Sleeping Patterns and a Raise...

Received Wednesday, June 2, 2010
perspective and opinion I am a nanny for a wonderful 10 month old little boy. I have worked with this family for almost 4 months now and have very little problems. Lately, however, there has been some trouble with the baby and his sleep schedule. I normally work from 8:30 in the morning to about 4:30 in the afternoon, but occasionally work the late shift from noon to 8. The days when I work the earlier shift, the parents both get home at the same time around 4-4:30. After I leave, the family of course is on their own with the child. I have been told by the mother that they let the baby take a 1 hour nap around 6/7pm. They then continue to complain about how it is so hard to get the baby to sleep at his normal 8pm bed time. When I work the late shift, I don't give him that evening nap and he is in bed at 8pm on the dot. The days when I work the late shift, he sleeps until 7:30 the next morning. When they give him the evening nap, I get him the next day and he is cranky from getting less than 6 hours of sleep, and ends up taking another nap at around 9:30 the next morning. This screws up his entire day because he is either really tired or really crank or sometimes both. I want to talk to this family about this problem, but don't know how to do it without over stepping my boundaries. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with this problem.

Also, it would be nice to get a slight raise. I make about $200 per week while working 45+ hours each week. I know money is tight around their house at the moment as the husband is going through a career change. All I would ask for is $25 maybe $50 additionally per week. I feel I am entitled to this raise as I do way more than what is asked of me. I do laundry, light house-keeping, errands, and even pet care. I do as much as I can to make everyday life just a little easier for this busy family. Should I wait until they are out of this economic problem, or address the issue now?


bostonnanny said...

I would wait until the family brings up the subject about his sleeping. when they do, tell them what you have learned from previous experience and how you handle his bedtime. If they are respectful employers they will be grateful for the advice and try to make changes. A nanny should be part of the team and parents should listen to advice.

As for the raise, first have they asked you to do any of the extra stuff? Do you have a contract? Because if they didn't then you can't really expect them to pay you more for work that wasn't asked to be done. If you have a contract then it should state when you have your next review which you could possibly ask for a raise. Sounds like they are on a fixed income at the moment with the job change and might not be able to afford more.

Also you have only been with them for 4 months, its kind of early to be asking for a raise unless they gave you more duties then what was originally agreed upon.

A nanny who agrees!!! said...

Trust me, I have a boy I nanny for that is 2. Yes 2- he still gets a night bottle. they put him in their lap to help he sleep. They want the pacifier taken away- but I am the only one who has tried that. Take it from me- dont waste your time and energy- let them come to you. Its not worth the suggle. And definitely harder on the child.

Anonymous said...

getting paid only $200 a week for 40+ hours
is bordering on slave labor. This equals about
$5 an hour which is below the minimum wage!
I live in NYC and the minimum rate for nannies
is $15 an hour...$600 per week!
This couple is grossly expoiting you.

nycmom said...

Although I agree that your wages are quite low, I also agree with bostonnanny that 4 months (assuming no duties have been added) is too soon to ask for a raise. Presumably, you agreed to the job at these wages so 6 months would be the minimum I would consider reasonable to ask for a raise. Usually raises are annual. In addition, raises are usually 3-5% for Cost of Living. $50/week extra would be a 25% raise so that might be a bit high.

I would leave the sleep issues to the parents. Sounds like they are new parents, and if they solicit your advice, then by all means give it. But you will be fighting a losing battle trying to set a schedule for naps and sleep that the parents totally ignore.

Nanny Sarah said...

I agree w/anonymous that you are working for waaay less than you should be making. For 45 + hrs, you are only making $200???! That is less than $5/per hour and if this job is on the books, they could get in trouble because what they are doing is illegal. Even if it is under the table, they are exploiting you. :(
Forget the sleeping issues, they are horrible parents for taking advantage of you. They are getting a great deal w/you since you not only provide loving care for their child, but you also assist in other domestic duties as well. They are getting all the benefits of having a personal nanny (the most expensive form of childcare!) + a personal assistant as well. They are paying you what they would normally pay to put the baby in daycare. What a great deal for them. It's like me paying $3.50 for a Big Mac, and then receiving prime rib....(no, not McRib!!) LOL.
Even though you did agree to it, it still doesn't give them a license to do this to you. You probably agreed to it because you thought you could do it, however after four months you realized it was much harder than expected. I would just walk away and not come back, but that is only me. Many people will think that is unprofessional and it would be if I had a minimum wage paying job. But since you are being paid waay less than that, you owe them nothing.

jenny the nanny said...

You deserve at least minimum wage. You are taking care of a child, their child, not flipping burgers.

Original Poster said...

I thank all of you who responded to my original posting. I really don't think that what I get paid is that unreasonable. The family also pays for my $800 dollar a month rent, as well as paying for my insurance as gas.

Nanny Sarah said...

Oh sorry, OP I didn't know all that. That makes things better then. :)

Katlee85 said...

OP: As for the sleeping thing. As a mom, I'd be happy if my babysitter/Nanny came to me and we talked. As long as you do it in a non confrontational manner and start off with something like "I noticed that *Insert baby's name* has been cranky when I get him sometimes in the morning. Is there anything we can do to change that?"

That way it makes it sound like you're asking, rather then telling.

On the raise issue, I don't know if you have a contract, but because they are paying your rent, insurance, and gas too, I don't think 25 or 50 bucks is a big deal.

MissMannah said...

Try waiting until the 6-month mark, then you and the parents can have a meeting, just to see how everyone's doing. The parents can bring some stuff up they are happy with or something they think needs improvement and so can you. Also, I think the way Katlee phrased it was excellent. That's the way they taught us to phrase it in Conscious Discipline training, rather than punishing bad behaviour in children: "What can we do to solve this problem together?"

As for the money issue, you should have mentioned in your original post that they pay your rent, because that is considered part of your salary. But if you still feel you deserve more money, go for it. It is customary to wait until the first year anniversary to consider raises, so they might not agree to it though.