31 January, 2012

Is Nanny Obligated to Stay... and Endure Abuse?

opinion 1
I need some help. I've found myself in a pretty sticky spot and I'm not sure exactly what to do. I've been nannying for a family with 3 children, a set of 4 yr old twins and a 6 yr old, for about 15 months. Things started out great of course... and quickly went south. Since the time I started working there they've replaced their nanny of 3 yrs, the mom quit working from home and moved to an office, they've started building a new home, sold their old home before their new home was ready, then moved into a hotel for about a month, then moved into a very small apartment for the summer, then finally moved into their new home. I was, of course, heavily relied upon during this time. I did all the deep cleaning to prepare their old home to be sold, I did all the cleaning when they moved out of the hotel, I did all of the deep cleaning when they moved into their apartment as well as when they moved out. I also did all of the packing for the kids stuff in every move. I'm now responsible for all of the cleaning in their new home... vacuuming, dusting, bathrooms, kitchen etc. I'm also now responsible for all of the cooking. When my boss goes out of town I work 12 hr days with no extra pay, she just lets me go early one day of that week and calls it "even." I do all of their grocery shopping, I pick up and drop off the dry cleaning, make daily post office runs for her husbands side business... and on and on my duties have accumulated. I'm not being paid any extra for any of this.

On top of everything their oldest son has decided to take out on me his frustration with his parents. He screams at me if I come within a few feet of him. He tells me he hates me and wishes I would never come back. He tells me I'm a terrible nanny and he wishes I had never been born. He always speaks me to me very disrespectfully and condescendingly. For much of these tantrums my boss is still home and she rarely, if ever, intervenes. I've addressed the issue with my boss who tells me he's going through a phase. A couple of months after I addressed the issue I was scolded for his behavior towards me and told I need to do more to connect with him. One of the twins has also decided to take out his frustrations on me with 2 hr long tantrums. To the point where he throws up. He screams at me and kicks the door and tells me he's going to bite me and punch me and kick me and he never wants me to come back. I've informed the mother of his behavior and she chalks it up to "a few bad days."

This is only a very brief description of the things I've dealt with in the last year. They are at times very nice to me. She sometimes gives me $5 gift cards to Starbucks and gives me clothes that no longer fit her, etc. However, after all of this I was anticipating a significant raise in January. I received a $.25 raise. In addition to this slap in the face, she took away my vacation time (I used to get 2 wks of paid vacation time... now I have 3 days from January to June) and I no longer get paid for their vacation time (which I did last year). She also wants me to teach the twins how to read and write and schedule out every day with special learning activities (she says the kids don't have enough to look forward to and that's why they act up), she also wants me to take classes and do outside research on how to be a better nanny (she says she does it for her business too so its perfectly reasonable).

Needless to say, I have turned in my notice because I've decided to return to school. I gave them 3 wks out of guilt because they rely so heavily on me and my boss was out of town most of this week. My problem now is that the parents trash talk me to their children behind my back, which they've always done, but I'm just now starting to realize how disrespectful and detrimental this is. Friday morning I came in and the kids were all screaming saying "you're a bad nanny! you made daddy mad! we don't have to listen to you because daddy said you're bad! daddy was calling you naughty names last night!" They already have a nanny lined up but they want me to stay and train her.

I've explained all of that to pose this question: Am I crazy for feeling like trash talking the nanny to their kids is unacceptable? They see no problem. I feel betrayed. Since I already gave them 3 wks am I obligated to stay those 3 weeks and train their new nanny? Or can I just leave?

35 comments:

alex said...

Honestly, I would just leave. I normally feel like everything should be done the correct way, two weeks notice etc. but these parents and their children are ridiculous and don't care. I fear for those children when they are older as this is all their parent's fault.

hmmm said...

leaver, they're total a%^holes. today. these are the kind of people who will short you your last weeks pay, be warned.

hmmm said...

leave

MissDee said...

They said they replaced their nanny of 3 years, or did the nanny quit because of how they treat you? Did the nanny quit because of the children?

These people sound immature, pathetic and psycho. If you have another job lined up (and I hope you do) plus enough money saved up, I would leave now. I have been in the same position with terrible working conditions, an abusive boss, aggressive children and the entire experience exhausted me to the point that I would go home, eat, and crawl into bed. I would drag myself out of bed in the morning to get ready for work, and one morning, after weeks of abuse and a 2 year old scratching me on my face, I got ready for work. The only thing that I wasn't able to do was walk out the front door. I never went back, because I figured my boss didn't respect me, as she allowed and rewarded the aggressive behavior from the children. On the day that I quit, I was able to relax and breathe again.

They do not deserve a nanny period. If they are treating you like this, I wonder how they will treat the new nanny?

slb3334 said...

I would leave. I also would say that if you stay and train the new nanny, let her know exactly why you are leaving. I am quite sure your bosses didn't.

1 week was good enough said...

I say get your paycheck and just never go back. Come monday morning they'll shit their pants when they realize you aren't there.You can leave at any time. It's not like they will give you a nice reference. Block their calls. Block them on fb. Just run!

Busha said...

Leave. They will not give you a good reference anyway. Don't look back. make them stand there on Monday morning wishing that they had done it differently.

Phoenix said...

you are being vervbally, emotionally, psychologically and sometimes physically abused (if the children hit you) you do not have to stand for that. Don't come back the next day. finish out the day if you are already there and dont come back. I don't know if they were going to give you a severance or not...you should cut your losses and just leave. This is a horrible environment for you to work in, and if you were in a corporate office you would have grounds for a lawsuit. I don't know why people think that nannies are not employees...they are and they have rights as employees.

Please leave! you don't need to stand for this!

Nanny of One said...

Leave ASAP and don't look back.

You will get another fantastic job!

I have been in a similar situation, working for a family that paid me $300.00/week for four children whom treated me badly !

Get your pay, and then don't show up. If I were you I wouldn't even give them notice!


If you do end up staying, ensure that you mention the issues to the new nanny, at least she will get a heads up!

To other Nannies and OP: Just as the family interviews you, you also should be interviewing them! You want to best fit for yourself and lifestyle as well! Don't be needy... shop around for the right fit for yourself!

RP

Mrs.SunnyG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs.SunnyG said...

I have worked for a family like that. It took me forever to find another family. But I did find a family who treated me well. I left the 'shity' family and never went back. I loved one of the kids. It broke my heart to leave but after all the abuse I decided not to ever see these people. I felt so relieved after that. I got my life back.
Leave! No money is worth the stress you're going through. I wish you the best . I've been in the same situation and I know it feels.
A lot of people out there who hire nannies should understand we are human beings and deserve to be treated with respect. I hope you find a family who will appreciate you. :)

run said...

Please leave!

MissMannah said...

Leave, but not until you get your final paycheck. Otherwise, you'll never see that money. Don't feel obligated to work your full 3 weeks unless you absolutely have to for the money. You are not going to get a reference out of these people, sorry.

Phoenix said...

I think what needs to be done is a nanny should interview familys and not the other way around. That would be an interesting turn of events. But I think it would be worth it

ELam said...

I was worried that at the end of this post you were going to simply ask "What would you do? Stay or go?". I am so happy that you gave them your notice! You must be so miserable going there every day, I would definitely get your last paycheck and then leave. You do not need to give them 3 weeks. Just leave, imagine how good you will feel when you don't have to see them ever, ever again!

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Well, if you can stand to stay, think of how fast the new nanny will run away from these people when she hears the kids acting like little demons!

If you need a reference from them, then you need to stick it out. Write the reference letter yourself, giving an honest description of your starting duties and the duties you took on, as well as the multiple transitions you helped the family manage. Present that letter to the family and tell them you need it signed. BUT, only stay if they sign the reference letter within the next 48 hours.

If they won't sign, then walk out. You can ask people such as the kids teachers for reference letters that discuss what they saw of you and the job they think you did. I would do that regardless, as a back up plan.

MissMannah said...

Phoenix, I consider nanny interviews to be mutual. I am sizing up the families just as much as they are sizing me up. I always go into them prepared with a ton of questions so I can weed out the crazy people.

Cecelia said...

I've explained all of that to pose this question: Am I crazy for feeling like trash talking the nanny to their kids is unacceptable?

No, but you are crazy for asking such a ridiculous question.

zosiegirl said...

The first question you need to ask yourself is...will you get/need a reference from them? If yes, stick it out. If NO, get the he** out of there!
Next time inisit upon a contract that spells out duties, hours, overtime, vacation etc. Any decent family will have one. Also, you are your only advocate. So stick up for yourself next position and dont be a doormat (I say this out of experience, as I was in the same position).
Good Luck!

redrosebeetle said...

To answer your question, most child psychologists consider it damaging when a parent undermines a nanny/ teacher (and vice versa). These parents are doing their kids a real disservice. These children will probably have problems with authority and in school if their parents continue to undermine the others who are involved in their child's care.

Now, for the question you didn't answer: wait until you get your paycheck so that you're as even as you can be, then leave, or make finishing the rest of your term contingent on them signing a good recommendation that you write when you show up for work the next morning. These parents are clearly threatened by you and for whatever reason are encouraging their kids to make your life miserable.

Manhattan Nanny said...

The job you describe is housekeeper. How did the mother expect you to bond with the children when you were busy doing deep cleaning instead of playing games, reading, doing art projects and running around the playground?
These parents are a nightmare and I would bet they won't pay you at the end of the 3rd week.
I agree with the advice to get your next pay check and don't go back, however, until you deposit it, and it clears, they could stop payment. I would go back only until the check clears. They certainly don't deserve your help in training the new nanny!

Anonymous said...

Thank you all so much for your input! It's so helpful getting insight from other nannies!
I wound up telling my boss I needed to schedule a time to sit down with her and talk. I expressed to her that her children will never respect someone that she and her husband do not respect first. I told her that i cant do my job without their respect. I said I felt it was best if the new nanny took over right away. She then told me that I didn't understand how children operate mentally and that she's just happy her son showed the initiative to protect his father. She said that if I want to pursue this career I can't expect everything to be handed to be on a silver platter. She said that I just resent her 6 yr old son because he doesn't always gush over me like every other kid does. She also told me that I shouldn't expect her husband to have a filter in his own home. Much much more was said but ultimately she told me that I've made all of this about me and Im just running away and if I don't really care about her kids then I should just leave. So I took my check and I said good bye to the kids and I left.
It's been the most bittersweet experience of my life. I can't tell you how relieved I am!!!! Im so burnt out!!! But leaving those kids like that broke my heart. I love those kids. But I have a new family lined up! I start feb 14!! And with my new free time I'm taking a trip to see my boyfriend :)
Thank you all again so much for your help!! :-)

ELam said...

Awesome, good for you OP!!! Lesson learned, right?

Make sure you have a contract with this new family, best of luck to you and enjoy your time off!! You deserve it.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

If I were in your shoes, I would just leave. You did a nice thing by giving a 3-wk notice and now they are acting childish. I would just throw in the towel now while you have your sanity in tact.

You are under NO obligation to train the new Nanny. Don't let them fool you into thinking you are.

You are not just being abused by the children, you are also being abused by their parents. Shame on these people!!

ma nanny said...

Please have respect for yourself. Break all ties and leave. Now.

RaleighNanny said...

I would leave. So upsetting to read that. Poor excuse for humans. I went through similar situation. Helped a family move twice! That is not our job..and u sound amazing. Any family would be lucky to have u.

heather said...

If I were you, I would stay to train the new nanny and tell her all about how the family treated you. If they can trash talk you behind your back, you can trash talk them.

Marie said...

Leave ASAP but get whatever your owed FIRST. I wonder why you have put up with this abuse?!! Nannies have a tremendous responsability and often don't get paid what they're worth and in this case, you are not being valued at all!! And your vacation time taken away?!! That is seriously, ridicoulas. STAND up for yourself-now! There will always be bad families out there and people who will "try" to take advantage of a situation or your niceness. It's up to YOU to set the ground rules and respect yourself and all your hard work. Good luck.

ericsmom said...

Glad you left!! Its not like she would have given you a good reference. I don't understand some parents. You are caring for what is supposed to be their most valuable possession. Then they treat you like crap, let the kids disrespect you. On top of that they talk about you to others and behind your back on the weekends to their kids. Wow, what a great example they are to their kids.


Hope your next position is better. Also, didn't you mention you are returning to school??

Anonymous said...

I put up with everything because I naively thought I was "part of the family." Which I now see really means "work more for less money and no respect." Lesson learned I guess. I just wish I would have been able to say goodbye to the kids. But yes, I am returning to school :) I am very excited to start fresh and have some time to recover from everything...and time to work on me a bit :)

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

OP, please do not think that Nannies can ever become "part of the family." It can NEVER happen. Theoretically it is a nice thought, however the love is not as unconditional as in a real family. They dynamic is so different in real families. People borrow money, forgive each other more easily and are there for each other in spite of the good and the bad.

Ellie said...

I completely understand where you're coming from. I had a family who was absolutely wonderful at the beginning and slowly but surely got to the point where things were out of control.

It started with them being a little late. Then they started asking me to take on more chores when their cleaning ladies quit. Then they were later. And I had more chores. Then I got yelled at one day when I didnt have time to do the chores because the kid wouldnt sleep or do anything besides constantly demand attention. Then they were later. Then I got more chores. Then we went out of town and "watch the kid while we ski" turned into 24 hour care for the kid and I had to do all her firsts with her (first time sledding, first time painting pottery, first snowman, first snowball fight, first dog sled team, etc). Then they did that again. Then they claimed they were more important than my family because they paid me on a regular basis. Then they told their friends they couldnt hire me. Then they were 7 hours late with no phone call or txt message and my 6 hour work day turned into a 13 hour work day.

Needless to say, I just quit. It caused a huge uproar with them to all of their friends. I didnt care though. It just wasnt worth it. At some point you just have to say "look, this is bs. I deserve better than this." They might not be someone you can use for a reference, but it's better to be down a reference than to be treated so poorly.

happynanny said...

Yay OP!! So glad to hear you're getting OUT of that abusive situation. Just hoping and praying that your next position will be wonderful and happy and you will be loved and respected by kids and parents both. You deserve it! My advice - next position, have a six week trial period, after which, if you are not totally happy, you would be free to move on :) There are awesome families out there - Hope you find one!!!!!

Noelle said...

Leave - don't look back.

FamilyNanny said...

Honestly I would say no daddy is bad because we do not call people names. I cannot work for a bad daddy who tells little kids stories (nice word for lies) and calls me bad names. That makes daddy bad not me.
Walk, they're being abusive and if you're under contract it should state your job, does it include all the cleaning? A set number of hours that they have your working more? If they broke the contract for any reason then you're under no obligation to stay. I'd warn the new nanny though that daddy tells stories about nannies. Yes I would actually do this because while it seems like setting her mind towards the employer op would be doing nanny a favor.