No Deal

Recieved Monday, September 27, 2010
Opinion 4 I am a professional nanny with a lot of experience and excellent references. Lately I'm really bothered by parent's attitudes regarding childcare. How in the world is it fair to ask a nanny to take less money for multiple children? I know that when I work, each child in my care gets my 100% attention, which means I don't have a spare moment in the day. I give my all to every child. The most a child has to give up is immediate gratification. But they are assured that they will get what they need/want in my next free moment. I "hold" them with words of comfort and encouragement while they are waiting. I feel it is twice the work no matter how you look at it. It is two jobs. Or three. And on top of that in the case of nanny share, there are not only two adults to make happy above and beyond the children, but four, sometimes more in the case of divorce.

I currently care for twins who will be one year this month. I made peace with the salary I get when I was hired because I like this family and the babies were newborns so I could find a moment's downtime. I think this has come up for me again because as they turn into toddlers the workload has obviously gotten much harder. I am absolutely exhausted. I do all of their care from waking in the morning to bedtime at night. I've NEVER turned on the television or put them in front of a movie. I engage. I play. I hold. I coo and love them.

My employers just do not see the salary concerns this way at all. They claim hardship but I see their lives up close and personal and they aren't hard up. They are wealthy. It feels more like a situation of lack of respect for the position of childcare provider, but they'd never say that to me. I have tried to talk to them but they don't budge and I am left feeling horrible for asking.

No matter how I try to rethink it and see it another way, I come back to the conclusion that nanny share, or a "deal" for multiples, is an unfair expectation and a horrible scam on nannies. Is there anybody else who has these feelings? has anyone found a satisfactory resolution? I'd love to hear because I'm seriously thinking about not renewing my contract come the first of the year.


Rock in a hard place said...

Oh boy that sounds very frustrating! I as a nanny can understand that you not only have to wear many hats but you take your job and the childrens well being very seriously and therefor you should be paid fairly. It's a sticky situation. On one hand you love the children and work super hard, on the other your pay is not equal to your work load. And I have been there before and it can be a very difficult position.

I used to work for two families both part time. One family was very fair and paid me well. The other family (or I should say the mother only I never heard the dad once complain about my salary,)had a huge issue with not only paying me, but would ALWAYS complain about my salary. I thought it was strange, I mean when they hired me we worked out a work agreement in writing stating I be paid salary not hourly, so regardless if they went on vacation or had me take the day off they had to pay me. We also worked in sick days, holidays, vacation, job duties the whole nine yards just so there were no issues later on and it was fair and we each knew what was expected of each other. Well each week it never failed the mother would make a passive dig or remark on how much it breaks her bank, or having to pay me for a hoilday or if she gave me a half day having to pay me for it even though I was only there half day. It was absolutley frustrating and irritating to hear simply because it's not like I changed or asked for a raise from the mom! She agreed to my salary and yet I gave them a service therefor they she should pay me accordingly right? Well I later realized she didn't like paying for childcare simply put. I ended up leaving and working for a new family that was much easier to work for and paid me with zero complaints.

I think in every line of work this is a common problem, but over time can be resolved or people just look for work else where where they are paid fairly. Unfortunately when you work in a home and the money comes from their pocket so it's harder to justify letting go of it. Its a hard reality I had to accept myself. But maybe it might be wise to look for a new family since you have tried to get a raise. I mean lets face it, you have bills to pay too. I know it's hard to quit but there are families out there that will pay well and fairly for taking care of multiple children. I mean if you are not happy with the salary maybe looking else where is the answer. Who knows, you may give your notice and tell them it's because you need to make more money and they may give you a raise. Would you stay if it came to that?

nycmom said...

I'm not sure I fully get the issue you are raising. Are you saying if a weekly salary for one child is $650, then for 2 kids it should be $1300, and 3 kids it should be $1950? If so, then I disagree. Both when I worked in childcare and as a mom, I definitely do not find each additional child to be an exact double or triple the workload.

Anonymous said...

I'll be brief. You made a bad deal. You can correct that by leaving, learning from this, and negotiating a better contract with the next job. Now go find a better job with the pay you deserve.

TippyTop said...

An hour of your time is an hour of your time. I work as an RN and get paid the same per hour whether I have 1 patient that day or 10. Just because you have to work a little harder doesn't mean your time is worth more.

Bostonnanny said...

Could you explain a little more please. Are you being paid below what is normal in your area for twins or are saying you should be paid for each child like nycmom described?

If your getting paid less then the average and parents refuse to give you a raise or even consider it then it's time to find a new family. Also if you have been there less then a year, It might be to early for a raise anyways unless you are doing extra work not on your contract.

If your speaking of what nycmom described, then your crazy. If one child is $15 then two shouldn't be $30. The work load isn't that much more, especially for children from the same family. You would still be preparing the same activities, meals and crafts just double. And no matter what u do neither child will have your undivided attention.

just another mommy said...

More kids is more work. I would pay more for someone to watch my 4 kids than I would if I only had them watch one. But I wouldn't quadruple the pay.


Time to move on, these people have no respect for you. I was a nanny for many years and have come across all types and these parents will never get it. They have money for everything but when it comes down to paying someone to raise thier baby they snap their purses shut! They want to get something for nothing. I was a nanny for 20 years and you are dealing with cold people. mommy has chosen her career over her baby. If I had to do it over again I wouldnt, being a nanny you put up with a lot of bull shit, it is a lot of work and you dont advance, there is no where to go but to go to another nanny job and deal with the same old bull again

Phoenix said...

Just because someone makes a lot of money doesn't mean they have a lot of money. Don't be so quick to judge, they may really not be able to pay anymore. Unless you have access to their books, their financial situation is all a guess.

alex said...

Multiples (or even more than one child) is much harder than one. You basically provide all of their care and the parents won't even speak with you regarding a raise (I am guessing by your post). You don't say how much you make, but is it the norm for in your area? For more than one kid?\

I don't see yours as a nanny share because you are caring for one families children but they should be paying you the right amount for caring for two toddlers.

Dear Abby said...

Monkey Shines..some may say your post is negative, but I think it is right on in regard to nanny work (!)
Anyway, I agree with the other posters that just because you care for an add'l child should mean the salary should double, I think that is pretty much unreasonable. I would just tack on an add'l $3-4 per child...esp. a younger one.
OP, you must be exhausted! You have your hands full. Kudos to you! Unfortunately in this economy, people are finding it easier to find people who will care for their child for much less than they used to. (Ironically, I was just reading about this on my Facebook, I have access to a nanny blog there.) It seems to be a common problem. Unless you are being hugely underpaid, you may want to take a different approach to this situation. Be happy that in this job market, that you have a source of income and that you have something productive to do, as opposed to being on welfare or unemployment. Try to see it as a temp situation until the economy improves. However, if you are being grossly underpaid as I mentioned before, then do not let them use the current job market as a reason to rip you off and do not renew your contract.
Can you tell us where you live at and how much $$ you are being compensated?

Nervous Nanny said...

I just had an interview for 16 month old twins. Parents wanted to pay $11/hr. Ridiculous in the area I'm in since my current position is $10 for one child. Needless to say, I turned it down.

Manhattan Nanny said...

The OP did not say she expected double the salary for two children, she just said it was double the work.
My understanding is that she feels she is being paid too little for a job with twins. It is standard to base the nannies salary, (or hourly rate) on the number of children.

OP, Your post is confusing because you talk about your job caring for twins, but also refer to nanny shares, which are a completely different situation.
You agreed to your salary when you signed your contract, so I don't think it was fair to ask for a raise before the contract was up. Now that the time is coming, you can try to negotiate a raise with the new contract. If they don't agree, you should probably move on. It isn't good for the children or you if you are unhappy. Good luck.

CuriousDad said...

I feel some clarity in the OP's post is needed. It looks like two different posts jammed together.

But reading between the lines, which of course means I am assuming a lot. So hopefully I do not come off as to big of an ass.

She takes care of twins. Her first long part is decribing what she does how she feels about it.

At the end she sems to state the parents are in a money bind and want to change the terms of their contract. The possibility of a nanny share with no change in her pay is being discussed/demanded by the parents.
Basicly full time work for part time pay or some such derivitive.

However that part is fuzzy and I could be offbase.
I think OP needs to clarify exactly what the parents want and are asking for.

Dhien said...

Well each week it never failed the mother would make a passive dig or remark on how much it breaks her bank, or having to pay me for a hoilday or if she gave me a half day having to pay me for it even though I was only there half day.

Dominique said...

I think a nanny share situation only benefits the families involved. I agree in this economy that we should all should do what we can to get by, but as a nanny a nanny share would be too stressful for me to work with. It would be too stressful for me to please two different bosses and then of course, the bosses would be speaking of me behind my back. Say for instance, one of them was unhappy with the way I did something in particular, he or she could bring it up to the other family and then they may agree or at least be influenced by what was said, etc. The only way I would accept a nanny share position was if the salary was a little above what was average for two children. For instance, if in my area two children were $12-13 per hour, I would probably accept a position if I was offered $15-16 per hour. That would compensate for the added stress of having not one, but two bosses!!!

Was that the question? said...

With a nanny share situation, the nanny usually makes more than her usual rate. It is a deal for the parents because they pay half of the higher rate, which is less than what they would pay their nanny if she worked solely for them.
For instance...if your typical rate is $15, you would get each family to pay you $9-10 per hour, and you are then making $18-20 per hour.
Obviously it wouldn't work the same way in a family with multiples, because you still have only one pay source, so they must pay your full hourly rate.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if my posting was confusing. I was trying to express two different situations where the workload was very heavy: multiples from one family, and also nanny shares. I've done both, which is my personal experience that got me to this place of pondering the situation and seeking conversation about it.

I appreciate the objective, positive ideas put forth by some of you and the realistic points of view shared by others. It is just comforting to get advice from others who are in my field.

Thank you.

And to others, no, I do not expect my salary to double, triple, quadruple, nor do I have access to their books. (Some folks just need to say things in the spirit of making others look small.)

I will tell you that prior to this job I worked for a doctor and cared for one child, birth through 18 months and made $800.00 per week. Paid holidays, sickdays,2 weeks paid vacation (and half salary when they traveled and didn't need me along). I am now doing a very similar job working for a prominent partner in a big law firm, and making $890.00 per week, paid holidays, sickdays, vacation days (but at 2/3 my regular pay for these non-working days) caring for 2 children. This is my point of reference. I cannot say where this is because his name would be recognized and as well, I signed a confidentiality clause in my contract. But I will say that it is in one of the biggest cities in the US.

Hopefully I've made this a little clearer. And a further note: I spoke with my family (my own family) last night and I've decided to move on from this job when my contract is completed. I like these folks, I will leave without any hard feelings and maintain a stellar reference from them. I love the babies and will keep in touch. Some situations just don't work out...with faith (and good references) the right one will come along!

MissMannah said...

I, personally, don't think you're getting ripped off too much, except for the days off. It just makes sense to me to give a discounted rate for more than one child in the same family. In my last job, I charged $350 weekly and the mom was thinking about having another baby and she asked me how much do I think would be fair and I told her $425 weekly. (Obviously, you and I live in very different parts of the country! lol) How much do you expect to get paid? The only thing I agree on is all paid days off should be at full pay. 2/3 pay is nonsense.

Bostonnanny said...

Boston/NYC(NYC might me a few dollars more) pays $15-16 for a highly qualified nanny for one child and $18-20 for two children.
If you cared for one child 50hr for $16 that's $800. Now if the family with twins pays you $18 for 50hr that's $900.
I'm guessing on your hourly rated based on the infor you provided, but if I'm right I don't think you will find many families willing to pay you more. You might be able to find something with better benefits, like full paid vacations and health care but if your trying to find something over $20 per hour, good luck.
Think it's a wise idea to move on if your happy, just make sure you have time to search because families are becoming extremely cheap.

Expensive Nanny said...


There are definitely jobs in NYC which pay more than $20 an hour. I earn $34 an hour for twins for a 50 hour week, plus I get paid overtime and nights. I have full health insurance, 3 weeks vacation and public holidays,as well as paid sick days etc. I used an agency which only has high paying jobs; I've just looked at their website and there are many jobs offering $65k+/year. Even in this economic climate, there are families who can afford to pay well but they are looking for someone who has 5+ years of experience, a degree, knowledge of foreign languages and the flexibility to travel and stay late.

irritating said...

Umm, Monkey Shines, both the mom AND the dad have chosen their careers. Geez, live in the now.