Canned Nanny Left Wondering...

Receievd Thursday, July 22, 2010
perspective and opinion Last summer I was supposed to work full-time for a couple and their 2-year old son. The mom had told me that she wanted to use me for a chance to get work done on her dissertation and also to be able to go to work several times a week (and also for date time on the weekends with her husband). The first few weeks were great and I really got attached to her son very quickly. It got to the point where he was excited to see me and would even greet me by jumping into my arms. I was always happy to go over there and see them and see the little boy.

After a while though, things went downhill. The mom started to stay home more and more, which at first didn't bother me too much because it was her home after all, but what DID bother me was that she started doing everything for me: cooking, planning activities, reading books, cleaning up, and sometimes diaper changing as well. It got so bad that I wanted to ask her why exactly I was there if I wasn't going to be allowed to do my job. I soon realized that it looked like a trust issue because on the days when she needed to go to work for the entire day, she took myself and her son to her mother's house which was a 45-minute drive one way. The grandmother sometimes went to work, but was often in her office at the house which made child care very difficult at times. It got to the point where the little boy was throwing tantrums because he did not want to get into his car seat to go to the store, etc. because he already spent over an hour and a half in the car seat several times a week and he was starting to rebel. It wasn't until the mother confronted me and told me she found her son had diaper rash and if he needed to be changed that day that I had to come find her and tell her so she could do it. That particular day was hell for me because even when I took him outside to play in the sandbox, his mother came outside and would not let her son get more than 2 or 3 feet away from her. She also insisted on putting him down for his nap that afternoon even though she had just told me the week prior that I was better at getting him to fall asleep and she couldn't figure out why. I realized that she didn't trust me anymore and I could tell by the way she was acting, that she wasn't going to really tell me what was going on or give me a fair second chance, and that I could no longer reach her.

I also thought maybe it would have helped if she got out a little more. I was at the house often for 50 hours a week and she almost never left. Even on date nights, she and her husband walked downtown and were gone for an hour and a half at the most. I told her she was more than welcome to leave, that we would have been fine on her own and she should go shopping or do something fun, but she never really wanted to. :/

In the end, I chalked it up to the mom having an issue with me personally and because she couldn't find any true reason to criticize me as a caregiver, she had to make something up. I know this because diaper rash is not a real reason to accuse someone of neglect (I have seen plenty of children get diaper rash, not on my watch, and they have perfectly competent parents whom I respect) as this was during the summer so the weather could have really been affecting him, something about his diet, or maybe I just plain didn't check him quite often enough. I just couldn't figure out any other reason for being accused of neglect other than maybe the mother was just plain jealous of me because of how quickly I bonded with her son. And I know that no matter how many times I tried to explain to her that she is the mother and no one can ever compete for love with the mother, that her son will always love her the best and that it is good for him to also love a second caregiver, learn trust, etc. etc., blah blah blah, it didn't do any good. To this day, I just shrug it off as a crazy helicopter mom incident and move on, though I do miss the little boy TERRIBLY. He was just too cute not to miss.

Anyone else have anything similar happen to them?


Texas Nanny said...

My current charge got diaper rash a couple months ago because I didn't notice he'd gone during his afternoon nap and didn't change him. His mom just told me the next day and showed me where they keep the desitin.

However, my first childcare job ever fired me because one of the boys got diaper rash. I'm sure his parents raised a stink, which I find funny because it was the daycare's fault.

When I worked there, I only had experience with kindergartners. They knew that, and told me I'd be working with 4-8 year-olds. On my first day, they sent me to the 2 year old room instead. I'd never changed a diaper before in my life.

After a couple weeks, the teacher asked me to change a boy's diaper. I told her "I've never changed a diaper before" and she just sent me off anyway. When I got to the room with the kid, another teacher was there. I told her "I've never changed a diaper. I don't know how. Could you help me?" and she laughed and just said "It's easy!"

It's easy with a newborn. It is not easy with a 2 year old. I'd never even SEEN a diaper changed before, so I just did my best and the next day I got fired cuz the kid got diaper rash. *shrug* It's not like I didn't tell them I had NO experience with toddlers and had NEVER touched a diaper. I told them repeatedly. They hired me and refused to help me. And I've never worked in daycare since.

vm said...

You probably are just gonna have to chalk that job up as a bad fit. Babies and toddlers get diaper rash. Although in my experience, it seems like it happens far less often with cloth diapers. But I'm not trying to open up a whole can of works re: cloth vs. disposables, esp. since it's the parents' decision. ;)

It seems as though some lil ones are just prone to diaper rash no matter how often you change them, apply bum cream, etc. Sometimes it"s not even so called typical "diaper rash," but is actually a yeast infection on their skin. It's been my responsibility at several different jobs to take my charge to the dr's and have been told that food sensitivities and/or allergies may be the cause or a contributing factor.

Luckily, I've never had a family blame me for a charge's diaper rash, maybe in part b/c I write down each diaper change on our daily activity log. I also make sure to note any unusual changes related to diaper changes - unusual poop, the beginning of redness in certain areas, fewer poops than usual, etc.

If I were you, I wouldn't worry too much about that past job. It def sounds like that mom has trust issues and you gave it your best shot.

Re-post said...

Texas nanny your example is exactly why I would never put my child in daycare. They hire uneducated individuals with no childcare experience and pay them crap. That just equals disaster.

Jul 22, 2010 1:51:00 PM

a said...

Texas Nanny,

I am curious, once you found out you were going to be in the 2 year old room, why not look up how to change a diaper?

Kathryn said...

I wonder if it had absolutely nothing to do with you, but that she really just didn't want someone else to take care of her child-- she wanted to do it herself. It's possible that she had no idea how much she'd want to be with him, but then couldn't explain that, even to herself.

Village said...

I don't think this was about you. I think it was about him. The child liked you so much, his mother got jealous. It was never a trust issue. It was a I want him to love me more that you issue for the mother. What a shame. She was putting herself before her child.

Banana (OP) said...

Village: That's exactly what I thought and I wanted to tell her that she should be happy her son had taken so well to the new nanny and that he had no anxiety about going places with me and having a fun summer. At the end, I just told her that I didn't think it would work out and that I wouldn't be coming back. She told me she wanted me to stay and work through it, but I knew the issue was with her, not myself and not her son, so there really was nothing I could do. It makes me sad to think that all this was at the expense of this little boy. =(

Texas Nanny said...

Texas Nanny,

I am curious, once you found out you were going to be in the 2 year old room, why not look up how to change a diaper?

I did, but there's a difference between reading instructions online and doing it on a squirming two and a half year-old who would like to go back to recess. I did my best to clean him up, but I guess I didn't do it that well.

MissMannah said...

Why didn't you ever come out and ask her why she started being especially clingy? I gleaned from your story that you were making assumptions about her feelings, rather than trying to get her to talk about them. Granted, I probably would have quit also because I don't work for crazy bosses, I'm just curious.

Texas Nanny, you said on your first day you were put in the 2-year-old classroom and then you weren't asked to change a diaper for 2 weeks. Do you mean to tell us that not once in those weeks were you able to observe a single diaper being changed?

a said...


What I don't get is how she lasted 2 weeks before she was asked to change her first diaper.

ericsmom said...

Some babies get diaper rash easier than others. My son never really had it. But the time or times he did get it. It happened to be when he was on amoxicillian for an ear infection

Sorry OP you had such a bad experience.

DaycareMissDee said...

Anon @ 1:51 and 2:05-

Thanks for insulting me and my co-workers. I work in daycare, and, like my co-workers, am educated and have previous childcare experience. I have the best boss who only hires the best, at the best daycare in the Madison, WI, area. So before you go judging me or my co-workers, get to know us. You would be surprised. Just because you had a bad experience in daycare doesn't mean all daycares are the same. I am offended by your daycare comments. It's true that I don't get paid crap, but I love what I do, and that's all that matters.

Texas Nanny said...

Miss Mannah said:
Do you mean to tell us that not once in those weeks were you able to observe a single diaper being changed?

Yes. Daycare is a very scheduled environment. The kids in the two year old room all got changed en mass after lunch but before nap. My schedule was that I went home for lunch when the kids were eating and when I came back after my 1 hour lunch I went to the 4 year old room until 3, when I went to the afterschool room. So I was never present at the time of day when the teachers rounded up and changed all the kids.

I had seen diapers changed in my lifetime - my mom worked at a preschool when I was a kid - but since I was 9 then and 19 when I worked at the daycare, I didn't really have that to fall back on.

world's best nanny said...

PLEASE!! I've had many jobs and many kids with diaper rashes. It doesn't always mean you are neglecting to change them! Sometimes it's the diaper, or the detergent it was washed in if it is cloth. Depending on what the child had to drink or eat changes the acidity of the urine and feces.
Slap some Butt Paste on that tushie and move on! This mom had some underlying issues and latched on to the diaper rash for an excuse!

oh well said...

So did you get fired on account of the diaper rash, or did you quit?
I agree with Kathryn, mostly because I could see myself acting like the mom and it would very likely have nothing to do with you. This mom is obviously confused, and the last thing you should do is to take it personally. Maybe the grandmother is pressuring her with things like "how can you leave your precious child with a stranger?". Sounds like a daycare environment might be more appropriate for this family.

Nanny Sarah said...

OP, I have been a nanny for many years and have had many crazy families I have worked for!! After all these years and multiple families, I was seriously considering another field since I started to think it was ME and not THEM since I had had multiple bad nanny experiences. Even my friends were becoming skeptical as I went from job to job, telling them it was because the families were plain crazy. Well finally (!) I am working for a lovely family and things are almost perfect. So now I know it really was THEM and not ME all along.
I am telling you this because I want you to keep the faith. Do not place any blame on you. It is the mother who is a nut. She is just plain jealous and her behavior is just weird. You did all you could to be a good nanny and the proof is that the 2 yr old loved you to death. Mom must have seen that as a threat and then acted the way she did out of guilt perhaps?! Who knows? Anyway, you are better off w/out her and I am sorry you miss the lil' guy. I is hard, that is true. :(

alex said...

It sounds like it had nothing to do with the diaper rash or anything else but her just wanting to control her son at all times and not being able to give up control. Glad you moved on. And blaming you for diaper rash? It could just have easily been her!

Banana (OP) said...

@ MissMannah:
I actually had confronted her a week or so before I left because I wanted to take her son to the park and she said that she and her husband "weren't comfortable" with that. She also withdrew allowing me to give her son a bath and I have given many other children baths many times before. It was just one thing right after the next. I didn't want to say too much but I did want to know what was going on because on the very last day that I left, I was beginning to feel extremely angry. I guess I should have talked it over with her, but like I said, I knew she was the one with the problem, and so in the end no amount of sitting down to talk about it was going to help the fact that she just plain didn't like me, whatever the reason. :(

Seattle Nanny said...

Something like this happened to me. I was working with a 4-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl. She was super cute. They were both always excited to see me, and I them.

I adored them both. They were more like siblings than charges to me. We went everywhere and did everything. From my favorite park to eating out and pizza, from long walks to reading at home.

Every day I left, the boy would always wave and the girl always wanted a hug. When I arrived in the morning, I saw only smiles. Most of the time I was at least a little late getting out the door, because I rarely ever wanted to go and since I didn't charge for a little extra time, it was allowed.

On the last day, the girl had a fever. She was a little warm but functional. I asked "does your head hurt" and "does your tummy hurt" type questions receiving no in reply. For most of the time I thought it was my imagination. A fever is one of those things I tend to imagine and it wouldn't have been the first time I imagined a fever for her.

I would have checked with a thermometer to be sure, but we were out and about with no access to one. It was bugging me however, so instead of being as late as I planned to be, we headed back.

When we got back, their mom was already home. I reported the fever immediately, how long ago it showed, questions asked, etc. She responded well, located the thermometer, and so on. So I left.

I never saw them again. I emailed for updates and got a couple. I was told what the fever was and the next day, what the doctor said.

The day after I was let go by email. They claimed it wasn't the fever that ended my job. They insisted I could use them as a reference and if anyone asked to say their finances collapsed. Thing is, I had asked them a week before if they were worried of financial collapse and they weren't. It was the first week of October 2008. Six months after start.

A couple weeks later I saw an ad on Craigslist that couldn't have been anyone else and I swear I saw one that could have been them a month ago. Being the naive fool I am, I did try to use them as a reference. The two families who hired me since were unable to get through to them. I know because I asked who they talked to.

Another possibility seemed like they loved me until after my references. How strange too, because usually people find me a little quiet and it usually after my references that people are excited. I don't know what they said, if anything. I hope nothing. I do know as a precaution they're not a part of my reference list anymore.

The families I work for now live in the same area. I go to many of the same parks and places with my new charges. Including the favorite. Every time I go for other reason, but I wish to see them any time I think of it. I have not.

One of my charges now is a 2-year-old. She got a viral form of bronchitis a couple weeks back. No fever, but you can believe I was attached to her like glue. I had to have been, I have it now. I've read about forehead thermometers. I intend to buy one for my car kit when I can put together the money. A quick scan, anywhere.

This experience nearly ended my being a nanny. I was never able to say good bye. I don't know the rationale behind it, but I was never able to say good bye. It hurt. I can't describe how much it hurt. So if anyone somehow remembers me arguing in past threads that nannies planning to leave their jobs should be sure to say good bye to their charges, you might now have a better idea why I consider it so important.

Seattle Nanny said...

"Every time I go for other reason"

That should have been reasons not reason.

"a little quiet and it usually"

That should have been "it is" not "it".

Bah, it's time I turn in for the night.

Nanny Sarah said...

Seattle an intriguing tale. I am sorry this type of stuff happened to you. Do not let it scare you away from being a nanny because you sound like a wonderful nanny to me. I have had nutty families as well, I guess in the Nanny World it is par for the course.

MissMannah said...


So basically, it was just a case of a good old-fashioned crazy mom. Yep, we've all seen plenty of those! Do you guys ever sit back and think "What is WRONG with you people? If you hire a nanny, let her do her JOB!" Sorry, my last day of work was yesterday and it is starting to hit me that I'm never going to see my precious boy ever again so I'm working through a bit of anger issues at the moment.


Sounds like that was a pretty crappy daycare...pun intended. I've worked at those places where they "scheduled" diaper changes but I always throw those rules out the window. I check diapers every hour or so and guess what? If it needs to be changed, I do so. If not, I leave it. That way all the teachers in the room do their fair share of changes rather than one always being at lunch and the other changing 15 diapers at once. This is why daycares don't like me, I always made up my own rules.

Banana (OP) said...

One of the other moms I babysat for for over a year and a half, upon hearing this story, referred to this mom as a "helicopter mom". I asked her what she meant by that. She said, "You know, they're always hovering." She was the coolest lady ever.

nannynomore said...

I haven't read the comments so I may be repeating something that's already been said, but I think it sounds like the mum was jealous. I often find that the children behave better for me than they do for their parents and that annoys some parents. I've never had one follow me around though. I did work in a daycare once and one of the children got bad diaper rash a couple of weeks before I was quitting. Anyways, the supervisor told me that if I hadn't already been quitting I would've had a write up in my file about the rash. I've never seen the big deal in a rash...

noworries said...

Yea, OP, I agree with some of the others. Diaper rash is not always a sign of neglect. My daughter has super sensitive skin. She's 4 now, but if during the day she doesn't wipe well, she can still get it. Her skin cannot tolerate moisture. Not to say this kid was the same, but there can be several causes to diaper rash. I'm sure you are very competent!