A Perspective for Parents

opinion 1
I'm 32 years old and have been a professional full-time nanny through a highly respected agency for 7 years now. For 3 years before that, I was a preschool teacher, and for 6 years before that, I worked in a daycare, and had various babysitting jobs all throughout my teen and young adult years. I have worked with kids for about 17 years now, from newborns to age 12, and in a variety of formats. I love what I do, and the reason I do this job is because I'm confident in all aspects of child care, I've been trained, and have experience, I genuinely love taking care of children, and I feel blessed that I can get paid for doing something I love. For me, it's a rewarding job. Recently the family I had been with for 4 years as their full-time nanny, domestic manager, and personal assistant moved out of state. I started interviewing for a new job, and that, combined with reading this website and also other online nanny agency type of sites, just made me want to get a few things off my mind and I figured this was a good format to do so.

What really prompted this was the number of interviews I seem to have had back-to-back lately where parents (especially first-time parents) seem to be so high and mighty about so many things concerning hiring a new nanny. I realize that your first priority as a parent is to protect your child, and I respect certain questions I am asked. I think good parents SHOULD ask a number of questions about someone they are considering to take care of their children. But I had an interview with a couple recently who had a newborn (their first) and GRILLED me on infant care and the do's and don't's past the point of what I felt was normal. They seemed extremely condescending and actually even handed me a "quiz" they had printed out on baby care. They then informed me that if I took the job, I should know now that I would be recorded on cameras all througout the house at all times that they could look in on while they were at work. In theory, I get this. However, even though I have nothing to hide, this makes me uncomfortable for obvious reasons. What if I have a personal phone call I need to take, or make? How do I know these cameras aren't included in the bathroom? What if I need to change clothes for some reason, is there a safe room to do so? Etc... but also the camera thing bothered me because you either trust me or you don't. If you're such an expert on children and babies just because you recently gave birth to one, but haven't worked in child care for 17 years like I have, and if you're so paranoid that someone does it right, then WHY on earth are you leaving them with someone else? You're sitting here interviewing a nanny to care for your child for 10 to 12 hours a day because you don't want to do it, yet you act as if I'm stupid and don't know anything because I haven't given birth to a child and I'm not a mother. So you're willing to leave your baby with this person who you don't really trust, and then watch videos after the fact to see if anything bad happened?? Basically what you're doing is testing the situation out on your child if you really don't trust the person you're leaving them with in the first place.

Some other things have bothered me in jobs off and on and in interviews that I think parents can't see the nanny's perspective on, and maybe if you tried to, your nanny wouldn't get overwhelmed or burned out so easily. Kids are great, amazing, and fun, but also very draining and tiring at times. Especially in certain jobs where there might be a heavy schedule to adhere to, activities to get to, or extra chores for the nanny to do besides watching and working with the children. We sometimes feel the same as a stressed-out mom, and that is understandable for mothers, yet nannies are expected to be "on" at ALL times, and perfect in everything they do, and always high-energy, fun, and engaging. I feel like about 90% of parents that hire nannies expect them to never sit down and take a break, make a phone call, check their texts, be in the bathroom for any length of time, sit down and enjoy lunch, read a book they brought or GOD-FORBID watch TV. *gasp* The TV thing is getting rediculous in jobs I've had. I am NOT one to sit down, watch tv and ignore the kids. And I'm not even talking about watching TV for myself but when COUNTLESS parents over and over and over and over that I've worked for, or interviewed for stress so much that they don't want their kids watching TV, but yet the kids tell me that's all they do in the evenings or on the weekends, or when I come each morning to get them ready for school with JUST enough time to do so, and all morning they've been in front of the TV while their parents are getting themselves ready, it gets irritating.

I had a job where this happened every day, leaving me to rush the kids through their morning routine in order to get them to school/playgroups on time. This job was from 7am to 6pm every day. One child had school until 3, the other had half-day preschool and then nap. They both had after-school activities and we ran around like crazy all day until about 5pm. I would bring them home and TRY to get dinner prepped or things from the day cleaned up for their parents like they requested that I do, and during that LAST half-hour when we had done all we could do all day long, the kids were antsy and hyper, and I was trying to finish things up for the day, I would let them watch TV while I did. It helped me immensly and they were still right in my view at all times. The parents would get home and they wouldn't be able to see the entire day of running around and things we did. All they saw was the kids watching TV every time they came home so they assumed that's all they ever did and told me to not let them watch it anymore. Yet EVERY MORNING when I would come in, they would be getting ready and have those kids in front of the TV.

I understand how evil and vile tv can be... i know you want your kids to get fresh air and be outside and be active. But parents, please put yourselves in our shoes sometimes and see things from these different perspectives. On days like weekends that you're home with your kids, do you make phone calls? (Probably, and this is ok! It's NORMAL!) Do you CONSTANTLY engage and play with your children? (probably not, and this is ok!) Do you hover over them and follow them around at the park and not let them just play with other kids? (I sure hope not). Please stop hiring someone to act as a perfect parent when you don't want to be one, and then get upset when they turn out to be human. Please see things from a different perspective if you can once in awhile. Are your children alive and well when you get home? Are they clothed, fed, feel safe, have a roof over their head? These are the things that matter! My job is to keep your child safe, and make sure they stay alive! I nurture them, play with them, and do other things a MOTHER would do with them because I LIKE to and feel that's what's right! I am good at what I do, and am always requested by people and have excellent references. I've never had an interview where I wasn't offered the job. So if anyone reading things in here thinks I'm a "bad nanny" for anything I've said, you don't know me and you're wrong. I'm just feeling frustrated lately by the attitude I get as a caregiver and felt some of this needed to be said.


Gloria said...

I;e been a nany for many years as well and I've noticed that as wel..

Part of me thinks it's a generational attitude towards how children should be interacted with.

Part of me thinks many first timers don't have a clue.

Your average person only hears horror stories about nannies, so they assume the worst first.

Or they have a friend or coworker with a nanny who does everything 7 they assume all nannies will be the same.

In other cases I think it stems from jealousy and the need to punish the nanny for being the one at home with the kids.

MamaLaywer said...

Maybe they don't want their children watching tv before dinner specifically because the parents already allowed them tv in the morning, and after the morning their tv limit for the day has been hit. I used to put on classical music and have the kids draw a picture for dad about their day while I made dinner if they were being wild.

Lauren said...

I am a nanny and have been one FT for almost 20 years, and PT during college. Of course, I have been babysitting since I was a baby myself... lol!

I am *shocked* by the number of nannies who complain that their employers don't let them put the TV on for the kids. First of all, they are paying you to supervise their children, enrich their lives and yes, do a little help around the house. It is entirely within their rights AS PARENTS to only allow the TV when they are with the kids. Maybe it's a special time with mommy and daddy... maybe they need that time in order to get themselves ready for work. Why can't you think of anything else to entertain the kids besides the TV? They can't color, do legos, have a dance party with loud music if they need to blow off some steam, make a puzzle, build with blocks, help you cook dinner, etc.

Posts like yours Irk me, sorry!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I agree that it weird for parents to film their Nanny...I mean if they truly trust you, then why would they film you? However, I give props to the family for actually disclosing they have nanny cams since I know some families don't.

I have been in many situations where the parents let their kids watch T.V. while they are home, then order a "No T.V." rule for when they are not there. I think this is stupid.

I understand that sitting a child in front of the T.V. all day while the Nanny does nothing would be really wrong, however the T.V. is a godsend when the Nanny needs to prepare meals, eat her lunch, do some chores, etc. As long as the Nanny uses it in moderation, I see no harm in doing so. When my kids were younger, I used to let them watch T.V. and now that they are fully grown, I do not see any damage done. They have come out to be great kids and are not couch potatoes. They are very active in their current lives and are very successful, etc.

Sure, us Nannies are getting paid to interact w/the children we care for. However, to prevent Nanny burnout, even we need periodic breaks. Us Nannies are human beings too.

OP, your post was very interesting to read and very well-written and expressive.

I totally get it.

NVMom-movedtoTX said...

I don't think the OP is saying kids need to watch tv, she is pointing out the obvious double standard that some parents seem to do. Yes, they are wholly in their rights to limit or even ban tv altogether. It reminds me of the 'Nanny Diaries' when the Mom had the nanny feed her child healthy food while she gave him frozen chicken nuggets and candy on the weekends. As a Mom I get it. I never asked a nanny to do something I would not.

nycmom said...

I think you make a lot of valid points. I have used a nanny cam, but only in the beginning of employing a new nanny when I had an infant. It would feel odd to me to be constantly filming my caregiver after trust was established. Regardless, I have met a lot of paranoid parents and have, unfortunately, had a couple of scary nanny/sitter experiences, so it's hard to blame them. At least they are disclosing the cams so you can make an informed choice.

Grilling you in interviews is also not my style. I have learned anyone can be a good actress in an interview and it's not a time to try to "catch" someone. I just want to establish basic likability and normalcy, then check references. The working trial is much more important to me. But again, first time parents are often really, really scared and clueless. Maybe don't work for ftms!

Next, job exhaustion. This is a tough one. I am not a parent who wants to employ a nanny who will spend hours each day on the phone, reading, etc. I really don't think it is analogous to a SAHM. It is a job and when a nanny goes home, she is "off" work. A SAHM is never off work. Now, a nanny may have kids of her own as may a WOHM, but you can determine how you care for your kids when you are home. If you accept a nanny job with a clear job description, both sides should adhere to it.

That being said, it is ridiculous to expect any human being to work 60+ hrs a week and be "on" all the time. I have always tried to limit my ft nanny's hours to 40-45/week for that exact reason. If her total hours are reasonable, I feel it is reasonable to expect her to be able to maintain her energy during that time. Of course, everyone needs to take a lunch break and glancing at your texts or a brief personal call is no big deal. But anything over one hour total during an 8-9 hour day is excessive, barring a child who naps for several hours. I do not hire a nanny to be a "perfect parent." I hire her to be a great nanny. Yes, that means having more energy than I would at some times. That's why I am not a nanny! I really don't think the standard I am shooting for is "clothed, fed, feel safe, have a roof over their head." Those are kind of a given. Really, your job is NOT just to "Keep your child safe, and make sure they stay alive." It really, really is not.

I actually expect a nanny to engage my kids in games, take them to the park, show initiative, arrange playdates, read to them and, over time, show them genuine affection. It remains a job, but that doesn't mean both parties can't have mutual respect and affection while keeping professional boundaries. Everyone has bad days, but I would never settle for nanny who just wanted to keep my child alive.

TV. This one is tough. I understand the frustration here as a nanny and have never said "no TV." I have asked for a reasonable daily limit (say one hour) and I also try to limit to a show in the morning and at night depending on age. But, again, I don't think parents are obligated to expect the same of their nanny as they do of themselves. They can truly expect and ask for more. As long as they pay fairly and are honest about the job at hiring. If those situations are repeatedly frustrating for a nanny, which I can understand, don't take those jobs. Also, on weekends I do allow TV in the morning and before bed, but rarely midday -- same as I expect of my nanny -- and I think that is part of the issue with timing of TV.

You do not sound like a bad nanny. Just a frustrated one :)

Nope said...

nycmom you are clueless. Simplu clueless. i know you have your lovely flock on this site that fawn over you every post as if you offer great insight into the mind of the mother.

But you are an overpaid ninny who eems to think a nanny should be honored to be able to work for you and and care for your children.

Katie said...

I think many parents don't undestand the disservice they do themselves when the assume and act as though the nanny is public enemy number one in an interview ( or job posting for that matter) treating the nanny as though she is a criminal.

They may want to scare off those nanny posers they also put off great nannies. The ones who have been around long enough to know that those type of interviews 9 times out of 10 spell a horrible work environment.

leftcoastmama said...

I expect my nanny to interact with my kids and to engage them in a variety of activities.

I expect that some of these activities will be the children taking the lead. I do not want a nanny that is always in their face as you say.
I expect my nanny to take a break during the day ( have lunch & check an email, or a phone call if needed)

I expect this to be the norm and have yet to be shown wrong.

I expect her to put her best foot forward everyday and I know that somedays despite her best efforts things don't go as planned.

I don't expect my nanny to be perfect, a robot, or superhuman.

up & down said...

I think when OP mentioned just be glad they are safe and alive she was asking parents to stop micromanaging to leave a bit of room for flexibility in the daily schedule. You hired her because you trust her to be superhuman so let her do her job.

OP I totally understand where you're coming from. I'm sure you are a great nanny but even the best nannies get tired of having the worst assumed of them no matter what they do to please the bosses.

Unfortunatly, I think this style of helicopter parenting is the new norm the way this generation of parents wants to raise their kids.

Lauren said...


Yes, a nanny can and should be better than the parents. That's why you're a nanny... that's why the parents don't stay at home. Not everyone is cut out for full days of intense childhood drama/playing/engaging/learning -- but a good nanny should be!

A good nanny should be able to balance between being "in the kids face" all day long and engaging them/enriching their lives to the fullest. Every day should have a mixture of active play and quiet play; a mixture of nanny-lead activities and a mixture of child-led activities; and, yes time for the nanny to have 10 minutes to herself.

My nanny kids no longer nap, but I have one home with me part-time. She goes to preschool 3 mornings per week. Around 1:15 or so after a busy morning of school, or an activity with me, followed by a healthy lunch... I announce that "I am going to take a short break now. Do you want to do X, Y, or Z while I read my email/return a phone call/etc" And I give myself about 20-30 minutes "off". Then, I'm right back on my game, and we go pick her brothers up at school and start the afternoon activities (tutoring, lacrosse, gymnastics, tae kwon do, starting dinner, etc.)

nycmom said...


You are certainly entitled to your opinion. However, I have never perceived anyone as "fawning" over me on ISYN. I have had plenty of disagreements.

Next, could you please clarify how I am "overpaid"? How much do I make and what should I be making in your opinion?

Finally, I certainly do not think a nanny should be honored to work for our family. I think I've been pretty honest in saying that two out of three of my kids are difficult and I am honest about that in the interview. Heck, half the time I'm at my wits end with my 11yo daughter! I have nothing but respect and empathy for those caregivers who manage her with more patience and finesse than I do at times. I hope I pay a bit extra to account for that and try to keep the total hours manageable so the job is not overwhelming. But I would *never* advertise a job with my family as "easy" or "lots of downtime," etc.

However, if you would like to maturely discuss specific points about my prior post with which you disagree I welcome that. I have learned a lot on ISYN and that's why I stay here -- because I truly think it makes me a better employer.

That's all folks said...

A good nanny should be better than the parent.

Yes, and when they actually are and when the kid starts preferring them to their parents then dear nanny gets fired.

A Mere Mortal said...

Wow Lauren you sound like the perfect nanny! Hell you sound like the perfect person.

If you're not too busy with your jobs of nannying and making sure the earth continues to orbit the sun maybe you can join forces with nycmom. I'm sure she has room in her schedule for you to crawl up her ass.

curious said...

Mere Mortal - why are you so angry? Are you an underpaid/overworked nanny that feels compelled to spill your venom towards others here?

Lauren said...

wow - Mere Mortal...

You sound so bitter and jaded. Did you recently get fired? Or you're having trouble finding just the right nanny job for you? Hmm... now why would that be?

MominNC said...

Wow, drama in every other thread. To "nope" and "mere mortal" (who are probably both one in the same), it seems as if you have some issues. You make silly assumptions about other posters you know nothing about. I don't know Lauren but have read several of nycmom's posts and she comes off as a very fair and sensible employer.

Maybe you should be pissed at someone like me, lol. I have a nanny I pay $15 an hr for and have 2 kids. She works 50hrs a wk and also does housework.

leftcoastmama said...

I don't see anything wrong with nycmoms' posts. She seems reasonable to me.

I disagree that I want a nanny to be better than me.

Lauren I work because I both want and need to, not because I can't , don't want to, or don't know how to be with my children.

I think I have a great nanny she has a great way of engaging my children or making sure they are engaged, but remains human. I like the humanity in her. I like that she can admit she has a tough day with the kids at times. I like that she doesn't always have the answers.

But I have a different personality than the parents mentioned in OPs posts.
I think OP had her heart in the right place when posting this, but there's no changing that type of personality.

MominNC said...

LOL @ Lauren, that must be it!

Mere Mortal said...

Lauren comes across a total self important snot! Read her first comment on this post.

I'm actually a fabulous nanny and happily employed thank you very much, but I can see this post for what it was a plea for parents to be resonable and have a little rspect. and maybe offer some insight to new nanny employers on why they are having a hard time getting a nanny.

I didn't see the OP saying she thinks she should be allowed to watch TV all day and sit back and let the kids run wild.

Nope said...

Lauren! I have a job and have been on the nanny seen a while.

You seem like a great nanny, but I think you are making the mistake many nannies do. You are not better than mom and dad no matter what tricks you pull out of your well used nanny bag.

Nanny J said...

I don't agree with parents who sit their kids in front of the tv all the time while they're with them and turn around expecting the nanny to NEVER allow their children to watch tv.

Television can be educational, why not have the kids watch a show about the ocean, or something on Nat Geo? I mean come on, just because it's 'tv' doesn't mean it's mind-rotting cartoons. There are plenty of things to watch that are educational and fun. Oceanography shows are amazing and kids usually enjoy them due to their color and the weird creatures.

That being said, my current job limits tv to 15 minutes per day or less. That's fine by me, considering I'm only there for 5 hours a day and I would prefer to accrue an hour's worth of television and do a special Friday afternoon wind-down with a movie and some conversation for 3 year-old P.

I can also understand it because 1 year-old A is very young, and I don't believe children under 2 need to watch television more than maybe a Baby Einstein in the evening before bed, etc.

However, I think it's unrealistic to ask me to be super human. I am not, I am a human being with flaws and I do get flustered if children are very taxing on a given day. Of course my job doesn't currently require 10-12 hours a day, but even if it did, I believe that 'quiet time/nap time' is very important for nanny, and 15 minutes of television may be the difference between P and A's laundry being done and folded, or left to sit in the dryer until MB and DB get home.

curious said...

Aw, looky looky! NOPE and MERE MORTAL both posted at the same time! lmfao, i guess they were the same people!

MominNC said...

I guess it kind of takes away their validity, curious. If "mere mortal" had commented before in the half-sane way she just did, maybe we would understand her anger (oh, except for the self-important snot jab.. that was totally uncalled for.) Why can't a person make a valid point without slamming someone on here?

MereMortal said...

So by your rationale, curious, you , Mormin NC , and Lauren are the same people because you posted at a similar time and have a similar viewpoint.

Perhps I was rude by I think it's dangerous for a nanny to take on the superhuman role.

I also thought Lauren was nasty to OP.

My apologies to Lauren and nycmom too ( she was an innocent bystander.

Amen! said...

OP great post! I share your frustration 100%! What I find funny is that parents today want a nanny to be perfect and never have flaws but they can be lazy and make as many mistakes as parents AND employers all they want. They key to this post is the double stand is absurd! You want someone to raise your children and have all these boundaries on your nanny then practice what you preach parents! You all have to work together to create a balance! OP you forgot to add in your post that people want a perfect nanny who not only cares for the kids but also wants them to wear many hats as a fill in parent, housekeeper, personal assistant, psychologist, nurse, teacher, personal chef, and handyman all rolled into one nice package yet pay their nanny nothing! Sorry parents out there you can have a nanny work 10 hours a day or more 5 days a week and pay her $8 and hour with no benefits or personal days. Nanny's are human too and you want quality day care parents out there then you are going to have to pay them WELL and on the books with perks like any job! Don't be a horrible boss!

Amen! said...

Sorry my auto correct has a mind of it's own. I meant CAN'T have a nanny work....

dexter said...

i totally agree with OP. parents should never ask a nanny to do anything they wouldn't do themselves.

Fiona said...

My biggest peeve when it comes to parents asking the nanny to wean the child of the bottle, diapers, or pacifier and at the weeken the give in and go right back to it.

They don't seem to see how this impacts the child the constant back & forth.

I've had many discussions with parents who've done this. Pick one and stick with it.

Phoenix said...

Thank you! I've been saying that for years. Just because you craped out a baby doesn't mean you know how to raise a child! Yay! someone else gets it

Phoenix said...

also the thing about TV is BS. I was a kid who had a WAHM. When I was an infant i went with a nanny. But as soon as my sister was born when I was 6 I became the nanny and i stayed home with my mom while she worked. I was raised in front of a TV. But I was active and I always played outside but when i was inside I was in front of a TV and so was my sister. And I have NOTHING wrong with me. i have a masters degree in accounting, a full time job, I moved out on my own when I was 17, I started working when i was 16 and I've been with the love of my life for 11 years. i don't know why people think TV is that bad. Actually people can learn a lot from TV based on what they watch. If the kids watch the history channel it is better than them watching cartoons. I give a lot of credit to TV for the fact that i am basically a trivia junkie. I know a lot of crap about nothing in particular. I never would have learned it in school.

I think people need to chill out on the TV thing. My son has ALL channels in his room. he has his TV on literally 24-7 when he is with us. He keeps it on as back-ground noise mostly and he falls asleep with it on. We have no parental blocks on his TV. He could watch bad things if he wanted to. He's a pre-teen he's gonna do it anyway if he wants to. He doesn't to our knowledge. But my son plays soccer and football. He is also a boxer like his dad. He is not overweight and he is active. I might be lucky and have a wonderful child that knows how to think but I think TV becomes a big deal when parents make it so. If you have this magical box that has images in it and you tell a kid its bad they are going to want it more. It will take on a magical factor. YOu can't shelter your kids from the world. In my house we dont' limit TV and we don't make it a big deal. My kid is a straight A student and hes athletic. He doesn't care about TV, he doesn't think about it, he just doesn't give a shit.

if parents would just lighten up I think they would have better kids all around. If you make something a big deal it will become a big deal to a child

nycmom said...


I think that is an excellent point and one that would frustrate me as a nanny or parent. Children need consistency and it is impossible to get rid of the paci or potty train without everyone on board. I can attest to how hard this is even when my husband is lazy/gives in and my nanny and I are trying hard.

I still disagree that it is unreasonable to expect a nanny to perform childcare "better" than a parent during her hours at work. A nanny is presumably an experienced and expert in childcare who has honed her skills and time management over many years. I am hiring her FOR her expertise and skills; because she is likely to complement my strengths and weaknesses; and because with no family support and a husband often traveling, I know my limitations and when I need help. It's not a secret that parents feel overwhelmed or lazy at times. Most parents do not have nearly that level of experience.

I do think that a nanny working reasonable hours should be able to maintain her energy, initiative, creativity, and structure during her work day. That is *exactly* why I hire her (well, that and so I can work). Everyone has off days, of course, and I am not talking about 100% perfection. I would not expect any person, parent or nanny, to do this with 12-hour workdays. Lots of studies showing performance starts declining at about 8-hours. If I need my nanny for longer than an 8-hour day, and I often do, then I expect the evenings to be downtime, TV, etc. But not the prime hours. I think if the job you are hiring for is reasonable, it is reasonable to expect the person you hire to perform it as described. I have been a SAHM, pt WOHM, ft WOHM. I do feel it is fairly easy to maintain my energy and level of engagement for 8-9 hours. After that, I agree that a break is needed.


Of course your points are valid if you are working in those kinds of jobs. You should not be expected to be superhuman, get paid very low wages, or perform duties you did not agree to. I doubt any parent/employer would advocate for this though I do know bad employers exist. However, taking a job and continuing it are within your control. Do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of and you will not be.

Amen! said...

NYCMom, I was merely speaking on what the OP was trying to push across is that NOW parents who are currently looking/hiring a nanny are very unreasonable when it come to not only the interview but job basics, duties, hours, pay, etc. These are things I've noticed the last three years has become an ever growing problem in childcare. You may not see this because you may not be one of these parents but this is a fact I have seen and experienced myself like OP. I have a feeling it's because of the economy, people are always online "reading" up on topics, and I also feel that nannies are being taken advantage more so now than ever because people are over extended these days by choice. People more now than ever are working longer days with bigger work loads, over scheduled and consequently overwhelmed because of their full schedules so somebody ends up suffering and often it's the nannies who care for the kids.

Now I have worked with great families and not so great. Like any job that can be the case. Some jobs are better than others. But it's not just up to the nannies to keep things smoothly it's the parents too. The parents too have a responsibility to be fair, honest, and realistic. And let's not forget to do things legally when it comes to vacation, sick days, overtime, taxes, pay & benefits. All nannies want is to be treated fairly for the hard work they do. It's not always easy working in people's homes, it takes a great deal work to stay professional.

Karli said...

WOW, I was offline all weekend and came back to 33 replies to my original post. This was my first time posting here, so it was interesting to see what would happen. Thank you all for your comments, and I'm sorry my post seemed to cause a little drama, but it's really nice to see that I'm understood. About 98% of these posts agree with me and somehow that helps right now, because I've been a little frustrated for some time with work things like this lately. I really did just want parents to see "our" side of things. Most of the time with good long-term jobs I've had, I think that's where the problems start coming in after awhile. It's when we fail to see the other person's perspective on things. I always try to think of how the parent will feel if they walk in and see something in dis-array, or what they must be thinking if it doesn't seem like much was accomplished during the day, or things like that. I try to remember that they have a lot of other stress going on at their job, which I can't see all day. I just see them briefly but have no idea what they're dealing with or what stress they might be under in other areas.

I just don't think they try to imagine how the day is for us most of the time, or care what we think. I also think so much of the time, parents start out extra nice to their nanny and then relax and fall into a routine and never again say "thank you" or seem to appreciate extra things we do. I'm a person who naturally jumps in and does extra things if I see that some parents are having trouble getting to it, or having a heavy work-week, etc. If I have a child napping for 2 hours, I'll clean out a fridge or re-organize a cabinet or something. Something that IS NOT in my job description. But I've found that 9 times out of 10, things like that then become expected, and it's a big surprise if those things don't get done regularly after that. This is sad, and makes me not want to try as hard, but then that would be perceived as "laziness", or only doing the bare minimum.

This applies to days off, etc. I worked for a family for 4 years without ever once being late or calling in sick. NOT ONCE, and I'm not exaggerating. (One time I had thrown up all night and woke up with a fever of 102 and TRIED to call in sick but was told there was no way the mom could take off work so I came in anyway). I also worked a lot of overtime because they were usually late coming home, and I never said no to this. Well they got used to me never saying no, and after 4 years, the ONE TIME the mom called me and said I needed to stay late, and I had an important appointment to get to that was paid for and I would lose the money if I didn't show up, she yelled at me on the phone and said "I don't need to hear your excuses right now, you're staying." And hung up. She apologized the next morning, so I stayed.

About a week later, I asked if I could have a Friday off to take a 3 day weekend trip to see family that lived out of state. She told me I could, if I paid for a temp nanny for the day. She had my 3 weeks notice the next day. Other things were going on but that sent me over the edge. Sad too because I was extremely bonded with her kids.

And Phoenix - we could be best friends. LOL

nycmom said...


You are absolutely right. I would even go so far as to say the parents/employers have most of the responsibility to ensure the job is realistic and to be fair. But I do feel a nanny needs to communicate and negotiate the Work Agreement thoroughly because otherwise employers can't even know if there is a problem.

You clearly are coming from a different perspective than I am and I trust you and other nannies here who have commented on the growing ridiculousness of parents' expectations lately. I am sorry that is the case. The surveys have shown stagnant salaries for nannies, but they don't fully cover all the other job aspects that are being affected. In my own experience only, I continue to find that experienced and wonderful nannies can command great salaries and good contracts. They may need an extra couple of weeks to find a great job, but I definitely feel I have to act quickly if I find a great sitter or nanny or she finds another job.

I hope parents get a better sense of reality soon!

UmassSlytherin said...

I would never be a nanny again. It is not for everyone.

I enjoy working for a company, and having a staff and other co-workers who I can team with. When you are a nanny, you are working in someone's home, the most intimate of places. Power trips and personal conflicts abound.

OP, I understand your point regarding TV. However, at my job there is no TV for the children: we use other ways to keep them happy, occupied, and learning. (of which there are many ways.) However, if I need to make a phone call or go to the bathroom or run out to my car, I can. Unlike nannies. I can have a co-worker cover for me. You can't.

I don't expect my staff to text in front of the children. That is not what they are being paid to do. I don't approve of a nanny texting at any time on the job.

I agree with NYC mom in that if there are reasonable hours set, a nanny should be expected to be energetic and "with it."

And not text. That absolutely drives me crazy.

leftcoastmama said...

I have no problem with my nanny texting or making a call here and there while with my kids. She's with them 10 hours a day and unlike myself and others she doesn't get a rea; break where she can call and make appointments away from the kids.

Energetic sure, but I don't expect her to act like some coked up robot. That would concern me.

Nanny4u said...

You have really hit home for me on some excellent points!! I was recently wondering the same thing as you... And that is why do parents set different rules for their nanny when they themselves dont follow with their own children?! I know that we are paid employees, but don't you think it confuses the children?! Much like OP, I show up at 7am and am expected to get 2 kids dressed, fed, sometimes bathed and ready for school within 45 mins. (School starts at 8am.) I have developed an excellent routine to master this task, however, how come when I walk in at 7am, the kids are either just sitting in front of the tv (not dressed, bathed, or fed) or still asleep! Again we are paid employees to do our job but is it really that hard for parents to help out just a little?! Even just waking the children up and/or just have them sitting at the table ready for breakfast would save me at least ten mins of valuable time in our rushed mornings!!

Karli(OP) said...

UmassSlytherin - At every single nanny job I've ever had, the parents text me all through the day for different things that come up. They have all wanted me to be easily contacted by phone or text and told me that at the interview. So if I hear a text going off on my phone, I HAVE to check if it's the parents trying to tell me something about the schedule, or asking me to help with an errand that day or whatever comes up. If I happen to look at it and it's not them, is that my fault? I'm not a teenager who's chatting with my boyfriend all day or gossiping about other girls, I'm a responsible adult. And if a friend asks me something on text, I don't think it's wrong to just answer back quickly, in fact it's better than chatting with them on the phone, as I can fire off a quick text while still interacting with the kids. But literally every boss I've had has sent and expected answers to texts on a daily basis.

Also, Nanny4u, your job sounds so similar to the one I had in that area! I don't think it's fair to the kids to be extra rushed and for me to be stressed about getting them somewhere on time, therefore rushing them through eating and getting ready, sometimes resulting in tears from the kids, just because the parents couldn't be bothered to wake them up, or maybe even start them getting ready. It's pretty sad when EVERYTHING starts falling under "She'll do it when she gets here, that's what I pay her for." even when it comes to interacting with your own child who you don't see for 10 to 12 hours a day in some cases. Don't they WANT to do SOMETHING with their kids? They might even get up a tiny bit early to do that. Another thing parents don't get is that their work day is from let's say 7 to 5 for example. Well that makes OURS from at least 6:30 to 5:30 best case scenario. Also we have drive-time so we get up earlier than when your day officially starts. Our work day is always longer. Every little bit helps. Just something to keep in mind. Personally if I was a mother and had a nanny, I would want them to be the least stressed they could be around my children. If I could help with that, I certainly would.

Amen! said...

NYC mom,

As for the salary for nannies, please keep in mind I have been a nanny a very long, long time and it is in my experience that many maybe not all but most parents that I have worked for or interviewed with always try to pay their nanny as little as possible. I have had to lobby very hard for my salary in every job I've had as a nanny, for a person with a great deal child care experience and education it is a frustrating ordeal to deal with. I'm not asking for a salary to match that of Bill Gates just what is fair for the job, my expertise and education. Only fair right! When I was in college (I took a gap year between high school and college,) I worked for a family who had one child this to be honest it was a job from hell. So many war stories so little time! I was young and on my own so I was afraid to speak up for myself. Well I was 19 and decided to start school. Now since I was living on my own I had to also pay for school as well. This financially was hard but it was what was necessary to get a degree:) Anyway, since I worked Monday-Friday I was left with going to night classes which was fine by me. I have always kept my private life just that, my business only. When they asked me one night to work late I said I'm sorry I cannot I have plans. I did not tell them I was in school nor did I feel the need to share that with them especially since my classes did not intervene with my work schedule. My boss hounded me for 15 minutes and berated me as to why "I could be so selfish." I told her I had school and shut up that moment. Fast forward to 2 months later I was up for review and I asked for a $1.50 more an hour. They flat up said no and then told me that it was ridiculous to give me a raise. Oh and they were upset with me I didn't ask them about me going to school. I told them what I do with my life and in my time is my business. I expect that respect those circumstances about my life as I respect their privacy. I gave my notice that Friday. I can't work for people who don't respect my private life or that I want an education. The sad thing is there are LOTS of people out there who expect a nanny to have her life revolve around theirs.

Madmen said...

Umassslytherin not being a fan of texting just highlights her age. I text with my nanny family through out the day. It's so much easier and sometimes less awkward then constantly dealing over the phone. I don't sit around texting my husband or my friends but it is in my opinion a much faster way to take care of business.

Karli(OP) said...

To Amen! - I agree with you and actually, I made the mistake of sharing TOO Much personal information with an employer in the past, and all it did is end up back-firing on me. She knew things I was buying, how much I was paying for rent, etc and would start to be too nosey about what i was spending my money on. She would berate me if I walked in in the mornings with a Starbucks cup because I was spending money on it, and she actually started docking my pay $100 a month and putting it into a "savings account" which she said she would pay me back later since I couldn't seem to save money on my own. (Needless to say that's when I gave my notice). I learned from that not to share too many personal details even if you seem to have a great relationship and get along well with your employer. I think the lines get blurred with nannying because it's more personal than say an office job or something.

Also as far as compensation goes, I agree it's hard to get employers to shell out WHAT IS DUE and it drives me crazy when I KNOW they have it. I know I'm sort of being hypocritical here since this is probably the exact opposite of what I just mentioned above, but when I watch my employer write a $15,000 check for decorative imported Italian tiles to be put in the kitchen, or $10,000 to the interior decorator, but then I ask for a raise after a year and a half (and yes my job duties increased in that time) and they say no, it doesn't seem fair. Just my 2 cents.

Phoenix said...

texting can be so fun to watch other people while they are doing it. i saw this one bitch walk directly into a table. it was sweet! made my day

UmassSlytherin said...

lol@ Phoenix.

I'm almost 40. So yes, I guess I'm old. :) lol

I don't allow my employees to text. If a parent chooses to communicate with their nanny via text, that's fine. I would not.

The Devil said...

Who knew a former nanny would be such a bitch when employing a nanny.

Umass I'm sure wanted all the sympathy in the world when she was a nanny but expects her nanny ti be superhuman.

Umass doesn't want her nanny to text because she probably has a nanny cam and her home bugged to the nines She wouldn't be able to catch the "ebil nanny being ebil" if the nanny sent a text.

Now that I think of it nycmom was former nanny too. Hmm interesting.

UmassSlytherin said...

I don't have a nanny. But if I did, I would not expect her to be superhuman. I would just expect her not to text. If that's bitchy, so be it. And I don't think nannies who text are evil at all. I just would not want mine texting. There are plenty of jobs where you are not allowed to text. I really don't see what the big deal is.

I think young people have such an extreme sense of entitlement these days. It's really sad. "We can do whatever we want to! What? we can't text? Really?"

Manhattan Nanny said...

NYCmom, one of the fairest and most reasonable regulars on this site is getting bashed?! This is a new low.

UmassSlytherin said...

I was thinking the same thing.

nycmom said...

Thanks for the kind words above. I've gotten quite adept at ignoring the immature comments. I am 36yo. I text and I do send my nanny texts in urgent situations only. I do not, however, expect nor want to text or receive texts during the day about what is happening. We use a log if needed.

ITA with UMass that texting is ridiculous on the job outside of work related or urgent usage. I think many nannies are underestimating the extent to which this has become a problem when hiring, especially with younger women. I have an 11yo and 10yo and they have no problem giving me their opinion on a new sitter. The #1 problem is "she was texting the whole time until you were almost home, then she started playing with us." Texting seems to have an addictive quality and I emphasize during interviews that I do not think it is okay while working except as above.

Yes, I have done extensive and varied childcare. I grew up with mom running a home daycare. Babysat since 11yo and worked as a pt (20hrs) nanny in college. Never ft. I can tell you that I always: cleaned up after myself and the kids, left the home cleaner than when I arrived, did not make personal calls on home phones, arrived on time, and avoided TV unless told otherwise. These seemed like no-brainers to me, even at 11yo.

Finally, neither Umass nor I have said we want Superhuman Nannies (do those even exist?). Just that we expect a nanny to do her job and do it well. In return, I expect to pay her fairly and offer the same respect.

Nes said...

Well...alternate perspective...when I hired my daughter's first nanny she was in her mid 30s with lots of nanny and childcare experience, but as it turned out she didn't have good critical thinking skills nor did she "believe in" anything that went against the way she had always done things or been taught 10-15 years ago.

Prime example: my pediatrician said rear facing till two. I told my nanny that. She rolled her eyes. A few weeks later, she had turned the car seat forward facing (my daughter was about 13 months). I told her to turn her back around. She rolled her eyes, got huffy, and gave me this big lecture on how she had been working with children for 15 years and she knew best, etc.

I know that lots of nannies are not this way, but just because you have experience, doesn't mean you can't be flexible and learn a new thing or two...

UmassSlytherin said...

Holy god. Car seat safety is so important, and is always being improved. I would have been really upset with that one! My child is almost in 1st grade and still rides in a booster. She will continue to until she is the proper weight to have just a seatbelt. (passenger side in the back until 12!)

Karli(OP) said...

Ok, the whole texting on the job thing. Umass, from your posts it seems like you employ people at some type of child care center or school? I think nannying is different in MANY MANY ways from other jobs. At a preschool or daycare, of COURSE you shouldn't be texting on the job, you probably have anywhere from 6 to 18 small children in one room and probably only 1 or 2 adults to keep eyes on them and assist them with things. BUT you probably also give them breaks! Breaks where they can go in another room, clock out, go out to their car, take a call, make a call, TEXT, etc... on a nanny job, depending on the schedule, kid's ages, and situations, sometimes you DON'T get a technical break during a 12 hour day. It's not like other jobs. You can't clock out, leave, or take a lunch break sometimes. It's unrealistic to expect us never to text. I understand that some people are addicted to it and can't separate from their phone for 2 seconds but I hate when people lump everyone into one group. We're not all the same!

Plus this goes back to my original thought in my first post. It's such a double standard! Ok so since we're paid employees taking care of your children, we're expected to act better than the PARENT, who would think nothing of making a call while her child was around or whatever? Someone here said YES they would expect their nanny to be better than a parent, but then at the same time people here are saying that they hate when the nanny thinks she knows best about things. So which is it? I understand that parents have the right to raise their kids any way they see fit or discipline them however they want to and I always follow the way my employers would like their kids to be raised, but I've also been working with kids for 17 years in various formats and this is your first experience with children! If you hire me for my experience, can you at least take advice once in awhile? I'm willing to adhere to your rules but come on people! Don't you see how contradicting some things being said here are!?

MissMannah said...

I agree with Karli on the texting issue. Personally, I don't really like texting but I will do it occasionally to ask my husband a quick question or something like that. My MB doesn't mind me doing it at all. She works from home and occasionally I will text her a cute pic of Baby C playing in another room of the house! But I also totally agree with Nycmom that it is inappropriate for nannies (or any other employee) to be texting all day long while on the clock. The last daycare I worked at, the texting got so out of hand that we had to start leaving our phone in our cars. If management saw our phones in the building, it was an instant write-up.

Phoenix said...

i like to text because i can talk to my friends during the day while im at work. my husband has actually blocked me from texting on his phone. he feels like we shouldn't do that to eachother because he doesn't want to feel like we don't communicate. texting does take emotion out and it can affect tone. I've been known to text things and people take it the wrong way.

UmassSlytherin said...

Karli: if you read my previous post, I said:

"However, if I need to make a phone call or go to the bathroom or run out to my car, I can. Unlike nannies. I can have a co-worker cover for me. You can't."

I guess you missed that part. I understand that working in a team teaching setting is different from nannying.

I still would not want my nanny texting. I don't think that is too much to ask.

The Devil said...

If someone disagrees with you you are either uneducated or immature

Good to know.

Quite simply Karli people want it both ways. These are the same people who wonder why they can't keep a long term nanny.

I also think it's interesting that just because a person chooses to have career caring for children they are supposed to be ok with treated like a child.

The Devil said...

Nes, I hope you fired her.

What? said...

"I also think it's interesting that just because a person chooses to have career caring for children they are supposed to be ok with treated like a child."

I'm sorry. What does this mean?

luna said...

What's with parents includinf diaper changes are part of the job when the job is caring for an infant? I would think that would be a given. I understand if the job was with someone over 3 making it clear diapers where part of the job, but for a baby? weird.

luna said...

Also parents don't start the conversation with we wish we could pay more but we can't.

We all have bills no sympathy from me.

A Few Notes said...

It's always interesting reading the comments on here!

A few comments:

I've been in this career long enough to know that I must grill prospective families as much as they grill me. Typically, I work with first time parents or families who have never had nannies before and I think they are often shocked at how many questions I ask them. In fact, I actually have a sort of vetting process and typically by the time I get to the in-person interview with a family that I have selected (and they have selected to meet me)...they end up being "the one."

If a family e-mails me with the one liner that says "What do you charge?" they go straight to the trash folder. Sorry, but if you can't introduce yourself, tell me a bit about your family, and/or if you have to ask what I charge right off the can't afford me...and you're rude.

That being said...

The only time I sit down during the day is when I'm eating lunch with the kids (though I'd rather be cleaning up while they eat...I try to set a good model for sitting while one eats). We do not turn the TV on...ever. We have no need for it.

Want to nanny cam me...go ahead! Want to drop by, follow me, or call my guest.

I keep my phone on me and frequently take pictures of the kids because MB/DB love receiving them and often send me requests or little messages throughout the day. Other than that, I'm not on it.

I'm a professional. I'm educated (3 degrees in and hoping to go for my Psy.D soon!). I happen to be passionate about being a nanny.

I wish all nannies would present themselves as professionals.

Karli(OP) said...

Wow, A Few Notes - you sound like a perfect human being, good for you. I do agree about asking the family lots of questions. I've worked with enough to know things I DON'T want to deal with on a job and have learned what questions are important for me to be asking on an interview but beyond that, your post annoyed me. I'm not lazy either but I'm not going to hover over the kids every second of every day and be the perfect Mom, Teacher, and Angel for them either. I'm their nanny. Sometimes I'll put the TV on and it's not a crime.