The Unhappy Truth

Hi Everyone! I just had a general question for all of you Nannies. I am a Parent who has employed a Nanny for the past two months. She seemed a little unhappy these past two weeks, but I was not sure if I was imagining it or not. Anyway, today she gave me her 2-week notice, stating she was moving in two weeks. For some odd reason, I do not believe her. I think she just is unhappy with this job and wants to leave. My question to you is this... How many of you Nannies have been unhappy in a job and instead of telling the truth, you claim to be moving in a few weeks? I understand that confrontation is not for everyone and that the family emergency excuse has been beaten to death. Thank you all in advance for your responses!!


Sarah NY said...

Well there are some questions to ask yourself, did you pay her enough? Did you back her up with your child? Do you expect ridiculous things to be done during the day (ie Job Creep)? If there aren't any reasons she should be unhappy being employed by you then maybe she really did need to move. Possibly a family emergency and she was needed with her parents...maybe a spouse got a new job/transferred to a new military base.

UmassSlytherin said...

This is America. She can tell you whatever she wants.

Most likely she does not like this job, and wants a good reference. So of course she is not going to say, "I really don't like you or your kid and I don't want to work for you anymore."

If someone said that to me, I would not give them a good reference, if for no other reason than they are tactless. I am not surprised this nanny told you she was moving.

OP, you don't want to know why she is leaving, trust me. Just be graceful, wish her luck, and move on.

workingmom said...

Does it really matter?

If it does, it falls upon YOU to do the confronting, but only if you can take constructive criticism because you may not like/agree with the "real" reason she gives, which may be:

*You take things too personally
*You expect too much for too little pay
*She got a new/dream job that pays more than you can/would
*She didn't feel appreciated
*She doesn't like your kids
*She has realized she doesn't like caring for kids at all
*Your husband made a pass at her/creeps her out

Are you prepared for any of the above responses? Or any others I didn't post? If not, let it go. In the grand scheme of things, it's not important.

She gave you the reason she wanted to give you; accept it and move on.

DC nanny said...

I recently told my family that I was moving to a different location, but I'm really leaving because this job makes me absolutely miserable.

If you really want to know why she's leaving, you could sit down and have a talk with her. Ask for honest feedback, explaining that you'd really like to make any possible changes/improvements to help the future nanny. If you do this, you need to go into it with a completely open mind, and without the goal of changing your nanny's mind or telling her she's wrong.
She's already made the choice to leave, so if she begins to open up and tell you how she feels, and you jump in and explain why she shouldn't feel a certain way about things, all that will happen is that she'll clam up and you'll miss out on honest feedback.

There is always the possibility that it is her fault. Maybe you're doing everything right, and she just had different expectations. It is possible that the things she says in the meeting won't be true, or you won't agree with. Regardless, just let her talk. You may gain some very helpful feedback. You may gain nothing. If it's not helpful, you still haven't lost anything.

I won't tell my family about my grievances, because I know that they won't do all of the things I just mentioned. When I gave my notice I got a guilt trip. They've been nice since then, but I also gave a semi-false reason for leaving. My MB said that she feels bad that I'm leaving because it feels like I'm "rejecting her". When she says things to make me feel bad, it doesn't make me want to open up to her at all. If they could sit down and just LISTEN, without interrupting to tell me why I'm wrong, or all of the things I've done that they find fault in, or how I'm hurting their feelings, they might actually learn something useful about how they treat their staff, and how to keep nannies around longer.

You don't seem to be like them, because you actually care enough to ask this question. But you still might not like what you hear. I agree with others in that, if you aren't prepared to hear something that might not feel great, just let it be. If you actually want a reason, do what I suggested and listen.

Bethany said...

She could have been telling the truth, especially since you only noticed the change the last couple of weeks.

I've had things come up suddenly that have changed my longterm plans that in retrospect probably made me sound like a liar.

I actually know a nanny that had to give sudden notcie because her husband was military.

You can ask her, but you probaby won't get much of anaswer especially if she is lying.
I think your energy would be better spent finding a new nanny.

You could ask her to help you come up with a nanny wanted add, and that may give you some insight ti her feelign about the job, or how you can more accurately describe the job.

I hope you soon find a great new nanny that is able to stay as long as you need her!

Nashville Nanny said...

She has only worked for you for 2 months. I'm guessing she doesn't really care about getting a reference from you. (I personally wouldn't use someone who employed me for two months as a reference) Maybe she got a better offer and felt bad telling you. Maybe she isn't happy in her position with you. If she has been employed for two months, and unhappy for two weeks... you probably don't want to know the truth.

amano said...

And why would you give her a negative reference? That is ridiculous. Don't listen to UMASS she loves to be a bother. Lets pretend that you and kids don't suck and she actually loves her job, She might really be moving! or she may be a little down about something in her personal life. "Seeming a little unhappy"? Perhaps she's been feeling under the weather. Or possibly just slight dread about needing to tell you that she was planning on moving- it may have been very unexpected. You didn't really give any examples to make us believe that she is simply not just moving. Seeming (Assuming) is not a science.
Even if she is fibbing so save your feelings, why does it matter? Find a new nanny and move on.

Manhattan Nanny said...

I don't think you will accomplish anything by trying to get her to tell you why she is leaving, if that isn't her real reason. Instead, try thinking about any issues that may have caused her to leave. Have you asked for chores that weren't discussed in the interview? Have you been sticking to the original schedule, and letting her go home on time? Do you micro manage? Is your home a pigsty?
Sorry, these are usual reasons nannies are unhappy. I hope she is just going to move, and you find a great new nanny.

UmassSlytherin said...

Amano: every time you mention me, (which has been countless times over the past week) you only show how you are my own personal troll.

That's right. Keep mentioning me. You are my bitch.

amano said...

Don't flatter yourself UMASS. Do you really think that I'm the only person who dislikes you posting on this blog? Many times I have seen your name mentioned and not because you give such awesome advice-because you are intentionally trying to be a pest. I guess you think it makes you cool? Or have they just not found the right med combo for you yet? Either way,
just because multiple posters call you out on being a major asshole multiple times a day/week does not make them trolls,it does however make you very predictable as anyone who does not agree with you is a troll and everyone who asks for advice on nanny topics on a nanny blog needs to find a new job.

missmary said...

Hey Amano:

1: don't get on on the personal attacks on this board. it's really annoying


2: quit with the ableist bullshit & the comments about medication. you have no idea what you're saying.

and to OP: She probably will not contact you for a reference, but if someone does call, just say what you told us. She was fine, then she left with only 2 weeks notice and you don't know why.

I did leave a job that I worked only 3 weeks because the parents were completely clueless about how to have a nanny. I told them I got an internship (which was true... but it was freelance & only 10 hours a week) and put in my two week the first day of my (unpaid) 2 week christmas break. Dad then emailed me two weeks later at 1AM berating me for giving "no notice', and mom texted at 7AM asking if there was any way I could watch the baby just today.

It felt really good to say no.

MissMannah said...

I think a more important question you need to ask yourself is why are you doubting her? I like to give people the benefit of the doubt so I'm going to assume the nanny really is moving. I know, for me, I have a horrible time with big changes and I dread them for a long time coming so a move coming up would make me act really unhappy to. I guess the only way to settle this is for you to ask her where she's moving to on her last day, if you really want to know. Really, I don't know why it is so important to you. If you know you are treating her with respect and paying her a fair wage, it shouldn't matter at all.

Nashville Nanny said...

I love Umass. And I'm neither her bitch, nor a troll. :)I think she (like Mannah and Phoenix) speak their minds without a filter. Which I love, respect, and appreciate.

Amano, crawl back under your rock.

:) said...

You can speak your mind without being obnoxious. That's what I respect.

UmassSlytherin said...

What really did I say to start all this? I thought my first comment was pretty much going with the majority of posters here? ?

Medicated nanny said...


The "med combo" comment was completely unnecessary and inappropriate. Many of us here have to take medication and I'm sure im not alone in taking offense to your comments.

Lindsay said...

I've given notice once and that was only because the few months I had the job, were miserable. I said my schedule had changed (and it did, albeit a month later, after finding a new position) because the actual reason wasn't nice. At all.

amano said...

All I said in the beginning was simply not to listen to UMASS.I found her advice to be out of her ass. She recoiled in her usual way of automatically assuming I was "her troll". Shes weird to say the least.

UmassSlytherin said...

Why don't you let other people make up their own minds instead of trying to get people to not listen to posters you don't like? Are you in 8th grade, for Christ sake?

And for the record, my advice was pretty much the same as the majority of the posters on this thread. I know you have a hard-on for trolling me. so if that makes you feel good, honey keep trolling. It's no skin off my nose.

amano said...

Here we go again with the "trolling". You're lame hun.

Kyle said...

*Clears throat*

Okay back to the subject at hand...

Usually a person knows more than two weeks if she is moving (unless it is a Military person of someone has a sick family member.) So I think she is lying.

gypsy said...

Ask yourself some questions & be honest with yourself. And e-mail her, asking her if she has any advice for you on how to keep your future nannies happy? Let her know you promise not to be offended or to hold anything against her.

1.)Did you "forget" to mention ANY chores or duties, during the interview process? Then add them to her list of "to dos" without any discussion of additional compensation? Example, having her throw in a load of your laundry? Dinner prep? Dishes? Errands? Cleaning anything not directly related to what she & the kids mess up, during the day? This is a huge reason why you'll lose a nanny. Even if they agree to do extra nonchild care related chores for free(no pay above what they would receive wo the chores) eventually, they will get burnt out & quit. Because they'll wind up feeling taken advantage of, even tho they agreed to it. It won't take long for them to see what other nannys are getting paid & they're not being taken advantage of. Its so easy to start expecting someone to just do a few "little" chores, bc they're already in your home, but those so called little chores are the ones that take over her break times & ruin her day.

2.)Your husband touched her or made a comment that made her uncomfortable. My father in law put his arm around my waist , hand touching my butt, when he was drunk once. Its been a year & I'm still so uncomfortable there. One touch or one comment can ruin a relationship. Maybe ur husband just looked @ her with lust in his eyes. It doesn't take much & that would be a very common occurance & a good reason for her to lie. I kno what ur thinking; ur husband isn't like that. They all say that. But either way, I hope this isn't the case.

3.)You're underpaying her. This makes a lot of sense bc in this job market, its taking nannies about two months to find a job. If she accepted ur job two months ago, was disapointed in the pay & starting looking elsewhere that would make sense to me. The timing is right.

4.)How experienced is she? Maybe she has just discovered that being a nanny isn't right for her.

5.)Your kids are difficult. No parent wants to admit that. But if they're not listening or acting like big, whiny babies,
she would likely be miserable. As she doesn't love them like you & so she can't as easily overlook their potential annoying ways.

But I could be 100% wrong!!! ;-)

1.)Of coure you might have been very careful not to take advantage of having a nanny in your home. And you may have been very good about encouraging her to keep the kids as her top priority, only having to clean up as they go.

2.)Your husband isn't making a pass @ her. He just isn't interested in the nanny & that's a non-issue.

3.)Maybe you're paying her at least average, which should be $15/hr for one child in the SF bay. I have no idea where you are though.
4.)She's very experienced & loves being a nanny.

5.)Your kiddos are little angels, very well behaved.

OP, why do you think she quit? What is your viseral (gut) reaction? Also, ask for her new address so that u can send her a holiday card, gauge her reaction.

no moniker said...

RE-post for Anonymous...
Hi there,

To be honest, did you take a look at the relationship you had with her? maybe put yourself in her shoes for a moment maybe if she lied that could be because she either had a bad relationship with you or she didn't want to hurt your feelings with the real reason. Take for example: I worked for a family with one little girl whom I loved(still do) but there were things that I did or were asked of me to do that were NOT a part of my job! but because I loved my boss and that little girl I didnt think twice and did what was needed ALWAYS! and sure there were times where I thought I cant do this anymore(I need to talk to her about this) The only thing that kept me there is the same reason why I left and YES! I had to lie to leave because the real reason I could never say! not even today! her Husband was a jerk!! to her and the little girl all the time! even in front of me!! when I work for them! I mean I'm not family I dont need to know whats going on.... making situations personally known with people who work for you or work with you is not good! there were things I heard that I wish I hadnt! never the less I stayed for a year and I just couldnt take it anymore, if I did I think I could have punched him in the face! I just think this. (sorry for the long story) Nannies are nannies for a reason the kids! and not the parents.. so when theres more going on that can maybe cause a problem and I'm not saying that is compared to your situation at all! but maybe give her the benefit of the doubt like others have said you may never know the real reason, but like I always say, it wasnt meant to be. In your next search you know what you dont want and goodluck and best wishes with the next nanny you find hopefully it works! :-)

tired sleepy tired said...,

someone was nice enough to re-post for them. ;-)

MaryPoppin'Pills said...,

Not sure what happened to your post but I promise I didn't delete it!


-------------- has left a new comment on your post "The Unhappy Truth":

You're not allowed to post anon, it will get deleted. U have to read the directions. ;-)

Posted by to I saw your nanny at Jul 15, 2012 8:02:00 AM

Mrs. Billy Lamar said...

My gut reaction says she is lying.


If I was moving, I would usually know a month or two in advance.

She probably doesn't want to tell you the truth.

Perhaps it was a bad fit.

Chelsea said...

I think it's pretty common for unhappy nannies to try to quit amicably. I know that such was the case for me, and I didn't NEED the reference. I'd already found a new job when I gave my notice. I really just wanted to be tactful and respectful, and while I wasn't happy with my work situation, I have no long-term ill feelings towards the family. We just weren't a good fit.

Like a lot of others have said, if you get the feeling that your nanny was unhappy, then there's probably a reason for it--you can't change her decision to leave, and you may never know the truth behind it, but you can change yourself and the job that you're offering so that you don't feel like you're at this point again in the future.

Penny said...

OP- perhaps she wasn't unhappy maybe just either found a better job with better pay or perhaps really was moving. Maybe she didn't tell you with more notice simply because she didn't want to lose her job prematurely. The fact is it's easier for a family to find a nanny quickly than it is for a nanny to find a job quickly these days. I know a nanny that had to quit her job because she was pregnant & obviously would be leaving at a specific time. So she told her boss she wanted to leave a month before she was due so she could keep her income coming in as long as possible. Well the family she worked for ended up finding her replacement MONTHS before they all agreed she would leave. Obviously the nanny was pissed she was "let go" earlier than needed (and because the agreement was not upheld on their end,) which put a wrench in her & her family's finances. So perhaps your nanny simply didn't want the rug to be pulled out from underneath her & wanted to get her ducks in a row before giving her notice which is smart. Honestly, if you were to want to quit your job for whatever reason would you go to your boss & have talk about why your leaving? No, because smart people line up a job before they give their current employers their notice. The simple fact is when a employer hears an employee wants to leave some bosses might tell them to leave that day or make the remaining time they work there a living hell. So why would someone jeopardize their current job situation that is already unsatisfactory or because they are moving when it would only complicate things further more. If your job only requires 2 weeks notice then that's all they are required to do. It's the same for the employer if they wake up one day and want to fire you they will with no notice.

Plus OP even if she was unhappy so what if she left early, would you rather have a nanny work for you if she was unhappy? No! So give her credit for at least trying to leave amicably & kindly, because honestly she could have just left one day & never came back.

Nanny On Her Way Out said...

I am leaving a family at the end of the summer because I am incredibly unhappy working with them, but will not tell them that. When they hired me, they told me that they were planning to move at the end of the summer, due to a pending job transfer. When the transfer fell through and they asked me if I would want to renew my contract, I told them that I had already accepted another offer for fall, based on thinking they were moving. We have a written agreement that specifies how much notice (one month) I need to give them, which I intend to follow when I am one month from my new job's start date.

In reality, at that time I told them I already had a job lined up, I had only talked to another mother about working with her family if her current nanny got accepted into graduate school. Luckily, their nanny did get accepted and I did get the job. Had I not been hired by this family, I probably would have done a very subtle word-of-mouth search and used other childcare references. I babysit for enough families in the area that I wasn't worried. I don't think I would ever say I was moving, unless I was actually moving. I would worry that we might run into each other after I didn't move. I could see saying that I wanted to find a job with a different age, different hours, or closer to home.

I don't think lying is right and would never lie to a parent about their kids, but I think there is a value in discretion. I am leaving primarily because the mother has become completely unsupportive of me and my role, an increase of the level of sloth in their home (my workplace), and massive job creep. The fact that I am getting out 10-20 minutes late per night, without pay, despite frequently stating that I needed to leave on time unless prior arrangements had been made doesn't help the situation. One parent had a situation (not related to me/kids) last winter that precipitated the downfall of my position. I have requested changes and clarification on my role multiple times, resulting in no actual changes, so I decided that I needed to make the change and it would be a job change. The family is completely clueless as to why I am actually leaving and I think it is best to keep it that way.

maybe it was the plan said...

Perhaps she did what I did. The economy in michigan is awful. I got the opportunity to work for a family for 4 months for 45h-50h a week. The agreement was that they wanted someone for a year. I agreed to the position because I needed the job. I felt guilty for going into something knowing I could not stay the whole year but I really needed the income and couldn't find anything else unless I agreed to working under the table or for $8 an hour. This family paid $13.50. It wasn't great but it was helpful. So i took the job, stayed for 4.5 months and then asked them if I could cut back to a part time schedule and share the job with another nanny because my full time class schedule was getting too much.

The truth was I knew I had to do clinical work in October and that I couldn't work certain days. I anticipated being replaced- and I set them up with a few candidates. They ended up hiring someone full-time and letting me go. I didn't really mind. The wife was snooty and a micro-manager anyway. The point is, sometimes people need a cross over family. Perhaps you were that person. Personally the fact that you are even posing this question is a bit telling about you. So yes, she is probably leaving because of you. Just learn from it and move on. Focus your energy on your child.

Aletheia said...

Knowing you are going to move and choosing when to tell your employer are two different things.

Nc nanny said...

I tried to leave my last family on the best possible terms when honestly I was leaving because I was fed up. I think it is typical for nannies to do this, because most of us don't want to hurt the family. I certainly had reasons for leaving, however I did not tell the parents. A few reasons you could consider are the amount of hours she had to work (if over 40 did she have time for her own family?), your punctuality, your attitude towards her (did you snap at her?), job creep, and just different parenting styles. Maybe this would be a good time to objectively consider all of those factors and see if there is anything you could improve on :)

fed up said...

If you don't believe her than she probably dislikes her job. I mean it could be reasons stated above such as: she doesn't like you or the job for perhaps not paying her enough, being overbearing, being unappreciated, feeling the children lack any discipline from you or other parent (this can be hard because children will not have consistency if the nanny shows authority while the rents let them be nuts) putting more responsibility on her, thinking she needs to play maid just because "she is there" and you want a 2 for 1 deal, and so on.
Whatever the reason, she isn't and shouldn't be pushed into saying why and should never be made to feel bad. She is giving you ample time to find a replacement which is respectful and professional. She could have just not showed up and screwed you completely if she really wanted to. I don't think that is ever a good idea though. I have only done that once when I was working in a bakery and was chewed out over the phone by the manager because I was going to be 2 hours late because my bus was delayed from where I was at. Yelling at the top of your lungs when I am trying to give you notice and it is totally out of my control? Yeah...get stuffed. Anyway...that is neither here nor there.

I don't think a nanny should get a bad reference because she is unhappy with her job. If she was great with the kids but there were things she didn't like and found something else how can you blame her?

Medicated nanny NOT offended by Amnos comment said...

Medicated nanny, grow some thick skin! Or are you too drugged up to even comprehend what I
saying? Dont you dare speak kn behalf of others like you now what offends them. I take meds and you know what? I don't care what Amanos comment was. You took offense because you clearly value her opinion. One only gets upset when they really take in and value what the offender said. U mass is a snake. Her avatar even shows it lol. Hiiissssssss! I'm a jokeste. Nothing offends me. I love who I am and no one's opinion will brig me down :). Although negative Nancy's line you don't do a whole lot of favor for the rest of us who are happy and refuse negativity. Tootles!! Have to go take my meds now :))

Stella said...

It is really really hard for a nanny to tell her employers she is leaving. To me, it feels like breaking up with someone! Also, she is aware that the time between giving notice and leaving the job can be incredibly awkward. She may have been telling the truth, or she may have just wanted to make the transition easier for both of you.

If I were you, I would leave it alone. She told you what she wants to tell you, just go with it. However, there may be another reason she is leaving, so here are some things you may want to watch with your next nanny.

1.Do you come home on time? Do you constantly ask her to stay late with very little notice? Nannies have lives too, and when you come home late or change things with no notice, her schedule is disrupted.

2.Did you outline her duties at the beginning of the job? If so, have you added to these duties at all? It is important when employing a nanny to never add to her workload without a) asking if she is ok with extra chores, and b) offering more money.

3.Do either you or your spouse/partner work at home? many nannies are uncomfortable with that, especially if it is a Dad who is home. It is next to impossible to explain that to an employer.

4.If you work outside the home, how long after your nanny arrives do you leave? It is incredibly annoying when the parents hang around the house for hours after she gets there. Have your nanny arrive approx. 10 min before you walk out the door. If you want a nanny who arrives hours before you leave, make that completely clear in the interview.

5.On the same note, do you chatter on endlessly with your nanny at the end of the day? She is probably tired and wants to go home, but feels like she has to make small talk with you to be polite. Try to get her out the door as fast as possible.

6.What are you paying compared to what other families are paying in your area? Consider what duties you want her to do, and make sure you increase the amount based on her duties. This includes paying her full salary even when you don't need her to work(vacations, illness, etc.)

7.Do you tell your nanny exactly what you want, or do you just tell her to use her own judgement? If you tell her something is up to her, do you critisize if she doesn't do what you want? Be very clear about what is important to you and what you are comfortable letting your nanny handle.

I know this was long, I was trying to think of all the things that have made me consider quitting. I'm sure not all of these things bother all nannies, and I'm sure other nannies could add to the list, but these are just some things to think about when employing a nanny.

Farrah said...

Great post Stella!

Anonymous said...

I once worked for a family who paid $8 an hour, they claimed it was all they could afford I was desperate for a job.

Well come to find out they did all their shopping at the most expensive store in the area, bought only organic food and paid over $20,000 a year for a 2nd grader and preschooler to go to school. Took loads of vactions over seas and generally spent money.
They could have given me more pay since they expected me to clean as well but never told me.

Yes, I would clean the dishes if I didn't the kids had nothing to eat on, I cleaned the toilets because they bathrooms smelled of urine and the toilets had the pink slime from never being cleaned. (It's pathetic when your nanny or babysitter cleans the toliet due to it's dirty state.)
The times I didn't clean I'd hear the parents say "Oh, she didn't clean. Guess I have to now."

Anyway, the kids were BRATS! Mom and Dad let them do whatever they wanted no discipline at all. One time the preschooler was jumping over the side of the clawfoot bathtub. I said in a kind way "Don't do that, it's not safe, you could hurt yourself." The child looked at the older sibling and the sibling said "He's allowed to!" I responded with "Yes, but when I'm here and I ask you not to do something you need to respect that and listen. I'm not saying no to be mean, I'm saying it to keep you safe."
The child did it again. I was more stern this time by saying "Stop!" The kid did it again I again was more stern "I told you to stop!" The kid did it yet again and I raised my voice once more "Knock it off!" The older child screamed "You can't yell at us! I'm telling!"
My response was "Go for it."
I was finding a way to quit when the parents said "We heard you yelled at our child." I explained the situation and what happened, the parents didn't believe me SHOCKER! And they said "Well I think we are taking a step back from child care for the time being is that okay?" I told them I had a new job anyway. I didn't but a few weeks later I got a new family that I love! They appreciate me and the pay me a lot more then this other family did, it's more kids, but these kids listen and the parents use timeout and a system of goldstars when they behave and the kids get a special prize when they behave.

Anyway this is a novel now, but like others have said, if you don't appreciate her or are taking advantage or not paying enough or if your kids are just plain brats, that maybe why she lied if she did infact lie.

A lot pf parents take their Nannies for granted think we are their all in one go to person. We have lives we have friends we work a lot harder then you might think or maybe realize.
We want to see your kids grow into the best person they can be, but YOU have to HELP US help you do that.


Lizzie Listener said...

Ever heard Train's song 50 Ways to Say Goodbye? I'd come up with 50 different reasons why I was leaving before I'd tell you there was anything wrong with you or your child.

Be happy that's she's leaving if she's unhappy, and find someone that is happy to be with your children.