Swamped Nanny Needs Prompt Relief

I am a live-in nanny who has been at my job for over two years and I recently have become completely overwhelmed. I started when the eldest child was six months old, under the impression that there would be light cleaning and cooking but that my main concern would be to watch after the baby, whom I adore. Well, she will be three this year and in the last year or so there have been some big changes: my bosses have had a new baby girl, added onto their home, and enrolled their toddler in preschool. My workload has more than doubled; I am now in charge of taking care of the two girls, both the toddler and the newborn, which includes feeding them both breakfast, taking the toddler to preschool, picking her up, giving them both lunch, putting them down to nap, play, walk, driving the older girl to various activities/playdates, etc. That would all be well and fine if I also weren't in charge of doing everyone's laundry, cleaning the (much) larger house, and cooking dinner (my boss has also recently decided we eat too many processed foods, so she leaves out a weekly menu that I'm to follow to cook dinners every day FROM SCRATCH. Time consuming is not the word.)

My salary has been effectively increased by $350 per week, but it's not really about the money. Honestly, they could pay me $5,000 per week and I don't think I'd be able to get to everything. They need a nanny, babysitter, driver, chef, and personal maid with all the work there is to be done. My bosses both work full-time jobs, so I'm at work anywhere between 10-12 hours a day, every day. Their newborn also doesn't sleep at all during the day and screams whenever I put her down to tend to the toddler, so I really can't interact with the three-year-old as much as I would like. I love my job and really don't want to leave but I am not sure how to go about telling my boss that I can't do everything by myself. I also planned on going back to school part-time this year for a masters in elementary education, which I've told my boss, and I just don't have the time or energy. Should I stick it out? Am I being whiny? I'm just not sure if I am outgrowing this job. - Overwhelmed Nanny


workingmom said...

It's not personal - it's business. You're not whiny - you're overwhelmed. Yes, you have outgrown the position, just as the position has outgrown you. And your goals have changed.

Nothing wrong with scheduling a sit-down with these parents to give your notice because you want to go back to school, and at that time give the recommendation that they need a housekeeper or household manager as well as a nanny. If your intention is to stay on as nanny while they hire this additional help, be prepared with a work plan, to outline (influence!) the division of labor & duties, and recommended pay.

If your intention is to leave altogether, then have your exit strategy planned and present that.

Keep your presentation factual, and unemotional. You want them to hear that the job has become too big for just one person; you DON'T want them to hear that you can't hack their screaming newborn and thus neglecting their toddler! (i.e. perception)

Katydid said...

Agree with working mom. I would also start the job and apartment search, so that if they decide to let you go or you decide to leave you will have income and a place to stay.

Take care of yourself!

Can't do it all! said...

Well, you know you can do it all, but how exhausting! I was in a position like this several years ago (except 1 toddler and $900. A week) and loved the family, but resented doing everything! The mom lost her job when she was 5 months pregnant with second child, then I lost my job. She's now staying at home and she gets to do everything, (well she still has me come to clean and sit once a week) and I can see how hard it is for her. She recently commented on how much laundry the family makes and that was before the new baby! Well I'd still love to work full time for them again, except this time around I'd try to pace myself and let some stuff go from time to time. Honestly the time you spend with the children is the most important, ask for a more simple menu and one night a week off with the cooking. Healthy foods should be simple. Please give yourself more breaks to enjoy the children and let MB know there are times you just can't do it all!

MissMannah said...

Do you like this family? Do you want to leave or just for things to change? You need to make that decision.

If you choose to stay, you are way overdue for a sit-down talk with the parents. If your contract says "light housework and cooking" then you need to stick to that. If your making dinners is very important to the family, maybe you can look into some crock pot meals or cooking a whole lot at once and freezing meals. Personally I think you should be in charge of the kids' meals only and let the parents fend for themselves.

As for the baby screaming, see if babywearing is a possibility. A lot of babies need that closeness and they are perfectly satisfied being in a front carrier all day long while you go about your business.

Susannah said...

Agree with everything Mannah said.

I will caution you that, they will probably not take kindly o you now drawing a line when it comes to the additional duties beyond childcare, for that reason I would prepare to start looking for work if you decide to talk to them.

ericsmom said...

How is your financial situation? If you are planning to go back for your Masters, can you work part-time?

Also, it seems you enjoy homecare situations. Maybe, after you get your degree you will find a job with more tutoring of older children? Or what about being a Governess after. I think they are sought after. Plus, you will be valued as a teacher to the kids

You decided said...

Get out before you resent or hate your job. Either that or have the nervous breakdown that's around the corner.

OceanBlue said...

You are not being whiny.

I agree with the others you need to decide what you want to do BEFORE you speak to your employers.

OceanBlue said...

it sounds like you've outgrown this job.

That's ok.

If you want to stay without having a breakdown before you start school, I would have a sitdown to renegotiate your contract.

But, it sounds like you need to move on to the next job for school.

We all love our charges, but that is no reason not to move forward in your life and do what is best for you.

They are not your children.

keep.it.simple said...

You're an adult. You decided to take on deep cleaning & cooking. If you can't handle it, speak up. It really is that simple.

Nanny NYC said...

Are u a nanny or a housekeeper? Need to decide that first. Babies do need a lot of sleep and they NEED to nap during the day. Try a little of sleep training. She might cry a bit at the beginning but she will learn to soothe herself. The more rested she is, the more she will allow you to separate. I like the comment about baby wearing but you will damage your back. Let her play on her own from time to time on the floor, put some music, etc. Good luck.

MissMannah said...

It is true that babywearing can hurt your back, which is why I wouldn't advise doing it for very long periods of time. But I was under the impression that this is a very young infant, who wouldn't weigh much yet and doesn't yet require floor play time. (I usually start floor play at around 2mo.)

A Nanny said...

I don't think the family's in the wrong heree (nor you).

Things changed. Your contract was negotiated and you are now paid $350 per week extra due to your additional responsibilities.

If you are overwhelmed, you could probably ask your boss to hire a cleaner (and deduct that amount from the extra salary you got). They probably wouldn't mind, would they?

EastBayNanny said...

Mannah- I love that you are willing to wear babies! I totally get it and think it's very nice for babies. But I was going to comment earlier that I have a permanent back injury after working with infants and tods for 10 years and wearing my own baby. It's a lifetime injury and not something I believe is avoidable if you do this long-term. Something to think about parents and nannies- your back is your life! Also, last time I checked childcare workers had the worst rate of on the job injuries next to construction workers. Definitely very high.

MissMannah said...

I'm looking into good ergonomic carriers for my own baby. My current charge wasn't really into it, but she still had to be carried all the time when she was small. I would spend almost my whole day walking her up and down the halls and as a result, I got a pinched nerve in my shoulder. I think if I had worn a carrier that distributed her weight evenly, that wouldn't have happened.