A More Typical Trial

Saturday, October 9, 2010
I went for an interview/trial day with a family of 17 month old twin girls recently. The mom found me on a sitting website, and had emailed me with minimal details-ages of children, expected hours, and location.

I arrive at their house on a brisk day, dressed somewhat nicely since this is an interview and I want to impress, while not looking over-dressed, since I anticipate some interaction with the children. When I stepped inside, I immediately knew my outfit was a bad choice-family were sloppily dressed and inside their house was extremely warm and I was in a sweater.

I sat down with the parents for an interview. At this point I did not know I was going to be expected to stay that day for a trial day as the mother had never asked. We chatted a little bit and I became a bit wary about their expectations. Firstly, the mom had said 20-30 hours a week, which worked well for me since I am a graduate student. At the interview, she began talking about 35-40 hours a week, including Saturdays-something never mentioned. I told her that I wasn’t sure I could commit to all Saturdays, but we could discuss setting a schedule.

Secondly, she began mentioning all that she expected of me with regards to the job. They do not have a large apartment, but she expected me to vacuum and mop frequently, including kitchen, play area, and dining room. I am willing to do light housekeeping in general, and I understand why it’s necessary, but I am thinking this is too much. Also she wanted me to be responsible for all of the family’s laundry. I am willing to do the children’s, but I’m uncomfortable with theirs. Apparently she does not like this answer as she has a snarky reply. She then brings up taking the children to the park daily. Very active, rambunctious, wobbly children at the park every day? I don’t know…

Then she springs it on me that I am expected to stay today for a trial…Since I really needed a job at this point, I agreed, at which point she immediately left me with the children, who are very upset since their father just left, and she disappeared. They don’t know me, and she is behind a closed door. I try to calm them and distract, which works until mom appears to tell us it is time to go to the park.

Since I did not anticipate the park, or the insane heat in their house, at this point I am uncomfortable and sweating. We head to the park, which is not too far from their home, but which is a series of hills. When we arrive, I see the park as very dangerous for 1 year olds. It is built on a hill, with a series of jungle gyms around. Great for school aged children, but not so much for these. While there, the mom and I are constantly chasing one from going down the steep slides, falling off the edges, or falling down the hills. There were two of us and it was difficult. I could see it being a weekly trip, but daily?

On our way back, I have decided not to take this job. Too much work for not enough money, but I stick out the day. Lunch is a mess (as it normally is with toddlers) but the mother feeds them inappropriate foods for their ages. Seeing as how I am not the mom, I do not say anything, but come time to change the diapers, I see the results. Not to get graphic, but it looked like they had very upset stomachs. I know as a nanny I would have to feed them as the parents wish, but I would not want that daily.

Finally they are down for their naps and I am free to go. She paid me less than what she had said and seemed to think nothing of it. I simply accepted and left, hoping to not see them again. While the girls were sweet, I could not deal with that regularly.

Two days later she offered me the job via email and I declined. Immediately she called me demanding to know why I turned them down. I am a truly nice person, and I hate to insult people, so I said I found another job which had better pay and better hours for me. (I hadn’t yet, but I did after a few weeks) I’ve noticed she keeps taking down and reposting her job, so I’m guessing others have found fault too.



consider yourself lucky, twins are a lot of work and it is hard on your back lifting up 2 toddlers constantly and the parents sound horrible

thejewishnanny said...

Oh, dude, I have been searching for a month and it is nothing but these evil, crazy mothers. I had one "trial" where I drove from Coney Island to Chappequa, stopped and bought them groceries for a meal, (gas, $20, tolls to and from $14) babysat for 7 hours (at cheapest $15 per hour)-didn't leave until almost 10 and GET THIS. THEY DID NOT FEED ME. I bought and cooked that food, and they had me go sit in the living room while they ate. Then she didn't pay me when I left.

I figured that if I got the job it would be worth it, but I grew angrier and angrier, if she is going to treat me so poorly before I even have the job, what would she do to me when I moved in? When she offered me the job I declined and demanded $150 for the free babysitting, cooking, tolls, gas, etc and when she balked I told her to go f^ck herself, then informed her that I would report her to the INS and the IRS for exploiting an illegal nanny (who didn't even know they were looking) and I got the check three days later.

Now I am waiting on the check from another trial-the commute was from Southern Brooklyn to Queens and during rush hour it took over 2 hours to get there and as it was monsooning and the Belt Parkway was flooded, I texted her asking if she wanted me to come in late (though both of us knew the commute was too awful) and she declined, telling me she would send me a check for the full day I worked previously, check.

I just texted her my address again yesterday, and if I don't get something by friday I am sending her a letter that states, "I have a text from you that says you were going to send me a check (sneaky way of sayinbg I have proof)I know you are busy, but I earned that money and I need it. If she still doesn't respond I will have my father the lawyer send her an itemized bill. These people are scum. I had an interview on the UES yesterday and the woman was late, met me in the foyer, was on her cell phone texting the whole time, never made eye contact, and was put out that I did not want to share a room with the baby nurse and the baby or go to The Hamptons for an entire summer (weekends included) where I would be sharing a room with her sister's nanny. Eff that! I am a grown ass woman and I am not about to be all Laverne and Shirley in a single bedroom. I have a bedroom, and I will happily go there and sleep in it before I share a room with another woman. I could go ON AND ON, but what's the point? 97% of them are spoiled, exploitive, and awful.

Anonymous said...

I would have said 'Because you under paid me, and you owe me money.'

NVMom-movedtoTX said...

Sounds like you really dodged a bullet. Good luck in your new job.

bostonnanny said...

umm why can't you take twins to the park daily in nice weather? I'm sorry but I've cared for several sets of twins and taken them over Boston everyday by train to parks, sing a longs etc.

The fact that they lied about hours and wage show how unreliable they will be, so it was a good idea to decline.

MissMannah said...

I know how you feel, I hate hate turning down jobs. First of all, because I don't like to insult the parents and secondly, because I need the money! But you did the right thing, being miserable at work is never worth it. I just hope the mother doesn't find out through the grapevine that you're still looking for work. I usually say something like "I feel your family's needs and my own don't fit together well." Another thing I hate: "surprising" the nanny with a trial day. I never, ever let parents get away with that...which is probably why I'm still unemployed, lol.

nycmom said...

I totally agree with bostonnanny on all points.

The family should have honored the original job description and trial pay. The failure to do that is a big enough red flag alone to warrant declining the job.

However, taking kids to the park daily is a pretty standard nanny job requirement, at least in the major cities where I have lived. I'm curious if you experience has been different, and if so where you live?

OP said...

I guess it's more about the park itself than the fact that I was expected to take them daily. I am new to the area I am in now (I prefer not to say where). This park just does not seem all that toddler-friendly to me and it worried me to have so many ways things could go wrong-especially with two little ones that need so much supervision. I think it is a great park for older kids though.
In the past my nanny positions have included park trips, but I usually like to vary things. I like to mix it up and be able to make the choice about if it should be a park day, library day, or simply a day to take a walk. This mom just didn't seem all that open to alternatives to the park either.
The problem also, bostonnanny, was not that they were twins. My new position is with twins.

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand why you didn't tell her the truth about why you decided not to work for her. The woman needs to know or she'll never be able to hire and keep any nanny. Also, you may have prevented her from taking advantage of another nanny.

sfbayarea said...

Family laundry??? I agree. Having this expectation of a NANNY is disgusting and abusive. If a parent "needs" his/her personal/household laundry done, let the parents call their mothers - or hire a laundress or housekeeper. When did this insane "job requirement" enter the world of nannies? You couldn't pay me enough to do it as a nanny!

Lila said...

I think it's ok for a nanny to do the kids' dishes or kid's laundry if it was part of the original job description. The parent's laundry is more appropriately handled by a housekeeper or the parents themselves.

MannyLuc said...

The last family I worked for started with a twice a week housekeeper/laundress. She was cut down to once a week, and the parents asked me to start doing the kids laundry. I agreed because it was easy and had been in our original agreement, even though I'd never done it.

After a few weeks, a couple of the parents items would show up mixed into a dryer load of the kids clothes. No problem, I would fold and toss into their room. The percentage of parents laundry increased almost every week until I was doing the whole houses laundry (mixed together so that it would have been very obvious and passive-aggressive to pick out the kids clothes).

I did it because the job was winding down and I didn't want to make waves, but just wanted to share a funny story of how parents can sneak anything in if they want it!