MB Wants to Show Her Nanny Appreciation

opinion 1
I love this blog! As a mb, it has given me great tools and insight of what we needed to do and what was good business sense when hiring a nanny.

We recently made a change from a live in family member (foolish, I know) to a new live in nanny. Things are going very well, and while we are on a budget, I am really wanting to do little extras to make sure she knows she is appreciated and valued.

Currently she works from 6:20-5pm, Mon-Fri. We pay her a salary, along with any and all living expenses. The evenings and weekends are her time and she often heads out to be with family and/or friends, but when she is home we try to invite her to come out to eat or bring her something back from the restaurant. We pay for her food, but it doesn't seem like she eats anything. Is there a way to mention it without seeming nosy? No biggie to us, but we don't want her to feel awkward about eating or worry that it bothers us.

I have thought about offering to pay for nail salon visits, Starbucks cards, etc... anything that seems cool to a 19yr old in my mind. I want to be careful that she realizes it is an extra thank you, etc... because I would hate to not be able to afford it 1 month and have her feel cheated. Any input would be great!


Bethany said...

Perhaps the times you invite she isn't hungry, doesn't care for the food, or would rather be by herself than with her bosses and the kids she cares for, and she doesn't decline because she feels she would be being rude or upsetting the bossess.

Bethany said...

I just wanted to say thank you for being one of the good ones.

If you're truly as good as you sound I'm sure your nanny knows just how lucky she is.

An occasional card with a heartfelt note with or without a giftcard can go a long way.

No suggestions on gifts. I stopped being cool a long time ago.

Jess said...

I think it is wonderful to hear that you really appreciate your nanny! I know a lot of us are not so lucky to have such a considerate MB!

I know a lot of parents worry about their nanny's eating habits. Do you offer to buy her the food she likes? While that is really nice when parents do that, sometimes it can make the nanny feel awkward, like she is telling you what to buy in your own home. Maybe if you give her a small budget to buy what she likes it will be easier for her. If she seems healthy and happy, I wouldn't worry too much about what she eats. I agree with Bethany that she might decline dinner invites because she needs a break from the family. This doesn't mean she doesn't like you, just that she might need some alone time.

If you want to give her an extra gift, maybe phrase it like this, "I got a gift card to get my nails done, but I won't use it, would you like it?" Then she gets a fun gift, but doesn't expect you to keep up with the gifts because it is just something you didn't want. I had a MB once who gave me the clothes she didn't want anymore, I loved getting new clothes but never expected her to go out and buy me anything.

My only advice on birthday and Christmas gifts is don't give her anything you can't top or match next year!

It is so great to hear that you have a great nanny and you appreciate her so much. It is wonderful to see you considering the feelings of you nanny!

Belle Vierge said...

My boss gives me little extras to show her appreciation. After my first few weeks working, she gave me a bonus make up bag with nice Clinique stuff in it she was able to get from work. A recent "thank you" gift for moving with them (from New York to Canada; I'm also live-in) was a nice pair of leather mittens. Both times she specifically thanked me for the extra time I'd put in, and she described the gift as a thank you.

As far as the food thing goes, I buy whatever I want for myself, and they reimburse me. I usually decline when they invite me to join them, unless they're ordering food, because I like having my own time. I already cook & eat dinner with the kids five days a week. :) If she doesn't have the upfront funds to work on a reimbursement schedule, at my previous au pair job, I had access to a small jar of cash to cover expenses for myself or the kids. I just recorded them in a little notebook, where I also stored the receipts. One of my friends had a nanny debit card, but she also did all the grocery shopping for the entire family every week, so that's a bit different.

You sound like a great boss! She's lucky to have you. :)

Nanny Lisset said...

What a great MomBoss you are! I wish all bosses were so thoughtful and considerate of their nannies. :)

Could she possibly be on a diet? I just started a weight watchers diet and when my MomBoss offers me vanilla wafers, chips, etc...I politely decline but do not disclose I am on a diet due to the fact that once you disclose to someone you are on a diet, they start to watch everything you eat and ask how much weight you have lost, etc...which can be so annoying.

Or could she have food allergies?

Anyway, I hope your nanny realizes you are a rare gem of a boss and she is very blessed to have you in her life!!!!!

NannyPants said...

OP, you sound like an amazing boss that truly appreciates your nanny and it makes me happy to read. :) I am a live-in nanny and have amazing bosses who, like you, sometimes want to do a few extra things to make me feel welcome and appreciated.
First though-about the food thing, give it time because that is exactly what happened to me for the first few months of this job...I just felt shy and kind of awkward about going into the kitchen to get something to eat or eating with the family but I got over that and am quite comfortable now. Just give her some time and she will come out of that shell...I guarantee it. My bosses thought I didn't eat when I first came here. :) It will get better and more comfortable!!
If you want to get her a treat or something but don't want it to be expected, maybe put the gift card or whatever you choose in a card just telling her thank you for all that she does! So that way, with a card it's a nice gesture and treat...not something she will expect monthly. :)

NannyPants said...

OH also-my bosses pay for food expenses and they actually got me a credit card in my name but linked to their account for nanny expenses including groceries. So maybe consider doing that so she can feel comfortable going to the store by herself to get things she likes and maybe even keep some snacks in her room or something!

Village said...

Money honey. Slipping her whatever you can whenever you can will be greatly appreciated.

Can't or won't? said...

I totally understand why you don't want your nanny to expect a monthly gift just because you give it to her once in a while. However, in your last paragraph you said that some months you wouldn't be able to afford it. If you tell her that you can't afford a $20 gift card, she is going to know that is just plain not true. If you can afford a live in nanny, you can afford a Starbucks card.

I once worked for a woman who used to give me huge bonuses for Christmas, my birthday, and summer. After about 3 years she started saying she couldn't afford it, yet I still saw her spending huge amounts of money on expensive non-essentials for herself. I would never have said anything, because it is her money to do with as she pleases, but I found it very insulting that she claimed she couldn't afford it, and expected me to believe that.

It's not that you CAN'T afford it, it is a choice whether to spend the money on you nanny or yourself. Either choice is entirely justified, just be honest about it.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I think it's great that you want to thank your nanny. If you get her a gift card or a small gift, just give her a card with a note saying "This is a thanks for all of your hard work" or something to that effect. I'm sure that she will be thrilled and she won't expect it every month. Also giving it at a random time (at a different time than her paycheck) might also make it clear that it's not a monthly thing.

About what the previous poster said, don't feel guilty for not being able to afford it every month. It doesn't matter if you "can't" or "won't" get her a gift card every month, the fact of the matter is that it is a gift and one gift is more than enough. It is your money and as long as you are paying her a fair wage then anything else is extra.

Christine said...

Thank you everyone for your comments! They are very helpful.

We have actually been considering setting up a bank account where we could give her a debit card and transfer funds for groceries, daily incidentals, etc so hearing that here just reinforces that it is probably a good idea.

We love having her, and want her to realize how much better she is making our life. For us, having a nanny is a stretch financially, but we are willing to sacrifice to make it work. It's important to us that we have the peace of mind that our girls are well cared for, and realize that having a happy nanny can only help ensure that.
Thanks again!

Taleia said...

You sound like a great person to work for! :)

My boss parents are AMAZING and also give me occasional gifts just-because. They will usually just say, "We really appreciate you staying late/being flexible/etc lately and we want you to know how much we appreciate it." I never look for these gifts and would never feel cheated without them, but I always feel appreciated. :) While it may feel less awkward to say something like "I got this giftcard and I'm not gonna use it," I would encourage you to just tell your nanny exactly what you're doing. :)

Positive Feedback! said...

In addition to the already great comments here, I'd like to offer something you can do that would be absolutely free yet very much appreciated:

Take the time and effort to notice and comment on the things your nanny does well. A little bit of this goes a LONG way and is treasured by all nannies!

You sound like a great employer!

Chelsea said...

I have been a nanny for many years, and many families have given me little gifts here and there, but I honestly just like to know that I am appreciated. A heartfelt card really goes a long way for me ... I have actually saved every card a family has given me, and put them into a little book. It is a nice little reminder to look back at, and it makes me appreciate my job! I think a good gift is one that shows you put some thought into it ... I always get nail certificates - but never wear nail polish. Of course I am still so appreciative, and it is a nice little treat to get a manicure, but it really isn't me. When a family gives me a gift card for a coffee shop and a travel mug, I know that they know me - I love coffee!

I really just agree with the last person who posted, nothing makes me happier than knowing that I am appreciated in my job. I always do stuff around the house, even stuff I am not asked to do ... but I always go the extra mile because my employer is always so thankful! Some days she even sends a text message after I have gone home, thanking me again for all the work I did that day. That is what makes me a happy, and content nanny!

Nanny S said...

Everyone else left wonderful comments. I'd just like to add that #1 would be respecting her space and boundaries and don't take it personally if she doesn't want to spend extra time (ie- out to dinner) with you all. It sounds like you already do this, but for most live in nannies, this is the #1 concern.

For "extras" always accompany them with a note or expression of gratitude or a reasoning behind it. My mb leaves me Starbucks cards and always leaves a reason like "Thanks for the extra hours this week" or "Thought you might need some coffee to help you get through your finals".

As far as food, I think this should be dealt with directly. I (though 24, not 19) would appreciate if a MB said something to me like, "I imagine if I were in your shoes I may feel a little uncomfortable eating food that someone else buys or in someone else's house, so just please know that we don't think anything of it- that it's simply a business arrangement and part of your contract. We think a healthy and well fed nanny is best prepared to take care of our kids and we want that for you."

You could also consider leaving her gift cards for grocery stores, with explanation- "We want you to buy stuff you like and recognize you might not feel comfortable giving us a list of these things, so here you go."