Should Nanny Confront Employer about E-mail?

Received Friday, December 31, 2010
Opinion 4 I have been working for this current family for two years. I take care of 5 kids ages 2 months to 10. I had started with 3 and they have since had the twins. Before I started working for them they had a crazy nanny!!! She was always doing something to endanger the children and then she came to work on three separate occasions high. They felt bad for her at first because of her home life but then decided enough was enough and let her go.

Since I started working for them I have not gotten many complaints except for the fact that the house isn't always spotless, but I blow it of and try a little harder because really five kids? Nothing is going to be spotless. Especially when I'm the only person that works for them. I am already working 10 hour days, doing school drop offs and pick up, activity drives, baths, dinner and bedtimes. I feel bad that the house isn't always perfect but i can't help it.

Anyway today I got on the computer to look up something for the 10 year old when I found an email sent to my boss comparing me and the old nanny. She said I was insecure and lazy. That the house was never clean and that while I'm great with the kids she wasn't sure I was the best match for them anymore. Meanwhile she is singing the other nanny's praises because the house was always spotless. I'm sorry but isn't the purpose of being a nanny to care for the children and not the house? My charges are always clean, well fed, and always taken to their various activities. When we are home I never turn the tv on. I play with them, help with homework, and supervise their piano practicing. As for insecurity, that isn't the first time she has said something like that. She thinks my wearing sweats or jeans and a shirt means I am insecure. That isn't the case. I just like to be comfortable. When I'm out with my husband or friends I always dress up!

What should I do? Should I confront her about this? Or should I just let it go?


nc said...

I would just leave it alone. What good would come of asking her about it? You might want to start looking for another job, as they might have started to look for a new nanny...

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I am a little unclear about the e-mail OP. How did you see your boss's e-mail. Did she accidentally not sign off her account? Or were you purposely snooping? The reason I ask is because if it was already on the computer, all out in the open when you got on, then you had no choice but to read it and then you can just tell your boss you came across it inadvertently ,etc. But if you actually got into your boss's e-mail account by snooping, then unfortunately you may have to act like you know nothing since they will get pissed if you voluntarily read their e-mail.
Anyway, if you do tell them what you read, don't sound too accusing. Simply mention that a Nanny's job duties pertain to the child ONLY and that you didn't think keeping the house spotless was part of your job since you were only hired as a Nanny, not a Nanny/Housekeeper. If you choose not to mention the e-mail to them, you can still bring up what I just mentioned about a Nanny's job duties and just clarify that your job is primary caring for the kids, not the house.
With 5 kids, bathing, dinner, driving, etc..your boss sounds like she is not living in reality if she expects the house to be spotless. Ain't gonna happen. And for her to expect you to keep a spotless home along with your duties is just plain insane!!
I think you need to look for another job pronto. Your boss is 2-faced. She told you their previous nanny was crazy, then look how she is talking about you behind your back. She sounds like she is the crazy one. No nanny out there is good enough for her. No matter who she hires, she will always have something bad to say about her behind her back.
It is your call, you can stay, however if you can you work with someone who is nice to your face, then says lies about you to others? So what if you wear T-shirts to work?? You nanny for five kids!! What does she expect? You to show up in an evening gown??
You sound like a very nice and efficient Nanny. You do not need this. Make a New Year's Resolution TONIGHT: Get a better job. With a better family.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

So, did you sit down at the computer and see the email on the screen, or was it printed out?

If neither of those were the case, then you snooped (at least a little bit), and learned that snoopy people often see things that make them regret snooping.

You can't go to the MB on this, because she will feel as if you were "in her buisiness" no matter how you found that email.

Going purely on the info you have provided, it sounds as if your MB would prefer a druggie, dangerous nanny with a crummy home life who kept a clean house while watching 3 kids to a nanny who cares for 5 kids and doesn't keep things spotless.

Based on that, I would wonder, were I in your shoes, if this job is really a great fit for you. And then, if I were in your shoes, I would start job hunting for a new position where the parents feel a clean home is second to well cared for children, and where you won't be seen as second tier to a nanny with drama.

Good luck!

New Year Nanny said...

A few thoughts.
1) We all need to vent every once in awhile even if things aren't "really" that bad. If you haven't seen any other signs of her displeasure, I wouldn't be too concerned (especially if you aren't being treated badly).

2) What I would do: I would get a bottle of wine or cute flowers and write your employers a note (maybe add a cute craft from the kids) and let them know what you appreciate about them and the family. You could also include something to the effect of, "I appreciate that you have entrusted me with your most precious gifts. Though our adventures often don't allow for a spotless house, I take a lot of pride in being a part of your family." Or something to that effect...

You could end it in a manner that makes it look more like a New Year card: "Here is to a GREAT 2011 and many more memories to come!"

If you are truly unhappy then I is too short and find a new family! :)

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Awww..New Year Nanny..that is a sweet sentiment, but unfortunately OP's family is not as nice as she is!! I think that the damage is already done and there is no turning back on this one. Not only did her boss complain about her work performance to someone else behind her back as opposed to telling her personally, she also attacked her for being insecure <-- a term us women despise being called. LOL. Anyway, there is no damage control that can be done and the longer OP stays in this job, the more resentment she will build inside. If someone spoke about my work performance and how I dressed behind my back, and I found out by mistake, the damage would already be done.
OP, move on and get a new job.

alex said...

uh wow, I'd be upset. But I don't know if I would confront it. Where was the email? If it was right up on the front of the screen, meaning you couldn't not have seen it, well then maybe I would say something but you do have to realize that could mean loosing your job.

Now, I don't know how the house looks but the fact she is singing praises of the nanny who came to work high and saying just because you don't keep the house spotless you aren't the best, well she has issues. You are not a housekeeper. And to consider 10 hr days, 5 kids, bath and bedtime... I mean do they ever spend anytime with their kids? Your job isn't to keep the house spotless and maybe they should hire a housekeeper.

Another option is maybe to say something to her about how you try to keep the house clean etc. and maybe they need a once a week housekeeper? Did you sign a contract stating that you would do cleaning?

I think she is being unrealistic saying that her house isn't spotless and so maybe you aren't the right match. I'm sorry but I think the kid's welfare is what comes first and she needs to see that too... not that she ever will it sounds like.

Anonymous said...

Op here thank you for your comments! Here are so more details:
1) the email was right up on the screen. It's weird because she knows I use that computer a lot so I kinda feel like she left it there on purpose.
2) the house is always clean but if I miss a toy or get distracted and forget to wipe off the counter after dinner she complains
3) my husband told me just to quit. We make plenty with his salary, I was just doing this to give me something to do but it really isn't worth it anymore

listen to your man said...

New Year Nanny: buy a bottle of wine for them when they are talking shit about her? You're an idiot.

OP: your husband is right. Quit. They are assholes.

CuriousDad said...

I am with listen to your man on this. Though if you want to do something get another job before y9you quit.

Psyber Chica said...

If you can make it on your husbands salary, why continue taking care of 5 kids for 10 hours for this ungrateful woman? You have the option to not work while looking for something better. I think you should type up your resignation with all the details about what the email said and that you think she I intentionally left it open. I can't stand passive aggressive people!

If you think a confrontation would be too emotional for you, just hand her your resignation at the end of the day and let her read it after you leave. If she wants to discuss it right then, you could just let her know that it's too upsetting to discuss right now, but that you will talk about it later (if you wish). Please update how this all plays out.

oh well said...

Happy New Year!
I think you should not make your decision based on the e-mail you read. It was wrong to leave it, it was wrong to read it, and I agree with NewYearNanny that everybody needs to vent in a while. If you are not happy with other circumstances in your job, and, honestly, if they are really a bad family, then there should be other issues for you to pick on, then you should let them go, especially if you do not really need the money (although working with 5 children makes a nice reference), but please do not take the e-mail into consideration.

listen to your man said...

oh well:

your suggestion is simply foolish. she read it and she has to take it under consideration whether she wants to or not. She is human. That is what is known as a "deal breaker."

I don't email trash about my nanny to my friends. I don't email trash about my boss or my co-workers to my friends. It shows you have no integrity. OP should quit on those grounds.

imo said...

I found an email once. My employer called me a fat ass liar. I quit at the end of the week after I cashed my paycheck with no notice.

Village said...

Listen to your husband. If you want to continue to nanny, get another position, hopefully one that will appreciate your hard work with their children.

nanny2 said...

Did I understand correctly that they have 2-month-old TWINS and three older children? And they are complaining about housekeeping?!
OP, I actually wouldn't be surprised if what Mom told you about the last nanny was mostly lies. Once you leave, she will probably say horrendous things about you and why they "just had to let you go." Nobody is good enough for her, so she has to somehow justify her displeasure with perfectly good nannies.

Best Nanny Newsletter said...

Doesn't hurt to start looking for a new job. Continue to work hard and be professional. Your goal is to leave on good terms. Never quit before you have a new job.

No point in confronting the parents if it won't lead to a great outcome for you. Plus, it's unethical to read someone else's emails and they will be mad.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Honestly, if the e-mail was already up on the screen, then any person who accessed the computer would have read it. It's nonsense people to say OP shouldn't have read would you guys if you happened to see an e-mail about you posted right in front of your face!! The boss may have left it there on purpose (which is a super stupid way to let you know how she feels) or perhaps she was interrupted by something (after all, she does have 5 small kids!!) and forgot to close her e-mail up. Anyway, no damage control can be done on her part now. Even a "I'm sorry" won't cut it, because unfortunately her true colors have already been shown. She will always continue to talk about you behind your back OP, just from now on she will be more careful.
Lucky you, that you don't need the money. I have seen many nannies on here who have to stay in horrid positions with horrible families just because they need the dough.
Since you don't need the money that bad, cash your last check and then either give notice or walk away. (Just make sure the check does clear before you tell her, some people may retaliate and put a stop payment on the check just because they can.) Since money is not an issue for you, then you have the luxury of being able to be more selective in who you work for in the future.
Blessings to you.

Manda said...

I had a similar thing happen in my aupair job years ago!! I had been told to use their home computer for my use, because they had not set up the wireless they'd promised I'd have for my laptop. They knew I was on the computer frequently in off hours, yet several times their email would be open. Once it was open to an email from their previous aupair, including the email MB had sent her. It was complaining about my housekeeping skills. I was furious, as I was doing the best I could, and had been upfront that housekeeping was not my strong point.

I never said anything to the family, but just added it to the list of many things that made me search for the quickest way out of there! :)

Amanda J. said...

Re: Best Nanny Newsletter (Stephanie), I agree it is unethical to read others e-mail, however the fact that it was on the screen when OP got on the computer makes it reasonable that she would automatically read it. Any person would, especially if they saw their name in it. Wouldn't you?? Also, the fact that the mom boss had it on the screen makes me think it was intentional..probably mom boss wanted to make a statement, then make it look like "oops..I made a mistake.."
I think OP did the right thing by reading it, and while one should be professional in the nanny profession, respect is a two-way street and if OP decides to stay in the job just to be professional, then that is her call. But she shouldn't stay another day after being disrespected by a 2-face boss.

Andrea Antidormi said...

Whether or not OP snooped is completely besides the point. It's null and void and she doesn't need a lecture on what is right or wrong.


You shouldn't say anything about seeing that e-mail because no matter what - even if it was out in the open for you to see - they might use that as an excuse to fire you on the spot.

Sounds like this mom has nothing important to do. You seem like a terrific nanny and you would be much better off with an employer who appreciates you and lets you know regularly.

It sounds like you are working really really hard and it's going unnoticed and that is something you shouldn't tolerate especially if you find that they are comparing you to the old nanny.

If they're smart they'll shut up keep you around and hire a cleaning company. If they're idiots they will let you go which will do a number on their children, and themselves. I mean really how many nannies do they want to go through? I'm sure they'll find something wrong with the next and start singing your praises.

The reason I love my job so much is because I do my job (like you do) and my boss takes time as my employer to pull me aside and say in one way or another "hey i really appreciate having you here and i want to keep you around for my sake and for my childs sake."

Either Start looking for a new job. Hopefully things there get better and are resolved soon. But if not you'll have some leads on a new job. Or confront your boss in a way where it seems like you just want to go over the contract again. And how you feel like you have a limited amount of time to take care of all the childrens needs when you have to worry about keeping their hope "spotless". And if she could help you out there it would be great. You only have 2 hands!

Good luck!

Ohio Nanny said...

I am in the same boat as you, OP, in that my husband makes a good enough salary that I do not *have* to work, but I work to supplement some things that I would like the money for. In being in that kind of position, I was able to be picky about the nanny jobs I wanted/didn't want.

I was also lucky enough to have my current family say to me in an interview, "some families want the nanny to do the housework, laundry and such. Our main concern is the children, not the house, and we do not expect you to do our housework."

If I were you, I would quit and work elsewhere for less hours, less duties, less hassle, less children.

Why in the world do you work 10 hour days with so much duty if you don't actually *need* the job?