Nanny is in a Financial Dilemma

opinion dec
I am new here and have found the posts to be very helpful, and entertaining at times. :) Here is my dilemma that I am finally getting up the courage to post here. I am a nanny with 10+ years of experience, and I recently just started my own nanny placement agency, which is actually doing better than I could have hoped. I have been with the family I work for for a year, and I love them dearly. We have all become very close, and I care about them and their little guy (my charge) very much.

When I began working with them, we agreed upon an hourly rate of $12.50. I was originally to be in a nanny share with them and another family. I worked with each family on alternating days. About 3 months into my position, the family I currently work for had a devastating house fire and pretty much lost everything in the middle of the night. They were lucky enough to have a house that their parents rent out as a small vacation home nearby that they could stay at as they battled their insurance company. At that same time, the other family backed out of the nanny share agreement, leaving me and my current family high and dry. My current family really stepped it up for the summer and took me on for the full 5 days and paid me accordingly. For Christmas last year, they gave me a gift certificate to a spa for a massage, and for my birthday, they took my partner and I out for a lavish dinner. They tell me constantly that they love me and couldn't do without me.

So, here is why I am posting. Lately, they have seemed extra busy with their jobs, battling insurance (STILL, UGH) and beginning to rebuild their house. They have asked me if I could help out a little more around the house (ie: do their laundry as well, grocery shop for them. Also, they lost their once a month housekeeper so they asked if I would do the deep cleaning she used to do and they will pay me an extra $20/week which would equal what they paid her -$80/month). I agreed, and have since found it very exhausting to try to get all of the deep cleaning done in the time the 18 month old takes his 2 hour nap, as well as all of their laundry, etc. On occasion, I feel like I want to help them out so much that I have found myself scrubbing a bathtub while my charge is awake even. I feel like I'm trying to do it all, and I am slowly wearing down. I just don't know how to approach them about how I am feeling. Also, since it is my one year anniversary with them, I would really like to ask for a raise. Good nannies in our area make a minimum of $15/hour, and I make $12.50. I don't want to stress them out more though. And my last concern is that whenever they go on vacation, (which has been more frequently lately, I am picking them up from the airport in the morning after a 2 week stay in Hawaii) they do not pay me anything. Is it fair for me to ask them for some sort of stipend while they are away? It has really killed me financially this month to miss out on two weeks of pay, and especially so close to Christmas. I'm sorry this is so long, I am just beginning to feel a little resentful of the situation, and I don't want to feel that way, as I truly love this family as if they were my own, and don't want to risk rocking the boat and losing my little guy whom I've created such a bond with. Thank you so much for any feedback.


Leticia said...

You sound like a great Nanny!

I think caring for a toddler and having household responsibilities is too much for you to do, so I would have a talk with them and let them know that it is too much caring for their son and having all that housework to do during his nap time. Stress to them that you did your best, but it just was too much. Hopefully, they will hire a housekeeper and understand.

Regarding picking them up after a two-week trip to Hawaii, I am appalled that they do not give you any gas/mileage money for doing so. You most definitely deserve something for that since it also is YOUR time as well.

If they are going on a two-week trip to Hawaii, then they should let you know least a month or two ahead. That way you can save money and plan ahead. I know it must kill you not to have any money for those two weeks, but I doubt they will pay you just because. Unless you get paid vacations.

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Anonymous said...

I think your one year anniversary is a good time to reassess your duties and pay.

I think you should decline the housekeeping job. You just have to tell them you can't do both. Sorry. (They probably lost their last housekeeper because they were paying her $20 a week.)

If you need $15, ask for it. I think the best reason is because you are worth it and that is your fee, rather than 'that's the going rate' which seems to upset parents. It's like they assume they must pay below the norm.

Good for you for standing up for yourself. No one else is going to do it. Sometimes you have to require respect to get it. Good luck.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I really enjoyed reading your post because you are a nanny success story. You found a family that you love and they love and appreciate you too. That's so awesome and doesn't happen with everyone. Of course, the fact that you are comfortable and almost like family with them makes for a predicament when it comes to negotiating duties and salary.

Since you mentioned that it is your one year anniversary with this job soon, I agree with the PP who said that it is a great time to bring up the issue with the MB and DB. Yes, they have had some struggles recently with the fire, insurance, company, etc. but that's life. Your wallet shouldn't suffer and you shouldn't feel guilty for wanting to be paid fairly. I think you should tell them that your expenses have required you to raise your rate from $12.50 to $15 and that is that. If they like you that much, they will probably be willing to shell out the money for you. Afterall, it doesn't seem like they are hurting for money if they are going on vacations to Hawaii!

I get the impression that you want to keep this job but upping your rate always carries the risk of them deciding to find someone else for less. I think it's worth it though and you have expressed that you need the money anyway. As far as the unpaid vacations go, bring that up when you negotiate the new rate. Decide what you expect from them (a month's notice before vacations and/or your normal salary while they are away) and keep that in mind when discussing. Also decide what you want to say about the housework. I would suggest just asking them to hire a new housekeeper because you are not able to get the work done.

Best of luck to you and don't settle for less than $15!! You deserve it!

christine said...

When I read these posts and money comes up, I am always floored that parents seem to want to pay less than the going rate. These are your children for Christ sakes! Talk to a person who has lost a child and find out just how losing one changes you. You get what you pay for is an old addage with a good message. Pay top dollar for your nanny- your kids are worth it!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I agree with the others that your one year anniversary is a good time to sit down and talk with the parents. You want to emphasize that you want to be sure you are focusing on their priority - their child. Talk about how you feel like doing the toilets is taking you away from that focus on their kids development. Discuss what you ARE willing to continue doing, that doesn't keep you from childcare - grocery shopping? errand running? light family dinners while baby naps?

If you are not being paid the area standard for nannies with your experience, it's your job to stop taking on extras. Work your contract. Offer empathy if the parents seem to need it, but don't sacrifice your job performance.

Best of luck - please update us!

MissMannah said...

OP, your post is full of contradictions. You have 10 years of nanny experience AND you're doing nanny placement, yet you work for less than the going rate for your area? And you also do a major amount of housework for only $20 a week? I'm sorry darlin, I just find this all very unbelievable. Your questions are ones a very inexperienced nanny would be asking, such as someone you would be placing with a family. Why would you even need to ask us if you should be paid during the family's vacation time? Has this problem never come up once in the past 10 years? I'm not trying to be rude, I'm asking you this as a genuine professional. If you cannot handle these sort of things with your own job, how do you expect to advise young nannies just starting out?

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Manhattan Nanny said...

I just don't know where to start on this one.

They don't pay you the minimum going rate in your area.

They "lost" their cleaning lady who came once a month for $80. My guess is she only worked four hours, at
$20 an hour. They aren't going to hire another cleaning lady when they can get you to clean several hours a week, while taking care of the child, and for only twenty a week!

They don't pay you when they take off for Hawaii, and then, expect you to PICK THEM UP AT THE AIRPORT! Do you realize your salary for those two weeks is in effect subsidizing their Hawaiian vacation? Nannies are paid 52 weeks a year. If you are running an agency you should know this.

I think part of the problem is because you started with them in a nanny share. Now that you are working for them full time, you need to sit down and work out a contract. Check some of the sample contracts that agencies have on line. If you are going to run an agency, you need to know how to negotiate these issues, so screw up you courage and start with your employers! Good luck

MissMannah said...

Jedd, sweetheart, you can always count on me to be snippy so you don't have to.

I really don't understand this OP. In fact, if I were a nanny starting out, I would probably run the other direction if I learned about this person. She can't handle her own job so how can she be trusted to get me a good job?

AprilBnanny said...

Wow, there is always someone on here who does not know how to not be hurtful, or tactful. Here are my responses to the questions raised. I am a very good nanny, and am having HUGE success with my placement agency. Yes, I absolutely guide my nannies into getting what they are worth with salary, as well as vacation pay. My nannies are very happy and are working with wonderful families (who I also fully screen before placing nannies with them). My problem is that I have crossed over into a 'friend zone' with my employers and am having a very hard time after their house fire, etc. figuring out a way to tactfully and gently asking for what I believe I am worth. Of course, I know that I should follow my own advice that I give other nannies, but I wanted to reach out and see what others thought before I made any moves on my end. In my families' defense, I used THEIR car to pick them up from the airport after their vacation, and I was paid for my time in doing so. Thank you so much for all of the advice. I know what I have to do. And I will surely remember to never post on here again, as I have learned that there will always be someone who feels the need to attack, rather than be constructive and helpful.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

OP, I hope that you don't truly mean that you won't post on here again! Don't let the rude people push you away from a site that could potentially help you or others. I agree that these certain people should keep their rude opinions to themselves but the reality is that you will always have to deal with these types of people throughout life.

I hope you return to this site to give and receive advice in the future!

MissMannah said...

Honey, you need to look up the word "attack" in the dictionary. I think I brought up some valid points, without coddling you. You are a professional but you are not acting like one. You should know better than letting parents take advantage of you and that's what they're doing. If they are wealthy enough to take vacations to Hawaii, then they are wealthy enough to pay their nanny. End of story. You shouldn't have to come on here to figure that one out.

AprilBnanny said...

I will respond to positive, helpful comments only. Thank you Strawberry, I did indeed receive the answer I needed here and will proceed accordingly with the family I work for. And thank you to everyone else who continues to practice kindness and productivity in this world and unto others. I really appreciated your input. Happy Holidays.

Marypoppin'pills said...

Sometimes I think this Blog should have a notation or warning:

"Must have thick skin to Post"


I hope you will continue to comment here... and take the negative with the positive. ISYN Readers are an honest bunch, occasionally to a fault... but at least you are getting genuine advice from people that really do care.

Best of luck to you. :)

ericsmom said...

Ms. Mannah is just stating her opinion. I really didn't think it was rude with what she said.

Sorry, the family lost their house. It seems because of this loss you are bending over backwards for this family. They have insurance they will be okay. Really they are using you now. You should see that. They lost one housekeeper and got a great deal with you. Now you do everything, care for the kid and house.

If you have your own nanny agency, maybe try and concentrate on that more. I am sure you can make more money by placing nannies in your area. Really though you need thicker skin if you have your own business. To put up with bullshit from families and nannies

AprilBNanny said...

Thank you to all who provided me with great advice. An update: I confronted my family about a raise, and received one, as well as a $1000 bonus for working so hard for them. I am also no longer doing their housework. Now that I will be signing off of here for good, I would like to state my OWN opinion about something. I have read past and current posts and their responses, and there is a definite trend I noticed between Miss Mannah and Jedd. They lash out at people, and leave responses that are 80% of the time self-serving and overly critical of the OP. I do have thick skin, but I don't think that should be a pre-requisite to be part of a forum that is supposed to provide positive support and advice. I am surprised that these two are allowed to keep badgering people on here, which is why I am ending my relationship with this site. But thank you, again, to the others who genuinely DID care.

Criss said...

I guess I can see both sides here. Often people who advocate well for others don't do so well for themselves. I, too, was a little puzzled that after 10 years of experience, these questions a novice would ask have come up.

OP, you should be getting paid for vacation time. And I know of no housekeepers who do deep cleaning of a home at 20.00 per visit. You need to treat yourself as well as you do the nanny's you place and negotiate a better deal. These people don't appreciate you. They are using you. People who appreciate others dont take advantage of them. If i were you i would sit down with myself and act as if you were preparing the contract for one of your clients, then go in and accept nothing less than what you know you are worth. good Luck!