she is not being a spoiled nanny at all. However, I still think that the way the OP went off on onlydadhere made her seem pretty bitchy, and I think that OPs in general should read things more carefully than other posters since almost every post is actually directed at them.
Admittedly, much of my post was also bitchy, I guess I was in a bad mood at the time, and not in such an awesome one currently, and I apologize for that.

MinuteMuggle said...

please don't apologize. nobody is bitchier than I. seriously!
hope your day gets better!

ewww said...

helaine, stfu

so long said...

I'm a nanny, too, and I like to offer some flexibility to my families. But there's being flexible, and there's being completely taken advantage of. I think you should "inform" the mother that families pay their nannies for times when the family is on vacation, and that you expect this will be the case with them, as well.
If I were you, and they still would not pay the vacation time, I would probably work until they leave, and not return after that (which will only be a few weeks before you start school). Either, as others have said, find a retail job or try to pick up extra babysitting hours during the holidays/school breaks.
Also, I just have to add: after they travel across the country for 3 weeks with infant twins with significant health issues, maybe they will learn to appreciate you a little more.

CuriousDad said...

Sounds like they are attempting to use you as mucha s possible before you leave, they will keep dragging out issues over the course of the next three months. IN otherwords they have already said goodbye to you.
They may have not planned for the vacation. But, it also may be a symptom of money problems, if they suddenly are taking a vacation and will not need to pay you. Possibly: one member of the family needs to use up leave time before losing their job or getting hours cut. They switched from a weekly to a bi-weekly basis, possibly that shows money flow issues. Also the Mom seems to be working more, is she trying to make up for a loss of money somewhere else perchance? Or ensure her job has some stability?
Eitherway they are taking advantage of you, choose to stick it out or choose to go somewhere else.

MinuteMuggle said...


you are in need of serious therapy. and a drink.

Manhattan Nanny said...

Minute Muggle,
"nobody is bitchier than I. seriously!"
Not so! I won't mention any names, but......SHE'S BAAAACK!

MinuteMuggle said...

uh-oh! take cover!

nanny lala said...

Run Run as fast as you can!!!!!!They sound awful!!!!!!!!! They are going out of town they need to pay you!!!!Respect on both sides....Thats all I need to say

so evil said...

I LOVE the idea of working for them until they go on vacation and then when they come back, just flake out on them. If they are willing to screw you (with no pay) then do the same to them and see how it feels. Use that 3 weeks to get another job.

mom said...

Yes, because throwing one's own integrity out the window is a great way to "get back" at other people. NOT.

Take the high road, Nanny. That way they at least won't have let them take that from you too.

Other people will behave as they will..and not always to your benefit. But if you let their actions turn you into somebody you don't want to be...well, they have really "won" then.

Gamutrice said...

There seems to be a breakdown in communication going on here. Perhaps you are afraid to speak up for yourself but you needn't be. There are many people hiring right now for seasonal jobs so you could fall back on that option if need be. Here is what I suggest: After you have cashed your next paycheck--that is, after it has cleared with your bank - tell the parents that you need to speak with them. Write up a list of your terms so that you can all read from them. Be clear about the issues that concern you and also be aware (but do not tell them) that they need you more than you need them. Tell them that it is very important that communication be clear between you. Tell them that you need to be paid weekly. If you want to be paid while they are away, say so. If you think they are being unreasonable about the sodas, tell them. If you have to leave on time tell them that they must be punctual or pay you overtime (your hourly wage + half your hourly wage.)
You are an employee NOT a slave. If you want to be treated fairly then you MUST have the dignity and calm assurance to speak up for yourself. Some people abuse timid types and that appears to be what is going on here. I am not blaming you for the parent's bad behavior by any means. But it is true that we let people know how we wish to be treated by the way we respond to them. You are an adult, not a child. Do not "suck it up." The fact that you are wondering if you are spoiled tells me that you do not yet value yourself or your skills the way you should. You got into nursing school! That is so fantastic. You are obviously a bright, ambitious woman and you are going places! Look at yourself in the mirror and smile. You will soon be rid of these people. But others like them will come along. So, speak up for yourself now and learn to be calm and assertive and transform bad situations. If you cannot transform an untenable situation, draw up a plan of action and be willing - and financially able - to walk away.

mom said...

I think that's the best idea yet.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Your bosses sound horrible! Why anyone treats their nannies like crap is beyond me. I have never been asked to buy food for any house I have worked at unless it is with their credit card. Even if I wanted something solely for myself my bosses would pay for it.

As for them leaving for vacation and not paying you...ridiculous! I'm not sure where you are from but I'm sure you can find another job that has flexible hours taking care of children. Having a nanny job where the parents treat you like crap and take advantage of you will only result in your eventually hating your job. Find a job where they treat you nice and respect what you do each day.

cali mom said...

Jumping ahead, but I'm with Mom and Only Dad here. First off, the advice to "go get a retail job" is kinda like telling someone to "go and get some more money". In case you all hadn't heard, our economy is sucking right now and there are literally hundreds of people applying for most job openings and probably more for the less-skilled jobs.

I think these employers are total a**holes, and NO WAY should you buy them 24 cans to replace one. Nor should you refuse to consume a single crumb or drop of their rations from now on, because that was not the deal ou agreed to. So eat and drink within reason and stick up for yourself. The vacation pay is iffy because you didn't have any clause for that so I'd say you have to let that go.

You could certainly TELL the mom that you will now be charging her double time for when she is late, but what makes you think they'll acually pay you that? The're trying their best to screw you around in every way possible and they know you don't plan to stay long anyway so they could just come back from vacation with a new plan. I'd say tell her that, and if she doesn't include the proper amount in your next paycheck, be prepared with whatever plan you decide on beforehand. (Stay and suck it up, walk and miss a couple months of pay). I get the impression you are being paid under the table so unemployment pay is not a consideration?

Nanny PA said...

Cali mom, I think that it's incredibly audacious to assume that the OP is being paid under the table considering she has mentioned that she is experienced in negotiating contracts, etc.

Unemployment may not be an option because it would be the OP's choice to leave the position. And she would have to prove a good cause for her leave which could be tricky. You also cannot claim unemployment after quitting to attend school, which she eventually will.

You also cannot legally demand to be paid double for overtime hours. Only time and a half.

And so what about the economy as far as a temp job goes? Sure there's stiff competition, but we shouldn't close all doors.

OP, if talking to your employers doesn't seem to resolve these issues, in may be in your best interest to try your hand at other things. To get into PA school, I'm required to have 1,000 hours of healthcare experience. I'm working part-time as a nurse's aide for now; it doesn't pay much, but I enjoy it. I think it will really enhance my learning experience and I'm meeting really great people. Maybe you'll find something similar.

CuriousDad said...

Nanny PA, my apologies if I come off harsh. But this statement is incorrect.
"You also cannot legally demand to be paid double for overtime hours. Only time and a half.”
Under “normal” work place rules, you are entitled by law to a minimum of 1.5 times your pay for any hours worked over 40 in a pay week. Not because the boss was late and you had to stay late. Nor because you work nights or weekends or holidays. Only for working over 40 hours in a pay week. (Pay week can be Wednesday thru Tuesday as long as it is 7 days long.)
That said:
However, that does not mean you cannot negotiate for better then time and a half rates and bonuses for special days/situations of work. So legally you can demand 10 or 50 times your hourly wage for anything worked over the first half hour of a pay week, or a $50 a week surcharge to be on call, or double time for working holidays, ior even a $50 surcharge everytime the boss is late. But unless it written down in your contract, it is only above 40 hours worked that you can demand 1.5 times pay.
Please note I am only talking about Federal law, states can and do vary from the Federal law. But Federal law is the base line in every state.
For those interested in the overtime rules by the department of Labor here is the website.

CuriousDad said...

Oh and as to the statement I amde of: "But unless it written down in your contract, it is only above 40 hours worked that you can demand 1.5 times pay."
The Boss can suddenly say, "I do not need you in for the full 8 hours tommorrow, your hours will be 7-11, the day will be cut short by 4 hours. Have a nice day. So much for that overtime late you thought you were getting. :/
State and Federal laws give you some protections, but you need to get a written contract and enforce that contract if you want anything else.

Psyber Chica said...

This is one of those that I really want an update on...I hate not getting updates.

OP said...

OP here. I wanted to give you guys an update. I spoke to MB about the vacation time and she agreed to pay me when they go on vacation IF I come during my regular hours each day and do light house cleaning. I think that is absurd. Anyway we are meeting this week to discuss things further. I haven't decided what I am going to do yet. I guess we will see how our discussion goes. Thanks for all the advice.

ChiNanny said...

I can see them expecting you to work for your pay, but how can you clean a house that's not lived in for three weeks straight? Won't you be done after a few days? At least there's some discussion. Good luck.

OP said...

Chi Nanny: I am not a housekeeper. I am a nanny. That is what I was hired to do. Not clean house. I do light housekeeping during work days but should not be expected to clean their house each day for 3 weeks.

ChiNanny said...

You're right you're not a housekeeper. You're also a nanny without vacation in your contract, so you're stuck. Either bend a little and meet them halfway and get paid, or go without the money. This seems like a live and learn situation.

I personally would clarify what they mean by light housecleaning, and as long as it's reasonable, do it because I would rather have a paycheck and be able to pay my bills. I guess it depends what's important to you.

Janet English said...

So how are you receiving a paycheck while they are away? Be careful here. Make sure you get your money in advance.

I say commit to it as a plan B and make plans for another job. Once you get a job- run! They can deal with the incovenience of not having a sitter when they return.

Bloomfield babysitter said...

Accepting a positron and then not being happy with what you are being paid is no one's fault but your own.

Taking the last of something and replacing it is common courtesy. Chances are your employer got annoyed because when she went for a soda, there was one. Asking to replace the whole pack is a bit much but I would place one can in the refrigerator and tell her you did so.

I have no answer about the employer arriving home later and later. Although it's inconsiderate and rude, it seems to be the norm in our line of work. They start out great, they get comfortable, then they begin to take advantage as they know they can rely on you.

My husband had to work seven years in his company to get three weeks paid vacation. Next year, God willing, he will have his tenth anniversary and will get four weeks. Sounds like she is taking a little bit of advantage because you won't be working for her much longer.

If you were going to stay on longer I would say you need to tell your employer it's time to sit down and renegotiate your contract. But since you are leaving three months you might just have to grin and bear it all. Unless you get yourself a temporary position for the holidays! Good luck!

Bloomfield babysitter said...

Accepting a positron and then not being happy with what you are being paid is no one's fault but your own.

Taking the last of something and replacing it is common courtesy. Chances are your employer got annoyed because when she went for a soda, there was one. Asking to replace the whole pack is a bit much but I would place one can in the refrigerator and tell her you did so.

I have no answer about the employer arriving home later and later. Although it's inconsiderate and rude, it seems to be the norm in our line of work. They start out great, they get comfortable, then they begin to take advantage as they know they can rely on you.

My husband had to work seven years in his company to get three weeks paid vacation. Next year, God willing, he will have his tenth anniversary and will get four weeks. Sounds like she is taking a little bit of advantage because you won't be working for her much longer.

If you were going to stay on longer I would say you need to tell your employer it's time to sit down and renegotiate your contract. But since you are leaving three months you might just have to grin and bear it all. Unless you get yourself a temporary position for the holidays! Good luck!