Au pair's Nightmare
Almost 2 months ago, I relocated to a new family as a live-in nanny after a HORRIBLE 2 months with another family (wasn’t getting fed, wasn’t getting paid, was working almost 24/7 with no free time even though the parents were often at home, was viewed more as a maid, the youngest had autism which the family did not tell me before I came and I was not qualified to care for her properly, et cetera).
At first, this new family seemed like everyone’s dream family. When I interviewed, the mum claimed that the kids picked up after themselves, that they were very easy to handle, that the youngest with ADHD was medicated, all sorts of wonderful things that seemed like such a 180 from the family I was coming from. I also got 2 weeks of every month off, which I was looking forward to. Plus, the kids 3 are ages 8-14 which I assumed would be much easier than the 3 and 7 year olds I was looking after. Since coming here, however, things have not exactly turned out as planned. The kids have openly told their mum that they don’t like me (which shocked me because I thought we were getting along well), they refuse to listen to anything I say- *ever* which makes almost every minute of every day that I’m with them a struggle, they lie to their mum and say that I allowed them to do something they are not allowed to do when I don’t, they have no respect for me, and they’re absolute pigs.
My favorite moment of the day is when they walk out the door and leave for school, because it means that I will have about an hour or so of peace to myself before I start my duties. I was under the impression that I would only be working an hour in the morning (before school) and a few hours in the afternoon. However, the work load that is expected takes far longer than that, and I usually spend my “free” time cleaning and cooking dinner for the family. But, regardless of how nice the house looks after I clean it all day, a few minutes after the boys get home it is trashed, and I have to juggle supervising them (they need far more supervision than the mum thinks, seeing as they will go off and do something they know they aren’t allowed to do the second I turn my back) and trying to reclean the house before their mum gets home. As a result, she comes home and thinks I have done nothing all day, and has criticized me for my “time management” issues.
The youngest one is no longer on his ADHD medication, which makes him very very difficult to handle. I also cannot drive stick, and while I was willing to learn, I do not make in 1 month what 2 hours of lessons cost, and had assumed I would be able to sort of teach myself… the mum won’t let me, so other than a bus that costs $10 round trip I have no way to get anywhere, so even on my off weeks I do nothing but sit around the house. I don’t have friends or anything, so it is very lonely. The beach is only a short drive away but I can never go, and on top of that, I am a vegetarian and am not receiving adequate meals. I cook all the meals, but have found that the vegetables the mum buys for a week only last a few days, and she has mentioned several times that she goes over her budget as it is, so I feel uncomfortable asking for more money to buy food. Food is included in our arrangement and while I understand some people thinking that the mum should not have to buy me food to accomodate my special diet, it was discussed that she would before I arrived and, in my own experience, it does not cost much to feed me.
The place I have chosen to be a live-in is very very expensive, and the wages I get are very low (well below the monthly average) so as a result I do not have the money to travel, buy food when necessary, or anything else. I just feel miserable, and I believe it is affecting how I deal with the kids (I am more irritable with them). The stress of all of this has really begun to affect my job performance. I have started to forget very basic tasks I am supposed to do, like wash school uniforms on Thursday, and as a result I think that makes the mum’s life more difficult and makes her frustrated with me. I try, I really do. Every day I flip-flop between putting in 3 weeks notice and trying to stick it out for just one more day, but then something will happen and I will screw up in a major way and I will be *convinced* I should leave, and the next day everything will be wonderful and I will be *convinced* I should stay… The mum is lovely and, even though she makes me feel like I am not living up to her expectations sometimes with the things she says, I would feel really bad to leave her. I am *not* on a set contract, although we had talked about me leaving in December but seeing as her situation could change in October, we hadn’t really decided anything. Thoughts? Should I try to stick it out or should I just admit that I might not be cut out for this job? :/ - Anonymous Au pair
at 8:45 AM