Saturday

Should Nanny Attend Birthday Party?

Received Saturday, November 14, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I am a full time nanny and two of the children I watch are in school. The third grader is having a rock climbing birthday party on an upcoming Sunday. She will have about 15 school friends there. I see the girl about 2.5 hours a day, and more on Thursdays. I work about 48 hours per week. I would prefer to have my weekend time to myself, especially since I don't have much time to myself. I wouldn't be paid to attend the party but I am sure I would be helping out because I wouldn't know what else to do at a kid's party.I also don't think the girl will miss me much with so many of her school friends at the party. But I don't want her mother to think I don't care. What should I do?

26 comments:

Nanny who loves parties said...

I had a similar issue and I left it up to the birthday child/family. I bet the parents would need an extra pair of hands. Attend and help out- volunteer- it makes you look good, in hopes of a raise or bounus- especially with the holidays coming.

Naomi said...

Or let them know you can come but you'll have to leave a bit early
Show your face, give a present.....it shows you've made the effort
Volunteering/helping out can make you look good, but it also can set a precedent( perhaps to your disadvantage)

TC said...

I've been in the same situation myself two years now in a row. The first year it was a birthday party at the house and I did help clean up and everything else even though I wasn't asked, when I went to leave the mom handed me a gift bag with 100 dollars in it because she said that even though I didn't have to she knew I would be helping. The next year they had the party at a play place and I did show up for about an hour and then left. I just told the mom that I had a ton of errands to run but I was glad I could stop by.

Personally I HATE kids birthday parties, but being a nanny that sort of thing comes with the territory. I would suggest that you show up because it will reflect good on you. The parents will see that it's not just a job to you and that you do care about the kids and you aren't just looking forward to when you get off.

Anonymouse said...

I also think you should go to the party. It will definitely make you look good, which could lead to a raise, bonus, &/or at least a little more job security. I wanted my weekends to myself when I was a nanny also, but this will probably just be a 2-4 hour commitment, right?

Nanny Lisa said...

I agree w/the rest of the posters here....some excellent advice is given. Go the party (for the sake of the child) and if asked, sure volunteer. If not asked to help out, then just bring a gift and stay an hour...then say you have errands to run. It will mean a lot to the child who wants to believe that you enjoy spending time w/her even though you are not being paid to do so. :)

Nanny Ellie said...

The first family I worked for never invited me to the kids parties, and I was hurt by that because I would have liked to go. The mom would come home for a week before the party with decorations and favors and ask me to help plan games. I was hurt that she could include me in the process of setting up the party, but then not invite me. I was very close with the kids and would have enjoyed seeing that milestone. The family I'm with now invited me to the little girls party, and I'm so glad they did.
I dunno, for me I feel that I'm with the kids every day of their lives (ok, 40 yrs/wk), why wouldn't I want to celebrate them? But I love my kids and the family and WANT to be there, it might be different for you if you don't have that connection.

TC said...

Nanny Ellie I love the kids I watch too and WANT to be there, but that doesn't mean I enjoy or even want to attend birthday parties. I just don't enjoy large groups of unruly kids and having to make small talk with parents whom I don't know, don't have a thing in common with and only see once a year.

I show my love in other ways, I take the kids on the weekend just because or I take them to do something special that I pay for just because. Love doesn't mean you have to attend birthday parties.

cali mom said...

I can see the argument that you should just go ahead and attend the party, grit your teeth and pretend there's nowhere else you'd rather be for an hour or so, because the family would be happy to have you there, appreciate your help, etc. I can also see how you'd rather NOT have a "work" commitment on your hard-earned day off.

I'd say if you are determined to NOT have to attend, but don't want to create any hurt feeling. the graceful way out wouldbe to make up an ironclad prior commitment that no one could argue with (though now it's at the last minute, it mas to look fishy). Something like your great aunt Clara's 85th birthday party that relatives are flying across the states for, or your closest childhood friend coming into town for that day only, and you're meeting her at the airport, etc. I don't really advocate lying, but if you DON'T want to go, I think it's better than hurting the child's feelings by letting her think you just don't want to come to her party.

Vanessa said...

Oh god it's not a big deal. I go to b-day parties and I don't have a lot of time to myself either. Just go for an hour do what you have to do and leave. You don't have to do anything to help out other than basic things that only involve the kids you watch, other than that you're a guest, and not expected to clean up or anything else.

I don't think attending a party or not counts at all when it comes to bonuses or raises, since it's not part of the job. But it's common courtesy especially if the family is nice to you.

Believe it or not, kids do notice and while they don't miss you while playing with their friends, they do notice your absence.

OP said...

OP here - minor monkey wrench.

Last night we got invited to our friend's child's sixth birthday at Chuck E Cheese on the same day.

Oh well, thanks for all the kind advice. I guess I will just have to choose.

Kaitlyn and Daniel said...

I strongly advise that you do NOT go for the whole party, and do not help out. Go, and stay for an hour, and leave. This indicates that you do have an interest in the child outside of the job, but that you also have an interest in your own life outside of work. Win-win.

nannyneedsanap said...

Wow, I can't believe so many nannies don't want to be a part of their charges birthday parties. I've always gone to my kid's parties, not because I like getting my butt stuck in a tunnel that smells like a dirty sweat sock, or because I like chasing around a giant cartoon mouse, or because I like making small talk with their uppity out of town relatives, but because I love my charges. I give up plenty of my off time to go to their parties, their sports games, school events in the evening. I feel good knowing they want me there to celebrate with them, and I know their parents appreciate the help.

Michelle said...

I always went for at least a portion of the party. I was never expected to help out, I would usually end up taking pictures at cake time and that was about it. I would end up having a nice time hanging out and chatting with the extended family and the moms and dads that I did know. I was with the same family for almost 6 years though and I formed an amazing bond with the kids and parents as well as the extended family so it was always a nice time to catch up and hang out while I wasn't on the clock.

I would suggest just swinging by for a bit and showing that you care. I think you've gotten a lot of good advice from the other people who've posted :)

ChiNanny said...

OP I would swing by briefly, but let them know ahead of time you have other obligations and have to attend that party as well.

I'm with you on not wanting to go to the party, and I don't think you should feel bad about feeling that way. I am not invited to my charges birthday parties and am glad because I wouldn't want to attend. I don't want to spend my off time working. I love my charges, but they are my job, not my family or children. I don't get to be there for all of the fun/milestone events in their life, and that includes birthday parties. I celebrate with them when I'm there (usually on their actual birthday) and then the party is for their family and friends.

nyc mom said...

As am employer, this has always been a sticky issue for me too. I have always wanted to invite our nannies and sitters, but also recognize that some might not want to attend and inviting puts them in an awkward position. I also don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by not inviting them. So we try to hold our small family cake/party during a time when our nanny is present. Then for the bigger friend party, I tell my nanny she is welcome to come, but in no way expected to and I totally understand wanting to rest on her time off. The other approach I have done is to offer my nanny to come and be paid to help out, that way she can be there and earn money. Luckily, our current nanny of about two years has a daughter close in age to our older two kids so we can easily and happily invite her daughter to the parties and everyone involved is happy!

For OP, I truly think you should not go if you don't want to for any reason: rest, disinterest, etc. Just politely decline. I can't imagine any employer who viewed you as a hard-working professional would be offended.

MissMannah said...

I'm surprised so many nannies do attend their charge's birthday parties. I have never gone to one and my current charge's birthday is coming up in 3 weeks and I have no intention of going. If the mother wants me to help out, I would ask for extra pay, and then only if I don't have a previous commitment. I love my work and I love my kids, but I also love my time off with my husband.

Not to say I don't celebrate their birthdays. I'll give them a gift and probably do something special like bake cookies or go out for an ice cream. But that is our own private celebration, I have no desire to be around the public one with 20 or so kids running around, with me sitting back feeling awkward for being "hired help."

another nanny said...

OP, don't feel guilty for not wanting to go. I was with a family that would routinely invite staff as "guests" with no strings attached, but of course they would always end up helping. Because it is so last minute, it's going to be difficult to get out of now. I would bring a present, stay for 30 minutes, and then take off. Tell the family, "it's a busy day, but I wanted to make sure to stop by." just make it clear you're not sticking around for long.

Bloomfield babbysitter said...

Anytime I have been invited to attend my charges parties or to their family events as a "guest" I have always ended up "working" for free. My niece, also a nanny has had similiar experiences. Now I always have "something else planned" when I am invited to my charges family events. If it's something really important I make sure "I can only stay for a few minutes due to prior commitments" then i beat it out of there within an hour or less. This way, resentment for being ill used has no chance to build up.

Bloomfield babysitter said...

Oh do not volunteer unless you want to be expected to volunteer for everything else in the future. Keep things professional. Buy the kids a gift and show your face if you want but leave it at that. No one likes a suck-up except for use as a doormat. :D

MinuteMuggle said...

I wouldn't go. Sounds like a pain in the ass if you ask me.

Jenna said...

I don't see a problem with going - as long as your employers are sane. I'm actually going to my charges birthday party this afternoon. It's just a family party and they wanted me there to share the exciting day! I know that my employers would never expect me to work today, or even help out at the party. They have invited me as a guest. I suppose this really depends on the type of people you work for. If they are the type to take advantage of you being there (and getting you to do some work), then you should decide if it's worth it. It does show quite a commitment to the job. But if they truly just want you there to share the day (as I know my employers do), then go and have fun!

*BIRTHDAYBOY* said...

i dont want to go to no party because i hate children

OP said...

Okay, except for the last guy, this is all some of the best advice I have seen on this site. Thanks!

Vanessa said...

To employers:


There shouldn't even be any doubt about inviting your nannies to birthday parties. They are a big part of your child's lives and more important than most of the people you invite. Even if you don't think she'll/he'll want to come, it doesn't kill you to invite them.

nyc mom said...

Vanessa,

But there *is* doubt for many employers about inviting their nanny for exactly the reasons why the OP was written - we don't want our nannies to feel obligated to attend something on their time off; don't want them to come and then end up helping (which is a normal response to any good employee in their work situation - it's hard to turn it off); and don't want to make them feel guilty if they don't want to attend. I do always default to the side of inviting my nanny, but I totally understand why the doubt exists for both nanny and employer. Of course there are bad employers who might not invite their caregiver because they don't want them there, but I think for most of us it's just one of those gray areas we overthink and worry about offending. As we see by the varying opinions on this thread, the issue is not clear cut!

Andrea said...

dont go.