Thursday

What's Cookin'?

Received Thursday, September 30, 2010
A day in the life 10  I take care of three children. One is mostly on a bottle and the other two are young. The parents expect me to cook every night. And they want veggies and grilled steaks and stuff. I don't have time for that. Fortunately they don't ask for receipts for petty cash and they don't routinely go over the grocery receipts. So, here is today for example:

I am busy all day. I know I have to cook. I have an hour to get the kids dinner made so I can get us all back out the door to an activity, leaving mom and dad to come home and enjoy another of my feasts uninterrupted. I go to the deli earlier this afternoon and I get some sesame chicken breasts. Three. She puts them in a large soup container and they stay in the backseat most of the afternoon while I am out. I get home, throw a bunch of lipton onion soup mix and a can of chicken broth on the chicken and throw it in a frying pan with hot oil to get it brown then I drop it in a casserole and throw it in the oven. I open a can of asparagus and dump it in a small frying pan with a massive glob of butter. I go in to the garage freezer for my secret stash of frozens and grab a bag of pre cut mashed potatoes. I throw them in the microwave, still stained with my lunch time nachos. I take the potatoes out of the micro and mash them up with some half and half, garlic and romano cheese. I throw some texas toast in the oven. None for mom. She doesn't like bread. I take everything out and slam half of a half of a chicken on each kids plate with a blob of mashed potatoes. I take more care to arrange both parents plate, (paprika on the potatoes, a squirt of lemon on the asparagus) and cover those. I slam the kids in front of the plates and tell them they have ten minutes to eat. They complain and don't eat. I give them fruit snacks and oreos. I get all the kids in the car to get our dinner out. I do a quick clean up on the kitchen, (the messier it looks, the more the parents feel like they are eating a gourmet meal) and I grab all of the trash which I drop in a neighbor's garbage can four doors down. By the time I get back tonight, the parents will have cleaned the kitchen and left me a thoughtful note. I appreciate that, but hey, I'm no cook and never said I was.

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37 comments:

Hungrycollegestudent said...

Why are you cooking for the parents anyway? And why are kids eating dinner in the middle of the day? I guess I don't understand the meaning behind this post.

ChiNanny said...

If you didn't want to cook, why did you take a job that required it?

Emily said...

An hour seems like a decent amount of time to both make a nice, healthy simple meal and feed the children as well. (Ever heard of 30-minute-meals?).

I would feel quite guilty over serving a plate of food so laden with fat & potentially spoiled to children I care about.

If you haven't had a frank conversation with the parents about your feelings regarding dinner then you are the one in the wrong here.

ScienceMissDee said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like the parents want expect the nanny to cook elaborate meals for them and them only while the kids are rushed through their "meal". Do these parents not understand what they are doing to their children:

1. By rushing the meal times, the children will think that mealtimes do not exsist. They will not learn how to socialize and table manners, which is what mealtime is to young children, a time for talking and learning self help skills.

2. They will learn unhealthy eating habits. Fruit snacks and Oreos?

When you are supposed to be cooking for the parents, cook for the children instead. Prior to leaving with the children, leave a note for the parents that you didn't have time to cook for them on that particular day, because the children needed to be fed. Are the parents that busy they can't cook for themselves or too stupid to realize they don't need a gourmet meal and that you are indeed too busy to cook one for them?

costanza said...

Am I the only one that has lost their appetite after looking at the disgusting photos of the potentially-poisoned food that the nanny cooked?

umm... said...

It sounds like they they expects too much, for sure. However, serving potentially hazardous food is not ok. You need to talk to them or find a new job.

Bostonnanny said...

lol I guess i'm the only one who finds this amusing.

You can make simple dinners that are healthy very easily. Just marinate the meat the day before and buy fresh veggies that you can stream.
Buy fresh asparagus, stream it for 15mins, stick the marinated chicken on the stove or grill it, boil or grill some corn on the cob, then stick some rice in the rice cooker. It takes 30mins.

You don't have to buy canned veggies, just invest in a good streamer. You can also make a some spice combos that you sprinkle on the veggies for favor.

If the children are being difficult, you can have them help.

bostonnanny said...

I also want to add that you can buy pre-seasoned meat at the supermarket. All you have to do if defrost and stick in the oven. Baked ziti and chicken broccoli penne are quick meals too.

Jacqui said...

That food DID look rather unappetizing. I like Boston Nanny's ideas. I always have chicken cutlets marinating and spaghetti squash refrigerated in tupperware for the week. Make a few things for the week, things whose taste and style you can alter night to night (i.e. meat in a different marinade, tilapia with different seasonings, simple veggies that can be easily reheated or roasted). For a carb, pastas, rices and cous cous are simple and fast.

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

I'm not expected to cook for the parents, but I am responsible for kids meals, and I always, always, ALWAYS "pre-cook". I do it during naptime, or while the kids are playing solo. I've done this with babies just starting table foods and with older kids. Unless you have literally NO time at home, you can get a meal prepared and then warm it up when dinnertime comes.

Toss a preseasoned pork loin in the oven, cool, slice, and refrigerate. Same with chicken or steak. Cook frozen veggies and store in those toss away tupperware containers after sprinkling with various seasonings. Make rice/pasta/cous cous and store that as well.

Then make up plates at dinner time, reheat them in the mocrowave, and you're golden!

Is it possible that your dislike of cooking and your feelings of being burdened with over-the-top expectations are making you overthink the process of making dinner?

original poster said...

I am the OP.
Here is what I have to say.

I did not take a job that required me to cook for the parents. The children eat at 5/530 and the parents are not home yet. I originally just cooked for the children, but saved the leftovers. You know, back in the beginning when I was trying to be super nanny? Big mistake.

Then she asks me to "buy enough at the store for dinner for 5." (Hubby is not a light weight). So, I do. Then she asks me to "start their salad" for them or "peel her potatoes" or "light the grill and marinate the steaks for them". and then, "it's probably just as easy for you to cook for 4 as it is for 2."

The chicken was in the car all afternoon, but calm down, it was deli chicken. It was precooked. I wouldn't dare serve anything dangerous to the kids. They didn't ask for this lifestyle.

Hungrycollegestudent said...

In my opinion, you're the one that allowed this to happen, and now the children are suffering because of it. I say put your foot down, and while you are at it, invest in a 30 minute meal cookbook (and a crockpot!).

oh well said...

I am not sure what the point of your post is, but you do not sound very professional to me. If you don't want to cook for the parents, why don't you just tell them that? Are you afraid that they might fire you for refusing to do what most SAHMs do every day? I would look at this situation as a great opportunity to acquire new skills, but it seems you'd rather complain about unsuspecting employers.

Nanny K said...

Props to you OP! I think this is hilarious!! Parents that don't want to spend dinner time with their kids after they spent all day with the Nanny deserve veggies out of a can!!!

UtahNanny said...

OP - Just because the chicken was precooked does not make it safe to eat after it's been left in a hot car for hours! Would you eat that? Clearly not since you feed the kids junk and then go out to eat. Grow up. If you don't want to cook tell the parents don't do this passive aggressive game.

MissMannah said...

Why any nanny would be expected to cook for the parents is beyond me. That's why you hire a cook or a housekeeper. I also find it odd that the parents want the children out of the house while they eat their dinner. What's the point of having children if you don't want to bond with them? As for the food itself, I'm no gourmet cook myself but I certainly wouldn't use so much butter and fat in my meals...and especially not if I was cooking for children.

Phoenix said...

I'm sorry but I wouldn't eat your cooking.

meg said...

If the parents are actually eating this and enjoying it, then they don't deserve good food.

I'm all about Barefoot contessa over here.

lynn said...

that asparagus looks canned - how could the parents not know??

alex said...

even though the chicken was precooked that is horrible that you served it to the parents and the kids. Do you leave meat out at your house? You are never supposed to leave meat out.

NannyM said...

I understand your angst. I was told last year that I wouldn't have to clean, but I would end up with lists of housework to do while the parents went out to do fun activities with the children. (they work out of the home anyway). I was so angry and I hate cleaning. The only way everything got done was because I half assed everything! This is bad, but I didn't want to take the time to scrub the hardened messes from the kids off the dining room table, so I used the same mop and water I used for all of the floors to get it clean! This routine wore me out mentally and I knew it wasn't fair to the family either. I grew some balls and talked to the parents. We came to a compromise and now are super happy. It's amazing what talking can do! If they still want you to cook...ASK FOR A RAISE!!! You weren't hired as such and certainly aren't being compensated that way. Maybe perhaps even "forgetting"one part of the meal because the kids were fussing, one had an accident, story time at the library ran over, etc. If they miss what they have and know that you cannot well care for their kids while cooking, they may stop.

I really like how you already have some time savers (the pre cut potatoes), it seems as though you could incorporate more. I hope you buy some type of treat or at least some filet mingon for yourself for doing all of that work. Please treat yourself to some food that's yummier and better for you than nachos.

But Oreos and Fruit snacks? Are you freaking kidding me??? I'd rather deal with complaints and tears over good food than hand out that crap!

James said...

Geez, this site just gets worse and worse.

Boo Young said...

u wanna challenge me to a comment-off-a-thon. cuz i no u i could take u. i no u r hurting incyde.

costanza said...

James, if you have such a problem with it, don't worry, we won't miss ya!

Brandie said...

Organize a weekly menu plan and prep cook during down time, you can even get the children involved depending on their age, children over 4 can use butter knives to cut fruit, and veggies, make sure you teach them prper knife eddiquite before hand (no walking around with knives, don't point knives at their siblings, etc) and older children can help with setting the table, and give you ideas of their favorite meals so everyone is happy. !5 minutes before you start dinner set up an activity for the children that aren't going to help with dinner so they are occupied, and let the kids know that they should start cleaning up in five minutes so everyone can get in the mindset to sit down and have a nice dinner. Don't rush, children hate eating with a time restraint and don't give them sugary snacks because that will just lead to hunger later in the night, and problems sleeping. Engage the children at the table and eat what they are eating, encourage them to eat heathly foods such as veggies, lean protein and fruit. If you are cooking food that you know they aren't to keen on always offer something that they like, such as cheese, peanutbutter, apples, etc. Don't harshly tell them that they need to eat everything, it just creates tension.

Make sides in bulk with healthier items such as olive oil, coconut oil, and agave syrup rather than fatty butter and sugar. Cook everything in bulk and advance so you don't have to rush so you can focus on the protein.
Hope that helps!

This Nanny's Just Saying................. said...

OP I think your post was amusing. A nanny should not have to cook for the parents, esp. parents who want a nice quiet meal w/out the kiddos. Shame on them. They do not deserve a good meal. Anyway, if they expect you to provide quality childcare for three young children, then it is unreasonable for them to expect you to cook a suitable dinner for them as well. I know..I know...I read the comment that SAHM do this every day, however remember this: us nannies have to take care of other children much better than we do our own. The liability factor is much higher since we are making a salary + we are accountable to them for the way we care for their children, unlike if we had to care for our own where we are only accountable to ourselves.

Bostonnanny said...

I agree with nanny just saying...

If it were my kids, I could skip an activity, run personal errands and plop them in front of the tv for an hour while I cook dinner. Plus I could skip clean up for another day.
As a nanny you don't always have that luxury and some parents expect you to do everything without down time. My aunt is a sham and she says even though her twins drive her crazy, she doesn't have the added pressure to get everything done in one day. If she doesn't want to cook, she orders take out and if she doesnt have time to clean she calls the maid service.
I understand SHAMs do a lot in a day but they have all day and night to get things done and it benefits them. They don't do double the work. After cramming everything in an 8hour day i still have to go home cook my own dinner, clean my own house and run my own errands.

formerly chgonanny, now rte66nanny said...

At my previous nanny position, I made the kids' dinner. Then that gave the parents a good hour of playtime with their kids before bathtime, so I thought me feeding them was actually nice.

Their father (who's not a bad cook at all) would make a ton of chicken cutlets, noodles and such that he'd plate up for the kids and then all I had to do was pop it in the microwave.

I am in no way a good cook, but I found a bunch of healthy crockpot recipes online, and then you can just leave it on "warm" for the parents. I'd recommend doing some "kid friendly" dinners (i.e. mac n cheese).

Just a few ideas for you. Good luck!

being nice said...

re-post for anonymous:
This situation is unhealthy for everyone, both emotionally and physically. Take a professional stance and talk to the parents, e.g. ask them for some help figuring this out, and present them with some of the solutions that people have suggested here, such as meal planning and prepping casseroles in advance, or making twice as much as needed and freezing the other half, etc. Using frozen peas, corn, broccoli, that can be microwaved quickly. If there isn't time enough in the day to do the kind of prep required, then the parents are going to have to help to find another solution.

Explain that your priority has to be caring for the children and making sure that they eat a nutritous meal and are not rushed. Say that you find it stressful to know that you are cooking for the parents too. I do think they are taking advantage of the situation but they won't realise there is a problem unless you tell them; they need to realise that they are asking for too much and making it difficult for you to be the best possible nanny.

Having said all of this, some of this I just don't get. If the children are so young and one of them is still on the bottle, why would you be taking them out to activities after a dinner that you serve at 5-5:30 p.m.? Does this happen every night? What's with throwing the garbage in the neighbour's can, isn't there one in the house? Also, your job is the care and wellbeing of these children, so giving them oreos etc after they won't or can't eat their dinner is just plain wrong.

Ravenswood Nanny said...

LOL. This was hilarious! Why is everyone's panties in a bunch? I mean, I wouldn't eat the crap in the photos, but it's a funny nanny story, we all have something that we do like this, right? Loved it.

you need a moniker said...

repost for anonymous
I love this post!! OP i worked for a high maintainence mom who would demand I prepare coq au vain, homemade beef stew, sauce etc...this was not part of my original duties it just creeped in. The kicker was I was supposed to grocery shop on my own time before or after work because they did not want the baby to leave the home due to germs..I did tons of shortcuts and would hide the wrappers...

To all those people posting that OP is horrible, don't judge until you have walked a mile in her shoes. I know what its like to have one hour and be running around like a nut...when you work a 10 hour day with no rest the last thing you want to do is do something thats out of the expected realm.

I will say that now that I am in a better situation I have no problem preparing all kind of meal because I like the parents so much and want them to be able to have a nice dinner with the girls.

no name said...

repost for anonymous
HAHAHAHA I LOVE THIS POST! Forget what most people commented! You did what I would do if I had to cook for my bosses! What they don't know don't hurt em. And as for feeding the kids 'junk'. If the parents were really concerned with what they were eating, they wouldn't put the pressure on to make elaborate meals for themselves. It is up the the parents not you to ensure their children are mentally, physically, and socially healthy, it is our jobs as child care providers to put into practice the parents wishes within reason. To me this is your way of showing them just how reasonable they are!

MONKEY SHINES said...

That looks like the kind of un healthy,lazy crap Sandra Lee would make!

ericsmom said...

I laughing when you mentioned leaving the evidence in the neighbors garbage. It put a smile on my face.

Hey you can always pick up a Boston Market chicken sometimes. And go to a market and buy already prepared sides. Like fancy potatoes,etc.

Piscespets said...

First of all I make dinner every night and it rarely takes me more than 30 minutes. If it something that takes longer why not do the prep work earlier in the day?

Those pics of food make my stomach turn...and did you say you left the chicken in the car for hours? That's really unsafe. If everyone gets the shits you'll know why.

ericsmom said...

Hello

It sounds like she is watching three small children. Do you really think she has time to "prep".???? Yeah you can say when they nap. Guarantee when they are napping she is picking up toys, loading the dishwasher. Or taking a break.

SandieMN said...

Ha! I love this post. What they don't know won't hurt them. What's even better is that you will always be known as the nanny who cooked "homemade" meals!