Dealing with a Child's Anxiety Over a New Nanny

Received Sunday, January 23, 2011
opinion 1 I am in a predicament now and desperately need your advice as I need to make a decision SOON!!

Here's my situation: I have currently been working as a nanny for this family for about 6 weeks. The little boy is 1 1/2 and when I started watching him, he had very bad stranger anxiety. He would sometimes vomit when his parents left in the morning and it was hell dealing w/him every day. Now he is 100% used to me and things are smoother. The pay is not very much, I am only making $10/Hr for caring for him and I work 20 hrs pr wk. During his nap times, I have chores to do around the house until he wakes up. I have noticed that I am being asked to do more chores as time goes on such as add'l dishes to wash and add'l laundry to fold, etc. Overall the job is okay. Now I just got offered another job from a previous nanny employer who gave my contact info to a friend of hers and the friend and I met for coffee. Things went great and she offered me a job caring for her 2 1/2 yr old daughter. Same hours, but for $12/Hr. Now I know an extra $2/Hr does not sound like much, but it adds up to an extra $40 bucks a week, right? Also, in this job there are no chores involved..just caring for the child, that's it. The woman said I can use my downtime for studying (I am a part-time student) or reading, etc. She won't need me for another 6 weeks however. (I have enough money in savings so going w/out income until then will not be an issue.)

What should I do? My current job pays less and has more job duties involved, the other job I was offered has more pay and less job duties. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. The reason I am hesitating is because of the child w/my current family. He went through SO much stress to get to the point he is now w/me, he trusts me now and it was such a long road for us to get here. If they have to hire a new nanny to replace me if I leave, he will go through so much stress again and I will feel guilty doing this to him. ;( I truly care for his well-being. Honestly. Yet at the same time, I would prefer a better paying job with less job duties. I have already done some occasional babysitting w/the new family just to see how things were and they really are great to work for.
If this were a typical job where no child was involved, it would be a no-brainer. But since a small vulnerable child's feelings are involved here, there is so much more at stake. What should I do guys??? Help me!!


A nanny who cares said...

Not to sound cruel, but he is less than 2 years old, and he will adjust. Kids are resilient!

Also, this family is asking you to do more than agreed upon with less than 2 months of being there. This is bound to just get worse, especially if you let them keep adding more without paying you more. They are definitely taking advantage of you. This family doesn't care about you, sad to say, and I'm sure if they found someone who would work for less than you they would replace you in a heartbeat.

I would give notice asap, since you can go the 6 weeks without income if you must. 6 weeks will give them plenty of time to find someone new.

Good luck! I know this can't be an easy decision for you.

nanny and mommy said...

would it be out of the question to go to your current employers and explain the situation? just tell them that you have an offer on the table for $2 more per hour and a few less responsibilities around the house, but that you REALLY care for their child and would feel terrible about him going through that process again. who knows? they might offer to pay you a little more or be willing to ask for a little less around the house. if not, give your notice and move on to the new family.

no matter what your relationship is like with your employers, they have to understand that, at base, it is a business arrangement. if they feel that you are enough of a good fit with their family, they may try to meet you in the middle to keep you. worth a shot, i think!

nycmom said...

Do what is best for you. The child you currently care for *will* adjust to any change. I would consider the possibility that the new job may also end up being less than perfect with added on duties over time.

If you are happy overall at the current job apart from the lower pay and extra duties, tell the family directly. Tell them you have another offer and see if they want to match the pay and duties. If not, then there is no reason for you to be more concerned with their child's readjustment to a new nanny than they are.

Nanny Consultant said...

I agree with nanny and mommy - you could approach your current employers with your predicament and get their feedback on it. However, I would caution you that this could damage the relationship, they may not like that you are "coercing" them into higher pay with less work. I emphasize: whichever family you go with HAVE A NANNY CONTRACT! specifying in detail what your job responsibilities are, including chores around the house and pay, with raises!

It sounds like the other job may be the better choice, especially given the special relationship circumstances with your previous employer. But make sure you negotiate the best deal for you.

Here's a question: would either of the families be interested in a nanny share? Not sure if that's an option, but it could get you MORE $ and the little boy would get to stay with you.

TC said...

In the end you need to look out for what's best for YOU and making more money and working less (no chores) IS best for you so go.

It's nice that you feel for the child and know that it's going to be hard for him to adjust but that shouldn't matter when it comes to what you need to do. Always keep this in mind, if the parents are unhappy with you they will fire you. They won't sit there and worry about you so why would you worry about them? I know it sounds cruel but it is the truth. They will do what they feel is best for their family with no regards to you so you should feel and act the same.

I would say the best thing for you to do is tell the parents now, and explain you would be willing to help with the transition to a new nanny. I wouldn't cave if they offered you more, the fact that they added more chores to your job tells me they will pull more stuff later on down the road and if they start paying you more they may feel entitled to give you more chores.

I would say Hey Mom Boss I hate to do this to you but I was offered another job and I'm going to have to take it. I wasn't looking for another one, this one just fell into my lap. I don't mind helping your kid transition to a new nanny but my last day here will be _____.

Christine said...

It's hard to not think about the child when making a decision like this. However, you have to do what is best for you. I'm guessing that you are working without a contract if the family can just add duties without extra pay. If you decide to talk to them and negotiate more pay, you need to get them to sign a contract! Contracts are very important to have in this type of job. They help protect you and the family. I personally never work without having a contract worked out before the job starts. If you decide to go with the new family, make sure to have a contract with them stating your duties and rate of pay as well as hours you work and what happens if you work extra.

Adjustment is for the better said...

Change teaches a child how to adapt. Before you know it he will be in daycare anyways. The only way to deal with his anxiety is to provide change so he can get use to t. Consider it doing him a favor on the long haul. You are right this is a no brainer with no buts.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the mother is not paying enough, and cheating on the deal by continually increasing the work, to entice a long term nanny is not your problem.

Take the new job, and I would only offer two weeks notice. There is no reason to use your saving because Boss Mom changed the deal.

Good luck. You sound like a caring nanny who deserves better than your current position.

Phoenix said...

My younger cousin had the same issues... course now she is a strange recluse that never goes outside. But that is besides the point.

You have to take care of you. He is not your child and he seems a little over dramatic anyway. Go to the job that is going to pay you and not take advantage of you

Just my opinion! said...

So sick of these dumb posts. Young women these days have such a problem putting themselves first, putting their own needs before those of the people who they nanny for. No wonder why families walk all over their nannies: too many of the good ones don't have a backbone when it comes to doing what is best for themselves.

OP: I don't mean to be harsh, but you are wrong: this IS a no-brainer.

Take the better job. That little snot will get over it. If anything, with stranger anxiety that bad, he NEEDS to be exposed to other people.

Just my opinion.

Nannycaroline said...

I worked for a woman that didn't pay well, cut my hours a lot, and piled on the chores. I finally stood up for myself and quit. Now I am looking for a better job(with a contract) , and I agree, take the other job and get a contract! Good luck.

Original Poster said...

OP here..thanks guys for all your advice. I have decided to take the second job..however am dreading telling my current family. I should tell them now since I already know what I am going to do, but am scared to death. Number one, I hate confrontation and number two, this past week the child has been "extra" close to me and has even started to get clingy. The mother even noticed it too and remarked how happy she was that things turned out so well for us all. UGH!! The irony of timing, eh?

sharon said...

Op - you are very brave - this is the reason i had to quit being a nanny - the kids are from heaven, but the actions of the parents bewilder.

Consider some advice from me - i am in my mid 40's - you need to learn "TO CONFRONT" . I could not do it when i was in my teens and 20's and i got taken advantage of.

Whatever job decision you make - you must know - that you will need to learn to say to someone - : "Here is our agreement and this must be" and yes - there are people who will try to go against that - good luck !

Keep the blog informed!! We care