Nanny Feels Like She is in Jail

opinion 1 I work as a full time nanny in San Francisco, CA i started this position about seven months ago, in the past i worked with different families and everything went well, the last family i worked for three years all these families still send me present for my birthday, pictures from the kids etc. I know i am a good nanny i am hard working, responsible and creative, when i accepted this new job i was very happy because i always wanted to live in SF.

This job is starting to be a nightmare, i love the kids with all my heart! but the parents are another story, working here for seven months they do not trust me, they have cameras in every room of the house, even one in the car! i found out the first week i starting working here, i really dont care about them because i know i am doing a good job and have nothing to fear but at the same time it doesn't feel right to know you work for people who dont trust you.

The other day the dad was supposed to leave the house to go to the gym at night, some nights i do extra "babysitting" i was supposed to put the little boy to bed he said his goodbyes and left, i even heard the front door closing, to my surprise i found out he was hiding in this room, at first i didn't know he was home but i found out because the little boy told me, i know he was hiding to see if i mistreated the boy.

this is all too much to handle, i just cant stand it anymore at the same time i need the job i have no money saved because i spend it on tuition for school and the jobs here in the bay area are scarce.

every day at work they are both looking at their camera i know this because they make comments and know things that we did during the day without asking, sometimes i wonder if they get any work done!

I would like other nannies advice how would they handle this situation? i feel like i am in jail.
To the Reader that sent this in, please forgive me for not posting this before now, it had been lost and I only found it while going through to delete some e-mail.


STLNanny said...

I have no problem with nanny cams during the trial phase or the first month or two of having a new nanny, but the hiding in the room, putting a nanny cam in EVERY room including the car, etc is way overkill. I suggest you try to find a new job, asap. I also suggest you ask the parents if they feel you have ever given them a reason to believe they can't trust you. See if they have answer.

Find something better said...

They are crazy. I have worked for a family like this. I felt like I couldn't relax until the end of my shift. The best thing I did was to quit. I found a lower paying job, but I still made ends meet and regained my sanity. More importantly, the parents trusted me!

sharon said...

i had a mom who would pop in about every 45 minutes thru the day making him cry every time - and she would follow us on outings.

he would love to go across the street to watch the dump trucks and i would faithfully bring his red or blue sun hat

once we would be comfortable and happy she would run screaming after us with the other colored hat.

it was not cameras but constant mistrust. they did like me and i liked them but i could not stay with that stress - i quit and gave a different reason.

and heard she could not keep anyone

on another note - why not mess with them? take the kid up to the cameras thruout the day and say, "say hi to mom! mom we are getting ready to make a craft - we will bring it over to the camera when we are done! How is my new hairdo?"

for an awesome nanny rant to a camera - see the nanny diaries!

MissDee said...

I know what if feels like to be spied on by your boss, and it is emotionally draining. When I worked for the finger-point crackhead psycho, I was constantly monitored, because in her uneducated, unethical, imbalanced mind, I made the children cry because I D-I-S-C-P-L-I-N-E-D them, as opposed to giving in (non-discipline). Every evening, I ran out of the door and headed home. My energy was aqueezed from my body like water from a sponge. I would leave work, arrive home, eat, and go to bed. Sometimes I had no energy to eat at all, and the only night I had energy was on Monday, because Tuesday was my day off.

I understand about the parents concern, however, you have been there for awhile and don't deserve this. I would sit down and talk with them and see if they are willing to remove some of the cameras. If they are that uptight, I would find a new job.

An interview question I had many years ago regarding child abuse went like this:

Father: "Have you ever hit a child while working in daycare?"

Me: "I am not sure how to answer that question, so I will answer it as best I can: no, I have never hurt a child and never will"

Father: "Well, I guess if you ever abused a child in daycare, someone would have busted you and called the police".

I didn't get the job and didn't want it. They were incredibly rude and stuck-up.

alex said...

Could you talk to them and tell them how you feel? I mean, gosh that sounds like serious overkill! I understand being protective of your child but after 7 months? I mean, you are right you are doing your job and have nothing to fear with the cameras. I kind of like sharon's idea of playing with the cameras :)

If possible I really suggest sitting down with them, asking why they feel they can't trust you and go from there. I mean, maybe the dad said he was going to the gym and he just wanted to hang around the house BUT he should have let you know and since he didn't that was spying.

MissMannah said...

MissDee...I would have turned that question back on that father: "Does anybody ever answer you with a yes?" Pardon my language, but that man is a total dumbass. But thanks for the laugh!

OP...have you ever actually brought any of this up with the parents? It sounds like you are driving yourself a little crazy and possibly unnecessarily. You don't know that the father was spying to see if you were mistreating his son. It could have been something as simple as he had a headache and wanted to skip the gym. Talk to them! You may find out that they do trust you after all. I know plenty of parents who suffer from so much guilt and that's why they watch the nannycam compulsively.

On another note...Sharon, do you ever offer good advice? I'm not sure if I've ever appreciated a single post of yours.

poor nanny! :( said...


You are correct to be unnerved by this behavior. A nanny cam is one thing, but these people are really taking it over the top.

I would start job hunting again. You sound like an incredible employee. You deserve more trust and respect. Let another family give it to you: I am sure there are many who will fight for the honor to have you as their nanny.

Good luck!

another nanny said...

In some ways, the parents are actually doing you a favor by letting you know that they do indeed watch the cameras every day, rather than leaving you wondering. If possible, try to think of this as working alongside a sahm, who is going to watch your every move. Still annoying, but it might help to shatter any illusion that you are alone with the child. I like Sharon's "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" suggestion. Since they have been kind of upfront with you about the cameras, go ahead and use them as a way to intentionally communicate with mom and dad during the day.
Also, if possible, find out what parts of the house are not visible to the camera...a bathroom, a hallway, whatever...this is just for your own sanity, so you know the places you can breathe without scrutiny.

Village said...

Let's look at this from the point of view of the parents. They were abused as children, maybe. They have friends whose nanny abused the children, maybe. They have read every nanny abuse story out there, including the ones that resulted in death, maybe. They have PTSD, maybe.

The one thing you do know is that you are a great nanny. If I were you, I would break that fourth wall. I would include the camera (parents) in your day. Talk to it (them). Tell them what you are doing; tell them what you are going to do. Get the kids to wave and say hi. Get the kids to sing to the camera. Better yet, get the kids to make art, and hold it up for the parents to see. 'I miss you' would be a great start.

IMHO, these are helicopter parents who are terrified something is going to happen to their most prized children. Your job is to reassure the camera (parents) and then nanny, in that order. Make it a game. At the end of the day, the parents just want to be an important part of their (safe) children's lives. If you make that happen, you will be the greatest nanny ever, in their eyes at least, and remember, THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU.

sharon said...

miss mannah - you are awesome - keep up the good work!!

Rebecca said...

You sound like a great Nanny stuck with a not so great employers. I live right over the bridge from you in Marin. I would LOVE to talk to you about some of the wonderful resources that are available in our area that could help you find a job that deserves you.

NJnanny said...

My advice...QUIT! I know you love the kids, but are they really worth all the stress that is being put on you day after day? Look for an agency that will work with you and find you a great position with sane employers. Post an an ad on CL and see what comes about. Stay for maybe a month longer, save a little money, and in the mean time, defintely go up to the camera throughout the day, and tell the parents what you guys did today, or whatever... Good luck, and please let us know what has happend!!

nanny consultant said...

Village, I really liked what you had to say.

At my job, we have one camera. It's in the boy's room directed to see only the crib. The camera can be watched from any computer and even cell phones. I have absolutely no problem with it, in fact it is helpful at nap time to be able to see if he's just playing or sleeping. If his parents are on trips and stuff we will scheduled times where we can go in and he can play in front of the camera or wave to it. My employers love showing him off during business meetings. haha.

Because I have such a great relationship with my employers I wouldn't mind a camera in every room... but it sounds like you are lacking that trusting bond needed. You don't trust their "helicoptering" and it doesn't sound like they trust your ability to care well for the children. This means that you don't feel safe working for them and creates difficulties for you to build a strong bond.

Sounds like you need to have a talk with them or find a family you fit better with.

Greengirlsrule said...

Silly parents! I can see having cams for the first month. If they didn't see you beating their child, then why keep the cams after all this time? It sounds like the little boy is old enough to tell his parents if anything fishy is going on.....after all, he told you that his father was hiding in the bedroom ;-) have you ever seen the episode of "malcom in the middle" where malcom gets hired for a babysitting job, and then discovers he is being filmed? Turns out the parents came home and watched it every night because they were obsessed with him (not because they thought he was abusing their children)! Lol!! Hmmmmmmm........I just wonder about some should probably quit and find a nice family who trusts you.

TC said...

Wow, posts like this make me grateful for the job and parents I have...even on a bad day.

All I can say is look for something else, if you can't handle the constant supervision of you find another family who is more trusting. And it sounds like this family would do better with a daycare rather than a nanny.

Good Luck OP, you've got more patience than me because I would've quit already

Marypoppin'pills said...

Sorry for posting off-topic but I am getting really sick of all the nasty messages lately. The ONLY time a comment is deleted is when it is blatantly racist OR anonymous. Read the rules above before you post, please.

[09:56] Seriously?: You really shouldn't encourage people to comment if you don't actually want their responses. I have the right to defend against things erroneously said to me, especially when it's on topic to the post, and deleting my responses makes me question your motives. I don't comment unless I have something important to say, but I see there's probably no point here.

sharon said...

i agree with mpp - sometimes there are very rude people on this site although 99% are classy and reasonable - i am glad she has her eye on it and is aware

jojo bear your life is calling said...

"deleting my responses makes me question your motives."

Ok, this person is nutso. Probably can't walk down the street without thinking she's being stalked. A real conspiracy theorist there. A brainiac too.

Sorry you have to put up with the crap. Thanks for all you do. I love this blog!

nanny2 said...

OP- Just remember, it's not about you. These people wouldn't trust anybody, and it has to do entirely with their own anxiety.
Also, people who go to the trouble of putting a camera in every room are unlikely to take them down after "a month or two." The "what if" mentality that makes them put up the cams in the first place leads them into, "but what if she's not who we think she is, what if one of the kids gets hurt, what if tomorrow is the day something happens," and so on.
Try to avoid feeling or seeming tense about it, though. If they perceive it, they will probably only think it's because you have something to hide.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

OP, the parents already started off on the wrong foot with you by not offering full disclosure in the beginning. They had a moral obligation to let you know there would be multiple cameras in the home. The fact that they did not initially inform you of the cameras is a huge red flag in my book. The relationship between you and them is already based on deceit.
Anyway, like the other posters said.."IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!" Don't take this personally. Perhaps they were abused or know someone who had a bad nanny, etc. There could be hundreds of reasons. But what it all boils down to is that you feel betrayed since you were not informed you would be filmed on a daily basis w/out your consent. This relationship consists of both deceit and betrayal and I don't see it working out. Sure, you could talk with the parents regarding the cameras, but I believe the damage has already been done since the respect line has definitely been crossed.
I know you are in a bind now so it isn't as cut and dry as find a new job/home right away. This stuff takes time. But I would use all of my off time looking for a new job. You have no other options. '
From a personal perspective, I could NEVER work for a family who filmed me...esp. w/out my personal consent. Why? While I have no problem being monitored with children (it can be a good thing on the flip side if anything should happen to the child, i.e., child gets a bruise from falling down, etc...) Having the fall on camera exonerates the Nanny from any liability. I am just concerned with what the parents would do with the footage. Would they use it for "other" purposes? Use your imagination. LOL. Seriously, anyone who is so unethical to secretly film another person is not someone to be trusted. Who knows what else they are capable of?

Phoenix said...

feel bad for this kid. My aunt does this wierd crap to my cousin who is now 12. She goes to school with her every morning. Then her dad "volunteers" so he can keep an eye on her in class. Then they don't allow her to have any friends. She isn't allowed to use the phone. She can't go to school functions by herself. One time her class took a field trip and the teacher asked my aunt and uncle not to go as the kids were old enough not to need volunteers. So what did they do.... they made my cousin sit in the back of the bus while they followed in their car. She was supposed to be at the back so they could see her through the window as they drove.

Talk about horrid parenting!

Stafford Loans FTW said...

Student loans plus saving a little = opportunity to escape!

OP said...

hello everyone! thank you for your words, i am just emotionally and physically drained, i work so hard during the day and nothing is ever good enough for these people i decided to wait until may when school is over and leave! i love working as a nanny but will never ever get a live-in job again!! REBECA do you know of any nanny agencies in your area? thanks

sharon said...

op - i think you know we are all on your side ! Any employer is lucky to have you - keep us posted of course!

rebecca said...

OP - I am friends with the owner of a top notch Nanny agency and I would LOVE to help you out. E-mali me:

Liza said...

OP I hope Rebecca can help you out.
You sound like a great person and you deserve a great family to work for!!

Best of luck in your endeavors. :)