The Grateful Critic...

Received Thursday, February 25, 2010 I am a nanny. I have been with my current family for seven months. My previous family of two years moved to Chicago in May. Thank goodness they gave me two months severence pay, because it was hard to find a job. When i say hard, I mean, I have my standards too. I am a professional nanny. There are some jobs I won't consider. For example, I don't want to work too far from home, I won't work for a single parent, (women in particular have boundary issues), I won't work in a position that requires any housekeeping, (I prefer a position where the family employs a full time housekeeper; once a week doesn't cut it, I won;t work for a family that does not respect my off time. I arrive punctual and demand that they do so, too. As part of contract negotiations, I specify my overtime rate begans to accrue after the tenth minute they are late. My overtime rate is 1.75 times my regular rate and is paid in half hour increments, rounded up.

I think I do a fairly good job of screening families. Even so, I am not happy with my current position. You might wonder where I get the audacity to make the demands I make, but I do this up front so the family knows what my breaking points are. This way they have the option to accept me or not. I don't want a job, I want a job that I can enjoy.

Do I enjoy my current job? Not all that much.

I'll list for you the problems I have encountered. These are problems I just deal with quietly, as I am grateful to have a job in these disturbing times.
My employer is a narcissist, stay at home mother who is never home because she is always working out, getting spray tans, shopping or having laser skin treatments. This, is her business. However, she never passes up the opportunity to impart some of her beauty or fitness advice on me. I am 5'5 and weigh about 160 lbs. The other day we were walking up the steps at the same time and she said, "hold it". She then put her hand on my thigh and instructed me how to contract my muscles while I walked up the steps to tone muscle and lift my buttocks. I kid you not. She also loves to suggest lotions and potions that work for her. Her lotions and potions are not in my budget, but she does not consider this, for she is in her own world. I have hair on my arms. She tells me, "I used to have arm hair, I felt like an orangatang. You need to laser that off. It will take six sessions and be gone forever. I'll make an appointment with my gal for you". Again, she just doesn't get that I don't have money to blow on 6 laser arm hair treatments, but she did make me so self conscious about my arm hair, I started layering tshirts with long sleeved shirts underneath.

I agreed to go grocery shopping as part of my job. No big deal. Wrong. I go to five markets a week and shop every day somewhere. I have been sent to Korean grocers and remote fish markets and whole foods all in one day. My lists are peppered with hard to find items. Grocery shopping is probably thirteen percent of my job.

I am a bit more eco friendly than my boss and her husband. I believe in recycling. She doesn't. I offered to handle all of the recycling for her. She said, "I don't want a bunch of ugly plastic containers around the house. Pass". She also told me on Monday that she "drank an entire six pack of diet coke on Sunday and smiled every time she tossed a can in the garbage". Yes, she thinks it's cool to be destructive.

She has two children, a boy and a girl. The boy she treats like gold. He can do no wrong. He was playing with his penis at the kitchen table and I said, "henry, lets use your hands to eat your cereal". Mom jumps in, "Henry, that is your personal penis. If you want to touch him, go in the bathroom" and then she shoots me a dirty look like I have somehow scarred him for life.
Her daughter is 19 months old. She blow dries her hair EVERY DAY except when she cannot because I give her a bath in which case I am instructed to BLOWDRY her hair. This is an all season thing. I can understand getting the wetness out of a child's hair, but the little girl's hair is thin and doesn't really hold water and mom likes to STYLE it.

Mom's relationship with her husband is wonderful. They don't fight. They speak respectfully to each other. He adores her and she him. But they love to show affection when they say their hellos and goodbyes. I am most often there during these exchanges as it usually breakfast and dinner time. We're talking movie kisses with slurping and spit as they part. Can you imagine how uncomfortable I am? The husband calls the house looking for his wife many times a week. He expects me to know where she is, but if she doesn't tell me where she is going, I don't ask.
My employer is also not very bright. The housekeeper had left a can of concentrated orange juice on the counter. I had passed it by and not done anything with it. A bit later, my employer says "taste this, does this taste bad". She is drinking a glass of orange juice from a juice class. I take a sip, it is overpowering. I say, "did you dilute it?" She just looks at me. I don't think she knew what dilute meant. I tell her she was supposed to add the cans of water to it and mix it in a picture. Her response, "Then why wouldn't I buy it from a carton?". (I don't know!)
The last annoyance that I care to mention here is my boss and her Internet savvy. She constantly needs my assistance and it doesn't matter if I am busy building castles downstairs. She will summon me by the house PA system, "I neeeeeeeeeed you". The pressing problems? She accidentally sent a blank email, she is stuck on all caps, her number key pad won't work, she has typed facebook as acebook and is trapped in to doing a bunch of surveys.

I get paid every Friday, on time. My check never bounces. I don't have to remind either of them and they are never late. To those with jobs who think they have real grievances, I say suck it up and be grateful. And when the weather is bad, the father stays home and they don't want or need me.


Elizabeth said...

Hi.. I'm sorry to hear of your difficult nanny situation.. I understand how it could be hard to work for someone who makes those kind of comments. However, I feel I should make a comment about your single mother comment. I am a single mother of a 16 month old, and I work as a nurse. I have a nanny that works part time for me three days a week. We have a great professional relationship, and I have never had any "boundary issues" with her. I don't know about other single mothers on this site, but your comment was very offensive to me.

oh_whatever said...

I couldn't get through this post. I toughed it out through the first paragraph and gave up. There are way too many grammar mistakes to take this person seriously.

ATL Nanny said...

I don't understand the point of this post. The author concludes a lengthy, rambling, complaint-ridden post with this suggestion: "To those with jobs who think they have real grievances, I say suck it up and be grateful. " Utterly baffling.

just saying. said...


I am a single mom to an autistic child. I work from home. I am a nanny myself so I take care of my child and another child who I have been a nanny for for three years.

Not all single moms have boundary issues. I think your comment was awfully judgmental and closed-minded. Also it makes you sound dumb.

Spelling... said...

She doesn't need to mix the juice in a "picture" but in a "pitcher."

Janet English said...

The mom's annoying. In fact, she kind of reminds me of myself. And yes I know, that is not a flattering fact. The arm hair thing sounds like something I would completely say. Even the walking up the stairs comment. It's something I'm working on changing. Sad but hey, that's me. In the end of the day she chooses to live her life the ways she wants to, she has a happy relationship, and a comfortable life. I'd say that makes her the smart one. Ignorance does not mean you are stupid. Just unaware.

hardtodetermine . . . said...

Gee nanny, I can't decide who is more unlikeable, you or the woman you work for.

What is the point of your post?

MissMannah said...

I don't get it. Are you asking for advice or just wanting to gripe? Because to be honest, I don't think you really have anything to gripe about. The mother is weird, I'll give you that. But start enforcing your boundaries and tell her when she's making you uncomfortable. (Except the kissing her husband--it is their house and you don't have to watch.)

If you have such a long list of family requirements, why didn't you consider stay at home moms? They are #1 on my list of families I won't choose, and I know several nannies who agree with me.

gretchen said...

This was in response to the rant before mine, "Nanny drops a big hint". My point was she is going to have a helluva time finding a new job.

Rrrrrrearrrr phtttt phttts, kitties with claws out today.

Manhattan Nanny said...

Your Momboss sounds quirky, but frankly, I would find her entertaining. I laughed out loud at the paragraph about the computer..
Some moms do have boundary issues. It has nothing to do with whether they are single, married, divorced or in a menage a trois. Rather than avoiding single moms, I think you should avoid SAHM's. If they are at work they won't be worrying about your hairy arms.

nyc mom said...

I found your post entertaining. I respect your approach much more than the prior rant. I don't take issue with your numerous requirements, just as I don't take issue with employers who are demanding. As long as you are honest and direct at hiring AND stick to the mutually agreed upon Work Agreement I have no issues. You don't want to do Housekeeping and you make that clear when interviewing? Fine. Just as employers who want a shared Nanny/Hker position and state that at hiring is also equally valid.

Your employer sounds about the polar opposite of me in every way, but I'm sure I have some equally annoying quirks. And I too found the internet comments hilarious. I hope you find a balance in this job, or a future one that makes you happy.

seattle said...

She is not asking for advice. It says "Rant" at the top.

And, I can see why some may be offended by the single mom thing. But really, it doesn't make her dumb.

When you make comments like that- even if you're right, you're wrong. Because you sound just as bad.

Personally, I don't think it was offensive. Just their opinion.

And as for the spelling- It would have made a bigger impact had she used spell-check before sending. But there weren't that many mistakes, so if you couldn't get through it because of "how bad" it was, I think you have bigger issues.


Village said...

If I wanted my trains to run on time, I would call this nanny, but otherwise, I wouldn't want to be around her. A little too rigid for me. I think the Mom sounds like a hoot. A little bit of humor goes a long way. The nanny should try it.

nannyneedsanap said...

Yeah, the mom sounds annoying. Next time she reccomends one of her expensive products, tell her you wish you could afford it. Hey, maybe she'll buy some fancy lotions for you. Maybe you could reccomend a computer class or a cooking class that she should try. I'd just laugh her off. If you really can't take it, start looking for another job, otherwise suck it up.

JacksMom said...

I understand annoyance is all relative, but I think things could be much, much worse. It sounds like your contract is being faithfully honored and you're well taken care of. I am not a nanny, nor do I employ one. But, nobody is perfect and when you spend as much time in a family's environment as nannies do, you are bound to become privvy to all the little human flaws that each of us posess. Overall, your situation doesn't sound horrible. I think you should just suck it up and not make a big deal about your issues.

While PDAs make many of us uncomfortable, think about how much worse it would be if they were awful to each other. At least their children are having a loving marriage modeled for them, rather than an abusive one.

On the computer thing: I work for one of the most seriously brilliant men in his field. His brilliance, however, does not extend to technical isseus. He recently called me in to his office because he wanted to know whether it was possible to move the contents of an Outlook email to a Word document without having to retype it. To this day, he praises me as a genious for making that happen in approximatley 5 seconds... cut & paste. It's a beautiful thing. My point is, there are brilliant people who are absolutely clueless about things that are second nature to others of us. And, because they are the ones paying our salaries, we do what we have to do... end of story.

Nannycams4ever said...

Good post. The parents still in love with each other is a reliable sign of a balanced household, and happy, secure children.

uwouldn'ttakecareofmykid said...

I have to agree: This was entertaining. Of course, the mom seems hilarious. The nanny (if she's real) seems like the nutcase. Funny post though.

snarkynanny said...

As a nanny- I would never work for a SAHM. These SAHM with nannies are my ultimate annoyance. Lazy much?

To the Nanny- lighten up. Have fun.

I LOLed at the penis out at the table thing.

Next time your BossMom is on your last nerve squint your eyes and look at her closely. Say, "When is the last time you got your upper lip waxed? I think I see some stray hairs popping up." I am sure she will run to the bathroom as quick as she can leaving you with a little piece and quiet.

world's best nanny said...

I've got to tell you, things don't seem all that bad. So you have a shallow boss? Who cares? They are paying you, they're not overworking you, so what's the big deal? I have to say your grammar leaves much to be desired so don't think yourself better than the mom.

Nicole said...

I worked for a single mom for over 3 years and they were one of my favorite families. She never had any boundary issues and was really grateful, generous, and fun to work for. I now live halfway around the world and still speak with her once/wk. Don´t count out single moms... or dads for that matter!

chgonanny said...

I have to comment on the PDA thing. When I first started at my job, there was such a weird distance between the parents. When they were in the room together, you could feel the tension. Luckily, the kids were young enough that they didn't see it. I knew they didn't believe in divorce, but the petty little snide remarks I heard were AWFUL.

Eventually, I think they went to counseling and now they're much better.

But I think that's a million times worse than seeing your bosses get all kissy-face. I was worried for a while that all the snarky remarks were going to effect the children negatively.

Yes, your boss sounds a tad obnoxious and in her own world, but a lot of bosses are! I like the idea of giving her a little comment back, or pissed off expression. You either need to tell her to back off or find another job.

Just Me said...

About the single parent thing: My dad was a single parent for several years before marrying my step-mom and hired babysitters to watch me and my older sister. There was never a problem and that was that.
I think the OP has other issues unmentioned that must have to do with single parents. They're still people. Maybe she just had a few bad experiences but never should she ever stereotype single parents! They are just trying to do right by their kids, like all good parents!

Ravenswood Nanny said...

It sounds like you would get this kind of mother for the types of jobs you are willing to accept.

Laugh it off nanny, I was laughing through everything you said the mom was doing, especially the internet part - sounds like my mother.

Vanessa said...

Meh! This post is ridiculous. Shut up, take your check, do your job. Honestly, I wouldn't want to deal with either of you.

oh well said...

This family does not sound too bad. Every employer has annoying quirks. They pay you on time and seem to respect and trust you. To me it does not seem to be so much a case of "suck it up" as of "count your blessings".

KathrynJB said...

As others have said, the nanny seems like she's a rigid, judgmental little thing. And Mom is not being crushed under the weight of her brilliance, or her sensitivity to others. BUT -- they love each other, they pay her on time, and Dad likes his kids enough that he often prefers to stay home and be with them!!! Gosh, this job must be hell.

Phoenix said...

The way all you single moms are responding to the OP's comment is the very reason she doesn't want to work for one.

i myself yould never work for a single mother. Hell I don't really even like working with them as a peer. In the event that parenting comes into conversation most think they know everything. They think they have it the hardest. When in fact they have it the easiest. It is much harder to maintain a healthy relationship with your man if you have kids. A single mom does't need to worry about anything but her kids.

So I agree with OP about the single mom thing.

cali mom said...

Anyone know who "fuck"-head is yelling at?

Chitown Nanny said...

Oh my goodness. People chill, I think you all missed the point. I think she meant that in this economy we all have to tough it out with jobs that we wouldn't normally keep. Then she decided to give us a good laugh. I found the post extremely entertaining, probably because I am a nanny and I have worked for people like this before. "Personal Penis" story, hysterical! Here's to jobs that pay the rent. (clink clink:)

a seattle nanny said...

1. Look, I want to focus on the children in my care, but I'm also there to make the parents' lives easier. I can understand not wanting to be the housekeeper, but to flat out reject the very notion of doing a few things because it isn't with your status as a professional nanny is a little narcissistic yourself.

2. So what if she wants her daughter's hair blow dried every day? I bet she wants a bath every day too.

3. I tend to be honored when my help is sought, especially in as it relates to computers, but then again I've been known to meet perfect strangers via Craigslist to solve their problems, at no cost.

I do agree:
1. Henry shouldn't play with his mini Henry near the table.
2. You should say something about the slurping kisses. It's alright to admit that you're not comfortable with that.

Since you are disconnected from this family, I would suggest saving all the money you can - you never know when they might notice the disconnect and treat you like those diet coke cans.