27 October, 2011

a day in the life 3 By Nanny Caroline
8:55am: Walk in the house, put my lunch away, greet MB and Baby, chat about what Baby has done since he woke up.
9:00am: MB goes to work in her home office after hugging and kissing Baby. Baby looks a bit sad when she leaves, but is quickly happy to play with me.
9-9:30am: Floor time. Baby can roll all around and can scoot backwards quite well. Still working on forward crawling. I encourage him to reach for things.
9:30-9:45am: I put him in the jumper. He loves that! I sit in front of him and smile and say "jump jump jump yay!"
9:45-10am: Song time. I put him in his chair and sing to him. He loves the ones with fingerplays best. He will smile and make noise and grab my fingers.
10am: Time for a nap. I change his diaper, put him in his crib, put on his white noise, read him one little book, then a hug and kiss.
10-11am: While he naps I watch "Supernanny" (love that show!) and have a snack. I check my email and texts. Do my homework if I have some. Write in his log.
About 11am: Baby wakes up. I go and get him out of the crib, check his diaper, take off his sleepsack. He grabs my face happily and makes noises.
11:30am: Baby is hungry so I take him to his mom for feeding. I sometimes need to take the dog out during this time. Otherwise I just chill and wait in the playroom.
11:45am: Mom delivers him back for solid food time. Sometimes she sticks around for a little nice chat while I feed him.
12pm: Clean baby up and change his diaper.
12pm-12:15pm: Baby digests and relaxes in his chair with stuff in front of it. He loves the pig best. He will giggle when I make it oink.
12:15pm-12:25pm: Story time. He is quite good at sitting now, and I sit behind him and put books in front of him and read them. Sometimes he just wants to eat them.
12:25pm-12:55pm: More floor time. We have a great giggly fun time. He is a very happy baby.
Around 1pm, time for another nap. Same routine.
1-2pm: While he naps I eat my lunch, relax, chat with mom some when she comes out of her office.
2pm: Baby wakes up. I go and get him and we go outside and sit on the deck for a few minutes. He loves being outside.
2:05pm: When we get back inside, Baby is hungry, so I deliver him to Mom.
2:05pm-2:15pm: Might have to take the dog out. Otherwise check email and such.
2:15pm: Mom delivers him back to me. We talk about Baby's progress in Floor time.
2:15-3:55pm: Same things as the morning. He is a wonderful baby.
3:55-4:05pm: He is hungry again, so I deliver him to her, she feeds him and he gets sleepy, so she puts him down for his nap.
4:05pm-4:45pm: He naps, I do some more homework, have a snack.
4:45pm: Baby wakes up. I go and get him, change his diaper one more time, and take the whole diaper bin and empty it.
4:45-5pm: One more song and cuddle time.
5:05pm: Mom is done with work, I greet Dad if he is home by then, and then I go home.

All in a Days Work

opinion 1 Would it be possible to do a poll and see how many hours a day/week nannies work? It seems like a lot of us have a long day and I just thought it would be interesting. Thanks for considering!
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Note to Readers: Although I am not doing a formal Poll, I thought some of you would be kind enough to report what hours you normally work. Thank you!
a day in the life 3
7:00 am: Walk in the door and head to the kitchen. Put my stuff on the bench, find a safe place for my hot coffee and I check the counter to see if Mom has prepared R and T their breakfast. If not I start pulling out cereal, yogurt, hard boiled eggs or fruit.

7:05 am: A very sleepy (and sometimes grumpy) R makes his way into the kitchen and hoists himself onto a stool and starts eating breakfast. Depending on his mood we chat about the night before or what he’s looking forward to at school that day.

7:10 am: Mom comes into the kitchen usually toting one of the babies and hands him off to me. We have a quick chat about anything important for the day that she might not have emailed me about the night before. She gives R a 5-minute warning before it’s time for carpool and she heads out to the car to warm it up, get seating organized.

7:15 am: I pull the baby out of their sleep sack, change a diaper and settle him into a bouncy seat. Give R a 2 minute warning and bolt up the stairs to grab the other baby. Back downstairs I remove the sleep sack, change the diaper and settle him into his bouncy seat. I help R with his coat, grab his backpack and gently shoo him out the door to meet mom. He waves and yells by to the babies as he’s off.

7:20 am: Get babies their milk heated up and dispensed into sippy cups then after handing them over to eagerly chatting babies I begin preparing breakfast and wondering when T is going to make his morning appearance. I spread cream cheese onto a bagel and cut it up, slice some fruit and get the bibs.

7:30 am: Babies are done with their milk and they are hungry! I settle each one into his high chair, pull a bib on them and hand out breakfast; autumn wheat soaked in milk and pears. They squeal with delight and I sit down to enjoy my coffee. T finally makes an appearance and settles down at the table with me to eat his breakfast. He asks what day it is today and what we’re doing and I remind him that it’s a school day and that after school he has a play date with his best bud. He lights up and then starts singing to the babies while eating breakfast.

7:50 am: The babies finish up, I wipe them down, and hand over a few toys and books to keep them occupied just a bit longer in their high chairs. I run upstairs, bump into dad who greets me and asks if I’d like a coffee, he’s on his way to Starbucks. I tell him no thanks I made a run on my way to work! I grab clothes for both the babies and T and head back downstairs to some anxious babies who have had enough of their high chairs.

8:00 am: I get the babies dressed while T races us to see who can get dressed first. He always wins since I have two babies to dress but he still thinks it’s hilarious every time. I place both babies in the play area that is blocked off so there are no escapees today and they happily crawl around and play. T joins them after a while and keeps the twins entertained so I can clean up the kitchen.

8:15 am: Kitchen is cleaned up, dishwasher is started! I check on the kiddos before running to the basement to get a load of laundry going. I head back up the stairs and join T and the babies in the play area. We sing the itsy bitsy spider and row row row your boat until it’s time to get ready to leave.

8:40 am: I pull the double stroller outside and make sure I have everything that I need (keys, wallet, baby toys and T’s backpack) before going back inside and zipping coats on the babies while T flips his on (a new trick, he’s so proud!) We head outside and I strap P and N into the stroller while T does a crazy dance to keep the babies laughing.

8:45 am: I lock up and we walk T to school. P and N babble the whole way there and T races back and forth because he’s so fast.

8:55 am: We arrive at school and T opens the gate so we can get in. I punch in the code to the door; park the stroller in a good spot and T waves bye to P and N. We head down to T’s classroom where he signs himself in and goes into his classroom. He waves goodbye and makes me promise I’ll try to be the first one to pick up.

9:00 am: P and N are thrilled to see me and we are ready to go home! We start our walk back but take our time because it’s beautiful outside and they enjoy being outdoors.

9:20am: We make it back home and I check diapers and put the twins into their sleep sacks and give each a snuggle before putting them in their cribs and saying good night.

9:30 am: I go back downstairs, unload the dishwasher and put away the dishes and then sit down for a few minutes and enjoy my coffee. Mom is back from carpool and we chat about the day and she gives me a few errands to run. She goes upstairs to her office and I head to the basement to swap out the laundry and keep it moving. Four boys certainly make for a lot of laundry!

10:00 am: I plug my phone in and turn some music on. I pull veggies out of the fridge and start to chop them while the water in the steamer starts to boil. I steam an assortment of veggies and poach some chicken for quick and easy and healthy meals throughout the week.

10:45 am: I have a few minutes of downtime and check my email, return some phone calls and quickly switch the laundry again.

11:10 am: I head up to wake the babies, which makes them unhappy! They fuss while getting their diapers changed and then go back to their usual happy selves. Back down the stairs we go and into the stroller to pick T up from school. N is a total chatterbox the whole way there while P takes in the sights and slowly wakes up.

11:25 am: We get to school a few minutes early, I park the babies inside and head down to get T. I chat with a friend and some of the moms while we wait for the door to the class to open.

11:30 am: When T’s name is called he bolts through the door and gives me a giant hug. We head back up to gather the babies who squeal when they see their big bro. We start our walk home and I remind T that he’s going to his play date and he is so excited he runs the rest of the day.

11:45 am: T gets dropped off at his friends’ house, waves good-bye and darts inside. I chat with the nanny and we determine a good pick up time and I say thanks and off we go!

12:00 pm: We’re back home and it’s lunchtime for P and N! I unload them from their stroller, check diapers and put them in their high chair. I quickly make lunch; today’s menu includes quesadilla, avocado, and applesauce. They scarf down the food apparently they were so hungry!

12:25 pm: After lunch is over I wipe the babies down, grab the diaper bag and N and load him into the car. I run back into the house for P, make sure to grab two pacifiers and head back to the car. We are off to a play date at the park before a quick errand for mom.

12:40 pm: We arrive at the park and P is babbling because I think he recognizes where we are and is so excited to swing. I see my friend J and her charges H and B already at the swings and we go join them. The babies are all settled into a swing and J and I have a few minutes to catch up.

1:00 pm: The babies are done in the swings so we load up our monkeys into the strollers and take a stroll around the park. Her kiddos are getting tired so after one lap we say goodbye and go our separate ways.

1:20 pm: We are back in the car and the babies are chatty! I put on some kid music and we head to the grocery store. It’s the first time I’ve taken them with me and once we get there I place them into the cart and they are so in awe that they settle back and take in the sights.

1:45 pm: With everything on our list in the cart I grab two baby food pouches and hand then over to squirmy babies who squeal with delight in this special treat. While the babies eat a little bit I pay for the groceries and load the food and then the babies into the car.

2:00 pm: Back at the house I grab P, tell N I’ll be right back and zip into the house. Up the stairs I do a quick diaper change, zip him into his sleep sack and kiss him good night. Back down the stairs and out the garage I grab N and do the same thing. Both babies are settled into their cribs and I have a feeling they’ll pass out fast.

2:15 pm: I unload groceries and mom comes into the kitchen. We eat a late lunch together and chat about this and that work related and then she asks about my wedding. We catch up a little more and then she’s off to pick up R from school and take him to soccer.

2:45 pm: I grab a soda and head downstairs to finish up the laundry and then head back upstairs to put everything but the twins stuff away. I check the time and see that I have a little bit of down time before T is coming home so I settle in to the couch and catch up on some TV.

3:15 pm: T is home from his playdate and hungry. We head to the kitchen to find a healthy snack and he settles on some yogurt and water. I sit with him while he eats and then we head to the back yard to play.

4:00 pm: T is ready to go inside and do some “work.” I find some Halloween worksheets for him to do and he practices counting and writing his letters as well as finding the right sounds. We then move on to play educational games on the ipad. He’s getting so good with letters and numbers! He now knows what every letter sounds like and seems ready for some more challenging games. I make a mental note to find some tomorrow when I have some down time.

4:30 pm: T helps me pull stuff from the fridge to get dinner started and then heads to the playroom to play trains. I slice and dice and have everything prepped for stir-fry and place everything back in the fridge so mom just has to cook it.

5:00 pm: I hear some noise from the twins so I head up stairs and find both of them standing in their cribs babbling to each other. Unzipped from their sleep sacks they get fresh diapers and we head downstairs one baby at a time. In their bouncy seats they get 5 oz. of milk and guzzle it down.

5:20 pm: We head to the play area where the babies are cruising around and playing with everything until we hear mom come in the door. T comes bolting down the stairs to talk to mom and I help her get the twins settled into their exer-saucers so she can make dinner. R and T wave goodbye and head out back to play until dinner.

5:30 pm Mom and I catch up on the boys day, run over the next day and she asks if I can stay late the next day and that Friday. I check my calendar, give her the ok and I say goodbye.

5:45 pm Kisses to each of the babies and I’m out the door and heading home.

I am really happy with my job and even though it’s busier than any nanny job I’ve ever had I love the kids which is what it’s about! (R is 6, T is 4 and the babies aren't exactly babies anymore I guess! P and N are 15 months and they sure are busy.) Mom and dad are awesome and I’m glad that we have such a great relationship!!

Nanny Needs Gas Relief!

opinion 1 Help! How do I ask my boss for gas reimbursement for taking her child to therapy once a week. I hate asking for more money and when she asked me a couple weeks ago to drive it didn't cross my mind, but now that I'm low on gas and don't get paid until next week I'm trying to figure out what to do.

24 October, 2011

a day in the life 3
6:50am: Walk in the front door, yell out a greeting to Momboss and Dadboss, if they're not there in the kitchen. Start making bottles.
6:55am: Grab whatever baby is awake from MB and cuddle while I finish preparing the morning feed.
7:00am: Set Baby1 up in a bouncy chair on the couch, go to grab Baby2 if awake - if not, that means I get the ease of feeding one baby for the next few minutes! Commence morning feed.
7:10am: Baby2 generally wakes up by now. DB grabs her and brings her out to me. I pop a bottle in her mouth as well and finish feeding both babies. Momboss is finished getting dressed for work, she comes out to the kitchen to make her lunch, we chat while I feed and she packs.
7:20am: MB leaves for work.
7:30ish: Babies are done eating. Commence burping.
7:45ish: DB is ready for work, he chats a little bit as he gathers all his stuff to leave and I burp. He departs.
7:50ish: Baby2 is passed out on my shoulder - she often falls asleep at morning feed. Swaddle her, turn on white noise machine and humidifier and lay her down in crib.
8am: Baby1 is drowsy and almost asleep on my shoulder. Swaddle him and lay him down in crib next to Baby2.
8:05am: Gather up bottles from morning feed, and whatever may have been used overnight, and wash.
8:15am: Let the dog out to pee. Convince him that baby blanket/burp cloth/toy/etc isn't actually his.
8:30am: Grab whatever I brought for breakfast, sit and eat while enjoying the Today Show on TV, then pull out my laptop and work on paper.
10:40am: Baby2 wakes up - I sprint in and grab her before she can wake Baby1. Diaper is changed, then I put her in the sling to have 2 free hands to make bottles.
10:50am: Bottles all ready to go. Take Baby2 out of sling and put her in bouncy seat, go to wake up Baby1 and change his diaper.
11am: Time for feed! Baby2 in seat, Baby1 in lap until halfway through feeding when they get burped, and positions switched - Baby2 always needs a little more convincing to finish her bottle!
11:35am: Feed done! Change diapers again (Feeding always means a huge poop!) and put them in clean clothes for the day.
11:45am: The weather is still nice at this hour, not 90* yet, so I load them in the stroller and we go for a very quick walk around the neighborhood - they pass out within a couple of minutes.
12:10pm: Arrive home. Transfer babies one by one into crib without waking.
12:20pm: Wash bottles again.
12:30pm: Free time. Play on computer, make lunch, etc.
1:50pm: Baby2 is crying. I go in and rock her a bit, then swaddle her and lay her back down. She passes right back out.
2:40pm: Make bottles, sit them on counter to wait. Let dog out to potty.
3:00pm: Babies are both still sleeping, so I have to go and wake them up for their feed! They're not totally happy about this, as can be expected, and scream through the diaper change.
3:50pm: Finally done with feed, which was very stop-and-go as babies weren't totally awake for it. Put each baby in swing while I change the others diaper again, then vice versa.
4:10pm: They pass out again. Swaddle them and put them into separate cribs this time. Restart white noise machine. Wash bottles.
4:40pm: Baby2 fusses. I go in and pat her back for a minute and she settles back down. Didn't wake Baby1, thank goodness! Throw in load of baby laundry.
5:25pm: MB arrives home! We chat for a little bit, maybe make fun of DB's procrastination tendencies - I'm very thankful to have a solid, friendly relationship with MB and DB this time! Generally, right about now Baby2 will wake up and MB goes to grab her. Baby1 will wake up in a little bit and they'll manage to stay awake until the 7pm feed, after which they'll have a bath and go down for bed at about 8:15pm, after which - if everything goes well- both babies will sleep through the night!
5:40pm: Kiss Baby2 (And/or Baby1, if he happens to be up!) wave good-bye to MB, and leave for the day!

Ditmas Park Area of Brooklyn, NY - This Mom Wants to Know...

alert Has Anyone seen my nanny? Older Trinidadian woman with very short hair and glasses. She is with my 13 month old baby girl in and around the Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn. We have an orange Bugaboo and we're in a nanny share with another 5 year old girl who has long light blond hair and glasses(sometimes). They spend most of their time on Marlborough road and near PS 219. Just wondering if anyone has seen them or her yelling at the children inappropriately. Thanks!
a day in the life 3
6:55 am: Walk in the door and greet Dad, chat about how the kids' evening was yesterday and wish each other a good day.

7:00 am: Start warming twin's milk cups and begin preparing breakfast for everyone (I also make myself a cup of coffee).

7:05 am: Get E out if bed, she will be more than likely awake and will be playing with a few stuffed animals in her bed. I tell her she's such a big girl for sleeping in her bed and begin picking out her clothes for the day. I usually hand her undies and she takes off her pull up and puts them on. She tells me she dreamt she was a princess and we both decide that a pretty dress with leggings will be perfect to wear today. E is getting really good at dressing herself but needs assistance with tricky clothes like leggings and socks. After she's dressed I put two pigtails in her hair and we head to the bathroom to brush teeth.

7:20 am: Time for the babies to wake up! E really likes helping to wake them up and walks in their room mocking my every word.."Good morning sleepy heads, it's wake up and milk time!" Their cheesy little smiles melt my heart. While I change A, E usually entertains K while he giggles through the railing of his crib. After A is freshened up and is dressed for the day, I bring her downstairs in the living room to play. I use the couch and a kid's sized chair to keep them confined in the living room. I head back upstairs to change K and bring him downstairs to play while E follows closely behind.

7:30 am: Give babies their milk cups and finish getting breakfast ready.

7:55 am: E comes to the table and happily welcomes her bagel, eggs, and blueberries. I place the babies in their highchairs and the feeding frenzy begins (bagel, eggs, yogurt, and strawberries). :)

8:10 am: The babies finish up, I wipe them down, put their shoes on, and place them back in the living room. While E finishes up, I start cleaning up and get her backpack ready for school.

8:20 am: E is done with breakfast and I wipe her down and show her the shoes she will be wearing. I'm so proud that she has mastered how to put her shoes on the right feet, thanks to my little trick. I hand her her backpack and grab a baby to load in the car.

8:25 am: E follows A and I out to my car and I strap them in, lock my car, and run back in to get K and strap in him in his seat.

8:30 am: We're off to school, the kids make me giggle the entire drive. E is usually singing her favorite song while the twins jibber jabber along to their own tune.

8:45 am: We park on the side of the street and I head to the back of my car to retrieve the double stroller. I grab K first and put him in the stroller, then I grab A. I wait to get E last bc I don't want her to have a chance to run into the street while I'm unloading the twins.

8:50 am: We head towards school while E and I talk about the leaves on the trees changing colors. We are usually greeted by E's classmates and E easily strikes up a convo with them. The twins love the walk downtown and are easily entertained by sightseeing. When we arrive at the doors, (it's a very short walk to and from the car) we use the elevator to E's classroom.

9:00 am: We greet E's teacher, give goodbye hugs, and the babies and I are off to head back home in time for their morning nap.

9:30 am: Once we're home, I check diapers and put the twins in their cribs, wish them sweet dreams and shut the door behind me.

9:40 am: I update the daily log and finish cleaning up the breakfast mess and start the dishwasher. When that's done, I tackle the kids' laundry.

10:15 am: I have a few mins of downtime and check my email.

10:45 am: I can hear the babies stirring on the baby monitor and head upstairs the recheck diapers and bring them down, one by one.

10:55 am: I start making milk cups and loading the babies in the car to get E from school.

11:05 am: I head to the school while the babies down their milk cups in the backseat.

11:20 am: Babies get unloaded and we walk towards E's school.

11:30 am: E's class is playing on the playground outside and the babies are completely happy to watch all the preschoolers run around, they even start giggling. E's teacher debriefs us about the morning and we then head back to the car so we can head home to have lunch.

12:00 pm: After everyone is unloaded and playing in the living room, I begin to
take on lunch making. E is a great big sister and does well with entertaining the twins. I even turn on the tv so theres lots for them to be interested in. A is starting to walk and I enjoy watching her wobble around.

12:30 pm: Everyone is at the table and eating, E has a PB&J sandwich, banana, cucumbers, and raisins. The babies are enjoying grilled cheese cut in strips, mixed veggies, and banana.

12:45 pm: The babies finish up, I wipe them down and check their diapers and place them back in the living room to play. I then proceed to clean up the lunch mess.

1:00 pm: E finishes up and heads to her room to put on a pull up and waits for me to tuck her in. I follow behind her, we do three rocket ship jumps into bed and say together "no playing, just sleeping". I give her a kiss and wish her sweet dreams and close the door behind me.

1:15 pm: This is the babies favorite time of the day! I sit on the floor and let them crawl all over me, we play hide and seek, and read stories. K tries to keep up with his walking sister but A wins every time.

1:45 pm: I start carrying the babies upstairs for their afternoon nap, give them loves and tuck them in.

1:55 pm: I unloaded the dishwasher and reload. I catch up on laundry and make sure the house is tidy.

2:15 pm: I make myself lunch and watch some tv.

3:00 pm: It's time for E to wake up. I head up stairs, I usually have to wake her. She's got her sleepy face still on while I tell her we need to take off her pull up. Sometimes she does it on her own, sometimes she wants my help. We chat about what she dreamed during her nap.

3:05 pm: E and I head downstairs and she has her daily popsicle. She watches her favorite show while I update the daily log and make milk cups for the twins when they wake. Her popsicle is followed by a dum dum's lollipop. When the lollipop is done, Mom is usually home.

3:30 pm: I chat with mom about the day and give E loves. She waves and blows kisses from the kitchen window and I do the same from the front yard.

22 October, 2011

When is the Best Time to Bring up Pay?

opinion 1 When using a website such as care.com or sittercity.com, if I am contacted by a family who is interested in me, but the offering pay amount that they have listed on their job listing is lower than I'd like (but otherwise the job sounds good) should I go ahead and tell them in my response via message? I typically don't discuss pay until a face-to-face interview, but I don't want to waste my time or their's by meeting the kids and going to their home for an interview if they wouldn't be willing to pay me what I need. Is it wrong to go ahead and bring it up, should I wait until the interview, or just not bother with an interview at all? Discussing pay is always somewhat awkward anyway, how do most people handle this type of thing? ~Miss Junebug

20 October, 2011

Dream A Little Dream Daycare, Waltham MA

bad nanny sighting I live just down the street from this small family daycare, and have seen children unattended outside on more than one occasion. Today as I drove by on my way home from work, I saw four young children (3 or 4 years old I would say) sitting in a wagon, and an additional child standing next to it. They were in front of the house on the side walk without an adult. I drove by, took a u turn, came back and they were still unattended. I snapped a picture with my phone. I hope that a parent from this daycare sees this.

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18 October, 2011

Loss of Morality and the Need to Respect Human Life

in the news 3 Horrifying footage of a 2-year-old girl in China being run over by two separate vehicles and left to die by passersby has stirred outrage throughout the country, with CNN reporting that security footage of the incident has led the nation of 1.3 billion people to do some collective soul-searching.

According to Shanghaiist, the two-year-old, who has been identified as Yueyue, was run over on Thursday outside of a hardware market in Foshan in southern China's Guangdong province.

Security camera footage shows a driver in a white van hit the young girl, apparently crushing her under the weight of the front wheel. The driver pauses briefly, but then continues to drive forward, running over her with the back wheel.

The following video shows more than a dozen passersby walk, ride motorbikes or drive past the young, bleeding girl without stopping to help.


(WARNING: Video is graphic)
TO READ THE STORY: CLICK HERE

UPDATE: Thursday, October 20
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2yo Chinese Girl is Getting Better - A two-year-old girl, called Yueyue by her parents, who was run over by a pair of vans in south China's Guangdong Province and ignored by 18 passers-by was recovering better than doctors expected yesterday, with slight feelings returning to her limbs.

UPDATE: Friday, October 21
2yo Yueyuen Dies - A 2-year-old Chinese girl run over by two different vehicles and ignored by passersby has died, local media reported on Friday, in a case which ignited public uproar over what some called the immorality of modern society.
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Our Prayers go out to this sweet little Angel...

17 October, 2011

Cutting the Ties that Bind

opinion 1 I am a full-time nanny for two toddlers, and I've been with this family for nearly two years - since before the younger child was born! We get along extremely well and I also babysit for other members of their family in my off hours. I make slightly above-average wage for my area, have pretty much dependable hours and flexible schedule, no chores or job creep, and get good bonuses on both the holidays and my birthday. This summer, I decided to go back to school, and the family supported me and altered their work schedules to facilitate my being able to attend night classes.

In January, I want to move in with a friend in a cheaper apartment, quit my job, and work part-time on campus, but I've never been at a job this long before, so just giving my two weeks seems rude. I'd like if possible to be available to help with interviewing and training the new nanny for at least a few days, but I can't afford to risk them deciding to replace me early or not giving me a holiday bonus because they know I'm leaving.

How much notice should I give? And is it polite to offer to help transition your replacement in, or is that more trouble than it's worth?

To Fellow ISYN Readers from Chicago...

opinion 1 I need advice. I have made the decision to move from NC to Chicago. I would like to continue being a nanny after I move to Chicago but I don't the neighborhoods (more like I don't know which ones are safe and which ones aren't). I know I want to sign on with an agency but I don't know at what point I should contact an agency since I won't be moving until June. What agencies are good ones for a nanny to sign up with? I have never been with an agency before so I don't know what to look for in one. Is it possible to sign up with one and possibly interview with families before moving? I am nervous about moving so far without a job lined up, especially in this economy. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have.

16 October, 2011

How Do I Squeeze Blood Out of a Turnip?

rant 1 I am a well educated professional nanny and I have many wonderful clients. I work full-time for a single mother with 6 kids. 3 of them do not live at the home. I am in charge of the three little ones. (4, 1, and infant). When I first spoke to her (the mother); I got really excited. I thought to myself (I am at $10 an hour), I have a mom that will need the majority of my assistance. I will get the hours I need and develop a strong work relationship with her. More importantly, develop a strong, loving relationship with her kids.

Now, I do feel for her. She is going through a bad separation and getting no support, financially. The house is trashed and with two babies; (one eats off the floor and one is crawling). When I arrive in the early afternoon (mom works afternoons to evening); dishes are piled in the sink, garbage and old food is stuck to the table and floor and is just plain disgusting. She is going through a lot.

The four year old is going through a lot, too - her dad abandoned her (and her younger siblings) and with her mom having to work - not spending time with her that she desperately needs. She is rude, "I can do whatever I want" (mom said I could do this) attitude. She has called me stupid (in front of her mom) and threatened to hit me (or throw things at me). She throws incredible tantrums. If I put a veggie on her plate; she will scream and throw it (mom says she doesn't have to eat them). They live off of mac and cheese, nuggets and fruit cups.

I need to drive an hours drive away to pick up her 10 year old twin daughters. That is fine. But I need to switch cars with her because mine is too small. This is 2 days a week (Weds and Fri) and each time that car is just like the house - dirty and just gross. The drivers mirror is gone and she made me drive to the tire place to replace an flatten tire (WITH THREE BABIES IN THE CAR). She also gives me the car on fumes.

Her daughters (the twins) are supposed to be with their mom on Wed and Fri. I pick them up (on Weds) and bring them back to the house. I pick them up at 5pm from grandma. I have only worked with her for a few weeks and I am already looking for a new job. She "pays" daily. I say that lightly. She owes me so much money. Luckily, I write this all down. She is just plain mean. One example is that in the last week; her 4 year old came down the stairs and at 9 pm at night (her bedtime) she went to grab a pop out of the fridge. I nicely asked her mom (still getting to know everyone) if she was allowed to have a pop that late at night. I may have worded it wrong - by saying she was grabbing a pop - is she allowed? Mom responded by saying (in front of her daughter) I don't want you to tattle-tale on my daughter - you can handle it. I need to leave.

I say all this - I needed to spill my thoughts.. I also needed to ask how can I get my money that she owes me. I know she is a single mom and not getting help financially - but its not my problem. I want to say that nicely. I am just angry at the whole situation. Any advise would be great.. Thank you.

Scrub Your Own Damn Toilet!

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

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

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

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

14 October, 2011

Huffington Post: The Mommy Wars

The Mommy Wars Continue: Relationships Between Nannies, Working Moms And Stay-At-Home Moms

"Hey working moms: I don't want to socialize with your nanny."

It's the kind of complaint some mothers might think, but never say to another parent’s face. And that's probably why those words were posted behind the safe anonymity of UrbanBaby.com’s message boards last week.

"I want to socialize with others whose job it is to be with their own kids. I understand, many women don't have that luxury or sanity to be SAHM [Stay At Home Moms], but don't force your nanny on me," another mom said, echoing the original sentiment.

A spray of back-and-forth e-venom followed.

"We send our nannies so we don't have to spend time with you," one working mom posted. And another wrote: "Get a life loser."

Intense? Yes. Surprising? Not according to those who've spent time researching nanny-parent dynamics.

(Please click above link to read entire article.)

Daffy's in Atlantic Center Mall - NY

bad nanny sighting I saw your nanny at the Atlantic Center Daffy's being very rough with a baby who looked to be about 15 months old. The baby was in an orange stroller and was squirming and fussing and the nanny was yanking the baby around. I suspect she was a nanny because she was black and the children (there was an older child) were white. Perhaps it was adoption, you never know.


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MISSING - 5yo Jahessye Shockley from Phoenix, Arizona

Photobucket The parents of a 5-year-old Arizona girl who has been missing for two days were not under suspicion and police had no evidence of a kidnapping, but investigators said Thursday they weren't ruling out anything.

Jahessye Shockley (pronounced like "Jesse") was last seen by her three older siblings around 5 p.m. Tuesday after their mother went out to run an errand. Police suspect the girl left through the front door of her home in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale.

If you think you've seen her, or know something about her disappearance, call this special tipline: 623-930-HELP (4357). You can remain anonymous.

"Keep Out of Reach of Children!"

opinion 2 I work for a great family. Well educated. Super thoughtful... but I am concerned about the children's safety.

Mom and Dad keep leaving medicine all over the house. They give cough drops to a 2 year old. And leave them out. The child recently finished a bag for breakfast because mom left it out. Ate 8! The kid got into the Aleve bottle recently. And then twice more.

Today I got here and Dad left the little 12 month old boy's medicine on a counter and the 2 year old brother got to it. Had about 5-6 times more than should!

I have told them we need baby locks to keep it out of reach. But they keep leaving things out! And no baby locks yet. I told them it will happen again, and it has, as you guys can tell by the examples given. This all over a 3 week period! I don't take the kids to the doctor so I can't talk to him. What do I do?

The weirdest part is they don't take medicine hardly ever, but they are risking their kids lives. I shouldn't have to run to the kids room to make sure they are still alive. And I don't think it's funny to see them giggle about their faux pas. Any advice?

Tips and Advice, Please?

opinion 2 I’ve done temp and part-time nanny work. At the time, I wasn’t fussy about salary because I was still working part-time at the school. I plan on only working for families with kids 5 and under as I am trained and certified for those ages, and I also enjoy working with that age range the most. I would like to work live-out, no less than 34 hours a week, and no weekends, for up to 3 children. I am having trouble setting my hourly rate, and I don’t want to charge too high even though I have experience, nor do I want to sell myself short. I also insist on being paid on the books.

Is $15 to $25 an hour too high for the Massachusetts/Rhode Island area? Also, what chores if any, should be a part of my job. I have no problem keeping up after the children, but I do not want to be the family housekeeper or errand girl. Lastly, what are good sites to look for jobs. I am already using Sittercity.com and Care.com Thank you, and any other tips and advice would be greatly appreciated.

What Would Be a Fair Amount?

opinion 2 I'm a nanny for my cousin and her husband in the Madison, Wi area. I have my own room and I share the guest bathroom. I watch their 1 year old daughter from 8am to about 3pm. They do provide my food (and toilet paper since I share the bathroom with guests) but I pay for everything else on my own. Currently, they're paying me $50 a week, I don't think that's even close to enough, but since they're family I'm a little scared to say anything without having something to back me up. Can anyone help to let me know what a fair amount would be?

Poopy Pants

opinion 2 Hi everyone! I have a rather common problem about potty accidents, and a rather interesting pattern of when it occurs. Now I am wondering how to resolve this issue.

I work in an after-school program with children ages 5-12. The school age children are divided into two groups: one group, which is kindergarten-2nd grade and 3rd-5th grade. Due to the size of the classroom, and the amount of children (specifically kindergarteners) that are enrolled, the kindergarteners are divided up between myself and my co-teacher. Everything is going great: I love my co-teacher, who is awesome, and the children are great listeners. I genuinely love this age group, and I missed working with them, as I had 4 year olds this summer.

This is my issue: I have a 6 year old in my class who poops in his pants. He had accidents last year during 4 year old kindergarten, usually pee, and sometimes poop. This past summer, I remember him having quite a few accidents with poop. Within the last week, he has had an accident (poop) everyday. This means that I have to stand in the doorway of the bathroom, which literally takes me out of the classroom away from the other kids, make sure that he cleans himself properly, and get on with my afternoon. I will ask him if he needs to poop, and he will tell me he doesn't. Yesterday was gross: we were outside playing "Red Light, Green Light" and when it was time to go inside, I smelled something as he walked past me. Once we got to the classroom, I sent him to the bathroom and I was right. Poop in his pants, again, and it was fresh, meaning that he had recently pooped. I cleaned him up, due to the fact that he had poop on the toilet seat from wiping himself.

Yesterday, I made a mental note as to what we were doing and what time he pooped. I realized that between 4p-430p like clockwork, he has an accident. I send him to the bathroom upon arrival to the center from school, and today I sat him on the toilet around 4p for 15 minutes, to see if he would poop. I checked the underwear, and sure enough, he started pooping in his pants prior to sitting on the toilet. I explained to him that poop needs to go in the toilet and not our pants. He cried while he sat there, and kept insisting he didn't have to poop, yet I also knew that if didn't sit, he would most likely have an accident.

All children have accidents, especially if they aren't potty trained. Some children have accidents because they are so engrossed in their play they may "forget" or not realize they have to go potty. So what exactly are you supposed to do when a potty trained 6 year old has an accident everyday? Does it frustrate me? Yes, because I have to take the time to clean him up, search for clean clothes, and baby wipes, which takes away from my class. My bosses can't come into my classroom everyday to step in for me to clean this child up. Secondly, I do not see why a potty trained child of this age should be having accidents like this. I have discussed this with Mom and Dad. Mom says "we will talk to him", blah blah blah. Dad and I had a conversation this evening, and Dad pointed out that change is difficult for him, so I am wondering if the transition from 4K to summer to kindergarten/after school care is doing a number on him, and pooping is his way of adjusting? I mentioned to Dad that I have him go potty once he arrives at the center, and that I sat him on the toilet for 15 minutes around 4p and Dad said that was fine. The other thing Dad suggested was that maybe he isn't going at school, at which point I mentioned to Dad to email his teacher, and ask if he can go every so often. The problem is when you ask this child if he has to go he will say no, then he has an accident. In other words, he has to be forced to go, or he will be changing his clothes.

This may be a dumb question, but how I do know that these accidents aren't done on purpose? I would think that they are not, however, this child does have a history of inappropriate behavior he thinks is perfectly acceptable and funny. I studied 4 semester of psychology and remember a term called Encopresis (I think that's how it's spelled) covered in Abnormal Psychology which is the clinical term for children over 5 years who poop in their pants.

I know it's part of the job, everyone poops. I am just frustrated about cleaning up a child who is old enough not to have accidents.

09 October, 2011

Bad Review Leaves Nanny in a Lurch

opinion 2 I have a question/concern and was wondering what the parents and nannies alike on here think. I have been using sittercity since 2007 to land nanny jobs and I have met some awesome families to work for on this site. I have never had issues with any of the multiple families I have met on here and am one of the top-rated nannies in my area. Last week, I corresponded with a mother who tried to basically nickel and dime me and I decided amicably that it was not a good match for us and told her I thought it was best I continued my search and she did as well. We never interviewed...we only corresponded via sittercity.

Well today I check my profile and I see that she wrote me a horrendous review and gave me one star. She stated that I was a flake, unreliable and was only interested in the money issue of being a Nanny, that I specifically told her I didn't even like children!! All of these are empty lies! I think she just is angry because I wouldn't work for her for what she was offering me...$7/Hr for two children, one infant and one toddler. I submitted a response to her review and tried to say my side of the story. I didn't sling any mud and was very respectful of her opinion even though I didn't agree with it.

My question to all of you is, as a parent how bad would ONE review in 4 yrs affect you hiring a potential nanny? I really depend on this website to find jobs and now I feel like no one will even consider me. Is there a way to get a bad review removed? Have any of you nannies been in this situation before? Thanks in advance for all your advice. I wrote the woman on sittercity and asked if we could talk it out, however I haven't and do not expect to hear from her again since she knows she lied.

Appropriate Gift Ideas for MB's Birthday?

opinion 2 Hi, I'm an afterschool nanny for a family and we all get along great - thank God! The family is super nice, and the kids are great... despite some natural frustrations. The mom's birthday is coming up next week, and I was wondering if I should get her a gift? She bought me a hoodie/pants set from Gap (like the soft sort of yoga pants kind) for mine, and the kids made me cards. She also is super lenient and normal.. Maybe I should just make a cake? I want to be nice but not inappropriate.

Thank You, MB

Photobucket Dear MB - I have been with your family for three weeks, and it feels longer than that. I wanted to let you know what a wonderful person you are, and that you are amazing. As a high matienence child turned adult with special needs, I remember the level of energy it took from the adults in my life due to my moving in a different direction than my peers. As a mother, you are amazing-the way you handle your special needs child with the gluten and dairy free diet, along with your gentle, welcoming personality makes you a pleasure to work for!

Although I am only there 4-5 hours one day a week, which is used by you to run errands, volunteer at the siblings' school, and have "mommy time", I love working for you. Things have been working out great so far, and I love your DC. She is the sweetest child, with her own unique way of communicating due to her special need. Today the goal of potty training was being worked on; I arrived this morning and A wasn't wearing a Pull-Up. I was so happy when she used the potty! I learn so much about her from the therapists who take the time to explain to me how to work with her and children similar in need. Figuring out your "high tech" washing machine gave me a laugh for the day as I pushed a button and waited for the cycle to start after throwing A's bedding in following an accident.

I want to thank you for coming into my life and giving me the opportunity to work for you. It has been an educational experience that I will always remember.

05 October, 2011

Library on East 67th Street, NY

alert Parents: does your nanny take your kids to the Library on East 67th Street, across from St. Catherines Park?

On any given afternoon, one finds at least a dozen nannies congregating there, chatting amongst themselves (loudly), while the toddlers in their care wander about unattended. You might want to have a peek!
beware 3 A nanny by the name of Amanda H****, recently working for us in the West Village, abruptly stopped showing up for work abandoning our newborn after requesting an advance in salary. Her cell phone has been since disconnected and she has not been found. If you hire Amanda H**** you are making a mistake and putting your child at risk! (Full name of Nanny is available if needed)
a day in the life 3
8:00 a.m. Arrive for the day and let myself in through the unlocked front door.

8:02 a.m. Dad and Big Brother are in the kitchen eating breakfast. Mom is upstairs nursing Little Sister. Dad and I exchange pleasantries and Dad goes upstairs for the day (he works out of his home office). I put my lunch in the fridge and chat with Big Brother about the storm last night while unloading the dishwasher. “I was thinking about you because I know you don’t like to hear those big rumbles!”. He replies that he was scared and that the thunder woke him up and he couldn’t get back to sleep; the dark circles under his eyes give mute testimony to this claim.

8:10 a.m. I remember from the note in his backpack yesterday that today is Big Brother’s turn to provide the food for snack time at his preschool. I see him about to wander away from his half-eaten oatmeal and peaches to go play. I say, “Big Brother, if you do a good job finishing all the things you need to do before we have to leave for school, I’ll let you choose the snack for your class and help me pack it up!”. He is psyched and returns to the table to finish eating.

8:20 a.m. Mom arrives downstairs with Little Sister and we exchange pleasantries. She puts Little Sister in her high chair and makes a cup of tea before going back upstairs. Little Sister cries for Mom. I distract her into giggles by placing a dishtowel over my head and blowing it repeatedly to make it puff out, then acting exaggeratedly startled when it falls to the floor. I sprinkle some Cheerios on her tray and begin pulling things out of the fridge and pantry to offer Big Brother some appropriate choices for his snack time selection.

8:25 a.m. I gather up the children’s shoes and jackets, restock the contents of the diaper bag, and click Little Sister’s empty car seat into its base in my car. Return to the kitchen to wipe off Little Sister’s hands and face, then change her diaper while singing “Hey Diddle Diddle” to her. Her favorite part is when I stop before the words “moon” and “spoon” so she can fill them in for me. Her proud grin as she does so just melts my heart.

8:35 a.m. Get Little Sister settled in the living room with some toys and check on Big Brother. He has left his empty dishes on the breakfast table and is absorbed in taping together a series of empty paper towel tubes with masking tape to make a telescope. I say, “Come on, Poky Puppy! Better brush teeth and get dressed so you have time to pick out snacks!”. He abandons his project and dashes clumsily upstairs. I remind him, “Oh, I love it when you walk!”

8:40 a.m. Mom comes back downstairs, and kisses the children goodbye. I am prepared to distract, but they handle the transition well today.

8:50 a.m. Big Brother has returned downstairs and picked out the snack, and we pack it up. I suggest that he use the bathroom while I put Little Sister in her car seat, cover her with her jacket, and give her a paci. Then I help Big Brother on with his jacket, buckle him in, toss in the diaper bag and tote bag of snacks, and we’re off.

9:00 a.m. I tell Big Brother I have a special surprise for him. (On my iPod I downloaded an app that plays thunderstorms like a white noise to help you fall asleep). I ask him if he would like to listen to a thunderstorm IN THE CAR EVEN WHEN IT’S SUNNY OUTSIDE! He is intrigued and agrees. I say that every time we hear a big clap of thunder, we’re just going to laugh at it. We enjoy this game the whole ride there, and he follows my lead: (Sarcastically) “OOOOH thunder! That is SO [not] scary!” (Playfully) “Yeah... umm... thunder? Maybe make it louder, I didn’t quite hear that!” (Mockingly) “Oh thunder! I would be scared if you could hurt me but you CAN’T! You are just NOISE!” We laugh and laugh!

9:15 a.m. I drop off Big Brother in a good mood at pre-school and turn on some Beatles for Little Sister to listen to on the ride home.

9:20 a.m. I stop off at Target to pick up some Q-Tips that Big Brother and I will need for this afternoon’s art project. I stop by the toy aisles and let Little Sister get out of the cart for a while, showing her the toys I think will interest her the most and letting her explore them.

9:50 a.m. We arrive home and I let Little Sister “help” me clean up the kitchen from breakfast and fill the cat’s food and water bowls. Then in the basement she “helps” me put in a load of cloth diapers. Back in the kitchen, I place Little Sister in the high chair and offer her yogurt and a banana. Hungry, she digs in. Eventually she loses interest in eating the yogurt but wants to “fingerpaint” with it... I marvel at just how messy this can be but enjoy watching Little Sister so absorbed and content.

10:15 a.m. I clean up the mess and take Little Sister upstairs to read a couple of library books. I change her diaper, give her a paci, pull down the room-darkening shades, turn on the white noise machine, and rock her in the rocking chair while singing to her. I love the warm heaviness of her deeply-relaxed limbs draped over me... the softness of her trust and the scent of last night’s baby shampoo... this is one of my favorite parts of the day. Occasionally she pats my arm and I kiss the top of her head. Finally, reluctantly, I put her in her crib and cover her up. She is relaxed and drowsy, and doesn’t make a peep as I head downstairs.

10:45 a.m. Down time! I get a snack out of my lunch box and settle in on the sofa with the baby monitor nearby. Time to check my email and surf for a while.

11:15 a.m. I rummage through the fridge to see what choices I can give Big Brother for lunch, then prepare Beef Stroganoff and put it in the crockpot for tonight’s dinner.

11:45 a.m. Little Sister is still asleep and it’s time to pick up Big Brother. I check with Dad to make sure it’s OK to leave Little Sister behind with him; he says no problem. I switch the diapers to the dryer and head to the pre-school.

12:00 noon I pick up Big Brother and we chat about his morning on the way home. I ask him if the children liked the snacks he picked out (they loved them!), who was the line leader (Jeremy), did they get to play outside (yes), what book did they read during story time (he forgot), what was his favorite part of the morning (he doesn’t know), etc. He is tired and has lost interest in the conversation and begs to listen to the indoor thunderstorm again, so we ride the rest of the way home mocking the rumbles. I enjoy his snarkitude and hope that it will help prepare him to endure the next “real” thunderstorm.

12:20 p.m. We get home and Little Sister is still asleep. Unusual. I gently smooth back her curls to feel her forehead but she has no fever.

12:30 p.m. I suggest that Big Brother wash his hands as I go through his backpack and post the parent-teacher conference request form on the kitchen bulletin board. I ask Big Brother if he wants some leftover chicken and mashed potatoes from their dinner the night before, or if he would prefer I make him a turkey and cheese quesadilla. He picks the quesadilla and after I’ve pulled out all the ingredients we’ll need, I hear Little Sister on the monitor.

12:40 p.m. Upstairs, I pull up the shades, turn off the white noise machine, and change Little Sister’s diaper while distracting her from squirming by coaching her to point to her eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. I bring her downstairs, and put her in the high chair with some toys. She is fussy and I know she’s hungry, but Mom will be home soon and will want to nurse her, so I distract her from a feeding.

12:50 p.m. I let Big Brother sprinkle turkey and cheese on a tortilla and top it with another tortilla. I heat the whole thing up in the skillet, quarter it, and serve it along with a fresh strawberry-and-grape kabob.. I ask him if strawberries are a fruit or a vegetable and am proud when he answers correctly. We talk about the seeds of a strawberry and how different it is that they are on the outside of the fruit instead of the usual inside of the fruit.

1:00 p.m. Dad comes downstairs, prepares himself a sandwich and drink, and disappears back upstairs to eat lunch in his office.

1:05 p.m. Mom arrives home and nurses Little Sister while talking to Big Brother about his morning at school. I mention about the parent-teacher conference request form on the bulletin board to make sure Mom notices it later. We chat about what our plans for the upcoming weekend.

1:15 p.m. I take the children outside for a nature walk while Mom eats lunch. Last night’s rain has resulted in damp and muddy grounds, and -- to Big Brother’s delight -- big fat worms on the sidewalk. Little Sister squeals when one wriggles under her touch. They both stomp their rain boots in every puddle we can find. Baths are definitely in the forecast!

1:45 p.m. Mom wants to update me on various details for next week, including a pediatrition appointment for Little Sister and a swim lesson for Big Brother. The children play in the background and I sense a conflict brewing. I excuse myself momentarily to ask Big Brother to gather the library books from his room so we can return them later in the afternoon, then resume my conversation with Mom.

1:55 p.m. Mom makes herself some tea, then says goodbye to the children and heads out the door on her way back to work.

2:00 p.m. I settle Big Brother in with a quiet-time video, take Little Sister upstairs, change her diaper, repeat the naptime ritual, then return downstairs to clean up the kitchen and eat my own lunch.

2:30 p.m. After Big Brother helps me fold the clean diapers and put them away, we work on today’s art project using Q-Tips to make a miniature meadow of pussy willows. He asks me why they are called “Q-Tips”, and thanks to Google, we learn that the “Q” stands for “quality” and the word “tips” describes the cotton swab at the end of the stick. I challenge him that if he can memorize how to spell “quality” and can spell it for me when I return Monday morning, I will have a little treat for him. He is all for it!

3:10 p.m. I hear Little Sister awake on the monitor. Dad texts me that he will change her diaper and bring her with him when he comes downstairs to make his daily afternoon cup of espresso.

3:15 p.m. I prepare guacamole and chips for the children and we play one of their favorite goofy games, “Freeze! Unfreeze!”, while they giggle and eat.

3:30 p.m. I ask Big Brother to put the library books he had gathered earlier into my car while I get Little Sister and the diaper bag loaded in.

3:40 p.m. We arrive at the library and Big Brother confidently steps into the elevator and proudly presses the correct button for the Children’s Section. We greet Mrs. W. (the leader of the weekly storytime that we attend) and she asks Big Brother if there is anything in particular he is looking for today. While they discuss his interests, I help Little Sister into the enormous padded play area with some books and begin searching for this week’s selection of books.

4:00 p.m. I bring Big Brother and Little Sister to the computer area and we are captivated by some “Arthur” computer games.

4:30 p.m. We return home from the library and I change Little Sister’s diaper while she “reads” one of her new library books. I read their new library books to them while sitting on the couch. This is another one of my favorite parts of the day! I am impressed when Little Sister can point to almost everything I ask her to, and I compliment Big Brother on his patience with her when she kept trying to grab the book for herself.

5:10 p.m. I update the daily on-line log for Mom and Dad to reflect what we did all day, then prepare for the end-of-day transition. The Beef Stroganoff smells heavenly, the children are content, and I am ready to go home!

5:30 p.m. Dad comes downstairs and we all say our goodbyes. I wish them all a good weekend, and head home.

Why Do Some Moms Avoid Nannies Like The Plague?

opinion 2 Hi ISYN, I was wondering if you could post this question to your readers (specifically the moms out there). I have been a nanny for over 10 years now and I absolutely love it! For the most part all of the families I have worked for have been wonderful (though there has been some "horror" stories) and all the children I cared for have been great and left an imprint on my heart. I love my profession and wouldn't change it for the world. But I have a question for all the moms out there.

In all my years of being a nanny I notice a common "theme". While at parks, playgroups, or general outings I would strike up conversations with various moms. The conversations start great but the minute I mention that I am not my charge's mother the conversations stops almost immediately and then I am avoided like the plague. It seems as though once they find out I am the nanny I am "beneath" them. Or just because I am the nanny I cannot carry out an intelligent conversation (which is odd because just minutes before we were having a great conversation).

Usually at the playground it seems like there are 2 groups: the moms and the nannies. The moms tend to clique up and the nannies do the same. I personally never grouped myself into either, as I am usually busy with my charges, but now and then I will strike up conversations with other adults. I know being a nanny is not about conversations with adults but I am just curious why mothers tend to avoid conversing with nannies. I do not take offense to it so I am not whining/complaining. I know I am intelligent and all around awesome so it's their loss for dismissing me. I am just genuinely curious why mothers tend to do this.

In my years of being a nanny, I even had mothers remove themselves and children away from me and my charge after they found out I was the nanny! I am then left with a confused child who doesn't understand why their new friend was moved to the other side of the playgroup to sit with the other mothers with children. It's heartbreaking to witness! I would also like to add not all mothers do this so I am not lumping all mothers in the same boat. It's just that a majority of the mothers have this "attitude" towards nannies. I've spoken with other nannies before about this and they've also expressed how they were treated differently after they revealed that they were not the mother of the child.

So if any moms out there have some feedback to this type of behavior that would be great! Also, I would love to hear nannies' perspectives/stories about this subject.

"Am I Cutting Off My Nose to Spite My Face?"

opinion 2 This might be too long of a story/question, but found your website several months ago and have enjoyed the advice of your readers for some unusual situations and hoping you can help me with mine.

I hired a nanny in January 2010 to care for my 6 month old son. She was the daughter of a friend of my mom's from her work who had experience working in a childcare center but no real formal training or nanny experience. She wanted to do a nanny share so we found another couple with a daughter about my son's age and we shared for nearly a year when our share dissolved on friendly terms because we had another baby and the other family was also expecting another. During the time of our share we paid $9 for hours that were shared and $12/hr for any hours the nanny just had our child. Most of the time she had both, so she generally was making $18/hr for 2. Everything was informal, no contract, cash under the table. No paid sick or vacation leave but if we cancelled or took vacation we still paid her our usual rate. I had planned a 6 month maternity leave so we parted ways with our nanny and my husband and I began mulling over options for care. When our former nanny found out we were looking into these options, she approached us about nannying for both of our children. We talked it over and decided to hire her.

When we put together our "contract" it was fairly informal, via email. It was basically that she work for us 4 days per week, 9 hour days for a "salary" that worked out to $17/hr for both kids. She wanted it to be "legal" so we paid our half of her taxes, paid an agency to handle the payroll, gave her 2 weeks paid vacation (one of her request, one of ours and both after 6 months of employment). Any hours over 36/week we paid her cash $15/hr (we did this because it made it easier from an accounting perspective and cost us less to use the payroll service to have it the same each time). We agreed that she would "accrue" sick leave at the rate of 5 hrs/month and if she didn't use it she could carry it over to the next year or be paid out at her hourly rate of $17/hr. In the year she worked for us previously she only called in sick twice.

A month into our contract she approached us saying that the money wasn't enough and she wanted to do another share to make more money. We discussed it and told her that until our second son was at least a year, we'd prefer to not have another child in the mix. She pushed back saying she was making less overall, particularly because of the tax issue (her choice, mind you...) We agreed that we could do a trial with another family but when it came down to it she wanted to find another family with kids the same age (note I said "kids"...she wanted TWO more in her care), didn't want to reduce the rate we paid her, and basically wanted to make $36/hr to care for 4 children. We put our foot down and a week later she came to us saying she'd found another position. She agreed to a month's notice because the other family didn't need her yet and we needed to arrange other care. The second week of our last month together she came down with something and took a week off. Because she had only accrued 8 hours at this point we told her it would be fine, we'd keep her pay the same, but that she could just pay us back for the hours by working a few extra days (I normally didn't work Fridays) so I could get caught back up at work after missing the week she was away. She agreed that we were "owed" 3 Fridays.

Come the end of our contract, she had an excuse as to why she couldn't work 2 of the 3 Fridays I requested, in her new job she worked M-F. I decided to write it off, it wasn't worth the hassle, and besides being a bit grabby, she had been good to our children and we would just consider this a parting gift of sorts and remain on good terms since my boys loved her.

Fast forward AGAIN and her position didn't work out. We had been using my cousin to babysit and are now again at the point of weighing options because she is moving back home and we are ultimately landing an au pair, but we need a couple of months to put this in motion. So she approached us AGAIN (my mom talks to her mom at work) and wondered if we'd want her to watch the kids while we wait for the au pair to arrive. Cash under the table. We thought it was a great option, figuring that she was known to our boys, would take good care of them, and we wouldn't have to train her or anything. Then she tells us that her rate is now $22/hr for 2 kids, and doesn't mention at all that she still technically owes us 2 days of work (although I never would have made her "repay" at this point, you'd think she'd at least take our generosity into account and not try to charge us $5/hr more than she was 5 months ago!!) I told her this was outside of our price range and she said "well, that's what you'll pay an agency if you don't hire me".

We are not sure what to do about this. I could use an agency for about the same price but the nanny I get would be a gamble. We are thinking that it will be at least 2 months before we match with an au pair, get the house ready, etc. I don't want to cut off my nose to spite my face, but I feel pretty annoyed at how much she has jacked up her prices and her comment about the agency. She's a good nanny but no formal education in childcare, she REFUSES to do any housework besides cooking kids' meals (won't even load the dishwasher). I just feel like it might be time to cut bait. Am I being unreasonable? I hate to be perceived as "cheap" because I obviously would invest whatever I could for good childcare for my boys, but I think that for her background, skills, and experience, she is asking too much. We live in Seattle and $22 is pretty high end for 2 kids, I believe. Many of my friends pay around $15-17 depending on age of kids.

I'd love some nanny perspective here!
a day in the life 3 Note the oldest one has something scheduled every day, so some of the hours may be tweeked, but this is the overall day:

3:00 Talk to the morning nanny, 2 year old may or may not be asleep
3:15 Greet the 6 and 4 year old as the mother brings them home
3:20 Run around make sure the 6 year old is done with the bathroom and does homework
3:45 Make sure 6 y.o. eats a snack and is ready to leave for that days activity, put TV on for 4 year old's rest time
3:50 Wait by back door for mom to drive her
4:00 Mom yells at me to get the 6 y.o. in the car because she is running late
4:30 Wake up 2 year old if she is sleeping by placing her in front of the TV while 4 year old is resting/watching tv
5:00 Snack time (fruit or gold fish)
5:15 When snack is over and 1 episode of sponge bob is over, bath time
5:16 2 and 4 y.o. ask for a "bath party"
5:16-5:20 Pick out new undies and pull up and debate whether or not to let them get their pj bottoms on
5:20-5:25 Make sure they both go potty
5:25-6:00 Bath time
6:20-6:50 Play time after they get dressed in their bedrooms (as I contact mother if she is bringing home dinner or not)
6:50 Either mommy brings dinner home or she yells at me for not having dinner ready as she brings 6 y.o. home - (why she gets mad at me for asking before she leaves is beyond me if she expects me to make something)
6:55-720 Dinner time as mom goes out
720-730 Quick clean up, do dishes and sweep the floor
7:35-7:40 Pick out all the kids pjs and have them get dressed as I am running around to get 6 y.o. in bath (and ask the 2 and 4 year old if they wanna play with tinker toys or play in their rooms for individual play time)
7:45 Talk to 6 y.o. about her day and what she has learned while explaining how its almost bed time and she needs to hurry up a bit because we have to blow out her hair (she is a procrastinator)
7:50 Done with bath and clean up bathroom a bit
8:00 Realize 6 y.o. isn't listening and tell her she has 5 mins to get dressed or else I will take her video games away
8:00-8:05 Check to see if 6 y.o. did ALL OF HER HOMEWORK and is ready for school the next day
8:05-8:10 Blow out 6 y.o.'s hair and have her brush her hair
8:15 Yell at 6 y.o. to get brush out of her mouth and stop chewing on everything and give her sometime to chew on
8:20 Quiet time (read stories, individual play)
8:20-8:25 Brush teeth and Potty Races!!!
8:25;830 Get their ice waters ready
8:30 Bed time! Lights dim as we wait for mommy to return
8:45 Lights off! as I stay in their room
9:15 Mommy returns (sometimes the kids are sleeping, other times they are not)
9:15 Do last minute dishes or sweep the floor if it needs it, leave for the next day!

02 October, 2011

"Show Me Some Respect, I have a Life, too!"

opinion 2 Hello! I just found this blog when searching for advice about my current job. I've loved reading the stories on there and would now like to ask for some advice of my own.

I have worked as a part-time nanny for the past 6+ years while I was in college. I graduated last year and at the beginning of this year took my first full-time nanny job. At first everything seemed to be working out great. I got along great with the parents, and I only had to take care of 1 child -- a few week old infant. When I started the job, we had agreed that I would do chores that pertained to the baby; her laundry and her dishes, and tidy up any toys we use, etc. The baby slept a lot, as newborns do, so I would also occasionally load/unload the dishwasher, vacuum and mop just to be nice. When they hired me, they said that my hours would be from 7:30am until no later than 5:30, but on most days it would be 3:30 (which would be a standard 8hour day) or 4:00. Also, I should note, that I get paid by the DAY, not the hour. At first this was all fine... I typically got off at 3:30 or 4:00, they seemed very appreciative of everything I did, including the extra house work (although never got any extra compensation, but I wasn't looking for that). After a few month "trial" period, they agreed to give me 5 paid vacation days --my only benefits.

As time went on, they started upping my responsibilities, leaving me a list of things to do like vacuum and mop and unload the dishwasher as if it was now EXPECTED of me, with no additional pay. They have me drive the baby to and from doctor's appointments (which is almost an hour round trip) with no compensation for gas. And my hours have gotten longer and longer... it is 5, 5:30 or sometimes even 6 before i get off most days now. Granted, we agreed to no later than 5:30 (and later than that has only happened maybe 3 times), but even when I work til 5:30 it is a 10 hour day and my hourly pay only comes out to barely over $7, BEFORE taxes.

It really all started going crazy about 3 months ago. After 6 months of working for them, I decided to go back to school to further my education, something they had said they would support me in if I should ever decide to do so. I gave them as much notice as possible (about a month) when I decided to take 1 summer class this summer. They seemed supportive of this and were able to get some relatives to watch the baby during my class. The class caused me to take 2 half days per week, resulting in the loss of one day of pay per week, which was tight but I was able to budget for it. When I decided to take a summer class I also knew that I would be taking classes this fall semester. I told the mother upfront, back in JUNE, that I would be taking classes this fall and that I would do everything I could to take them in the evening or online so they didn't interfere with my work schedule but that she should possibly look for a back-up just in case (since the same relatives would be unable to watch the baby in the fall). She still seemed supportive and everything was fine.... until August. Come August when I finally get my school schedule... I guess she didn't really believe it was going to happen or something. Only one of my two classes interferes with my work schedule, but there was nothing I could do about it. It's the only time the class was offered and it's mandatory. Well, the mom throws a fit on me! She was constantly onto me about changing my schedule to accommodate her, asking me to wait and take it next semester (which wouldn't work) even going to far as to ask me "Well, WHAT are you going to do if I can't find anyone to watch my child during your class?" in a very rude and condescending tone, like I owed her something and that it was my problem to fix. Okay, I get that it is an inconvenience, but I gave her 3 months notice to find a backup!!.

There have been all kinds of other just little things that have been happening that I feel are unfair. Like, in the beginning on the days she didn't have to be at work as early, she would just have me come in at 8:00... now when I ask about that, she says that she still needs me to come at 7:30. So, whatever, that's fine, it is our agreed upon start time. I understand having me come in and even if she's not ready to walk out the door immediately, as long as she's getting ready and I'm actually taking care of the baby I can understand it. But on more than one occasion in just the past 3 weeks, she has had me come in at 7:30 and she's still in her PAJAMAS. Doesn't even START getting ready to leave until 8:30 or 9.... during which time I do absolutely NOTHING for the baby. Mom feeds her, changes her and everything. So I basically just sit there for an hour and a half when I could have been at home doing things that pertain to my own life... it just makes me feel very disrespected and taken advantage of. And I bet you a hundred bucks if I was paid hourly this would not happen!!! Same thing happens in the afternoon too, Mom gets home right when baby goes down for a nap but still makes me stay there for over an hour while she piddles around her house. I could understand it if she came home and worked but she doesn't.. she puts on her PJ's and lounges. It's like show me some respect, I have a life too!!!

One more thing (sorry this is getting long!!) With my current class schedule, I watch the baby 3 full days a week at my normal daily pay, and 2 half days. On the 1/2 days I drop her off somewhere else at 12:45... so I have her 7:30-12:45 which is over 5 hours!! However, I only get paid HALF of my normal daily pay, which I don't think is fair. 5 hours is more than a half day right?! Also, I took my vacation a few weeks ago and was only paid for 4 days instead of 5. I was not told beforehand that this would happen. When I asked about it I was told it was because I only work part-time now.. she said, "WELL, ugh, it was YOUR decision to work less right?" in a rude tone. However, even though at a MINIMUM, I work 37 hours a week for them. I know it is not 40, but it is far from part-time!! Even if they were going to take away a vacation day, I feel that they should have given me some notice! I was not able to budget for the loss of that money and at only $6/hr after taxes, every dang penny goes somewhere! The other thing that drives me crazy about vacation days is I only get 5 (or 4)... for everything. No paid holidays, no paid time off if THEY take a day off... and they like to take off a holiday plus 1 or 2 more days, which has left me with 2 or 3 days less pay some weeks which I just can't afford.

I get that they're a family, not a company so I am not looking for health insurance and other benefits like that, but I have to make a living too, right?? Basically, my hourly pay is less than $8/hr right now ($6-ish after taxes), and I want to ask for a raise and bring up the vacation day situation because I feel it was unfair. I have another family that has offered me a job but they don't know WHEN it starts yet. Pay is $15/hr!!! You better believe that I am taking that the second she tells me it's a done deal. I want to bring this up with my current family and tell them I have other families pursuing me offering to pay more, but I'm scared that they may fire me on the spot (although I really doubt she will because she keeps saying she needs TWO MONTHS notice for my spring class schedule so she can find someone good to watch the kid, so it seems like she doesn't have anyone else) but I can't afford to not have a job at all. But at the same time I feel very taken advantage of and disrespected and maybe if they feel like someone else is offering me something better they will treat me better? I just don't know how to bring all of this up without sounding greedy or jeopardizing my job. Any advice??