Tuesday

In other words, "give us three weeks to find a better laundress"

Received Tuesday, June 15, 2010
perspective and opinion I have been a nanny to my current family for over a year. The family has been wonderful and I adore and love their son wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, the parents came to me today telling me that despite my loving care and foremost attention to their son (he has always been first). They are upset with me and told me today that my last day is in 3 weeks.

Briefing: He is just over 2 years old who doesnt take a long nap (maybe 1 to 1 1/2 hours). In that time, I do the everyday chores: straightening playroom, baby's closet, sweeping, vacuuming, cleaning kitchen and doing laundry (Moms and baby's) Doing their laundry means washing in washer (takes about 30 minutes) then 2 ROUNDS (AT LEAST AN HOUR EACH) in the dryer. Then folding and putting it away. This is how the parents want it done!! BUT when they son is up- he is my main responsible). If you can notice: the dryer is never done within the childs nap time. And I save the laundry, in the dryer, to fold the next morning (he is still sleeping, usually, when I get there in the AM). The parents told me they are not happy- with that, but they want me to focus on their son!!

I always leave the home tidy and cleaned up- unless, of course, their child is not well or something like that. But I come the next day- closet a mess, playroom and kitchen area same way. I was told that the parents feel like I am taking them for granted. I feel hurt and confused. Everything I have tried to do for them- but they always seem to mess up the house for me to clean. This is daily and I tried to talk to them consistently.

What can I do?

41 comments:

Lola said...

They DO NOT DESERVE YOU. unfortunately the baby does, but it is his fate to be born to lazy jerks. Some believe in karma, others call it faith. You will find a better family to care for, just keep your thoughts positive and you will follow the right path, as it is lain out before you. THEY will lose out, THEY will not find a good, caring person, like the one they are dismissing. Remember, everything happens for a reason, just keep your chin up, eyes open, and pray for the child, he or she will need it!

Sarah said...

I don't think you're in the wrong here, but I do have one question about this situation. If your main problem is getting the laundry done, then why not time it so that you put it in the washer & dryer before the child's nap time & then use the nap time to fold it. That seems a very logical & somewhat obvious solution.

Are there other issues with cleaning, with cleaning or something else, that you've not included in your post?

Elizabeth said...

You've let this go on too long. You needed to say to them long ago -- "I have a problem: I can't give your child the quality care he deserves and do this many chores." You are a nanny, not a maid.

Get another job.

clean clothes said...

Maybe they don't realize how long their child actually sleeps (some parents let kids stay up later on weekends, so then they would take a longer nap during the day). Break down your schedule for them- how many minutes does it take you to vacuum, to clean the playroom, etc, so they can see where your time actually goes.
But, as someone else suggested, you could even possibly get the child to help you as you put the laundry in the machine before naptime.
If you want to keep this job, you need to ask them specifically what they are not happy with. Sometimes I don't have time to fold the laundry, but I pull it out and lay it flat so that it doesn't wrinkle.

lynn said...

I'm a mom with a 3 yo who doesn't nap at all and I manage to get laundry done for a family of 5. It takes 3 seconds to load the washer and another 3 to transfer it to the dryer - the only thing that takes time is folding it-maybe 20 mins a day- you sound like my nanny when I worked FT - I'd come home and she'd be sitting on the sofa watching TV- while my dc played alone and as soon as she saw me, she'd get up to fold laundry- I paid her to stay on 30 mins after I got home to wrangle my kids so I could change my clothes/get dinner started/go through mail - and I'd do all this with my dcs at my feet anyway-I always washed and dried the stuff and all she had to do was fold it -but I guess it was too hard to fold laundry and watch TV/talk on your cell at the same time

Kell said...

Lynn,

It sounds like you had a bad nanny, and you should blame her for it, not this nanny.

It always kind of astounds me just how many chores people expect of their nannys. If you hired a house cleaner, would you expect them to also look after your children from time to time? No.

In this case, it does sound like the chores were outlined when the baby used to nap more. Have a discussion with them about how you would really like to meet their expectations, but it's difficult, and see if you can come to an agreement on what chores take priorities during the baby's nap.

CanadianMom said...

It doesn't sound like it is working out with this family, and maybe it is best to try to see if you can learn anything from this experience and then just move on.

For example, there is probably more going on than being irritated about when you fold the laundry, esp. given their feeling that you are taking them for granted... it sounds like they don't like the way that you organise your time and feel you should help out with cleaning and tidying more, but of course they may have unrealistic expectations of how much it is possible to get done. When I had a nanny I made sure that the house was clean and tidy when she arrived every morning as it did not seem fair to expect her to work within or clean up our mess. However, I was annoyed that she didn't do things like use nap time to prepare snacks and lunches in advance, or plan crafts activities or research special outings. She did all the tidying up while the kids were sitting at the table after lunch and then had a 2+ hour break while they were napping. The difference with us was that I could see how much she loved the kids and how happy they were with her, and that was the most important thing, so I learned to live with it (I did try to address some of this with her but without much of a result so I gave up!).

If you are worried that they are dissatisfied with your job performance and will not give you a good reference, I would suggest approaching them to ask if you could review with them what the issues are so that you can avoid them with the next family you work for. This might also help them to set reasonable expectations for their next nanny. I would write down your daily schedule in quite a lot of detail, explaining to them that you agree with them that when you are looking after their child it is not appropriate to try to focus on chores and you don't see how you can fit more into your day. However, it may turn out that they would have been happy for you to let the child look at books or play on their own for 20-30 mins while you do some things around the house, as so many mothers do. Or they may have some ideas about how you could have organised your time differently. I would ask them in particular what they mean by "taking them for granted". It seems a very odd thing to say.

And if you want to try to find a way to fix this situation and keep your job, the above would also be a useful strategy. You could say some of the same things, present your detailed schedule, and ask them to give you a one or two week trial period where you work to a schedule that they help to create. However, if you do take this approach I think you have to be prepared for the possibility that they come up with some other reasons they no long want to employ you - maybe something just doesn't feel right to them.

For sure, parents often have unrealistic expectations. But they tend to see nannies as people who should do the great majority of things that they would do if they were at home and looking after their kids all day. A lot of mums are able to get an incredible amount of stuff done while still spending quality time with their kids. I don't see why a nanny shouldn't take on some of these same domestic tasks - but both parties need to have reasonable expectations.

I hope that it helps to have the perspective of a mother on this ... good luck!

cali mom said...

I am getting so mad, reading about all these total asshole employers!

What I would suggest for you is, continue to do your job as always, and get your reference from them immediately. As soon as you have it, walk away and don't look back.

If they have not given it to you within one week, walk away without it. Or run. I doubt they'll find such a loving nanny as you who will handle the laundry to their satisfactioon as well, but in any case, they do not deserve you and you will be better off without them.

Phoenix said...

some people say they want a nanny, other people say they want a house cleaner. What they really want is a house bitch. Someone to do all the work, get ridiculed for their quality of work and not get paid enough for it either.

I wonder how many people still just need a nanny?

quit now said...

what can you do? quit.

you did NOTHING WRONG.

leave now. it will be the best thing you have ever done for yourself. sometimes self respect is more important than a job.

Village said...

Some people can never be satisfied. One tv chat host calls them 'critical spirits'.

The theory is you can never please someone who has a critical spirit. They will always find something else, or stack the deck, or complain about nothing if something is not available.

I'd get another job. A person who can never be satisfied will suck the joy of life right out of you. You deserve better.

Call an agency and get to work looking for another job. You've got three weeks. Do it during the baby's nap time. What are they going to do, fire you?

nycmom said...

Likely there are two sides to this story. It sounds like OP is at the very least well-intentioned. I don't think we can ascertain from her post whether she OP manages time suboptimally or the parents have unrealistic expectations. Most likely it's a combination of both. Certainly most nanny jobs include keeping the kids' rooms, toys, closets organized and clean; cleaning up after yourself and the kids (crumbs in the counter, dishes in the dishwasher, etc); and doing the kids' laundry. As someone above mentioned I too make sure to leave the house clean when my nanny arrives and expect it in the same condition at the end of the day. I do think that getting laundry done during the day is a completely reasonable expectation *especially* if there are a w/d in the home. Anyway, the key issue IMO is that the employer clearly outlines expected tasks at hiring and does not increase duties during employment.

OP, does the family have a weekly housekeeper or are you expected to do all the heavy cleaning in addition to childcare? Have they added on tasks during your tenure or stuck to the Work Agreement?

Regardless, I agree with others that the family likely has other issues with you OP. They are probably uncomfortable being honest about what is bugging them, and using this as cover. I do think you should have a sit down and ask them to outline your mistakes. I believe any good employer (as you describe them to be) would think highly of this, and at the least, it would tilt them toward giving you a good reference for the effort.

Bostonnanny said...

There is a difference between a nanny and a stay at home mom. A nanny's main purpose is to educate and care for children. Why should she take time away from the children to clean her employers house. If your child was in daycare, your daycare provider wouldn't be coming during her break to clean your house. Yes mothers are able to clean, do errands and care for their children but that's what mothers are suppose to do. Except they don't get critized for what they do with the children or how they clean there own home. A nanny is a job, a mother is a life choice.
You can't expect someone to be you when your not home. Nannies have their own home to maintain as well.
I can understand if the nanny ignores the children and just sits around all day but if she is planning outtings, art projects and making a true effort to educate the the children then she is doing her job.

I would sit down ask them for specific reasons why they think you taking them for granted...then move on and file unemployment. If your under the table then next time get a contract that outlines everything the family expects of you and what you expect of them. Also pay taxes it will make things like this less stressful.

Nanny Sarah said...

I disagree that once children are in bed napping, since they are "on the clock" nannies should have to still work. It is good to use this time to do light housework like the duties mentioned, but to ensure a good nanny...a nanny needs the downtime to eat her lunch in peace, catch up on phone calls and just relax for round two. Younger children (those who nap daily) are a ton of work to care for and nature acknowledges this as well by allowing ample rest time for the caregiver, whether it be parent, nanny, etc. An older child doesn't require as much physical/mental energy so a full day w/them does not require much add'l rest time. I think that if a child naps, the nanny can catch up on simple tasks, however to expect her to utilize all the time to do household chores, then expect her to have the energy to care for a small child for round two is preposterous.

MissMannah said...

Why the heck would they have you put the laundry in the dryer for 2 rotations? Do their appliances suck so badly that they can't get the job done the first time around? Sorry to not say anything pertinent but this stuck out at me and I think it is enough proof that the employers have ridiculous expectations.

Alex said...

Uh wow, I am a little confused! First I do think they should give you a warning first or have talked with you about what was wrong. Are there other issues here? Do they want you doing their laundry? Are you sure their comment, "you are taking us for granted" refers to the laundry not being done/house not cleaned and not something else? I'm just a little confused here.

I would ask for more clarification and honestly, I think a warning would have been better but if they have already made up their minds then there isn't much you can do. You don't want to work somewhere with a bad work environment.

Nom de Plume said...

We are nannies, first and foremost. Our jobs stop at the end of the child's mess. That doesn't mean we won't clean up occasionally should a pet make a mess or parents are swamped, but we are not cleaning people. There are services for that.

OP, do us a favor. Next job, honor yourself. Limit yourself to what you should be doing, caring for the child only.

As for the SAHM, good for you. Try walking in a nannies shoes. If you don't feel like doing something, you're at liberty of not doing it. We are not. We hold ourselves to a higher standard. Parents rarely do I've noticed.

what the said...

Nom de Plume - you could have gone without the condescending attitude. Now the whole thread will be derailed.

N is for nanny M is for maid said...

OP, from to what you've said, unfortunately it sounds like your employers have made up their minds. You need to start seeking other work now, and please ensure with your next family that all of your duties are clearly outlined and agreed upon (better yet, get a contract) before agreeing to the position! It's very important that your job duties fit with what you personally feel comfortable doing, and feel you can handle. You sound absolutely wonderful, in my opinion, what this family really requires is a nanny AND maid/housekeeper. Several previous posters mentioned that there is simply no pleasing certain people, and I have to agree - from the information you have given, their expectations do sound unreasonable. I also have to wonder if there is something else bothering them that they are not being forthright about (I too, found the statement about you being ungrateful odd and out of place). The best advice I can give you, is to start looking for a new job and ensure you choose a family that truly is seeking a nanny (verses a "house bitch" as Phoenix so accurately put it). If you need closure, ask to sit down and discuss what happened with this family (so you'll have the knowledge in the future) but, I must warn you, they are coming across quite cold and might simply pick you a part. Don't take it to heart, there are plenty of parents that would die to have a nanny as dedicated as you sound!

world's best nanny said...

The child is around 2? Is he at the age he wants to help? Give him a damp sponge and let him go to town with wiping things. Making folding laundry into a color matching game with him, or a who does this belong to game, or let's count all towels I've folded! Try to turn it into a game involving the child!
There is more than one way to de-fur a feline!

Oh! I did have one mom tell me that she didn't want her child learning "menial tasks." I told her to take advantage of the wanting to help stage now 'cause someday she'll be 15 and not want to help with anything!

OP saids said...

OP Says

When I hired in my main concern ws only the baby. Now because the "work" all the time on their computers- they are lazy and I notice almost everyday that they "have" to work and not spend the extra time with their son. If fact, his dad is purposely gone before the baby wakes- he is unable to leave when the baby wakes- I wonder why- maybe because he sees the baby once a week. Maybe. He starts work early and (b4 8) and gets home late (I leave 630-7) or so. He works till at least 8,9 o'clock at night. And dad had the most complaints.

Pat said...

I am a nanny as well and it seems like most family really dont care to keep the house tidy because they leave it for the nanny. But what you should do next time (since this one seems like its over) is to have the child/children clean up with you. It can get irritating when you just organized something just to see it a mess the next day. Also laundry should never be left for the next day because the clothes get wrinkled. In my experience, I can tell you that I never folded clothes while the kids where taking a nap because by the time you are finish they are awake and you haven't had time to rest your wary feet. I would fold clothes in the presence of kids and have them do an activity that requires them to work on their own (kids need that as well to develope their own independence) In fact when you do laundry in front of children, they also want to do it too, that teaches them responsibility as well as a great skill for when they are older. So I dont agree with Sarah on that one. Please rest assured,good nannies are hard to find and the family wont know what they got until you are gone.

Nicole said...

I personally don´t think this is a fireable offence unless they´ve asked you repeatedly to do the laundry and it just wasn´t getting done. With all of my last 3 jobs I washed, dried, folded family laundry, kept all of the rooms clean, did the dishes, and still made sure that the children were well taken care of with enough attention and love. We went to the park, played games, read stories etc.. Not to mention the last family had a 3 week old and a 15 month old when I started, the older child with a severe language delay and we spent a good 15 hours per week in different therapy sessions.

Bottom line is they´re not asking anything unreasonable of you and I don´t think its neglectful to fold laundry with a 2 year old playing alone.

Also depends on how much they´re paying you, I was making quite a bit but if somebody had asked those things of me for say, $10/hr it would be a different story.

CS Nanny said...

I do their children's laundry once a week, as well as doing general light housekeeping (sweeping, mopping, etc). I do most of the housekeeping while the kids are awake, as well as throw the laundry into the wash/dryer. I then fold everything either while they are sleeping, or start before they go to sleep. I work long days, and if I was in any other job, I would have at least a lunch break. Why should I have to work 10-12 hours straight? Mindsets such as CanadianMoms are irritating and insulting. Just because I work in someone else's home does not mean I do not deserve a break, too.

lovesthegirls said...

They are overindulged, entitled poop heads. People like that are the reason greed runs rampant in our society. Peace out while you still can.

nanny2 said...

It's hard to make a judgment on this without having both sides of the story. On the one hand, there's only one child, it seems like it shouldn't be that hard to get the laundry done (and would the parents really know if it didn't go 2 rounds in the dryer, as long as it was dry?). On the other hand, I have seen some pretty active 2-year-olds (and OP said he just turned 2) who need constant supervision, which would make completing household chores a bit of a struggle.

CanadianMom said...

CS Nanny - I'm sorry you find my mindset irritating and insulting, but I assure you I respect the work nannies do and I tried very hard to be a fair employer. I certainly did not say that nannies don't deserve a break during their work day! When we employed our nanny we made it clear that we expected her to take at least an hour break during naptime, and she was indeed able to do so every day. But I think if a nanny is at the employer's home for 8 hours a day with no O/T, as our nanny was, and the children nap for 2 or sometimes up to 3 hours, it is a bit cheeky to regularly take almost that entire time as break when there are other things that could be done, especially things that would be of benefit to the children such as planning arts & crafts projects, researching new recipes for lunches, finding fun kids programmes and planning special outings (our requests for her to do this went largely ignored). Alternatively, she could have done more activities with the kids while they were awake and left the snack & lunch prep, cleaning up after lunch etc until they were asleep, but honestly I think she was trying to ensure that she had as much downtime as possible during naps. I know a nanny's break is not the same as for some employees who can go out to a restaurant or bank etc., and I am aware that the nanny is still there for the children if they need her as long as she is in the house ... but does that mean she should do nothing else while the children nap even if she has already had an hour-long break?

oh well said...

If the true and only problem is the laundry, you could try to take care of it while your charge is awake and make a game of it. I really liked World's best nanny's suggestions (btw I can't believe that a mother would be stupid enough to think her child above 'menial tasks').

HoHum said...

Repost for Anonymous:


Prep snacks? Do chores? 1 hour for a break out of a 11-12 work day! Funny Candian mom, I bet you leave YOUR job early to run errands, get your hair done, or manicures. Or take days off to "get things done." So if you are going to nail a nanny on the cross for wanting a much needed break like nap time, and you feel you can do better then why don't you stay home and raise your kids?? Because in my experince people like you have a lot to say and have strong convictions on how a nanny should act/be, but yet you do not follow the same strict structure. How about YOU make your childs meals for a change! YOU do your childrens laundry, YOU clean YOUR home, YOU run out for diapers when YOU run out.

Look I used to be a nanny and now I am a mother myself and the reason I stay home is because I am brave enough to understand I would always be unsatisfied and I know nobody can raise MY child better than me! Yes, money is tight and we have to be far more creative with out budget but we still are able to live healthy, full and HAPPY life! I do not have a nanny or a sitter that comes so I can "run errands," (code for I cannot do this full time or multi task,) I do not have a cleaning lady, landscaper, or PA. And yet I am able to get all my chores, grocery shopping, work out 5 days week( and no I'm not fat, Im a size 4 have been my whole life,) make homemade meals from scratch (I make breakfast & lunch 7 days a week & dinner 6 nights a week,) errands, and anything else my family, life or house need and still able to give my child unconditional love, undivided one on one time, teach her everything that is vital and needed.

It's not always easy and it is a lot of work but I chose to have a marriage, a child, it is up to me and my husband to make that work. I do not complain, nor do I pass the responisiblity of my child's care when I am busy on to my in laws, parents or sitter. Your children have only one childhood there are no do overs!! So quit placing the blame and complaining and be a parent! And if you have such high expectations of your nanny you should know your children have high expectations of YOU!

Jun 16, 2010 4:39:00 PM

CS Nanny said...

If I have done all the chores I needed to do, and planned for the next day, then you bet I will enjoy the downtime. Because not everyday is the same. Some days my kids will nap 2-3 hours, and sometimes they will nap for 1. I do not feel bad if they nap for 3 hours, and after 1 hour I have everything I need to do done. It is no different than a normal job where everything is done, and it's slow, and you can leave early. I know I am a good employee, and so nope, I definitely do not feel guilty about "trying to ensure that she had as much downtime as possible during naps." I also am one of these nannies that (gasp!) believe a child has to be entertained 24/7 and so I get some of the cleaning/prepping done while they play.

CS Nanny said...

Oops! I forgot to add the "don't". So it should read that children DON'T have to be entertained 24/7.

working mom said...

I am amazed that the fact that anyone is a size 4 has any relevance at all to a post.

The grass is always greener on the other side, and everything is relative.

In my own humble opinion, SAHMs have it easy. I have never been able to be a SAHM, I have always been a WAHM, and now that my daughter is school aged, I work outside of the home (teaching Preschool) and have a part time nanny for her. I am a single mom. I would LOVE to have nothing to worry about other than my daily chores and my kid. But it is simply not possible. I am her father and her mother.

People always like to bitch and moan and complain about how rough they have it, but if you don't have to work and can focus on your kids, it is a luxury.

I care for children so that I can support my daughter. I hold other kids who are crying for their moms while someone else is holding my child who is probably crying for her mom so that they can support their child who is crying for their mom. It's rough all over, and some of us don't have a choice but to work.

HoHum, I give you a lot of credit: it is very hard to live on one income, and it sounds like you are doing just that. Good for you. As far as being a size four...well...

hohum. Big freaking whoop. Good for you for being able to go to the gym every day. Rah. Rah. Rah.

Village said...

I have to agree with Bostonnanny said . . . They want a SAHM not a nanny. There are more concerned about their house and their clothes than their baby, and the nanny is first concerned about the baby. Hello. She is a nanny.

They need a housekeeper who will watch the kid. That is really what they are looking for. They aren't looking for someone to nurture their child. It seems the nanny is the only one interested in that.

Emily said...

I am a nanny, but, like CanadianMom, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the nanny to do some child-related tasks while the children sleep, provided she first gets an adequate break. One hour is generous, even for a longer day. Plus some of these things- like researching activities, etc- requires only sitting at a computer, which should be significantly less strenuous than when the nanny is actively engaging the children. Honestly I don't understand the backlash because C-mom even states that she valued the nanny's love for her children over those additional tasks.

no name said...

Like others have said it sounds like it's too late to save this job, but if maybe you can fix things why not try starting the laundry in the morning when the little boy is still asleep? You should have time to switch them to the dryer and work on other chores before he wakes up, and sometime during the morning start them the second time. Then when naptime rolls around you've got the entire hour to fold the clothes.

RockstarMissDee said...

Hmmmm....Dad leaves between 4-8 in the morning and doesn't return until 9 at night? Sounds like he is doing more than working; perhaps Mom knows and they are having marital problems?

HoHum said...

I didn't write the post about being a size 4. Hence of why I wrote "Repost for Anonymouse".

BB said...

I am sick and tired of people who want a professional nanny then expect she does housework as well. The housekeepers in my area make 25-30 per hour and they work their butts off. I am a nanny I do not do housework! If I am asked I simply reply with something like, "that's fine let's discuss my hourly rate for housekeeping duties. I know the housekeepers in this area make about 25 per hour so that will be 25 per hour on top of my hourly nanny rate for the hours I do housework." That usually shuts them up about housework. I make sure I research the going rate in the area I work in for housekeeping and I have little trouble finding work. I find people keep their expectations much more reasonable when I am up front about what I will and won't do or tolerate from the beginning. Good luck with your next position!

Lindsey said...

Lynn,

if you want someone to fold your laundry, hire a maid. Great you can do it all for a fam of 5, well guess what? It's YOUR family, it's YOUR responsibility, not your nanny's. YOU chose to have kids, and a house, and all that goes with that, don't pawn off those job duties on your nanny.

OP,

Tell them, that they are lazy ungrateful, deadbeats, and that their son deserves better. Tell them that if they want someone to cook and clean, that they need to hire someone to do so. Your job title is Nanny, not maid. Tell them to stop being cheap and rude, and to get off their ass' and clean their own house. Your job is the child and anything that concerns him, if they want they can hire a nanny for themselves, then she can clean up after them.

Curious said...

BB,

What area is that?

OP saids said...

OP says:

I had my last day with this family yesterday- go figure- Im such a horrible- but they gave small bonus on the last two checks, a thank-you card with warm feelings, pics of kid, and a $25 gift card to my favorite restaurant- my birthday Tuesday. Guess I did a good job after all. Nice to leave on good terms. I even used them as a reference and start a new job next week- cant wait!!