My Day

Received Friday, April 16, 2010
a day in the life on I SAW YOUR NANNY My day starts at six am. I get up, make some tea, and while it’s stewing I get dressed and cleaned up. I drink it, and while I used to skip breakfast because I don’t like eating before eight am, these days I make myself eat one of those nutri-grain bars with my tea. I probably won’t get another chance to eat until well after noon. I leave the house, walk for twenty minutes to the bus stop and take the bus to work. Before going into the house, I take a quick peek in through the living room window to gauge the mood.

The three kids, one school age, a toddler and a baby, are all in their pyjamas. It’s half seven, and we have to leave at eight to be on time for school. As I get in the kids are messing with their toys; apparently the older two have had breakfast but the baby hasn’t. I usually feed him his breakfast. Dad is milling about downstairs doing God knows what, Mom is upstairs getting dressed. Optimistically, I stick on the kettle hoping I might get a quick cup of tea before I leave for the school run. The younger two both have filthy nappies although they’ve apparently been up and about for some time. Nobody has bothered to change them, they tend to wait for me to do it. Both kids have nappy rash frequently.

After I’ve changed the nappies and gotten the younger two into their day clothes (and convinced the older one to put on his school clothes, which he had been refusing to do) I start to feed the baby his breakfast. Mom emerges from downstairs, and after some cursory chit-chat she gets on my case about a tiff she had with another mother, whose nanny I happen to be friendly with. The tiff, in a nutshell, involves a trip abroad I had planned and warned Mom about months in advance and her inability to plan around it. She left it to the last minute to look for an alternate minder and chose to try and convince my nanny friend to take over my day off. Despite the obvious trouble with Mom not bothering to check references and her barely knowing my friend’s name, my friend’s employer seemed to think she was nanny-poaching and picked a fight. Mom chose to blame this on me, although I don’t know my friend’s employer and I didn’t know about the situation until the day I left.

The two older boys then decide to act up, the oldest torments the younger and the younger starts screaming. Dad and Mom stand around uselessly and since I’m busy feeding the baby (and they don’t like me to interfere while they’re there) it goes on until both children are in hysterical tears. This happens frequently when the parents are home; it never happens when I’m there. Dad escapes upstairs, Mom leaves, they calm down and I tell the oldest to get his coat on for school. Dad resurfaces to ‘help’, by handing me the boy’s coats. He gives me a snowsuit for the baby, despite it being 25 degrees outside. The snowsuit is two sizes too small. After I substitute the snowsuit for a fleece jacket, we leave the house fifteen minutes late. I never got my tea.

After dropping the oldest to school, myself and the youngest kids spend the next few hours at an interactive playgroup. We do this mainly because the middle child’s vocabulary has improved with exposure to children his own age, but also because Dad works from home on Wednesdays and he tends to dip in and out and get the kids riled up. To avoid this, I remove us from the house for most of the day. By the time the group play session finishes, it’s time to pick up the oldest from school. The boys have had their lunches and have their nap on the train to school. On the way back, the Dad calls me to check up, which he does frequently. Everything I say to him goes in one ear and out the other, and he tells me to take the kids to the park after school.

Mom and Dad seem to have a mild obsession with exercise and ask me to go to the park pretty much every day, to the point that I hate the park. The playground is a good forty minute walk through the park, and given that I’ve been asked to bathe the kids and have dinner on the table by half four (and I also have to clean up the messes in the dining room and kitchen, unpack the dishwasher and sort out the laundry) sometimes it just doesn’t work time wise. Discussing this with M+D is like talking to a brick wall; they think I just don’t manage my time very well. But since they leave the after-meals tidying up to me all the time, I tend to think they have more room on their schedules than I do. Certainly they have time to go jogging or train for marathons, but no time to change dirty nappies. They leave me with no time to read a book with the children, or draw pictures or bake cookies unless I forgo the park.

By half three, my energy levels are at an all time low and I’m still a bit upset from the drama this morning. I haven’t eaten since six am. I’m running on three cups of tea I got at the playgroup and a bottle of fruit juice. I am in no mood to go to the park, so I don’t. The kids play out in the back garden and have a great time. Because the middle kid is scared of spiders, we make a game of hunting one and giving it a name. When we find a big one, I trap it under a glass and middle kid names it Ben. We then release it, just in time for me to put on dinner. I eat a hasty slice of toast over the sink and dish up the food. After everyone eats, they have a bath and I get them into their PJs.

Dad finishes work and comes downstairs, and despite the kids being ready for bed he suggests they go to the park. The oldest boy is against this idea, he’s had a long day and is tired. Dad suggests they drive to the beach. The baby is due to go to bed in less than an hour. Faced with this confusion, the boys start bickering and physically fighting. When I give them a warning, Dad tells me off for trying to discipline them, telling me that they’re normally well-behaved so they don’t need discipline. I’m so sick and tired of this nonsense that I just put on my coat to leave. Before I go, I hear the start of a major tantrum but I don’t even look back.

I’ve been with this family for nine months. I’ve put up with laziness, behaviour problems, backbiting and all-round nastiness from people I thought were great employers when I first started. I’m quitting in a month.


PinkNanny said...

Well, it sounds like you know what you're doing. It's very sad and fascinating how a parent can hire someone for what is supposed to be a very loving job, and then treat that person like dirt. I don't get it and I don't think I ever will. They will be better suited to find a daycare.

nc said...

I hate it when parents are too lazy to change their kids diaper, but just wait for the nanny to do it.

Seriously? said...

I'm so glad you'll be out of there soon! What horrible working conditions!

Nanny Sarah said...

What a perfect illustration of what many nannies endure...not all, but I have heard similar stories.

Kudos to you for sticking it out for nine months. And kudos to you for this economy it is tough to find work, but not so tough that one has to endure this type of physical and mental punishment. You sound like a great nanny and I hope you find a great family that deserves you.

cali mom said...

Not to rain on the parade, but I do hope you've lined up another job or can afford to live without one for at least 8 months or more. Yes I know, "a nanny is a luxury item so nanny employers haven't been affected by the recession". Keep your fingers crossed.

The dad sounds like a clueless twit, and why the hell are kids being packed off to bed at 5 pm?? That might last aother 3 months, tops. But it's not so impossible to plan ahead and eat something besides a bite of toast btwn 6am and 4pm, or why not eat some of whatever the kids are having for dinner instead of starving and venting about it?

Anonymous said...

OH I just love that you say half seven- how adorable. It's been years since I've used that phrase.

monkeyshines said...

sounds like these kids would be better off if they were raised by hampsters than these worthless parents, I will never understand why some people have kids

chunkydunk said...

Sucky situation but if you have time for 4 cups of tea a day surely you have time to grab a bite to eat!

anon reader said...

re-post for anonymous:
Im in a similiar boat. Seemed like a great couple BUT gradually they do nothing but complain. always in a polite way but constant fault finding and no, never one compliment or good job etc.

The kids love me, I do a lot more than my job description was originally. I often stay 30-90 min late with little notice without complaint.

The complaints have worn me down. Ive nannied for 22 years and never gotten anything but praise before.

The complains are petty, like did I see her earrings? when I say no...she smiles slightly and raises her brows as if Im lying? She got angry that the baby comes to me before with baby 50-60 hous a week, with Mom 1 hour a dat weekdays.

She points at every scratch on furniture and paint chip and fingerprint on a wall and asks if I did it. accused me of flushing baby wipes( which I did not ever do) down toilet. It just goes on.

Been here 14 months, been looking for new jon for 4 months, nothing. I cant quit my husband is ill and cant work.

If parents realized the stress and misery their little petty barbs cause...they might think before making idiot remarks

anonynanny said...

About not being able to eat... pack some food to bring with you! Make a PB&J sandwich to eat on the train. You can buy little baggies of nuts and Goldfish and all sorts of other things. You definitely don't have to go hungry, you just need to invest in some portable food!