04 March, 2012
I wanted to get this out there, and get some opinions from both nannies and parents. How do you deal with friends or relatives visiting and staying in the house while the nanny is working? In my opinion as a nanny, this is absolutely intolerable for more than a day or two. Having relatives around while I am trying to take care of the kids is so difficult. I have dealt with relatives before, mostly grandparents, and it is a nightmare! Here are some examples of the problems that come up:
- Some relatives, grandmothers in particular, can feel jealous of a nanny. They are blood relatives, but they don't see the child anywhere near as often as the nanny, so of course the child feels closer to the nanny. I had one grandma who visited for weeks but never played with her granddaughter, she just sat and watched soap operas. The little girl and I mostly went to the park, did arts and crafts, and played silly games. Grandma couldn't understand why her granddaughter wanted to be with me and not her, she was just furious.
- Grandparents like to spoil their grandchildren. Sometimes Mom can leave very specific instructions for the nanny, and Grandma will totally derail them. For example, Mom wants her child to have a sandwich for lunch, and no sweets. Grandma says he can have candy if he doesn't want his sandwich. What is the nanny supposed to do then? Have an argument with Grandma right in front of the child, or disregard Mom's wishes? Nanny is screwed either way.
- Even if the grandparents don't get jealous, and doesn't interfere, sometimes just having another adult around can be incredibly annoying. Some of us nannies are introverts, who relate fantastically to children, but feel uncomfortable when forced to interact with unknown adults. I know I do! That is one of the most uncomfortable situations for me, having to make small talk with a stranger.
I am trying to look at this from all points of view, but I'll start with the nanny's since it is the most familiar! I think it shows an incredible amount of disrespect to a nanny to force this situation upon her. It is a trap, it seems like she either has to put up with an intolerable situation at work or leave her job. It seems that parents either don't realize how uncomfortable this can be, or they just don't care. It seems to me that they are not considering the feelings of their nanny at all. A nanny should not have to babysit your relatives, or entertain your guests.
I feel that if you have a nanny and you want to have relatives coming to town, you need to either:
- Make sure the relatives are out of the house the whole time the nanny is there.
- Have the nanny take the kids to her house while the relatives are in town.
- Give the nanny the time off (PAID) and let your relatives take the kids.
- Put the relatives up in a hotel and tell them not to come over while nanny is there.
OK, now I'm going to look at this from the parent's point of view:
- If they have someone come to visit, they aren't going to want to kick them out of the house for a large part of every day.
- The parents might not want the kid's at nanny's house, which is their right.
- Maybe the relatives don't want to spend their trip caring for the kids while nanny has paid time off.
- Why spend money for a hotel if they have a perfectly nice guest room?
Maybe the parents are extroverts, and have no concept of how immensely uncomfortable it can be for some of us to make small talk with strangers. Perhaps it isn't that they aren't considering the feelings of the nanny, maybe they honestly can't imagine she would have a problem. Maybe they think the guest will actually be. So what about the guests point of view? They may also feel uncomfortable having to deal with the nanny being in their way all day. If I went to visit someone and they had someone else in their house all day while they were gone I would be horribly uncomfortable, and pretty angry at whoever I was visiting. But at least the relatives can probably explain this to the parents, while a nanny usually can't. (unless you have one of those rare Nanny-MB relationships where you can actually talk about stuff without anyone getting angry!)
If I were the parent in this situation, I would make sure the nanny and my guests were never in the house together for longer than a few minutes. I feel like any other action would be disrespectful to my nanny and my guests. I wouldn't want either my relatives or a nanny who is helping raise my kids to feel uncomfortable in my house. As a nanny, I just want to avoid this situation whenever possible. Is there a way to get this out before getting hired? Do you bring it up when they tell you someone is coming to visit? Do you just have to suck it up and deal? What have other nannies done? I would love to hear the parents side of this, too. Thanks!
at 5:45 AM