Crossing the Fine Line in Being Part of the Family

Received Friday, July 23, 2010
perspective and opinion Is there anyway a nanny can become "too much" a part of a family? I mean, what are the boundries. I recently put in my notice to leave my job after being there for a year and I was told that I was "ruining their family"...but I'm not a parent...I guess there is a fine line.


Village said...

If the parents are getting a REALLY good deal, such a good deal that the nanny is unhappy and wants to leave, the parents might feel their great deal was being ruined. That could be misconstrued as 'family' for them. Just sayin'.

Bostonnanny said...

You were never part of the family, they are trying to guilt trip you. They are prob pissed cuz they need to find a replacement.

Nicole said...

I´ve actually had a similar situation and am still somewhat dealing with it. I worked for a single mother and occasionally babysat for her boyfriend as well, for over 3 years. I left because of diminishing hours as the kids were getting older, but I really love the family and they are like family to me. Well I left 2 years ago and in the meantime have gotten engaged and am expecting a baby. I know the mother has always expected me to come back at some point, and I know that things have deteriorated since I´ve left.

Well, when I told her I was having a baby she cried because she knew I would never come back and ´fix´ her family (her words not mine). i feel bad, but yes once the nanny is more responsable for the emotional well being of the children, its become too close.

I´ll still stay in touch and they´ll be like aunts and cousins to my baby, but I definitely know what you´re saying!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes they were getting a good deal. I don't want to make money sound like an issue because it is really all about the kids but I was on food stamps (at the suggestion of my employer). I was sick 7 times this past winter (part of the job I guess) and never once had the option to go to the the doctor because I couldn't afford it. That should give you a taste of the good deal she got.
And yes I think the challenge of finding someone new was hard. I bonded very much with her kids but I am not their mother and the word "abandoning" really was out of context here.
But every day up until I left something new was my fault... and I've only been spoken to twice (once for taking a weekend job to get more money...she said her kids seemed disturbed about it). Then she told me she hadn't found a new sitter and was freaking out...her kids told me later that day that they had a new sitter in place for a few days already. I don't mean to sound like I'm the world's greatest nanny but I think she was mad she was losing me and was trying to guilt trip me into staying.
Thanks for the comments this site is so wonderful! I start my new job next week and am looking forward to all the opportunities it will bring.

Bostonnanny said...

As soon as they suggested food stamps I would have suggested they get a new nanny, that's fucked up. I would have never stayed as long as you did, even if I had a contract. Guess your not getting a reference seems like a waste of a year. Good luck at your new job

imo said...

if you were really a part of the family they wouldn't be treating you like this.

Jane Doe said...

A nanny cannot become too much a part of the family without the family welcoming such. 95 percent of the time this is very convenient for families, as it ensures the nanny's love and dedication to them and the children. But when it is time to move on for the nanny or the family; the complications can be heartbreaking. In my experience, this occurs with nannies who give years of service. Your employer sounds manipulative and odd. Ruining their family? Don't look back. Don't even try to understand.

world's best nanny said...

I second Bostonnanny.

wow! said...

If the parents said that, they are freaking batshi* crazy. What a crazy, horrible thing to say to you! I am so glad you quit!

Nanny Sarah said...

I have heard the term that a nanny can be a "part of the family" but I do not agree that this can ever truly be in the true sense of the word. Why? Because money is involved and that changes the dynamics of any relationship. Also, in a family usually the relationships endures w/no strings attached whatsoever. In other words....the love is unconditional for life. I highly doubt families who employ a nanny can adhere to this definition of a family. LOL.
Nannies can never truly be part of the family and those that believe this are in denial. A nanny can play a very pivotal role in the family, maybe even more so than a friend...but family no!!~

OP said...

To say I was manipulated would be true...
I'm really sick of talking about it because I just can't believe I let this happen to depresses me
They would constantly talk me up to other people (one mom came up to me and said "you are a parent's DREAM") but MB's attitude towards me did not reflect what she had been telling everyone about's like she wanted me to think I was crap so I would just submit to anything they asked (which was A LOT...I spent a lot of my own money on work related things... mileage...etc). SO essentially she loved me but never showed it?
I mean the only way I knew I was doing good was because all the other mom's told me that they had heard great things about me AND my employer's relatives would say the same thing
I never said no to them. I took their kids on weekends in my own home.
I'm just baffled....I was duped essentially. I really thought I was smarter then that! But like I said...I'd do anything for those kids.
Oh and the money was all under the table (though it wasn't very much) do I go about reporting that on my taxes?
This is my last post in regards to this manor because it makes me anxious to even think about it but thanks so much for all of your comments... :) I don't plan on another career path and it feels great to know there are others who feel the same way and there are employers out there who are incredible as well :D

cali mom said...

OP, your former employers are complete assholes. period. You don't want to consider people like that as part of your family, and you dopn't have to. Because they were never your family, just your employers.

As for reporting the taxes now? Well, you can report your earnings and pay huge amounts that you will owe, and the former employers might get into trouble as well. Since they never paid anything into unemployment or disability or workman's comp fopr you however, you won't get much benefit from them after the fact. Just the satisfaction of knowing that they will probably have to pay a boatload of back taxes on you. I hope you're on the books for your new job and do not start babysitting the kids for free again. Live and learn.

Anonymous, if you are working FT, and STILL qualify for food stamps, something is wrong! Unbelievable. Why do intelligent, capable people work for $3/hr???

needs a moniker said...

repost for anonymous:
For taxes - u have some options. If u don't want to go to H+R Block, etc. for help , u can most of the forms and info on the IRS website. Also they have a # that u can call for free tax advice + they commonly deal w/ these situations.

They were legally your employer, rather than u being an indept contractor, so don't let your employer try and screw u over further by claiming that u were an indept contactor.

As an employee, u can claim the income on the taxes + indicate that u weren't given a W-2 and list all your employer's info, etc. The IRS will contact them and they will have to come up with all the required back paperwork (which they didn't do) and have to pony up big $ for unpaid employment taxes, penalties, etc. U will have to pay back taxes + penalties. Also, there is a chance that u may get
into some trouble, although I doubt that it will be a huge deal - possibly some fines + a slap on the wrist. Most likely, they will allow you to be go on an installment plan - be sure to request it if u don't have all the $ to pay at one time. The IRS is way more forgiving after they revamped the entire agency some years ago.

Hope this helps some...

OP/Anonymous said...

Thanks...I was Anonymous thanks for the tax help... Part of me still fears her and what she will say about me (if she finds out I list her as an employer) but I do plan on reporting her on my taxes
And what can I say? I'm a sucker...I'm a pushover...A dear friend needed me to watch her kids while she helped in a local community hit by a tornado and though she insisted on paying me I wouldn't let her cuz of the cause she was supporting.
Part of me hopes this isn't true (because every child deserves the BEST) but they maybe find out now that you get what you pay for.
I know better now and YES :) my new employers have me on the books
My old employer was worried if I bought a new car that the government would find out I worked for her...shady...ugh looking back I know never to fall for that again. But I will still say this: I stayed for the kids and I felt if I left because of the pay that that would make me less of a nanny (for not putting kids first).
As a nanny the worst day at work is WAY better then the BEST day at any other job...I always say that and I truly believe it :D
Again thanks to all...I can't wait to use this site more :)

Angelina said...

OP, I would think twice before you report her on your taxes. When she finds out, she will get REALLY ANGRY and possibly could say some things about you that could you get in trouble with the IRS. In other words, she will probably retaliate. I highly doubt she will just accept the penalties and pay them with her mouth shut. She may make up lies about you, perhaps telling the IRS you worked less than you did, etc. Make sure you have proof of your hours and forms of payment. If you do not have signed receipts for your hours and/or cashed checks, then it is her word against yours. And if you open Pandora's box..then you will face the same consequences that she is unfortunately. So think twice before you get the federal government involved with this. It could be a double-edged sword and may backfire. Is there any way that you could talk to her first? So that she is not caught off guard? During the job, did you agree to work under the table for her? Because if you did, then it would be unfair to suddenly switch to working on the books just because she made you angry and you want to make her pay.
For the record, I am a nanny who works on the books, and I know how strict the IRS is. Everything has to be reported, I have to keep bi-weekly receipts from my employers, they have to keep me on a payroll and I keep all of my cashed checks from the bank. They take out all of my taxes and I receive only the net pay.

OP said...


Angelina said...

P.S. OP...she may even claim that you never babysat for her or that you only babysat on a light basis, etc. I repeat...before you get the IRS involved..make sure you have tangible proof!!
I understand how you must feel...she is a nut, however what benefit will you get if you report her? You will only have to pay back taxes/fines/penalties and your record will be messed up. And they may start auditing you.
Good luck.

Angelina said...

OP I wish you luck. Keep us posted if you can. :)

OP said...

I will keep everyone posted.
and I don't want anyone to think I'm a bad Nanny...ugh that just occurred to me the whole "you get what you pay for thing" I am great at my job...I don't think I will ever be done with my education as far as child care goes as I want to continue to learn SO much (and if that means acquiring multiple degrees then cool!)
I just put the kids first and when I was hired she did promise a REALLY nice raise after the first month (probationary period)...which I was counting on but I never got it. I don't think she ever even meant for me to get any raise. :(
It almost felt more like an internship... it was in my field of expertise but yet I wasn't exactly getting paid but if I did a good job I would get good references (that's what I think of when I see no pay CL ads's more like an internship).

Marypoppin'pills said...

I won't go into details but a good friend of mine was in a similar situation and the following year was audited. From there began a 4 year nightmare that ended with her paying several thousand in back taxes and fines.

She finally did get a slight reprieve last year when the IRS notified her that they were overpaid and she recieved a slight refund. The saving grace to that was knowing they were finally off of her back.

I would listen closely to Angelina's advice and just chalk it up to a lesson learned and go on the books from now in. It isn't worth losing your peace of mind.