Nanny A and Nanny B

Received Wednesday, May 5, 2010
perspective and opinion Need other nannies help!

Hi, I am hoping for some nanny opinion on my situation. I am a mother of two (almost 6 year old girl and 4 month old boy) and work about 40 hours a week out of the house. I have had a nanny for about a year, and, 3 or so months ago, a family member became very ill and she requested a decreased work load. She currently works about 15-20 hours a week, and was very understanding that I hired another part-time nanny for the times that she was not around. All in all, we were both very happy with the result of this situation. However, about a week ago, my daughter came to me and told me she likes the new nanny better. First, I wanted to make sure that it wasn't because she got to watch a lot of TV or eat a lot of junk food, but she simply told me that " [Nanny B] plays more and is more fun than [Nanny A]." I asked her what she does with Nanny A, and the answer seemed more to lean towards my daughter playing on her own or watching TV, with not as much interaction with Nanny A. (I asked my daughter if Nanny A was on her phone or out of the room, but it was just that she wasn't as interactive with my daughter as Nanny B. Not that she was being negligent).

I'm a little unsure of what to do. Both children are well cared for by Nanny A, and I'm not at all worried that she is being neglectful, I just know she is going though a very difficult period in her life and her attention is a little distracted from my children at the moment. I would really like to hire Nanny B on a more full term basis, since my daughter seems so much more pleased with her. However, I feel terrible firing Nanny A or cutting her hours down more. I know that some of her paycheck is going towards helping her family get through this time. Of course if she does leave, I will write her a glowing recommendation as well as try my hardest to help her find another job. I would just like some nanny perspective on how you would like to be talked to about this. As you can tell, I'm not the most fluid writer and the baby has been having trouble sleeping lately so my mind isn't exactly in full force, but any opinion would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you!!


MissMannah said...

If you want to hire Nanny B for full-time, do it! It may sound heartless, but you don't really owe anything to Nanny A. If I were in your situation I would probably do a month-long "transition." Explain to Nanny A that the two-nanny thing just isn't working out and that you're giving her a month to find a new job. And of course immediately write up a fantastic letter of recommendation. You can gradually cut back her hours each week until at the end of the month, Nanny B is working the full 40. You don't have to out and out fire Nanny A, but you also don't have to keep her on if your daughter is complaining about her.

MissMannah said...

PS: Something I forgot to you actually know if Nanny B wants to start working for you full-time? You should probably discuss this with her before making any definite decision.

midwestnanny said...

just a thought on this . . .

You have had nanny A for long enough for any initial honeymoon period to be over (you know what you have, is what I'm saying). You might not know exactly what you have with Nanny B. Would she still be the same in another month or two? So, anything you do, I would take time with and not jump into it!

Also, children (especially the 6 year old girl in my house) seem to be a little limited in their perspective. SO, maybe your daughter just had a really great couple days with Nanny B, and Nanny A had a headache for a couple days . . . . I would keep listening to what your daughter says (without making it obvious to her that you are thinking about a big nanny change). When you come home, just ask her what she did (you might do this anyway, just if you don't, it might help you get a better perspective. Don't let what could be your daughter's short term perspective over ride a good thing. That said, she could be absolutely right and just have better chemistry with the other nanny. Just take your time, in whatever you end up doing!

SIDE NOTE: I think nanny logs are wonderful, too, and if you don't have one, I think it would be of great use to you and your nannies, too~with 3+ people involved, it's a great way to make sure everything is communicated)

Nicole said...

I agree with MissMannah that you should definitely make sure Nanny B wants to work full time before you talk to Nanny A.

Having been both a part-time and full-time nanny I know that when I´m with a child for 4 hours or so I´m more creative and have more energy simply because 4 hours is easier than 8 or 10. Definitely make sure this is something that she not only CAN do but WANTS to do.

Also if you do talk with Nanny A, make sure you point out all of her strong points first, and then try to mention that you wish she´d spend more interactive time with your daughter, give her some suggestions of games or crafts, and if she was more attentive in the past, mention any specific instances that you can think of that you´re daughter liked.

My first real position as a mothers helper over one summer the mom told me that the first couple of weeks she had been SO pleased but that I hadn´t seemed as motivated later on and asked me if I still wanted the job... I shaped up right after that and continued to be their babysitter for the next 4 years!

Maybe she just needs a little pep talk, but whatever happens you should do what feels right for your family. Also you sound like one of those great employers that nannies are lucky to find so there´s a good chance Nanny A will step up once you talk to her.

Good Luck!

MB said...

I think it would be heartless to fire Nanny A. She's not doing anything wrong. You could mention what your daughter said. If Nanny A is already having a hard time in her personal life why make it worse by firing her? In this economy she will probably be unemployed for a LONG time!

Toni Brayer, MD said...

I think you should keep Nanny A at this time since she is doing a good job for you and you have a long relationship with her. Children do well when they are exposed to lots of different people and I see nothing wrong with having two nannies that are different in their interactions. It is also great to have two trusted caregivers for back up in case one of them can't work.

ChiNanny said...

I agree with Midwestnanny

With Nanny A you have a solid nanny. You know she works well both full and part time. With nanny B, you might still be in the honeymoon period, or simple in a situation where working part time is easier than full time.

I know for me, if I only have to be with the kids 4 hours a day, I'm much more involved and interactive than I am by hour 7. It's human nature.

Unless you have a true problem with Nanny A, I think you should leave things as they are. I'm willing to bet Nanny Bs energy goes down in time, especially if she goes full time.

anonynanny said...

If Nanny B want to work full-time, I would offer the job to her and help Nanny A get a new part-time job like you've said. It seems like it would be the best solution for everyone-- Nanny B would get more hours, you/your kids would only have one extra personality around the house to get used to, and Nanny A could help a family that only needs part-time help. The only thing I would say is that you should offer to let her stay on for a month or until she finds a new job, whichever is first, so she still has an income cushion.

Use your head said...

In my opinion, your questions to your 6 year old were leading. If you let nanny A go, it should be because you don't want to split the childcare between two nannies, not because of what a 6 year old child says, responding to your leading questions.

If you want one nanny, it is your choice. It's business. Yeah, it sucks that it is not her fault that she had to decrease her hours but they are your kids and it is your decision. Letting your 6 year old influence such an important decision? I work in childcare and sometimes kids love you, sometimes they hate you, and sometimes they think they are killer robots who train dogs on the moon.

For God's sake: be a grownup. You have gotten some good advice here. Take it.

no name said...

Anonymous said...

Last year I was working for a family 2 days a week and took care of a 2 year old girl which I had been doing the last 6 months. One afternoon in the playground the mom came and told me that she didnt want me to come back next week because her daughter liked the other nanny better that she had on mondays. I didnt even know she had another nanny on mondays, and she had never offered those hours to me.
I was a bit sad that I wasnt a good enough nanny but I got over it.

Katlee85 said...

I disagree with Miss Mannah,

I'm a mom, but I think it would really be detrimental to let Nanny A go simply because your daughter seems to like Nanny B more. What I suggest is what a few others have, talk to Nanny A first about being more involved with play, and see where that goes before making any decisions. With her having personal problems, it really would be adding insult to injury if you fired her.

Manhattan Nanny said...

Something to consider:
I would ask nanny B about what kinds of activities she is doing with the 4 mo. If she isn't doing much more than feed and change him, then she has a lot of time to focus on playing with your daughter.
Nanny A may be spending more time providing stimulation for the infant than nanny B. and as a result your daughter isn't getting as much one on one attention from her

Won't your 6 yo daughter will be in school all day in the fall? That means the nannies will be caring primarily for the infant.

Nanny Franny said...

I think personally if Nanny A knew you would be hiring Nanny B, then she should have known that there was a chance that Nanny B may be a better Nanny. As a Nanny, if my boss were to hire another Nanny, or even have a back-up Nanny for the days that I couldn't work, then I would know that the chance existed that the new Nanny may be better than me. Maybe more interactive, better stories to tell, etc. Or just better chemistry. That being said, I do not think you should outright fire her. That would be cruel...sort of like being married to someone and loving them, but finding someone better and leaving them. It may be convenient for you, but not very nice to do to Nanny A. Especially if she is going through a tough time now..why add to her woes? Just stress to your child the positive things about Nanny A. However, if you do decide to go with Nanny B, please do the "right thing." Sure legally, you can fire her, it is your right...but ethically it would be wrong just because you have found someone new. At least keep her on until she secures another job...and help her out as much as you can. Letters or recommendation would be well, but how are you going to answer when a potential employer asks you why you are letting her go? Maybe you two can devise a story....but w/all the awkwardness and all of things, it may be kinda weird.
I hope you keep Nanny A.

kitty said...

Why is it flooring me to see just about every poster on here rally around nanny A? Personally, I think their advice is very sound OP. She is going through a rough time right now which could be slightly affecting her work performance - but as others have said, you know her well and she is good to your children.

I say trust goes very far in this employer/employee relationship and nanny A has earned her keep.

Ariel-chan said...

Knowing six year olds (and I certainly do) chances are that your daughter is simply really excited about having another new person in her life. She might say now that she has more fun with nanny B, but chances are if you fired nanny A your daughter would be quite upset. She has a relationship with nanny A regardless, and if she somehow found out or figured out that SHE was the reason nanny A left, it could be quite a blow for her.

... not to mention I think it's unspeakably heartless to even think of firing a long-term employee in this economy when she's already dealing with a family crisis and having to live on cut hours.

just another nanny said...

I pretty much agree with everything midwestnanny said. People can become less exciting to kids over time. Like the babysitter may be more "fun" than mom, but that doesn't mean she loves mom less. It can be the same with multiple babysitters/nannies.

I would definitely talk to Nanny A. Start your conversation by enquiring about her family member and how she is holding up with all the stress. Let her know you appreciate her dedication to your family even during this difficult time for her. You could suggest some activities for her to do with your daughter, and frame as "I know it's probably hard for you to worry about thinking up all these activities for her right now, so here are some things she's been enjoying"
I think the fact that you are considering this so carefully before doing anything does really show that you are a fair and thoughtful employer.

OP HERE said...

Thank you all for the great advice. I'm glad I posted on here, as it's great to have nanny perspective on this. It seems so many of the moms I've spoken to have told me that I need to conduct it like I would my business, and not to let my emotional involvement get in the way. I think i'm still experiencing some mom guilt about going back to work full-time, and just want to do whatever makes my kids the happiest! I'm going to talk to Nanny A, I really loved the advice about coming up with some activities to do with them. Living in the city there are endless things, especially with the nice weather coming up! Thanks all for the advice (and for those who said I was a great employer thank you, makes me feel a lot better about how guilty I felt for even posting this!)

midwestnanny said...

I think it's great that you were asking, nobody is perfect, and there is not one person in the world who has all the answer for everything. And as far as treating something like business? Well, that kind of changes when it comes to matters of the heart, a.k.a your children! Good luck to you, it sounds like you'll make it come together :)

Sequence said...


I hope you saw Manhattan Nanny's comment. I thought it was brilliant.

Nanny A may be paying more attention to your infant than Nanny B is. I know I've observed plenty who will ignore a baby in favor of an older child. I on the other hand would try to divide my time up a little more and provide some stimulation to the infant.

Nanny A may be doing just that.