Got Lunch?

Rebecca Nelson Lubin
guest I was reading the comments to my “Sick Days” posting last week as I lounged late under the covers and one caught my eye, as it has been a topic of discussion between my boyfriend and myself. As many couples do, we like to “talk shop” on our time off together. He works as an architect / carpenter / contractor, and is usually employed in people’s homes, as I am, so even though I work directly with children and he with hammers, we find a lot of common ground to discuss in our respective careers. The comment that gave me pause was from “Petra” who did not offer her Nanny sick days, but felt that the numerous other benefits she provided more than made up for that, because she offered her Nanny lunch every day. I thought, Lunch? Really? As a benefit? As a reason not to provide sick days? I do not think of lunch as a benefit. I don’t think eating lunch is anywhere on par with staying home while seriously ill. I actually don’t think eating your employer’s food should be an option to a professional Nanny. It’s always a great debate – I’ve seen it here on ISYN before – should the employer provide food for the Nanny?

This is the very topic that my boyfriend and I have been talking about. Should Nannies eat at their employer’s expense? He thinks, yes, within limits. My vote is no.

I’m one of those nannies that feel it is important to bring my own food to work. And as I stay over night three times a week, I make sure to stock my breakfast, lunch and dinner away in my little section of my employer’s fridge upon arriving at work Monday morning. I don’t have anything against tossing a tator tot in my mouth as I serve dinner to the kids, and just last night when my employer urged me to try one of her lamb chops I did not decline, I just feel as a general rule, it’s best to provide my meals for myself. I think otherwise, the employer ends up spending a great deal of money on their employee – and for something that the employer is really not responsible for. Give me sick days, give me paid holidays, provide me with health insurance and toss me some paid vacation. These are true benefits. I’m an adult. You do not have to feed me. I am not your child. I’m your employee.

I once knew a cook who was told she could buy what she needed from the store on her employers dime. It started out with small items being added to the family-shopping list. A liter of cola. A deli sandwich. A box of tea bags. Within six months it had escalated to approximately $500.00 a month in her personal groceries – on her employer’s credit card - and included trips to markets where the family never shopped. Of course this is an extreme example, but where does the line get drawn? My personal feelings are that it is best to keep the food boundary a rigid one.

“When I was a line cook,” my boyfriend told me, “I lived on BLT’s. I made them in the kitchen every day. I think you should be able to eat at work.”

I partially agreed with him. You should be able eat at work, but as I am not a line cook, but a professional nanny, I think what I eat at work should have been paid for out of my own pocket and purchased on my own time. But that’s just me. I’m sure not everyone here will agree with me.
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at


Taleia said...

Hmm, interesting view. When I signed up with my family it was made very clear before I started that they would be providing food and that I was welcome to anything in the house. While I often bring my own food (because of dieting, mostly), I also have no qualms about eating out of their fridge if something looks good. BD is an amazing cook and usually the first thing he tells me in the mornings when I arrive is what he made for dinner the night before that I just have to try. :)

On the other hand - sick days vs. lunch? I'd def take sick days every time. But I think whoever thinks they shouldn't have to provide sick days because they provide lunch should be SHOT. Seriously?!?

In the end I think it's the kind of issue that everyone is going to take differently. My family also wanted to pay for my gas, initially, even got me my own credit card (under their account), which made me extremely uncomfortable, and which I have never used at all. So I think everyone is going to feel differently about where the line gets drawn. :)

LA Nanny said...

I understand that there are a wide range of opinions on this topic. But for me it comes down to this: as a nanny I can't leave the house on my lunch hour (like you would at many other jobs). I think that really changes things. In all of my jobs I've been offered the family's food or am doing the grocery shopping and can get what I want.

Nanny B said...

I have always been provided lunch for live in jobs even if we go out then they pay for it. If it is a situation where I am going out with friends or not with them then of course I'm going to pay for it. My live out jobs however were a bit in between, they always said i could eat there but provided the same exact foods every day and if I wanted variety I had to bring my own. One family has always kept my favorite lunch meat available when I am there (weekends only) but having the same sandwhich two days in a row doesnt' appeal to me.

Jane Doe said...


ATL Nanny said...

I really don't think there is a right or wrong to this issue -- it's just something that needs to be settled in the beginning. And both sides need to be respectful. A nanny shouldn't be eating $100 worth of "lunches" per week and if lunch is included as a "benefit" then there needs to actually be food in the house for the nanny to eat. I have always been told that I was welcome to eat anything in the house. But I prefer not to. I do think it crosses a line and makes the nanny a "part of the family" or something similar and I really prefer to stay very professional. I will eat an occasional snack or make a PBJ if I forget my lunch. But those occasions are rare. I generally bring my lunch every day. I'm much more comfortable with this because I know there will be something healthy, balanced and to my liking. I hate scrounging in their fridge. And unlike many nannies who apparently cannot leave the house to get lunch, I'm welcome to go anywhere I like to pick up food or dine out. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes within walking distance, and I can always run through the drive-thru if I want. I'm FAR more likely to do either of those options than to make myself lunch from there fridge. And I'm not even going to get started on the lunches in trade for sick days ridiculousness. I'll just say: I would NEVER accept a position without paid sick days. Not for all the lunches in the world.

Cookie Monster said...

I agree with ATL on this one - I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. Of course, there is etiquette as there would be in any other circumstance of life. I would never eat the "last" of anything, nor would I consume "all" of anything in the fridge. I know various nannies have various takes on how the nanny/family relationship evolves and functions. In my personal experience, our nanny/family relationship closely follows the motto of, "We are family." Some days I eat along the kids, some days we sit down and eat together, some days we all go out for dinner, and others I am so busy I never eat. There have been days my MB has demanded I stop being so busy and come eat (in a funny way). There are days I will bring food and DB will eat the leftovers (we have a joke that you must padlock your leftovers if you don't want them eaten). This happens to be how our "house culture" works. :) That being said, my family treats me like pure gold, and in return, I go out of my way for them in many aspects.

On another note...a sandwich is definitely not worth a sick day. :)

Ms. Vivienne LePeaux said...

I think it is a cleaner line to just say, "food not included" in the salary discussion. That the understanding is the Nanny will provide her own food but the occasional snack or sandwich shouldn't really be an issue.

Manhattan Nanny said...

I find this post downright ridiculous. You lug your breakfast, lunch and dinner to work every day. Why don't you eat breakfast before you leave? If you are working such a long day that it spans all three meals, when do you do all that shopping and cooking? I hope you have a car. A large cooler would be a bit difficult on the public transportation most nannies in cities use.

"...otherwise, the employer ends up spending a great deal of money " Really? If a sandwich and a piece of fruit is a financial burden, they certainly can't afford a nanny.

I always bring some food for healthy snacks that I can share, sometimes I bring something special for my lunch that I know my charges won't want. (Sushi ewww!) Otherwise I eat what the kids eat, as most of the nannies I know do. If I am staying through the evening, I cook dinner for the children, and I eat with them. If I brought my own dinner, they would want what I had, no matter what I fixed for them!

Of course there are cases of nannies who take advantage of their employers, just as there are employers who take advantage of their nannies. Good employers offer to provide lunch, and good nannies don't abuse the privilege.

Joy said...

Every time I've been a live in nanny I've had food provided. I eat like a bird though.

former nanny said...

As another perspective- I'm a preschool teacher and I am not allowed to bring my own lunch to work. Because we are supposed to eat "family style" with the children and set a good example of trying different foods (forget about the fact that whatever I would pack would be much healthier than school lunch). Also, I don't get a true lunch break at this job, but I do get paid sick days, which is waaaaaay better.
But other reasons I could see for NOT bringing your lunch would be if the family had special dietary restrictions (kosher, vegetarian, allergies). Or parents might be concerned about their nanny bringing a very unhealthy meal and influencing the children that way.

misty said...

Is this your seductive look?

Olue' said...

I worked for a family, both of them were professionals and they lives in an affluent area, but they had a ridiculous budget for groceries. If I had a piece of munster cheese, I was practically taking food from the baby. Before I would ever accept a job with long hours or a live in position, I would ask to see the refrigerator and pantry. It was absolutely absurd that I worked for people that kept track of every penny, and not just because of the grocery defecit. Never work for penny pinchers.

heather atherton said...

No wonder your boss likes you so much, you are a doormat. You are not in her band of wives, except as her submissive. You sleep over three days a week? That makes you a live-in. I don't know any live-ins that don't get their food provided.
I take care of twin girls, under 3. The housekeeper goes shopping and you bet I put down what I want on that list. It isn't excessive, it's basic. Whole grain bread, cheese, eggs, a bag of salad, a tomato, a six pack of V-8.
I don't feel indebted to my boss for this. The food isn't all for me either. If I can get one of my girls to eat grilled cheese on whole grain bread with tomatoes, I'm hardly a horrible person.
And guess what? I get paid vacation, sick days, I got a great bonus, I drive a car that is for my use only 7 days a week and I have an HMO.
A true professional knows her worth. I am not about to tout breakfast, lunch and dinner in some sinister nylon pouch over the bridge on a daily basis!


If I ate what my employers ate I would weigh 250lbs and have high blood pressure, high chloresterol and be pre- diabetic! The last Nanny job I had both of the girls were "chubby"! The parents can't seem to make the connection why letting their kids have ice cream every night, eating fast food and drinking soda and juice equals putting on weight.I can't believe they test kids at 2 for high chloresterol! It never ceases to amaze me that these colledge educated parents let their kids eat at McDonalds!

I am a Vegan!

Floor dweller said...

I too think it depends on the family. I've
been on interviews were they have actually
asked "are we expected to feed you"? Ah
only if you want me to work for you. The
family I'm with now, tells me to add what
I want to the grocery list. They also got
me a credit card to use for lunch out. I
Usually only use it once a week with the
kids. I don't want to abuse a good thing.
But I do think when you are in someone's
home for usually a ten hour day they
Should offer you to eat.

in NY said...

My nanny is a vegetarian. She works 10 hour days at my home to accomodate my at work schedule. In the beginning, she brought her food. She put it in the back of the refrigerator, out of the way. My nanny schlepps through snow and ice these days to get to my house. She carries extra clothes and shoes, since she wears snow boots. After reading this, I almost want to pat myself on the back for noticing what was on her shelf and having it for her the next week. True, she'd already brought hers. She also told me, "you don't have to do that". It's a tiny thing I do for her. We have a running grocery list and I ask her to add to it. We also run out of things we as a family need so she has petty cash to go the store. I can see where many nannies would take advantage of this. In fact I have a friend who had a nanny who demanded two rotisserie chickens per week, fried rice from a Japanese restaurant and specialty cold cuts. Anything you as an employer are going to offer is going to be a foot in the door for an entitled or greedy person, but this is my first nanny and I haven't had any problems. I wonder why your employer- if she thinks so much of you- doesn't pick you up a sack of apples or some tuna or whatever it is you need? I know of a lot of nanies who just eat what's there. A BLT is more than appropriate.

Texas Nanny said...

Every family I've worked for has offered to provide my lunches, but I politely refuse. I'm so glad I did in retrospect, because my bosses tend to put off going to the store basically until the kids run out of food or milk. Half the time my MB can barely scavenge herself a meal. I can't imagine if I were depending on them for food.

I ask them to buy me one thing: diet sodas. I drink only one a day, so a pack lasts around two weeks, but still we often go more than a week with no sodas in the house.

Sometimes they do pay for my meals, though- if the kids and I go out, if MB and I (she works from home) decide to eat out together, if something MB cooked is going bad soon and needs eating, or if DB is coming home for lunch in which case he usually buys sandwiches for everyone. Oh, and after-hours babysitting I get money for dinner.

But those are special occasions and exceptions. I can't imagine what a hassle it would be if I expected them to feed me every day.

LA Nanny said...

ATL Nanny: I can leave for lunch and I'm sure a fair amount of nannies are allowed to go out to eat/drive thru/etc. But having to bring the kid(s) is not as easy as staying home and cooking something. My point is just that being a nanny in someone's home is different than being in an office. I hope that makes more sense!

Rebecca said...

Hi Misty.
That is my "I've just had the best birthday ever" smile after a great day of celebrating my 43rd with a ski and spa day in Tahoe. Boston Nanny said I looked mean and scary in my prior photo because I wasn't smiling. At first my feelings were a little stung, but in the end I agreed with her and thought perhaps a smiling picture would be a better choice. Seductive no. Post chocolate cake, yes.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I just started a new job this week, and I mentioned at an interview weeks ago that I get my caffine from Diet Coke, not coffee. My new employers had Diet Cokes in the frig for me on Day one, and then when MB found out I like hot tea as well, she said she will get me some tea packets for their new fancy shmancy 1 cup brewer machine. And THEN, she bought seltzer water for me when she went to the store because she saw I had brought a bottle to drink my first day.

On top of that I have been virtually ordered to add anything I want to the grocery list. I will likely ask for sandwich fixings and fruit, possibly some cereal as I settle in. Nothing crazy or high priced.

And when baby is eating table food, I will make meals for both of us from my employers frig, and add lots to their grocery list. Why? Because I find my charges always want what I have to eat, and I decided long ago that instead of my buying food for my charges out of my salary (which is, in essence, what I am doing if I share what I bring from home) I will make lunch for myself and my charges from what my employers (or I) have purchased on their dime.

And sick days instead of lunches is too insane to discuss.

edie said...

Is your boss like hippy-ish? Dont get me wrong, I'm hippyish. Just wondering if maybe she has a budget or whatever. If you found someone you like working for even if they aren't wealthy and have to watch their grocery budget, if it works for you, more power to you.

lindsay said...

I read the last sick day comment with the mother who provided a 1,000 bonus to her nanny if she didn't take any sick days. I wish I had thought of that. That may be something I am offering this year. My nanny will take everyone of her five sick days. As a result, she gets one week paid vacation. I have said in the past, you can have two weeks paid vacation or five days of sick time and five days of vacation. What you nannies fail to appreciate is that we need you to show up. It sounds harsh, but I work. I am looked to for leadership at work and I just cannot show up because the nanny has the sniffles. I would rather provide a month of vacation a year - so long as I can plan for it in advance. Back up options sound wonderful, if you have family near. Otherwise, try and find childcare when your nanny calls in at 730 AM on a Monday.
It's the one thing that might make me a stern employer. My nanny has lots of perks. This current nanny has taken advantage of everyone of them. Pay per view movies. She rents every new one that comes out. Spends the hundred dollars of petty cash weekly, usually on fast food. She arrives late frequently. I would have replaced her over the holidays but I didn't want to fire her before Christmas, so I sent her off with a nice bonus and ten days of vacation. I start my search now. I'm using one of the top agencies in LA. I can tell you one thing, they most definitely would poo poo requiring the nanny to bring her own food!

Rebecca said...

Actually, my employers would have no problem with me helping myself to anything I wanted. There are really cool, down to earth professionals who treat me like one of the family. It's me who feels more comfortable bringing my own food. A long time ago I had a boss who encouraged me to help myself and I did - and found out later that he commented rudely to the cook every time I ate anything. That really stung. There were also families who had crappy diets, families who had different diets - you name it. I find it easier this way. I actually do all the food shopping for my employers and the meal prep, so it's fairly easy for me to plan out what I need and hit up Whole Foods on the weekend before the work week, and trust me, there is no sense of hardship in bringing a grocery bag full of organic wholesome food with me to work. I truly believe we are what we eat and I like to keep my diet clean and green.
And as for the doormat comment, I'm not a live in. On the three days when I do the early shift at work my employers let me sleep at their house as my housemates are night owls and I'm a light sleeper. it is them who are bending over backwards to me. They are wonderfully supportive people who provide me with amazing compensation and stellar benefits. It's funny how the commenters read into things and assume! Remember people, we're just having a discussion here! Let's all remember to debate nicely with each other.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said... with anything in life, it is YOUR responsibility to arrange some type of back-up childcare in the event that your nanny is ill and cannot come to work. They are your children and your job as a mother is to arrange proper care for them if you MUST go to work. No excuses. I agree it sucks when your nanny calls at the last minute and cannot come in, but there are some illnesses where you feel fine the night before, go to sleep, then awake the next morning feeling as if you are going to die. Food poisoning does this as well as some stomach flu viruses. I also have woken up in the morning all feverish when I felt fine the night before. Once I was hit at an intersection on my way to my nanny job and couldn't make it because I had to get my car towed since it was immediately undrivable. Life happens. Always, ALWAYS have a Plan B in place for anything in life. Whether it be childcare or anything else, always have a back-up plan. It would be utterly foolish if no one planned for emergencies in life.
If your nanny calls in sick, sympathize with her instead of making her feel guilty. The last thing I would want to feel if I was very ill is guilt that I was putting someone out.

Great Expectations said...


"The nanny has a lot of perks...and takes advantage of everyone of them."

They aren't perks if she isn't even allowed to use them! Did you stipulate how she is to use the petty cash? Have you mentioned that you would prefer she only rent 1 movie a week? How is she supposed to know that you are displeased if you don't discuss your issues with her?

I'm not sure how you are looked up to as leadership when you are unable to communicate in a professional manner.

In regards to your comment on the nanny calling in with the "sniffles" - did you stipulate when you offered the 5 sick days that there was a degree of illness the nanny must reach before she is allowed to qualify for a "sick day"? Apparently, you have requirements for such an occasion.

There are many agencies that offer on call providers should your nanny (God forbid!) get sick. It would be wise to have a few of those numbers on hand. Even the best, top dollar nannies become ill every once in a while.

I was sick this was my manager and our CEO. One of our TOP Sales Reps had a blood infection and was scheduled as the keynote speaker at a convention this happens.

Do your nanny a favor and fire her...then acquire some realistic expectations.

Bostonnanny said...

Yes Rebecca I like this picture much better :) I also agree with you on the food issue. I always pack food, my bf also brought be a cute lunch box to take to work.

TinyDancer said...

If I'm at the house I generally eat what I cook for the kiddos or leftovers, but as we are usually out most of the day I pack my lunch since I don't get "buy your lunch out money" which I don't expect by any means! I agree with the poster that said their are employers that take advantage and employees that take advantage, the bad apples shouldn't ruin things for everyone else. I don't like to push it so I rarely request things and either bring my own food or eat mac n cheese!

lindsay said...

Just my two cents,
You go ahead then and arrange back up employment, okay? How about that?

You never know when you're going to get an entitled nanny. DO you really think normal people would upon hearing they could order pay per view movies- would order 15 or so per month? Or if you left $100 for "a lunch out or emergencies", she would use said money to order lunch out five days a week?

lindsey said...

Great Expectations,
Why would I want a strange nanny to come in to my house? I have a well paid, perked out nanny. My children would be upset. She wouldn't know where things were and worse yet, given the record of most nannies, she could be an abusive alcoholic or schizophrenic thief!

Clearly, there are not enough mothers on this blog. This blog was founded for mothers! Not excuse making, whining, sniveling nannies.

oh well said...

I have always told my nanny or babysitter that she could help herself to whatever was in the fridge, since they were staying in my home over lunch, and of course made sure that there actually was something in the fridge. But it did make things easier for me if they brought their own lunch, as I did not have to worry about extra groceries.
I agree that unreliable child care is extremely stressful. Agencies that provide back-up care sound like a great option.

oh well said...

Lindsay, I understand that you are frustrated with your current nanny and I know what it is to feel like you are being taken advantage of. It does make you want to.. whine and
snivel, doesn't it? I do believe that you should not offer Pay per View to your nanny and should not leave $100 a week in emergency money. Now, if you believe that most nannies are alcoholics or thieves, I am not sure that you should have a nanny.
And I am speaking as an employer. The babysitting service I used provided one-time, temporary babysitters and I never had any problem with them.

lindsay said...

oh well,
I'd guess you're a nanny. At any rate, I would NEVER leave my children with someone they didn't know and someone they hadn't spent time with alongside me in advance.

I guess I should just thank the two nannies I had previously. The professionalism and integrity of those nannies has allowed me to become a VP in a field that is 99 percent male dominated.

Great Expectations said...

Lindsay/Linsdey (Since it was spelled two different ways),

Let's be realistic here. You're the VP of your company and you can't figure out a simple solution to your childcare woes? Let me give you a few options:

Option 1. Stick your kids in a daycare center. You will not have to worry about them taking advantage of your glorious "perks" and they will be open through every cough & sniffle.

Option 2. Do a little work and take time on the weekends to interview some back up sitters - do some trial runs and your due diligence if you are concerned.

Option 3. Find a drop in childcare center (there are plenty), interview other parents who attend (a good one should have a long list of references) and utilize it if your nanny gets sick.

This is NOT rocket science! In addition, your comment that, "most {nannies could be} abusive alcoholic or schizophrenic thieves" is absurd. I'm not sure where you live or how you find nannies but you are out of touch. The only thieving nanny I have heard of among my friends (yes, we have kids) and former employers(nanny myself) was an illegal with no documentation being paid $8/hr. She stole a rack of clothes. While I agree, it takes some effort to find top notch care, a majority of providers are not alcoholics, thieves, schizophrenic (Between .75-1.5% of the US population is clinically schizophrenic), or abusive.

My final suggestion - If you can't find a suitable solution. Stay home and raise your own children.

Anonymous said...


who's kids are they? said...

Lindsay- If you are unhappy with your nanny's use of her "perks" you are welcome to renegotiate them with her. For instance, cut the ppv movies, as it's obviously not working for you. Let her know that you don't want the children eating out every day, and that she should only eat out with the children (then provide food in your home for her to prepare lunch).
As far as sick days, if you feel she is abusing them, re-balance the number of sick days and vacation days. For instance, give her only 3 sick days and 7 vacation days. If they are labeled that way, she will only take an unplanned day for more serious illnesses. Ask her to let you know the night before if she is not feeling well, so you can start arranging for back up care. As others have said, it's your responsibility as a mother to have that back up plan, and it's the downside of nanny care. Either you or your partner stay home or have a babysitter that you know who can fill in last minute. You could try getting to know a couple of college sitters who have alternate day class schedules, so you'll always have someone to call if your nanny is out.

lindsey -my name is not really said...

I have a solution to my childcare problem. I have contacted a nanny agency and am searching for a replacement. As a nanny, you have to imagine, that for a nanny with five or more years experience and a minimum of a an associates degree, we would be willing to start the nanny at 950 per week. I have designed my job for a dependable nanny. I just have the wrong one.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Lindsey, I would be willing to help you out with back-up options if you live in my city/state. Where are you located?
You are off the mark by saying most nannies are alcoholics and schizos. This is not true. I know for a fact. This is a crazy and inaccurate stereotype (one I have NEVER heard of by the way.) Do you also think all Jews are cheap? All men are cheaters? Etc. Redonkolous. Period.
It's weird that you have had two previous nannies and they were good, yet you are dissatisfied with the one you have now and so you are making these types of generalizations about ALL of us nannies.

You Can't Buy Happiness said...


Your current nanny will be much better off working for an employer who is able to communicate, discuss any issues they may have with her, does not have grandiose expectations, and will treat her well

You have to imagine, that as a nanny with over 10 years experience and 2 degrees, I'd take a respectable employer over pay ANY day. Luckily, I have (and have always had) both. I can smell people like you from a mile away...and I run.

unbelieveable! said...

Lindsey, whatever your name is... You are obviously upset and think that taking it out on innocent nannies and other mothers on this board is a solution. Have you tried talking to your nanny? That would be the first step. Let her know you do not want her ordering that many movies. She'll probably stop and if she doesn't, then you have all the reason to fire her. As for the petty cash, maybe a small conversation about using it and what you feel it should be used for would be good. She may have no idea!

As for you saying she uses every perk you give her? She should! Perks are there to be used, not just wasted. And do you really want your nanny coming in when she is sick infecting your children? Is your job that important that your children get sick? I think you seriously need to figure out your priorities because you honestly think that nannies should not get sick.

As others have said, it is VERY important to have a back-up. Life happens, accidents happen! There are drop in childcare places just for this reason or why don't you spend some time meeting (you and your children) some possible back up nannies in case your nanny could not come in, or for a late night sitter.

I actually worry about your nanny's work environment and judging by your comments here she may be better off with you firing her if she is not going to be appreciated for taking care of your children. Why are you giving her vacation and sick days if she isn't going to use them? You can bet in any other industry people either "collect" sick days from year to year or if they expire with the year they make sure to use them. Don't give them if you don't want them used.

nycmom said...


I'm one of the few other employers on this site and have been here quite a while. I understand how frustrating it can be to hire a nanny who ends up being lazy and taking advantage. Similar to you, as I've posted before, I simply cannot take last minute sick days. I explained this to my nanny at hiring and one day in 3 years she did have to work while sick. To prevent this, I have 3-5 back up sitters and an agency I trust for last minute sitters. Daycare wouldn't solve your/my problem as they are much more strict about kids coming when sick. Luckily my current long-term nanny and my last long-term nanny were both amazing and *never* abused any perks or sick days. I've had bad experiences in between, though. Our policy is 2 weeks vacation, which I personally think should be a minimum and nanny is *required* to take that time off. I do this because I think everyone needs to recharge and my nanny would often prefer to keep working. I also given 5 sick or personal days *paid out if unused*. This works great - since they can also be used as personal days that is an incentive to plan. Since they are paid out, that's an incentive not to take them unnecessarily. Regardless of everything though, a good nanny like any good employee, doesn't need to take many sick days. Of course unexpected major medical illnesses happen, but I can't imagine calling out sick for a simple cold.

In general, I think a big part of the blame for your current situation lies with you. Learning to be a good employer is a skill, just like learning to be a good nanny. If you found the pay-per-view was getting out-of-hand, it's your job to address this. Communicating with your nanny is hard sometimes, but it's the single most productive think you can to ensure a good working relationship. Start the next nanny with a clear, detailed, written Work Agreement that addresses every single imaginable issue you have dealt with.

Next, I'm not sure if you are aware or not, but your tone toward the nannies on ISYN and in general is rather condescending and unkind. I've found the majority of nannies on ISYN are awesome, responsible, hard-working, decent people and nannies. Of course, this is based only on reading their comments, but truly most are very reasonable people I'd love to employ. I know you feel angry right now, but the people who come here represent the better nannies IMO.

Finally, on to the original post. I can see both sides here. I have had a part-time nanny abuse the open fridge policy. She would arrive at our home and the first thing she would do is cook herself a meal, sit down and eat it. This was even during the trial period when I was there. This was even for a 4 hour shift! She didn't last, of course. But I find the great nannies rarely abuse the open fridge policy. I encourage them to add what they want to the grocery list, and rarely is anything abused. My *only* complaint has been when they take an unopened can of soda or bottled beverage when they are leaving work. That one bugs me because it feels a bit too close to stealing. I have let it go because it's not worth rocking the boat over this small issue. Of course, my nanny is welcome to eat what we have and she has petty cash to pick things up as needed.

no name, no state said...

I am one of two nannies. We both work from 8-6. We both have the ability to add things to the grocery store, utilize petty cash and eat from the family's refrigerator and pantry. I arrive at work, ready to work. When I'm tired, I might brew a cup of coffee later in the day. I eat lunch with the kids. A healthier version of their lunch. Meanwhile, my conanny starts about frying chicken breasts and vegetables and potatos. It's ridiculous. The children and I have long since finished before she even sits down to eat. I am forced to put the napping children down for naps and start afternoon activities. I was hired first before this nanny and I have not liked working with her at all. Unfortunately, we had two nannies before her and they were even worse. They were also short with the children, generally irresponsible and not at all kind. My boss has asked me to "grin and bare it". When I take the children to a movie, we usually get a popcorn and two drinks to share or bottles of water for everyone. When she takes the children or comes along, she gets nachos, popcorn, candy and a large soda- besides being greedy- it's so unhealthy for the children to see. When we take the children to the park, she usually sets up lunch or sits on a bench. The housekeeper told me that we each got the same bonus and same gift. How can that be? I leave the house at 6 with my handbag. She leaves the house at 6 with a bottle of water, a burrito or something she has microwaved or a sandwich wrapped in a paper towel. When my boss has things to give away- nice things, before she can even offer, my conanny asks for them. Leather jackets, dressers, armoires, children's clothing, makeup, goody bags from events she has attended. The worst thing is I like my boss and actually think she has some degree of fear of making conanny angry! Meanwhile I am as even keeled and as pleasant as a person could be. I hope I haven't said too much.

LovingNanny said...

@no name no state
I feel sorry that you have to work with such an unpleasant co-nanny. I can't understand that your boss doesn't say anything or why she would be "afraid" of making her angry? It just doesn't sound right to me.
As far as for the bonus. I understand that MB gave both of her nannys the same amount of $. You do the same work and share the same responsibilities. You probably do a better job, but maybe the bonus is included in her mind in your year salary. It doesn't make it right though.

I love reading your thoughts and I am happy that you are a regular to ISYN.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

No Name, No State, that is terrible. You sound like a great nanny and the one you work with sounds like she is fully taking advantage of everything. Food, etc. I advise you to speak to your employer and encourage her (your employer) to have a talk with the other nanny. If she really is too scared and/or intimidated by her, then maybe you can talk to her. Simply state that you think it is kinda unethical to take food out of the fridge before she goes home. As for her eating unhealthy, I think this is a personal choice. Let me explain. Awhile back, I was a nanny for a toddler and I was asked to bring my own lunch. Well, during lunch breaks, I would eat my lunch and the mother would constantly berate me and give me such condescending looks as I ate. Why so? Because I didn't eat organic foods and they ONLY ate organic. A typical lunch for me was a lunchmeat sandwich, a bag of chips, an apple, and a chocolate milk. Now mind you, they never said during our interview that I was only to eat healthy foods in their home, they only stated that I was expected to bring my own lunch so I did. I personally thought it was unfair for her to criticize my food choices. She stated that she didn't want her child seeing me eat unhealthy food in front of her. If she really didn't want that, then she had two options she could have done. A)She could have provided my lunch and I would have just eaten whatever she provided. I am not picky. Or B)She could have given me a 1/2 Hr dedicated lunch break where I could go to the park or another location outside of the house to eat my lunch. Anyway, one day as I was munching my cheese puffs she finally stated to me, "If you are not going to eat healthy in front of my child, then I do not think we are a good match." So I left and never looked back. Again, it is HER home and she can dictate what she wants me to do in front of her child. It is her choice. But since she never told me upfront + she said I was to provide my own meals, then she could not dictate what I brought each day. She told me she thought it was wrong of me to not eat organic foods since my food contained too much pesticides, etc..however I told her as a nanny and single mother to boot, buying organic was not in my budget. She laughed me off and told me organic is not that expensive and that if I really cared about my health, I would eat organic.

Marypoppin'pills said...

No name, no state
As awful as it sounds you wouldn't believe the e-mails we get from other Nannies that are in your shoes! Trust me, you are not alone.

vegannanny said...

I totally AGREE with you. I carry my own milk, cereal, agave nectar, snacks etc etc. Also I am a vegan and my employers eat a lot meat and other meat by-products so I keep my stuff separate. I do not expect them to provide my meals, sometimes my employer may purchase a box of Almond milk, that's what I drink- she drinks it too. I sometimes would drink from it, but most times I still bring my own. Not to mention my male boos has a nasty habit of drinking from the carton and sampling everything in sight... ugh

Professional Nanny said...

No Name, No State - That stinks! I was one of 3 nannies (2 during the week and one for the weekend). I was nanny #2 of the bunch and was one of the weekday nannies. Nanny #1 and I got along great and we are still great friends today. :)

Hopefully your situation improves!

sharon said...

i worked for a temp agency when i was about 20 years old. One family would give petty cash in a jar when they left town and the kids could do anything they wanted with it - movies, pizza etc These kids were fun and when they used the money to go to play they made me take them to my house to go into my room and my closet and pick out the right outfit to wear to the play !

A couple weeks later stayed with another family - petty cash in the jar, let the kids have fun with it - pizza,movies, mini golf.

OMG - their mom had a fit with the owner of the agency saying i "stole" the money, I carefully listed everything we did and what it costed - i actually used some of my own money for the kids. My boss was pretty upset with me.

At 20 years i did not understand that the use of the petty cash needed a complex contract explaining what it could be used for.

Some people are fun and gracious and other people are unkind and.. ugly.

Dont be so "PETTY" said...


I agree. Petty cash for ALL of the families I have been worked for have been for me to do as I please. If the kids and I want to go to the movies, buy a pretzel at the mall, or if I want a Starbucks...I left all of the receipts (though my employers never stated I had to) and I had never an employer be so "petty" about "petty" cash. Good grief!

Not Lindsay's nanny, TG said...

"given the record of most nannies, she could be an abusive alcoholic or schizophrenic thief!"

"MOST NANNIES" Wow, that is a shockingly bigoted statement. Where on earth are you finding your nannies?

You offer your nanny perks, and then bitch about being taken advantage of when she uses them. That is called passive-aggressive. My guess is you love having an excuse to villainize your nanny. You need to feel superior.

Correction said...

*have worked for

jk said...

My first nanny job was with a newborn, so I always brought my own food because I did not have to fix food for the child and the mother lived on slim fast so there was never any food in the house.

My second nanny job was with 2 preschoolers so I ate whatever I fixed the kids for lunch. I always brought my own soda and any snacks I wanted for during nap time. Although the mom did tell me I was welcome to eat whatever was in the house and even started buying me a bag on ice each week since I like ice in my soda and the family did not use ice. Besides an occasional soda and the time I spent an entire weekend there due to a family emergency I did not indulge beyond what the kids ate for lunch.

I guess I feel this is an area that you need to discuss with your employer and be clear on what they think and agree to.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Back in the old days, when people would have people come into the home to watch the kids, it was a given that they could help themselves to whatever they wanted in the kitchen. Sometimes it was implicit, at other times not, but it was common practice.
What happened since then?? Is food really a precious commodity now?? LOL.

Cille said...

I'd guess you're a nanny. At any rate, I would NEVER leave my children with someone they didn't know and someone they hadn't spent time with alongside me in advance.


To all the VEGAN nannies
make sure to get frequent blood work done because sometimes being a vegan doesnt agree with your body and you want to avoid health issues and imbalances and no matter what they say on the internet, eating fake vegan meats is un healthy and is often made with processed soy, very unhealthy and lots of salt!

ATL Nanny said...

I just wanted to add to my previous comment to say that I think the age of the children I care for may play a large role what I eat (or don't eat) at work. My specialty is newborn care and I rarely care for children who eat table food. Many years ago, when I worked with toddlers/preschoolers, I did eat more of my employer's food. I generally prepared a meal for myself and the children and we ate together. I still never requested food for just myself, but I had no qualms about making an extra sandwich or bowl of soup or whatever else I made for lunch. Now that I work almost exclusively with infants, the food I prepare is solely for my own consumption, so I'm just more comfortable providing my own food.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Cille...then in your off time, it would be a good idea to hire some back-up nannies. Perhaps have a few girls watch the kids when you are there, then for a few hours while you are not. So when the time comes for you to arrange back-up childcare, your children will already be familiar with certain providers.
As a Nanny, I have had many families who are looking for back-up nannies. I think it is awesome that they are planning ahead for emergencies and such. Everyone should do the same.

oh well said...

Cille, are you also Lindsay? Because
your "I'd guess you are a nanny. I would never leave my kids with someone they haven't spent time with alongside me" sounds familiar. Because nannies would not care about leaving kids (whether their own or
their charges) with a perfect stranger? I'd guess you are not a nanny, and that's a good thing, because you do not sound that smart.

Jane Doe said...

Re: "I'd guess you are a nanny. I would never leave my kids with someone they haven't spent time with alongside me" sounds familiar.

Shouldn't this found familiar?

I'll be the third...

I would never leave my children with a nanny before they had time to get to know her in my company.

oh well said...

Yes, that would seem like basic common sense, and unfortunately this will not guarantee that the nanny acts the same when you are not around.
I was reacting to "I'd guess you are a nanny", which to me sounded like a snide comment.

MissMannah said...

I'm with "oh well" on this. The comment "I'd guess you are a nanny" was condescending. I took it to mean "You must be a nanny and not a parent so you don't understand."

Anonymous said...

Fifty bucks says Lindsey's (Lindsay's?) little snots get shaken and slapped regularly.