New Acronym: SAHP = Stay Away from Home Please!

opinion 1
I work 3 long days a week for one family, and I used to work one day a week with another family. When I started with the one-day-a-weekers, the dad was always at work and the mom always left to go to the gym or shopping or out with friends. It was great, she came home on time, the kids were sweet, and I got along with both parents.

However, as time passed, she started staying home more and more. Sometimes she and her husband were both home. I am one of those nannies who absolutely hates it when a parent is at home. I don't want to start a debate about that, I know that SAHPs are great for some nannies, but not for me. I purposely do not accept any job where the parent is at home, and I feel that everyone should have the right to make that choice. I feel like that choice was taken away from me. The mom never told me when she would be home or asked if I was ok with that. I don't think she was trying to be sneaky or anything, I think it just didn't occur to her that a nanny might have an issue with that. I finally told her I couldn't do the once a week job anymore, because my other family needed me more. (I don't enjoy lying, but what could I say?) The mom asked if there was anything that would make me stay, but I didn't know how to tell her I felt uncomfortable when she stays home. I told them to still call me for occasional jobs. When they ask for an evening job, I always take it because they always go out if it's evening. They have called several times for afternoon jobs, and about half the time, the mom stays home. I have no way to find out beforehand if she will be home or not, and this would be the deciding factor in whether or not I take the job.

She called this morning and asked if I can let her know what days I have available in June and July. She and the kids like me a lot and want me to work for them as much as possible. I am glad they like me, and I like them too, but I really can't stand working there when she is home. I can't think of any way to be honest about this without insulting her. She is super nice, I have nothing at all against her personally, I am uncomfortable with ANY parent staying at home. I like playing with these kids, I have the time, and I would like the extra money, but it isn't worth it for me if she is at home. Should I try to explain and risk them getting angry or insulted, or just lie again and say I am too busy?


MissDee said...

I know what you mean. The WAHP and SAHM relationship with a nanny can work, but it can also be a pain in the ass. The first time I worked with an WAHM, I felt the same way you do: she was very sweet, yet she didn't seem to have a grasp on parenting and I felt as though she was interfering in my ability to be a good nanny.

A will have a huge transition this year with kindergarten AND a new baby brother. T, J (Mom=T Dad=J) and I have a very good relationship. I worked a full day last week and J was working in his home office. I forgot he was there until I saw him walk into the kitchen while I was making A lunch. With the birth of BB (name is undecided now) I anticipate T needing me longer days on Fridays so she can prepare for the birth and get much needed rest. T is a SAHM very involved in A and A's school (A and A are A's older siblings) I have no reservations about T or J being home when the baby is born, just like I didn't have an issue when J worked from home last week, which A handled very well.

These relationships work and don't work; boundaries and understanding are needed by both parties. Otherwise, nothing works.

Nanny S said...

This came up and I said something like this, "I LOVE being silly with kids and really get into the singing and dancing, however, and this is how I know I could never teach preschool or lead a music class for toddlers, I feel ABSOLUTELY ridiculous if other adults watch me. As a nanny, it's my strong preference that parents are out of the house most of the time. It's not personal against anyone, it's just my prefered working environment and how I feel I can best provide the most fun atmosphere for the kids!"

Honestly, what's the worst that can happen? She says no and then never calls you again?

Susannah said...

Well she probably won't be all smiles and giggles about you not wanting to work when she or dad is at home.

Just tell her you're pretty booked up but might be able to squeeze in an evening date night.

OhhPlease said...

Agree with Susannah. Since you sound like you don't desperately need the extra cash I would just tell her you are available in the evenings for date nights and too busy during the day. Or if you do decide to help in the daytime perhaps you can take the children outside the house. Perhaps you can spend the day at a museum, park, etc. No need to cause hard feelings or insults.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

OP, I am w/you on this need to apologize. I absolutely HATE HATE working for parents who are in the home while I am caring for their child. I have had many jobs like this, and they have all ended in disaster. At this point, I absolutely refuse to work for a parent who is in the home while I am there, no matter how much I need the $. It just isn't worth it to me.

I would just tell the woman you are busy during the day, but can do evenings for date nights, etc. Lucky for you, it doesn't sound like this is your main job so you won't be cutting your losses too much.

OP said...

Thanks so much to all of you who responded. It makes me feel a lot better to hear from other nannies who feel the same way I do.

I absolutely love acting silly and making kids laugh. I really really love the smiles and giggles at my antics.

However, I feel too inhibited around adults to get that silly. I had a little girl tell me once, "I am so glad I have a crazy nanny. A regular nanny would be boring." I was delighted!! I took that as a huge compliment.

Then she asked, "How come you're not crazy when Mommy is here?" I had a hard time explaining to a 4 yr old that I can't be crazy in front of grownups.

Thanks again!

nickname said...

If the families are not up your butt and its only one day a week, I would stick with it. If you really need the money. Of course, if you don't I don't blame you.

I am a mom but work occasionally on the weekend caring for kids. I love it too when they leave the house soon after I get there. Alot of times they don't. They are there but not. Most of the times they "hide". I guess when you have alot of money you can lounge around for a couple of hours.

The reason why I like when the parents leave right away is because the kids act better. When the parents are in the house even if out of sight they act worse. I think alot of childcare providers understand what I mean.

Ellie said...

I'm also a nanny that HATES when the parents are home. If the MB of the family I nanny for is home, the kids are HORRIBLE. They whine, cry, beg, throw fits. They do none of this for me. Even is she's in another room, they still know she is there and act this way. I love when they ask me to work a Friday or Saturday night. I can always use the extra money and they always go out together, but...when they ask for a Saturday or Sunday day, that means they want to lounge around and not leave the house. I always make up the excuse that my DH can't watch my DS during the day (only at night) so I can't work the weekend days.

UmassSlytherin said...

I would never work for parents who stayed home.

I would not tell this parent how you really feel. There is no need for that.

good luck op!

Magen said...

Hi OP,
My experience with parents that stay home is that I end up not liking them anyway because they are the kind of parents who aren't spending their home time with their children. The exceptions are sahm's that genuinely need an extra hand and wahp's. My suggestion would be to tell her your availability is only evenings. I don't believe you should inform these parents of your feelings on them staying home because it might be taken personally and hurt your relationship with them. Likewise, in the future keep in mind that you do not enjoy working while the parents are home and carefully broach this while still in the interview stage with a new family. The double edge sword here is that the family may be suspicious of why you prefer them absent. As in all things, use grace, tact and consideration with your families and yourself. The rest will work itself out.

Good Luck!

Katie said...

You've been good advice already.

I also don't like parents at home. and avoid those situations.

I generally find these parents to have issues of control and I have no tolerance for that/

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I think it is dumb if a parent suspects their Nanny will mistreat the child just because she doesn't want the parents around. That is far from the truth.

It is just a completely uncomfortable situation when there are two chiefs present. The dynamic is so much better with just one adult in charge: The Nanny.

SLNanny said...

This post made me think. I have always worked for WAH parents. That is just how it ended up. Most of them though never came out of their office during the day so it wasn't that big of an issue. My MB now does pop out once in awhile to get food or whatever. The only issue with that is that sometimes it disrupts the kids. But it's not a big problem.

What made me think though, is about my babysitter. She is only here for a few hours a week, but often I am home doing homework or cleaning the house. she knew this would be the case when she interviewed but I wonder how much it bugs her.

Yay!! said...

I am SO SO glad to hear from the PP, SLNanny. It sounds like you are respecting the feelings of your babysitter, good for you!! I think a lot of moms don't even consider whether them being at home is hard for the nanny. Thanks so much!!

the Noble Nanny said...

I completely understand your not wanting to hurt this mom's feelings. I would be lying to say that I've never lied to avoid uncomfortable conversations. However, I've learned that

Assumption is the worst form of communication!

If you really care about this family, give the mom the benefit of telling the truth and let her decide how she is going to respond. It may have never occurred to this mom that her being home bothered you. She may even be under the impression that since she knows you like her, that it's a benefit to you to have her home.

Karli said...

Yep, Yep, Yep....HATE when the parents are home! They either hover, the kids act completely different and just want Mommy or Daddy's attention, or it's just plain awkward! And I feel like I can't do my job as well because like you said OP, you can't act as "silly" or fun in front of the parents. I also always wonder what they'll think is "weird" that I'm doing that maybe they wouldn't do, even if it works while I'm there and isn't anything I'd be doing wrong.

No matter how long I've known the parents or how well we get along, I've always hated it when they've been home. It makes me anxious, makes time drag by, and the whole time I'm thinking "I just want to leave". Which is not a good frame of mind to be in while taking care of children.

And I'm sorry, I know some parents work from home but some don't, and my thought is "WHY do I need to be here if you're here!?"

Super annoying, I totally get it!

Kel said...

I am like you, I refuse to work as a nanny when the parents are home, for two reasons. 1. They ALWAYS end up hovering over my shoulder correcting me on how to do things (ex: are you sure she wants to play with blocks right now? take her outside). 2. I once worked a salary job where they would ALWAYS make me stay even if they were home. It pissed me off because I thought oh ok so since I'm salary you can make me stay on your days off and clean house, but if I was hourly you know my ass would be sent home. So I refuse to. And when parents ask why I tell them most people wouldn't do well at work if their boss hovered over their shoulder all day. I say that, but in a nicer way. They usually understand, and if they don't, tough shit.