27 June, 2011

The Wedding Sitter

opinion 2 Hi everyone! I have been asked to babysit for a family from daycare in a couple of weeks for a wedding. The family is great, and I worked with their 5 year old daughter, who is hilarious! Part of the job that day involves keeping her occupied/supervised during the ceremony. I am concerned about this because their 3 year old is very strong and independent. (Mom has told me this herself.) I have babysat for this family before, and B (the 3 year old) did fine. Mom and M (the 5 year old) are both in the wedding. After the ceremony, I need to keep the girls occupied during pictures. What are age appropriate activities for a church? I should already know this, I just want some ideas, as I have never worked during a wedding. Second of all is pay. The babysitting service I used to go through had a minimum of $10/hr for all awake hours and $50 flat rate overnight. Is this a fair price? Last but not least, because I will be chasing a preschooler around, am I supposed to dress up? Thanks!

25 June, 2011

Houge Park in San Jose, CA

bad nanny sighting
This incident occurred approximately a month ago (end of May) at Houge Park in San Jose, CA -- I've only recently (re)discovered this site and thought that although this sighting is a month old, it might still be worth a post.

Nanny: A young (early 20s) Caucasian female, slightly overweight, average height. She had pink hair and was wearing a sleeveless striped button-down blouse and a bowler-type hat of some sort.

Charge: A male child, approximately 4 years old, Caucasian, with blonde hair.

When: I initially arrived at the park with my charges, I noticed this woman because of her unusual hair and her very distinct, loud voice. She was talking to a mother (or perhaps another nanny) who was pushing her child/charge in the swings. The pink-haired nanny was sharing "funny" anecdotes about her charge, and the way that she was speaking, I initially thought that she was the child's mother. While she was talking, her charge roamed the (relatively large) park freely, and she never once stopped her conversation to make sure that he was nearby and safe. Initially I filed the sighting under the "unfortunately typical inattentive nanny" category, and just tried to periodically visually locate her charge and make sure he was never in danger, since she seemed more intent on having conversations about him with the local mothers than she was on actually paying attention to him.

However, about 20 minutes into our visit to the park, I heard this nanny shouting expletives over her cell phone. She continued her loud, heated argument for a good 10 minutes while sitting at the corner of a picnic table, again completely ignoring her charge's whereabouts. Meanwhile, the boy had found another boy his age to play with, and that boy's mother seemed to have more or less taken over care of the child, supervising their game of catch and engaging both children contentedly (the way the nanny SHOULD have been). At some point my older charge wandered over to their ball game, and I noticed the nanny was nowhere to be found and I could no longer hear her arguing. Her charge was playing without any of her supervision -- she totally and completely allowed a stranger (a mother, but a stranger nonetheless) to take over care.

Eventually she returned and told the boy it was time to get going to "meet mommy". This was the point at which I realized she was NOT the child's mother. I, of course, can't guarantee this was a nanny -- could have been an aunt, a family friend, a big sister. I have no idea who was caring for this child, but whoever this woman was, she was clearly far too distracted by her social life to be involved in the care of a preschooler, ESPECIALLY in such a busy, public setting.

La Cienega Park, Beverly Hills, CA

At this park, there is an unspoken rule that other kids can play with your kid’s toys if left unattended in the sand area. If your child does play with someone else’s toys, the toys should not be moved from where they were or taken to another location. Generally, everyone abides by this rule and respects each other’s toys. However, there have been recent incidents that have occurred that just boggles the mind, where the nanny/parent just allows the child to take the toys that are not his/hers. My 20 month son has had numerous shovels and buckets (sand toys) missing from the sand area and it is sad that now we are reluctant to share or take our toys to the park anymore. We leave the toys in the sand and go onto the grass area and feed my son lunch and when we come back, the toys are gone! I just don’t understand adults who clearly see that the toy that the child is holding or is taking home either did not bring or does not belong to the child – and does not bother to give back or leave it where they found it! So annoying and stupid! It ruins it for everyone else who is willing to share their toys and teach their child how to share with others.

Still Think They are Safe at Nursery?

in the news A woman arrives to collect her two-year-old toddler from nursery and proudly watches as he tenderly kisses his carers goodbye. All except for one, that is.

At the time, the mother, a professional in her 30s, didn’t think any more of it. After all, her son had been going there from the age of six weeks and had always seemed fine.

So it was only a few weeks later when she was called in to see the nursery manager and told that there had been ‘a bit of an incident’ involving her child and the carer whom he would not kiss, one Nisha Rani, that she started to put two and two together. (continued...)

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

The Pain of Sleep Training

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guest column
By Nanny Megan
For the last couple months, A has been having trouble sleeping through the night. He has been waking up once, maybe twice a night. The lack of sleep at night has an effect on his nap schedule, which in turn messes up our day.

As of lately, we have been giving sleep training a go, and have found that some methods work much better than others. For those of you who are unfamiliar with sleep training, there are four main methods: (http://www.thecradle.com/bringingbabyhome/sleeptrainingmethods). I will explain each and tell you which method works best for A.

1. The Sleepeasy Solution

a. This approach was developed with an efficient yet compassionate approach in mind. In short, you might hear some crying, but you’re going to discover how to phase your baby into learning how to sleep.

Pros: You’ll receive lots of handholding and reassurance. Their compassionate approach soothes babies - and parents too! This program gives you age-specific tips on frequency and length of naps

Cons: You’re going to hear some crying. This method isn’t cry-proof, so prepare yourself for some tears, even if they’re only temporary. This method advocates for frequent “check-ins” on your infant while she is crying, so for the first few nights that the baby is adjusting to things, expect fragmented sleep.

2. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

a. Considered the infant sleep bible by many parents, this information-packed book was written by the renowned pediatrician and childhood sleep expert Dr. Marc Weissbluth. Parents (and Nannies) will learn about the deep-rooted causes of their babies’ sleep problems and find research-based approaches on how to correct them.

Pros: You’ll learn how to start sleep-training your baby as soon as you bring her home from the hospital.

Cons: While the author doesn’t believe excessive crying is necessary to sleep train, it is part of the method. So, parents should be prepared for some tears as they implement new “sleep rules.”

3. The No-Cry Sleep Solution

a. Pantley’s approach avoids agonizing nights of crying in favor of more subtle ways of teaching your baby good sleep habits.

Pros: This gentle approach will appeal to parents who absolutely can’t stand the thought of hearing their baby cry. Pantley’s plan works for babies as well as toddlers - and those who are bottle and breastfed. She gives specific instructions for each unique situation.

Cons: Because this sleep training is gradual, it means you’re not going to get that full night’s sleep you’ve been dreaming about - at least for a little while. Instead of the baby doing the work (crying it out), you’re going to be doing the work. Expect to put in the middle-of-the-night hours you need to make this solution a success for your baby.

4. The Ferber Method

a. At the heart of his system is the belief that infants should learn to self-soothe - a process that he suggests parents start between the ages of 4 and 6 months. In short, parents are encouraged to follow a consistent bedtime routine and then put their baby to bed awake, leaving him to fuss or cry for sometimes long periods of time, broken up by check-ins.

Pros: The Ferber Method has been praised by many for its efficient approach to sleep training. Most babies begin to respond, in some way, after the first night and many more fall in line a few days later.

Cons: Despite this streamlined approach to sleep training, some parents won’t be able to stomach the crying necessary for a successful outcome. Some children vomit as a result of prolonged crying. In the book, Dr. Ferber says this shouldn’t deter you from training your child.

These sleep methods work differently for each child, but a seemed to respond best to the “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” method. It was, what we felt, was the gentlest approach. We did try The Ferber Method, but the crying was a little hard to stomach, and after night 5, progress was not being made.

What I would love to know is if any of you had trouble with your young charges’ sleeping habits, and if so what did you guys to get through it? What methods have you tried? Is there a method you know of that’s not listed here?
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Please visit Megan's Blog at: http://minglingwithmegan.blogspot.com/

Flexibilty Goes Both Ways...

opinion 2 First off all Congratulations for the blog. I am currently a nanny for a 20 mos old and a 3.2 years old little girl. At this point I am having a couple of bumps with my boss.

She was mad because I told her i was going to arrive at 8:30am and she knew I was at the dentist appointment. As soon as she called I text saying I was still there and was going to call when i was done. I got at work at 8:50 and she was furious - also I request a day off and she cannot allow me since I gave her 1.5 week notice, she claims i need to give her a month notice.

I am extremely flexible with them, never leave at 5 pm but it seams the flexibility does not go both ways. And she also tells me I do not like her family, do not like her kids and we will sit down and talk - at the end of the day she does not even say a word to me and the next morning act as nothing have happen. I understand her frustration but also would like the to be more respectful and flexible with me (I work from 7-6pm most of days and if I am running 5 min late she takes it out of my paycheck) Once again thank you and I am looking forward to hear from you soon.

23 June, 2011

Mothers and Professional Nannies....

how do you handle
I am a nanny for two children. They are a year and a half apart. They fight all day every day and over everything. I spend 12 hours a day with them. I need for this to stop. I would humbly request your best advice for dealing with sibling rivalry. Issues include fighting, arguing, hitting, antagonizing, constantly trying to one up the other, not being able to sit on a sofa and watch a movie without some of the above occuring, not being able to keep their hands and feet to themselves at breakfast, dinner, lunch, etc. HELP!! They are 4 and a half and 6 years old.

22 June, 2011

Sand Box park in Penn South Housing

bad nanny sighting
WHEN/WHERE: On June 21 at 4:30 PM and at Sand Box park in Penn South Housing (8th and 26th behind gristedes store)
WHO: light haired very curly haired girl, about two
nanny?? -an older woman was probably 50s or early 60s. (see pic below)
WHAT: I am not sure who the adult is in relation to this child. The little girls stood crying LOUDLY next to the swing for several minutes and many of us nannies and moms looked around for her caregiver. Turned
out she was sitting on bench about 10 feet away. She didn't attend to child until I asked if she was with the little girl. I wasn't sure if it was a 2 year old tantrum and planned to give her the benefit of the doubt but the way she managed/dragged the little girl was definitely cold and rough. At that point, i didn;t feel the need to post this.

Later the little girl was fighting some older girls (i think they took something from her) and another girl came to her rescue (7?). The older woman with her didn't do anything, she sat on bench nearby. I asked the girl if she was her big sister, but she said no, the little girl was a daughter of her mom's co-worker, so it wasn't clear if she was a nanny.

SOOOO i do not know if this is a nanny sighting, BUT if this was a nanny, i would be a very upset parent (of course, that's no better if she is her grandmother, aunt etc...)
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21 June, 2011

Swimmer's Ear

opinion 2
Hi. I am a nanny and I love my job. The parents stay out of my hair and I make more than any other nanny I have met. I live in the basement of their home which is a walkout basement. I have my own entrance to come and go as I want. I have no complaints about my job except something weird to discuss. After the parents put the kids to bed, they sometimes go down to the pool or hot tub which is literally out my window, but I often leave the window open at night because the air is so nice. I better back up here, the parents I work for are hands on. I take care of absolutely everything during the day-playdates, appointments, shopping, etc but the second they walk in the door, I am off. Sometimes it is as late as 7, but sometimes it is as early as 5. It doesn't matter which parent comes home, they thank me and send me off. Many times I will just go somewhere right after work. My car is in a double car garage with a vehicle they don't really use, so they never know if I am home or not. On Friday, the husband came home around 530 and talked briefly about the day and sent me on my way. I had been feeling sick all day, so I didn't feel like going out. I didn't mention this but went to get my handbag and some books from the car and went downstairs. I took some tylenol and fell asleep, probably before 7. I woke up and I heard quiet noises outside the pool. I was too tired to even get up and use the bathroom. I just laid there trying to go back to sleep. I heard whisper and laughing. I think I heard the sound of glasses clinking. Nothing unusual at all. Saturday morning I still felt sick I woke up and went back to sleep. Around 1PM, I woke up feeling completely better. I got showered and went to go do some shopping. As I was backing up, my male employer waved to me and stopped me. He asked me for a favor. He said he had an important conference call to make and could I come up to main house and watch the kids for an hour and a half or so around 4? I said of course. I ran some quick errands. Came back. Went upstairs and he thanked me profusely. He went in to his office and I played some boardgames for the kids. In about an hour, he came back up and handed me some cash and said "thanks so much, ---(Wife)-- got stuck in --(city she travels to atleast once a week)----- last night and I forgot I had this thing". Okay, so I leave. I go back Monday morning as usual and everything is fine. He is gone. She is there. She asks me about my weekend. I tell her about being sick and doing nothing all weekend. We make small talk and she runs out the door. The same thing today, except they both left together. My question is who was in the pool/hot tub on Friday night. My mind says let it go, but I cant stop thinking about it. Part of me thinks I might have been sicker than I thought and imagined it all.

20 June, 2011

"Overparenting" ...discuss...

Afraid to quit?

opinion 2
I work for a stay at home mother with two children. I make good money and have great benefits. I don't have to do any housecleaning, except as related to cleaning up after the kids, which is not easy since the family lives in an expanive home and the children have more than any child I've ever even seen in movies. I do a lot of picking up after them and organizing their toys and clothes and books. The housekeeper washes and folds their clothes but I have to put them away. The children are also almost 2 and almost 4. The almost 4 is going to do a 1/2 day, 3 day a week program in the fall. My hours are LONG. I live in a gatehouse on their propery. I start work at 730 and work until 730 PM. When I first started, I was told I would probably never need to work that long unless she was out. I also babysit when they go out during the week. A weekend nanny arrives Friday at 7 and stays until Sunday night. When I started, I was told that she wanted a nanny so she could have one on one time with her first child. Prior to my start, she had a babynurse for almost two years. I am paid well and have great benefits. But, she doesn't ever spend quality time with her older child or her younger child. Ever. She told me she was having another baby (planned) due January. I had a feeling she might be pregant but my mind wouldnt process that because I don't understand why she wants another child. As it is, this job completely consumes me except when the weekend nanny is there. During her revelation that she was pregnant, her husband comes in and puts his arm around her and says, "she's going to count on you for some extra help and even some TLC".  I don't know if I want to be a nanny to three young children. It seems she increasingly relies on me to raise her two children and it feels so wrong for the children.  I think I need to quit, but she and even her husband are so reliant on me, I am afraid they could get nasty. My friend suggested I gradually start moving my things out of the gatehouse, just in case they flip out on me. Ideally, I would stay until they find another nanny. I would offer that. I am also going to be looking for a new nanny job in this area, but wouldn't feel right doing that until I talked to my current employers. I am also concerned as to the reason to cite for leaving.

19 June, 2011

Encounter with foul mouthed child has nanny second guessing her actions...

opinion 2
What is the appropriate course of action for a nanny to take in a situation like this?

I recently took my 6 and 7 year old charges to the park. It was pretty crowded and there were lots of children using the playground equipment, so I was very careful to stay close and keep eyes on the children. At one point a boy (who couldn't have been older than 6 or 7 himself) shouts at my charge : "Shut up you f***ing b****!"

I looked at the boy, horrified, and demanded he take me to his mother. He
promptly ran away. As soon as he did I realized there would be no real point in speaking to the mother. It would have ended up as a shouting match, possibly with more cursing from her. What would be the point?

I told the kids that what that boy said was unacceptable and purposefully foul and hurtful, and that they would be in huge trouble if I or their parents ever heard them say anything like that. They claim not to have heard anything, but you never know.

Was my course of action appropriate? Should I tell the parents what happened? If one of the kids ever repeats one of those curse words I will for sure be blamed, and explaining what happened AFTER the fact will sound like an excuse.

Mother takes on her napping nanny...

from the Stir... I have two nannies to care for my twins. Not because I'm rich and fancy and have one for each child (could you imagine?!), but because they work on different days and I have them both as part of a nanny share. I wish I just had one all week -- the original nanny we hired when I went back to work when my kids were 12 weeks old. Oh how easy paying her would be, how I wouldn't be forced to compare and wish the other one was more like this one -- but she's with another family on the other days.

So that other nanny ... well ... she likes to take naps. On the job. Read the whole article here: My Child's Nanny Is Not Allowed to Take a Nap.

Chelsea Waterside Park in NYC

bad nanny sighting
For those of you who love bringing your kids to frolic in the water at Chelsea Waterside Park as much as I do, I witnessed some extremely disturbing behavior by a nanny there Friday, (June 17th) morning at around 10am. This nanny took the 3 year old boy she was looking after by some of the spouts where the water sprays out, pulled down his shorts, and told him to go to the bathroom there! It was definitely her idea and not his, because the little boy seemed uncomfortable going to the bathroom there out in the public, yet the nanny kept patting him on the behind and encouraging him to go ahead.

I was extremely upset by this because my daughter Sydney and hundreds of other little kids splash and play in the this area all the time, and the way the park is set up all the water eventually flows together at the opposite end of the park, which is often turned into a kiddie pool when it gets really hot. When I asked the nanny to please not allow her boy to pee in the park, especially directly in the heavily used water play area, and to take him to the nearby Chelsea Piers bathroom or port-a-potty instead, she was extremely rude and responded, "It's not like we do this all the time, just every once in a while." When I explained that a lot of little kids played in the area and might ingest some of the water by mistake, she feigned ignorance and said, "Oh really? Kids drink this water?" Which was really beside the point.

I usually try to mind my own business, but the idea that a professional caregiver doesn't care that she's spreading urine all around a public water park is just not acceptable to me. I snapped a picture of this nanny in case anyone knows the family she works for and can please mention this incident to them, especially given that it's apparently been going on for a while. Also, outside of helping her boy pee in the middle of a public playground, she completely ignored him and her brother (around 18-24 months old, asleep in a grey double McClaren stroller) and pecked away on her iPhone the entire time. At one point the older boy was dangling by one arm from the climbing apparatus, apparently stuck, and she didn't even notice. I believe she's Filipina, and her two little boys were both light brunettes wearing shorts.

Stranger reports nanny's misdeeds to mother...

opinion 2
Dear ISYN readers.

I was stunned last week when a stranger with kids of her own approached me in the park to tell me that she'd seen my nanny with my kids several times over the months, yelling and generally being cross with them. She and I had never met but she told me that she thought I should know because as I parent she would want to know. I started to ask for more details - basically she says that she just "yells at them all the time." I was too stunned to talk more but have been mulling it over the weekend and I don't know what to do next. My struggle is that this just seems completely out of character for our nanny.

Our nanny has been with us for 2 years, taking care of my son and daughter who are 4 and 2. She's older (60s), raised 7 kids of her own (!) and indespensible. We pay her on the books, quite well compared with the rest of the neighborhood (according to her), paid vacation (officially 2 weeks but it ends up being 3 weeks paid), sick days, petty cash on the counter for whatever activities she wants to do during the day with the kids, $1000 bonus at Christmas, $500 on her birthday, etc. Raise of $1/hour this past year even though her responsibilities decreased a bit as my son started full-day preschool. She tells us all the time that she's happy with us, we tell her the same. I give this background because all indication points to a good working relationship and I have no reason to think she'd be unhappy with her job - she and I are very open about what she needs and what we need and it has always been mutually agreeable. She's not "perfect" in the sense that she has been a bit forgetful from time to time (forgetting her keys, or forgetting a diaper bag, minor things like that, certainly nothing that ever made me concerned for her or my kids safety) and after raising 7 kids of her own she doesn't do much running around on the playground, but those are hardly major offenses. If someone had approached me saying that they were concerned that she had forgotten something major I could buy that, but yeling at my kids all the time? It just seems so implausable.

So I don't know what to do next? I don't want to be an ostrich with my head in the sand if something is really going on but I don't want to overreact either. Now that I have a clear head, I wish I had asked this mom to describe her so that I could be sure she had the right person but she seemed to recognize my kids and we don't have any other babysitters so I don't know who else she would have seen with them. They do have a neighborhood network of three other nannies that all hang together so maybe it was someone else? I really do trust my nanny and to ask her about this conversation just seems so insulting to her. I would love any advice from ISYN readers - nannies and moms both please!

What do I do?

opinion 2 I am a current nanny of a wonderful and although we had our differences on some childcare issues- we got along rather well. I have been with the family almost a year. ( in July). I did sit down with MB and asked her about a raise on the anniversary date. I started with my charge when she was an infant and now she is a thieving and energetic toddler. MB told me she did do research and found what she thought was good pay. Maybe for a baby- but there is a lot more activity now as a toddler. The toddler only sleeps, maybe, less than two hours. I do housekeeping, childcare and laundry. I also take charge to classes and activities in my own car. That’s hard to do on $8 an hour (Michigan pay). So she told me that she could possible pay vacations now- um- how's that going to help? I take one vacation a year. So pay will probably not change- they current family says they have to be careful with their money. I understand- but why a new patio set and new odds and ends for your house?

I was offered a new position and now the hard part- telling the current family. I want to leave on a good note. I will truly miss my charge (she is an only child)- she has grown in my life and I want to stay in hers. The new position offers more money and I only care for the child.

The new position starts at the end of August. When is a good time to talk to the MB and DB? How do I tell them? I don’t want to upset them and only be a memory. Thanks for all your advice.

17 June, 2011

200 Fifth Avenue at 23rd Street - Manahattan

bad nanny sighting Thursday, June 16, 2011 – I saw a nanny walking down Fifth Avenue pushing a young girl, approximately 2 ½ year old, screaming her head off with real tears and her face flushed red because she had being crying for so long. The nanny was on her cell phone talking away. The nanny was African-American, (no accent), late 20's to early 30's, short, petite and had long curly hair with some rust highlights (to the shoulder). She was wearing sunglasses and had on a spaghetti top shirt that was a tiered ruffled type with white, tan, yellow being the color of the tiers. She was indignant. I approached her and told her to get off the phone (she kept talking away) and tend to the little girl and she used extremely foul language to me at the top of her lungs in front of your child. I won’t mention the words but they started with the letter “F” and many variations thereof. She said, “If you are so worried about her why don’t you take care of her then?” Nice attitude. I said that if I did she would have a better chance. This was peppered with additional foul language in front of her child. She was a nasty, vile woman and whoever employs this nanny should fire her immediately as now it is screamingly obvious how she handles your precious little girl. She does not care about your daugher and obviously does not want to take care of her either. I told her that I would never allow my child to be cared for by someone like her. Other people in the area (even the newsstand owner) were just as horrified. Poor baby. The little girl was approximately 2 ½ years old with light brown wavy hair. Her was sort of a bob style (chin length). She was wearing a dress or skirt but I was so upset that I cannot recall the details. I wish that I had my cell phone with me to take a picture.

The nanny crossed at 23rd and Fifth Avenue heading towards Madison Square Park with the little girl still crying. No attention paid to the girl by the nanny at any point. No comforting nothing. The nanny remained on her phone through the entire exchange. The girl looked at me pleadingly when I looked back. Poor baby. Be safe and God bless her and get her away from this wretched woman.

What is Nanny Professionalism?

guest column
Written By Mary S.
Why is it that unprofessional Nanny behavior is so very rampant in the Nanny profession? I think it is because Nannies, like many in other professions, do not understand what professionalism really is and how it can be an asset to them.

Professionalism has nothing to do with a salary or a title -- anyone can be a professional if they commit to it. Professionalism is the total package of attitude, speech, behavior, and appearance. Professionals are perceived to be a “class act”; people you can trust. They need not demand respect because instead, they inspire it. Insisting upon professional behavior makes them serious role models, not mean bitches.

You know how almost everyone you do business with (health care professionals, auto maintenance workers, utilities, contractors, government agencies, etc.) has some sort of written contract you must sign before proceeding to do business with them? There is a reason for that. It spells out expectations on both sides, and holds both sides accountable. It is objective and unemotional, clearing the path for professional behavior on both sides.

How to approach the concept of an employment contract.
They way you present the contract is equally as important as the contents of the contract. You DO NOT present it diffidently or with embarrassment, as something that you hope they will accept. Rather you present it confidently and with optimism, implying that of course they will be as invested in it as you are, and for the same reasons -- the establishment of and protection of a professional relationship with healthy boundaries.

If the employers intend that you sign and abide by THEIR contract, express appreciation for the fact that they have a contract and state that you would never consider employment without one. But in a matter-of-fact way point out that you will be negotiating using your own contract, which is open to their input but will be written and finalized by you. They sign, you initialize -- not the other way around.

Why is authorship important? Like other professionals, you are the one providing the service, therefore you are the one who dictates the terms of the contract. If you are the author of the contract, the parents will be more inclined to pay attention to it because: if your contract is broken, you will quit; if the parents’ contract is broken, the parents will fire you. Authorship=authority; authority=ownership; ownership=control of destiny.

These may seem like radical or even subversive concepts to some Nannies, but in reality they are quite common and unremarkable in the professional world. Because Nannying involves work that is very sentimental and intimate, it can be difficult to view it rationally and objectively, but it is precisely because it is so sentimental and intimate that professionalism is critical to a successful working relationship.

If the parents cannot handle all these elements of a contract with aplomb, they are not ready for a professional employer-Nanny relationship and you need to keep looking. In fact, the pre-employment screening is the most critical part of a Nanny’s career maneuvers... being able to suss out dysfunctional families before even agreeing to enter into a contract will prevent 95% of all employer-Nanny problems.

So pay attention to the nuances during an interview. Do NOT apologize, over-explain, or try to force-fit your concept of a contract over their pre-existing concept... it will not work. If met with uncertainty, calmly clarify; but if met with opposition or hostility, be confident in yourself, disengage, and move on. A healthy employer-Nanny relationship is truly a joy; a dysfunctional one lands you a post on ISYN filled with whining and ranting.

How professionalism can prevent job creep.
You need to step into every new Nanny job with an acutely pro-active attitude and razor-sharp vigilance. Once hired, remain aware of the exact terms of your contract -- it’s not just a pretty piece of paper, it is a document governing behavior; USE IT! When a special request is made, don’t immediately smile brightly and say eagerly, “Sure! No problem!”. Instead, pause to evaluate how compliant it is with your contract and generally do NOT agree to do it. Some parents have a longer learning curve than others, so you will need to be persistent and consistent, but the simple truth is that you cannot be taken advantage of unless you permit it.

Now granted, every professional must balance being flexible with not permitting oneself to be taken advantage of. You can bend the rules now and then but ONLY if you are strong enough to immediately go back to enforcing the contract after making it clear that you made a rare special exception. This is where a lot of Nannies start to dig their own hole; they may start out strong but once they bend the rules even once, they are reluctant to go back to enforcing them. Don’t fall into this trap; if you do, you have no one but YOURSELF to blame.

Another way that many Nannies start to dig their own hole is to say to themselves, “Hmm, it’s technically breaking the rules but I really don’t mind.”... only to discover that, once it’s habitual, they do indeed mind. You know how a teacher will say to a student, “I can’t do that for you, because then I’d have to do it for everyone else.”? Well that’s the way to look at job creep, which you can nip in the bud by saying “I can’t do it this time, because then I’d have to do it every time.”.

Now occasionally, a family’s circumstances will change and what the parents didn’t used to do to you, or ask you to do for them, will begin to become a recurring issue. There are times when there is a legitimate need to change the parameters of your job. If you are being vigilant, as you should, you will recognize this fairly quickly and call for a re-negotiation of your contract because that is what professionals do instead of whining, complaining, ranting, or seething while being passive-aggressive.

How professionalism can prevent emotional dysfunction.
How many times has a Nanny said, regarding a horrific job, “I stay in spite of it all because I love the kids so much, and they would be devastated to lose me.”

If this applies to you, then you need to learn what appropriate emotional boundaries are and how to set them. You are doing neither yourself NOR your charges any favors if you behave like a family member rather than a professional. This is why people in other caregiving professions are specifically and carefully taught how and why to set boundaries. Do you think health care professionals, social workers, teachers, etc., ever remain trapped in dysfunctional relationships because their clients would be “devastated” if they left? Of course not, and neither should the professional Nanny.

Setting appropriate emotional boundaries is not the sign of a less-loving Nanny, or a cold Nanny, or a Nanny “just doing a job”; rather, it is the sign of a professional Nanny who does not want to compromise the Nanny-charge relationship by refusing to acknowledge the respective roles in that relationship. If you handle this issue professionally, the children will be sad at your eventual departure, and will miss you for a while -- but if they truly are “devastated”, you will have left them crippled rather than empowered. In addition, you will have demonstrated your own immaturity by enabling a dysfunctional relationship in which your over-investment emotionally has compromised your commitment to your professionalism.

In summary.
Because Nannies are largely un-regulated, and have job duties involving what is typically viewed as the role of any random (but good) mother in the neighborhood, they’ve never really coalesced as a professional entity. Nannies have many obstacles to overcome if they wish to avoid the roadblocks to being treated as professionals, but the good news is that the power is in the hands of the Nannies themselves. This means Nannies need only be exploited to the extent they allow it, and they will be empowered to the extent they take charge. Remember, Nannies are a commodity desperately needed, not a service begging to be used.

Advice on Dealing with an Angry Older Child?

opinion 2 I am having problems with a very rude charge of mine. Currently, I have the best nanny job that I’ve had since becoming one. I have wonderful employers, one of which used to be a nanny herself, and I also get paid very well and they treat me with respect and sincerity. My ‘family’ structure is a bit different than others I have worked for, because I technically have 3 employers. The original mother that hired me is a newly single mom currently going through a rough divorce and has a 9 year old girl (L.) and an 11 year old boy (R.). Her sister and her husband live nearby and have a 6 year old son (B.) that I also take care of at the same time. Here is my problem:

The 11 year old boy is extremely rude and disrespectful to me, almost on a daily basis. I know he’s going through some tough family stuff and probably doesn’t know how to deal with it, except in anger and frustration. Not only does he not listen to instructions, but he says rude and mean things to me and I know he’s just eleven, but it still gets to me! I don’t lash out back at him obviously and I do my best to discipline him, but it’s just getting worse, in regards to him getting increasingly meaner and also me getting pretty fed up with it. Additionally, he is very nasty to his 9 year old sister, more than normal sibling rivalry, and to me is on the levels of bullying. His family is very well aware of the situation, and we do discuss it together. There have been threats of no after school sports, taking him to after school care, and even enrollment in a military style boarding school. These threats don’t seem to work, and I do keep his mom up to date on my daily interactions with him.

I’m used to taking care of younger children, and mostly girls at that. I’m not really used to such extreme levels of backtalk and I just don’t know what to do. Has anyone had to deal with issues like a rough divorce and rude, older children? I’ve been ‘given permission’ to be as hard with him as I can as far as punishments go, but it’s getting increasingly difficult, and honestly…his comments are beginning to really get to me. Advice?

The Nannying Pre-school Teacher

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By Nanny Megan
As a nanny, I have become obsessed with reading parenting books, preschool curriculum books, and any other book that is baby/child/toddler related. I have taken numerous amounts of Child Development classes, and I just can’t get enough of the stuff. It’s amazing that after reading so many books and taking all of these classes, that I still find something new to absorb from each lesson.

I wanted to share a couple of books that I use as a nanny for a 20 month old toddler on a daily basis. I try to make everything we do a learning experience. That includes outings, activities, open play, arts and crafts, and reading time.

The first book is “The Toddler’s Busy Book”. It is written by Trish Kuffner, and is jam packed with a creative game and activity to keep your 1 ½ to 3 year old busy 365 days out of the year. The activities are split up by subject and the subjects include: Rainy Day Play, Kids in the Kitchen, Water Play, Outdoor Adventures, Out and About, Nursery Rhymes and Finger Plays, Early Learning Fun, Music and Movement, Arts and Crafts, and Birthdays and Holidays. It is one of the most helpful books I have ever used as a Nanny. A and I have done quite a few activities from this book, and he seems to have enjoyed every one of them. They are activities that are geared towards toddlers, and they have modifications to gear toward your toddler’s exact age. For example, it will give you the guidelines for a certain activity, and then it will give you some modifications if you have an older toddler and the same if you have a younger toddler.

The second and last book is called “Toddlers Together”. It is written by Cynthia Catlin. It is a complete planning guide for a toddler curriculum. It’s activities are set up similar to the curriculum you would find in a preschool class room. There are seven chapters that are split up by season. This book suggest you introduce a new “lesson” to the toddler every two weeks, and it gives you plenty of activities, crafts, and field trips that pertain to the lesson you are teaching. A and are about a quarter of the way through this book, and have loved about 75% of the activities. The only problem I have with this book is that it is a preschool book, meaning the activities are geared towards larger groups of children. I am constantly having to modify each lesson so that it can be a lesson taught to one or two kids at a time. All of the lessons encourage language development, use of fine and gross motor skills, development of social-emotional skills, and pre-reading/emergent literacy. Each lesson subject has multiple learning activities, songs and rhymes, arts and crafts, outdoor play, and field trips. Although this book has its pros and cons, I would recommend it to nannies of toddlers.

To all of you nannies out there:

Do you guys read books that seem to help you with your job?

Which ones?

What do you like about them.

If not, why?
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Please visit Megan's Blog at: http://minglingwithmegan.blogspot.com/

I Need More Money...

opinion 2 I, a nanny, have been working for a wonderful family for the past 11 months. The only problem is I need to make more money. I nanny for a 13 month old who I love and adore; I will miss her wholeheartedly. Recently, I talked to mom about a raise at my one year (in july) she told me that they could not afford to. Making $8 an hour now has making ends meet hard. Anyway, I was just offered a position - making more. It kills me to think about this - but how do I tell the family and when. The position would start the end of August. Also, the new family has a current nanny who will be on maternity leave and wants to come back after 3 months. I don't want to be in that situation where I have to turn around and look again. What do I do? Thanks for your help.

11 June, 2011

Slide Park across from El Dorado Park in Salinas, Ca.

bad nanny sighting I want to submit a bad nanny sighting!! Thursday, June 9th, 2011 at the Slide Park across from El Dorado Park.

Nanny: approx 50 yrs of age, Mexican with black sandals and a brown velour sweat suit.. shows up w/ 4 children and a white poodle.

Children: girl age 8, girl age 4, boy age 4, & baby age 1 and a half .. maybe 2. Nanny sits on bench and starts chatting on her cell phone. My husband & I are playing w/ our girls and chatting. Next thing you know.. the youngest (no more than 2) falls from a 7 foot high play platform, flips in the air and lands face first on the wood chips!! The nanny is still oblivious. I run to the baby and scoop her up.. this is when the nanny finally notices someone is touching the baby! I wipe the blood & woodchips away from the baby's mouth and once the nanny gets close enough, I hand off the baby. The nanny laughs it off "Oh you okay mommy" laughing, she repeats this several times. The baby cries for about 5 minutes.. then runs off to play.. her face already swelling.

The dog is being hauled up the steps and thrown down a slide by the 4 yr old boy. The dog having enough, bolts toward the road to get away and ends up running in front of a car. The children start chasing after the dog much to my horror. The dog came back and even though the nanny was no longer on the phone.. the kids were still much too close to the road and unsupervised. After telling the nanny she needed to pay closer attention to the kids.. we had to leave or I would have ended up in jail. I called the police to let them know I was concerned about the children and their safety. Unless we witnessed abuse they could do nothing. I was informed kids fall off slides all day long and that does not count as neglect. I pray this baby does not have any internal injuries. I have no doubt that mommy will never know the truth! I see this all too often.. parents pay for cheap labor and the children are neglected!!

If your daughter is between the ages of 1-2, was wearing gray stretch pants w/ a diaper and has dark hair w/ a nanny who trailers the kids around in a red wagon w/ a white poodle.. you need to find a new nanny and fast! Your child is too precious to be left unattended at the park! She walked to the park, so I am guessing she lives between Target & El Dorado Park. BTW, this happened in Salinas, Ca.

Which Takes Precedence?

opinion 2 I have a little problem at my current position and would love some input/advice, both from parents and other nannies. Here's my situation:

I have been w/my current family for 14 months. The parents and I get along great, and we even follow each other on Twitter. I love their daughter w/all of my heart, she is the light of my life...the apple of my eye. Period. The pay is decent and they do not take advantage of me as some of my previous employers have done in the past. Sounds perfect, right?

Problem number one: When the father advertised on Care.com, he stated the pay was $15/Hr. My profile said at the time I charged $10/Hr, yet when I interviewed they stated they were offering $15. Well after I was hired, they told me they would be paying me $10 since that is what my profile said. I have had a few families pay me what they advertised, even though I advertised a lesser rate. For example, one woman said she paid her prior nannies $17/Hr and she would pay me what she paid her..regardless of what I advertised. Well, one day I was outside and spoke w/a nanny across the street. She told me that she was asked to be their nanny about 14 months ago (before they went on Care.com and found me) and she had to decline because of time conflicts. Well nosy me asked how much they offered to pay her and she stated $15/Hr!! My question here is..do I have a right to be angry? If a family advertises a certain rate, yet the nanny advertises another, then which rate should take precedence?

Also, they give me set hours each week. For instance, I am supposed to work Mon-Thu from 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM, yet lately the Father has been coming home around 4ish or sometimes one of the child's grandparents will come for a visit around the same time, enabling me to leave earlier than expected. Normally, I do not care, however when I get paid, my pay is docked the time I was let off early due to the Father or Grandparent coming over. Yet, I need to reserve this time frame for this family and cannot make any commitments to anyone else. Is this fair? They do give me notice, but it usually is via e-mail the night before. And lately the Father has taken off an extra day and I am not paid for it. For instance, he took off the Friday prior to Memorial Day so he could have a four-day weekend. They gave me two days notice, but I was never compensated for the Friday. Should I have been?

I would really like your advice on this guys! Thank you in advance for reading this.

10 June, 2011

How Do I Raise the Topic of a Small Raise?

opinion 2 I have nannied for a wonderful family for over two years and loved every second of it. I am writing to ask how to bring up the topic of a small raise, maybe $1-1.50 per hour. I know that this is standard in the nanny world, and that would be enough to convince most parents to say yes, but my bosses aren't knowledgeable about how most nanny arrangements work.

When we made up our work agreement, we didn't talk about what nannies normally do/earn, only what's fair for our situation. Everyone on all sides has always been very flexible, accommodating and kind. I'm just worried that if I tell them I deserve a raise because most nannies get one each year, they'll disregard it as irrelevant. They truly are wonderful people, this is just how they operate.

My questions are:
1. How should I bring this up?
2. How can I explain it to them without involving what's "standard" in the nanny world?

09 June, 2011

Starbucks on Central Avenue in Scarsdale

bad nanny sighting
Where: Starbucks on Central Avenue in Scarsdale
When: Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Who: Obese black nanny with orange, burnt looking hair wearing cotton track pants with three red stripes and white tennis shoes that were all white. Boy of about 4(?) with curly hair. His name might have been Logan or Keegan. (I heard one thing, my friend heard the other). The boy was wearing a green long sleeved shirt with a tractor on it, shorts and sandals. The boy urinated in his pants either while the nanny was at Starbucks or before. There is a bathroom there. She told  the boy there was no point in going to the bathroom "now" and he needed to sit still because she needed a cup of coffee to "deal with you all day". She looked to us for a sympathetic nod. I just looked at her. As if that was not enough, she was reading a book and sipping her drink. She kept telling the boy to "shhhhh and drink your water". We sat there for thirty minutes and she was still there when we left!
* The book she was reading was a hardback called "Schemes and Dreams".

Do I have the right to know?

opinion 2 I work through an agency. I have been assigned to a new family this summer as my current mother won't be working. This past weekend, I went to watch the new kids for an afternoon to get to know them and the house better. I was interviewed by the father and have only spoken to the father...never the mother. I was informed at the interview that it was very important that I have a clean driving record as the mother had a dui. Well, I finally met her when I went to see the kids this weekend. She was wearing a brace on her hand and seemed a tad off. When she saw her daughter and I playing in the girls room, she waved and said hi to the child as if it were her niece she isn't close to and not actually her child. The father apologized to me and said that his wife would sleep for most of the afternoon while he was out. I am not sure what is going on. Was there an accident? Is she on pain medications or did something get seriously injured? I am wondering if I have the right to know as the moms odd behavior may have huge effects on the 3 kids. The family, nor the agency said anything.

08 June, 2011

Extra Breast Milk for Sale

The benefits of breast milk over formula are well-documented and emphatically supported by the office of the Surgeon General. But how far is too far to go for breast milk? A new website is testing the limits. Onlythebreast.com,  lets new mothers sell their own breast milk by the ounce to buyers across the country. Prices range from $300 to $2000 for a month's supply, depending on the recency of childbirth, the advertised health of the mother, and, ominously, the willingness of the mother to sell to men for "alternative uses."
New mothers have tried to sell extra milk for some time on Craiglist. But Craigslist pulls such posts whenever they're noticed; bodily fluids sit between "Nonprescription drugs that make false or misleading treatment claims" and "Household pets of any kind" on the site's list of prohibited items of sale, in accordance with some state statutes. Read the full article with sample ads on the Huffington Post.

06 June, 2011

TJ Max at 97th Street - New York

bad nanny sighting I saw a nanny at TJ Maxx today at 1:30pm. The fire alarm was being tested so there was deafening noise. The baby was screaming and the nanny was about to get in line to buy a dress! I approached her and said she needed to get that baby out of there immediately. She argued but other people said the same thing so she brought the baby out.

The nanny was in her 50s or 60's, african american, I think had some sort of accent, short bob, red short sleeved shirt. The baby was (possibly) a girl and approximately 8-10 months old with a white dress and some plaid design on the top. She was screaming and red-faced. I have a baby too and couldn't watch this baby being tortured. I hope her Mom reads this!


How on Earth do you Discipline an Almost Two Year Old?!

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By Nanny Megan
Now that we are entering the ever so special “terrible terrific twos,” we have been faced with A’s new love for testing boundaries. No has become a word that just goes in one ear and out the other, which isn’t surprising for a 21 month old.

Over the last year, we have made sure to keep the house a safe place for A to run around and play. Every possible danger has been child proofed or placed out of reach, but that doesn’t keep A from trying to get to them. He has learned how to open doors, climb on things to reach items that are out of his reach, open up bottles/cans/containers, use remotes and telephones, unlock the car and open car doors, and the list goes on. Even though most of this stuff is child proofed, he still just cannot be stopped.

My questions is, how do you discipline a child who chooses to not listen to the word NO. We have tried lots, and obviously some methods work better than others. We have done time outs, which is the method that we are still using that has made a slight difference, but not an overly noticeable difference unless you are with A every day. His mom pulled the whole smacking the hand, which I am against unless it is truly necessary, ignoring the bad behavior, getting down to A’s level and explaining to him wrong and right, putting him in his room for 1-2 minutes, and distracting him, etc.

The question I leave you with is, what discipline method works for you? Which ones have you tried that haven’t been successful?
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Please visit Megan's Blog at: http://minglingwithmegan.blogspot.com/


Did I do the Right Thing?

opinion 2 To start things off, this is my first job as a nanny. I have two families that I work with and have been doing so a little over a month. We'll call the first family T and the second family S. I first got interviewed by family T who didn't call me back after a week. A few days later I get a call from family S for an interview. I made an instant connection with their child and they hired me on the spot. It turns out that Family T actually had wanted to work with me. I KNEW I wouldn't be able to handle two jobs at once and so I rejected Family T's offer. But once I found out that they were willing to work around my schedule, I relented and agreed to watch over their child, who I adored as well.

I have little or no problem with family S but I can't say the same for family T. Their schedule is completely off balanced. Sometimes they'd have me coming in at 6:00 in the morning, and then the next day at 7:30, sometimes 7 AM one week, and sometimes even none at all. What's even worse is that they would not give me my schedule until the night before and sometimes even the day of. There's been an instance where I was just a few blocks away from their house when they called me and said, "We don't need you to come in today." I've always been understanding of their busy schedule and had no complaints.

Now here comes the problem. Last week, family S has made me known to me that their child needs to be picked up at 12:30 tomorrow and I had it all set. Last Sunday, family T made it known they need me to come in Friday evening. I thought this works out well since I usually stay with family S just 3 hours. I could immediately go to family T afterwards. But my plans were crushed. Just tonight, at 10 PM, I get a text from family T saying that they need me tomorrow to come in at 12. This is the SECOND time that they've asked me to come in like this and the second time I've turned them down because of prior plans.

I've always been a passive person and saying no has always been difficult for me. And I feel like this being my second time saying no makes me look completely unreliable. Please be honest and tell me: Did I do the right thing? Should I have cancelled with family S instead? Is there even an appropriate way of handling this and if so, how? I will await for your answers. Thank you so much.


Traveling Nannies... What Should They Expect?

opinion 2 Question for all of the experienced professional nannies. What is it like for you when you travel with families? I'm currently on location with a family I work for - my charge just turned 1 year old and her parents are at a conference for the week so I'm here to basically watch the baby. I didn't really have any idea what I should ask for or insist on when I agreed to this, but this is what I have experienced so far...

I came from a different state than the family so when I got into the airport I had to get myself a taxi over to the hotel. The parents apparently forgot that a room key is needed to make it past security near the elevators so I had to call momboss who had to call dadboss and then I had to wait for him to come down and let me in. The room is a suite, 2 bedrooms, but the bedrooms are for the parents and baby, and the business partner who is also in town for the conference. There was supposed to be a pull-out couch in the living room area for me, but there's not, so I am sleeping on a cot next to the couch. When they said living area, I thought it would be an actually separate living room, but instead it is the area right next to the main door to the suite.

When dadboss told me about the problem with the cot/couch he told me that I basically had the option of sleeping on this cot, or they had looked into getting me my own room in a hotel right down the street, because apparently the one we're in is full. He then went on to insinuate how inconvenient it would be and how it would be a really big added expense for them, but if that's what I wanted they would do it. Of course I felt like I couldn't say I wanted that.

I was assured that I would have plenty of time to sleep and everyone would go to bed early, but it's currently 9:00, which is 12:00 our home time and everyone is just now heading to their rooms. Dadboss is still out on the town so he is going to come in at who knows what time and walk right through what is essentially my bedroom to get to his room.

They never really give me definite on/off times. Like tonight for example. I got in this afternoon, went out to lunch with the group, and then was left with the baby in the afternoon around 3. Momboss was supposed to be home in a few hours, as 5 be baby's bedtime at home, and she sleeps in the parents' bed and does not sleep well when they aren't around. However, she didn't get back until around 8, and baby (who is actually sick right now too) spent the time alternating between sleeping and screaming.

I'm sharing a bathroom with the business partner and I'll have to go through her room to get to it. She's very nice but I'm still a little bit uncomfortable with it. In the morning dadboss and the partner will be leaving by 8, so she'll be using the bathroom from 7-8. Momboss wasn't really clear about when she will be leaving, just that it will be sometime after them. I have no idea when I'm supposed to be on duty. I assume I'll get up early because of the time difference, and I have no problem being ready whenever, but I don't want to walk through her room before she's awake, and I won't be able to use it after that until 8 which is when everyone is leaving. So basically I'll be sitting out in the kitchen in my pajamas until dadboss and the partner leave.

I don't know, maybe it will get better. Or maybe traveling with families is never fun or comfortable. Does anyone have any insights you can share with me? I'd really appreciate any advice you can give me- I know I did a terrible job of laying out the job description before the trip, and I definitely wont make that mistake again. So what SHOULD traveling with a family look like?


Working Out a NannyShare

opinion 2 I am a nanny who has posted here before. There is a good possibility that I will be taking on another child in addition to the three that I currently work with. The two families live on the same road and our "home base" would stay the same but we'll just have another child. I was wondering if anyone has nannied for two families at the same time and could offer advice. The two moms and I are going to sit down with all of our concerns/questions about how this would work and I'd just like some input. What are things we should work out before this begins? The only things I've thought of are payment and vacation time/days off... I'd love any advice!


05 June, 2011

I Saw Your Nanny Chatboard

We have just finished setting up a chatboard. The registration is quick and easy. For this to get going though, we need all of you who voiced an interest in such a forum to register and start posting! Any suggestions you have, please share! We have set up a specific forum for nannies looking for jobs and employers looking for nannies; as well as other forums as suggested.

Check the board out now: http://isawyournanny.boardhost.com/index.php


04 June, 2011

Mediocrity or Specialist?

Rebecca Nelson Lubin
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In my freshman year of college, my assignment one day in my poetry class was to memorize and be ready to recite exactly half of the poem “The Waking” by Theodore Roethke. I dutifully went to my dorm room and studied the poem up to the halfway mark. The next day in class I stood up and beautifully recited exactly half of the poem. My professor said,

“Excellent Rebecca. Let’s hear the rest.”

I said, “You only said I had to learn half.”

My Professor sighed and said, “Well then Rebecca, welcome to mediocrity.”

When I retold this story to my mother her advice was more to the point. She told me to try and not live my life half assed. In my personal and professional life, she said, aim higher than the halfway mark. Do not do only what is asked of you, but always go the extra mile.

When I began my professional life as a Nanny, I kept this close as my code of ethics with my work. My agency had described my responsibilities for this first job as “everything related to the children,” that being, keeping track of their clothes, their toys, their school things, keeping all their play areas tidy and preparing them simple meals. It was easy work, and my first charges and I were able to spend hours engaged in games with very little other responsibilities to worry about. I had initiative however, and would ask my employer if there was anything else I could do around the house. When the four year old was in preschool, instead of taking a break and hanging out in a cafĂ© sipping a latte, I began to run errands. I became familiar with everything and anything my employer needed in his daily life. I learned to anticipate what he required before he realized it was a necessity.

“How did you know I wanted smoked salmon?” He would say, happily putting together his favorite afternoon snack.

By the time I had been employed for six months, he had handed to me over all the responsibilities for opening his summerhouse. I had taken a job as a Nanny but had become more of a House Manager, and was beginning to learn the skill set required for a Personal Assistant. Taking on these roles enabled me to stay gainfully employed long after the children were grown. I worked part time as a Personal Assistant for my first family long after the need for employing a nanny had come and gone. I had shown my first boss that I had ingenuity and that I was resourceful, and that I liked a challenge.

It has been interesting to me to follow the on going argument on this blog about the responsibilities of the nanny. As research for this article, I called three major Nanny agencies in three major cities. All three agencies had the same basic message: Nannies are responsible for ALL aspects of childcare, and that includes any work related duties that are directly associated with the children. Nannies wash the children’s clothes. Nannies wash the children’s dishes. Nannies clean up the children’s toys. Nannies scrub the crumbs off the car seats and the strollers. The Nanny changes the diaper pail and keeps the baby items stocked and in order. This is part of the territory that goes with the job.

Sue Collins, a placement consultant at Aunt Ann’s In House Staffing in San Francisco, one of the oldest (founded in 1958!) and most renowned agencies in the California, spoke to me at length about the process of presenting candidates for childcare for prospective families in the Bay Area. Her opinion is that the first and foremost important aspect of pairing a nanny and a family is the security that comes with using an agency such as Aunt Ann’s as her candidates are screened, have had a back ground check, have excellent references and are up to date on their CPR qualifications and have a proven clean driving record. She stresses that in the placement profession it’s not a one size fits all Nanny fit – it comes down to a personality match and communication with the family and that remains a priority above what chores she will and won’t do. Yes, she said, there are childcare professionals out there who will only do childcare. Period. And there are families out there who will hire these nannies because the expectations for their employment had already been discussed. However, Ms. Collins did point out that even when she places a newborn specialist, such as a Baby Nurse with 20 plus years experience, that employee would still tiptoe around in the middle of the night and fold laundry and sterilize bottles. Communication of the job expectation is always key. The priority is always the children, but the Nanny is responsible for the well being of the entire family. I have been placed by Aunt Ann’s for several - including my current – jobs in the Bay Area. Each and every one has had a section of my contract directly related to my responsibilities to the upkeep of the house. Let me be very clear here: I am not a housekeeper. I am, however, the keeper of the house, and beyond the immediate needs of the children I have always been responsible in every job I have ever had for everything related to the upkeep of the home, from running the dishwasher to running errands. And I love it. Personally I would be bored without errands. I asked Ms. Collins about the topic of “job creep”, that popular theme that runs through so many postings on ISYN. She, as a placement professional, saw it differently. She said that as the relationship between the nanny and the employer develops, so do the skills that the nanny has brought with her to the job. She gave the following example: One night the nanny cooks dinner for the family. The parents realize that the nanny is an incredible cook. They realize that employing a nanny who can cook for them is something that they want. The nanny realizes that in providing cooking, she is becoming an even more integral part of the household and that makes her a more valuable employee, and one with a huge bargaining chip in her next salary review, another notch on her resume for when she is ready for her next job and a glowing recommendation from her employers stating how she was willing to take up any challenge with a great attitude.

Finally, Ms Collins advised, it is key the beginning of any employee- employer relationship is to write up an employment agreement where expectations and duties are outlined and the family and nanny can agree upon them from day one to ensure a long and happy relationship.

I also interviewed an incredibly insightful man at a major agency who would only speak with me on the condition of being completely anonymous as ISYN is viewed with distain as a very negative website in the professional placement community. (Really? US???) He said that there is a huge difference between an employee who views herself as an “owner” and one who views herself as merely an “employee”. The nanny with the “owner” mentality will always go above and beyond her job description, always reaching to improve her job performance, with career advancement in mind, treating her employer’s home and family as if they were her own. Now I know there will be the naysayers on this site who will comment that there in no possible career advancement in the nanny profession, but I beg to differ. In 1997 I went from an occasional babysitter who loved children to a full time professional nanny. In the past 14 years I have never backed down from any challenge any employer ever threw at me, from arranging flowers to arranging travel, and my salary and benefits grew as my responsibilities did. In the five years at my current job I have moved from the simple role of Nanny to the numerous and dynamic roles of House Manager, Personal Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Project Manager, Party Planner, Vacation Coordinator and Concierge. With my latest assignment, obtaining auction items for a benefit my employers hosted, I joked that I could now add Fundraiser to my resume. Their response?

“Why would you ever need a resume again?”

I think that would be my main point here, in this country’s unsure economic nature, wouldn’t you want to ensure that you would be the only person your employer could ever imagine doing your job? I strive to be seen as an irreplaceable. So far, so good.

I did finally memorize the last part of the Theodore Roethke poem, and it has become a bit of a mantra for me in my life.

“I wake to sleep and take my waking slow, I learn by going where I have to go.”
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Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at http://www.abandofwives.ning.com/


Outings With An Almost Two Year Old

guest column
By Nanny Megan
As a nanny, I am constantly trying to find new activities to introduce little “A” to. We go on two education outings a week. One with our playgroup, and another by ourselves. Living in the San Diego area, we are never at a loss when it comes to planning activities. The challenge is planning the activities at a time of day when A is in a “good” mood. Asking a two year old to sit in a stroller or stay put in one area is like asking dog not to lick its but. It is nearly impossible.

There are times when MB will leave a list of errands she needs taken care of, which I am more than happy to do since shopping is my forte, but taking A out when he is not up for it is like entering the gates of HELL. You have to deal with tantrums every few seconds, hyper-ness, wanting to stand up in the shopping cart or stroller, tearing up stores, and etc. Dealing with this for quite some time with A has taught me to be prepared for anything.

Now, we never go on an outing without the ERRAND BAG. Similar to a diaper bag, yet it is filled with goodies to try and distract from the ever so frightening tantrums. In this bag, one could find a lunchbox full of snacks (crackers, fruit, sippy cup, granola bars, fruit leather, and/or string cheese), toys that are only used while on an outing (old keys, old cell phones, Elmo’s Learn and Play guitar, plastic dinosaurs, and last but not least, the coveted iTouch, which is used only for emergencies).

So after this post, I leave you with a question. Is there an item, food, or toy that you use only for errands/outings?
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Please visit Megan's Blog at: http://minglingwithmegan.blogspot.com/
Thank you so much for your patience Megan!


Calling All Nannies in the Center City Area

check this out Hey! I am a first time full time live out Nanny in Center City Philadelphia. I love my job but my charge is only 5 months old so it's very quiet. Most of my friends are still in school and I have not been able to connect with other nannies (craigslist, meetup, googling; nothings working). Could you direct me to where I could find other nannies to meet up with or at least to talk to? I have lots of questions and would love someone to relate to! Thanks so much! Kate


Summer Contracts

opinion 2 Hello, I'm a student nanny, and as such, the majority of my employment is during the summers. Last summer I didn't have a contract with my family, and that was something I really regretted, so I'd like to have a contract with the family I'm working for this summer. I've never done a contract for just a summer job, so I was wondering if anyone else ever had, and what it might look like? I have a copy of the contract with the family I worked with this past year, but I feel like the two jobs are so different that it barely applies. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Father's Day Craft Ideas?

check this out Hello Nannies and parents,
Fathers day is fast approaching and I was wondering whether any of you had any good ideas for making gifts for Dads with young kids (under 4) I had lots of lovely ideas for mum and we ended up making some great clay hand prints and cool cards but Dad seems to be much harder to think of ideas for. The Internet seems to throw me lots of ideas around the tie concept which is pretty lame.

I also wondered whether all of you go to the effort of making gifts/crafts with your kids for these kind of holidays for the parents. We made some fantastic Christmas gifts for mb/db and although I have a great relationship with them they didn't mention anything about it after the holidays but I am sure that they were pleased. Thanks for your collective wisdom!


Advice Needed for Potty Training: Part Two

Photobucket I just wanted to give everyone an update on how the potty training is going. I had a talk with the dad and we both agreed no more pullups, from the day she has started big girl panties she has had accident after accident. I have tried making her go every 30mins, even every 15mins, I have even let her decide for herself when she has to go, nothing is working. Yesterday was it for me, she pooped twice in her panties and didn't say a word, the second time (I didn't know she went) so I sent her to the bathroom to go potty and she ended up getting it all over herself and my bathroom. I had to give her a shower because having her clean herself was just making a bigger mess. I sent her dad a text to let him know what was going on and I told him that if he didn't get serious about potty training her, he was going to have to find somewhere else for her to go because I can't have her peeing and pooping everywhere. He tells me "big changes are coming, I'm going to take away all her toys and she has to earn them back by going on the potty". He is such a BSer, he swears up and down that when she gets home he puts her in panties and she stays dry. Everyday he asks me how she did with potty training, after I tell him the truth (I am not going to sugar coat it) He asks me questions like it was my fault "did you make her go every 30mins? was she playing? was she napping? Then he tells me "maybe she doesn't realize she has to go poop" Really?!? because you swear up and down she goes in the potty at your house, so she can recognize when she has to go at her house but not at mine. Doesn't make sense to me. He is making excuse after excuse, the other day he told me "well I read that a lot of girls are not potty trained till about 6 or 7" I wanted to say where the hell did you read that at?

So today, the day after we had a talk and he told me "I am going to take away all her toys" (which of course he didn't do), we decided on doing a potty chart. He brings me a chart with stickers and tells me every time she goes on the potty give her a sticker and for every sticker she gets a piece of candy. I ask him how she did the night before and he tells me oh she pooped her pants but went pee in the potty so she got a sticker. Then he goes with the whole "maybe she doesn't know she has to poop story" I don't get it, I don't think she should get a sticker unless she stays dry all day. He also brought her in pull-ups and when I told him I was going to have her go on the potty every 30mins he tells me "well she is in a pull-up so she can go every hour" I wanted to scream at him that I don't give a @#$% that she is in a pull-up, the whole point is to get her potty trained. I am going to try this method for a few weeks and if things do not improve, I am going to have to tell him to find someone else. I hate to do this because she is a sweet girl, but I have so much planned for the summer including outings with the kids and when she poops in her pants I have to stop whatever I am doing and cater to her because if I let her do it herself she will make a mess.

I will keep you guys updated on how everything is going.


Report Negligent Nannies Now


How to submit a sighting:
1) email isawyournanny@aol.com (with photo or video, if possible)
2) Leave sighting as a comment here. (anonymous)
3) Leave as an instant message using the MEEBO toolbar in the right hand sidebar of this ISYN page. (anonymous)
* All submissions are confidential and your identity is never disclosed.

INCLUDE THESE DETAILS IN YOUR SUBMISSION

Physical description of caregiver:

Physical description of involved child/children:

Address or venue of observed incident:

Date and time of incident:

Detailed description of what you witnessed:

Description of vehicle, bag, stroller that may aid in identifying involved caregiver:


02 June, 2011

Playground Thieves

RANT I was at Hippo playground Riverside park on 90 street in manhattan on Friday afternoon, May 27. Lots of nannies gets paid on fridays right? I leave the stroller next to the sand box and I sit down in the sandbox with my charge.

I put my bag that is stuffed with bananas, magazines, a sweater etc in the stroller so I can keep an eye on it. When I leave the playground I have spent about 90 minutes there. On my way back to the childs house I reach into my bag and realise my wallet is gone. Who goes to the playground and steal from other nannies? Do nannies do this? Do mothers do this? Has anyone else lost their wallet in the playground or am I the only lucky one? I lost about $100 in cash but I lost my european driving licence which is my main concern. I feel so stupid for thinking a playground is a safe place. Im stupid for thinking that people dont want to steal from me. So to all your nannies out there: hold on to your money!


Mom Keeps Interupting Baby's Naptime

opinion 2 I am a nanny for an one year old, whose parents are very involved... almost too involved.. mom works from home - she interupts naptime. Baby's crying because she is over tired or natually doesn't want to sleep... anyway mom gets her playing, reading books, talking to her - everything but her sleep time. "Oh, she's crying - she is not ready for nap". HELP!!!


Is MB Paying Nanny too Much?

opinion 2 I live on Long Island. My nanny gets $600 per week for 4 days per week. 2 days are 10 hours each and 2 days are 8 hours each. She gets breakfast and lunch at my home and i pay for 50% of her commute in addition to her salary. She gets paid vacation (3 weeks) and she does her laundry at my house. She uses my car to take the children places. She just asked me for $100 dollars more a week which would be $700. Am i crazy to pay this much?


01 June, 2011

Grand Army Plaza Stop in Park Slope

bad nanny sighting I was profoundly disturbed by what I saw while passing a park bench just outside the 2/3 Grand Army Plaza stop in Park Slope, right near Lincoln Street. A nanny sat using her cell phone between two small kids, who were perhaps 18-24 months old each and also sitting on the bench. One, a boy, dropped his red and yellow truck between the slats of the bench. He bent toward it, and the nanny turned from her phone to yell, "Sit there! Don't get it!" I went over and picked it up and said, "Here, I'll get it for him before you yell at him again." She laughed as if we were both sharing a joke.

I walked on but was bothered by what I'd seen -- nothing horrible, perhaps, but what were these kids experiencing all day? A nanny who ignored them and yelled if they didn't simply sit and do nothing? What parent would want that for their child? I walked back to the scene but the three of them were gone.

Thanks for taking this submission...