Thursday

Miffed MB Behaves Badly Over Nanny's 2wk Notice

opinion 1
I have been a nanny for a super cute little girl for the past year and truly love her. When I was first hired the little girl was just 1 and they were living in a small house and I was asked to do some laundry, wash the dishes and obviously clean up after myself and the baby. Occasionally she would ask me to swifter or vacuum while the baby was napping. Now, a year later they have moved to a much bigger house with 2 playrooms as well as 6 bathrooms and I have slowly become much more responsible for the household chores. I walk into post it notes everyday asking me to make random food items or to wash the mirrors. I am now doing all the vacuuming everyday, making most of their meals, doing all their laundry, cleaning up the massive amount of dishes they leave in the sink for me, changing and washing the parents sheets, emptying all the trash cans, and taking care of the child and all of her needs including sheets and clothes.

I gave my two week notice today as professionally and calmly as I could before I left but she flipped out on me and told me how immature I was and that she was disappointed in me and the way I chose to tell her. She yelled and screamed telling me to "get it through my head" that I was wrong and that a nanny doesn't have a "real" job so two weeks notice is not appropriate and that I really screwed her over. I tried to explain to her that it is my JOB and my sole income and this is how I would leave any other job; with a two week notice. I made it clear that I love the little girl and I do respect her and her husband but its just not the right job for me anymore. She continued to tell me how immature I was and that she would have expected me to come to her and sit down with her and her husband to come up with a plan of action.

I feel very awful for the way she handled it because I obviously want to stay in touch with them for the little girls sake, but I feel absolutely disrespected and uncomfortable with returning for my next two weeks. I'm going to have to sit down with the both of them but I know her attitude is going to be completely different in front of her husband. I don't know what else I am supposed to say, I also am tempted to tell the husband how horribly she treated me in front of the little girl when I "sprang" the news on her.. thoughts?

29 comments:

nycmom said...

She sounds a bit unhinged. But she also sounds hurt and scared. She is likely someone who deals with this by lashing out in anger and nastiness.

Not defending her. She was wrong. However, I do suspect she will rethink her behavior tonight, apologize and recognize that you did everything right.

As I always say, if you had an otherwise good relationship and liked them and the child, then it may be worth salvaging it. Do you need a reference? Do you need the two week's pay?

I had a long-term nanny "spring" end of employment on me in a very odd, inappropriate, and uncharacteristic way. After you have worked for someone for 5 years, you don't just blithely say, "Oh, I'll be leaving in two weeks." You DO sit down like a normal person and say goodbye.

Had you previously raised the issue of job creep and discussed that you did not feel this amount of housework was appropriate?

UmassSlytherin said...

OP:
Oh, OP. Listen to me very carefully: it is not your fault that this mother is a JERK.

The seemingly nicest mothers can turn into assholes when a good nanny quits on them.

NYCmom, she has not worked for this family for a year. I think I can infer from OPs post that this is not a good match. OP wisely sees this and is trying to make a break. As she should. There is NO excuse for this mother's behavior and even if she gives the best apology on earth tomorrow, OP should still see her for what she is: unhinged is putting it mildly.

If one of my employees, a good one, gives their notice, I tell them how sorry I am to see them go, then ask if there is anything I can do to make things better. If they say thanks but no thanks, I give them my best wishes and a good reference. Anything else is unprofessional and unacceptable in my opinion. This mother did not just "handle the situation badly." She showed her true colors.

OP, you are smart to quit this job. Don't worry about their reference and don't use their name. Don't trust an asshole crazy woman to give you a good reference. She is twisted enough to give you a bad one in anger.

Good for you, OP. Don't look back. You are doing the right thing.

UmassSlytherin said...

**nyc mom, meant to say "she has not worked for this family for five years, it was a year."**

Truth Seeker said...

This is a perfect example of why I do not believe in giving notice when working as a Nanny. For some reason, when parents find out their Nannies are leaving, instead of letting them bow out graciously, they choose to make the Nanny feel guilty for wanting to leave. The Nanny profession is unique because a young child is involved and parents usually do not want to see their child hurt when a Nanny leaves.

OP: You did the right thing here. This Mother is crazy and you just saw her true colors. Do not show up again..unless of course, you are owed some money. She is obviously holding a grudge against you which will only grow in the next two weeks. She will create a hostile work environment and the next two weeks will seem like two years for you, I promise you.

I wouldn't get my hopes up that this woman will let you see the child. She probably only thinks of herself and won't even consider her child's feelings.

MissDee said...

After reading your post, I have two words for you:

Work Agreement. Everyone on this board, both nannies and employers knows why this is important.

I wonder if she is pissed that she won't have anyone to clean her house anymore....

workingMom said...

Miss Dee,
I would guess that is exactly what she is pissed about - she knows she will not have to pay TWO people for the separate jobs of nanny and housekeeper.

It's not uncommon for one's reaction to be negative and a little crazy when confronted with unexpected bad news which upsets ones applecart, however, I'M offended that she said to you that nannying isn't even a real job - and I'm not even a nanny!

OP, please come back and tell us what is said when you have the meeting with both of them.

MissDee said...

Working Mom:

I see your point. I shake my head at job listings that read "Babysitter/Nanny Wanted" and cringe at "Nanny/Housekeeper Wanted" or vice versa. Being a nanny is being a nanny, a sitter (my teacher hates the terms babysitter and daycare as she says we don't sit on babies or take care of days) works for a few hours here and there, and a housekeeper cleans the entire home. Unfortunately, there is a difference between "light housekeeping" and "housekeeping", and I think there is where nannies get taken advantage of by their efforts and the parents. If a nanny doesn't have a WA, specifying they only will do child-related housekeeping, they get screwed. When the nanny notices little things that need to be cleaned and goes the extra mile for M and DB, she gets screwed, because they may ask her to do more and more until she is watching the children AND cleaning the entire house. MB ends up pissed because things aren't done. Where in the day is the nanny supposed to clean the entire house between carpools, errands, preschool, etc.

This MB has no right to be pissed, or to insult OP or the nanny profession: T, A's mom, has a cleaning lady come every other work, and their house is huge. Mary, their cleaning lady, is wonderful at what she does (I want her to clean for me too) and she made a comment to me that went like this:

"I take pride in my work because this is what I love to do and it's my job. Sure people think I am a maid, but I am more than that. I am a housecleaner who takes pride not only my work, but who I am."

OP, let us know what happens. And if she apologized and begs you to stay, make sure it's on your terms, starting with child related houskeeping. If MB can't scrub a toilet, I would teach her how.

Zarine said...

It was completely inappropriate the way your Mb responded to your notice. Even if she apologized after, and said she wouldn't need you to clean anymore or would pay you accordingly for the cleaning to stay on, I would leave.

If you need the income and references for the 2 weeks, I would suck it up; otherwise I would not stay because she seems like she is going to either let you go before the 2 weeks, not pay you, or be rude to you everyday.

MandaJ said...

Two more weeks, girlfriend! You can do this :)

Sit down with the Parents: Tell them exactly what you told all of us "It's simply not working out anymore" and if they press for more info, keep your cool and let them know how you're feeling.

And tell them if possible, you'd love to stay in contact with the Child.

nycmom said...

UMass and Others,

You ARE right. My first words were that mom seems a bit unhinged, i.e. unstable. But . . . trying to see it from the employer perspective not just to play devil's advocate, but also because just as some nannies on here become personally invested in their early jobs. Some moms become personally attached to their first "real" nanny. This family has only one child whom OP has cared for from 1yo-2yo. I doubt MB has yet understood fully that it IS a job. Clearly she has not or she would have a Work Agreement as Miss Dee suggested and wouldn't be allowing the job creep.

But that's also partly why I asked if OP had previously addressed the job creep/housework. Let's face it. Some employers are evil. Some are clueless. It is a skill you need to learn. We aren't all born good managers. If OP has not given any feedback, you can understand why MB might be confused. That certainly in NO WAY excuses the obnoxious comments about being immature, etc.

Let's assume MB is inexperienced and taking advantage, but not evil. Well, she was hurt and lashed out. It was completely inappropriate and hopefully she will see the error of her ways. I do think a sincere apology, recognition of what OP has meant to the family, and a nice parting bonus are fair and WOULD go a long way to making up for MB's freak out.

I know I tend to tell random stories that aren't always clearly related . . . but my point with my nanny was that if I had taken her first "quit" notice at face value it would have been awful. I don't yell mean insults. I withdraw and let my husband deal with it. She would have walked out midday, never saying goodbye to the kids or us, and never giving us the chance to all (nanny included) adjust to her leaving in a positive way cause it was a positive change for us all ultimately.

Luckily, I did not take it at face value. I was really, really pissed for a day. How could she do this with no notice, blah, blah . . . we give her tons of time off, accommodate her midday classes . . . good raises, and to leave the kids like that, blah, blah . . .

Then I got over my anger. And I thought about it from HER perspective. This woman who had cared for my kids so lovingly for so long. Yes, she still screwed up the initial quitting part. But then we talked it out. I begged her to sit down with us. God that was hard. I was young, inexperienced and terrible at confrontation. Somehow we talked it out. We then had a wonderful 4 week transition together during which time she helped us find someone new, we gave her a written reference for her new job (not in childcare), the kids said goodbye and my husband and I managed to get rid of so much anger and hurt (unfair feelings, but I had them nonetheless) along the way. I also gave her a nice severance check, gifts, and a truly heartfelt card. She continued to babysit for us on date nights for another 4.5 years til we moved recently.

Had I gone with my initial instinct and no communication, it really would have been so much worse for us all. My nanny later told me, in a rare private moment, that she was so sad to be leaving the kids and didn't know how to say goodbye. She was kind of hoping the anger would obviate the sadness. But we all know it doesn't work like that and I'm glad we had our last day to hug and, yes, cry goodbye (I'm a sap, I know), but I truly do care for her as a person and greatly appreciate how much she did in helping raise my kids into the wonderful little beings they are today.

Phoenix said...

ok. you contradicted yourself. If you want to "stay in touch" then this is not your JOB. I don't stay in touch with any of my old jobs. This is your job, period. you gave your 2 weeks notice and you can work your 2 weeks and leave.

This mom is obviously freaked out because she knows she won't be able to find a slave anywhere else unless she dips into the illegal working arena.

Leave guiltless and proud you did the professional thing. The way that i am if someone freaked like that on me. i would never go back. And I would laugh as she was the one who dug herself into that hole.

ELam said...

Nannies are employees at will, technically you don't even need to give her 2 weeks! So she should be grateful that you are giving her that.

My last nanny job, pretty much the same thing happened to me. I was with them for just 6 months and was hired to care for an 18-month-old, no "chores". It quickly turned into care for 3 children, running errands with no reimbursement for gas, and pretty much every household duty. I gave my MB a month's notice and she flipped out, much like yours did. A couple days later she was kissing my ass, probably because she was embarrassed. I loved those kids, but unfortunately my last day was the last day I ever spoke to and saw them. It has been my only family that I have not kept in touch with.

Don't let her actions make you feel guilty, do your 2 weeks (if it's bearable) and be done with this family. Good for you for getting out of a crappy job!

Bostonnanny said...

Fuck that, I would not return for the last two weeks. I would send her an email explaining professionally why you gave your two weeks then tell her that because of her unprofessional reaction, insults and overall behavior that you don't feel safe returning to work for the last two weeks for fear of being verbally abused.

End it by saying you loved her daughter and wished it all could have ended better because you would have liked to help with the new nanny search and keep in touch but after today you think it's best to cut ties all together. Also mention you won't needing a reference (because you prob wouldn't be getting a good one even if you stayed the two weeks).

I would email it to both parents that way dad knows how much of a psycho his wife acted like.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I don't know where people get the idea that one must give a "two-week notice" when they want to leave their Nanny positions. Ideally, it sounds good, however anyone can leave when they want to. It's called free will and I have never heard of a Nanny being sued in court over not giving notice when leaving a job.

Theoretically, it is considerate to give parents notice when a Nanny quits, however if one is being disrespected as illustrated in this post, the Nanny should count her losses and move on. Why should she continue to work for someone who yelled at her, called her names and uses her to clean the house????? For those of you who are telling the OP to stay and finish the two weeks out, you are out of your minds. This MB needs to learn a valuable lesson. If she treats her Nanny like a slave and verbally abuses her, then tough luck for her. That's life.

Say No To Abuse said...

I don't know what state you're in but in Arizona we are an "at will" employment state. You do NOT have to give 2 weeks...though it is typically the professional thing to do.

I would e-mail or call her and state that, while you would have loved to have helped her transition the position over the next two weeks as you had originally stated, you also do not allow abuse in your life (in this case verbal) and will be unable to return effective immediately.

I'm a nanny of over 13 years and NONE of my families would have even thought about treating me this way. This is horrible and you need to set healthy boundaries for yourself.

Phoenix said...

yup in AZ we can just quit. even in large companies. I work for a fortune 500 company that is not based in AZ and i can just up and quit. but that means we can also just up and get fired. Like pack your shit as much as you can carry and get the hell out.

no legal consequences, and some employers can still do this even if you sign a contract.

nycmom said...

Of course nannies are employees at will. But what everyone seems to be missing is a signed contract SUPERSEDES the inherent at-will law. Perhaps that is not clear to many here, but it has been addressed several times (to my knowledge). Otherwise, what woudld be the point of ANY employment contract if it just defaulted to basic state and FLSA law?

OP also stated it is her "sole" income implying she does need the next two weeks salary. And that she wants to maintain contact. Sorry can't have it both ways. You can't quit and not show up, get paid for the next two weeks and maintain a future relationship. OP just sounds a bit, well, yes immature and naive to me. MB sounds like she took advantage of this and that is wrong. But I just don't feel we are getting the whole picture.

I know you all disagree. I know the instinct is to rise to defend all nannies based on their sole report. I just don't think it is that clear cut here.

But if a nanny worked for a family and did a great job for an entire year, then one day freaked out, would you believe the family should say, "F*ck you" and never see her again? I guess I am more forgiving. I understand people can be emotional and I am able to forgive if someone is genuinely sorry, especially when I look at it in light of length of good service. I wouldn't forgive violence or stealing, but I could forgive harsh language.

Regardless, I still haven't heard if OP raised her concerns with the family over the past year. Or even if she HAS a contract. This matters legally and ethically IMO. If my nanny had been repeatedly failing to perform her duties, but I NEVER talked to her about that, I think I would have failed in that situation too.

Village said...

I think this is SOP for a MB when a nanny gives notice.

TOO MANY employers of child care providers feel that it is their right to abuse the nanny who has given notice, TOO OFTEN for the entire period of the notice.

Again, I may be a b(*)(*), but I won't tolerate verbal/emotional abuse of any kind. If I had been this nanny, I would have left immediately when MB started on her tirade. Her insults would have lasted only long enough for me to get out the door. And that would have been the end of the notice as well.

Susannah said...

Why does there have to be more to the story nycmom?

This scenariou is more common than you might think.

Yes,OP made her mistakes but giving two weeks notice was not one of them.

Another mistake would be to accept this woman's verbal abuse.

Brenda K. Starr said...

I agree w/Susannah on this one. Why nycmom do you assume there is more to this story?? This type of stuff happens ALL the time in the Nanny profession. Just read some of the older blog posts and you will see what I mean.

OP should not stay w/this family another day. She was not only used and abused, but she has every right to sustain her dignity and if she stays for another two weeks, she won't have any left. The MomBoss will make her life hell and who knows if she will even get revenge and not pay her?? OP cannot take that chance.

OP if I were you, I would leave and let the door hit me in the butt. You will be so miserable these next two weeks that your sanity may not be kept intact. Serious.

MissMannah said...

I have to agree with the others that you shouldn't bother going back. This MB is nuts and there's no way you're getting a good reference out of her, so what's the point? She's going to make work miserable for you for the next 2 weeks and there's NO WAY she is going to let you stay in contact with your charge after you're gone. I really hate to tell you this, but it is the truth.

Nycmom, I'm not sure what the laws are in NY but in OK the at-will employment laws supersede the signed contract. I found this out the hard way when I was fired for absolutely no good reason and was unable to take legal action against them even though they had broken the contract left and right. I consulted a lawyer who dealt specifically with employment contracts and she said I was an at-will employee so I was free to leave whenever I wanted or the employer was free to fire me whenever for any reason.

nycmom said...

I guess I just want to believe the best in people - nannies and employers. But I call uncle : )

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I live in Cali and employees are at will as well.

No one should have to stay in a job where he or she is absolutely miserable just because of some lame contract.

OP, I hope you quit. If not, you will regret it I promise.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

I left my nanny job last year, after only working for the family for about 3 months. The family was super nice and we didn't have any problems, it just wasn't working out for me due to the hours and location of the job. I willingly gave them 2 weeks notice although I really just wanted to leave and never come back. Like I said, they weren't abusive in any way, I just felt bad that I had to quit and I also wanted to jump right into finding a new job. I hated every second of the last two weeks but I felt like I owed it to the family to help them out a little so they could interview new nannies and not just pick one because they were desperate. In your case, OP, I am sure that you have the same thing in mind, you want to make the transition easier for the family and yourself. However, when the MB is emotionally abusive like that, she really does not deserve you doing her any favors. Going back for your last two weeks will go by quickly and I am betting that MB will have calmed down by then.

I think that MB was so upset because it seems like you didn't show any signs that you wanted to leave. She probably also feels cheated that she didn't get the opportunity to negotiate with you to try and get you to stay. That is totally the feeling I get- she definitely looks at you as her slave! I'm glad you told her you were quitting and didn't leave any room for debate, because I'm sure that would have been worse. Please let us know how this turns out!

nycmom said...

Perhaps Juris or a lawyer can chime in. In all my research, employees are "at-will" in every state except Montana.

However, in all cases, a mutually agreed upon employment contract (with the usual fairness/consideration) supersedes the "at-will" default. This makes sense, right? Otherwise, the a Nanny contract (and all others would be essentially useless), no?Plus, "at-will" generally benefits the employer so having the notice period usually is a good thing for nannies. Truly. Plus, if the employer violates the employment contract you are not obligated to continue abiding by it so it's win-win for you.

I can't review or post on every state and don't have access to lexisnexis for legal rulings, so I'l have to make do with a few quotes and a link:

This one is specific to CA:
http://edd.ca.gov/UIBDG/Preface_PR_15.htm
"We begin by acknowledging the fundamental principle of freedom of contract: employer and employee are free to agree to a contract terminable at will or subject to limitations. Their agreement will be enforced so long as it does not violate legal strictures external to the contract, such as laws affecting union membership and activity, prohibitions on indentured servitude, or the many other legal restrictions . . . which place certain restraints on the employment arrangement.

A contract is defined as an enforceable agreement between two parties. An employment contract is an enforceable agreement between two parties that contains whatever terms and conditions of employment the parties agree upon and, when accepted, becomes controlling upon the employment relationship. The contract may be oral or written, express or implied (the latter terms are defined below)."

"ollective bargaining agreements and employment contracts are also exceptions to the doctrine. In other words, at-will employment applies to employees not otherwise covered by a contract.
Collective bargaining agreements and employment contracts are also exceptions to the doctrine. In other words, at-will employment applies to employees not otherwise covered by a contract.

"Collective bargaining agreements and employment contracts are also exceptions to the doctrine. In other words, at-will employment applies to employees not otherwise covered by a contract.

http://www.ehow.com/info_8129785_do-give-notice-before-quitting.html
"...employment contracts are also exceptions to the doctrine. In other words, at-will employment applies to employees not otherwise covered by a contract."

nycmom said...

Miss Mannah,
I suspect you had a bad lawyer. Again, if a contract is meaningless, why would they exist? It is true that suing is rarely worthwhile as it is hard to prove and collect damanges. But that doesn't change the legal rights you have. It just won't be worth your money since you will pay more in legal fees that you would win, most likely. It is very hard to recoup legal fees (a fact that drives me insane) even if you did nothing wrong and had to sue to get what you were owed.

This is my understanding from a lawyer friend and my own reading, but I would be interested in hearing case law and legal statues that contradict this. It is an interesting topic.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I have never heard of a family suing their former nanny in court over a contract. People usually just move on after they get angry, etc.

It wouldn't be worth the time and money for a family to sue. It would be cheaper to just find another nanny.

I think contracts are just something tangible that both parties can refer to from time to time whenever there are any misunderstandings and such. They are not true legal documents.

I watch a lot of court shows on T.V., i.e., Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, etc. and truthfully have never seen a childcare contract case.

MissMannah said...

I don't know how "good" the lawyer was because my dad spoke to her at the time. She is the lawyer for his company and her sole purpose is writing up employment contracts. I assume it is more likely that the parents screwed me by the way they wrote up the contract. I have since learned you have to be very specific with the wording, as you have also said before.

Amy, I suspect they wouldn't have a childcare contract dispute on Judge Judy because it wouldn't be very interesting to watch. But I agree that they aren't like "real" contracts, more like work agreements.

done nanny said...

Op I just gave my notice and encountered a similar reaction. I know it hurts and is frustrating but you aren't in the wrong.