Nanny Feels Like a Doormat...

Received Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Opinion 4 I am a 22-year-old returned Peace Corps Volunteer (taught children English in the Philippines) with a degree in English. I have extensive experience with children through my volunteering experiences with the local hospital as well as my teaching. I was hired by a very sweet and loving family to care for their three children and newborn and to organize the house for $12.50 an hour. I had to fight for that wage in the beginning, when they had said that most people doing my work make $10-12 per hour. They also do not help with health insurance nor pay holidays or sick leave. Since I had never been in a nanny position before, I didn't dare go any higher. At first their wonderful personalities made up for the lack of pay, but now I just feel duped.

A few months after I started, the mother began to ask if I would mind doing chores around the house while she didn't need me with the kids. I needed the hours to make a 40 hour work week, so I agreed. Soon after, she fired their weekly maid and I was given a list of tasks to be completed that started as scrubbing the toilets and soon became odd tasks such as touching up the paint, moving furniture, and cleaning out the car (in 30 degree weather). I do not mind picking up after the kids and the expected duties of house cleaning, but the parents have now desisted picking up after themselves, leaving dishes piled in the sink from over the weekend including rotting milk in sippy cups, their dirty clothes piled wherever they change, and diapers thrown everywhere. A week ago, she asked me if I would mind doing something, then immediately answered herself laughingly, "Oh I forgot, you're my assistant, you do what I ask." We have become quite close, but this still ruffled my feathers.

When the holidays began to approach and I was told they would be going on a two week trip, I had to scramble to get enough money together for bills, let alone the expenses of the season. They gave me a $250 bonus and a picture that the wife took of me at my wedding. Very generous, but still a challenge to make rent. I know they have the funds, I just don't think that I am on the agenda. My grandmother bought a plane ticket to come spend a week with me after hearing that I would not be working and I scheduled my graduate school exam during their trip so that I would not interfere with their schedule. They decided to come back a week earlier, however, and have been quite peeved that I am not available to go to their house to work. I am a famed doormat at times and this leaves me questioning if I am being taken advantage of. I would love anyone's two cents (believe me, my piggy bank's empty).


sorry said...

get out, that's a terrible job and their taking nasty advantage. be smarter next time when you choose a job.

Bostonnanny said...

You can find a much better job and i suggest you start looking right away. When you apply for a job you should always do research on the average salary, benefits and duties in your area. When you go in knowing nothing, you get nothing. I would also consider using your degree and go into teaching. If you can't stand up for yourself or put your foot down then you will consistently be take. Advantage of.
Treating you like a house bitch and not offering benefits or proper pay does not make them good employers, it makes them assholes.

Move on.

ohionanny said...

IF you desire to stay in the job, communication is necessary. If you have difficulty saying it out loud, write a businesslike letter and leave it for her on a Friday, when she has the weekend to read and absorb it. Expect to sit and talk on the day you come back.

You can state that when you started the job, it was for childcare only. I would then state that you do not mind the duties that come with the children, like lunch dishes and toy pick up, but that you have no desire to be a house keeper. Within reason (according to you), you may grant favors that the parents ask of you, but that you would like the courtesy of being asked so that you can decide whether or not you want to take on the task.

This is a hard thing to do, of course, because it involves confrontation. But these people are being very unfair to you.

Or you can look for another job, get all your ducks in a row for that job and have duties clearly outlined in writing so this does not happen again, and quit.

AMom said...

$12.50 an hour for 4 kids and all that housework? I don't know where you live, bUT I can't imagine that being an acceptable pay for that amount of kids and work anywhere. You are seriously being taken advantage of!


leave as soon as you find a job, it is hard but do it! if you start talking to the parents about the contract things just get worse! been through all the bs at my last job, looks like you have some education going for your self so being a nanny wont be your carrer of choice because the majority of these parents are nasty! I regret not being motivated to go to colledge when I was younger because being a nanny is a waste

a mom said...

I agree that they are using you and that wage seems low for all that work. However, it does depend on where you live and what the supply of cheaper labor is like. I think with your experience, you would be better off looking for a position in a school though instead of another nanny job. You don't have nannying experience so that is going to make it hard to demand a top nanny salary from a family looking for a professional/career nanny - especially in this economy.

MNnanny said...

That sounds exactly like my last job OP... Accept they wanted me to do extra housework/errands AND still watch the kids =/ I used to come to work to a sink full of dirty dishes everyday... Their youngest sitting in a poopy diaper, and like 10 bottles waiting to be washed. They slowly added task after task to my days (with no change to my contract) until they finally lied to me and said they couldn't afford a nanny and then a couple months later I found out they hired a cheaper one the week after I left! I'm not sure what makes some people think that nannies can just be walked all over but for some reason some people don't realize that we have one of the most important jobs out there... RAISING THEIR CHILDREN! I would get out... $12.50 is lower than I made at my first nanny job 8 years ago!!! You are watching 4 kids (one of which is a newborn!) and picking up after their messy asses... It most likely won't change so I would RUN!!!

book smarts vs. street smarts said...

Well live and learn: they are not, in fact, sweet and loving. They are jerks. You found out the hard way.

Unfortunately, college, the peace corps, and volunteering are no substitute for having a good old fashioned job. You were naive and lacked any real work experience. I don't mean to downplay volunteering or being a student, but they do not prepare you for having a job and supporting yourself.

If you are still asking yourself whether or not you are being taken advantage of: yes, you are.

Village said...

I don't think you need us to tell you what you already know. With a college education, I think you need to get yourself to an agency, as soon as possible.

Web-Nanny said...

Unfortunately, this is the harsh reality that many nannies face. I really feel it for you. I encourage you to seek employment elsewhere but before you do, do some research and draw up a contract of your own.

State in it, the terms of your employment, be clear as to what you will and will not accept. Be confident at your interview, hold your head up, make direct eye contact and be prepared to take the lead. Ask questions, think up of all the "what if" scenarios that could possibly happen and make sure that those concerns are covered. Maintain your standard.

If the family already has a contract then don't be afraid to still present yours, then you both can work it out and come to an agreement.

Mom boss sounds like she is having a fun time ordering you around but you can do so much better. Also,it might be worthwhile to submit applications for jobs related to your field of study. Good Luck!

Liz said...

People treat you the way you allow them too.You need to find another position this parent got a great deal a housekeeper/maid/nanny and assistant in one.Look for another job and with your background i don't think you will have any problems of finding a great paying job, and next time do your research and put everything in writing or talk everything over before saying yes to a child care job, because you will end up in the same situation again.

A nanny who cares said...

OP: I agree with everyone else! Find a new job! $ 12.50 isn't that bad of a salary for a first time nanny though. However it is a horrible salary for all the work they have you doing. I've been a nanny 9 years and only make $ 13 right now. However I took a big pay cut to work for this family because they treat me like gold and I don't do any cleaning!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

OP, this is not a sweet family. The mother called you her assistant,then stated that you had to do what she said!! How demeaning!! She is definitely not a sweet fact she is the opposite!! Beyotch. Period.
Anyway, yes they are taking full advantage of you. 110%. My advice is to leave. Now. $12.50 is too low of a wage for four kids (newborn inc.) no matter where you live..unless you work in a Third World Country. You have your education and you have experience teaching kids so yes, you definitely have education and experience.
Many families do what this one is doing. I have had it done to me more times than I can count and I have read about it a zillion times on this website. It is called "job creep." They slowly add chore after chore upon you....slowly creeping up until you find yourself doing toilets and windows, etc. The longer you stay, the more chores you will find yourself doing. What's next? Giving personal massages? Cleaning their friend's homes??
You need to leave and do not give any notice. If you do give notice, they will make your work life HELL until you leave. I promise. They have a good nanny on their hands, one who works for slave wages and does full housekeeping too!! To lose you is like misplacing a winning lottery ticket. They will be so furious and may even add more chores to your work load, if that is even possible.
Simply do not show up for work tomorrow. I know the economy is tough now, but I was in your situation a month ago, and almost stayed in the job, but kept my faith that something better was out there and something better was. I now work for a nice family and they do not underpay me or give me too many chores. I learned my lesson the last time and made sure with this new family I would be upfront that I only do child-related chores.
Good Luck OP. My kindest regards.

bluebell said...

Monkeyshines, some professionals would rather handle a bad situation with dignity than stoop to the tactics you're suggesting. OP, do as others have suggested and get yourself on an agency's books straight away - and good luck!

snow state said...


I hope no one jumps on me for this. Have you ever considered another career choice? I know you love children. There are alot of opportunities in fields where you will be more appreciated and a career where you can have some job stability. Do you really want to work in this field at the age of 40 plus?

Check out Occupational Therapist, Speech Pathologist, Physical Therapist for children. My son receives these services at his pre-k school. And I know they make at least 70k a year. Plus, they have benefits.

I think being a nanny is great. If you are young, and have other ambitions in life. Or if you are a mom and want extra money to help your family out.

I was a nanny for many years. And I could kick myself for not going to school as well. Now I am in school for nursing. And I couldn't feel happier!

Hope all works out for you!!

me said...

yes, you are really being taken advantage of. "nanny" does not mean "maid". They arent paying you enough or treating you with the respect that their childrens caregiver deserves. I would suggest finding a family that will appreciate you and treat you like a professional.

not getting deleted said...

SOUNDS JUST LIKE ME! I always want to "help" people and its hard for me to admit when they are being unfair to me. FIrst off what does your contract state? If it does not mention the chores you are doing SAY SOMETHING. Your contract says you get paid x amount to x amount of work and no more nor no less! Make sure they understand that this is a LEGAL document.
Speaking from experiance (I was once at 200 a week for a woman who just kept adding on the tasks...long story evil person) it may be hard to speak up but please oh please remember that they are not your children and that is not your house. You may think these people are your family and yes it may feel like that a lot which isn't bad BUT in times where you are being treated like this you have to ask yourself "would my real family treat me like this?" As much as we try to deny it THIS IS A JOB just like every other job (only with much more emotion) and if you were say a lawyer who was forced to scrub toliets on slow days would you? HELL NO!
Keep your head up and don't let yourself be treated like a doormat. Its about the kids, not the parents.

reposting for anonymous, happy holidays.

notgetting deleted #2 said...

As the saying goes, people will treat you how you allow them to treat you. As a former nanny, I've witnessed many good nannies be treated horribly simply because they didn't speak up in the begining. Unfortunately, alot of nannies are here without papers, have children, and must take whatever jobs come thier way. As an educated woman, I used my degree to my advantage during the interview process and never took a job that I felt uneasy about or felt that the family wanted more than what I was willing to do. I'm blessed that most of my employers were great and truely wanted and respected my talents and treated me like family. I would suggest that you start looking for another job asap, and don't let the fears of the economy keep you down. If you are clear about what you are willing to do/not do, it will make it easier to weed out the unwanted jobs. Believe it or not, your educational background will garner you a higher salary to the right family if you know how to "sell" yourself to them. Remember, being a nanny is about taking care of the child and thier needs, not becoming a housekeeper/personal assistant. I don't knock anyone who does both and then some, but hopefully thier pay will reflect that. Do your research, check the blogs for pay scales and if you work in the city, always ask the doorman about the family you've interviewed with-they will ALWAYS be very honest! Good luck to you and God Bless!

Parents, remember, good nannies are hard to find, so when you do luck out, please cherish her because if you don't, someone else will.

reposting for anonymous, happy holidays.

Marypoppin'pills said...

Had you not been so disrespectful I wouldn't have removed your comment.

Don't fuck with me.


A wad di rass clot yuh a chat bout ?
To rass!!!

Marypoppin'pills said...

What the fuck am I talking about? Don't act so stupid. I would have left your idiotic comment alone... just like all of the dozen others you leave about fucking the husband and ripping off the family to get revenge... but you disrespected me, so I disrespected you.



I never talked about "ripping" off a family, just having affairs with the husband. This blog is so boring no one keeps it real! Oh well, I remember you when in my beachfront condo in Jamacia tomorrow

Marypoppin'pills said...

Everyone around here is free to speak their mind, in fact, we encourage it. But your racist comments are vile. I have no problem with the things you say, only how you say it.

Enjoy your trip.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I agree with snowstate. If you work as a nanny, do so along with going to school, etc. Because nanny work is unique in that there are rarely great benefits such as 401k plus you can work long hours with no lunch/15 min. breaks. Also, unfortunately there are not many nanny employers who would like to help with educational reimbursement, even for Child Development classes. Probably the only benefit I got was my former employer paying for a First Aid/CPR class for me. Sweet. Not.
You can work for a family who pays you $15 + hour for two years. Then as all children do eventually, they grow up and go to pre-school. Then you are out of a job. Your next family may only be able to pay you $10/Hour and you accept it because you may have been out of work for the past 4 months and are behind in rent. Most jobs at least allow advancement in the company (promotions, tenure, etc.) but no such ladder exists in the nanny profession. So unless you are illegal and have no choice, all nannies should go to school while being a nanny. Get a degree. Being a nanny is great in that if you watch young children, you can bring your school books and study during nap times. (Unless you work for a family that says since you are on the clock, then you need to be sweeping floors and/or organizing cupboards, etc.)
Sad, but true. Being a Nanny is a means to an end. I love what I do, but honestly..I would like another career choice before I leave this earth.
Happy New Year Everyone.
2011 BABY!!

alex said...

wow, you need to get out of that job. They are treating you horrible. I would take a lot of offense to her comment and to have you scrub the toilets? Not a nanny's job!!

I can understand childrens' laundry and picking up after the kids and even the dishes because I do it just because they leave them around but the rest of that, no way. If they are not going to give you more pay to be their housekeeper too then they need to hire her back because that is not your job.

I think you need to sit down and have an open communication talk with them, they are treating you like a doormat.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all of your comments, they were extremely helpful. I have been applying elsewhere for quite awhile, with no such luck. I would like to have something lined up before I discuss things with the family in case they disagree. I am starting graduate school in May, so even though the economy sucks, this won't be long term. My New Year's resolution is to figure out what I want and learn how to ask for it.

Have Hope said...

Wow, Snow State, that surely is a pessimistic view. I'm sorry you feel the way you do, but I disagree. I'm a former preschool teacher with an Associates Degree in ECE and 25+ yrs. childcare experience, including daycare/preschool experience, and I much prefer to work as a nanny to working in the classroom. There is a way to move up in the ranks, so to speak, as a nanny. First, having education/degree in a childcare related field, age, and experience are factors in the amount of money you can ask for. Also, specializing can make a difference. For instance, I specialize in infants, preemies, and multiples. I'm currently umemployed, but am holding out for the right job that will provide what I need in exchange for what the family needs. And I'm willing to temporarily move to NYC or LA because the pay is grater in those areas. My first nanny job I worked underpaid, but it gave me preemie and nanny experience; and it was the stepping stone, along with previous classroom experience, that made me a desirable candidate (and earning more money) to work for a family with triplet girls. I worked with them from 6 wks. old till 4 yrs. old. Unfortunately, I did not have health insurance. It can be frustrating, but I LOVE being a nanny (at 46 yrs. old) and believe the right job with fair compensation and health insurance is coming. There are people with money coming out the wazoo! It's a matter of knowing the scope of the industry, knowing your rights, and identifying where you want to work.

To the original poster, learn the industry, prepare yourself for the next job and move on. Be encouraged, I believe there's a fair job out there for you if being a nanny is really what you want to do right now.