Melodramatic MB is Making Nanny Miserable

opinion dec
Let me preface this by saying that I have over 10 years of childcare experience, both paid and volunteer. I was a camp counselor throughout college and, over the past 5 years, worked as a nanny for 4 different families. All of my previous positions only ended because either I or the family moved out of state. I have never had to quit a job in my life other than for the reason that I was moving. Nor have I ever been fired or let go. I have my bachelor's degree, a spotless record, First Aid/CPR certified, etc. and, if I do say so myself, I am a DAMN good nanny/childcare provider! I've maintained great relationships with all of my previous employers and have helped a lot of children reach big milestones in their lives (walking, talking, potty training, learning to tie their shoes, etc.).

I have worked for my current family since June. I took the job because there was virtually no commute (they live the next neighborhood over), it was part-time, and for just one child. The pay was less than what I was used to, $6.25/hour, but I figured…eh, it's one easy baby and only part-time, I can deal. In the interview, I was told that the husband's 2 children from a previous relationship would be there for the first month I was there, but that the Dad would be off work and home for that month and would tend to the older children (4 of them in all, including the older 2 siblings of the little girl I was responsible for). One Monday, a week or two in to my job, the dad left for work! I was left with 5 children, 3 of them with ADHD, including a baby. I thought maybe it was just a random work emergency that he had to tend to, but after 4 or 5 days of caring for all 5 children, I asked if I would be getting paid extra for the extra kids. I then got this in reply, "In the interview, we agreed that we would pay you for the 2 weeks we are gone on vacation". Um? And this makes up for me watching 5 children for $6.25/hour? We settled on an extra $75 for each week I watched them all…which ended up being about 3 weeks until the 2 extra kids went back home. Strike #1.

I then figured that while they were away on vacation, I would seize the opportunity to go visit my family back home. When the mother found out I was doing this she said "Oh, so this will count as your 2-weeks vacation then?" I felt trapped. Strike #2.

Soon enough, the position turned in to full-time. The increase in pay went from $750/month for 30 hours/wk, to $1100/month for 47.5 hours/wk. Yes, my money went up, but in reality, my pay went down to $5.80/hour!!!!! Now I was working well below minimum wage for MORE than full-time work. If I'm being totally honest, I didn't even compute this until a couple months in, because the money didn't bother me that much. But then I noticed my list of duties increased: driving the children to/from school (I am not being reimbursed for gas, but am expected to bring the little one on various outings throughout the week), household chores (I fold the entire family's laundry and do not get so much as a 'thanks'), the kitchen is a sty when I show up in the morning and if I didn't clean it I would have trouble preparing the child's food throughout the day. It's just gross. There are other little things that I'm dealing with on a daily basis, but I don't want this to get longer than it is. Strike #345678910...

I gave my notice last week and didn't expect this much drama. It is amazing how you think you know somebody and then they can do a complete 180 on you.

I told the mom that I was offered a job in my field and it's a job where I will finally be using my college degree. My income will also triple with this job, among other amazing things (I didn't tell her that). I am giving them their 30-days notice that was in our nanny agreement, even though my new job would prefer I start on December 9th. At first, she said she understood wanting a job in my field, but soon she burst into tears, said she can't believe she has to search for a nanny again and telling me she hired me because she thought I would be devoted to her children and how is she supposed to hire a stranger when I know the ins and outs of this family (but, wasn't I a stranger just 5 months ago?). She told me it took them a year to find me (this is untrue, her
sister-in-law lived with them and took care of the kids, and if it truly took them a year to find a nanny, then they are entirely too picky). She also got very melodramatic and said she will have to quit her job if she can't find childcare. She was just plain RUDE that entire day and I am dreading work on Monday. I am dreading the next month.

I am doing all I can to help them...researching new nannies and daycares, giving them more than enough time to find another nanny. I wished them all a happy thanksgiving as I left on Wednesday and got nothing in reply. I understand being upset and stressed, but I do NOT need to be treated like crap. I am taking care of your CHILDREN! For less than minimum wage no less.

I am sorry this is long, I got to venting. I am so sick over this situation. How do you deal with the transition period after giving your notice? Has a family treated you poorly once you gave your notice? Maybe it's the initial shock and it will wear off, but based on a conversation from earlier with the mom, I doubt it. I am way too sensitive and letting this get to me more than it should, but she is not helping. I just need a little pep talk...


SarahNY said...

Honestly it sounds like she has breached contract by adding more and more household chores and more children. This means that you can not give notice. Nannys are at will employees which means they can leave without notice. Saying you will give a 30 day notice is just a nice thing to do. So I'd say leave ASAP! As long as you have enough savings to last until your Dec. 9th start date on your new and run away fast.

pep talk said...

Here's my pep talk: screw them. I mean, seriously, screw them. Fuck them!

hmmm said...

yeah, get paid for the work you've done and then book it, more than 2 weeks notice takes a huge toll on you. leave when they're bitchy to you and enjoy an break before your new job starts.

I was in your shoes said...

I was in this exact situation about 2 months ago. I had started working for a family with a newborn in August while the mom was still on maternity leave. I was doing part time until she went back to work, then I would switch to full time. Everything was going great until I decided that I wanted to find a job outside of nannying. I was feeling too secluded and lonely during the day, not to mention bored with just a baby. I loved the family but honestly I wasn't happy. I never had a contract with the family and we had not discussed the amount of time they wanted if I had to quit for any reason. I know it sounds terrible but I lied to them and told them I unexpectedly got a job in my field (I recently graduated from college) and I could not pass up the job offer. I knew they would understand because they are very academic and went to great colleges. I didn't want to offend them and say I didn't want to work for them anymore, but that was the truth.

I gave them 2 weeks to find a new nanny before I left and I was absolutely dreading it. I thought it was going to be super awkward for all of us but it wasn't too terrible. I knew they were stressed because they had limited time to find someone new but I think they handled it well. For me, they were sad to see me go but they understood that people have to do what is best for themselves. They wouldn't expect me to hold back in my career just to take care of their child. They will always be able to find a new nanny, although it is a lot of work if you screen them properly.

For you, OP, I don't think they deserve to have you stick around for a month. You have been walked all over and they haven't lived up to their end of the bargain. Personally, I hate lying and I am terrible at it, but sometimes it is necessary. If you want to start your job on December 9th, make that your deadline and get out of there! Yes, it will suck having to go into the house for the next two weeks but just think of how much relief you will have after that. Two weeks of your life is like a blink of an eye. That's what I tried to keep in mind when I had to stick around for 2 weeks. Your MB does sound very dramatic and I'm sure she isn't gonna make your life easy while you're still there but she has to remember that for the next few weeks it's you or no one!

Please let us know what happens!!

I think your lying or just plain stupid said...

Wait you are working for $6.00 an hour? Come on are you lying?? Who works for that!! Wow everyone should go to college and get a degree and be a nanny!!


OP said...

To the person who said I was lying or stupid, I am neither. Like I said, I took the job because it was initially part-time for one child and I had no commute to work. I don't "need" the money as my husband makes more than enough to support us. But thanks.

Thank you for the replies, especially the poster who was in a very similar situation. I'm glad your family was understanding, and I hope that "my family" will lighten up a bit and also look at the big picture. I truthfully did get a job offer in my field but I also truthfully do not want to work for this family anymore, not for $5.80/hour. But, like you said, you can't tell them that!

I am calling my new job tomorrow and telling them I am available to start any time after the 23rd...they were EXTREMELY understanding that I may need a month to quit my nanny job, so I'm not too worried. I am handing the mom my resignation letter tomorrow so that there is no misunderstanding on when my last day is.

I know that legally I can leave whenever I want, but the guilty person in me feels I should give the family a little more than 2 weeks as it is holiday season and the dad is traveling a lot for work this month, so I know there's lots of added stress. Anyway, thanks again guys!

shouldn't have said that said...

So relax and quit till your next position starts. If your husband is able to provide enough for both of you. Just be careful with expenses for the month.

I didn't mean to call you a liar. Just upset anyone would work for that wage. It makes it hard for parents to take what we do seriously, when people settle for so low. Yes, I know the position is close to your house. Still it shouldn't matter. They should be happy as well that you are close by and are reliable. I have a childcare position which is in the same town that I live in. In fact, its four blocks away. I still receive $16 per hour for one child.

Good luck with your new assignment!

Thank you

OP said...

Thank you for apologizing, I understand where you're coming from. Nannies have a hard enough time getting respect as it is. And you're right, I should not have settled for such low pay, my family and friends that I've discussed my job with can't even believe what I am paid (they might just think I'm lying or stupid as well!).

I have never been paid less than $15/hour as a nanny before this position, evidently I had a serious lapse in judgement when I took this job, and I should have quit the day they left me to care for 5 children for less than minimum wage. I was honestly just looking for something to get me out of the house and to bring in a little extra cash, but the job is no longer worth it. It was never worth it.

Thank you, I am trying to focus on my new job and get excited about it, I can't wait to start!

MissMannah said...

Your first whole paragraph you were congratulating yourself on being SUCH a great nanny and never being fired and having all this experience, blah blah blah. Then I read on and saw that you let this family take complete advantage of you, as if you were completely new to the nanny professional. Just because someone's been fired before doesn't mean she's a bad nanny. I just got fired because I wouldn't allow my family to take advantage of me any more and only pay me $7.60, or sometimes not pay me at all. Which is better, letting a family treat you like dirt until you make the conscious decision to leave the nanny field or standing up for your integrity and knowingly get fired for it?

Psyber Chica said...

You are too nice! I used to be really uncomfortable with confrontation, but if you just force yourself to do it, you eventually get used to it. You don't have to be nasty or rude, just state the facts. You shouldn't let people treat you like this. Aren't you worth standing up for? Imagine you had a daughter and she was in this situation, what would you tell her to do? I think you should confront this horrible woman and then leave immediately.

OP said...

But I don't understand how I can argue about the money when I knew what I was getting into in the first place? I didn't care about the money UNTIL my list of duties became longer and I was expected to drive the children around without being compensated (and I have discussed this with the mom and $1100/month is the max this family supposedly can afford, despite having a combined income well over $100K). The money issue is my own dumb mistake for accepting such a low paying job. It's all the other nonsense I deal with that make the low pay unbearable.

I am the first to admit that I hate confrontation and I know I have already let this family take advantage, which is why I began looking for work elsewhere. Because after 5 months no, I absolutely do not want to be taken advantage of any longer. I do have respect for myself and, hopefully, I will finally feel appreciated in my new place of work.

I was in your shoes said...

Once I saw this post I knew I HAD to comment because I was in a similar situation, which I already posted. Like I said, my family was very understanding and was genuinely happy that I had found success in my career field. Although I had lied to them about it (which I still feel terrible about) most people want to see others succeed.

If I were you, I would work up the courage and be honest with the parents by telling them that you have barely been making any money working for them and your new job will pay you what you deserve. Tell them you enjoyed working for them but they were lucky to find someone who would work for such a low wage you can't pass up an opportunity to earn more money. Who cares that you aren't in desperate need of the money, you still are entitled to a fair wage! I hope that they understand and see that if they were in your shoes, why wouldn't they take a job that pays them fairly? I think anyone with a brain would leave a job they are barely being paid for in order to work at a better job making more money!

Bottom line is that I feel you shouldn't feel obligated to stick around at a job that isn't compensating you fairly. Ask the parents (in a nice way) if they would work for less than minimum wage? Yes, you took the job and that was a mistake, but you can't take that back. You can only move forward and only a fool would choose a low paying job over a higher paying better job. You deserve better and in my eyes, you are losing money! Tell them you are giving them two weeks, and that is being generous. If you don't want to work that long, it is understandable. Cite all the things that they didn't live up to on their end of the bargain and you are justified. If you need any more advice I would be more than willing to help!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

OP, I am just like you. I hate hate confrontation and I am much too nice myself. It has been my downfall in the Nanny profession. Big time.

You do not owe them anything. They are underpaying you and over working you as well, and are not keeping up their end of the contract at all. The reason MB is so dramatic is because they have had a great deal with you for so long and now they are going to be screwed because where else will they find such a great/qualified Nanny for that price? Possibly if they built a time machine back to 1951...

I would just leave. Lucky for you, you have a husband who can provide for you. Some Nannies do not. Also, I would make sure I had my last payment in hand before I leave. (If it is a check, make sure it clears first.) If you stay, it will be hell and your work environment will be hostile at best.

Daria said...

The question in you post is "How do you deal with the transition period after giving your notice?"

As for me, I have never had to go through that since I always get fired when I stand up for myself. If you stop letting them take advantage of you, you will get fired and then you can start your new job on Dec 9th without having to feel guilty that you quit the nanny job! Problem solved.

OP said...

@Just My Two Cents...your time machine comment made me laugh. I agree, and others have said the same thing, that they know they are getting a serious bargain with my agreeing to work for them.

I handed MB my resignation letter today and a list of nannies and daycares in the area that seem promising. This morning she was surprisingly pleasant so I am hoping she realized how much she overreacted...but I know that once it gets closer to my last day, especially if they don't have anybody lined up to take over, that she will go right back to crazy. But, that is not my problem and I keep telling myself that.

I called my future employer today and he is completely understanding and told me he's excited for me to start with them in the beginning of January. My last day with this family is 12/23, so I will have a little time to relax before the next job starts.

Thank you again for all the replies. I know that if I were on the outside looking in on my situation I would say the same thing: screw them and leave now! I will get through the next 3-4 weeks and be done with it..and if MB is going to continue being as decent as she was this morning, it shouldn't be too miserable. Fingers crossed.

OP said...

Also, lesson seriously learned: I will NEVER accept such a low paying job ever, ever, ever again, regardless of the circumstances.

And @I was in your shoes, your comments were especially helpful as you were in the same boat as me, so thank you. I hope you are enjoying whatever your current position is!

christine said...

Here's an idea...

STOP folding the laundry
STOP cleaning the kitchen
STOP driving on your own gas money

You should get fired pretty quickly and then you'll be free of these nasty people and you'll be able to either start your new job sooner or you can just enjoy the Holiday Season!

RBTC said...

i am hoping you being so nice to them will not risk your new job as you need to start later than they wish

all the issues you talk about are talked about alot here - it's hard being a nanny

I was in your shoes said...

OP, you are very welcome and I am SO glad I could actually help. I do not have a lot of nanny experience so I am glad that I could be useful at some point LOL. Please let us know how your new job turns out. And I can't wait til the 23rd when you will finally be stress-free! At least for a few days :)

another nanny said...

It sounds like you'll feel better in the long run if you stick out through the month, so I won't tell you to leave immediately :)
If it were me, I would just kill her with kindness so to speak. Every time she is ranting, etc, try not to react at all, but when you address her, speak to her very kindly and sweetly. Either she is trying to guilt-trip you into staying, or she is trying to pick a fight with you, or she is just stressed and taking it out on you. Either way, not reacting to her childish behavior should help, especially when she sees that you are still being professional and courteous. You already know that you have absolutely nothing to feel bad about so don't let her comments get to you.

Blueberry Hill said...

When I saw the line: "I understand being upset and stressed, but I do NOT need to be treated like crap. I am taking care of your CHILDREN! For less than minimum wage no less."--I almost cried. It exactly explains how I felt in the situation I just left. Can't fit the whole story into a comment; I might email it in for a submission, though.

I'll just say this: MB is a single mom with one toddler. I got $600/month for a full time (40+ hrs) live-out. Sometimes, if MB remembered, food was included. But that's $30/day for my work (I'm a college grad with 5 years of child-care/education work experience, and I cared for my charge like he was my own). Again, like OP, I didn't calculate pay with hours until way too late, because I felt lucky just to have a job! My days were 8 or 10 hours long, with one 10+ (often 15) hour day each week. My promised half-days off disappeared, and my hours became unpredictable (not knowing when to come in the next day until 11:30 the night before). Not to mention 10-day trips with the family with undefined hours, one that I didn't even know I was supposed to go with them on (I quit before that trip happened).

I never spoke up because like OP, I agreed to some of these terms at first (NO CONTRACT, a rookie mistake). I felt trapped, too. MB was kind to me but definitely treated me like someone who owed her something.

**In my defense, this was my first nannying job, and I honestly didn't know any better. (I didn't find this site until way too late!) I didn't know that people would take advantage of you if you don't speak up!! Well, now I do.**

I waited until I was past my breaking point to give my two weeks (MB wanted 30 days, but I had no contract). I was outwardly insulted in my last weeks, and MB was very dramatic in her insults and predictions that she wouldn't find a qualified nanny in two weeks because of me (she found one within one week). I didn't engage with her when she was angry, I was kind and stated my reasons simply and didn't elaborate, because she was irate with me and was not truly listening. I still showed up each day, cheerful for my charge. MB told me on my last day to return a gift from her (an old TV set she was going to get rid of, worth at most $20).

It's hard to work in a home setting, because you can be seen as part of the family instead of a paid worker. When you quit, you're a traitor, not a person who's making a decision about their job. Basically, my quitting was seen as a personal attack when it really was a business/health decision. I figured it would be worse for them to have a miserable nanny for 30 days than a miserable nanny for 2 weeks. And I couldn't go another day making $3.50/hr!

OP, please leave if you are being disrespected at work. It's totally not worth it to endure that. I grinned and bore it, but it completely drained me, and my charge definitely could sense the stress. I couldn't do 30 days of that, but it's your decision.

If you aren't making minimum wage, you aren't being treated fairly. And if you get disrespected while making minimum wage, you are REALLY being mistreated. Even if your boss used to be nice to you, even if you love the children.

You already did the hardest part, giving notice. Good luck with your last leg of this job. Take care of yourself, and all the best wishes for the new job!

Blueberry Hill said...

"And if you get disrespected while making minimum wage, you are REALLY being mistreated"

I meant to write: "And if you get disrespected ON TOP OF NOT making minimum wage..."

OP said...

@Blueberry Hill, thank you for sharing your story, I'm sorry you went through that but happy to hear you are out of that miserable job! You hit the nail on the head when you said that quitting a nanny job can sometimes be like becoming some sort of traitor or deceitful, selfish person (ok, I added some to your original sentence) instead of making a decision that will benefit your future. That's EXACTLY how they are making me feel.

Just to update everyone -- this afternoon, after handing her my resignation for the 23rd, she gave me big puppy dog eyes and asked if I had a set start date for my job because they "are hitting complete dead ends, no daycares are accepting anyone and no one has responded to the nanny ad". I KNOW this is going to get ugly again but I am going to stick to it and be done on the 23rd. I don't mind sitting for them here or there in the future, but I have a new job/career to think about. This is insane, I've never felt so trapped by a family in my life.

Today I did not do the laundry (other than the baby's) but I did have to clean up the kitchen a bit because I seriously would not be able to prepare anything in there all day if I didn't. I will keep a smile on my face and make it through to the 23rd.

NotEnoughHoursin24hrs said...

I feel you OP.. I have recently been in your situation. I nannied for three different families at one time. I had worked for one of the families for a three year stretch and out of respect for the child who i loved as my own I gave as much notice as possible. My contract stated that I would leave them with 2 weeks notice. I wanted them to have ample time to find a nanny that worked for their child, schedule and wallet. I therefore gave them almost five months notice! NEVER again! The father who was the main reason I gave my notice was a DB who worked from home half of the week. He was a micromanager who kept his door open and would visit from his office about every twenty minutes. When I gave my notice he didnt speak to me for two straight months he slammed doors and refused to write me my paychecks. His wife -whom of which i rarely saw would take over that job. i lost sleep, my love for food, and a ton of weight over all the stress.
The MB told me that this was creating a problem in their marriage, that I was unprofessional to leave them with such short notice and that their child loves me and how could i do this to the child..
You were taken advantage of by your employers. You have known this all along and should have spoken up for yourself. I am sure you have learned from this. Next time have a contract...If they try to bend what it says on paper dont let it slide. As far as the notice goes. They coiuldnt possibly think that you would stay with them....they knew that they were taking advantage of you. But I hope that the majority of the the people on the site work in this field for the same thing...children. For the stability of the child. Stay for the time that two weeks. hopefully you will leave with a decent reference. Congrats on your new you have given your employers at leastjob!

OP said...

@NotEnoughHours...yikes! It seems to be either one of two things when you give your notice as a nanny: 1) they are sad to see you go but are understanding and supportive of your decision or 2) they act like armageddon has shown up at their doorstep and they make you out to be some inconsiderate person. I can't believe the mother told you that your leaving was creating a problem in THEIR marriage! Wow, that's insane. Glad you are out of there. I hear ya on the stress..I didn't eat or sleep all weekend, seriously I am too sensitive for my own good sometimes.

We did have a contract, but I should have spoken up when duties were added. They were added little by little, it's like one day I just thought to myself "I am doing WAY more than what I was hired to do". And I have asked about extra pay on two occasions but I always get the sob story that they simply can't afford a penny over $1100/month. So, again, I now know I need to speak up and/or quit before things get worse. But honestly, it's only been 5 months, I haven't let this drag on forever. Plus, especially in today's world, if you have a job you need to count your blessings, I just was happy that I had a place to work for the time being. I will chalk this job up to a big learning experience.

oh well said...

OP, your mom boss sounds manipulative. Please do not let this drama queen guilt-trip you, and I am saying this as a working mom! It's great that you are willing to help this family, but you should be ready to part ways earlier than you thought. Please be at peace and good luck with your new job

I was in your shoes said...

OP, I can totally see how one day it would suddenly hit you that you are doing wayyyy too much for not enough money. I am a big "yesser" in that I say yes to everything, even when I want to say no. Afterall, a few dishes here, a load of laundry there, doesn't seem like a big deal, but it can add up! Heck, I would often appreciate housework because it gave me an excuse to step away from the children for a few minutes (of course I made sure they were safe!). Call me a bad nanny but redirecting my attention was often necessarily for my sanity!

ericsmom said...

I would not have risked my new job for that piece of shit job your at now. No way!!

What if the father now finds a replacement? He may say sure sure you can start later no problem. Are you sure he is not looking for someone else. He may think you are flaky or making excuses not to work.

Well either good luck!