Mother-to-be Nanny is in a Quandry

Received Thursday, January 20, 2011
opinion 1 I'm in a little dilemma : I am 7 1/2 months pregnant with my first child due early in April. I have been a nanny for my family for almost 6 years and we have a good relationship. I disclosed my pregnancy at 3 months and they seemed happy and excited.

For the last few months, my husband was out of a job and it was the mutual understanding of the family and I that, should he still be without work by the time the baby comes, he would stay at home and I would go back to work for them. Well, my husband just started a great new job. He was offered a much higher salary than we had anticipated, meaning that I now have the option of staying at home with my baby for at least 3 to 6 months. This is definitely what I would like to do. But how do I tell the parents? My husband has told mom boss already about his new job and that I would now be able to stay home for a while, but mom boss does not know how long.

She took me aside last week and stood me in front of a calendar where she pretty much told me that she has coverage worked out for 1 month and that she knows that I will be back after that anyways! She doesn't seem to even think about the logistics of all of that. They have 2 kids and my car is already crammed with their car seats ... adding another infant seat to the mix will be almost impossible. Also, the two kids go to daycare ... all the germs they bring home might affect my baby's health! He would only be 1 month old when she wants me to return back to work!

Also, I feel it is not fair to my baby or their kids if I return that early ... on one hand, I want to make sure that my child is taken care of first (after all he is an infant), on the other hand I get paid to take care of their children. What do I do if my child cries and wants attention, but the two others want the same? What do I do if we are out running around playing and all of the sudden my child needs to breastfeed (I am planning on breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months)?

In addition, summer vacation starts in June and the kids will want to go on outings every day. I cannot imagine taking my then 2 month old to outings all the time, having to breastfeed, changing him, etc in addition to watching two very active kids. I need advice on how and when i tell them that i will not be available until after the summer vacation. I surely understand that they might want to hire someone else long-term (instead of just a summer nanny) and that i will loose my job. That is not a problem, as i will continue staying in contact with them and the kids. I want to give them as much time as possible to find a replacement, but I don't want them to resent me for my decision and make the last couple months of work miserable for me (I doubt they would do that, but i have heard many stories where it happened).


Bostonnanny said...

I think that your better off leaving your position. If you think they will treat you nicely then I'd tell them right away or tell them right after you have your baby that your not coming back. They have a replacement for the first month which should be enough time for them to find a new nanny.

From your post I don't believe you could be a nanny that brings her child to work with her. You don't seem like the type of person who could let her child cry for a few minutes to care for someone elses. Which is very understandable, your child comes first. I think you should stay at home as long as you can then try to find a new family with one child similar in age to your child.

another nanny said...

I think the fact that you can't see it working is a good indication that the situation is not for you. This is your first child, so of course you want to spend as much time devoted to your child as possible.
I would let them know that as you've gotten closer to your due date, you just can't imagine returning to work so soon. Tell them if they are interested in hiring a summer nanny (which are usually plentiful), you would return to work in September. Of course, let them know you understand if they need to hire a new nanny altogether. You might want to wait a couple more weeks to tell them.

a mom said...

I'm a bit confused - you said the kids you nanny for go to daycare? So if they are at daycare all day, you will only have to focus on your baby. Also, if your employer is fine with you bringing your baby to work, and you truly want to keep working, I'd jump at the chance. How many jobs allow you to bring your kids to work with you? That is a huge perk that most people don't get - and hence, most working moms are forced to a) stop working or b) pay someone else to raise their kids while they work - which many nannies here feel is awful - but that's how it is.

Your baby isn't going to get sick any more often than a 2nd child gets sick from an older sibling. You just need to take the extra precautions that any parent does who brings home #2, #3, #4 etc....babies get exposed to older kid/sibling germs all the time. Finally, toting along an infant is relatively simple - WAY easier than toting along a toddler from 10 mos and up. I think the bottom line is that you need to decide if you are up for watching 3 kids at once, two of which aren't yours. And that will be hard. No matter how much you love your charges, you will love your own far more than that or more than you can ever imagine.

Blythe said...

I just want to throw out there that getting a summer nanny might be a really good option for them. I was a summer nanny all through college (as were some of my friends), and it worked out really well. College students can make great summer nannies (though, of course, you should always do thorough background checks, etc etc). Seems like it may be a pretty convenient time of year for you to be gone!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

@OP..didn't you say that it was the understanding that if your husband didn't have a new job by the time you had your baby, then he would stay home. But since he ended up getting a job now you will have to bring baby along?? Just tell MomBoss that you have given it some deep thought and weighed the pros and cons and have decided that it would be in the best interest for ALL involved that you stay home with your baby. Let them know that it will be better for you that you can give 100% of yourself to your child and that her children deserve a nanny who can give them her full attention as well. Make sure you tell her NOW. The sooner, the better. This way she can plan ahead for hiring another will give her a few months which will be more than enough time for her. Yes, most likely she will be seems any time one gives notice about leaving..even if they give full notice and a reasonable excuse..people still get mad for some reason. I don't know why in the nanny profession people get so mad over this, but they do. Anyway, that is the risk you will have to take. Since your hubby has such a good job OP, if they do get mad, then at least you don't have to worry about bills, food, some of us nannies do. Lucky you!
@Mom, it is not true that carrying around a newborn is relatively simple. Being a mother you should know that...don't let the size of a baby fool you. LOL. They need to be fed every 2 hours, changed every hour, held, burped, will be like the same job OP has now..times 100. Guaranteed. Also, sure OP will love her child more than anyone elses (don't all of us mothers?!), but in the childcare profession favoritism should NEVER be allowed while on duty. It's not fair to charge other families for caring for their children if they will get treated worse than your own.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

It sounds as if you are looking for a way out of returning to work, which is certainly understandable! If that is the case, and your husband has started work already and you would be fine if you were let go before your due date, then why not just tell them that you have decided you want to stay home FT for at least X months, and that while you would like to come back after that, you also understand that they may prefer to simply hire a permanent replacement.

I don't think things would be as impossible as you are assuming they would be if you did return to work, but why worry yourself over schedules, germs, and other details of the care of 3 kids if you have the luxury of not having to work?

Good luck!

not a brain buster... said...

I'm sorry OP, but I feel your dilemma is slightly ridiculous. You need to do one thing: put your own child before those of your employers. Why is this such a difficult decision for you?

Take care of your baby. Just tell them in terms they can understand: "MY CHILD IS MORE IMPORTANT TO ME THAN THIS JOB."

end of story. sheesh.

TinyDancer said...

I have to say I don't really understand the problem here. You seem to know exactly what you want and aren't terribly concerned about the prospect of losing this job. I think if you have a sit down with the mom or both parents and explain to them what you explained here that they will be very understanding and if not, oh well you didn't do anything wrong.

a mom said...

Just my 2 cents: read the rest of my sentence- I said caring for an infant is easier than caring for a toddler. But I guess that's my opinion after having 3 kids. Much easier to care for a baby that isn't mobile yet- and I pointed it because OP seems to be worrying about the time her child is an infant and how it will affect her life on the job. Her job will become far more demanding once her child becomes a toddler. But I do agree with you and the others here who said she should just quit her job and go back to work at a later time if needed. Or find a summer job or work as a fill-nanny here and there for extra cash

nycmom said...

I'm a bit confused by the logistics. You say you have been with the family for 6 yrs, so presumably oldest boy is 6yo. Then you say both kids are in daycare. When is the 6yo in daycare? Why do they have you as a nanny if both kids go to daycare?

Anyway, if you want/need to keep working long-term, do everything you can to keep this job. Very few families will allow you to bring your own baby along and not lower your pay. I know you did not comment on your pay after your baby is born, but I'm assuming it is staying the same - correct?

However, I agree with everyone above. You don't sound like you want to be a working mom. You are already identifying the huge problems with bringing your own baby along as a nanny. They are very real and since you are already thinking it won't work, I think you are right! So I suggest you tell the family honestly now that you are leaving when your baby is born. Since you have a 6yr relationship and they seem very kind already, just be honest. Yes, they are likely to have some initial hurt feelings, but the best chance of getting over that smoothly is being honest now. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Again, what ever happened to old fashioned honest? Get Mom Boss, stand her in front of a calendar, and point to September.

Just kidding. Tell Mom Boss that you will not go back to work before September, at the earliest, and you understand if she replaces you. If you can't say it, write her a note, but by all means, just tell her. You may want to stay home with your baby past September. Make sure to leave that option open for yourself, by saying the EARLIEST you COULD come back would be September.

Best wishes to and your husband and your new baby. How fortunate you are to be able to spend full time with her/him. It's such a special time, and you will never again have the opportunity to stay home with your first born. Mom Boss is thinking only of what is best for HER. You do what is best for you, and your baby, and your family.

mama b said...

a mom- I just want to point out that OP adding her own child to the nanny situation is somewhat different from a mother adding her second (or third) child. While most nannies are used to working with kids all day (sometimes from the time the kids wake up until they go to sleep), they are not used to breastfeeding (which can be tricky at first), waking up every 2 hours at night for feedings, or the postpartum hormones.

Lola said...

I stayed home with my first for 18 months, breastfed the whole time too! It was, without a doubt, the best decision and so extremely worth the poverty which came with it! Stay home as long as you can, and breastfeed as long as you can. There will never be another time like this!

NYCMOM, I just assumed the parents either work longer hours than daycare can cover OR they want additional socialization for the kids.

mama b said...

OP- I understand the difficult logistics of returning to work with your baby, and the desire to stay home with him. But consider your financial situation carefully. If you feel that after 6 months you will need to return to work, be aware (as nycmom said) that not many nanny jobs will let you bring your child to work. You may need to decide if you'd rather go back to work sooner with your baby in tow, or spend 6 months home with him and then put him in daycare full time.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

@a mom: as a mother of three children myself, I can say from a personal perspective that a newborn is much harder than a toddler. As a new mother, OP will not get a good night's sleep for a long time, possibly for the first year, but most likely for the first few months. It will be hard for her to get up, get herself ready, get baby ready, pack up enough diapers/wipes/change of clothes/port-a-crib, etc..for the day and care for two other kids along with her newborn. If you are truly a mother as you claim, how can you say toddlers are easier? Newborns eat more often due to their smaller tummies, they need frequent diaper changes and they cry a lot and since they cannot communicate, the mother always has the difficult task of trying to figure out the source of the distress (crying.) How can you not know how hard a baby is??!
OP since money is not an issue, I would just let your husband support you and you stay home and care for your newborn baby.

oh well said...

Just my two cents I hope that your children are very young because any seasoned mother should know that everyone has different experiences with parenting. You remind me of my MIL who always said that babies took forever to drink their bottle and that giving solids was so easy. Not quite the experience I had.
I think that babies come in all varieties and flavors. Some infants are super-mellow, and others are a handful. And then some mothers who feel easy with infants and do not enjoy the toddler stage, and some mothers for which the opposite is true.
Enjoy diversity.

Lola said...

oh well: Right on!

my comment said...

It sounds like you may want to reconsider staying at all. If you have the opportunity to stay at home and you want to then do it. Its not fair to your family or the one that you work for if you are not happy because it will affect everyone involved.

LovingNanny said...

I honestly believe aswell that taking care of a newborn is easier than watching a toddler. A toddler runs around, tries out new things, has to get used to real food, wants to be taught how the world is working and so on and so on. You are on the run ALL OF THE TIME. Their naptime goes down to one a day and you have to juggle the housework and the kid at once.
Of course there are difficult and demanding newborns, but MY PERSONAL experience tells me that a toddler is by far more exhausting.
Each of us on this blog talks out of their own experience, and each experience is as unique as we are. It doesnt make sence to try to convince someone from the opposite. So there is no right or wrong! Please keep that in mind!
Have a great weekend everyone.

bostonnanny said...

I'm surprised so many people believe a newborn is a breeze compared to a toddler. Infants and toddlers are easier and more difficult for different reasons. Infants have more needs in terms of feedings, diapers, being held constantly and napping. Toddlers can be more difficult because of tantrums and being able to escape or get into things.

I'm dealing with both at the moment and I honestly believe the infant is more difficult. She's an easy baby to be honest but compared to the toddler she's way more demanding. I've always preferred toddlers over infants because they are easier to travel with and can communicate more. They also tend to have better set schedules that don't change as often.

In regards to OP, her situation is very different from being just a nanny of an infant and toddler to being a mother of an infant caring for someone else toddlers. She will not be getting a full nights sleep each night and since her child is not born and their personality hasn't been determined, we have no idea if her infant will be "easy". She could end up with a baby who has colic, reflex or overall needy. Since her baby will be quite young during the summer months, she may not be able to take the baby out for long periods of time, like you could an older child. They can over heat and you cant just put them down at the beach or sprinkler park to chase after a toddler. Plus carrying an infant in a sling all day can do damage to your back and the baby could become overly clingy as it gets older. Its also not fair to her charges to cut trips short or stay in more often because of the baby's needs. Also traveling with young infant requires more packing and preparation.

I'm currently adjusting to the same issues that the OP will be dealing with, only difference is I don't take the baby home with me.

I'm surprised that A mom believes an infant is simpler considering she in a previous post commented on how difficult her first child was and she had a nanny to help.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Boston Nanny: Right on! You said it better than I could have.
@Lola and Oh Well: I think you are both a little prejudiced on the size of the child. *Wink..wink.*

A newborn is much more work than a toddler..I think it is a pretty accepted fact. That is why there is lots of advice out there about how to deal with caring for a newborn after coming home from the hospital. There are so many challenges to consider I can't possibly name them all. The most important one is that newborns are demanding round the clock and whoever is caring for them usually does not get a good night's sleep for months. Also, the constant feeding, changing, and holding is a lot for one person to handle and that is why people usually need help for the first weeks. Even though a toddler is work as well, by then, they usually sleep better and need less feeding and changing. Also, they can communicate and interact with others. They can also be entertained better and can be taken on longer day outings without much fuss.
I would take a toddler over a newborn any day.
@Loving Nanny: Newborns ARE more work according to the childcare profession. Daycares charge more for caring for a newborn vs. a toddler. That says it all.

nycmom said...

As "Oh Well and Lola" have alluded to, this infant vs toddler argument is a bit silly. There is no absolute easier and it totally depends on the person and the child. There is no "fact" about it.

I love infants 0-12mo. Hate the toddler years 1-3yo. Then start really loving 3yo-4yo+. But I would never try to argue that an infant is absolutely easier than a toddler or vice versa. Since I enjoy bonding and spending time with infants, I find it much "easier," more enjoyable, and more portable than a toddler. However, I know my husband, like many men, really doesn't bond as well with infants. He'd pick the toddler anyday - and that's with each of us comparing the same child.

We are all entitled to our opinions and it's fun to hear them, but I don't really understand the need to try to convince others that you are RIGHT about something that doesn't have a global right/wrong answer. Daycares charing more for infants is no kind of proof that they are harder. It IS proof that from a caregiver perspective in a daycare, they require a higher staff:child ratio. I believe that is mandated by law, not simply by daycare choice. But more labor intensive is NOT the same as "harder" since harder encompasses the parents'/nanny's perception of the rewards involved balanced against the work. It's simply silly and kind of odd to insist that there is a right answer and I think "Oh Well's" analogy about judgemental MIL is a good one. Any experienced parent or caregiver should be able to recognize that the vast range of opinions and parenting styles.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

@nyc your last sentence you clearly state that oh well's analogy is a good one so nothing I say will convince you to see the other side.
The reason I say that smaller children are more "labor intensive" which to me equates more "harder" or whatever term you choose to use, is because in my state (Cali) the child/caregiver ratio is about 1 adult per 4 infants. This shows to me that in general, our state recognizes that smaller children require more care than toddlers since the toddler ratio is much higher. Plus when looking at prices for daycare for an infant vs. a toddler, the daycare rate is much higher for a baby! If there were differences in opinion about this, I feel that some daycares would charge less for infants while others would charge more. But looking at ads on craigslist and reading various daycare ads in print, it seems all daycares not only charge more for an infant, they also require one adult for four babies at a time. I used to work in a home daycare where the owner chose not to accept infants..she only accepted toddlers because she said they were easier as they could interact and entertain each other and they were more self-sufficient. It's pretty clear across the board that the labor laws tend to protect the child which is a good thing. I think it would not be in a child's best interest if the states left it up to each individual caregiver's opinion of whether caring for an infant vs. a toddler would be much harder. I think it is wise that the states make the decision and I have to admit, I agree with their decision on which age group is more work to care for.

Linda's Daycare said...

I operate a home-based daycare center and yes I definitely charge more for infants than toddlers. I even ask the parents to provide formula, diapers, wipes and extra blankets. Caring for infants is very time-consuming and that is why my center only accepts 2 infants and the rest are toddlers. My helper and I cannot imagine if we had to care for 4 infants each as our state allows as well. Imagine if they all needed fed, changed, burped and stimulated at once! Heaven NO!!
Toddlers are much funner to care for as well. They not only are less labor to care for, they are more interactive, socialized and just a joy to be around.
I would just DIE if I was stuck with an infant all day long.