Over the Edge

Have you ever quit a job because you can't handle the kids? I've been a nanny to twins for 3 months now. I've done twins before so that isn't the issue. But I'm about ready to lose my mind . I mean really snap. The babies are a mess and mom & dad refuse to stick to a schedule even though they complained at first about not having one and blamed me for not having enough sleep. I'm supposed to be with them for a year, but don't think I can do it. I'm with an agency, do you think I'll have a problem being replaced?


Susannah said...

Most agencies I know have a trial period that is about 3 months long and have no problem reassigning nannies and families if there seems to be a mismatch.

Am I correct that they asked you to schedule the twin and have now changed their minds?

it also concerns me that another set of parents don't seem to understand how babies sleep. Proper day sleep is essential for proper night sleep.

Perhps that is the cause of the twins being a "mess"?

If there is no underlying serious issues.

Lyn said...

If Mom and Dad don't want to be consistent with the schedule you help to set up then there really isn't much you can do about that. Are you a live in? I'm curious why they are bringing up your sleeping habits.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Hopefully there is someone at your agency you can speak w/about this.

I also hope your agency has a trial period....I can't imagine any professional nanny agency not having one in place. It's only common sense.

Good luck.

OP said...

No I do not live in. I work Monday through Fridays from 7:30 to 6pm. Parents are out the door at 9.

Sorry I was confusing.

When I started the babies were 2 months old and like most newborns slept the majority of the day and wake at night.

They thought it was my fault the babies wren't sleeping 10-12 hours at night at that stage.

So I shared with them about how infants sleep, and I told them that I could help plan a shcedule for them,but that t he schedule would be best if started no earlier than 4 months, Well we started about a month ago with the schedule.

Works pretty well during the week, but at the weekends it's not followed so every Monday it's starting over and the babies are a mess the first 2 days.

Also they complain that the babies wake at 5:30 am.
They go down at 7:00pm that's 10 1/2 hours straight. I think that's great for 5 month olds.

I tried to explain this, but apparently mom & dad need that extra hour of sleep and would prefer they didn't wake up until I get there at 6am.

nycmom said...

Based on my experience hiring now in CA and placing my prior nanny in NY, I cannot imagine the agency would have trouble finding other qualified candidates provided the pay is decent. Whether it affects your credibility and probability of future placements with the agency, I think would be no if this is your first time doing this. Yes, if it is a pattern.

As an employer I would truly *want* my nanny to professionally move on if she were unhappy. Who wants an unhappy, frustrated (with the job) person caring for their kids?

I would like her to first sit down with me and make it clear what she is unhappy with to see if it is solvable. Some things are. Some aren't. I try hard to have real sit-downs with my nanny at 1, 3, 6, 12 months then annually. I try to model by being honest about her strengths, but also mention the thing or two that could be improved. I then offer suggestions for improvement and flexibility. Finally, I encourage her to tell me the same. I mean I really tell her directly, "We want a long-term relationship with you. The only way that will happen is if YOU are also happy. So if there are things the kids or I are doing that you would like us to change, please tell me."

From your posts it sounds like you have communicated with the parents about the scheduling issue. Since you have prior twin experience, did you make it crystal clear that this was a deal breaker for you -- phrased as parenting and nannying styles being compatible with sleeep schedules? Are they first time parents?

I agree that the kids' sleep length is awesome for their age! Good work! However, if having them wake at 6:00am instead of 5:30am is very important to the parents, why not just shift bedtime 30 minutes later (I know some babies sleep less then, so earlier if needed). Are the parents just too lazy to keep them up til 7:30pm?

Finally, can you envision any solution? What if they hired a weekend nanny for 3 months to ensure the schedule is maintained (summer is a perfect time for that!). Would that make the job pleasant for you? Or are there various other issues too? Because lack of a schedule in 5mo twins doesn't sound, in isolation, unusual or unbearable. Are they just plain difficult babies in the day, colicky, crying, both wanting to be held, etc? If so, does it improve by Thursday/Friday of your week then return Monday? You must have encountered parents who don't adhere to the schedule on weekends before -- seems like a standard nanny complaint here ; ) I'm only asking so much because I suspect there must be other problems with this job to make it this unbearable for an experienced twin nanny.

Obviously, if you hate the job -- leave. No one should stick with a job they hate unless they have no choice and need the money. If you have some flexibility, seek agency advice, give notice, and move on if you feel these issues cannot be solved.

OP said...

They picked the 7:00pm bedtime because later would interfere with mom & dad there evening routine.

I did get them to give them a bath at 6:00pm and bottle at 6:30 by explaining to them that would probably have them waking up earlier, so they were willing to give up their mommy & daddy time.

I have tried so many times to talk with them.
I think I will speak with the agency, because I don't know what to do.

nycmom said...


I appreciate the clarification. Would you mind answering my other questions (sorry, I tend to write long posts)? I guess what I am trying to figure out is:

1. Can this be solved in another creative way?

2. What other issues make you unhappy at this job?

3. Can you afford a potential period of unemployment?

I ask because if this is truly the only issue and you otherwise enjoy the kids and parents, they like you and pay you well, I think it's worth the effort to see if it's solvable. But if this is just one of many issues and it is a poor fit overall, then no point trying to solve this and having another issue drive you crazy.

They sound like first time parents. I don't know them from Adam, of course, but I do know how stressful it can be on a marriage when introducing a new baby, not to mention twins! Perhaps they are struggling with their relationship and trying to ensure they have some alone time to connect and remain intimate as friends and partners. Perhaps parenting is a huge source of conflict. Or maybe they are just lazy ; )

Good luck!

Fiona said...

Do you feel you can't handle the kids or is it you feel you aren't able to do your job with the parents?

YOu have two options
1. Stay and have this contantly come up. You educate they tamtrum never ending cucle.These parents don't seem to have in room or flexibility in their life for children. Seriously, it's your fault that 2 month olds spend a good portion of the day sleeping?
2. You go to your agency discuss your feelings and try to be replaced.
Honestly, they might do better with a 24/7 nanny or sveral nannies that can provide that type of care and they only need give kisses & cuddles at atime that is convenient with them.

luckoftheirish said...

They sound like if hiring nannys 24/7 were a viable option for them, they would do so, thus outsourcing their parental obligations. They have two infants, who sleep longer than my toddler! They sound like thirty minutes of sleep is strongly preferred over thirty minutes of parenting. Its insane to blame you for the babies waking up @ 6:30AM. Because THEY are putting them to bed so early. They sound very uneducated about babies & equally unwilling to learn. In time, the babies will likely sleep less, what then? I would explain, in a letter how different & difficult Mondays & Tuesdays are & why. Id include that the avoidable stress is cause for you to seek reassignment. Id use the childrens names as often as possible, while stressing how this all affects the babies. Additionally, Id print out articles from reputable sites re:sleep & infants. I would be uneasy working for parents like that. But theyre sooo young & you coukd possibly have a solid five years with these children! GL

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I once was a nanny for a family of a toddler.

The toddler was only 18mos old and barely slept the whole night, so the parents made me keep her up as much as possible all day.

When she would fall asleep, I had to nudge and tickle her and wake her up. Geez, I felt so cruel doing this and one day I had enough. I just walked out and never came back.

I was not going to be some accomplice to child neglect/abuse.

OceanBlue said...

Lol! Twins are so tough!

The parents I have now are pretty good with keeping to the schedule on weekends.

They do hiccup sometimes. You know baby's not hungry so he doesn't need a bottle try a cuddle first etc.

My biggest gripe with them is scheduling classes and dr.appts at nap time.

Mom likes to go to the appointments which is great, but she can only do them on her lunch hour. Which of course is baby nap time. So hell before and hell after.
As far as the play classes well we're working in changing that around before they start.

It amazes me how much parents don't realize a little variation in the schedule can cause so much havoc.

Most of the fussiness could probably be avoided if they just stuck with it.

But, OP your parents just seem lazy.

OP said...

So here's the updated. I contacted my agency and she suggested and I agreed with that all of us have a sit down meeting and discuss scheduling.

We're going to meet on Friday.

MB & DB weren't to thrilled about having to have an evening meeting.

I hope this works, but this is my final strike with them.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

OP thanks for the update.

Please please tell us what happened at the Friday meeting...I can't wait to hear.

luckoftheirish said...

Amy, when a baby or child doesn't get a nap during the day, the body believes it has a need to stay awake and so the body complies and will keep the child wired at bed time. It back fires.

I don't blame you for leaving that arrangement. If they allowed the child to nap, he or she would've fallen asleep easier at night. Poor kid.

OP said...


So yesterday evening , my employers, agency rep, and I all sat down to discuss the scheduling conflict.

They said they didn't like the schedule I had the twins were on because it caused too much trouble for them and the babies were difficult to handle on weekends. that they didn't like being awakened at 4 am the first few nigths of the work week.

I calmy reminded them that they schedule had been made with their input and that I would be happy to arrange another one, to help make the days better for all.

Their argument was that I allow them to have too much sleep during the day.

Angency rep jumped in here and explained to them how babies sleep how most babies at their ages sleep about 10 hours during the day and 4 hours of nap isn't unsual and actually healthy, and that forcing them to stay awake gets you the opposite of what you want.

She also explained that the sudden interruptions in their routine was ausing them to be fussy on the weekends and the first part of the week.

It felt so good to have someone else back up what I had been saying all along.

She also offered to arrange a weekend/night nanny for them to come in for as long as needed.

I offered to extend my day and be there when the babies are put to bed.

They declined these offers because of the added costs.

We planned and agreed to signed a schedule which fyi is the exact same schedule we had and we all agreed to stick with it.

Agency lady said she would check in to see how we were all doing.

Funny, when we were walking to our cars, agency lady mentioned to me that she has several families looking for a nanny with twin expertise within the next few months.

anyway, I hope things settle and work out. I'm not holding my breah because I've talked this over with them so many times, maybe now that the agency is involved they'll be more cooperative.

If not I've already decided I will be looking for a new job.