The Grand Finale of a Grandmotherly Nanny

opinion 1
Hi, I have a question about the best time frame to let our nanny know that we are planning to put our son in preschool this summer and thus won't be needing her. How much lead time should be given? Our nanny is older (not sure how old, but very grandmotherly) and she has told me before that she thought her last family would have been her last, but then the economy tanked and she needed more full time work (and came to work for us). She is not on contract.

She has been with us since my son was 18 months old, and he is now 3 years, 2 months. I am expecting our second child in October, and would like to get my son into preschool a few months ahead of that, and also think he would benefit from preschool. The tricky thing is that when we hired our nanny, we told her we planned another baby and that she could watch the second one, which she thought was great. But the second baby took a very long time to conceive, and now the timing is not going to work. The baby will be born in October, and between my maternity leave and my family watching the baby after that, we won't need to hire anyone until the baby is 6 months old, which would be almost a full year after my son goes into preschool. I have not yet told her about the baby or the planning for preschool as I wasn't sure of the timing of entry to preschool, but it looks like June would work with the preschool we want for our son.

We feel that we can't offer the baby position to this nanny when the baby reaches 6 months because although this nanny is very loving, kind, and patient with my son, over the course of time working for us, she has exhibited some traits that make my husband and I nervous about leaving a baby in her care, such as lack of attention to detail (not noticing that a sippy cup that had sat out still had mold in it after cleaning and she gave it to him with new milk in it), not hearing what we say (and we have asked her to get a hearing aid; she has not), not following directions of what I write down (such as how I would like her to set boundaries with my son and be consistent with the way we discipline him), and she is very passive and doesn't ask any questions, at all. Such as: I saw your son was doing X. Would you like me to do X when he does that? Another example: When my son had a fever recently, she called my husband and left a message. He never got the message because he was in training all day and not at his desk. She never called me, not even when he didn't call her back. I got home and asked why she didn't call me, and she had no reply. She appears to be in a fog frequently and will throw things away without checking what they are exactly--she threw away a bag with my son's clothes and toys from the beach (that I had asked her to de-sand, wash, and put away) even after I let her know what I wanted her to do. When asked why, she said that we should have written on the bag not to throw it away! There were numerous instances like that until I told her she was to throw nothing away that was sitting out.

She is great with my son and he cares for her, and she is a very kind person. I want to make sure she has plenty of notice if she plans to look for another job. But what is plenty of notice? One month? Two? That said, I also need to let her know that we won't be hiring her for the baby, but I don't want to go into all the details why if I don't have to. If I have to go into the details, I can, but I don't know how to phrase this to her without being too harsh. We plan to have her over this weekend to tell her about the baby and the preschool situation and have a nice chat. Any insight from you all would be much appreciated.


1234 said...

I'd giver her as much time as you can. It's hard to find a job for anyone especially an older person.

I'd also be prepared for her to come after you for unemployment if she is unable to find a job.

Sarah said...

If you've not told her about the baby, then don't even bring it up now. Just tell her the truth of your son going to school and with no sibling (because right now he doesn't have one) the job is no longer. She is not being fired, just made redundant. As a nanny, I would prefer a longer notice period so I would tell her sooner rather than later.

Village said...

You need to let her know as soon as possible that you have changed your mind, and she won't be caring for the new baby. Instead, you will be letting her go when the older child starts preschool.

It will be a shock to her as she was counting on staying with you for the next few years. She will need time to find a new position, and given that you have changed your mind, she should leave as soon as she finds employment. It's only fair.

MissMannah said...

I agree with Sarah, as much notice as possible. As for the next baby, first of all congratulations! I'm sure you and your husband are thrilled! But you are not obligated to tell your nanny about him or her. However, if the nanny happens to ask about caring for the baby, you can't lie to her...but simply say "We've decided to get family members to care for the baby." Because that is the truth, it is none of her business how long they will be caring for him or her.

The Nanny named Bear said...

I totally agree with what MissMannah said about just telling her that you're going to have family take care of the baby and you needn't say that it will only be for 6 months. Even if you didn't have the issues you have with her, it wouldn't make much sense to tell her that she could come back in a year when you need care for the new baby because so much can change in a year on both sides.

As for the problems you've had with her, it sounds like it could be a result of her age and that could be a problem with her next nanny position. Would you feel comfortable giving her a good reference and not mentioning those things to other parents? If not, then you probably do need to explain that to her. If you do plan to provide her a good reference, then maybe you don't need to go into it. It does sound like this nanny might be better suited to older children at this point, but I'm not sure how you could tell her that nicely.

I'd give her at least a month's notice, maybe two. The longest it's ever taken me to find a nanny position was 2 months, and that was for my first one, probably because I didn't yet have full time nanny experience. However, I am much younger, so it might be more difficult for an older person. If she DOES find a position before your son starts preschool in June, you should prepare to make alternate childcare arrangements for that time instead of asking her to stay on until then.

Good luck with everything, and congratulations on the new baby!

chopperclaus said...

I wouldn't tell her about the baby. It is possible you won't even be showing yet. If it comes up just say you're taking some time off work and then family will take care of the baby.

I would give her as much notice as possible to either look for another job or make other retirement plans. It does sound like she's becoming a little forgetful and that's not a good thing when it comes to kids. Honestly, I am not sure what the advantage is in hiring older nannies like that. The type of thing you're describing is the type of thing I'd be worried about.

XTC said...

chopperclaus, thats a cool name. How did you come up with it? Did you get a motorcycle for christmas? lol :)

Laura said...

Congratulations on the new baby!

I would give her as much notice as you can, but not tell her you are going to look for another nanny for the baby. But be open about your oldest going to preschool. Tell her your family is going to care for the baby. She doesn't need to know more than that.

This is a tricky situation, but you and your husband sound like compassionate and caring employers and I'm sure you'll handle it very well!