Nanny Left Scratching her Noggin After Mom's Ultimatum

opinion 1
I just had a first in the nanny world. I have been a full time live out nanny for almost six years for several different families. I was two months hired by a family who was looking for part time (12-15 hours a month) for the occasional date night and just so mom could get some things done during the day. They knew I was already working full time for someone else and agreed to work around my current schedule.

I was scheduled to work a few days ago and showed up on time even though I wasn’t feeling that great. Nothing major I just had a cough and felt a little achy. As every nanny knows we go to work even when we feel like death as there is usually no one to cover for us, and many nannies have been fired over this. I didn’t feel awful but the mom apologized for me having to come in and said she would run some errands and then let me go for the day. I told her that wasn’t necessary but she insisted. She came back an hour later paid me and I went home. She then called me the next day and told me that my coming to work sick was a sign of “poor judgment” and she couldn’t have someone who couldn’t use good judgment around her kids and they were going to have to let me go. I am still scratching my head over this one. A part of me is kinda glad because although she seemed pretty normal, if she is willing to fire a great nanny because she actually showed up for her shift on time, who knows what other problems might have arose. Has anybody else had this happen?


Bethany said...

How weird!

She knew you were sick but had you come in anyway, but then fired you because you came in sick.

Sounds to me like she wanted to let you go anyway and jsut didn't know how to do it and this was convenient for her.

Susannah said...

Was illness discussed during an interview?

I've had families insist I stay home when sick because

1.a member of the family had problems with their immune system.


2. Parent was a germaphobe

Generally, I have to fight to take a sick day.

RBTC said...

in my family catering business we all do as you did - we go no matter how we are feeling. We try to disguise the cough etc

if the cough is really bad and seemingly contagious we give the mom a choice - and they always choose to have us come

but - once i showed us as a babysitter at a new client by an agency and i had a very scratchy throat from playing games over a weekend, not a sickness

the woman was EXTREMELY rude and sent me away at the door and acted as if she had been killed

another time i also had this same issue - a scratchy throat where i could not talk easily - i was due to be a costumed character at a party - i made the mom understand i could not talk over the phone and she said come anyway

i killed myself at the party, worsening my voice by trying to talk loud - did very well and made the kids happy

the mother took me into a private room where no one could see - and paid me half the agreed upon money

i could not argue - i had no voice left

OP - you have called it - you went above and beyond and she did not care and disrespected you - of course it would have come out in different ways - you are well out of there

ericsmom said...

Honestly, I can't really blame the mom. Did you call and tell her "look I have a little cold and feel under the weather". "Do you still want me to come today?"
Did you give her a choice.

I know when my son is sick it goes around to all of us. Of course we don't live in a bubble. By all means if I see someone sick I try to avoid them.

Sorry she was rude to you. She could have given you another chance. I don't understand why she just didn't tell you next time to call first if you weren't feeling well.

I worked in the past for families that never would warn me when they were all sick. So I think it would be only fair on both sides to warn the other if sick

UmassSlytherin said...

The mom did not fire you for coming to work on time. She fired you because you came to work sick. I can see her point, however I have to side with you OP because if the mother was truly concerned that you were sick and would infect the children, she would not have let you stay at all.

She sounds weird and I think you are better off.

1Nanny said...

I have never had this happen, ever. In fact when I tried to call out sick for my current family, MB begged me to come in and said the kids were already getting sick anyways. Sure enough day 2 of sickness came and the kids and I were all sick and cuddled on the couch watching movies all day. Anyways, their loss OP. I think your ex-MB is ridiculous. She knew you were sick when you showed up at the door and if she had a problem with it then she shouldn't have allowed you to stay in the first place! Ridiculous. Good for you for being a good sport and trying to do her a favor!

1234 said...

Weird. You're better off with out the stress of working for her.

I agree that she most likely just wanted to fire you and you gave her an easy way of doing so. Ironic since you were trying to avoid being fired.

Mike Obey said...

I think you did the right thing...I would have done the same thing.

In the Nanny profession, being reliable is a huge thing. Any day we call in sick has a domino effect since parents cannot leave the house if we do not show up.

I have came into work when I was sick because I thought it was better than calling in and saying I was ill. Most families have appreciated this since most parents do not want their children to get what I have.

It's not such a big deal that you were fired if you only were doing occasional sitting for this woman. It seems that perhaps one of the children got sick after you sat for them and now she is blaming you. Well since she knew you were ill in the first place, she could have kindly sent you home. But she didn't so you did nothing wrong.

She is a strange one and lucky for you, this was not a full-time job. I would just write her off as a weirdo and move on.

Ocean Blue said...

This is a new one for me!

I've had plenty of the opposite with parents and daycare bosses accusing me of lying and threatening to fire me if I didn't come in.

I've shown up just so they could see I was sick and have been sent home.

I wouldn't worry about it. You probably dodged a bullet.

lexeael13 said...

yeah thats kinda nuts, Ive never gone in really sick and sometimes I dont mention that im sick plus if I am its usually that i got it from the kidos anyways lol. sounds like a not good place to work anyways.

Penny said...

OP it's always perplexing to me that when the nanny is sick she is a thorn in ones side but it's okay for the parents and kids to stay home sick. Don't people understand we nannies get sick because of what the kids and parents bring home so the parents need to be flexible as well as the nanny! You should tell that woman you are not bionic or a robot so getting a cold is only human!

nycmom said...


I have the same requirement in my job. You go to work, no matter what, even if you are at death's door. If you are too sick, a supervisor will usually send you home. But the default and expectation is go to work.

I suppose if I had some known no-work-allowed by hospital policy illness like pink eye, I would call and ask.

My nannies have generally had a similar attitude toward work and I have sent them home when they were obviously too sick. But I cannot fathom faulting someone for trying to work! And her logic makes no sense. If you showed poor judgment by going to work; she showed poor judgment by allowing you to work at all. She should have sent you home immediately if this were a such a big concern for her.

Just chalk it up to mom's poor judgment and more on. Given how odd she was about handling this, I guarantee there would have been another or different problem with her in the near future.

MissMannah said...

I can kind of see where the mom's coming from, it really did show poor judgment on your part to go into work sick because you could have infected the children. However, it showed even worse judgment on her part to allow you to work even for that short amount of time. She's a weirdo and you're definitely better off.

leftcoastmama said...

I wouldn't let it get to you. As you mentioned you are probably better off not working for her.

Why on earth did she let you work at all. She could have just as easily turned you away.

I do understand it a little bit as a new mom I was paranoid about germs and illness.

Phoenix said...

I have to agree with the mother in this case. bringing sickness into a family is not appropriate. In my company if we are sick we are REQUIRED to stay home so as to not infect everyone around us.

Sheesh people... said...

I think people should lighten the hell up. So what if you pass along a cold or sore throat to someone? Big deal. I can't believe the fuss some people make over such trivial things.

If it's something major or serious, that's different. If it's just an ordinary illness, let it build up your immune system and find something more important to worry about.

Logical Skeptic said...

I'm with Bethany on this (for once). This probably isn't about being sick, really. Sounds like they were just looking for an excuse to call it quits.

Brenda K. Starr said...


This is not your fault at all. You did nothing wrong here.

This woman is nuts and you wouldn't want to work for a nutcase like her anyway.

Consider it a blessing that she let you go. Life is too short to deal w/crazy people like her.

Good luck to you, you sound like a very considerate and professional Nanny!!

ericsmom said...

Phoenix it sounds like you work for a great company! I would love that!
Let me ask you does your company allow you to work from home? On the days that you are sick?

Nanny S said...

...Wasn't it her own bad judgment as well to let you stay? I think if she were truly concerned, she would have sent you home right then.

person said...

are you guys being serious? she fired the nanny because she showed up sick for work. because she didn't want her kids getting sick. i think this is totally understandable. had you texted or called and gave the mom the option, i think she would have appreciated it. i'd be pissed if a babysitter showed up sick to watch my kid.

Mary Kay said...

A PARENT is 100% responsible for the health and well-being of her children. This Mom knew the Nanny was ill, yet let her watch the kids. If the children got sick, it is her fault. Now if she didn't know the Nanny was ill, that would be another story. But she knew.

op here said...

One of her daughters is in preschool so they are being exposed to WAY more germs from that then from me. Incidently a few weeks ago i went in and her kids were sick with a nasty cold no apologies for exposing me to that. Thanks to those who told me im better off. Im pretty sure i would have to agree.

ericsmom said...

Yes OP I was thinking about it too. You have a point, it would be nice if parents let the nanny know if their kids are very sick, as well. Especially, since most childcare providers do not have health insurance. Especially, for illness as strep throat or pink eye.

Kourtney said...

I once was a nanny for this little girl who caught "hand/mouth/foot disease." She had bumps in her mouth, a fever and a rash. I shuddered at the thought of caring for her and catching what she had so I asked the mother if I could stay home until she got better. Well the mother said if I did, then I could look for another job. I stayed and fortunately did not catch it, but I was paranoid the whole week. Another family had a child with "pink eye" and again, I asked if I could stay home until it cleared. The mother told me no, just to be careful and wash my hands a lot. Well I ended up getting it and had to see a Dr. for some medicine which I had to pay for.

Why do families think it is okay to expose the nanny to germs and such, yet are appalled if the nanny exposes their children to anything.

NervousNanny said...

I had this happen to me too!

I had been working for this family for 6 months, and I had come to their place with cold/flu before. I was part-time, weekends and evenings. The mother was frequently out of town, and I mostly dealt with the father. I wash my hands frequently, and use sanitizer.

One day, I went in with a slight cold. I had been sick earlier in the week, but was not too bad that day. I had been at their house for an hour already and had yet to see the mother. I told the father I had a slight cold and he made the usual comments about it going around, etc. The mom came down, found out I had a cold, and flipped! She sent me home immediately and said that sitters really shouldn't go to work when sick. After that, I pretty much stopped answering her calls.

MissMannah said...

Kourtney, are you kidding me? If you are that paranoid about illnesses, you are in the wrong field. The reason parents don't want a sick nanny around their children is because children are much more susceptible to germs than adults are. We generally have a stronger immune system than they do and can fight off the illness better, especially if the charge is a small baby. Caring for sick children is part of the nanny's job!

PS: why the heck do you put quotation marks around the names of the illnesses? It is as if the child allegedly was infected with those.

Seriously? Sheesh! said...

OMG some of you people can't be serious.

Really? Parents freak out at the thought of their precious little angels catching a cold or sore throat or stomach bug from Nanny? WTF?

These little mild illnesses are inconveniences, nothing more. To actually FIRE someone over it is absolutely ridiculous and is resulting in overly-sheltered little weaklings who can't imagine how to live with some physical discomfort. Un-freaking-believable.

I wonder of these same parents would pull their children out of day care or preschool every time they caught something from a classmate?

"I don't want my child to be exposed to your germs." -- WHY? If it's a serious disease, that's fair. If it's something easily treatable and

totally recoverable from, jesus christ people suck it up and spend your time worrying about, you know, actual PROBLEMS.

P.S. from Seriously? Sheesh! said...

And P.S. I am not referring to infants whose immune systems are still developing, I am referring to children old enough to tolerate germs and whose immune systems actually benefit from being USED. So don't even try to pounce on me with arguments about vulnerable infants who (rightfully so) need to be protected from germs that are too much for them to handle. The average child over the age of 12 months, with no other health issues, should be hardy enough to not need the kind of smothering represented by many of the posters here.

Kourtney said...

How do we know or not know for that matter if any of the preschool teachers and/or daycare workers come in to work when they are ill?

I used to be a home daycare assistant and was told specifically by the owner that no matter how I felt, I could NOT miss any work since if I didn't show, then the families could not go to work since by law there had to be 2 adults present for the number of children she was licensed for. So even when my stomach hurt like the dickens or when my head was throbbing, I would show up. She was understanding and let me rest on the couch. As long as I was there, that is all that mattered.

In the childcare profession, it is tough to get someone to cover for you at the last minute.

jocelyn said...

every time you go out in public you expose your kids to other peoples germs, it is just a part of living in the world. theres a difference between cold germs and black plague germs, unless your talking about something life threatening whats the big deal? my parents never even bothered to treat everyday sniffles and sneezes, i just learned to push through it and do what i was supposed to do no matter how i felt. whats wrong with that??????

Phoenix said...

yes we are allowed to work from home when we are sick. We even have a program where a single parent (or any parent) can call this nurse hotline to have a nurse go to their house to watch their sick child so the parent doesn't have to stay home.

Its a nice service

ericsmom said...

wow thats an awesome service