Should Uncouth Parents be Told the Truth?

opinion 1
I just discovered this site and it is perfect timing as I need to make a decision and need help. I work for a family who is so disrespectful and unappreciative of me, but I'm having a hard time making the decision to leave. I started with the family in Aug 2011. There is one kid (C) who has special needs. The family and I do have a Nanny Agreement but they have not stuck to it.

Problems started early on. In the beginning I would tidy up the house, although it was not in my job duties to do anything other than things pertaining to the child. As time went past I'd come in to a kitchen full of old food, soiled milk in sippy cups, sink full of dirty dishes, and even dishes scattered around the house. I'd clean up because it drove me crazy, but now it's expected of me. I am the Nanny, not a maid. I drive the child to and from school, activities, play dates and therapies and do not get reimbursed for gas. I also run errands for the family. They said before I was hired I would be reimbursed, but have yet to see any gas money.

DB tends to stay home quite often, for leisure things like golfing, the gym, or errands, but I still arrive at 7:30 and stay until 7. He plays barely any part in his child's life and when he is home all day barely says a word to her. The nannies stay all day and night until she is asleep, even if DB is just sitting around in his pajamas. As per our agreement I was to give a weeks notice for personal days, and call by 6 am for sick days. The ONE and only time I called in sick, I called at 5:30 but was told I still had to come in because there was no back up. I gave 6 weeks notice that I needed surgery, but was told it wasn't realistic for their needs, so I had to postpone it until they found coverage. Myself nor the other two nannies (3 of us: me full time and two part time night nannies) are never given a heads up for anything: dad traveling, relatives coming etc. there's been multiple times where they "forgot" to get money to pay us, and we had to wait.

MB is very rude and insulting and doesn't say a word about her child being well taken care of, the house being clean, or the errands that were taken care of. I am honestly intimidated by them and have had a hard time quitting. I'm extremely unhappy and know I deserve better, but approaching them about anything gives me anxiety. I know it's best if I remove myself from the situation and find a family who appreciates everything i do, but I'm not sure how to say it. The family requires 3 weeks notice, so I am afraid that when I give notice my last weeks will be unbearable. I need advice as to how to approach them, and what my reasoning should be. Should I tell them the truth? Or blame it on myself?


ma nanny said...

Ugh, you poor thing, they sound horrible. Do you have extra saved up in case they "forget" to pay you? Since I'm not sure I see this ending well at all, and I'm pretty sure you won't be able to enlighten them to their own awful behavior, I would tell them that you need three weeks off, stick to your guns about it, they don't need to know what for.....and at the beginning of that time, tell them you won't be returning. If you give noctice and still are working for them, I can guarantee it will be highly miserable for you and you probably won't get paid.

workingMom said...

Definitely look for another job, however, begin looking for another job BEFORE you do or say anything, and do not give notice until you have that other job confirmed.

When you give notice, you don't have to tell them anything aside from "I am leaving this job for another opportunity" and/or "I have decided to move on". It's not a good idea to burn bridges, and one should only do so if given absolutely no choice. You never know who THEY know.

Good luck with your job search.

Fiona said...

I wouldn't worry about the notice. That's best case scenario this is not best case.

Do get another job first. Nanny or otherwise have somethig for certain lined up.

Tell them you've decided to move on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for the advice. Unfortunately I don't have extra saved, but I have decided to move back home for a while so the money isn't really an issue at this point. Today is the fourth day this week that DB is home and lounging in pajamas. I commute an hour to work, and have to arrive at 7:30. I leave at 8:30 to bring C to school. These last four days he has been home but I am still required to be there to drive her to school, when he is doing nothing but sitting in his pajamas. I am going to give my notice tomorrow. I've decided that I will try to be the bigger person in the situation, but if anything negative is said to me or about me, then I will have to walk away. I will update in the next couple days. Thanks again for the advice :)

Fiona said...

I'm glad you have a plan OP and some place to go. Take care!

Dr. Juris said...

I agree with you not telling them the reason, however, I do wonder about one thing: you're the nanny, and if the dad didn't choose to sit around in his PJs not caring for his child, you might not have a job. I'd try to be less judgmental of the parents, because even though they're definitely not winning employer/parent of the year awards, if that's what they choose to do, then you should ignore it (and not judge them for it). Not everyone is a good parent, but it doesn't seem like you're faulting him for being a shitty dad, just for making your life more difficult.

Sorry, just how I saw it.

Karli said...

I feel for you, I've had a similar situation but not as extreme as yours sounds. This is probably the kind of situation that won't change even if you address the issues but I would at least try if I were you. Here's what I would do - FIRST, address the fact that they're not reimbursing you for gas, and see if you can get some compensation there. Maybe even back-pay. Address some of the other issues also and ask if the cleaning, which has become expected, is part of your job description. If so, you need to be compensated more than for just nannying. I'm willing to bet they won't want to agree to these things and you can explain that it's not fair to you and that you're giving your notice. If they act rude and horrible to you because of that in those last 3 weeks, I would tell them ONE time "I'm feeling really uncomfortable with the way you're acting towards me and if it doesn't stop, I won't come in tomorrow." And if it doesn't stop, just don't come in and be done with it. It sounds like they need you more than you need them, and if you do quit with no notice, dad can take care of her instead of sitting around in his PJ's. (God-forbid the parent acts like a parent.) Then maybe he'll see what you deal with on a daily basis and have some compassion for the next nanny.

Phoenix said...

that really sux for you. If it were me... the way I do things is an eye for an eye. If they have not held up to their end of the contract then you don't have to either. Sometimes its easier to just not come in and change your phone number. That is really sneaky but its not like you are leaving the child without supervision. She has 2 other nannies and a lazy dad. If you can't meet with them face to face, just leave and don't come back. They seem very spiteful and rude and I thihk dad is ashamed of his daughter in all honesty. if you don't need them for a reference just screw them over

Bostonnanny said...

My only concern would be the nanny agency that placed you. Make sure to contract them with the reason you are leaving that way you don't get blacklisted by the parents being spiteful.

Karli said...

Yeah good answer, Bostonnanny. I was wondering if she had an agency behind her. In my experience that's the way to go, and if any issues have ever come up in jobs, especially regarding the contract, they have ALWAYS taken my side and helped me make a decision regarding staying or leaving or how much notice to give, etc. I would never work without an agency backing me now.

Penny said...

OP I'm really sorry to hear that you have been taken advantage of. Sadly I feel this happens all too often. We nannies do one little thing to help and be kind and before you know it they expect it when a simple thank you and understanding it is a one time thing would suffice. I think you should give your notice ASAP, but if you went through a agency make sure they can back you. My first nanny job was through an agency and 6months later I quit because the parents were horrible to me and they felt they owned the dad was a perve and made me extremely uncomfortable. When I told the agency why I was quiting they slammed the door in my face and blacklisted me. I'm glad you have a plan before you quit good luck OP!

To Karli, your stories sound like mine!

Penny said...

To Karli- I mean I've read some of your responses on posts and it sounds like we both have very similar nanny experiences and war stories lol!

Mike Obey said...

It's a shame that this senseless behavior happens over and over. I would most definitely quit. Since cash money is not an issue right now, I would just leave. Make sure you have all the money that is owed to you before you quit. If you are paid by check, make sure it clears first.

I agree that if you give a three week notice, they will treat you even WORSE and your job will be unbearable. It's best to not just show up. Hell...Dad is home anyway plus they already have two other Nannies, I am sure they will be fine.

Nanny J said...

I feel for you, OP. However, I would recommend you a) check with the agency if you used one, they are there for you to utilize, b) be SURE to get your money BEFORE the end of your position otherwise you will likely never see it, and c) definitely don't tell them it's because of you. If you DO decide to give them a reason, be honest. The worst you could do is offend their obviously high and mighty sensibilities. Sounds like they're above being offended anyhow.

I personally wouldn't burn bridges or be a lower person and just quit/change my number, but depending on the level of malice these parents are comfortable with you may have to do that just to get rid of them.

I agree with trying NOT to burn bridges, because they sound like they may know a lot of folks and thus could blacklist you from LOTS of potential work in the future.

Good luck, DEFINITELY update us in the next few days! :)

Karli said...

Penny - Ever since I've found this site, I've thought that same thing from reading people's posts! I love it here! LOL Somehow it helps being able to share stories!

StrawberryShortKakes said...

OP- I am happy that you are giving your notice tomorrow. Please let us know how it turns out!

I know exactly what you mean about rushing to work and then getting there and seeing dad in his pajamas doing absolutely nothing. I had a family that did this to me all the time. The dad would be working from home and the child needed to be brought to camp (during the summer). I had to drive 45 min to pick the child up and drop him off at camp and then sit around for hours before going back to pick him up. I know they are paying me to do that but I felt that if they even thought about it, they would have suggested that dad bring the child to camp so that I could have my day free until picking the child up. I don't think that it is selfish at all, considering how many times I stayed late when a meeting ran over or anything else happened. Definitely not a two way street sometimes.

ericsmom said...

Well of course find another job right away. If it is that bad you can always leave the same day. In this country we are "at will" to leave anytime

workingMom said...

OP, What the dad does or doesn't do while you're on shift is none of your business. He is paying YOU to care for the child. Like Dr Juris said: the fact that he chooses not to be involved means you have a job!

And while it would be 'nice' for the mom to thank you, it's not really necessary; your "thank you" is your pay. You are not doing her a favor for which she should be grateful; you are doing your JOB, for which she PAYS you. Besides, the woman is probably too exhausted at the end of the day to worry about being cheery to you - especially if she has a special needs child to care for. She is probably saving her emotional expression to give to her child.

Or maybe she isn't able to express any happy or appreciative emotions at this time at all. Not all parents of SN children are 'just happy they're alive'; some are downright mad and depressed. And this mom might also be annoyed that the dad isn't more involved, so she is struggling with that. But that is HER issue, not yours.

Cut these parents some slack, and stop judging them for not being parents of the year. No, they aren't great, but they don't sound as horrible as some stories we've had on this board.

Your issues for leaving should be their inability to stick to the work agreement, and failure to pay on time. I think the other things you listed are petty and not your concern.

The Devil said...

From this and her other post we can learn that workingmom is rude to her nanny when she sees her at the end of the day because she's tired and we know she has a hard time getting to sleep at night.

She probably mostly ignores her kids but still proudly wears the badge of mom because she birthed them, keeps up with their lives by regular text updates from the day nanny, and manages to muster just enough energy to play mommy for a couple of hours before passing them off to the night nanny,

Has her nanny do everything for the kids, and the nanny should never be annoyed with her boss. Oh the contrary she should just be overjoyed to have a paycheck.

A tip of the hat to you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone who understands my position. To the two who think their actions are not my concern- I'm guessing you have nannies and could possibly be treating them the same way. I'm not here to argue- I was simply here for some advice, but I can't say I'm not insulted by your comments. Yes, it's my job to take care of the kid. My point is- i'm RAISING their kid. I am there close to 12 hours a day, and then another nanny comes to relieve me. They have a nanny from 7:30 AM when the child wakes up until 8:30 pm when the child goes to bed. If DB can sit around in his pjs all day, he can help with his child, or at least clean up after himself. I clearly stated that my original duties pertained ONLY to the child, and I am now cleaning up after the family, running their errands, folding their laundry, all of which were not part of the agreement, and when DB is sitting around, these are not things he cannot do himself. THey have both stayed home multiple times due to illness, but apparently nannies are not human and not allowed to get sick. I was told I had to come in to work, even after adhering to the nanny agreement which stated I needed to call out by 6am. As the other posters have said, they are rude and insulting. No employer should ever insult their employee about personal things.

Thanks to everyone else. I did not go through an agency, so thankfully I don't have to worry about that. Regardless of my ill feelings towards them I am going to do the professional thing and try to stick out the three weeks. As I said, if things get ugly, I will walk away. I feel like I've dealt with enough and they are lucky to have kept me this long. I am going to tell them that my living situation is changing and I will not be able to do the extra hour and a half commute that would be added on top of my two hour daily commute. (this is true.) Hopefully they can be professional as well, but I'm not holding my breath. Thanks again to everyone for the great advice.

lexeael13 said...

I hope you find/found a great new job. I think most of us who work as nannies find ourselves in bad positions I find it best to not take it personally that a family is rude or unkind. you are a great nanny im sure dont let it bring you down. Sorry you had to work with a family that was unkind to you.

ericsmom said...

Well the point is it doesn't matter if the dad is home or not. You are being paid to watch the kid. Even if they do have two other nannies its their business.

Point is that they are using you, beyond what was agreed upon. Your contract is not being honored. So you can basically leave anytime. I would just leave. Do you really feel like they are going to give you a great reference anyway?

Totally disagree with the one poster that stated the mom doesn't have to thank you. A little kindness goes a long way. Is it that hard to say thank you for taking care of my child. Or to let her know she is appreciated??
This is outside the nanny world as well. All employees like to feel appreciated. Some companies have breakfast on Fridays for the workers to show appreciation. Alot of companies have meetings to see how everyone is doing. What issues they may have, etc, etc. It makes for a better work environment.

another nanny said...

It's my understanding that if they have already broken your work agreement, you're not obligated to adhere to it, either. That is, you don't have to give three weeks notice. Like you say, you can try to stick it out, but don't feel guilty if you need to get out before that time is up.

nycmom said...

Clearly the job sucks and they are not honoring the Work Agreement. That alone is reason to quit. Never burn bridges if you can avoid it.

However, I agree with WorkingMom and Juris -- how the parents choose to spend their time is not your concern. I actually now, when hiring a nanny or sitter, put in writing and again say in the interview that "Sometimes we want help just because we want to relax. Sometimes we like to sleep in or have alone time as adults. If you feel that is something you will feel uncomfortable with or critical of, this is not the job for you."

I am a strong believer in having a clear job description, paying well, showing respect, and sticking to the agreement. However, the last thing I want is to feel judged by a caregiver. I am not paying someone to judge how I parent or how I spend my time/money. I understand things like child neglect and mistreating your nanny warrant judgment. But, frankly, if Dad wants to sit in his PJs all day and eat fruit loops while watching reruns of Silver Spoons, that should be none of your concern -- provided all the above criteria are met (which they aren't in your case, but you get my point :).

Aries said...

Honestly if i were you i'd try my hardest to get another job, then grab my check and run. They've not kept up to there end of the bargain. But i'm not you, and if i was ever in a situation like yours, being taken advantage, looked down upon, by bitter people, i'd be spiteful and purposely leave there mess uncleaned because i no that i cannot get introuble, they can.

They've broken so many rules and my advise if to take legal action and have an attorny write the family a list of what you will and won't do. Also have him write down that they by law, have to reinburse you for the gas you use while running there errands.

You need to put your foot down and stop letting people take advantage of you because you will never make it in this world. People will eat you up and spit you out.

You can't get introuble, THEY CAN. If you're scared of losing your job, don't be. They should be but they probably assume they have you wrapped around there fingers.

If you do end up quitting then write them a note and mail it or email it and speak your mind so they atleast realize and maybe they'll smarten up for the next caregiver.

(If you don't then you deserve being walked on because if you can't respect yourself then you can't expect others too.)

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I am a Nanny who thinks it is very kind of my bosses when they say, "Thank You" as I walk out the door each day. Just saying it is like the frosting on the cake for me. Sure, I love getting paid well..who doesn't??...but to have appreciation showed to me daily is priceless. ♥

OP, I am almost CERTAIN they will make your last three weeks hell. My best advice is to just leave. Make sure you have all your money and just leave. Otherwise these next three weeks will drag on, you will dread going into work and you will be miserable the whole time you are working, etc. They won't give you a good reference anyway and since you won't be homeless if you don't work the next three weeks, I suggest you use that time to re-gain your sanity.

Best of luck to you my Friend.

workingMom said...

"i'm RAISING their kid"

No. You are NOT. You and a rotation of other nannies provide a service to assist these parents in raising their child. It is an important distinction, and one a professional nanny understands.

Anon said
"She can do what she wants."

Yes, she can finally give up looking for emotional validation from her job, and realize that working in a service industry requires a thick skin.

She can use this experience understand herself and her motivations better, and approach the next job more objectively. She can stand up for herself in the next job and negotiate an appropriate wage for the tasks she is willing to do, and if the next family fails to pay her on time, she can speak up to the family sooner rather than later, to ensure she gets paid.

But she should change her attitude and stop judging her employers because they don't do what SHE thinks they should be doing. That attitude will only continue to make her miserable, will not produce any positive change, and could actually get her fired from a job in many other industries.

Jersey said...

I would never dream of complaining about what my boss does all day. I agree with some previous posters. If she wants to sit around and eat bonbons all day and watch reality tv shows.... what do I care? She's paying me. If my contract says "no housekeeping".. guess what? I'm not cleaning. I don't understand people who come on here and complain about all the extra things they do that they aren't paid for. IF IT ISN'T IN YOUR CONTRACT, DON'T DO IT. It's really that simple.

UmassSlytherin said...

Being thankful to your employees, to me, is essential. My boss is very polite to me and thankful for the things I do, and it goes a long way. I think a Thank You should be expected.

There seems to be a great deal of insults here lately. Honestly, it sometimes baffles me when I get flamed, having read some really mean posts from people.

FYI: saying that parents who need childcare are hiring someone to "raise their kids" is offensive to parents who need childcare. That will always press some buttons for moms who work. If a nanny ever said to me, "I'm raising your kids," I would know she needed to go.

Sarah NY said...

If they haven't held up their end of the contract then you don't need to either. I can't believe you rescheduled a surgery because 6 weeks wasn't enough time to find a sitter. Ugh people disgust me. Since they seem to have broken the contract numerous times I'd say its null and void and since you are contract-less you are now an at will employee. No need to give 3 weeks notice. I'd hand MB or DB a signed sealed letter stating your resignation at the end of the day and not come back. I've had to do it once and no, its not fun and yes its heart wrenching when you have a connection to the children. But you deserve better treatment and a fair work environment.

UmassSlytherin said...

I also think OP should leave. Without notice: there comes a point when your mental health is more important than a contract, and a contract of which the family has not held up their end of, at that.

Penny said...

Karli- This site is very interesting I couldn't agree more! I find it very helpful to know that it's not always the nanny who is enemy #1, sometimes it's the parents. It's so helpful to know your not alone in this often chaotic double standard profession. Oh, and I'm not the only one who is tearing out their hair over the BS that we deal with. However I wish we could hear not just the negative nanny/employer issues and situations it would be nice to hear the successes too, then maybe we can all be better nannies and employers.

katie said...

I wish my boss wouldnt help in the mornings nice guy but hes has no clue about the babies routine. They are a mess the entire day when he is with them in the morning.

Op just quit .

fiona said...

Sadly there are situations where the nanny is indeed the one raising the child. Ive been in these situations and its sad. I never told the parents they were lousy but i sure thought it. Is that the case for all nannies and families? No. But it happens

fiona said...

Katie i laughed at your post. I have had my share of not so helpful parents
But at least this dad wants to help

Bridgie said...

I would only be mad about the lounging in pjs thing if it WAS a day I tried to call in sick. Otherwise....if you start at start at 7:30 and DB can do what he wants.

The other stuff sucks hope you find a better Family soon

Penny said...

Well, I always find it funny how parents get so defensive when nannies get upset over job issues or by saying "we nannies are raising your kids. " It's not meant to be an attack merely the truth. We nannies are not dumb we know and understand most people HAVE to work hence placing their children in child care. When someone spends 10-12 hours (in some cases more,) these nannies are in charge of your children's care. How can you not understand our perspective? We spend more time with other people's children doing the things any mother would do help a children thrive and grow up well rounded than anyone else in our lives! What gets nannies upset is that parents anymore want a nanny to carry the burden of housework, chores, errands you name it and then do nothing but complain to their nannies what they suck at or never get so much as a thank you or good job. I personally feel that many parents hate that phrase "we are raising their kids," because there is a lot of guilt for being gone so much. I have worked for some families who actually understand how much they are gone so they do their best to work with me on discipline, manners, meal times, etc so they did not upset the kids routine and it greatly helped make my job easier.

just wondering... said...

If you are spending the entire day with someone else's child/children, from when they wake up until they go to sleep, and you do this five days a week, with little to no parent help/interaction, how are you not raising their child? Do the parents raise the child/children on the weekends?

I understand that there may be some hostility that the parents could be feeling towards the nanny if they are gone from their child/children that often, but try to see it from the nanny's perspective. I too have worked for parents who would have me watch their child for 10 hours a day while they were upstairs catching up on their missed television shows, shopping online, or napping. I personally found it too frustrating to work in this particular situation so I quit. I just couldn't get over why on earth a parent would need someone to watch their child, while they sat upstairs doing nothing productive. The parent didn't have a job, and they had housekeepers cleaning their house and doing their family's laundry. You really cannot bring yourself to watch your ONE child during the day? Couldn't wrap my head around it. If I had known that this would be the case, I wouldn't have taken the job.

ReallyBad Eggs said...

That's how the majority of employers are always wanting more never appreciating what you do.

It's alway the nanny worried about following the rules and proper protocol.

I say screw it and screw them.

Get your last wages and go.

You owe them nothing. Don't worry about burning bridges etc these are the type who will bad mouth you no matter what.

Im sorry about your situation OP, but we nannies need to step up and stop being doormats.

smile said...

You poor girl!! I can completely understand - I grew up with your SAME mentality - do what you're told, you don't get to ask questions. As an adult, I got counselling, and studied a great book called "Boundaries", basically, you learn how to be a strong person and not let people treat you poorly. Don't blame yourself - but get help! If you don't, you will see yourself repeat this behavior over and over again in your life - jobs, relationships, etc. Your employers' behavior is COMPLETELY inappropriate, which you obviously realize, but for you to have the strength and courage to confront it, you need support. For example, with the dishes, the person with healthy boundaries would talk to their employer and explain what you wrote - "it's not in my contract, I was hired to be a nanny and clean up after children only. From here on out, I will no longer clean up after adults."

For the sick day, even if they say you "have" to come in, you stand strong and reply, "Sorry, but as I said, I'm sick and I will not be in today. I will see you tomorrow." End of story.
I would recommend you attempt to deal with this situation, if only as an exercise in your own skills of standing up for yourself. Then if you're still not happy, move on!
Good luck!!!

nycmom said...

I was not going to respond to this since I feel comfortable with the raising the kids' balance between my nanny and I, but why not? I hate bad math.

Now, of course, this defense does not apply to the family mentioned who have round-the-clock nannies. That is just silly.

I don't mind if my nanny says she is "helping" to raise my kids. I would find it offensive if she said she was raising them alone. She is not raising them alone. She is helping to raise them.

There are 168 hours in a week. Sleep needs change by age and vary by child so let's just pick some common averages for a 2yo: 13 total hours of sleep, 11 at night, 2 hours of daytime nap. Now we have 77 nighttime sleep hours, 14 daytime sleep hours, and 77 waking hours.

During the week, an average nanny may work 50 hours. So she works 10 daytime sleep hours and 40 waking hours. Parents work 4 daytime sleep hours, 77 nighttime sleep hours and 37 waking hours. So your average parents are with their child twice as many hours, almost exactly the same waking hours, and all sleep hours. I don't know about other parents, but my husband and I also create the job expectations for our nanny including how much TV, activities we would like her to try to do, discipline philosophy, and diet. We welcome our nanny's input, but none have ever been the primary decisionmaker on the big issues, except for the daily activities as they get to know my kids better. Even then, they let me know and we work together.

I welcome the appreciation shown by the comment that my nanny is helping to raise my kids. She is and she is great! But I do resent the implication in "she raises the kids" since it suggests we do nothing and are completely absent in everyway. This may be true for some families and they suck. Don't work for them. But it isn't true for most families and, of course, those good parents are going to take offense at a comment designed to offend!

BTW, I say thanks to my nanny everyday for all her help : )

Susannah said...

I've had both jobs. Jobs where I was raising the kid and jobs whereI was the caregiver during the day no more or less.

I now try to avoid the raising the kid position just as I avoid the helicopter parent positions.

Most parents these days need or want to work. Most feel a huge amount of guilt for anytime spent away from their kids. I can understand them feeling upset if someone accused them of not caring for or raising their kids.

I will say I have a hard time not judging "parents" that have a kid they truly never spend anytime with. Why have them in the first place?