Precarious Conundrum

opinion 1
I work part time for a great family, and I supplement that with lots of occasional babysitting jobs. I recently met a new family, dad works full time, mom is a SAHM who just needs a few hours here and there to run errands and such. I spent a day with the two little girls (3 and 4 1/2), and had a great time. The mom asked if she could call me again and I said definitely!

The second time I went over there, I arrived in the morning and the mom was nowhere to be seen. The dad answered the door in his PJs and announced that he would be working from home. WHAT!?!? They didn't even tell me! Because of an incident a few years ago, my policy is to never accept jobs where the dad works at home unless I know that dad very very well. This man was a complete stranger, I had never even met him, and I have to spend the whole day alone in a house with him? This is completely unacceptable. (I say alone because the kids are hardly going to be able to help me fight him off...)

Luckily, it was a nice day out, so we spent most of the day walking and playing at the park. However, I can't count on being able to get out of the house every time. I am wondering if I should be unavailable to them from now on, or if I should explain to them why I am turning them down. At first, I felt like they tricked me into that situation by not informing me beforehand that dad would be home. I assumed they knew that a nanny wouldn't want to work with the dad there, so they lied about it so I wouldn't turn down the job. But now I am thinking maybe they were just clueless. Perhaps they forgot to mention he would be home, or maybe they just aren't tuned in to what is important to the safety of young women. So I suppose I don't really think they intentionally fooled me, but so many people don't consider how their actions will affect others!

So now I am not sure what I should do. If I just turn them down every time they ask me to babysit, they will have no clue what drove me away. I would like to educate them that in this day and age, it is inappropriate to expect a young woman to work alone in a building with a strange man. They may end up losing other babysitters because of this, and if no one tells them they will never learn. But I do not want to insult them, chances are, the dad is like 99.9% of dads I have met and is a totally decent guy. He may be very upset and take it personally. I guess I don't really care if they call me again... which do you all think I should do?


Nanny of 2 said...

I'm sorry about thetraumatic incident you had. Truly sorry no on deserves that.

In my view you are not obligated to explain.

This is an occasional family just no longer be available.

une jeune fille said...

I think you are wrong in your assumption that no female nanny will work in a Dad at home situation.

They should have been up front with you about it.

You've only sat for them 2 times you don't have to give a big explanation to them, just don't go back be busy.

Black Belt said...

Maybe he was just there for that day and not all the time? Like mom had to rush out so he stayed.

In the future I would make your policy up front and clear, and only interview for jobs where both parents work out.

anon nanny said...

une jeune fille, I love your moniker!

jeune fille - a girl or young woman who is unmarriedjeune fille - a girl or young woman who is unmarried
lass, lassie, young girl
bobby-socker, bobbysoxer - an adolescent girl wearing bobby socks (common in the 1940s)
fille, girl, miss, missy, young lady, young woman - a young woman; "a young lady of 18"

But did you also know it meant: (!)
Lolita - a sexually precocious young girl

LOL, still love it though!

Lauren said...

While it is unfortunate that you have had a bad experience in the past... it is unrealistic for 1. the family to know ahead of time about your policy and, furthermore, for you to assume all dads (SAH, or WAH) are out to get you.

I know someone who was accosted by a delivery man. Does it mean she fears all deliveries? or that she refuses to accept any? It does not.

I suggest, that if they call you again, you tell them that you are very uncomfortable being around a SAHD and you are willing to work provided he will not be there. They probably won't call you again - which is what you want anyway!

MamaLaywer said...

In this day and age? WTF day and age is it? Victorian times? In this day and age we expect men to comport themselves in such a way that a young woman WILL feel comfortable around them even without their wife there.

They are not wrong. You are. It's understandable WHY you're deciding this is wrong, but you're still wrong. It's wrong to jump to conclusions, to assume people are out to "trick" you.

Maybe the wife had something come up! Maybe the husband said to her "hey, why don't you finally go get your hair done/meet [whomever] for coffee since we'll have someone here to watch the girls?" So she took him up on it and he worked from home.

If you aren't comfortable working in a home where there's a dad present, then do the mature thing by calling and telling them "Due to a traumatic incident, which I'm sure would never repeat itself with your family, I'm simply uncomfortable being in a home with a man I've just met if no other women are around. It's me, not you, I'm sorry." And then go get yourself some therapy to work through this, because men are everywhere, and sometimes they're even the WAHDs who need a nanny. Good luck to you.

T said...

I totally understand why this makes you uncomfortable. You shouldn't have to explain yourself at all, they should have had the common sense and courtesy to think about what any young woman would feel like coming into their home. Some nannies are fine with dads, but they shouldn't automatically assume that you are.

Jill said...

Most people don't assume their husband is a rapist because that really isn't a resonable expectation.

Should they have told you that dad works at home? Yes.

I think you should make your policy clear in your profile if you are listed on a sight or working for an agency.

I wouldn't bother explaining to them it really isn't their business and probably won't work in your favor.

Dora said...

I think you should seek some therapy for the traumatic event. I don't mean that in a snarky way. You seem almost paranoid which is no way to live.

This is from someone who also is against working in a WAHD situation.

NannyBee said...

It's your right to not want to work with Dad at home especially given your past.

It's probably an innocent oversight on their part as most nannies wouldn't have a problem with an occasional WAHD.

I wouldn't be surprised if they were just checking you out by leaving dad home that day since it sounds like dad hadn't really met you before and seen you around his girls.

I wouldn't worry too much about calling and telling them. If they call you if you want to you can bring up your feelings.

But I totally don't blame you for not wanting Dad at home why you work.

une jeune fille said...

No I didn't know the last bit about my name, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a littl bit true .

Cool fact.

Pgh nanny said...

I have done a alot of temp jobs through an agency..they never tell me if a parent wil be home or not. It's never bothered me..I honestly don't see why this is a big deal. Just because you are home with a male it doesn't mean he is going to assault you. You could just tel the parents that you don't work wih stay at home parents..
I am so sorry that you had a bad experience before..I myself have been assaulted and it took a lot of therapy to be able to function and move forward.

nycmom said...

I completely agree with MamaLawyer.

The family did nothing wrong. In 12 years of employing a variety of nannies, sitters and au pairs in 4 major cities I have never had a single one raise this as a concern. It would not occur to me that the default should be that my husband is never home with nanny if I am not there.

Now, I understand your concern and think it is completely your choice to only take work situations you are comfortable in. However, YOU are the one who needs to raise this issue before accepting a job. In this day and age, many parents have the luxury of occasionally WAH. Further, how far do your concerns go? What is it were a ft gig and some days dad got home first (and you were expected to stay another hour til your ending time), some days mom. Is dad supposed to avoid coming home first ever?

If I had a nanny employment requirement that was not standard, I would expect the responsibility of raising that issue during interviews. I think you need to do the same.

MissMannah said...

Honey, you need some therapy. I am totally serious. You've had a traumatic event in your past and you are allowing it to control your life still. You cannot allow it to control other people's lives, which essentially is what you're trying to do. You said these people should know it is inappropriate for the dad to work at home. Think of it from their perspective: it is inappropriate for the dad to be in his own house? That is an unreasonable expectation for you to put on somebody.

Village said...

If you can't work for men, you can't work for men, and you need to say that UP FRONT. If you had, you wouldn't have arrived at this house unawares.

That said, one dick doesn't make them all dicks. Personally I think it's a little silly to lump all men together, especially fathers who work from home.

JMHO Sometimes in life, it's best to think the best of people, and let them prove you're wrong, instead of the other way around. I think it makes for a happier life. Be brave. Don't let one (*)(*) ruin your life. Every time you make a decision based on what the dick dad did, or tried to do, you just give him more power over you. Don't to that. Take your power back.

Or don't work for men. It's a free country. It's easy to give advice when you haven't been scared out of your wits by a stay at home dad.

MaryPoppin'Pills said...

"what the dick dad did, or tried to do"


Bethany said...

If yu don't want a WAHD situation that is your right, but you have to be upfront with that in your profile, your interview etc.

Not all WAHD are bad guys I'm sorry you had to go through what you did.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I agree with the others that it wasn't right for you to assume that they were trying to trick you. Also, I bet they thought nothing of it to have the dad work from home while you were there. After all, it is his house and he is employing you as well. If you have a problem with WAH dads, then you should have made that clear upfront. Being a nanny, you must be flexible as everyday is not the same. Idk about others but there would be days I would show up to relieve grandma because the parents were in vacation or the dad was home because he had a doctors appt etc etc. You need to only accept jobs that don't have WAH dads in the future and be clear that you will NEVER be comfortable with that situation because sooner or later you will run into a day when dad is home but mom isn't. You can't assume that they know what your past is.

UmassSlytherin said...

I don't think OP is being silly at all. It is her right to not want to work for SAHDs. However, there will be a line of other nannies who want to.

Phoenix said...

What is going on here? Why are all these people thinking dads are rapists? I just don't understand it. I have had many friends who were in situations with men who were raped. And they don't act like this. THey don't live their life in fear like this. I don't know why you would want to be afraid all the time.

How awful. THese men are not the ones that hurt anyone. And educating on THIS DAY AND AGE is women aren't afraid of men. When I was younger I was jumped by a couple men and they beat the ever loving shit out of me. But I'm not afraid I'm going to get jumped all the time and I don't close myself off from men. THe only men that I am cautious around are the ones who have been drinking. Those you can't trust at all.

thats it. be confident that a man is going to be good. Not all of them are predators. That is like saying that all dads have the potential to harm their kids. Plus he has little girls. It is very unlikely he will do anything to you

Truth Seeker said...

I don't think they tricked you into anything. Perhaps they didn't think it was a big deal that the Dad was working from home. He probably is a decent guy and they didn't feel your safety was in jeopardy. If you truly feel uncomfortable working with a Dad who is in the home, then just decline any future babysitting requests from them. You can tell them why, but they may be offended.

You have every right to decline jobs where you are uncomfortable OP and if this is one, so be it.

nannyb said...

I really don't get the big deal with work at home dads...but it seems like lots of you have a problem with it
In general I don't like WAH parents male or female
I used to really get annoyed by all the "haters" on here but I'm going to just be one right now:
IT'S 2012...WOMEN ARE NOT DELICATE FLOWERS...WE KICK ASS...WE DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS TO US and if you can't handle the dad being around then maybe you shouldn't be a nanny...being a nanny involves working with BOTH parents...if men scare you so much than don't be around them
Grow up

And I am a rape victim by the don't say I don't know what its don't see me avoiding men or dads...if I.wanna keep my job I have to work with both parents
The end

Phoenix said...

nannyb I do agree that we do decide what happens to us but as women we should know our limits.

the best advice my husband ever gave my little sister was don't get yourself into a situation that you can't control and get out of. Meaning if you are working at home with your male boss don't do stupid crap like one day stay late and drink with him. (didn't some nanny here do that and was proud or something)

We are weaker physically and they can over-power us. We just need to trust our instincts. I don't think ALL men are bad. I think maybe 2% are and 10% have the potential. But I also think the same about women. It depends on the person not their gender

Shannon said...

Just start being busy. I can think of no way to explain this without it coming off as awkward and potentially damaging to your business.

NanaDarling said...

You can just let them know you're no longer available, but don't assume no nanny will be willing to work for a dad who works from home. Although the pajama thing doesn't sound incredibly professional, I wouldn't worry unless he gave me something to worry about--an uncomfortable comment or action. Most married fathers aren't going to just jump on you.

I completely understand that if you had a horrible experience you wouldn't want to risk something like this. But I don't think there's any reason to "educate" the parents, as I'm sure they'll be able to find someone who's more comfortable.

OP said...

Wow... people really like to blow things out of proportion on here! I had to reread my post to see if you were all reading the same one!!

First of all, I said there was "an incident a few years ago" with a WAHD. I never said anything about a traumatic event. So interesting how you all jumped on that, talking about my trauma and paranoia, due to "my past" and "the assault" for which I needed therapy. Good grief! Nothing like that happened. Some very active imaginations here!

If you are curious, here's what happened. I was told both parents work downtown, but when I started working, the dad suddenly lost his job and was home all the time. (No clue why they needed a nanny.) I found out that there were cameras in several rooms of the house, including the room where the dad told me to change my clothes if I needed to. He spent a lot of time in the basement watching me. He didn't attack me, he never even said anything suggestive, and I quit immediately upon finding out.

I don't think I was in any physical danger, I wasn't terrified or anything, but I felt that this was very creepy and inappropriate. I just take steps now to avoid this type of thing. All I really wanted to know here was whether or not I should try to educate the parents about this.