Received Friday, December 11, 2009
I'm a nanny and I need some advice on how to approach and handle my current situation. Let me start off by saying I really love the family I work for. I adore the kids, the parents are fun, easy going, and I genuinely enjoy my job. As a live-in nanny I know things can get sticky. Emotions sometimes seem to a run a little higher (or at least in my experiences) and I'm not sure how to handle the moms random "outbursts".
Things have been said over the past couple of months and I've just let them go because I'm not one to make waves, especially at a good job but this past week something happened and I thought the mother was totally out of line. Let me just point out a key factor: I use my own private vehicle for this job. I pay for it, pay the insurance, pay for my own gas, and pay for the wear and tear to the vehicle. When I started this job I had an older vehicle and over thanksgiving got a new one. When I was cleaning out my old car I realized that certain things the kids had brought in my car had ruined the seats. There were pen marks, part of a melted crayon, food under their seats, and a hole where either a pen or a pencil had poked through the seat.
Well the mother asks me to do her a favor and take her to the shop to pick up her car. Of course I said sure no problem. Before we leave one of the kids is asking to bring things in the car and she said "yes" without even consulting me. I then said "I'd really prefer if they didn't bring anything". She asked if they could bring a paper and pen/pencil and I said "I'd rather not, the nintendos would be better". I'm all for kids bringing things on long car rides to occupy themselves but we were only going down the road. So the kids leave the room to go finish playing before we leave and she wants to talk to me. She proceeds to tell me that she "doesn't ask for much and when she does, she doesn't like to be told no, and if I'm going to lay down the law and be like no, no, no then we need to discuss that because she doesn't like to tell her kids no". She then went into "we try to make this job so easy and simple and we do what we can to help you out". And she's right this job is simple and easy but I didn't ask for her to make the job simple and easy, it was presented that way.
The only time they helped me out was when my former vehicle had mechanical problems but I paid them back, never missed a payment to them, and its been paid off for over a month now. And I completely agree with her on one point she made, which was I am partly responsible for making sure the kids take their things out of my car. Totally true and I agree. I should also always know what they are bringing into my car but at the same time if I'm helping one of them get ready to go and the other is sticking things in their pocket I'm not always aware of what comes in my vehicle but still I agree with her on that point. I mean the conversation went on for close to 20-30 minutes. I didn't say much because I was completely stunned at how she just kept going on and on about how it was "rude of me" and then I started to get upset. I listened to everything she said and I didn't agree one bit. So I just let it go and now I'm asking for help.
My problem is I have a feeling she was having a bad week but it's not the first time her anger has been directed at me when it's not been my fault. We have had 2-3 other issues like this (which she later apologized for) but I'm not sure I can handle her "outbursts" for much longer, especially when it comes to things like my time off, my car, or my personal space. This happened on friday and here I am still upset by it. I'm a nanny who feels like family but knows that when this year is over, the jobs end because they don't need me. I need a way to bring the "outbursts" to her attention without it becoming an emotional scene, I need this to be a strictly professional matter.
How would you guys suggest I handle this? Has any other nanny been in this position? Thanks in advance for any help.