Hello, I am 24 years old and have been a professional nanny for over 6 years. I've worked for a variety of families, but have spent a large portion of my career working for one family in particular for the last 3 years. I work for a single mom who runs her own business, so she is often very busy, running around between home, meetings, sometimes flying across the country for days at a time while I stay with the child on overnights.
When I began working with this family 3 years ago, she was married, but they divorced shortly after. I have been caring for P (child) since she was 3 months old, and I have grown very close with the family, as we've gone through many things together. (Her divorce, my father's death, then my marriage this summer). MB has a very different temperament than my own, which I have come to appreciate in most cases. She is highly emotional, very passionate, can be somewhat high strung...very much a " type A" personality. I see these same personality traits in her daughter, and as I said before, most of the time I appreciate it. I, on the other hand, am pretty laid back, calm, and can easily "go with the flow". For the most part it seems like we've done well managing our differences, and I have always done my utmost at accommodating her.
However, the last couple of months have been somewhat rocky. We seem to continually find ourselves in conflict with one another. Most of the conflict has been about household duties. When I started this position 3 years ago, it was agreed upon in our contract that my only household duties would be P's laundry while she was napping, and taking out the diaper pale. As time passed, and everyone's situation changed, I agreed to some light household chores each day while P was napping, since MB could no longer afford her house cleaner. I vacuum, mop the floors, wipe down the counters, take out all the trash, and do P's laundry. For about 6 months now, P does not nap at all during the day, so it has been very difficult finding the time to do all of the extra chores I am now required to do. I've had to get creative and include her in the cleaning process. This hasn't been THAT big of a deal, until recently.
MB continually complains about me not cleaning well enough. I do the best I can with a 3 year old in tow, but it never seems to be good enough for her. Now that P is 3 she is learning how to care for herself more and more, which means cleaning up after herself. I make sure to have her help clean up her toys every day after we're done playing, which I thought was sufficient. A couple weeks ago MB confronted me about it, saying that her room was not clean enough at end of day. To me, it seemed like she was nitpicking...she wants all of the toys in the drawers organized, all the blocks neatly stacked under the shelf, all of P's shoes lined up neatly in her closet, etc. I feel that she is not being reasonable. When you teach a 3 year old to clean up after themselves, you are not going to get a perfectly pristine environment.
She also has other seemingly odd requests. She wants to me to keep the doors locked at all times, but she has a small dog that needs to be let out to go to the bathroom throughout the day, so there are times when I have the back door unlocked for this reason. She also recently started requesting that I wash all the pots and pans by hand rather than putting them in the dishwasher, so we don't have to run it as often. But when I finish cleaning them, she goes behind me to check my work, then complains about what a poor job I did.
Last night I felt was my tipping point. She had asked me to work late (7:30) at the the last minute, so she could attend a yoga class, and I hesitantly agreed to. Assuming that I would have until 7:30 to get P and I dinner, give her a bath, and get ready for bed, I casually paced myself throughout the day. We spent a wonderful day together at the beach, and got home just before 6 to have dinner. Just before 6:30, P is just sitting down to her dinner, MB walks through the door, home from a run. She decided not to go to yoga. She walks into the house and instantly starts complaining about the mess in P's room which she had created while I was preparing dinner. Then she walks into the kitchen and begins complaining about the mess from dinner prep (which I was in the middle of cleaning up) then proceeds to dish herself up the last of the dinner and sits down to eat with P. While I'm in the kitchen frantically cleaning up, she is in the dining room. She asks me if P's laundry is finished, and I tell her that there was a lot of laundry today and that I would have it finished by tomorrow. She then walks back into the kitchen, where she see's that the back door is not locked, no doubt because I had just let the dog out, and gets upset, telling me that she's asked me over and over again to keep the door locked. Then she walks to the counter to inspect the dishes I had just washed and gets very upset when she sees that out of 5 pots that I have just scrubbed clean, one of them had not been "properly cleaned". She then claims that I did not clean any of them at all.
The whole night was one thing after the other. It seemed as though I could do nothing right in her eyes. She was there constantly looking over my shoulder to complain about something. I feel just awful. I have done so much for this family, including dog sitting whenever she is out of town, for FREE, working my schedule around hers, and even searching for months to find another nanny position that could work with her schedule, in order to supplement my hours, which are going down this year now that P will be starting full time preschool. I do so much extra work, and have been so flexible with my time, and it seems like more and more she has nothing but bad things to say to me. It seems as though the longer a person holds a position, the better they would get at it, but it seems like she feels just the opposite. I do not recall her being so nitpicky and negative towards me in the past. And I am feeling so unsure about what to do. I love P so dearly, and her attachment to me is very strong, so I feel hesitant towards doing anything that could harm that. But I am growing more and more unhappy in this position. I've talked with MB over and over again it seems, about expectations, writing a new contract, etc. But still, I find myself in conflict with her. I need some advice!