A Day in the Life, Nanny Horror Story, and Rant... all Rolled into One!

opinion 2 So I had just finished a summer live in job which was mostly a good experience. I am beginning to see no matter who I nanny for there will be at least a few things I find less than convenient, but that's a given. I quickly found another family needing a live in with 3 school aged children, one being special needs. We discussed the job over the phone, and had a face to face interview. I wanted to be paid by the hour, however we agreed to 25 -30 hours/wk, $250/wk, and a contract. I mentioned I was a little burned by the last family throwing extra hours on me without warning or getting paid so she agreed any extra time would be properly compensated. She was very friendly and reassuring that I would not be taken advantage of. The whole process went very quickly, I was hired on the spot (I usually am, I AM great with kids) and I was to start the following week. I moved in with a good feeling, the kids were fun and loving, my room very spacious and away from the childrens playing area....Or so I thought...I woke up to kids banging on drums above my room...Okay okay, I can take that, it IS an improvement from being woken at 6am every morning to children yelling outside my door at the last job...I can take 7am. What I can't take, however, is how I'm suddenly told I am only being paid 200/wk, I am expected to do household chores on my free time, and my hours are never really set. Oh and the contract? What contract....The children are not disciplined, they hit, yell, call names, and tell me no 48603596809475 times a day. I mentioned having a difficult time keeping up with getting the special needs child ready for school as we were running late and he was not cooperating. (I have to get very creative and make a game out of everything) I was told basically to get out of his face, as if it's all my fault.....I WAS only asking for help.

An average work day:

*Starting at 7:30 - assist with children getting off to school
*Bedroom - Clean, make beds, open blinds, turn off night lights and fan... (why half of this isn't done when they wake up is beyond me)
*Check laundry - fold and put away anything in dryer, switch over clothes from washer... tend to laundry throughout day
*Clean kitchen - wash down all counter tops, load dishwasher and hand wash any pots/pans or large knives/utensils
*Make a walk through of house to make sure nothing is out of place
*Off until sometime in afternoon when children return home (varies)
*Find additional chores on note when getting lunch
*Unpack backpacks, wash containers from school lunches while...
*Making snack for each child as they arrive home
*Children engage in videos/ipad/wii... and I take that opportunity to get things organized
*By now it's 4, time to play outside! No, wait, I'm supposed to get them to their homework! Wait wait! They scream if they cant have their veg out time, mom is okay with that! AHHHHHHH.
*Dinner - Sometimes I fix it, sometimes I don't....
*Bathe children, brush teeth, read "adventure story" (I make them up, use their names as the the characters) SLEEPY TIME. (I put them to bed most nights)
*Clean kitchen **See above + sweep floors
*Assist oldest child with homework that didn't get done earlier
*Clean playroom
*Read with oldest child, usually make snack
*Finally finished 9 - 9:30

Everything is subject to change, including work schedule. Out of the 6 weeks I have been here only 2 of them were within the agreed hours (29.5hrs) and I was only paid extra (at same rate) once in the beginning. Sunday is my only full day off.

Oh yeah, btw mom and dad is around half the time, so I always have them hanging over me. A lot of times I stand around feeling stupid because they take over but I'm still supposed to be there. On top of that they are so particular about things it drives me nuts. I could go on and on but I think you have a good idea about how this job is going for me. I found out shortly after starting the last nanny left after a month, now I know why!! I feel like I have no time to myself because of my hours, I miss my boyfriend, I'm tired and disheartened. Don't get me wrong, I love the kids, and dont even mind a challenge. I just feel like I can't do anything right, and this whole job is so so wrong...There is way too much expected of me and I am not at all happy doing it with how little I am paid.

In your honest opinion....

Am I over worked?
Am I underpaid/what SHOULD I be paid?
Would discussing the problems I have with them help? (I don't actually feel comfortable doing so)
Would it be immoral of me to up and leave without warning, considering the circumstances?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated...

Also one last Q... where did you find your job? Can you refer some good places? I have used mainly Craigslist. (I also use Care and Sittercity)

Thanks for reading...


don't have one said...

Please do not say that a child is special needs, because that is not all the child is about. The child is a child first, saying a child who has special needs would be a lot more sensitive

Julia said...

absolutely overworked/underpaid. That is too much time and not enough space for how little you're being paid.
Considering you WARNED them of this at the beginning, I would mention that you're going over the hours agreed upon OR just cut them off, say you're going out, or that you have a project you're working on - you have more power than you think you do.

Village said...

No one can take advantage of you unless you let them, and yes, they are taking advantage of you.

YouDeserveBetter said...

From what you wrote, it seems that you are working pretty much full time. This is not ok for the amount of money you are being paid! Granted you are getting housing but I think you should take the amount of hours you actually work and divide it into the 200 you get paid weekly and it will probably be wayyy under minimum wage!

Simply put, if you want to continue this job you must work up the courage to talk to the parents and get set hours. For example, put down on paper your exact hours before, during, and after school. As all of us nannies know, extra hours come up here and there but you should not end up working all day, especially if you aren't being compensated.

Of course you always have the option to quit. It is never good to leave the parents high and dry with no nanny but if you are being treated that badly, you might want to consider it. It doesn't seem like the conditions are THAT terrible, so maybe two weeks notice would be fine.

I must say, I think you did a good job trying to avoid this situation. By that I mean you warned them about your previous experience and what you didn't want to happen, as well as a contract. That being said, they need to stick to the contract or you have the right to quit.

If this were me, I think I would give two weeks notice and tell them that you are not happy at the job and would like to resign. Good luck!

Bostonnanny said...

I think you need to become a live out nanny and find a roommate.

NannyPoppins said...

You definitely need to do a sit down meeting with this family. Write down all your house, your chores, and everything that is bothering you. You need to express your concerns/feelings. Since in the beginning you expressed you did not want all these extra chores/responsibilities. For them to tack those on AND decrease your pay is ridiculous. You should be nice but firm. Explain you do enjoy their children and would like to continue on but only if the contract you originally had with them is put into use. It's not fair to compromise your happiness for someone else. Muster up the courage! You are entitled to fair pay and to be treated with respect not a slave.

Mrs. Billy Lamar said...

In my opinion, you need to leave. ASAP if you can.

You are not entitled to give them notice since they are not holding up their end of the contract. Remember: a contract works both ways.

Yes, you are being overworked. It is wrong for the parents to "trick" you into these chores once you moved in. You are being waaay underpaid as well. It is mean of the family to hire you at $250/week, then lower your pay after you move in as well as add on add'l chores.

They sound like the most shady family ever and at this point, talking w/them will get you nowhere. People like this are too self-absorbed to try to work anything out with, believe me. They obviously do not know how to treat a Nanny with any type of respect whatsoever.

Hopefully, you had a back-up plan and have another place to live.
I would pack my stuff NOW, leave them a note explaining why you left. I understand you love those kids, but you will find another family to love just as much, I promise you. And hopefully your next family will treat you better.

unicornsparkleprincess said...


why is there even a question?

and do not ever, under any circumstances, use Craigslist for a nanny job. why do you think this site even has a Craigslist WTF? use really think it's the best.

Nanny Franny said...

@Mrs. Billy Lamar, great advice. I couldn't agree more.

I have used Craigs List to find nanny positions and have met some true wackos on this site. Proceed with caution if you can. + are a little better. Some families do not have to pay to use this site (i.e., military families, etc..) and membership for these websites is considered a job benefit for some, esp. those that work in healthcare. I notice that those who do not have to pay out of pocket for using these sites are a lot less serious-minded vs. those that actually had to pay for their membership.

Your best bet would be an agency I think. ANYONE can join a childcare website and ultimately it is entirely up to you to do your own screening which may not be easy.

Wow said...

Of course you're being taken advantage of. I would not have taken the job for that pay in the first place. But whatever the pay, if my employer tried to reduce it after I started working, it would be a deal breaker. Concerning adding on duties, other than small things here or there, I would have simply referred to the contract each time they tried to add something. At this point, if I were you, I'd probably tell them it's not working out for me and leave. Discussing it with them won't change anything.

People kill me when they say things like, "The children don't listen to me, they tell on me when they don't get their way, and the parents let them break the rules and don't back me up, but don't get me wrong, I LOVE them." Please! It's ok to say children are spoiled brats when they are! And it's ok not to like caring for spoiled brats. Yes, it might be the parent's fault, but the reality is it takes MUCH more energy to care for bratty children, and most nannies don't like it.

Just leave and find another job. My first nanny job was through an agency and after that, I've gotten the rest through word of mouth and recommendations. I specialize in multiples and preemies and I only start my jobs with infants, usually when they come home from the NICU.

You can try agencies or online services like,,, I would be scared to death to get a job through Craigslist.

I'm trying for the first time and it's ok so far. Going with them because I'm looking for work outside of the area where I live.

Wow said...

P.S. - Good luck! I hope you find the strength to stand up for yourself and quit this job, and find one where the parents respect you!

mom of 3 said...

I would love to know where people find someone like you. Seriously, I've never known a nanny that is as hardworking as you sound. I pay my sitters for the hours I book them even if I don't use them for that time. And if they do work over, I pay them for that too. I am just amazed at how many posts I read here like yours. I know so many parent who would love a nanny like you so if this job isn't working out, you should quit. You'll find another job quickly. I know many parents like the one you work for too and if I were a nanny, I'd never work for one of them. It's a huge red flag when a parent is around but wants to hire someone for something as simple as getting their kids off to school in the morning.

Manhattan Nanny said...

One thing jumped out of your post. You accepted the position for $250 a week, and after you moved in and started working they changed it to $200. That cancels out any possibility of continuing in this job. These parents are dishonest and untrustworthy. You need to leave.
I might give notice for the sake of the children as one has SN, and the parents sound like they really need help, but since they haven't provided the contract they agreed to, and in fact have not paid you in full, you don't owe them any notice.
Good luck finding a new job with a decent family; and don't start another job without a signed contract, and a trial week.

another nanny said...

There does not appear to be anything positive about this job...the children are not fun to be with...the parents are overbearing and are not being paid the agreed upon wage...your hours are inconsistent and way more than you agreed to...why would you want to stay? Look wherever you want for a new job, but make sure you have a contract signed before you start.

MissMannah said...

"I was hired on the spot (I usually am, I AM great with kids) and I was to start the following week"

And you wonder why you get stuck with bad jobs. You are being completely naive. An employer you want to work for won't just hire you on the spot, they'll take their time because they know it is an important decision.

calinanny said...

you are been paid too little for this job, if i was you i would star looking for another one as soon as possible! so sorry about this, but you dont need the abuse.

♥♥ Leslie ♥♥ said...

Miss Mannah: I have been hired on the spot at times, but I do agree with you. Selecting a person to care for one's precious child is a monumental decision and should not be taken lightly.

I think some parents meet a terrific Nanny at times, and are so afraid she may be hired by another family and they don't want to lose her. ☼

Nanny S said...

I agree with the live-out comment. I had a bad experience like yours and I simply, under no circumstances will ever live in again. You get no privacy and they know they have the leverage because you're living in their house, especially after you move in. Start looking ASAP. If part of you would like to stay with this family, sit them down and tell them you need to actually have a written contract and put new terms on them--for starters, an hourly pay, since they were unable to stay inside the parameters you both agreed on and you have been taken advantage of. Secondly, review the housework duties, and what "off duty" really means (hint: it means off duty!). If they don't receive this well, then pack up and peace out and stop living in!

Phoenix said...

why can't you do your chores while the kids are in school? I don't think you are overworked I think that you mis-manage your time. And kids will say No. They will test you to no end. That is what a child does. Then you get mad that the mom and dad want to step in and help raise their children.

What kind of strange nanny are you?

Nanny E said...


Give me a break. That is WAY too much work for one person. She SHOULD leave!

I live in NYC, which I admit does have much, much higher nanny salaries than almost anywhere else..but do people seriously offer that little as pay??!! Yikes

The Nanny Advocate ☼ said...

Nanny S...I think the damage has been done already and OP should NOT try to salvage the relationship at this point. These people scammed her by changing the pay (what a low blow!) and they are over working her, etc. OP should just pack up and leave tonight when everyone is asleep. Hehehehehehehehe......

ericsmom said...

I agree you need to leave. If you have great references I am sure you will find a job with no problem. Like someone mentioned on here, why not rent even a one bedroom with someone. I live on the east coast and its so popular here having others split the cost of rent. Look your still young. You should consider a live-out job. Then have freedom to do what you want afterwork or on the weekends. Being a live-in I am sure is hell for most nannies.

ericsmom said...


Wow, so its okay that the parents decided to screw her out of her due pay?? Would you continue to work for liars???

Nanny Lori ♂ said...

Even though I do not agree w/Phoenix's opinion on this...I give her credit for expressing herself while being brave enough to have a picture of herself posted. Most people can only express themselves behind a moniker.

Phoenix said...

the pay thing is a normal occurance that I see popping up all the time. It seems to me that families also test the nanny to see what they can get away with. The OP should talk to them first before she bails. Now if she does that and they don't change the way in which she is paid then fine. That is a reason to leave.

They are only paying $50 less than first agreed. Ask why? So then you see the kids off to school. Wait around until they get home from shcool at which time they are engaged in electronics. So are you saying that you are too busy. Because you aren't. You are a housekeeper NOT a nanny at all. You don't take care of children. You watch them and take care of the house. Which you don't have a lot to do.

Wren said...

Phoenix, I do my absolute best to respect their time with their kids and have never gotten mad for them wanting to raise them. I am guessing you have never nannied before or else you would show more respect and compassion for those who work hard in this profession.

I am NOT a housekeeper...I thought I made it obvious that thats the problem.


Just an observation said...

Phoenix... I'd be willing to bet that in real life you are very cold-hearted. It always seems like you give terrible advice that puts all the blame on the person who posted it. If I am remembering correctly, the OP is being paid very little to take care of the children as well as clean the house. You suggested that she do all the housework while the children are in school. Perhaps if that was the agreement and she were being paid for it, that would make sense. But $200 to be up with the kids, get them off to school, clean the house during the day, and take care of them when they return from school?! There is no way that is fair!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Phoenix, just speaking legally here, nannies are entitle to earn at least minimum wage for every hour they work. As a LI OP is not entitled to overtime, but LO nannies are.

So, based on what I read in the original post, OP is working about 60 hours a week. But to be fair, I don't know how much down time she gets when the kids are in school, so we'll guess she works 40 hours a week, divided into *6* days.

Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Some states have higher minimum wages.

So, at 40 hours work per week, federal law dictates OP should be earning **$290** a week.

So, even if I agreed with you about the workload, you are dead wrong about the wage. OP is not being paid a legal wage, and that's neither fair nor acceptable.

Phoenix said...

that why I said it appears they hired her as a house keeper not a nanny.

MissMannah said...

I do have a question about wages. Is it true that live-ins are entitled to minimum wage? It would seem to me that they needn't be because their room and board is included. I don't know where OP lives, but I know if I got all my living expenses paid for, I would be thrilled to make an extra $800 a month, because I can make do with that small amount of money, but I understand that is not the case in big cities. OP should have spoken up as soon as she got a check that wasn't the amount they agreed upon. Why are people always afraid of their bosses?

I don't think OP is overworked, but I think she needs a more exact schedule. From the sound of her "schedule" she posted, she does do the chores while the kids are at school and then does a few things off and on throughout the day. I didn't really see any real childcare either, but I got the feeling these are older children. Maybe she and the parents need to clarify (in writing) what her schedule and duties are.

Nickel said...

Sounds like the parents are the real issue. If they are taking more and more advantage of you, you should probably move out. Or tell them you are thinking of moving out because they are not staying with the reasons why they hired you. They hired you to be a nanny, not to clean up everything. By telling them you are thinking of leaving, they will do one of two things.

1) They will ask your reasons for leaving, and try to negotiate to keep you. If they do, be very careful because they might just be lying again.

2) They will say see you... if they do that then they aren't a great family at all.

Phoenix to your comment of telling the nanny that she should clean when the children are at school. Why should she do that? She agreed to watching the children and assisting them with school work. She never agreed to cleaning the house, doing laundry, etc... Not sure if any hours were mentioned but it sure sounds like she is technically working 50-55 hours a week... she should be getting paid way more, especially for overtime... It has nothing to do with laziness, only deals with the parents not keeping their part of the deal. No nanny should be treated this way.

Wren said...

I just want to clarify that I work (on average) 10 hours extra a week.

Nanny Sarah said...

Who says that just because someone is in your home, caring for your children...that they are also supposed to do any housework whatsoever?? A Nanny's job is childcare ONLY. She is to educate, entertain and care for her charges..not clean the house. I am a Nanny and would say that 98% of the families I interview with request that during "nap time" I dust, vacuum, mop, cook, do the wash, etc...I currently have a family where they hired me to care for their child ONLY and keep her safe, happy and fed, etc. Sure, I wash any dishes she eats from when I am there as well as make sure all the toys are picked up when the parents come home, but that is basically common sense.

Parents need to stop taking advantage of us Nannies...there should be lines drawn.

During nap times, I use that time to eat lunch in peace, do homework as well as take a rest myself. The parents even encourage me to read a magazine and relax since they know caring for an active toddler is a huge job in itself.

Wren said...

I could not have said it better myself, Sarah! I am sick of being snapped at after caring for their children all day because there are things unrelated to my job out of place!!

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

Yes, MissMannah, LI nannies are entitled to minimum wage, and I believe in at least some states the employers are allowed to take out a certain percentage for "room and board", but don't quote me on that.

The issue for many LI nannies is that they wind up NEVER being off the clock. It's all well and good to have hours outlined in a contract and "know" you start and stop work at certain times, but it takes a VERY self-confident nanny to say, "No, I am off the clock and cannot 'just watch the kids for a minute", but I would be glad to add the hours you need me to work right now to my next pay check!" or just, "No, I am not able to do that for you right now."

Why? IMO it's because as a LI you are constantly wanting to be helpful because you know that if you say "No" too often you will be both jobless and homeless.

I agree said...

Nanny Sarah... I agree with an extent. In my current job, I am caring for an infant only. She sleeps a lot so when she is asleep, I usually pick up around the house. I load/unload the dishwasher, clean up toys in her older sibling's room, and occasionally do a load of laundry. I do not feel like this is unreasonable at all. Plus, when the family hired me, we all discussed that those would be my only household duties and I agreed to it.

You're right in saying that a nanny is supposed to be caring for the children first and foremost. However, if both parties agree to other duties then I don't see a problem with it. I personally would (and do) feel guilty if the baby is sleeping and I am sitting there reading a magazine, while there are simple things around the house that I could easily do to help out. After all, I am getting paid.

It definitely depends on the situation too. If the parents are leaving all their dishes for you to do, or you are doing all the laundry then that isn't very fair.

I have to say though, I MUST agree with you about eating lunch in peace. We nannies deserve a lunch break, just like everyone else!

MissMannah said...

Tales, that's interesting and I didn't know. Around here it is very rare to find live-in nannies, in fact I've never met one. It seems to me that before the nanny moves in, she and the family should set up a sort of time sheet she could fill out daily so if she does get stuck with last-minute work, she could just add it on the time sheet and get paid for it. That way there would be no petty squabbles about her paycheck. It also seems to me that if the nanny lives in the family's house, she ought to just make herself scarce on her days off if the parents are known to take advantage of her being there. But what do I know? A few weeks ago my MB texted me on the weekend because she was sick and Baby K was driving her nuts, she was basically wanting me to come in, I was reading between the lines. How did I respond? "Wow, that sucks. Hope you feel better." Makes me seem heartless but I'm not about to go in on my days off.

Wow said...

I agree...

I agree with you. I get bored easily, and I know this sounds strange, but I like doing laundry and organizing things. I always take a 1 hr. break and do the usual baby related chores, but when babies take long naps I find other things to do. I might do the family's laundry, organize the baby's drawers or switch over clothing when seasons change. However, these are extras and the parents know and appreciate it. It's never been an issue if I didn't do the extras.

Miss Mannah...

LOL, you don't sound heartless! You work hard all week and your time off is your time.

Concerning live-ins, when I was considering working in NYC, one of the main things that made me decide not to work there was that the high end nanny agencies had jobs where the nannies were expected to be on duty 24 hrs. a day 5 days a week. The pay is great, but there's no way I would do that for years on end, and I think it's ridiculous for the families to expect that. I'd feel like a prisoner.

I think of those NYC jobs whenever a bad nanny siting shows a nanny sleeping on the job. I always wonder if she's a live-in and was up with the baby for nights on end, then expected to be alert and perky during the day! (And, no I'm NOT excusing sleeping on the job.)

igotnuthin said...

sorry, i don't have any advice. i just wanted to say, i enjoyed reading your post. while unfortunate, it was humorous. maybe you should write. :)

Wren said...

Update: So I had a job lined up with another family, and they wanted me to move in within a few days...there was no way I'd turn it down so I could give the current family more notice (after all, no contract, no obligation. They did not keep their end of the deal) so I told them Wednesday that I would be leaving Friday. MB FLIPPED OUT. She told me how immature I am, and told me she's "so disappointed" and on and on with similar comments. I explained calmly why I was leaving listing all our agreements she disregarded. Anyways, she basically kicked me out on the street. She told me to be gone asap. She would not leave the house, would not let me near her children. Thankfully my amazing boyfriend dropped everything to help me get out of there.

Now this is the part where the heavens open up, revealing a beautiful ray of sunlight down on me. I love my new family! They are younger, very laid back, and best of all they are slobs! well...not terribly but they dont expect me to clean the whole house and dont get angry that their house looks like they have two toddlers.....cause yeah, they do! I get paid by the hour and we have a contract. woo!

@igotnuthin: Thanks :P