29 November, 2011

Ill-mannered Mom Illuminates Nanny

opinion dec
Am I wrong? I got an email from a babysitting site from a mother interested in my services. She wanted to know if my price was set in stone. I charge $15 an hour. She wanted to know if I would come down some since it was only for one 5 month old and I'd only be expected to take her to story and music a couple of times a week. She also wanted to know if I'd do household chores such as sweeping, family laundry, dusting, and dishes. I wrote back and politely told her my rate was firm and included caring for the baby, washing her dishes/bottles, doing her laundry, keeping her room clean, and picking up after her toys. Additional duties could be discussed for an additional rate. She wrote back calling me a greedy couch potato, saying I was only in it for the money, and that many families are on a budget and I should be mindful of that in my fee. I have not responded yet. I don't think I should dignify her with a response.

27 November, 2011

2 Bad Nannies: Chase Park and Lapsit Story Time at Bezazian Library, Chicago

BAD nanny sighting 2012
Hello, I've been reading this site for a month now, and I love it! I am currently a nanny for a wonderful, beautiful 11 month old boy in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. My charge and I like to go on walks and to the park frequently, so we see many things.

1st Incident: We are at Chase park often, and on Monday 11/21, we saw something awful. My charge was in a baby swing having the time of his life when a nanny walked in, talking on her cell phone. The whole 40 minutes we were there, it never left her ear. I believe the nanny was polish, because I live in a polish neighborhood and recognized a few words. One child was a few years old, maybe three. She had pink pants on and a pink puffy coat. There was also a baby, maybe six months old, in a Maclaren stroller. She had an adorable green full-body coat and a pink hat. I thought the nanny's phone was a problem until I saw the events that unfolded next. The nanny had been walking aimlessly with the stroller until she spotted the older girl by one of the shorter slides. She yelled at her with a very harsh tone. She said "I told you to stay off the equipment!" It's my feeling that she just didn't want to watch the child. I felt terrible. At that point, I sat with my charge on an adult swing. The nanny pushed the stroller over to the swings and told the older girl to get on and told her to stay there. She then walked all the way over to the picnic tables by the entrance and parked herself and her phone down. While the infant was still by the swings. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it a nanny's job to engage children in play, and watch them at all times?

2nd Incident: My charge and I also love going to Lapsit Story Time on Thursdays at Bezazian Library. The first time we were there, we encountered a nanny, whom I do not know the name of. She sat next to me, with her charge, Jasper. Jasper is just adorable. My charge crawled right up to his stroller and would not stop smiling at him. After the Story Time, Jasper's nanny turned to me and made small talk. Then she asked me "Do you like his (meaning my charge's) parents?" I told her yes, I love them. (They really are amazing. We have so much in common and they're the sweetest, most thoughtful people). She seemed a little disappointed at my response, but went on to complain about her family. She complained to me for 10 minutes while I was trying to tend to my charge. (He had now begun stealing puppets from children). What really got me angry however, was the end of this one way conversation. She began making remarks about her charge's weight. Saying his parents feed him too much and she said he's not cute. (He's actually adorable). She began making jokes about his weight. Soon, Jasper began crying. She threw him in the stroller. She was so rough. He cried even harder. If my charge was crying, I would be there to comfort him. This incident happened the Thursday before Halloween, on 10/27. I know I'm late with this, but I've been debating whether or not to send it in. I decided I should last Thursday, when she had found another nanny to complain to.

Update: Catty Cop

This is the OP from the post listed here: http://isawyournanny.blogspot.com/2011/09/catty-cop-is-causing-chaos-for-nanny.html#links

I just wanted to update everyone on the situation. I sent numerous texts (all saved/screenshot) to my former boss (FB from this point on, just to save time) and did not receive responses. Because my actual payday would have been October 1st, I decided to give her until October 5th to send a check. I told her all of this in texts/voicemails during the first week of October. On the 5th, I took my information to the local court and filed a small claim against her for the $220 I'm owed. Afterward, I sent her one last text that said, "I waited until the 5th and had to assume you were not going to pay me. I have filed a claim and will talk to you about the issue in court." That night, she left me a voicemail (my phone never rang, though, because I was out of range when she called - I would've answered otherwise,) saying that since I "didn't come to pick up my check on the 1st", she had sent it out that day and I would receive it shortly.

I waited a few days and even called the court to see what I should do if I receive this payment, but on the 10th I received a certified check for HALF the amount she owed me, with a handwritten note on it that said "PAID IN FULL". Obviously I did not cash this check. I tucked it away with all my other "evidence", because I know if I cash that check she'll hold it against me that I was "paid" and cannot harass her anymore. My original court date was set for November 21st, but that was pushed back because she refused to sign my certified letter (serving her) and then when I tried to serve her myself (with a friend) I couldn't seem to catch her at the house. Now the date is pushed back to December 12th. I'm going to have to spend more money paying a service to come serve her because she has managed to elude me this entire time.

Things are getting annoying, but I'm determined to keep the court date and really fight for this money. I did find a new job (not as a nanny, for the first time in almost a decade) and am very happy with my life, but this one thing is really bothering me because I was flat out taken advantage of and treated like garbage. I'm hoping she shows up for court and I can look her in the eye as the judge reads her texts aloud, the ones where she acknowledges how much she owes me. I'm livid with the situation, but I've got a good feeling about mid-December. Nannies need to stand up for themselves and I'm doing my part in that.

Just wanted to keep you guys all updated! I'll let you know how court goes/cross your fingers for me!

Melodramatic MB is Making Nanny Miserable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Autobiography of DC Nanny

a day in the life 2012
I’m not retiring or anything, but I thought it might be fun to tell my stories. I hope you all agree! If you’re an avid reader of this blog you might recognize my past questions. In the past, I have asked at least one question about each of my positions.

I started nannying during college. It just sort of fell in my lap. I had been babysitting for a family with 4 little girls pretty regularly during the school year. At the time they were 6, 4, 2, and 9 months. I was looking for a summer job, and they were looking for a summer nanny, so it worked out perfectly. I didn’t really have any idea what to expect in this job, and they had never hired a nanny before, so they didn’t either. I moved into their basement bedroom suite and basically became a live-in, full-time nanny. Oddly enough, I didn’t even really have hours that summer. I was sort of on all the time, but I was allowed to go off and do other things if I wanted to. The mom was a SAHM so she was usually there unless she was off getting her nails done or something like that.

Since I was on site and I didn’t have hours, there weren’t really any rules set for when the kids could come get me. There were mornings that the dad sent 3 year old L down to tell me she was hungry at 5 am. Not to be outdone, I sent her right back up to him. This family only paid me $250 a week. Considering I was on almost all of the time this was a pretty low salary, which on some level I knew, but it was a job and I loved the kids. I was pretty much considered family. The mom took me shopping with her and her friends, and my friends were welcome over at the house anytime. I actually had other people sleep over at their house while I was in charge of the kids. I was always a pretty responsible person, so nobody minded, least of all my charges, who LOVED my friends and couldn’t wait for them to come over to play. I went on vacation with them to Florida, and spent weekends with them on their houseboat. The parents actually found a different sitter for the night of the father’s 35th birthday party so that I could attend. When my car was totaled I was given use of one of theirs, and in order for me to still be able to go on a camping trip I had planned, the MB's brother let me drive his truck several states away. On the other hand, the kids were sent to my room at all hours and I was paid under my value. I felt taken advantage of when friends would come over and pile their children on me as well, not paying me anything extra. The line between family and employee was very blurry. It sort of worked for me at the time, but I learned a valuable lesson about keeping a professional relationship that I won’t soon forget. In this family discipline was a problem, and as you can imagine with 4 little girls, it became a BIG problem. While I was living there I had more control and influence over them than their own parents. When I had all 4 of them for several days at a time, I would take them on all sorts of outings. The mother was completely flabbergasted that I was able to manage that; she considered it too taxing to even take them all to the grocery store with her. This position lasted about a year. I moved back home, which was 5 states away, for a year, so they found someone else. The parents had built an apartment over the garage to house me- I lived in it for a year (paying rent), and a friend of mine lived in it for two years after that. I still love the kids and keep in contact with the parents over Facebook, but for the good of our relationship, I don’t babysit them anymore. During the time I was gone they evolved from difficult, to holy terrors, and after trying to deal with them for a weekend, I had to tell their mother that I would not be able to do so again. So I love them from a distance and in small doses, and that is working out just fine.

My next full time job came years later. I was tired of working at summer camp and wanted to find another summer nanny job. When I was called by a friend of mine who had given my name to a guy who was inquiring, I thought it was fate. In case anyone remembers, this was the question about the sole-caretaker for the summer. Yup, that was me. For those of you who don’t remember, I was hired by a single father to watch his 8 year old son while he was away for 3 months on business. That translates out to a 24/7 job. I made some major mistakes going into this job as well. I accepted a rate that I, and everyone else, knew was much too small for the hours worked. I ended up being paid $500 a week. In his defense, I know that it was all he could afford. The family was not well-off and simply hired a nanny out of necessity, not luxury. I really should have wondered more why the child wasn’t just taken care of by his relatives. I learned quickly that it was because none of them would do it anymore. He had basically been passed back and forth between relatives his entire life, and when his father finally reappeared back on the scene, he hired a nanny to take care of him. Needless to say, this child had some major issues. I was told on a regular basis that I was a horrible nanny, that he hated me, and I did everything wrong. Absolutely everything turned into a battle- I couldn’t even walk into a room without him saying something nasty to me. I tried very hard to make a connection with him. I signed him up for summer camps, took him and his friend to the pool at my subdivision, and spent time doing all of his favorite things. To work out some of his discipline problems I tried to improve his diet, set up a consequence/reward system, and made new rules for television (turn it off at 11 instead of watching it all night long). Perhaps I made too many changes. His father was on board with them and his teachers were thrilled, but maybe I alienated him by being too “different”. Whatever the case, it was an awful job. If it weren’t for my dog (who was allowed to live with me) and meeting another girl in the same apartment complex who became a close friend, I would never have lasted the 3 months. When my time was up I dropped the child off at his aunt’s house like I had been asked to do. I left a very straightforward note when I moved out, letting the father know that his child had told me he hated me so many times that I was sure he was telling the truth. The father called me twice later that school year to ask me to come back and work part-time, but I declined. I still shudder when I think about it.

My next job was a part-time position where I was in charge of one 2-month-old girl. This job was all in all pretty good. I had asked for, and received, a fair wage, and I really liked the parents. My past experiences had helped me to come up with a good working agreement, so I didn’t feel as though I was being taken advantage of. The major issue in this job was typically something I hadn’t experienced much of: travel. I asked a question about this as well, so you may remember reading it. I was asked to travel with the family to Las Vegas, where they would be working at a conference. They paid very fairly, but my accommodations were less than stellar. I ended up sleeping on a cot in the “living room” of the suite, which was just the area right by the door where the TV was. I had no set hours. I wasn’t sure when I would be given free time, and even though I was, it was scattered and I felt like I couldn’t relax since I never knew when it would end. After this experience I have a new mentality about travel. If a family can afford to take a nanny on vacation,they can afford to pay for her own room.

The following job I took is my current one. I did a working interview with this family at their vacation home over the summer, and started at the beginning of September. I had asked a question on this blog about working with another nanny. That part of the job has worked out wonderfully. The other nanny and I are extremely close and really help support each other. Actually, we just recently got another nanny! Three may seem excessive, but there’s still plenty for each of us to do! This family is like something out of a movie. Seven full-time staff, a private jet, vacation homes, and more money than they know what to do with. My role has shifted from simple nanny, to more of an assistant to the kids. I do all of the scheduling while the kids are in school, and then am the one mainly in charge of C, who is 5years old and the love of my life. My employers have actually allowed me to bring my dog to live in their house, which has been lifesaving. Honestly, I don’t think I could live here without her. It’s an extremely stressful position (I have cried on many occasions) but having her with me makes it easier. They know that, and have called her a welcome addition to the house. I could really write a whole book just about this family. It’s surreal. Here’s just one story as an example:

Last month they scheduled a trip to New York. I was on to go with them. The other nanny and I packed the kids bags and got all ready. Two days before we were supposed to leave, the trip was cancelled, so we unpacked those same bags, and I cancelled my dog’s reservation at the doggie-daycare. That Saturday, as I was playing with C, MB casually walked in and informed me that I had 45 minutes to get the kids and myself packed, because we were in fact, going, and we had to be in the car in 45 minutes. After my near heart attack, I ran around frantically packing as quickly as I could, and the housekeeper agreed to take my dog for the 2 days that we would be gone. I did manage to get it all packed and in the car, because I had to. When we arrived at the train station, just in time to make it to the train at a run, MB found out that I had neglected to pack a deck of cards. (In actuality, I had packed the cards in the oldest child’s carry-on. He’s 13. He forgot to bring his carry-on. This became my fault.) I was then told to find cards. In the train station. With two rolling suitcases and a shoulder bag, and literally no time to do so. Of course, I did, because I had to. I could go on, but I won't. This job is insane, and let’s just leave it at that.
The pros do outweigh the cons though. I work with amazing people who I can talk to and vent with. I get paid well ($900 per week as a live-in), I’m allowed to bring my dog, I love the kids, and I have a positive working relationship with the parents. It’s definitely completely different than any other job I’ve had, but I think that’s a good thing. I could never have survived a week in this job, never mind the negotiation it took to get here, without all of the experiences in my past. So good or bad, I don’t regret any of them. (Except maybe the sole caretaker job. I could have done without that haha) -DC nanny

Contract Conversation

opinion dec
I have been working for a really great family for the last two months. I enjoy the children and the parents quite well. I only have two issues at current. 1) It was stated in my contract that each month I am given one full weekend off. I have not had this in the two months I have been here and was basically told I won't receive any time off until the new year. I have time off during the day, yes. But never have I had a full day or enough time to even leave the city I am in. 2) I planned to stay for a year (pretty certain it is not a contract situation) but things have come up that require me to leave two months early. To sum it up, I have a hard time actually talking to MB/DB. They are almost never around and when they are there is never room for conversation. Sometimes they get upset over small things so I feel as though they may get upset over me requesting time off or discussing the possibility of me leaving early. How can I go about this the right way?

Nanny Poaching

opinion dec
Nannies, have you ever had another mom try and steal you away from your current family? How did you handle that?

23 November, 2011

a day in the life 2012... of a Retiring Nanny
I found this site a few days ago, and I’m so disappointed I hadn’t seen it sooner. My first thought was, “Where have you been all my life?!?” Or at least, why couldn’t I have found you five years ago? I’ve been reading through the posts and debating whether or not to write one myself, for fear of being flamed by other members. For my own sanity, however, I’ve decided to get my story off my chest.

I have been working in the childcare industry for five years now, as you may have gathered from the previous paragraph. In general, I have not been very lucky when it comes to finding good jobs. I know this is mostly my fault, and I attribute that to the fact that I am young, a bit na├»ve (although that had drastically changed), a chronic over-thinker,­ and I just recently grew a backbone.

I have always liked children, and I’m very good with them. In high school, I took every child development class I could, read many informative books, and when I felt confident in my knowledge and skills, applied for a job as a daycare assistant. The job was wonderful. It was a small after-school daycare chain (I believe there were five or six different centers, spread over two counties). I worked there during my senior year of high school, and they were wonderfully flexible, understanding, and really helpful. When the director felt that there was something I needed to work on, she sat down with me and spoke to me like a peer, rather than a child. To add a little more “awesomeness” to the job, they also hired my best friend of over 10 years. I barely made more than minimum wage, which was fine with me, since I mostly wanted the job to get some childcare experience.

I worked at the daycare from August until May—nearly the entire school year. I had to leave this job because the father of one of the little girls began stalking me. It started with simple, inappropriate comments, such as complimenting my looks in a creepy way, and gradually progressed to him asking me to attend functions with him. Mind you, I was 17, he was 44, and I was completely grossed out. I did report this behavior, and nothing was done about it. One day, this father showed up at MY school, blocking in MY car, and waiting for ME. I was terrified. He saw me and began speaking to me, asking me to the dance at his daughter’s school, since he was a chaperone and “needed” a date. He wouldn’t move his car unless I said yes. I ran away, called my mother, and burst into tears. My mother absolutely went insane on the school and had a serious conversation with my place of employment for allowing this man to behave this way after I had reported him. Police were involved, and it was a nightmare. When I put in my notice in shortly after, they were very understanding.

My next job was my first nanny job. The mother was a friend of the family, and she was (and is) AMAZING! I watched her twin 11-year-old daughters full-time for two summers, and often during the school year in between. It was perfect, because I was in my first year of college and needed the extra money, but didn’t have enough time for a regularly scheduled job. When my days with them would end, I would often end up staying for another hour or more just talking and laughing with the whole family. They would have my boyfriend and I over, and actually asked him to help their girls when they started Lacrosse (something with which I would have been useless). My job ended for them at 19, when my parents divorced, causing my mother and I to be kicked out with an hours’ notice. I was also informed by my father that college would no longer be an option for me if I was requiring his financial help. That night I moved about 2 hours away, where my boyfriend was attending college. I should add that I was not currently employed full-time by them. The girls were in summer camp, and after that week would be immediately starting school again (sorry, I know I made that a bit confusing).

Here is where it starts to get really fun! When I moved near my boyfriend, I didn’t have a lot of options as far as employment. I was stupid and didn’t really save my money, but I did have enough for a security deposit and first month’s rent. I found a roommate, who was my age with a toddler, on craigslist (Do. Not. Do. This. EVER. I just did what I had to do to survive and keep a roof over my head). She was also a nanny, and we got along very well. She was the only other nanny I had ever met, as my hometown is not a place where anybody really has a nanny. I know now that I was stunningly misinformed when it comes to the nanny career. I did not know about contracts or anything of the sort, and it just never occurred to me how evil some people could be to their employees.

I took the first job that came my way. I received a frantic call one night from a mother, claiming that their nanny had left on short notice, and they desperately needed someone for the next day. Well, what a coincidence, I am also desperate! I’ll be over in the morning. Neither of us checked any references or used any kind of safety precautions. I am absolutely horrified now that I ever did something so stupid.

I arrived at my new place of employment the next day with a big, bright smile on my face. The mother was beautiful and kind. She showed me around the house, explained which light chores I would be doing, and introduced me to the children, a 12-year old boy and 10-year-old girl. She made a point of telling both of them, in front of me, that I am in charge, she expects them to listen to me, and anything less than good behavior was unacceptable. She said this in a way that was not mean or intimidating, simply an expectation. She said it perfectly, and I was in awe of her. She then mentions that, oh, by the way, my son is a spectrum child, no one can control him, and only a few months ago had returned from a 10-month program at a school in Arizona for children with similar problems. Have a nice day!

For several months, I dealt with the most unbelievably disturbed child I have ever come across. He would cuss his parents and me out, he would kick and hit us, threaten us, and do anything he could to get his way. He was a big kid, too. He was about 5’ 10” and 150 lbs or more. I, on the other hand, am 5’ 6” and 115 lbs. Guess who was stronger? I kept the job for as long as I did because I cared for the family and desperately needed the money. On my last day (granted, I didn’t know it would be my last day), a behavior specialist came to the house to help get him a bit more settled. Upon trying to get the boy to do his homework, he threatened both of our lives. The specialist told me that it was no longer safe for me to work in this environment, and she insisted I call his family and leave this job immediately. She stayed until his parents got home and told them what had happened. The parents asked if I could stay a little longer, until they found someone else, but the specialist told them it was unacceptable and it was putting my life in danger. We all cried.

My next job was working for an acquaintance of my upstairs neighbors’. She was a single mother with a 4-year-old daughter. Again, no contract. Coincidentally, I also knew their last nanny through my roommate. She had warned me that this woman was a terrible employer who makes many amazing promises, but keeps none of them. I didn’t believe this nanny, though, because I knew she was lazy at her job. I began the job and it seemed amazing. It was winter, freezing cold, and I was dirt-poor without anything more than one sweatshirt to keep me warm. My employer noticed this, and gave me a coat that no longer fit her. It was the nicest thing anyone had done for me in a while, and I was so excited to make her happy. My first day on the job was a 24-hour shift, and she even offered to let my boyfriend stay over also, so I would be comfortable. I told her I appreciated the offer, but wouldn’t be taking her up on it. I didn’t feel it was appropriate, especially on my first day. That winter happened to be a particularly bad one, accumulating over 60”, I believe. As any nanny and/or parent knows, this weather makes for prime snow play, hot chocolate, chicken noodle soup, and fuzzy blankets. We went outside every single day and played in that snow, since my RWD sedan was not safe to drive in that weather. To be honest, it was not safe to drive ME in that weather, but I had already been warned that calling out of work was unacceptable and would almost definitely result in termination. One morning, I went outside to find my car covered in another foot of snow, and my only way of getting to work was in my boyfriend’s SUV. I thought for sure that this was creative problem solving that she would appreciate. Nope! She called me that weekend, screaming at me for not bringing my car to work, not driving her daughter anywhere in a week, and bringing my boyfriend to her house (even though he was outside, in his car, in the parking lot). She then went on to say that because I hadn’t taken her daughter anywhere, she was getting fat. First of all, who would EVER call their beautiful 4-year-old fat, especially when she was nowhere near. Again, when I say I didn’t take her anywhere, I mean we didn’t drive anywhere during the blizzard. We went outside more than once every day. There was also the issue that I was not allowed to address the little girl when the mother was around, because “it will confuse her as to who her mommy is.” I was also not allowed to sit on their couch, as “that is for family and guests.” She fired me because I asked if she had plans to send her daughter to pre-school. I asked out of simple curiosity (and maybe a little to see if I was going to be out of a job soon), but a few days later, she called and asked what kind of horrible, uneducated idiot would say such terrible things about her daughter. I asked her what she meant, and she shouted that her daughter didn’t need any kind of schooling before kindergarten, and how dare I take it upon myself to teach her daughter things like letters and numbers without her consent. I was fired for being a good nanny. On top of that, she showed up at my house a few days later to get her coat back. According to her ex-husband, she goes through nannies like tissues. I feel so bad for that little girl.

After my CL roommate stopped paying rent, moved out, and I lost my job, my mom decided it was time to move in with her. By this point, she had bought a house, and would just need me to pay a little rent. My boyfriend was already planning to transfer to a school not far from her house anyway, so it all worked out. I got a new job with a family with a 3 year old girl and a 15 month old boy. I stayed there for a year and a half. The children looked like they could have been mine, especially the daughter. Of course, I always corrected people that thought they were mine. I think credit should be given where it’s due, and I can’t take any credit for how adorable those two are. That being said, the little boy was a holy terror. There was little-to-no discipline in the house, because the daughter rarely ever needed to be told no, but her brother was born the polar opposite. I did everything I could, used every method in the book, and then many, many, many other books, all to no avail. Unfortunately, if you’re the only one participating in the discipline, it usually doesn’t work out very well. My pleas for discipline consistency fell on deaf ears, and he just beat me down. I would often come home from work in tears from the stress of the job, not to mention the utter filth that I worked in (I did clean, although it was not asked of me. I just couldn’t stand the mess). I cared deeply for the family, and was easily encouraged by the promise of a raise, or simply acknowledgement that I existed in their eyes. They knew this and took advantage. This job ended recently when the mother’s job situation changed, making them unable to keep me employed. They gave me a weeks’ notice, no severance pay, bonus, or ever even a raise the entire time I was there. I never got a sick day or vacation day. Yet again, no contract. Despite the poor behavior of the little boy, I adore those kids and am not over leaving that job.

I found my current job pretty quickly after receiving notice for my last family. This time, I really researched what a nanny job should be, and made sure that I have a contract in place. I did not let the parents just name my salary without my input, and they will not be using me as a doormat. I have trained my mouth to form the word, “no,” and I have come up with a few standard responses to requests not outlined in my contract. I can finally pick and choose what, if any extra responsibilities, I want to take on. Yes, I will feed your cats for you while you’re away! No, I will not organize your garage! See how awesome that is??

This current family seems very nice so far, but I’m having a lot of trouble connecting with their child. There are no behavior problems or anything to speak of—just no real connection. In late summer, I am officially retiring from nannyhood and going back to college full-time to be a Nurse, which I am so excited about. I’m a bit conflicted because of my current job, though. I am an excellent nanny (if I do say so myself), and will have absolutely no problem keeping my desire to move on to myself. Of course, if I ever feel that it is getting in the way of my job, I will give notice and help them find someone else who is perfect for the job.

If you pulled through to the end of my way-too-long story, you are a real trooper. Just putting this in writing, even though I haven’t covered half of the things that happened in my “away from home” jobs, I still feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Please, no comments that are mean just for the sake of being mean. It’s not constructive, and I would never do it to you!

Parents- you’re wonderful! But please be sure to treat your nannies with respect. Remember that they are people trying to make a living, just like you!

Nannies- you are strong and amazing! Protect yourselves. Don’t meet a new family without an escort or some safety measure. Do your research, and get a contract. Treat your charges well, no matter what the parents do, and keep your chin up when the job gets tough!

Ottendorfer Library in the East Village, NY

BAD nanny sighting 2012
My 19-month-old son was recently threatened by a violent nanny at the Ottendorfer Library in the East Village. She's threatened to harm other children, according to another nanny who contacted me. I was able to get a blurry photo of the violent nanny before she was alerted by another nanny that I took her picture. This time, she threatened only me, but I was able to run away with my son in my arms before she was able to threaten to physically harm him again. She is the one sitting in the middle wearing a striped shirt. The other two Nannies were not involved.

I wrote this post for my personal blog which gets very little traffic. I am looking for any forums that would help me spread my story and protect other children, especially the one in this woman's care.

I know you're all busy ahead of Thanksgiving, but I appreciate any help getting my message across to a broad swath of New Yorkers. The nanny regularly attends the 11:30 a.m. story time at the East Village library, though I do not know where her charge lives. Many nannies bring children there from other neighborhoods, some from outside of Manhattan. Thank you.

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Gift Ideas for MB or DB?

opinion dec
I am unsure as to what to get my bosses for christmas. I know its a bit early but I just want to get it out of the way. Does a gift card to a restaurant and a movie gift card as well as a free "certificate of babysitting" so they can go out sound good or is it too corny? What have you given your mb and db for christmas in the past?

I Want My Money...

opinion dec
What is a good way to ask for money you are owed for a babysitting job? A mom forgot to pay me last week & hasn't brought it up yet even though we have spoken a few times since then.

Should Nanny Also Charge MB's Sister?

opinion dec
Hey everyone! I nanny one day per week for a great family with a special needs child. A has therapy all day on Friday and I prepare snacks and lunch along with light cleaning after A. MB is a SAHM, and although it is a short shift, I consider myself a nanny, not a babysitter.

MB's sister, who is also a SAHM, approached me about watching A and her cousin I, at MB's house the week after Thanksgiving. On one occasion that I watched cousins, I did so through a baby-sitting service, where I watched 4 kids for approximately $75/8 hours work. It was like I got paid from one mom and not the other. I didn't say anything to the sitting service, not quite sure if there were special rates when baby-sitting for two families at a time, either relatives or friends.

Would it be fair for me to get my normal rate from MB, plus charge her sister? I don't want it to seem like I am money hungry, but at the same time, I could use the extra cash due to the amount of driving I do on a weekly basis because of school, along with other bills. Thanks for your help!

16 November, 2011

UWS Elephant Park - NY

BAD nanny sighting 2012
Horrible incident on the UWS Elephant Park Thursday, 11.10.11 - I saw something very disturbing at Elephant Park on the UWS in NY. I'm still shaking. If anyone recognizes these little boys, PLEASE tell the parents! The boys are approx. 1.5 (wearing a grey shirt with a big smiley face) and 2.5 years old (wearing a blue hooded puffy jacket). Both with brown curly hair. The nanny is a tall Russian-speaking woman. She had on a blue hoodie, black jacket, brown Coach shoes, black sunglasses.

She left one of the little boys to play near us for over 30 mins. We never saw her. I kept asking around who was watching him. Then a woman came over carrying the youngest little boy. She found him alone, crying in the MEN'S bathroom! Anyone could have taken/hurt him. The nanny never looked for either of them. When we approached her, she didn't seem upset. I know she understood because her friend translated what had happened. When we left, both boys were left unattended again. The youngest boy was pushing a large, yellow Tonka truck and was close to the exit. My heart breaks that something bad is going to happen to one of them. She definitely should not be taking care of them. Please, if this sounds like anyone you know, please contact the parents.

Nanny Red-Faced Over MB Reading FaceBook

opinion dec
Hi. I need help. I had been working for a family for 3 months up until Thursday when I left the job. MB and DB read through my personal email account and found out very personal information about my childhood that in no way pertains to my work. They then switched over to my Facebook account and dug through my entire account with the intent of "finding out what you say about our children and to learn more about you since we read your email."

The MB sat me down on Thursday night to tell me she had done this with the DB because I had forgotten to log out of my accounts on her computer. She has continued to state that she did this for the safety of her children, when there was no reason for her to invade my personal life by reading an email from my mom and then making her choice to read through my second private account. I am 100% unhappy with them and know that what they did was illegal, but now I am without a job and without a paycheck.

What can I do with this having happened? Any legal actions?

Negotiation Tactics?

opinion dec
Hello, I'm applying to be a nanny abroad for the first time. I was wondering what a typical live-in American nanny makes. I have experience in childcare, teaching, and actually love children. Most of my offers have been really low, say $200 a week because of living in... and I'm looking for more. If anyone could give me some insight to this, or proper tactics of negotiation, it would be much appreciated.

Update

Response from: Dream A Little Dream Daycare, Waltham MA
Hello...I am owner of Dream A Lil Dream Daycare.......This is very upsetting that this was posted and invite the person to have knocked on my door if so concerned. First off the wagon is used not for the children to sit in it and play but to take to a near by play ground/ library/etc... Secondly the children's parents as well as my state licenser know the procedure I use as I have spoke to them about it. I live on a very busy street and will not take all the children out at once...They are between the ages of 2 and 3 and the chances of them running out into the street is much higher than anything else that could happen, while sitting secured in the wagon. I bring them out one to two at a time and secure them with the seat belts in the wagon...They go from one secure place to another. I can see the children in the wagon from the screen door (you can see in the picture that the door is open) as the bench where the other children inside are waiting to come out is by the door. Even if you don't see me physically outside, I am at the door...as I put shoes and coats on at this bench and then take outside... If this person came to the door rather than analyzing the situation from the street in her car.......they would have been greeted by myself and this unfair accusation would have been prevented. On top of all that, my husband, who is a child care worker himself is watching children through window as I am getting other children inside.. just to be that more safe. This is a misrepresentation of how we do business here, even slanderous. If you do live near by as you say then I extend my welcome to you to come speak to me face to face regarding this matter in hopes that you would be able to remove this from this site. For someone supposedly so concerned with the welfare of these children, should not have these children's pictures on line with name of business making address easily attainable to those that could potentially put them in danger. Rather than hiding on line, I hope that you will accept my offer to speak in person. If this continues to be put on this site I will look into what legal action I can take to have it removed. This could potentially hurt my future business due to one person's misguided point of view rather than the truth.

Thank You-Owner of Dream A LiL Dream Daycare

New Nanny not New to Childcare Needs Advice

opinion 1 I’m a new nanny, but not new to childcare. I worked my way up from infants and toddlers at daycare to fulltime nursery school teacher. I’ve recently switched from being an early childhood educator in a school setting to being a nanny. It’s a better fit for me at this time.

I’ve done temp and part time nanny work and at the time 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 a 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. I don’t want to charge too high even though I have experience, nor do I want to sell my self 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 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.

Social Networking...

opinion 1 I was wondering how many nannies and employers were 'friends' on Facebook? I just became friends with both of mine and I was just curious how many out there were as well.

11 November, 2011

North Carolina Zoo

good nanny sighting GOOD NANNY SIGHTING: North Carolina Zoo -- Young 20-something nanny...blonde hair. Charge was maybe 4 or 5 month old baby boy in a black and red jogging stroller...baby was in a striped zip up sweater and seemed very happy. Passed this nanny a few times while walking through the zoo and every time she was engaging the baby by picking him up and showing him the animals, pointing out the trees, etc. He seemed to love it. Nice to see genuine nannies are out there. I've had a few horror stories myself and I only wish I had found this young lady first.

10 November, 2011

Not a Good Fit...

opinion 1 I just have a question about leaving a job. I started for a family about four months ago. In the contract it says "will remain in effect for at least one year" unless I am fired, obviously. It also says both parties agree to give a months notice, unless I am fired. I have come to realize that this family and I are not a good fit whatsoever. There are several reasons I feel this way (although I'd rather not disclose these for privacy's sake), but one of the main reasons being one of the parents is borderline verbally abusive to the children and myself.

My question is, can I leave ASAP or do I have to wait til I've been there a year? Obviously I would give notice but I don't want to be stuck in a situation like this for another 8 months. Can they sue me for leaving before a year, even if I give notice? I am desperately unhappy. Any help would appreciated.

When is the Right Time?

opinion 1 My husband and I are trying for a baby but I'm not sure when I should tell my boss. She as well as some of her extended family are on my Facebook page and I want to announce it fairly soon after I get pregnant. While I can block them from seeing particular posts if someone leaves a message on my page they would be able to see it. Do I tell her before I post, which would be right after I go for my first prenatal, or do I let her know when I tell everyone else on Facebook?

04 November, 2011

Submission Update

A Day in the Life, Nanny Horror Story, and Rant... all Rolled into One!
So I had a job lined up with another family, and they wanted me to move in within a few days...there was no way I'd turn it down so I could give the current family more notice (after all, no contract, no obligation. They did not keep their end of the deal) so I told them Wednesday that I would be leaving Friday. MB FLIPPED OUT. She told me how immature I am, and told me she's "so disappointed" and on and on with similar comments. I explained calmly why I was leaving listing all our agreements she disregarded. Anyways, she basically kicked me out on the street. She told me to be gone asap. She would not leave the house, would not let me near her children. Thankfully my amazing boyfriend dropped everything to help me get out of there.

Now this is the part where the heavens open up, revealing a beautiful ray of sunlight down on me. I love my new family! They are younger, very laid back, and best of all they are slobs! well...not terribly but they dont expect me to clean the whole house and dont get angry that their house looks like they have two toddlers.....cause yeah, they do! I get paid by the hour and we have a contract. woo!

@igotnuthin: Thanks :P

03 November, 2011

Separate Family... Different Rules

opinion 1 Hello Fellow Caregivers:
With the increase in the amount of divorced/separated families I feel that many of you have been in a similar situation to myself. I am employed for the male parent whom has the child Monday-Friday on a full time basis. However the child goes on overnights with the female parent 3 days per week (one weekday and 2 full weekends per month). The male parent is extremely easy going and does not do well with arguments or confrontations. The female parent loathes me (the caregiver) and loves confrontations. She often makes huge deals out of minor issues and is extremely pushy (she will not give up until she gets her way). She often bullies the male parent into giving her additional access or enforcing rules/regulations for the caregiving staff (even though she is not the employer of this staff).

Most recently, she has decided to both allow and encourage the child (toddler) to "boss around" the caregiver as well as trained her to "tattle" when the caregiver uses the internet or telephone. The male parent (the caregivers employer) allows the caregiver to use such devices, however, the female parent (who is NOT the EMPLOYER) bullies the male parent to see the negative light of free time for the caregiver or downtime.

The result of this situation is:
* The female parent is using the male parent's "timidness" to gain control over his caregiver.
* The male parent is non verbal on the subject and thus appears to the female parent as a "pushover" and as if he doesn't care either way.
* The male parent makes the caregiver feel that he is not on their "side" and that they would agree with their ex over their "teammate" (the caregiver).
* The male parent feels that he is being pulled in both directions and just wants the most "drama free solution" which is to let the female parent and caregiver carry on as they wish.
* The child is confused in what is a rule in one household isn't in another, and has no limitations or rules when with the female parent. It is resulting in a negative attitude toward the caregiver, as to which rules to follow.
* The caregiver feels "what is the point" of trying to implement rules/structure as soon as the child leaves the household because they once again revert back to their mother's rules.
* The female parent is getting extreme in her "new rules" and freedoms, for example: she has "re-introduced" the bottle to an almost four year old child! Just to spite the caregiver. When the father learns of this information, he says NOTHING to the female parent and allows it to carry on even though he doesn't agree with it, just to avoid conflict. The female parent has stated she has done so to frustrate the caregiver and to prove that she is more powerful than the caregiver.

What do you recommend I do? In your suggestions please note, the male parent tends to avoid conflict and will not verbally address this issue with the female parent. The female parent/caregiver do not have a relationship due to the female parents hatred toward her. The child fully understands how to use manipulation tactics in this situation, and does so on a regular basis. I am at a loss!

- Concerned Caregiver

Boogers, Beer Bottles and Begrime

opinion 1 I am looking for advice on how to handle working in a household where "messy" is an understatement. Trying to keep this post as anonymous as possible, here is a list of the ongoing issues:

- Piles of Mail/Flyers at front door and hanging over mailbox that go unnoticed.
- A re-occurence of garbage/recycling bags that have not been put out for weeks.
- Toys everywhere and no distinct rule or place to put such items even through there is a toy box.
- Liquid spills, boogers on walls and furniture that is in the common areas of the household.
- Random clothes piles that go unmoved unless I tend to them.
- Unmade Beds on a daily basis. [Parent included]
- Dirty Laundry piled up, that will go unwashed for extended periods of time unless I do it after it stinks for quite a while. [Even though laundry service is not in my contract]
- Full sink of dirty unrinsed dishes after the weekend. [I wash all dishes on Fridays only to come to a weekend's worth on Mondays]
- Full dishwasher of sometimes half dirty/half clean.
- Full, foul-smelling compost kitchen catcher.
- Untidy kitchen counters with take-out food boxes and random alcohol containers, untended to unless I return them!
- Fridays dinner left-overs, still on the table.
- An almost empty fridge with limited/no options for dinners, snacks and lunches. [Mind you, I pick up groceries once per week, however basic items are never restocked]
- Floors full of debris that need mopping and sweeping.

Additional Information:
I have been with this family for 3 years and this has been re-occuring since the beginning. I have verbally addressed the issue, as well as through letters and detailed requests. Nothing has changed or shows signs of changing. I adore the children as well as the parent (single parent household) however I am at a point of enough is enough... also, this takes so much of my time and energy to tend to. My contract states child care only/child laundry... I go above and beyond my job descriptions which are left "unnoticed" and almost "expected" as it has been going on for so long now.

I am heavily compensated for my child care job, banking between $2,500-$3,000 a month for one child, trips, and access to a car... however, do you think I deserve more, or that this issue should be addressed, or should I just suck it up and be happy because I make great money and have fantastic perks?

Thank-You,
~Clean Nanny~