a day in the life
By Nanny Laura
A Day in the Life (of working alongside a work-from-home parent)

6:45 AM: Arrive on time (like always) with a smile on my face and my lunch in my hand. Mom boss answers door and greets me superficially and then returns to her home office where she continues working on her computer. Says the child (1 1/2 yrs old) is in the family room eating breakfast and watching T.V. with her father.

6:47 AM: I enter family room and greet both the child and her father. Child is in the middle of breakfast and seems to be enjoying watching "Thomas the Tank Engine" on PBS. Father immediately leaves to shower and get ready for work.

6:50 AM: I put my lunch in the refrigerator, then sit down on the sofa and tell my charge "Good Morning" and try to start a kid-friendly conversation. She is in a good mood right now and I hope that she stays that way all day today.

7:00 AM: I go into the kitchen to get some milk and see a whole sinkful of last night's dishes in the sink. On the counter are about six dirty bottles I will need to wash/sterilize later on. I sigh as I wish I could get my chores done now just to get it "over with", yet since mom is close by in the home office, I know that I will have to wait for nap time. I drink my milk and peek inside the dishwasher quickly. Yep, full of clean dishes that need to be put away before the dirty ones go back in. Great! *sigh*

7:20 AM: Dad walks into family room in his boxers and I try to avert my eyes and concentrate on Thomas, Percy and James. Father looks for something, finds it then leaves.

7:30 AM: Dad kisses the child good-bye and waves to me as well, then leaves for work. The child tells me she is done eating and motions for me to get her out of her highchair. I wipe her face, hands and tray, then unstrap her and put her on the floor. I take the highchair tray, dish and cup to the kitchen and hand wash them both. Child is calling my name as Thomas just ended and she doesn't want to watch Pocoyo which follows. I sing a few songs as I clean up which makes her smile. Oops, I forgot to move the highchair back in the kitchen and clean up the floor....

7:45 AM: Mom walks in the kitchen and tells me, "Can you please turn off the T.V. set? I don't want "V" to be watching too much T.V." I comply but inside am wondering why the T.V. didn't bother her before when the Dad was there.

7:50-9:30 AM: "V" and I play in the living room. I read her stories (about 13 or 14), we listen to sing-along CD's and we horse around with some of her stuffed animal puppets. I try to perform a puppet show which she loves. Man, she is a doll. I love this kid!

9:35 AM: Mom walks in living room and inquires if we are going to the park and/or library today?? I understand her asking me to mean that she actually wants us to go to the park and library today. I tell her sure we will if she wants us to. She responds that it is entirely up to me, we are welcome to stay home too if that is what we want to do. I tell her we will go out and she says, "Great!" and cheerfully leaves.

9:40 AM: I make sure "V" is in a fresh diaper and put her hair in barrettes, dress her and put on sunscreen. Mother walks in and reminds me to pack up the diaper bag. I inquire where it is located and she tells me it is in the hall closet. I retrieve the bag and am disheartened to find out it is completely empty. Argh! I spend about 10 min. packing it up with snacks, a water cup, diapers/wipes, sunscreen, an extra change of clothes, sunglasses, hat and books/toys. I make a mental checklist in my head to ensure I didn't forget anything.

10:00 AM: Mom returns and tells us to have fun. She says she likes the outfit I chose for the day. "V" and I walk out the door and to my car where I strap her in the car seat and off we go... away from her crazy Mom!!

10:15- 11:00 AM: We play at the park where I push her in the baby swing (her favorite), make cakes in the sandbox and bounce on the "teeter-totter" (I haven't been on one of these since I was a child!)

11:15-12:00 PM: We arrive at the library just in time for story hour. A young male librarian reads a few stories and sings a few songs, but since he is young and a Male, he seems entirely out of his element. But he's easy on the eyes so I don't mind. After stories, I talk to some of the other mothers there while "V" plays with the blocks and puzzles. Then we leave.

12:20 PM: We arrive home and Mother greets us at the door. Asks us if we had fun and I say of course we did. Then she reminds me to go through the "motions" to get "V" to nap. She says, "Now remember to lay her on her back, on your lap and rock her and sing to her. Make sure she has her pacifier and favorite blanket and the curtains are closed." I comply. When my own children were younger, I would just lay them down in their cribs and close the door. Sure they would cry for about a second or so, but then they were out like a light. But hey that was 1992 and this is 2011 and hardly any parents let their children "cry it out" anymore.

12:45 PM: After much rocking, stroking, massaging and singing, child is sound asleep. I carry her upstairs and lay her in her crib, praying she doesn't wake up which would mean I would have to start the whole process again.

12:50 PM: I return downstairs and begin emptying out the dishwasher. I put away the clean dishes, and fill it up with the dirty ones after I carefully inspect them to be sure they are properly rinsed. I wash the bottles and set them in the sterilizer and turn it on. Then I open the refrigerator to grab my lunch just as Mom boss walks in....

1:15 PM: Mom boss begins to prepare her lunch as well. She cooks everything fresh and I have to admit, my ham sandwich looks pathetic in comparison. I finish up my sandwich, then dig into my hot Cheetos and boxed juice. Mom looks at my food and asks me why I don't eat organic food like they do. She tells me what I am eating is unhealthy and that I should eat better. I tell her organic food is more expensive (just my excuse) and she says it can be, but it is worth it. I am tempted to say, "Well if you paid me more than ten dollars an hour, then maybe I could afford to shop organic" but I keep my mouth shut. She then tells me her child has never been to a McDonalds in her life and never will. I nod as I reach for my twinkie.. Man, I love the creme filling inside. Mom looks at me disgusted and I joke that with my luck, I would eat healthy all day, then one evening I would probably walk outside to check the mail and get hit by a butter truck. Mom ignores my comment and reminds me that there are three laundry baskets that need folding before "V" awakes.

2:45 PM: I hear "V" crying via the baby monitor and hurry to get her. Thank goodness I managed to get all the laundry folded and put away before she awoke. I am starting to feel accomplished and relieved that my chores are over for that day.

2:55 PM: I take a freshly changed "V" downstairs and sit her in her high-chair while I prepare her lunch. I make her organic Mac & Cheese and cut up some veggies for her. Mom boss enters and says "Hello" to "V" and kisses her on the cheek. "V" is ecstatic at seeing her Mommy and shrieks with joy. Then Mom boss tells me I didn't cut the veggies in the correct shape that "V" prefers even though "V" is happily munching on them as we speak. I say nothing and simply nod my head. I then put the Mac & Cheese on a child plate and give it to "V." Mom boss tells me, "Please make sure the plate is on a placemat when you set it on the tray, I don't want any heat marks on the tray, okay?" WTF?? I quietly get a placemat and comply.

3:20 PM: "V" ate all her lunch... yeah! I tell her what a good girl she is, then offer her some fruit for dessert which she happily agrees to. Mom boss reminds me to wash the dishes before I leave and wipe "V's" face and hands as well. She tells me to rinse out her bib and lay it on the back of the highchair. I am due to get off in 25 min and while I love being around sweet little "V," her mother is a different story. Also, today is Friday and I get paid (!) so I am in a good mood.

4:00 PM: Mom comes into the living room where "V" is playing with her blocks and hands me my payment in cash. She explains they didn't have any smaller bills than 20's, so they overpaid me by ten dollars. She told me to remind her next Friday to just deduct that from my pay. I smile, say "Thank You, I will..." then tell "V" good-bye. It is so sad since I know this will probably be the last time I ever see her again. Why?? I can't take another day of working alongside a work-at-home parent and I am done. I will send an e-mail when I get home letting them know I won't be returning and my reason why. Mom boss is too controlling and I have no autonomy. They will simply shrug, place another ad on either CL or and I will be just a memory....


Marypoppin'pills said...


I know you are unhappy with your job but this was so well-written it made me laugh out loud.

I hope things get better for you and you end up employed with a much better family.

Good luck!

Nanny who loves what she does said...

Sounds like the job I am at right now. Mom stays home and it is really hard to sometimes work around her. Leaves dishes- check, talks rudely- check, nags at me for every little thing- check. She also comes in at "Naptime" gets her going... It drives me crazy. But I love the baby...

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

OP, I am guessing you don't need a reference from this family? If not, I guess quitting via email will send a message that will make you feel better, although it won't do a darn thing to improve the parent's attitudes. I feel sorry for the little girl though - must suck for her to never know who might be her caretaker.

Good luck finding a new and better job, and if you didn't have a contract, make sure you get one from the next family and that you stick to it.

unicornsparkleprincess said...


haha sorry, couldn't resist.

she sounds JUST like my old employer. once, i was really sick and couldn't come in and they DEDUCTED IT FROM MY PAY. ON MY LAST DAY.

yeah, kind of explains why i stopped working there.

i really enjoyed your post, it made me really grateful not to be in that position again! good luck!

San Fran Nanny said...

That's crazy, but as I was reading it, I could totally see the whole situation happening. I have seen this type of mom/family before!!!
Good luck on getting a new job! 10 bucks a hour and she wants you to do all of these chores? Geez! These parents are getting cheaper!!

bluebell said...

This post reminds me exactly why I always insist on sole charge positions, and would never take a job where MB or DB was at home - no matter HOW good the pay was.

world's best nanny said...

I had 2 stay at home parent jobs. The first had her own office over the garage. She had a microwave, a fridge, a bathroom off her office and her own phone line. She went in at 9am and we never saw her again til 4pm! It was awesome!

The second was a stay at home dad. For the most part he'd stay out of the way, but sometimes he would start these 3 hour one sided conversations about how great he was and how stupid the rest of the world is. Yuk!

TinyReader said...

As a working mom, this was painful to read. I don't work from home, but I know I am guilty of being very, very particular about everything when it comes to my daughter. I was a nanny for four years, so I understand how annoying parents can be to work for--and now I'm becoming one of them! I leave lots of notes for our nanny, and try to talk with her about my daughter's day every evening when I come home, but I can tell that our nanny really doesn't want to talk to me. It's frustrating and nerve-wracking for me as a parent, because it is incredibly difficult to leave my litter girl every day with somebody else. I just want her to be safe and happy!

MissDee said...

I worked for an SAHM-WAHM parent on two separate occasions:

The first parent didn't do any work while I was there. Shopping when she was gone and nagging when she was home. She didn't want her 4 year old on a schedule, as she claimed his napping in the middle of the day was causing him to have issues with the bedtime routine and fall asleep at midnight; he was tired at 12p, as he began showing signs of being tired. Not having him nap at 12p and letting him crash at 5p was causing him to fall asleep at midnight. She insisted on me dressing him, (he was 3.5 years old at the time) not reading books, especially Dr. Suess in an "animated voice" matching the characters' emotions, and letting him do whatever he wants. (I told her about the time-out for not cleaning after three warnings, and she wasn't pleased) I quit without notice because she was a pain in my day. Both children cried throughout the day; the 3.5 year old cried more because he didn't get to do what he wanted to do. Boundaries weren't set, and she didn't want to set them.

The second WAHM parent rocked! Office upstairs, baby didn't cry only when fussy, and it was so easy to walk a 70 pound yellow lab and an infant in a stroller! Loved this job, although it was temporary.

I learned about guidelines, and setting forth the guidelines for the children so they aren't confused as to who is in charge when there are two adults in the home. I recently saw a position advertise where both parents worked from home and they needed a nanny.

Has anyone worked with a family where both parents worked from home?

Nanny Laura said...

Thank thank you very much Mary Poppin' Pills for the huge compliment. My ultimate goal in life is to someday be a writer and your comment made my day. It is always quite refreshing to know that I can just make one person laugh with something I wrote.

And thank you everyone else for the kind responses. I waited a little while for my "A Day In The Life" post to go up and am so excited and flattered that you guys liked it and most of all, related well to it!! :)

Wow said...

Still sterilizing an 18 month old's bottles? Lay her on her back? What difference does it make? She can roll over into whatever position she wants to. And why does MB have to dictate everything to you? How long have you been working there? Good for you for planning to quit. I did enjoy this post also. Please let us know how it went after you quit.

Lisa L. said...

I usually scroll over these posts since lately they have all been about happy nannies who love their jobs. Don't get me wrong, I want a nanny to be happy in her job and for her to get along great with the family she works for...I just don't want to read about it, because it is too sappy and boring.

OP, this was a great column to read. I saw the title and since I work for s parent who stays home, I automatically was interested in how your day compared with mine.

You are a very gifted and comical writer. I love how you maintain a sense of humor about your situation and I would love for you to write more for this site about some of your experiences caring for children.

Truth Seeker said...

This was a great read. I would love to see more blogs on here with this amount of humor. OP, please feel free to continue writing for us.

I said...

Only $10/hour?? I get paid that much to babysit! Which is watching the kids for an hour or 2 and then watching TV for the next 4-5 hours! (Yeah, my life is awesome). AND they let me eat their food, which is mostly organic. Hope you find a better job soon!

burninup said...

Why is the child eating lunch at 3:30 in the afternoon? Weird.

Sarah said...

I worked for 2 WAH parents, not that dad did much working, more TV watching. Luckily they were awesome, let me get on with my job and I stayed 3 years. Only left because I was getting 'too attached' and felt their parenting methods and mine were changing and it wasn't fair to the children.

Witty said...

Wow!! This was a great read! I also laughed a few times (in between my jaw-dropping and "no she didn't" moments)! Thanks for sharing. Sorry you had such a horrible experience...makes one feel sorry for the kids.

I'm a nurse taking a break from nursing and really want to be a nanny for a while. I've raised three children of my own and am hoping to find a nice family who isn't psycho. Reading this blog has helped open my eyes to some of the possible situations I may encounter.

Good luck to you. Keep writing! This was great!

Nanny Laura said...

Thank you guys for the great feedback. So far not one negative comment....

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

This is one of the best ones I have read on this site thus far. Funny, controversial and well-written. I loved the comment about how children are not allowed to cry it out anymore. This is a common problem I deal w/in my work. Children need to learn at a young age to fall asleep on their own. As long as they are nourished, in a clean diaper and not sick or too cold/hot, then the parents need to lay them down in their cribs and close the door. Sure, the child will cry (what child actually looks forward to sleeping??), but sooner or later they will fall asleep. Who ever heard about a child falling ill or dying because they were forced to cry it out for 10 min? Geez, some parents act like it is the end of the world...speaking of end of the world..they say tomorrow is just that. If that is so, I sure will miss this blog. Peace.

Shauna said...

Laughing out Loud. :)

NannyMama said...

Am I the only old skool Nanny whom is anti-CIO? That is the only part of this that was a bit hard for me... I'm a mom now for 9yrs, retired as a Nanny for 11; I never let my Charges CIO after my first family tried to Weisbluth their son, and by day 5 I told them if they wanted to continue on Monday (he still had not fallen asleep, it was awful and heart-wrenching) I quit.

Other than that, I fully enjoyed this as a Mom and as a Nanny... I SAH, so I cannot relate to the working parents; unfortunately all the horrific Nanny-sightings in my day have jaded me, and I've yet to let one near my kids. That says something, as I was 'the best of the best' during my decade in the business.

Thanks for the great post!

Vashti said...

I agree with everyone...great writing! Very honest and funny.

The other "day in the life" entries are not just sappy, they're distorted. No-one's day is that perfect, but for some reason, those writers want people to think it is.