The Cost of Flexibility and Being Paid your Worth

opinion 1
I am a part time nanny in a large metropolitan area (about 14 hours per week). I began my employment by watching one of two children when she got off of school (pick her up, bring her home, make lunch, etc). I also take her to gymnastics class, swimming lessons, and regular outings to parks, etc. I am paid 12/hr, and thought that was fairly reasonable for this area (I usually get around 15 for less regular babysitting). I was assured I would have time for homework during her nap time, and they would appreciate me helping around the house. I also began watching her brother (alone), but sometimes I have to watch them together when there are school holidays. This was not discussed prior to employment, but just assumed I would charge the same rate. Should I charge more for days when I watch both children?

Also, chore requests (sometimes demands) have been creeping on the to-do list, including vacuuming and mopping the floors, doing laundry, taking out the trash, completely re-organizing the kids’ room, and doing all the dishes (including scrubbing the pot from the family’s breakfast caked in burnt oatmeal). I feel like some of these demands are outside the scope of what a part time nanny should do, and outside what we initially agreed upon. I appreciate the flexibility they allow me (to run short errands I have when I pick their child up from school, use their washing machine occasionally), but I wonder at what cost this flexibility comes? Also, the child has recently been diagnosed with high functioning autism, which explains the heightened attention she needs, but now I am required to read material and watch DVD’s about how to understand how to best interact with the child. I completely understand this need, but it leaves me with little time to do chores, and my employer is beginning to express disappointment with me if I have not done everything.

Finally, my employer has frequently shown up late with little to no notice, making me late to class (I am a grad student) or having to cancel yoga classes I was signed up to attend. I am more worried the situation will get worse if I do not address it quickly. I am glad to help out when I can, but do not want to be taken advantage of. Which things should I charge more for or should I just say they are outside my responsibility? Would love any advice you have!


Nanny who loves her career!! said...

You are right- it will get worse. You need to sit down with the parents- sounds like they are taking advantage of you. Do you have a contract? Also explain to them, that the child, with autism, has always been more important than chores/ errands. Especially now. He needs your attention/ guidance. You can work out chores while he is NOT in your care (Sleeping/ in school). If they don't agree to that, move on.

Truth Seeker said...

To answer your question..yes you must definitely should get paid extra for the add'l child. Since you are making $12/Hr for one, I would charge between $14-15 for the two.

What concerns me is that you are being asked to do too many chores along with childcare. Considering you are in school, I think you have too much on your plate now. Sit down with your boss and let her know that you are in Grad School now and really need time to study, etc. Let her know that you provide childcare ONLY and do not mind the driving duties, but can only perform household tasks that pertain to the children such as their laundry, washing any dishes used and general picking up duties, etc. If she balks, then realize this is not a good match and you need to move on. Hopefully she will be understanding and you both can work this thing out. Also, let her know how important it is for her to be on time when she comes home since you have other engagements you need to fulfill.

Aries said...

Alot of Parents and people in general will take advantage. They think that because they're paying you a certain rate that you should really work hard for the money. They don't realize that caring for children in itself is hard never mind the chores, reading up on Autisim, errands, etc. And caring for an austisic child is even harder. My sister works in CNA and is way to nice and willing and she has calls atleast twice a week seeing if she'll take a shift, work extra, etc when she already works full time day in and day out. She is starting to get a backbone because she started losing out on sleep. But they knew if they needed someone then they would call her since she is a very passive person and doesn't like to say 'no.'

Anyways, You said you're getting paid $12 an hour which in my opinion is quite low compared to everything you do for the family. You're making less then $200 a week yet from what you've described are doing alot of work. Ask yourself how much time you sit and relax when working for them? Are you using your own car? gas? when picking up/doing errands? If you are then i suggest a serious talk and soon. Not only should they be reinbursing you they should be paying for your car to be cleaned in and out (LOL).

And yes, more money on the days there are two childen. That's like $6 a child PLUS chores and everything else. If they keep creepin up on the list of things to do and you have this talk and they're not willing then i suggest you find someone who appreciates the care and work you do. There are people out there willing to pay $18/child+chores being they know a good nanny is worth the price. Put your foot down and if the parents are worried about losing a wonderful nanny they will consider it. If they choose not to they will have the lingering thought in the back of there head that you aren't happy with the price and will be nervous of you leaving for another job. So let them know either way.

Georgia nanny said...

Contract, contract, contract. Find some kind of nanny contract online, and you may be surprised to find that cleaning and household chores are usually NOT part of the job description. There is a good reason for this!
1) Yes, I would charge an extra $3/hr for the hours spent w two kids. Write it into the contract.

2) In your contract, list the household chores you would be willing to do. NO VACUUMING, MOPPING, PARENT LAUNDRY, DOING PARENT DISHES. Kitchen, diaper, kid-related trash is typically acceptable. Explain to her that if she wishes cleaning services then it is standard to pay a cleaning lady $100 a week (or whatever is appropriate for your area) but not the nanny!

3) Write in your contract about how much extra autism training you are willing to do, and how much time a day you will set aside each work day (ex, 15 - 20 minutes a day should be more than sufficient. You're only part time!)

4) Write in the contract an agreement for late pickup payment charges (I would suggest $25/hr or more) unless she calls ahead and ASKS if you would like to work the extra hour. I wish I had thought to put that in my contract! This is a standard practice for good daycare centers.

My personal experience - the family I work for is AWESOME but like any business professional, they are talented and professional about pushing and getting more than they are paying for! I was hired to care for kids, clean after kids, make dinner, and "light cleanup". She HAS a cleaning crew come twice a month. At one point she had a full page - Im not kidding! - checklist of cleaning duties, like vacuuming, taking out ALL trash, straightening non-kid areas, watering a ton of outside plants, etc etc etc - Well, I tried it for a bit, started getting burned out. Stopped doing the extra work and stopped filling out the freaking checklist. But I'm a great nanny, the house is picked up and dinner is hot when the family gets home, so she hasn't said anything. Just stopped printing the D*** checklist after a few months!! haha

Unknown said...

I'm a nanny in a major city and I make 18-20 an hour at my position. I'm given responsibilities for while the baby is napping... but I'm being paid accordingly. I recently took another part time position which is only paying 15 an hour, and the only reason I took it was because it was walking distance from my apartment and because it was babysitting only. Right down a list of responsibilities that you both sign, that way there's no discrepancy.

Bethany said...

My issue with agreeing to do a million chore while baby naps is that parents never want to reduce chores once baby is no longer taking multiple naps a day.

I do agree with getting what you agree to do in writing, but realize they probably won't want to cut back or pay up.