Saturday

Henpecking the Nanny is a No-No

Received Saturday, November 13, 2010
Opinion 4 This is my first live-in nanny position, and I am needing some help in either deciding whether this position is worth staying in or what I can do to help this. I'm sorry this is so long, but there is a lot of history to consider. A little background on the relationship I have with the family I work for:

At first everything was great. I loved the kid, the family and I seemed to have a good, although not the absolute best, relationship. The Dadboss and I get along fine because we respect and treat each other like adults. However, the Momboss and I haven't always seen everything eye to eye on certain issues. It had never been anything major, at least in my opinion, and we just kind of continued with the way things were.

A couple weeks in, I noticed that things in my private quarters had been...let's say different. Doors I had left open were closed or lights I had left on (small ones to guide my way in at night) were turned off, including other small changes. I didn't really say anything, because I didn't want to start a discussion. A couple days later, I had been very busy because I was going out of town for the weekend and didn't have to time to put newly cleaned laundry away or to make my bed. I had packed in a rush due to time constraints, and didn't have time to clean my room properly. My private areas have almost always been kept tidy in the past as I am a fairly neat person. After this weekend trip, I came home to see my laundry had been put away in closets and drawers, my bed was made and my things were put into newly bought bins. I was pretty upset because I am a private person and I was under the impression that my room meant exactly that...my room. I had planned to talk to both of them in the morning about the importance of my privacy and if they needed to go in my room, that I would appreciate some notice beforehand. I was beat to the punch however when in the morning, Dadboss approached me and said that Momboss was in my room and needed to talk to me about what she saw. She came in the room and he told me that she was 'appalled by the mess' and that she really wanted this to work out, but that having things presentable was very important to her. She demanded my bed be made every day. She continued to make snide jokes about the way my room was decorated and kept, which not only thoroughly embarrassed me, but had also hurt my feelings because I had yet to receive solid compliments on how I was doing with the child. I would have said something right then and there, but she was so adamant about it being her home and therefore technically her space, that I felt there was no room for my opinion.

After a lot of thought, I decided to look around for another job and was offered one quite quickly. As soon as I found out this new family wanted to me, I asked to speak to my bosses and told them that in 2 weeks I would be leaving. Upon a lot of questions, I finally told Momboss that thing that had most bothered me was the fact that she not only would go into my space without any question, but that she had touched and put away my things with such authority. Of course, she disagreed and said I would have a hard time finding someone who would totally respect my privacy to the level I was expecting. The problem was, I have a very, very good relationship with the child. I love her to death, and would never want anything to happen to her. Momboss knows this, asked me to please reconsider and promised that she would never, ever go in my room again. Well, I believed her and said I would stay. Since this incident, I have felt more welcome and things were going a lot better. However, something else has come up that has caused some major stress and anxiety for me. Dadboss is currently away on a business trip and additionally, there have been a lot of burglaries in my area which makes Momboss very nervous, especially since her husband is gone. Of course, I do understand this, but this has made things difficult.

Now, I have a steady boyfriend that the parents have met, get along with and even their inlaws adore as well. They have invited him to parties at their friend's homes and a couple of times to dinner. Our routine has been that I get off class (every night, mind you) at around 930pm and he comes over. Momboss is normally asleep, but Dadboss is always awake and talks to both of us in the kitchen for a good chunk of time. There has never been any sort of problem with this, which there even shouldn't be because I was told that during my time off, I could do anything I wanted and that it was 'my time'. I have never had anyone else over besides my boyfriend. I have always tried to be very considerate with noise. I came home with my boyfriend on Sunday night to find the door had been locked with a latch, making it impossible for me to get in. This to me was a little silly considering she knew I had work at 7am with her the next morning and not only that, it was only 10pm. She unlocked the door after I called her, and said that she would wait for me to get in so that she could double check the lock. I said that my boyfriend was going to hang out a bit and watch television, as was our routine, and that I would make sure that it would be securely locked. She pretty much balked that a) I had a guest over 'so late' and b) that I was responsible enough to lock the door myself. She made remarks about me maybe drinking and forgetting (me drinking came up several times for some reason), falling asleep, inviting strangers over, etc. She also said that she was now seeing another side of me that she wasn't sure she could trust and that she had only seen me work with the child and trusted me in that regard, but wasn't sure about 'this other side'. To be quite honest, 'this other side' business came way out of left field. I hadn't been doing anything crazy that night, or in general for that matter, and I just wanted to lay down and relax in my room after a long day! So, she said that she would stay up and wait for my boyfriend to leave so that she could double check the lock. Even after assuring her many times, she refused to trust me to lock the door myself. Not ten minutes later, she called and asked how much longer we would be. So, I went into the living room and told her that we normally stay up until about 1130, in which case he leaves and I go to bed. I assured her again, that I was quite capable of locking the door myself and that she could go to sleep if she had really wanted. She was pretty irate about this and said that she was not happy with this behaviour and didn't expect to have guests over so late. Like I said, there has never been a problem before, it has been our routine, so I didn't know why it was all the sudden this huge emergency. She said that my boyfriend could just spend the night so that she wouldn't have to worry about it.

The next morning, I went upstairs to start work hoping that a goodnight's sleep would make everyone calm down...but boy, was I wrong. Momboss brought up drinking AGAIN, and basically reiterated what she had said last night with more vigor. She also added in some rude comments about my clothing style, how I decorated my room, and was also condescending towards my age. These comments are not only unnecessary, but hurtful. I tried very hard to be nice, assuring, and accommodating, but she just would not listen. Even when I would take a few steps closer to her, she would back off like I was a complete stranger! I simply did not understand her hostility and rudeness. In addition to this, she has since gone in my room again, without my consent, to retrieve linens from my bedroom closet several times. I talked to her about it and even brought up that I would like to be called prior if she needed something from my room. She of course, did not like this suggestion one bit. I mentioned the privacy issue again, and she said that if I had something private in my room, then maybe it shouldn't be in there at all. I could not believe she would say something so out of line.

My problem is, I do not know how to handle this. I am not being treated like an adult, I am being treated like a teenage daughter. I feel that I am also not being respected or trusted, when I feel that I have definitely earned it after taking such good care of their child. Like I said, I care very much for this kid and I do not want to leave her. We have a great bond and I know that I would miss her little personality very much. Please help me in what I should do. Is it worth staying and fixing? Or should I just leave? I would really appreciate some advice, please.

27 comments:

Bug said...

I would say LEAVE, and fast, but I'm wondering if maybe a boyfriend staying the night would be an issue for any family with a live in?

ohionanny said...

I would certainly leave. If you allow this woman to treat you this way, she will only get worse. You're not a teenager, you're not her child, and you're off the clock. While a certain level of rules is to be expected when living in someone else's home, YOUR things are YOUR things, even if they are in HER house. She has NO right to touch and go through anything of yours for any reason.

Leave! said...

UmmmmmmmmmmmmK. I'm gonna go with "leave."

Wake up: you are living with a freaking psycho.

Bostonnanny said...

Move on now. As for the boyfriend coming over, i would think most families would not feel comfortable. You must remember they feel it's their right to do whatever they want because it's their house, not that I agree but it's hard to have someone live with u. She is seeing you as not only a employee but as an individual and she feels uncomfortable with who you are outside of work. Your personalities clash. She was prob expecting to have you act and dress as you do on the job all the time. Forgetting that you have a personal life, and a unique personality. I would move on and prob become a live out nanny. Your'll prob come across this problem everytime unless you keep your personal life outside the house.

MissDee said...

I had always thought that the L/I, along with WAHM or SAHM positions work best with clearly defined expectations and guidlines, so that everyone knows what to expect in terms of the position and other situations. If everthing was laid out in terms of privacy and the boyfriend, both of which I think MB should be more respectful of, then there shouldn't be any issues. Those of you that know me know my story: my father was very strict, monitored everything I did and said, leaving me with no privacy nor respect. When I was a teen, I felt like I was 6 years old, because that's how I was treated. Looking back on it, I felt disrespected by my father. At the time, he didn't understand that what he was doing was harming me in the long run.

Personally, I would feel violated if I was a L/I and MB or went into my room without my knowledge or consent. Your room is YOUR ROOM, decorated the way YOU want it, even though it is HER house. I can't help but wonder if she is jealous of the relationship you have with her child, and that's why is she is being disrespectful toward you and treating you like a child.

Keep us posted!

TC said...

You already tried to work it out and stay and it didn't work so now it's time to leave.

You should be respected and you do deserve privacy and if you don't feel you are getting either one then it's time to move on.

You need to look out for YOU not their child, their child is their responsibility and don't for one minute think that if they ever get upset with you enough to fire you that they will care about the bond between their child and you. They will show you the door and that will be the last time you see them.

Find another job ASAP and do not allow the mother to convince you to stay, you need to get out.

Euro-nanny said...

I agree with the other comments you've tried to make it work but it hasn't and you should move on before things get even uglier. I've been a live-in and its not easy in terms of having privacy/ having friends over. I didn't even ask my employers if my boyfriend could come around as I knew it would end up being an issue...I just made sure I met him at his apartment instead.

imo said...

Move on immediately! You already gave them a second chance, don't make the mistake and give a third. Should have left the first time when you had another job lined up.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

OP, I agree with the above posters. You tried to talk to her about staying out of your room, she said she would, then went back on her word. Since you made an initial effort to try to resolve the issue at hand (by talking to her about it) and it didn't work,then you have no other option at this point but to leave. I know you will miss your charge as I have felt similar feelings, however it is a job and you cannot stay there and accept this type of treatment just out of the love for the child. You are a loving and warm human being and your feelings are only natural. They will subside w/time.
As for having a boyfriend stay the night, I think many families would have a problem with it. If you do a live-in for your next position, I would bring it up at the interview and if they have a problem with it, either a)do not accept the position or b)just sleep at his house.

Rebecca said...

Hey Guys - Don't forget - it was the Boss who suggested that the BF stay over because she was too worried that the OP wouldn't properly lock the doors when he left.

Lila said...

OP, if I were you, I'd certainly find another job ASAP. The mom has no right to criticize your taste or touch your things. She definitely has control issues. You deserve better.

VAnanny said...

OP I get the feeling that you might be leaving out some details. Did something happen before all this craziness started? I know you said you and MB didn't always see eye to eye but has it always been a tense relationship? The drinking comments seem weird to me. Did something happen in regards to drinking? If not, then this lady is a nutball. LEAVE! Run. Don't walk.
I was a live-in ONCE and NEVER again. The family was always in my business. I felt like a child. I always being watched and reprimanded for something. I have loads of respect for nannies that are long term live-ins.

thejewishnanny said...

Yeah, you need to quit. Bitch is cray cray.

Anonymous said...

OP HERE:
1) One reason I haven't quit again is because of timing. It is the holiday season, and I cannot imagine how hard it would be to find a new nanny job at this point. Plus, I would like to be considerate, and not leave them hanging as well during such a stressful time of the year :(

2) When I took this job, I asked at least 10 times to make sure that inviting a friend over was ok. They assured me quite a lot that it would never be a problem during my time off, which obviously would be at night. I would have never, ever considered having my boyfriend spend the night until Momboss even mentioned it. I had assumed this would have totally been off limits otherwise. Like I said, I try very hard to accommodate their schedule and make as little noise as possible. And, like I also said, Dadboss sees and talks to us every night since I took this position. If there had been a problem with this, I would have assumed it would have been mentioned to me.

3) I have never been drunk or tipsy in front of the parents, as I feel that this would have been inappropriate. The Momboss grew up very religious, and her mother believes that 'the devil is in the bottle' (their words, not mine). I think this is where the drinking issue came from. They know I drink occasionally, but at the beginning of my job they said that was ok as long as I didn't drink in front of my charge. Which of course, I would never do.

4) There has been issues like this with the mother since I started. I honestly don't know what it is, but I have a feeling that when the Momboss went in my room in the beginning of my working there, she saw some personal things of mine that made her uncomfortable. She grew up in a conservative background and I have a feeling this played into it. I have really tried to be careful about bringing my personal life into their home, but because she has been into my room SO many times, she has done this herself. She has brought my personal life into work from this.

Rocket Scientist said...

OP, it is definitely a hard market right now. I am looking for a job, and I plan to have my next position arranged before I tell my current employers, but still give them plenty of notice (hopefully a month or so). I would suggest you do the same. It is stressful, but not as stressful as if I were currently unemployed and looking. And there's no telling what will happen once you tell them you are looking, even when you have a good relationship with the employer. I hope you find something good!

nycmom said...

I also think this job is not going to work out. I do not think you need to leave urgently, but I do think this setup is doomed. I would start looking for a new job, give notice, and leave at your convenience. I believe that once there is this level of open hostility and conflict it is essentially impossible to go back to normal. GL.

lovelovelove said...

I'm currently a live-in nanny for a wonderful family with two children & MB. Although we live in a very large house, when I first moved-in the kids were very curious about my room because it was the only bedroom with a lock. There was a couple times I wouldn't lock it on my way out of the house to find that one, if not both the kids, had snuck in there. MB would let me know immediately about the situation, apologized and would again have a brief conversation with the children in front of me about my privacy. To know that the family really is attempting to give me my space and respects my privacy is so critical to the balance I try to sustain in my own life between my personal and professional life.

I work extremely long hours because we are a single-parent household, in which the parent is an executive for a major US company, and so I feel that my personal time is just that, my personal time. I am obviously respectful of the household, the family as a unit and especially the children, but at the same time I want to do things that I know weren't part of their lives before - for example, watch a football game, make my gluten-free cookies, ect. On my time "off," there are nights I will have a glass of wine with my bath. I don't make it blatantly obvious, but I find no need to hide it. The wine is purchased by the family and has been offered to me by MB on several occasions during dinner. If I have a glass, a new bottle of wine may need to be opened or they may see me bringing it up to my room. I would assume the thinking would be that I am an adult and can make responsible decisions.

MB was very aware that I've had a long-term, long-distance relationship. When he does come to visit, we usually stay away from the house but she has often said she would be completely fine with him staying over.

I couldn't imagine a situation like OP where MB obviously has a strong opinion about your activities on your off time, especially if you are live-in. Unless you are putting your charge or yourself in danger and/or acting irresponsibly or disrespectfully, you should be able to partake in personal activities. That being said, I definitely think these are things that should be laid-out on the table...not so much certain situations (can my boyfriend spend the night?) but viewpoints (if I'm dating, what would your concerns be?). If these viewpoints differ drastically, as much as you love the child, you should leave. If you truly can't feel comfortable and happy in your personal life as a live-in, you won't feel comfortable and happy in your professional life.

Keep us updated!

lovelovelove said...

I'm currently a live-in nanny for a wonderful family with two children & MB. Although we live in a very large house, when I first moved-in the kids were very curious about my room because it was the only bedroom with a lock. There was a couple times I wouldn't lock it on my way out of the house to find that one, if not both the kids, had snuck in there. MB would let me know immediately about the situation, apologized and would again have a brief conversation with the children in front of me about my privacy. To know that the family really is attempting to give me my space and respects my privacy is so critical to the balance I try to sustain in my own life between my personal and professional life.

I work extremely long hours because we are a single-parent household, in which the parent is an executive for a major US company, and so I feel that my personal time is just that, my personal time. I am obviously respectful of the household, the family as a unit and especially the children, but at the same time I want to do things that I know weren't part of their lives before - for example, watch a football game, make my gluten-free cookies, ect. On my time "off," there are nights I will have a glass of wine with my bath. I don't make it blatantly obvious, but I find no need to hide it. The wine is purchased by the family and has been offered to me by MB on several occasions during dinner. If I have a glass, a new bottle of wine may need to be opened or they may see me bringing it up to my room. I would assume the thinking would be that I am an adult and can make responsible decisions.

I couldn't imagine a situation like OP where MB obviously has a strong opinion about your activities on your off time, especially if you are live-in. Unless you are putting your charge or yourself in danger and/or acting irresponsibly or disrespectfully, you should be able to partake in personal activities. That being said, I definitely think these are things that should be laid-out on the table...not so much certain situations (can my boyfriend spend the night?) but viewpoints (if I'm dating, what would your concerns be?). If these viewpoints differ drastically, as much as you love the child, you should leave. If you truly can't feel comfortable and happy in your personal life as a live-in, you won't feel comfortable and happy in your professional life.

Nannyx3 said...

OP,

I have been a live-in nanny for 3 years now. The advice I would give to you is leave. Never in the 3 years that I have lived with this family have they ever gone into my personal space a moved or touched my things. Occassionally if I have laundry in with the kids the MB will fold it and set it on the inside of my door but thats it. As for the boyfriend situation, I would just bring it up with your new employers. My MB doesn't mind if my BF stays over if the older (tween) kids are away for the night or weekend. Even off the clock because I live in their home I still try to set a good example.

Best of luck to you. I admire you for putting up with what you have had to deal with. Being a live-in is hard enough without being treated like a child on your time off.

alex said...

I would definitely leave. This lady is being ridiculous! She trusts you with her child but she does not trust you to lock the door? I understand you have a bond with the child but there are some things that are just not worth it. I'm sorry.

rosie said...

If this was me, I would be setting up interviews NOW - if your MB is this cracked now, what the hell is she going to be like over the holidays? And do not allow your boss to manipulate you into staying a second time. She clearly has some major issues, does not respect your privacy and goes back on her word. As TC said, you need to look out for YOU first rather than the child. Good luck!

ericsmom said...

Why not go over to your boyfriends house. I don't know I wouldn't like it either

S.J. Hostetler said...

How often is the boyfriend coming over? Perhaps the Mom feels he's living there? You should apologize for the intrusion upon the family's privacy and meet your boyfriend away from the house.

Run Run Run! said...

Leave! Do not pass go, do not collect $200, just keep on goin' and dont look back. the mother sounds like a wackadoodle.

Phoenix said...

She seems to only be getting like that when she's drinking. When her husband is home she appears to be ok. I would look for another job and don't ever talk to her when she's been drinking or is in that state of mind.

Emma said...

This is why I would NEVER be a live in nanny, not for all the tea in china, a million dollars, or dinner with the Queen. No thank you! I feel as a nanny our jobs take so much out of us it's nice to be able to leave and have some privacy. You need to quit, find a job you can feel comfortable in and become a live out nanny where nobody will go through your things or insult you left and right.

Annie Laurie said...

One word: LEAVE!