Thursday

Two-For-One Deal: Nanny/Maid

opinion 2 I am a nanny and would like your advice. I most recently left a position after a day, yes one day {!}, but felt there were too many red flags for me to stay. I have done this recently w/a few other positions as well, the longest lasting six days before I realized I couldn't take it any longer.

Well here is the story, I meet a family via sittercity.com, Care.com or CL.org. At the interview it is discussed that chores pertaining to the child will be expected, but ONLY pertaining to the child and I agree. Then once I am on duty, I am asked to do certain chores such as vacuum the whole house, mop all the hardwood floors and dust all the furniture, etc!! WTF??!! When I diplomatically say that those chores do not pertain to the child directly, their response is that they do. They say they need all the rooms vacuumed/swept/mopped on a daily basis since the child crawls and may put something in his mouth. They say all the furniture needs to be dusted since if the dust lingers, the baby may get allergies from it and get sick. I could go on and on, but you get the picture, right?

I feel so guilty leaving these families in the lurch, I mean I work one, two, six days, etc...then do not show up one day because I get so fed up. I feel like they deserve it since they are trying to get a two-for-one deal with me, i.e., Nanny slash Maid. They are trying to use the baby to get me to do chores that are not even really child-related, but if they put their own spin on things, they can make ANY chore sound child-related. Oh..you must take out the trash since the baby may reach in and find a needle or dead battery and hurt himself, you must make the beds or the baby may get caught under the blankets and suffocate, etc...

I do not mind doing child's laundry, washing dishes/bottles and cleaning/sterilizing toys/pacifiers, etc. during nap times...but I resent families who ask me to do typical household chores, then try to make it look like it relates to the child, when it does not.

I feel horrible not showing up for these jobs the next day, part of me feels so guilty without giving a standard two-wk notice, but honest to God..I cannot stand being taken advantage of over and over...even for another day is unbearable so I leave and never return. Many families get angry with me over this, even when I explain my reason.

I want to continue working as a nanny, I love educating and caring for children, it is my passion..yet I am getting mighty discouraged by these families who take advantage of me. Where are the good families?? I know there must be some out there!!!!!!! What should I do? Is this the reality of working as a nanny and should I just suck it up? Or should I continue on and hope for a decent family to appear? Your thoughts?

37 comments:

ma nanny said...

Go through an agency. Problem solved.

Momof2 said...

If you keep having this happen, why don't you take responsibility for your career and AGREE to chores that you will do ahead of time. I don't want to flame you, but more than 1-2 times and it's you, not the families.

soccermama said...

You need to discuss expectations upfront and get those expectations in writing. It's not fair to those families that you keep leaving in the lurch and it is sure not going to be good for you either if word gets around that you are not reliable. If you only want to nanny and do child-related chores as a nanny, then that needs to be in writing and signed off on by you and the parents or this will continue to happen.

Wow said...

Go online and print out the responsibilities of a nanny. Then have a detailed, written contract of what you agree to do before you start working. It sounds like you did discuss what you're willing to do with them, but you need to take it a step farther and get it in writing. And do not agree to do anything you're not comfortable with. "Child related chores" is too vague and open to interpretation. Say "wash child's laundry, wash child's bottles and dishes, etc."

Whenever I'm dealing with first-time parents, I explain to them what a nanny does. If their needs are different, I explain to them what they're really looking for and explain the difference.

I like 4nannies.com as a resource. They have good info. Click on "Find a Nanny", then click on the "Resource" section.

You are not being unreasonable, and yes, there are good families out there. You have to learn how to conduct business and negotiate, though. Learn the industry, be encouraged, and keep looking!

Wow said...

After you've shown the bosses the print out of a nanny's duties, had a verbal discussion, and signed an agreed upon written contract, if you are asked to do things outside of that scope agree to do it or tell them you're not willing and don't do it. If they gripe, you can always refer to the contract.

Justanothernanny said...

I've had the same problem using nanny sites like the ones you said. My first experiance was with a family who just decided to not pay me anymore and expect me to work one day for free out of each week....ughhh I think not.

This current family I work for has jacked up my hours from what we agreed and her children are little monsters with no manners, which she decided to not tell me when I was hired. I would have been much happier if she had layed out that the kids have no boundries and need rules layed out for them then to just throw me in the wolves den.

Currently on the hunt for a new job, and just like you i love working with children.

Phoenix said...

Instead of just leaving the family how about you just don't do the chores they ask you to do. hey they will come home to a dusty house but they will come home to thier child that has been well taken care of. If they want to trade good childcare for a clean house that is on them. So next time do what the other posters said and print out your duties have them sign it and if they ask you to do something out of your scope just don't do it. You shouldn't be leaving them like that.

Sunny said...

I think it is a good idea to have a paid trial period for a week or two to help both you and the family make a decision. That way, if neither of you are happy with the situation then you don't have to feel bad about leaving and you aren't breaking any contract.

Village said...

First, I want to commend the OP for leaving when the deal is changed. If the parents do a premeditated bait and switch, then the nanny has no obligation to go along with it.

I also don't agree it's the OP's fault. There are millions? of parents out there who would love to find a nanny for $8 an hour and sucker him or her into being the housekeeper as well.

Perhaps an agency is the answer, but if more nannies would stand up for themselves, as this OP is doing, I think it would be good for the profession. JMHO

Chicago's #1 Nanny said...

I agree with Phoenix, don't do it. I have had the same problem last week when the father had made a mess in the kitchen from making pancakes and walked saying laughing "sorry for the mess." I guess he forgot that I am the nanny and not the maid, so when I got there the next morning he gave me a dirty look because I left it all there for him to clean when he got home. I felt bad but if I cleaned it he would still think that its ok.

alex said...

You definitely need to be going through an agency and have a contract and tell them up front what chores you are willing to do and what chores you are not willing to do (and give examples :)

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I think you've gotten some good suggestions already, but I would add that when you have started a job with a family after signing a detailed contract that spells out what you will and won't do wrt housework, and going through a trial period, there's one more thing you can do when you are asked to take on more chores:

"I would be willing to discuss your additional needs and amend our contract. I will research what local housekeeping services charge, and I will also try to think of ways your child(ren) can be occupied while I scrub/vacuum/mop. Let's sit down together next week so I can tell you what I've found and we can agree on additional compensation for this additional work."

Odds are, once you tell them housekeeping will cost more and that their kids will be deprived of the attention they are paying for, they'll back off. If they don't, then either tell them you area nanny who prefers to focus on caring for children or price your housekeeping services so high they will decide to find a service to do the cleaning.

And STOP just disappearing!! It's unprofessional, and liable to destroy your work reputation. At the very least, tell the parents "No, I am not willing to do XYZ." At that point, you need to ask them if they wish to continue your work relationship or if they wish to part ways.

MissMannah said...

You know on these websites, the parents can write reviews, right?? One of these days you're going to get a really bad one and you'll absolutely deserve it.

I am appalled that you are even starting jobs without nailing down specifics. Are you and the parents writing up contracts? If so, they obviously are not detailed enough. If these parents are making "child-related chores" into whatever they want, you need to specify what they are in the original interview.

pgh nanny said...

If it is happening more than twice, I would think that you aren't being clear enough. Definitely a contract...and how about saying "no that is inappropriate nanny etiquette". Plus, you don't want to get a bad review.

As a nanny, I do the family laundry, dishwasher and make sure the house and vehicle are tidied up. I do occasional, local errands. Light grocery shopping. Just recently added making dinner once a week...a simple meal.

Incredible Nanny in Ohio where it's oh so hot........ said...

I agree with you Village. It's not like this nanny is just leaving because she is bored or found another job that pays more. She has a valid reason to leave! She is experiencing what we on this website consider "job creep." They agree to one thing, then slowly they add on more and more chores until they have convinced you that even scrubbing the commode pertains to the child since the child may touch the it and get germs. They are trying to get a two for one deal and since it is very clear that OP is being used, she has every right to not show up. I do the same thing. Usually if you try to take a tactful approach when asked to do a chore that wasn't in the contract, the parents usually start looking for someone new anyway. I had a job a month and a half ago where our contract listed all of the chores that were expected of me along with how often they were expected to be done. Ex: clean the stroller: once a week, do the baby's wash: twice a week, etc. Well the mother started to ask me to do certain other duties that were not on the list. She asked me to change the crib bedding, organize the baby's clothes drawers and disinfect the baby's bottles. While I had no problem disinfecting the bottles in the bottle sterilizer, I didn't want to organize the drawers nor change the bedding. Well the mom sighed and told me while it was not SPECIFICALLY on the list, the stuff she requested was directly related to the child and she didn't think I would have minded doing them. I stood my ground, and the following week I saw an ad on care.com from them seeking a new nanny (behind my back!) Guess what? When I confronted them they were embarrassed, but admitted they didn't think things were a good match between us. So before she could fire me, I told her I wouldn't be there ever again and for her to mail me my last check.

Kudos to OP for standing up for yourself. Once a family shows their true colors and attempts to "extort" excessive household duties from you, you need to leave effective immediately. If you stay, you only will subject yourself to being used over and over and I agree, like you...one more day of being used would piss me off too.

Miss Mannah: On the childcare websites, only good reviews are shown...duh?!~

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I think this nanny in question is doing a very good thing. By taking a stand, not showing up for work..she is demonstrating that she is not going to take any sh#@ from her bosses. Unfortunately, in the nanny profession (yes people, contrary to popular belief it still IS a profession!), many families see nannies as only the "Hired Help." They view us nannies as second class citizens since no special college degree or specialized training is involved. What these families fail to see is that there is dignity in all work and nannies deserve just as much respect as your dentist or grocery checker. These families would not ask the grocery checker to wash their lettuce for them or ask their dentist to polish their shoes, would they?...They acknowledge that those professions only have specific job duties like all other professions. Yet for some unknown reason, people think they have the right to ask us nannies to vacuum, run to the store for a loaf of bread, cook dinner for the family and shuttle little Johnny to t-ball practice. Oh and all of this without any type of dedicated break during the day. Being a nanny is the only profession I can think of that actually has the most duties required and yet usually for low pay and little or no benefits. I would love even half my medical insurance paid for and a 401k would be a dream come true so I can feel confident about retirement.

If all nannies had the guts to do what this nanny did, then I betcha less families would treat their nannies like this. Instead of taking them for granted, they would learn to appreciate them and when they have a good one, understand how priceless she is!! I understand not all nannies can't afford to not show up for work, but if they can..then I say do it.

For you naysayers that say this is not right, etc...are you actually saying this nanny should just give a two week notice and in the meantime let this family continue to walk all over her?!! This is ludicrous and shame on you for believing this.

I know I may sound bitter, but honestly I have dealt with these types of families more times than I can count on BOTH my hands and I am fed up. I am currently interviewing with various local nanny agencies in my area and hope I can meet some better families this way. I will be keeping my fingers crossed in the meantime. ;)

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

JMTCJN, I don't think anyone is saying that the OP should give 2 weeks notice on jobs she has worked for only "one, two, six days, etc...then do not show up one day because I get so fed up."

I am saying she shouldn't have taken the jobs in the first place without a written detailed agreement about what she is and is not responsible for doing.

If she has such an agreement, she needs to pull it out when this sort of thing happens, and ask the parent to discuss extra work for extra money or detail for the parent how their children will NOT get attention with OP cleaning.

What she does NOT need to do is behave rudely and unprofessionally by quitting after 1 or 2 or 6 days. If she likes the job as originally defined, she should try to fix the issues. If not, she should be decent enough (and concerned enough about her reputation and the negative reviews she'll be getting on care/sittercity/etc.) to give a little notice. Even a day or 2 would be kind.

Can you imagine what these parents are writing about her? I can, and if OP wants to continue finding work as a nanny via on-line sites she needs to avoid acting like an irresponsible flake.

Or, if OP can't manage to set up her expectations for parents without help, she needs to use an agency to find work.

Incredible Nanny - Not so incredible! said...

Incredible Nanny, are you kidding me? You refused to change the crib sheets and organize the baby's clothes and you were SURPRISED that they wanted to replace you?? Come on, it's not they were asking you to repaint the garage or steam clean the carpets. They were asking you to perform legitimate duties directly related to your job as a Nanny. I would have sought to replace you as well for this is a terrible attitude to bring to a professional environment. I can see from your post that you are patting yourself on the back for "standing your ground" but as I read it, you merely came off as entitled and completely unprofessional. I have never had a job with infants or toddlers where I was not responsible for washing their bedding and sorting through their clothes. Give me a break!

Minka said...

Incredible Nanny..not so Incredible - Your post is exactly what a nanny should not be doing! It's because of poor advice like yours that nannies get taken advantage of. Sure, one can always argue that the job duties mentioned pertain to the child and should expected of the nanny. BUT if those duties were not agreed upon in the beginning, then the nanny is not obligated to do them. This contradicts what the other nannies on this blog always say. They advise to get SPECIFIC job duties in writing and agreed upon before accepting a job, then if you are asked to do something NOT in the contract, you have a right to say NO and if you do and they do not agree...the contract is in a sense void and null since they are not holding up their side of things. It's situations like this, that encourage job creep situations. First it is, "Oh do you mind changing the bed linens for the crib?" to "Oh do you mind throwing some of my towels/shirts in the wash with the baby's laundry?" to finally "Oh do you mind mopping the floor, dusting the shelves and ironing my husband's uniform?" It's best to nip these things in the bud first before they get out of hand.

Maybe you are a nanny who lets others take full advantage of you, but your advice is bad and if followed, will only lead to a nanny being used and abused.

baby dalailama said...

incredible nanny..grow up. did you really just state that asking you to change the crib sheets and keep the babies clothes drawers organised was "excessive demands"? I am rolling my eyes and sighing at the ridiculousness..you need a new line of work. End of story.

have some integrity said...

You've gotten a lot of good advice: You have to have a very detailed discussion with the parents about what is and is not baby-related. When you come to an understanding, then it goes into writing and you can refer to this if they ask you to do some random non-baby related chore. But you are wrong to just leave without a word and not come back. That's just unprofessional. In any line of work that is unprofessional. I'm not saying you owe anyone any notice, but you've got to have the balls to say, "hey if you continue to expect these additional chores without extra pay, I'm sorry it's not going to work out."

If you think that walking out is "taking a stand for yourself," you are just deluding yourself. You just don't have the guts to have that difficult conversation with them and demand the respect a nanny should have. Running away is just cowardly. This kind of behavior hurts nannies and their reputation. Have some self-respect and say it to their face. So what if they are pissed? They're going to be pissed regardless. Have some self-respect and professionalism.

PS. "Incredible Nanny": Wow. If the baby's diaper leaked and there was shit all over the crib sheets, you wouldn't change them? Laughable. What a joke. I agree with baby dalailama, you need a new line of work. Try supreme nitpicker.

another nanny said...

Didn't read through all the comments, so somebody probably said this already, but...
Try to be more thorough when interviewing with families. Don't just agree to "chores pertaining to the children" but actually specify what those chores are that you are willing to do. Make sure you have a contract signed by your first day of work. That way, if they ask you to take on more chores, they will be the ones who are breaching the contract (and you are then not bound by it). Personally I would feel more comfortable letting the family know in the evening that it's not a good fit, and I won't be returning. Just not showing up without calling or anything is unprofessional, in my opinion.

ericsmom said...

@Incredible Nanny: It seems everyone is flaming you now, but I will play Devil's advocate here..I do see your point which it seems a lot of people on here are missing. Your point is not that you do not want to change the bedding or organize the clothes. It's all principle here. You know what? If your boss is asking you to do other duties that were not agreed upon in the beginning, then you have no obligation to do them no matter what anyone on here thinks or says. Where is it written in stone that a nanny must organize drawers and closets? If you start giving in and doing the little duties your boss is requesting, then you are opening up Pandora's Box. Meaning, you agree to organize the clothes today. Tomorrow you agree to change the crib bedding including the bed-skirt, bumper pads, etc...then next week she may ask you to pick up a dozen eggs at the market on your way to work, then the next week you may find yourself organizing their food pantry, etc. All this because you agreed to do some extra chores that were not in your contract. I would only do chores listed in the contract. If you do not abide by your contract ver batum then you will regret the "little things" you did later on.

By the way, I only think it is unprofessional to not show up to work if you just don't feel like it. But if a family has not abided by your mutual contract, then you have no obligation to abide by yours which means the contract is no good. If a family uses a nanny and nickels and dimes her, then it is their own damn fault if she doesn't return. Haven't you heard the saying, "If you mistreat and/or underpay your nanny, don't ever expect to see her again!!"

To those that are flaming, you have no self-respect if you would still show up to work after realizing a family is screwing you over. Have some balls.

Kloe said...

I must admit I myself have not shown up for work the following Monday after being treated like dirt. I usually will send my family either an email or a text, sometimes if things are good I will call them directly.

I have had families who wrote me bad checks that bounced, have only paid me 1/2 since they didn't have all the money that day and families who have actually asked me to pick up the dry cleaning or take the car for an oil change. Usually I will try to rectify the situation first by saying that those jobs were not in our Nanny Work Agreement, then they may say, "Oh..I know, but I didn't think you would mind since the Dry Cleaners is just around the corner..."

Well enough of being taken for granted. I am dunzo the next work day and they can find another person to walk all over.

MissMannah said...

Incredible...Care.com has a 5-star rating system, which does show up on searches. If you are a parent and have the choice between a 5-star and a 1-star nanny, which would you choose? DUH!

I actually think having 1 star without the review is worse because the prospective parents can't tell if it is because the previous parents are vindictive or because the nanny was genuinely bad.

Wow said...

Do they have a rating on the parents too? They should.

Nannycaroline said...

They don't have a rating on the parents. After an awful job, I wrote to them and asked if I could write a review, and they were very nice but said no because parents don't have profiles like caregivers do. I wanted to warn their next nanny.

Nanny Franny said...

I go on both Care and Sittercity to find occasional sitters, not nannies and I only see good reviews listed. There is no "star system." One star merely means that there is one rating, two stars mean two ratings, etc, etc. Duh Miss Mannah.

Leslie in San Francisco said...

I think what usually happens in these situations if that if the talks do not make the situation any better, it is in the best interest of both parties involved if the Nanny leaves effective immediately. Why so? As I have read on here many times, usually if a family gets notice from their Nanny that she is leaving and they need to look for another Nanny ASAP..the family acts out. They may create a hostile work environment for the Nanny and make her last week(s) hellish. So it is best if the Nanny just walks away from the situation. OP, I would do the same thing that you do. However, I would first try to "talk it out" and see if there is any wiggle room for compromise. If both sides do not agree, then I would walk away, but as a last resort.

The best of luck to you. There are great families out there, I hope you can become part of one soon!!!!!

MissMannah said...

Jeez, I did not start this to get into a debate, but some of you are just coming off as idiots. One star means one review and two means two reviews? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Can you explain how I am a five-star nanny on care.com but only have one review? Hmm, maybe it is because only one parent has reviewed me and she gave me five stars! Or, by your logic, maybe it means that I really have five reviews but four of them are hidden because they are bad ones. That's highly unlikely because I'm pretty sure if I'd gotten a bad review, the website would have emailed me about it.

Adele said...

@Miss Mannah:

There are NO bad reviews allowed to be written on these childcare websites. All of the reviews must be positive. They are written, then approved by either Care or sittercity. There is no five star nanny or one star nanny. All nannies are presented the same, those with reviews written are just highly likely to get noticed before those that do not have any.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

You can actually get a bad review, however the bad review is not actually shown on your profile. What is shown is how many stars a Nanny has and how many ratings she has had.

It's so weird because I once read a rating where a family said that a particular Nanny was awesome with their family and that they planned on using her again. She only had that one review on her profile and yet the family gave her one star. I think they were confused and thought five stars were bad...hmmm....so personally, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the stars. I would just do my own interviewing and see how things went.

MissMannah said...

I really don't know why there is so much debate over this. I know for a fact how care.com works because I have a nanny profile there and I signed out and did a free nanny search to see how quickly mine would pop up. I was one of the first because I was one of a few 5-star nannies in my zip code and in my age group. There were a couple of nannies with a variable number of stars, and it said exactly how many reviews each had but it wouldn't let me read anyone's reviews. Maybe those with a paid account can read them, I don't know. OK, so I hope this puts an end to this stupid argument and if you still don't believe me, go try it yourself.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I wasn't trying to debate anything Miss Mannah..I simply was trying to clarify something.

MissMannah said...

Sure...JMTCJNS..you love to debate. ;)

Anonymous said...

All you experienced nanny's know,there is no HR department! Even if you do write it down up front,this is there home and there everything.The only advice I have after 20 years is save money just in case you do have to leave for mental abuse change of direction of wind etc. Being a nanny is basically being a indentured servant.Unless you find yourself lucky and work for a nice family for a while human nature is human nature.You have no power except to leave.There that needing money for bills and rent ,so its very hard to leave.Take some kind of class on the side or open your own day care in your home.




Anonymous said...

O and if your stuck being a nanny.Find a agencie !!! Mine shut down after 15 years .I'm so out of this profession as soon as I can be .PS not the kids fault ever always these parents!!!! And before I here "o your anonymous" I can't walk out of my job at this time.