I have been a nanny since I started college. After four WONDERFUL years with a family that I adored, and had practically raised the infant and two year old until just before their 4th and 6th birthdays - the mom decided she wanted to be a stay at home mother and since I was graduating, it made sense. I was assured we'd always be "family" and to this day stay in touch with her and my boys. :) So, leaving a wonderful situation like that one I was eager to move to a new city post graduation and continue nannying (great money, and I love kids). Chicago was my target location, and upon visiting friends I ended up finding a DREAM position with a very wealthy family, heirs to part of the White Sox enterprise. I was told my job would be to look after their one son, who had just turned 2 years old at the time. Seemed easy enough.
I moved in only a few weeks later. I had my entire own living space - in a beautiful luxurious home just outside of downtown. At the start of it, I knew there had been a nanny before me who had left when she became pregnant with her own, and then a girl right before me, who had 'quit' via text message because, as I was told, she didn't have any friends and was miserable in the city. Okay, so some people aren't cut out to live with another family in a strange place....fair enough. I was going to be GREAT at this.
The money was good enough, especially since I was living rent/utility/grocery free in downtown Chicago. My gas, and all activities were paid for and the mom frequently treated me to pedicures, dinners, shopping...I was living the life.
The little boy, was a total nightmare however. He started out just being a normal "2 year old"...but as the hitting, scratching and biting continued I realized it was a cry for attention. Not only did these people not want to be parents, they didn't know how to be. There aren't words to describe how annoying it was to be in the room with a child who would do anything to get what he wanted - scream, hit, bite, kick, throw things, break things...anything. He was a terror. I attributed it to the lack of parenting and loved him anyway - spent extra time, went out of my way to give him all the attention I could.
I was scheduled to work M-F 7:30-5:30, good enough, and one weekend night a month. ONE weekend night a month. Re-read that for that latter part of this paragraph. Then the sleeping nightmares came, as he refused to sleep in his bed, and would constantly get up and down - and would not go back to sleep for either parent. The only way he would stay in his bed and sleep is if I went in there and put him back and tucked him back in. This went on every night for months. We put an alarm on his bedroom door so if he opened it we'd all hear it...(it was dangerous for him to walk around upstairs unheard, and the house was hardly child proofed). So, midnight, 2 am, 4 am, 6 am....the alarm, every night - and I knew, if I didn't get up and put him back that NONE of us would get any sleep ever. The mother would do what I told her - put him back, don't look at him, just put him back every time. It didn't work, it never worked, no matter how hard we tried - so I, in hopes of getting ANY sleep had to play supernanny and do it myself. Mind you, after a couple of months, I was EXPECTED to do this. I got text messages at 2 am from upstairs "...he's up please take care of it." REALLY? Thats your child that you've ruined, you get up. I did it as a favor initially because I knew that the mother was really doing all the work herself - as the dad wanted nothing to do with this little boy -- a high up corporate exec who could give a shit less about having a child. So, she and I had formed a bond, and basically were raising this child together.
Then the early morning hours started. He would wake up for the day at 4 am, and she would let him -without any regard for me, come downtsairs and play outside my room in the hall, or IN my room if he pleased - waking me up 3 hours before I needed to be up. There were days I just made him go back to sleep in my bed - because I couldn't function at 4 am...
I just felt disrespected. Plain and simple.
I was expected to take him places, and do things - fair enough, I loved it. We did museum trips, and zoo trips, to the library, play groups, tumbling, out to lunch, to parks, etc....there were even the few Saturdays where I offered to take him for the mornings in hopes the mom would get a few hours of sleep and could relax a little bit. I told her "I'll get him up and take him out, we'll be home by 10 for you!" But no. I'd get a text at 9:30, "Why dont you take him to the zoo for the afternoon. Thanks!!!"
Excuse me? my day off? No no no...
NO RESPECT and I never got paid extra.
The final straw for me came about 8 months into the job....my dad had planned to come in and visit me... he gave me 5 weeks notice that he would be there for a couple days. I came upstairs one morning and said to her "Hey, in January my dad will be here for a weekend, I'm so excited" and her response was "You weren't going to ask me??? What if we wanted to go on a date that weekend?"
I was blown away. "A date? Do you have a scheduled plan I didn't know about?"
No of course she didn't. She just WANTED me to be available in CASE she did. Thats crap. I was defensive at this point - and in utter disbelief that anyone could expect a grown 23 year old to ask permission for her father to visit her during NON WORK hours.
So I quit. I up and just quit one day. I gave more than 2 weeks notice, 3 to be exact and offered to help them find someone before I left. Come to find out later she had been snooping through my drawers, purses, emails, facebook for months. Awesome.
Worst job ever, I still think about it, the emotional stress and frustration still lingers. OH, the best part is I found out later they had had 6 nannies in 2 years before me - but of course didn't let me know. In the year that I've been gone, they have had 4 more. Hows that.....good lord. Thank GOD I am out of there! Beware of people, you NEVER know....