Received Thursday, June 17, 2010
perspective and opinion The family I nanny for has family out of state so 2 weeks ago they traveled to visit them. They have 2 girls (ages 27 months and 10 months) and their youngest was sick when they left. It turns out that after a few days of being there she was still not feeling well... so they took her in and ir turns out she had pneumonia. Now I should also throw in that she was sick (cough, fever) for over a week before they left... I kept stressing that she was not sleeping/eating well and that she should be taken to the doctor. They took her in 2 days before they left and the doc said it was viral and it would run its course. SO... the pneumonia was so bad that antibiotics would not cure it so she had to have a procedure done to drain the infection from her lung. They family called me the day before the procedure to see if I would fly out to help with their older daughter so they could focus on the baby... I of course agreed and was out there in less than 24 hours. I
arrive to find that my employers mom had the whole week off and that they have hired another woman to help with the girls and do housework... I was a little angry that I was rushed out there when there were 2 other capable adults who could have stepped in but I shrugged it off... knowing their older daughter needed me there. She clung to me like glue the WHOLE time I was there. I ended up working 81 hours in 4 days (that included travel time and the few hours I charged for the overnights)... No one ever offered for me to visit the baby. No one would update me on how she was unless I asked. I just felt like no one expected me to care... when I see her more than all of them (even her parents!). I left there without so much as a thank you for dropping everything and coming out there. SO FRUSTRATING! I realize having a sick child is very difficult but so much so that you don't remember simple manners??? Also, the family is unable to fly home because the babies lung needs 3-6 months to fully heal from the procedure So I agreed to return to help them sometime in the next couple weeks (they plan to make the drive home the 1st week in July). The girls Dad mentioned in passing that maybe I could come Thursday (6/17) and stay a week or so... I said I would check my schedule and let them know. I realized when I got home that Fathers Day was over the weekend and that I also have a bridal shower on Saturday... so I told them I could not come until Monday (6/21) if they wanted me to. All of this communication happed on Sunday (6/13)... I have not heard a WORD since then... No update on the baby (even though I asked in my return email) and no response on if they want me to come there Monday (6/21). What would you all do? If I don't hear from them by tomorrow I am thinking I am just going to tell them I cannot come. I am totally bothered by the fact that they have taken no time to respond to me or update me on how the baby is doing... ARRRGGGHHH! Any advice is apprecited...
and please understand that I realize their child was sick and in the hospital... I am not trying to be insensitive I am just trying to watch out for myself in the "work" aspect of it all... Thanks in advance for your help!!!


It takes two... said...

Ummm...pick up the phone and CALL THEM. Something like this shouldn't be settled over email--there are too many little details that should be discussed and email obviously isn't working. There is also the chance that the family doesn't have regular access to internet and email.

YES--confirm the details via email so that you have it in writing after you have a plan.

I agree that they have not handled this with the most grace or best manners. However, if you don't do something to make your problem known, they can't (and won't) take any steps to fix it.

Best wishes! (And for the record, I do agree that you are right not to go with such little notice).

Bostonnanny said...

So I'm a little confused, are you worried about having work and getting paid or are you worried about the little girl? Honestly sounds like the family doesn't consider you important enough to keep you updated and prob just wants to focus on their child. Your just the help and they can replace you.
My question was why were you so mad that they flew you out? Of course they wanted you to come and help their older girl knows you. The grandmother prob wanted time to visit her other granddaughter and might have been to old to handle the two yr old alone. How dare they hire an extra pair of hands to help with housework that way you wouldn't have to. Are you just upset it ruined your vacation? Are they not paying you for this?
If they haven't emailed you back, why haven't you called them to confirm? They prob aren't checking their email with a sick baby.
I just don't understand your tone in this post. It sounds like you blame the parents for having a sick child and asking if you can come help. If you need an update so badly call them.

???? said...

Maybe the baby has taken a turn for the worse (hope not) and the last thing they are thinking about is e-mail? I do think it's rude of them not to contact you but hopefully there is a good reason. If it were me I would just write them an e-mail saying you haven't heard back from them and you are assuming that means you are not needed that week. That way they will know you aren't coming and will let you know if they need you. Sorry your charge is so sick-that has to be hard for everyone involved!

confuzzled said...

Can't you call them?

CS Nanny said...

It's only been 4 days. They are probably stressed and haven't had a chance to get back with you. If I were you, I would call again tonight or tomorrow and ask what you are supposed to do. If you haven't heard from them by Saturday, I would plan on not going.

Anonymous said...

OP here:

I am now seeing that my original post was a bit of a "rant". Sorry about that... what I am really angry about is the parents lack of "care" for me. The just expected me to show up, with out a thank you. They don't even offer to take me to see the baby... and for the record, the grandma is far from too old to care for the older girl but she did spend time at the hospital (my question STILL is, why could she not cover for me for 2 hours so I could go see the baby???). Also, these are parents who could CARE LESS about spending time with their kids... They have me 50-60 hours a week and almost EVERY day I leave there is a babysitter coming in right as I go. I just feel VERY hurt that I didn't get to see the baby... it has been 3 weeks now since I have seen her... I miss and love her!!! And I am sure she would have LOVED to see me! She picks me over her parents everytime. I am also angry that they have not responded to my email and text message. I know for a fact they have internet access... and they always have their phones on them (they are doctors and need to check email and be available frequently)... SO, I can only think that they assume I am not important enough to get back to in a timely manor. I have never worked for a family who didn't take me on as part of the family... and even though they have said a couple times "Thanks for being a part of our family"... I sure don't feel at all like a family member at this point. I could definately call but I am being stubborn... I feel they should get back to me since I was the last to try and make contact. I guess I am sad and angry about the whole situation!

Roxanne said...

I think it's hurtful for the parents not to consider you important enough to keep you updated when you have dropped everything for them. They cared enough to call you out there just to look after the other girl, and they can't even treat you courteously.

They have the luxury of having help like you and the mother so that both of them actually CAN focus on the baby. A situation many families can only dream of.

Unfortunately, many people with nannies are truly spoiled and can act amazingly selfishly and hurtful, without even realizing it. I mean, imagine if the situation were reversed and you were the one in crisis, leaving them hanging? I doubt they would handle it half as well as you.

However, you are the professional, the caretaker and the bigger person. You are the one with the big heart for their kids and that's why you're a nanny.

I think the best thing to do is to continue to politely contact them and ask for updates/clarification and such. Make sure to ask specific questions and repeat it back to them so there are no misunderstandings.

Good luck.

Village said...

They wanted you on the 17th for a week, and you couldn't go until the 21st. That means you would have only been there for a total of three days. They must have decided not to fly you out for such a short time.

I want to say this carefully. They are BOTH doctors, but they let a baby deteriorate to a critical condition where a chest tube was necessary to save the child's life, and you are concerned about their 'care' for you?

I'll refrain from putting my point into words. I think it's obvious.

Manhattan Nanny said...

This is not an every day situation.
Your employers are dealing with a very ill child, and probably some guilt for not catching this before it got so serious, especially as they are Drs. The fact that they have not been considerate of you is understandable. Try not to take it personally. Focus on what you can do to help, and what also works for your needs.
Did you ask to go see the baby? Maybe they are offended that you haven't asked to see her.
As others have suggested, pick up the phone and communicate!

Anonymous said...

OP here again:

Roxanne- thank you for your comments... they calmed me down quite a bit and brought a lot into perspective.

Village- They wanted me on the 17th until ?. I could not accmodate but offered to come the 21st to the 24th which is the same amount of time that I was there last. I am married and have a busy family life so I think expecting me to come for more than that (when they also have help from family) is totally unecessary. I wasn't going to bring it up... but since you did, I agree with you about them letting the baby get so sick. Like I said... I STRESSED to them how sick I thought she was for a few days until they finally listened. I worked a half day the Wednesday before they left (the girls Dad had the day off) and thought I had convinced him to take her in but at the last minute he chose to go golfing instead!!! Granted, the pediatrician told them it was viral... nothing serious but when I heard that I said "There is no way!"... I guess you are right... if they show no care for their children, why would they care about me?

Manhattan- I have no doubt that they are dealing with TONS of guilt over this (as they probably should!) but if they want me to come there again than they need to let me know. I understand if they don't have the "time" to let me know but then they need to understand that I will more than likely choose not to come. I asked multiple times if I could see the baby. They just danced around the subject... I realized after the 3rd time asking that it probably wasn't going to happen. I have to stress again... these parents have NO DESIRE to EVER spend time with their kids. I am not exaggerating one bit... they would rather pay millions over their lifetime on nannies and babysitters than deal with their kids by them selves.

Village said...

In intensive care, and probably in PICU, non relatives are probably not allowed. WIth a critical patient, outside germs are scary.

Bostonnanny said...

Personally, I choose not to work for families who spend no time with their children( it creeps me out). I know that when they are done with me I will always wonder and worry about what happened to them.

From your recent comments, it seems as if they don't care whether your their or not because my guess is they will prob just hire someone to fill in. I think people like these should not be allowed to be parents. You can't even call them parents since their own children don't know them.

I hope the baby gets better soon, and for your own well being please find a new position. You love these children I can tell but one day you will be forced to leave so please find a nice family sooner then later.

???? said...

I'm sorry, I was really on your side until your f/u comments. You sound so entitled. These are not your kids and the parents are dealing with a very sick child. I doubt they are thinking about you at all (which I personally think is very normal) right now-they are focused on their child. I'm sorry but if one of my children were as sick as this child is I may forget to thank someone too. If my child were in the hospital I can almost guarentee you I would rather my nanny stay with the well child-it sounds like you are very posessive of the children and maybe they don't want to deal with that right now.

If your husband were seriously ill-I mean REALLY sick (since children can go down hill much faster) and your employers did something nice for you...don't you think you may forget to thank them right away? Their act of kindness would not be the first thing on your mind-your ill husband would be all you cared about.

Give these poor people a break. I don't think you have a very healthy attitude about these people. I would hate to think the person caring my children 50-60 hrs a week (which I totally agree is excessive) thinks so little of me. Really maybe they value you just as much as you value them and that's why they don't care if you see the children. You have no respect for them so why should they have any for you?

Gosh Darn It said...

OP, is it possible that your email didn't get through?

Believe it or not, sometimes email is just lost. Seriously, I read an article on the matter awhile back where a sent email doesn't always make it to its destination.

It even happens to big names like Hotmail and Gmail.

My point is, they may be confused why you haven't gotten back to them. Your problem may be that they're too much like you, it could be from their point of view, they last tried making contact. So if you're not going to respond in a timely manner...

Call. It is the *ONLY* way to be sure.

well baby said...

I could see myself feeling so frustrated by this situation on so many levels, so I took this more as a rant than actual advice-seeking.
Logistically, as others have said, call them and find out if they need you. Even though they should let you know themselves, taking the responsibility on yourself is in your own best interest.
Sorry, but there are two parents there, grandparents, and 2 kids, which is more than 1 adult per kid-having your nanny come is a luxury, so if you want/expect the extra help, you may have to sacrifice 5 minutes to communicate.
As far as not being thanked, just take satisfaction from knowing that the other child felt more secure having you there. The parents may be rude, but I'm guessing (hoping) your major reward in this job is the kids, anyway.

I would be there said...

I think ???? is nuts on her entitled assessment, but I don't think OP has handled this well either.

Personally without further word from them, and I mean after a failed few attempts at CALLING, I would have flown myself out there on the 17th, as planned.

Shoot, if I hadn't had an update as long as you have, I likely would have flown out sooner to find out what the heck is going on. To heck with the expense and your busy married life, either you drop all or you don't. You haven't.

But you've got the opportunity to make up for that, now. They'll never come across ISYN, they'll never know what you thought or said here. So can the nonsense and do what is right.

Anonymous said...

OP here... AGAIN:

To ?????- I do not see how my comments are f/u. I do (in a way) feel entitled to these girls because I am the only one that gives them (consistant) love and attention. I am in no way "possesive" though. When mom and dad are around I try to step back and let them interact with their kids but they just won't. I would hope if my husband were sick that I would not forget to simply thank people (but I have not been there so I can not say for sure). But it is been 4 days since she has been home and I have still not been thanked or responded to.

Gosh Darn It- I sent an email and a text... The email says sent in my email... I assume they got one of them. Deep down I hope they didn't get it because then I would feel so disrespected

I would have been there- it was IN NO WAY planned for me to be there on the 17th. I told them I would check and it turned out that it didn't work for me so I offered another suggestion and heard nothing. I am flat out not willing to sacrifice ALL of my personal life for this family ( or any family for that matter). It seems what they really want is a live-in nanny that can work on short notice and that is just not me.

Oh and Boston Nanny- I agree... if I woyld have known more of the family dinamic I would have never taken this job. In all of my other nanny jobs I have felt special and appreciated... I don't feel that way at this job and it makes me sad. I am under a one year contract and when that is up... I will be looking. Thanks for your help...

Gosh Darn It said...

Contrary to popular opinion, the internet isn't perfect. You may have sent the email, it may say it was sent on your email client or on the web interface for your service, but it is quite possible for an email to simply be lost. After all when an email is sent it is handed off to sometimes dozens of different servers before reaching its destination, an error on just one and poof, no email. So it's best to never rely on email, at least not as a basis for getting angry at anyone. Texts are worse, because it's too easy to overlook one.

That said, your efforts have been weak. An email and text, what is preventing you from making a phone call?

(No) grace under pressure said...

Sorry OP, but now is not the time to start requiring affirmation of being special or proof of appreciation. If their child were well and they weren't thanking you for your short notice, then you might want to question it - but now is not an appropriate or accurate time to gauge their behavior.

Stress, fear, grief, guilt . . . all of these emotions can cause a person to become self absorbed, scatter brained and down right forgetful. Even the most well intentioned person can act in seemingly "selfish" ways when dealing with illness and stress. Having a loved one seriously sick (especially a child) takes a deep emotional toll on all parents (including, those who are uninvolved) because let's face it, unless the person is mentally ill ALL parents love their children. That doesn't mean all parents are good parents, but it does mean that they are scared and hurting right now. Being Doctors, they are also going to be more aware of their child's prognosis (no sugar coating how ill she is when you treat illness every day). Combine this with the fact that I'm sure they are feeling guilty, and you have a really bad cocktail of emotions spiraling around here.

I have been there (with a sick child) and I will openly admit everything and everyone went on the back burner. I became completely scatter brained, and the only thought on my mind was my child's well being. I'm certain I forgot to thank people and I'm positive I didn't update even my family enough on her progress. My sole focus was on my child, all of my thoughts surrounded her and the fear that I could lose her completely engulfed me. My intention was not to "slight" anyone or make anyone feel as though they were unimportant (or undeserving of seeing or hearing about my daughter) my intention was to pour every ounce of energy I had into her and hope that somehow that would help her heal.

Take a deep breath, I honestly don't think these parents are attempting to be malicious. (I understand that they have their issues and faults, I too, have an issue with parents who are uninvolved) but, I don't think they are leaving you out on purpose. The best advice I can give you is this: take the high road and don't be petty (you care about these children, and the parents are dealing with enough stress right now) call them and communicate. If you don't feel capable of flying down again let them know you won't be able to make it (they might simply assume you will since they've been spoiled by your reliability in the past). If you want to know how the baby is doing ask, and most importantly, act adult and mature now is not the time for games or teaching lessons. Lastly, there were times I didn't bring up how my daughter was doing simply because I didn't feel like burdening others, they might assume you have your own life (as you do) and your own problems and that if you want to know you'll ask.

JacksMom said...


While I don't agree with ????'s entitlement comment, I think s/he wasn't using f/u to indicated effed up, rather, it's short hand for "follow up."

Also, one quick point, antibiotics are useless against viral infections. They only work for bacterial infections. The over use of antibiotics makes me nuts, because it's led to bacterial strains that have mutated beyond the ability of antibiotics to do their work.

Anyway, more to the point of this post, it sounds like you're dealing with incredibly self-absoarbed people who got a kick in the butt for their hands off approach - it must be especially humiliating if they are doctors. Now that the illness does have their attention, their focus is on their child. It's not about you specifically. You, on the other hand, need to do whatever you must to take care of yourself. If that means not dropping everything, including your responsibilities to your own family, then don't. It sounds like they've got plenty of other support from family members and temporary help.

When things return to normal - whatever that is - sit down with them and have a composed, professional conversation about thet experience, your concerns and a plan for going forward.

Best of luck!

??? said...

LOL...sorry for the confusion. f/u=follow up

Village said...

I have a question. They have been home four days and have not contacted you? That seems odd. How do you know you still have a job? Maybe they construed a refusal to travel on the 17th as a breach of the contract, and have replaced you. Is that possible?

Phoenix said...

I don't mean to be rude but sometimes I am. They are dealing with a sick child. They probably feel ashamed and I know the mom feels like it's her fault. The child was sick before they left, but they went anyway. This can ride on the conscience like a bad dream. I know their manners were not exactly up to par, but mine wouldn't be either. In fact I would have flown you out there just to verbally and mentally abuse you. This is not to be mean but everyone deals with a sick child differently. They can't ease her suffering and she could have died. I'm sorry but if I were the parents I wouldn't be nice either nor would I care about the feelings of an adult.

Vuvuzelasarereallyloud said...

Sorry, I agree with ????.

You are not the victim here. I can't believe how you are going on and on about being the #1 choice of the baby (over the parents) and being the only person who consistently gives the children love, and then you say you couldn't possibly fly out there because you won't give up all of your personal life for this family.

It wouldn't be "all of your personal life", it would be a one time trip out to help the two children who, according to you, only receive true love from you.

You know, this angers me greatly because I have been in a situation with someone who acted similarly to you.

I lost a child due to preterm labor, and when my husband and I refused to immediately call everyone in his (very large) family and tell them about our loss my mother in law went crazy. She went on and on about how the family had a right to know, and how rude we were for not handling the situation the way she felt we should be handling it. She couldn't give us time to find our bearings.

They are dealing with their ill child. They do not have to be Ms. Manners right now. Let them get a foothold on the situation. Give them a moment to catch their breath, and no, I do not think 4 days is enough time to catch one's breath in this situation.

Anonymous said...

OP here:

Village- That is not really applicable because it says no where in my contract that I HAVE to travel with the family... and again, I never agreed to go on the 17th. I just said I would check my schedule and let them know. I did email last night to strictly ask how the girls were (again) and I got a response. He said the girls were good... the baby has indeed been home from the hospital since Monday and she is basically back to normal. He did not mention me traveling there again.

Vuvuzela- Okay, everything I said about me being the number 1 choice for the girls IS true. But I am a nanny that chooses to have MY OWN family life outside of work and if I devoted ALL of my life to this family (who is clearly not devoted to me) then what would I be left with??? I have had FABULOUS relationships with ALL of my other nanny families... they love me and I love them!!! This is the first time there has been such a "disconnect" between the parents and I. The problem here is with THEM and not with me. You don't know the dinamic I work in everyday so please don't pretend you do. And it wouldn't be a one time trip... since I was there once already and I gurantee if I didn't try to draw some boundaries... they would have me out there for the whole 4 weeks! You don't personally know me so please don't compare me to your mother in law... and I don't really think the situation is similar because their child was sick but she was not at anytime near death.

And I have to point out... I knew when I left that the baby was just fine because she was being discharged from the hospital in 1 or 2 days. She was clearly over the "hurdle" (if there was one) and doing very well.

Just My Experience said...

A few years ago, I was in a situation with a sick child while I was the nanny. I worked full time for this family with 2 boys, 50 plus hrs a week. I was very close to the children. The baby was sick one morning, and we though it was a touch of the flu. After a couple hours, I knew something was off, so I called mom and took him to the doc. Turns out he was very sick and required immediate medical attention which turned into surgery that evening. When I called mom from the doctors office to tell me what they thought was going on, she of course, rushed over to the doctors and took the baby to the hopsital. She told me she would handle it from there, and that I could go home.
Because he was so sick, she ended up taking the entire week off and did not need me. I offered to help, and asked to come see the baby, but was told I just was not needed beacuse he needed to be with his "family', not his nanny. I too had to call on my own behalf to check on him, and they made me feel pretty underappreciated that week........but.......after he got better and she went back to work and things were normal again, she came to me and applogized for treating me that way. I never let her know I was offended by their actions that week, she came to me on her own. She realized once things were calmer that they had not treated me very well, and wanted to reassure me that they loved me and appreciated me very much.
Give them time to come around. They are probably just very out of sorts with a sick baby, and while it is most likely not thier intention to make you feel bad, they aren't thinking clearly. Wait it out and see what happens.
As far as them wanting you to come help them again, IF you can do it on such short notice for the dates you gave them, and they call you last minute, go for it. Don't pput yourself out if you can't, but I bet down the road they will show you that appreciation for all that you are doing for them. Hopefully.

anon-no-moniker said...

Anonymous said...

I never post on this site, but I just wanted to say that I really think the OP has a right to be upset here -- I'm not a nanny, but I am a mom and I know I would be really upset if a child I cared for was sick and I asked to see them and was ignored! (And was treated as if I wasn't a significant person in their life). The rest of the details are just that, details, but the crux -- not being able to see a kid you care about when they are seriously ill seems horrible to me.

oh well said...

OP, I hope that you didn't really mean some of the things you have written. Of course you care about the baby, but no matter how bad you think the parents are, it all comes to this in the end: it is their child and they are the ones facing the music, not you. No, you are not entitled to updates (and if it makes you feel better, I think this applies to family too). Best intentions and well wishers should not have to be endured, to say nothing of plain curiosity. But as always, this is the kind of thing that has to happen to you before you understand it.