Scrub Your Own Damn Toilet!

opinion 1 I have been working with my current family for the last 3.5 years. Things aren't exactly perfect, but it could be worse, so I count my lucky stars (which are few). I have been asked to vacuum, dust, do errands, cook elaborate meals, carry out recycling, organize toys, empty dishwasher, mop and sweep the floors, fold laundry, and a host of other things that DO NOT come under the heading of Nanny. I am an open minded individual and I am willing to compromise. But asking me to clean your bathroom and toilets is just crossing the the line.

My 'child' has started preschool, Mon-Fri for 3 hrs a day. It has been brought to my attention that I have 15 hrs of free time and I need to make up for it, thus the reason for all these 'extras'. It takes 80 mins to walk to the school and back, this has not been factored in; 20 mins to drop off, 20 mins to get back to the house, 20 mins to pick up and 20 minutes to walk back to the house again - grand total of 80 mins. Now minus that 80 mins from the 3 hrs of 'free time' what do you get?

With all these 'extras' I haven't been offered any pay increase. In the beginning we discussed this situation and I was told "when that bridge comes we will cross it", had I known the bridge would be so lengthy I would have taken the next ship out. Honestly I never get everything done. There just isn't enough time. Not to mention how exhausted I feel by the time I pick up my charge because I am constantly rushing.

What should I do? I am a professional Nanny not a housekeeper or errand girl. I am seriously contemplating leaving this position for something less stressful. I am worried that when my charge begins to go full time there will be more house keeping chores. Yes I know I should be thankful that my employer didn't fire me, or cut my pay or change my schedule to part time. To be honest I would rather work part-time and possibly get another part time job to supplement any lost wages, than clean someone else's toilet.


NannyPoppins said...

Do you have a contract? Was housekeeping talked about when you first started?

You need to sit down with the parents and explain the situation. Explain that dropping off the child takes a total of 80 minutes. And by the time you get back and started on your chores it's about the time you need to leave again to pick up your charge. Explain to them it's not feasible for you to complete all the allowed time. Explain that your job is a nanny NOT a housekeeper. Also explain that even though the child is in school you are still "on call" since you are the one responsible for picking him up so it's not like you are free to do whatever you wish during those couple of hours.

Make a list of chores (if any) that you are comfortable doing. And if they would like you to do something beyond the chores you would like to do then it will cost them extra. Definitely bring up the raise again and with the raise bring up a contract. Have you received a raise since you began working with them? How did all these chores get tacked on to your job?

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Schedule a meeting with them, and come in with the time issue outlined, and a (short) list of the chores you're willing and able to do in the time you have, along with the proviso that you will not be doing those chores on days/weeks when there is no school.

Discuss with them that you are still "on the clock" when he (?) is in school, but that means you are available to care for him, not available to become their housekeeper. Talk about how you would prefer to spend the time you have prepping additional learning activities, etc.

WRT the raise, would you be willing to forgo the raise in exchange for NO added duties? Some nanny/family duos agree that as hours with the child(ren) diminish, the shorter work days are the "raise".

Good luck!

ChicagoMissDee said...

What they said.

Keep us posted!

ums said...

You cannot expect to get paid for doing nothing. Of course the travel time while the child is in your care should be compensated, but the hours when they are not at preschool? They are giving you a chance to earn some money instead of getting nothing. If you don't want to do that, tell them you don't want to and take the hourly pay cut. or look for another job. simple as that.

NannyfromMA said...

I disagree with "ums". If I read the OP correctly, she has 2 hours per day when the child is in school. Subtract from those 3 hours 80 min that it takes her to commute to the school and back. That leaves her with 1 hour and 40 min without the child. That is not a lot of time, especially if you are actually sitting down and taking a lunch break. GASP! You actually get to sit down for 5 min in peace.

If you take about 20 min for lunch, that leaves you with 1 hour and 20 min for chores. I agree that you shouldn't just be relaxing during this time because you are still getting paid but you should not be scrubbing toilets.

You should sit down with the parents and outline what chores you are willing to do, as the other posters have said. They don't seem like the nicest people so I would be prepared for them to not be happy about this. Also, outline a typical day for them so that they are aware of the 80 min commute and also what you can get done in the time you have left. Not even a housekeeper could get all those chores done in a little over and hour. Hopefully if they have half a brain they will see that you can't get it all done, and frankly you don't want to.

If at the end of the conversation you aren't satisfied, start looking for another job or jobs. You have stayed at this job for quite some time and perhaps it's time to move on. Please update us!

math said...

The child goes to school 3h a day. If she starts school at 10 the nanny starts walking the kid to school at 9.40 and she will be back to the house at 10.20.

The school is finished at 1pm if the child goes to school 3 h a day, and the nanny needs to leave the house at 12.40 to be there at 1pm, since she said it takes 20 min to walk to the school.

so the nanny is in the house from 10.20 until 12.40 which is a total time of 2 hours and 20 min. The poster above me says the nanny is left with 1h and 40 min.

So during the week the nanny has 11 hours and 40 min of free time, and not 15h as her employer say.

NannyfromMA said...

"Math", you are correct that the OP is in the house alone for 2 hours and 20 min per day, rather than 1 hour and 40 min as I previously thought. I mistakenly thought the 20 min commute each way was to be subtracted from the 3hrs but you are right, the 20 min commute is on either side of the 3hours. Either way, though, she needs to address this issue with the parents.

another nanny said...

I think OP is including some time for the actual transition (e.g. she might have to sign in, take the elevator/stairs, help the child hang up jacket, pick up paperwork, or who knows what) as part of the 80 minutes. Also, generally the parents will want you to arrive about 10 minutes before the end of school, rather than arriving just in time. So I doubt it's more than 2 hours OP is home, although it may be more than 1 h, 40 m.

OP, I really agree with above posters who state that you should decide which chores you are comfortable doing and agree to do those only on days when the child is actually in school (many preschools actually have a lot of days off)

On Call Nanny said...

OP, for the time that the child is in school, you should still be getting paid something. Why so? Because the child may fall, become ill, school and you are responsible to pick her up if anything should happen. In other words, you are "on call" the whole time so you should still be getting paid. So what if you relax? Your time is not 100% yours anyway and you should be able to do whatever you want to do.

I used to work for a family who had me stay in their house while the children went to school 4 hrs/day. They NEVER asked me to do chores, etc...they just asked that if something were to happen to their child while they were at work, could I pick them up and care for them at home until the parents got off work since they couldn't leave their jobs.

A Mommy Thought said...

I agree about sitting down with the parents and explaining the actual time alone in the house (whether it's an hour and a half or over 2 hours). They shouldn't think of it as 3 hours free. Just out of curiosity, what type of "chores" did you have before school started? Have you always done the child's laundry? Cleaned the toys, room, etc? If not, maybe these are the chores you can offer to do during some of your down time. I'm all for having a well rested nanny, but I don't agree with some of the posters on this site who think you should have a couple hours off 3 days a week. (And yes, I realize it's not really "off," but if you're in my house without my kids and nothing to do, it is time off. Being paid the same hourly rate to be "on-call" and watching TV in my home, or reading, or napping isn't really fair IMHO.) But does the child nap in the afternoons? If so, for how long. It may feel like, to the parents, that you have more than enough down time during school days to help with some chores and still have some time to yourself (an hour or so).

Anyway, should you be scrubbing their bathrooms? Absolutely not. But perhaps the occaisional vacuuming, mopping of the kitchen (where the child eats) or thorough toy cleaning would be a great way to keep your good relationship and get paid for hours in the home.)Just my two cents here.

Village said...

Look, I think the bottom line here is the parents want a nanny and housekeeper wrapped into one. And the nanny isn't into that.

It doesn't matter how much time is available to clean the house. The parents want a housekeeper, and no matter how much the nanny does, or more precisely doesn't do, it's never going to be enough.

If she doesn't want to quit, then try keeping a time diary. Write down everything that is done by the minute. By the time she sweeps, cleans the kitchen, and does the children's laundry, hopefully there won't be time to clean the bathrooms. But again, the parents are gonna bitch, in my opinion. They want a nanny who keeps the house clean. They have been PLANNING for it, is my guess. I don't see any way out except to quit. (Personally, I can't stand people constantly complaining about the excellent job I do.)

MissMannah said...

I think this is the key sentence right here:

"I have been asked to vacuum, dust, do errands, cook elaborate meals, carry out recycling, organize toys, empty dishwasher, mop and sweep the floors, fold laundry, and a host of other things that DO NOT come under the heading of Nanny."

Were you asked to start doing these things before or after the child started preschool? If these chores started up after preschool started, then I see no problem. I agree that you should not be paid to do nothing for this time everyday. The only problem you seem to have is time management because you're tired, in which case you and the parents need to come up with a chore schedule. IE: clean the floors on Monday, disinfect the toys on Tuesday, laundry on Wednesday, etc. You obviously shouldn't be expected to do all these things each day.

HOWEVER! If you were already agreeing to do most of these chores before the child was in preschool, then you were allowing the parents to take advantage of you. They figured that you were able to get a lot of cleaning done while watching their child so you should be able to do a lot more while s/he's not there. That's a whole other ballgame and I think if you want to back out of doing so many chores now the parents are just going to balk.

MissMannah said...

PS: I thought I should clarify. I am not, by any means, saying you have to do these chores. I would never in my life mop my employer's floors because I hate doing my own. You need to figure out exactly what you're comfortable with and what you absolutely refuse to do. Obviously cleaning the bathroom is on your "refuse" list. Perhaps consider renegotiating your contract now that the terms have changed (ie: charge is starting school, so schedule is changing). Tell the parents what you are willing to do during the time s/he is at school, but be well prepared to get the axe. (As I unfortunately found out last week, being proactive is not always a good idea because sometimes the nicest employers can be outright jerks.)

chrstine said...

One thing all of you left out is that during the "down time" the child is in school, this nanny is unable to make money elsewhere. Her time is being used by this family because she isn't able to take another job during this two hour break. She is responsible to pick the kid up. This family is just trying to get their money's worth by making her a housekeeper and keeping her busy since they are paying by the hour.

I think I nanny should be responsible for a minimal amount of housework directly related to the child or children- making and cleaning up lunch, making the bed, MAYBE doing the child's laundry. But, a nanny isn't really a substitute mother and that is what they are asking of her.

Hannah said...

You made an excellent point chrstine.

Waitttt said...

There is a huge difference between being a stay at home mom and a nanny. For one, the stay at home mom lives in the household. Therefore, any chores she does are her own and her family's. Also, she doesn't have to answer to anyone but herself and her husband. For example, if you are sick and feel like sticking your kids in front of the TV for the day, that's not a problem.

Being a nanny is totally different. From my experience, you are always forced to guess if something is right or wrong, you have to get to know a whole family and find where you fit in, and you have to answer to your MB and DB. Using that same example, if you are sick and come to work, you can't stick the kids in front of the TV for the day.

Yes being a nanny is a job and that is fine. You are getting paid to do this stuff. However, there are more factors to be considered compared to just being a stay at home mom. Yes, that is also a job (for which you don't get paid, unfortunately), but my point is that they are very different jobs.

Waitttt said...

Please tell me where I said it was ok for the nanny to sit around. Someone else may have but I was referencing a good nanny who takes care of the children and doesn't have much time to sit around. I never said that it was ok in any way for the nanny to leave the house a mess. I agree with you that a nanny should clean up after the children but the nanny usually isn't hired to "be the mom" while the mom is at work. The nanny is hired to take care of the children, plain and simple. I also agree that she should take care of things related to the children but that is where I draw the line.

In no way should the nanny be responsible for running the entire house while the mom is at work. Moms who work all day and whose kids are all in school all day arrive home to the same dirty house they left in the morning. Unless some magic fairy or a housekeeper comes and cleans it. If the mom does have children who arent in school and she has hired a nanny to take care of them, it in no way means that the nanny should be cleaning the house all day. She is hired to take care of the children! If there is downtime, I totally understand the parents requesting some chores being done, that's fine.

I was trying to distinguish a clear difference between a stay at home mom (or any mom for that matter) and a nanny. Most moms take care of the children while also getting house work done, cooking, and all that other stuff. They make the rules and can therefore make decisions and don't have to answer to anyone. A nanny, on the other hand, her primary duty is to take care of the children. A lot of the time that means doing more hands on activities, and spending more quality time with the children. They also have someone to answer to. For example, if a mother is not watching her child downstairs because she is cleaning upstairs and the child accidentally falls and breaks an arm or something, go to the hospital, get a cast and move on. If that happened on the nanny's watch, that most certainly would be a problem. I

I am not saying that nannies should sit around and do nothing. A good nanny should be spending her time caring for the children (including picking up after them) and if she does that, she shouldn't even have much time left for sitting around!

Former employer of Nannies said...

I would respond to your post, but everything I write keeps getting deleted. Since when did this site become a ranting board for lazy nannies anyway? I thought it was supposed to be where people report on bad nanny sightings. Will not return because it is too hard to wade through all of the gripe sessions. Hearing all of these rants by lazy employees just makes me not regret my decision to get rid of my nanny, who thought she was too good to do the kids' laundry too.

Marypoppin'pills said...

Former employer of Nannies,

I am sorry you feel that way.

We try to encourage opinions and banter, positive or negative, in addition to Bad Nanny Sightings.

Although ISYN started out as a place to report bad Nanny behavior (and that will always remain our number one goal) it has sort of evolved into a quasi advice column/support system for both Nannies and Mothers of children.

The only posts that ever get deleted are either racist, threatening, or anonymous...

Yours must have fallen into one of those categories.

Nanny staffer said...

Look at the definition of a Household Manager..that is what happens when a nanny has down it happened to me.
Yes you can do cleaning tasks related to children but I drawn the line and doing the fathers underwear!