Received Wednesday, December 29, 2010
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).