Despondent Young Nanny Needs Encouragement

Dear whoevers out there.. Im 16 years old, and currently nanny for a family on the weekends thur-sun. I started in 2009 when i just turned 13. I was paid $30 a day from 8-530. They would pick me up and take me home or my parents would get me. I was okay then. Now im 16, my pay went from $30 a day to $40, 830-6 or after, and i asked to be paid by hour. So i was paid $5 an hour, making maybe $150 a week. Sometimes i work up to 30 hours. The father is a scientist with a PHD and the wife has her own business (which my mom is also a part of) and she doesnt even have to work, she could live off her husband.

So the kids are ages 3 and 7. The 7 year old is horrible, hes loud, hes mean and hes so difficult. He has adhd. I can handle it, but not for $5 an hour. The 3 year old is ...okay. I pick them up from school. Oh, and i also stay the entire weekend.. so im there when they need me. Washington state minimum wage is $9.04 an hour. Me and her husband made a deal that i would continue to babysit and he would help me buy a car. Note, hes lending me the money. Im paying every penny back. It was 2000, so far ive paid off $360. Sooo.. I talked to the mother and she agreed to $8 an hour.. Its okay... But im still so miserable. Sometimes she asks me to wash her pot-goodie dishes.. And i hate it! I have to vaccum the floors and kitchen everyday. I have to clean the childrens room, wash dishes, unload dishwasher and cook breakfast lunch and dinner. All for $8 an hour. I had texted the mother telling her my boyfriend (who babysits them during the week) would take over the next week because im so stressed. I was crying because i never get sleep, i cant afford to get an apartment (i have a bad home situation) and i have bills now like car payments and car insurance and gas and oil ect.

I have a terrible time sticking up for myself... But one night.. I told her. I said i can no longer work for $8 an hour. When the car is paid off i can take no less than $10hr. I felt so strong.. She of course tried to say she cant afford it and that i have to do more work. She doesnt even have to work! Im so sick of this! I hate this job! I hate their family and i hate working for them! Ive been trying so hard to get another job but no one will hire me. Im so depressed and hate my life. Im broke and my car needs fixed. I guess.. My question is what should i do? I cant just leave because i desperately need the money. How much should i be paid for two kids, living in home? Somebody help me. - Overworked and underpaid


Concerned said...

Wow. . . although I don't know what immediate advice to give you (I will think about it and post later) I know that you are seriously being taken advantage of. There is no way that they shoudl expect you to do all of your required duties for EIGHT DOLLARS an hour. YOu mention the dad has a PhD, is his work related to his field? If he does, then they can certainly afford to pay you more! Could you live with your boyfriend? And where have you been looking for a job? At stores or have you been looking at nannying jobs?

concerned again said...

And i think you should be getting paid at the very least FIFTEEN bucks an hour?! what do you other nannies think?

PumpkinSpice said...

What does it matter if the Mom "has to work" or not? Maybe the dad doesn't have to work because he could live off of his wife's income. Also, it doesn't matter what they can afford to pay, what matters is what the job commands in the current job market.

Carla said...

PumpkinSpice, did you really just say that? The current job market certainly commands MORE than $8 lousy bucks an hour!

OP, I sense you're at the end of your rope. For your sanity, you should get out. I read that home life is difficult for you but I hope you at least have a supportive boyfriend and friends. You need compassion right now, you're very young and I think they took advantage of you.

Keep us updated, ok? I want to know you found a way out of this mess. Hugs to you, honey. You certainly need them.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bella said...

OP, my home situation at 17yo was miserable and I wanted out very badly. I ended up working 3 minimum wage jobs just to afford an apartment in the crappiest part of town BUT it was MY crappy apartment and I loved it! Try and stay strong young lady! Keep trying to find another job, don't give up please. I was 19yo when I got my very first real nanny gig (although I had babysat for several families here and there from age 13 like you) but understand your age may be a problem with finding a professional wage nanny job. If it takes working as a waitress (where the money can be just as good as nannying) then do what you have to do for the mean time so you can get out of that hell hole. I wish I could smack that family for you! You've been there 3 yrs and they've increased your workload twofold and you've only gotten a $3 raise in all that time? Disgusting. I would ask for $15 too, like the PP above suggested. Good luck to you! I hope they cough up the money or you find a better job soon!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RBTC said...

Op - you are a hard working person and the right opportunity will come for you. Of course they are horribly taking advantage of you - they know you are in a vulnerable position and are shameful.

You have many good thoughts sent to you from many of us here - keep us updated on your situation - it WILL get better

Zen said...

I echo caring mom. Pumpkins comment was borderline rude in my opinion. Its perfectly normal and mostly unavoidable to not know what the family you work for spends their money on.

OP, stay strong. Better times are ahead, my friend. Don't allow them to take advantage of you anymore. Remain positive, lean on loved ones for support. And most importantly, try not to hold onto that anger. It will only fester inside you and make you bitter and resentful and you are way better than that.

Lyn said...

Oh dear OP! Do you know what I think? I think they realize what a good thing they have going with you and loaned you money NOT because it was a "nice" thing to do, but because if they are paying you $8 an hour they know you'll be stuck working for them for at least another year just to pay it off. They exploited you and your situation for their own gain. They are probably well aware of what another person would charge them for the job that they require so they "locked you in". I like to believe the best in other people, but it's so obvious to me what they are doing all the while knowing you have no choice. Disgusting.

OP, I don't know what your school situation is like, but I will tell you this. I had to drop out of HS in 10th grade to take care of my bedridden, dying Mother. I dropped out, got my GED in just a week or so, and then took over care while my Father was working overseas. And you know what? I was accepted to William and Mary (a notoriously difficult school to get into) just a year later. Actually going earlier than my other friends. Situations like this make for some kick-butt essays dear! I think you should do everything in your power to stay in school. But you are clearly a hard worker who will do everything she has to to get ahead. I bring this up because I know it's something you've thought about.

If I were you, I wouldn't bother trying to set up a contract with this family. They won't agree to one. They'll just have you work to pay off your debt and then youre free (the sarcasm should be read abundantly in my last sentence, haha). Get a job waitressing. A good personality and a good work ethic and I've heard you can make good money. You'd certainly be making minimum wage at least, lol. Pay them back every cent you owe them as quickly as possible and then cut your strings.

The right childcare opportunities will present themselves to you at the right times. You are destined for great and wonderful things. You are a fighter. You are strong. You are worthwhile. And don't you ever let yourself forget these truths about yourself! I'm sending love, positive energy, and prayers your way chicky. The world is yours.

knittynanny said...

Oh my! my heart is aching for you! I would say look for another job immediately. You said no one will hire you, but that's not true! It takes a long time to find a nanny position, but you sound like an amazing person. And don't only look at nanny positions. Look at daycare as well. Even retail. I'm upset that you're going though this. I went through something similar, but not as bad.

I really hope things turn around for you.

Sue these Jerks said...

OP- There are child labor laws in this country. This family has treated you like a slave - literally- and now an indentured servant with the car situation. I understand that you've willingly worked for these people, but I'm really curious howuch was initially your choice and how much was your mom/ mom's bosses requiring you to begin this awful situation. I really get the sense that you feel trapped- and not just figuratively. What these people are doing is ILLEGAL. This is very important for you to understand.

My feeling is that you need to get on a Greyhound bus and get away. Take your next paycheck, leave the car behind (not yours anyway), take or leave that boyfriend of yours and go get a job in another town. Your mother is a factor in this I'm so sorry to say, and she will need to make some really tough decisions in order to see her baby again. It's time you take care of YOU . Can you imagine? Never stepping foot in that ridiculous house again? Can you imagine the media all of a story about the local professor who expired a young girl since the age of 13?! You have a ton of LAWS on your side. Get my drift?! I think there's a good chance that a very good lawyer would pick this case up pro bono (free) in a second. Can you say back pay and criminal charges?!

OP- I'm furious for you. Get out! Hop a train and create an adventure! Dont look vack. You will be more than ok. Really you WILL.

a mom said...

You are NOT 'locked in' to working for them just because you owe them money. Indentured servitude is ILLEGAL. You can quit any time if you find a better job and pay them the money back for the car with your new job. Start looking for another job NOW. You owe them MONEY, not your time or service. They are taking advantage of you in the WORST way- stand up for don't owe them anything other than the money you borrowed.

Lyn said...

+1000 points, A Mom! I cannot believe what these parents are trying to do to her!

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

OP your post saddens me. You are so young and you haven't even entered adulthood yet, yet you are already dealing with grown-up issues. It is so unfair and I hope in time things start to look up for you dear. {{HUGS}}

Anyway, I think if this family is underpaying you, then it is okay for you to watch how they are spending their money $$. I have had families pay me peanuts because they claim they are on a "fixed" budget and cannot afford more. Then I notice they also have a housekeeper and drive an expensive car. Every day they get packages in the mail from FedEx and their kitchen is filled w/only organic food. Need I say more? People on "fixed" incomes cannot afford all of this. This family has money...they just are being cheap and cutting costs in the childcare department because they have such a sweet deal w/you. I think it is obvious at this point that you NEED to leave them. Now. Don't look back. Ever.

It may be hard to find another nanny job at your age and I highly doubt this current family will provide a reference for you anyway.

Try retail or food, etc.
Also, if you haven't finished high school yet, please make sure you do.
W/out any education your life will be hell and you will find yourself in these types of situations time and time again.

You have all of our support OP.
Please keep us all updated on how things go.

oh well said...

Is the car in your name? Even if it is they can't do anything to make you stay.
I really agree with Lyn - please think about your education and get
your GED. The whole family situation you describe makes me think that they are taking advantage of you. They can't pay you less than minimum wage.

Umm, said...

I don't think a lawyer could help you because I doubt you were paid on the books. Meaning there is no back pay for you to collect. In most states it is Illegal to hire a minor to work for any more than 15 (I think) hours per week because they are still in school. So you have that on your side. I wouldn't bother though. Just cut the strings and finish paying them as quickly as you can. Lyn has it right. They are trying to trap you. They think they already have you trapped. Prove them wrong!

Beezus said...

I may just be reading this too fast but I find it really odd that they let your boyfriend watch them during the week?
Just try to finish school. I had a very bad home life and had to get my
GED (it's very easy!) at 16.
I started college at 17 before most of my friends-they were to busy drinking and skipping school senior year anyways.
I worked all of the time to afford my apartment and no it wasn't always fun, but I was very proud of my self- and it was such an awesome feeling! I graduated college and am now working on my masters. My GED never hindered me.
Lyn is also 100% right about the essays!
Good Luck to you! :)

Melanie Raye said...

Wow- they are certainly not treating you well!
Honey, you owe them money for the car,you do not owe them your job.

Manhattan Nanny said...

These people should be ashamed of themselves! I think is important for you to get out of this situation as soon as possible because you sound physically and emotionally burned out. I assume you are in school, and need to limit jobs to the weekends. That would limit the possibility of a nanny job. What you are doing now is more of a housekeeper than nanny anyway, and if you could line up a couple of weekend cleaning/cooking jobs, they would pay more than nanny rates, and you could make 3 or 4 times what you are making now. Waitressing in a restaurant where good tips are the norm can be very profitable on weekends as well.

The important thing is to realize you can change this!
You can pay off the car while working at a new job.
Consider other types of jobs, and get proactive, put up flyers for cleaning or babysitting. Look into employment agencies, and social programs for teens that sometimes have job programs. Talk to your counselor at school. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

The most important thing of all is to get your education. Until you finish highschool, focus on school, and try to endure living at home. Remember, it is temporary. I hope you plan to continue on to college. You sound like a bright hard working young woman. You can make a good life for yourself in the future!

trying to help out said...

ignore the person that said a lawyer couldn't help you. It does NOT matter if they paid you on/off the books. They still treated you like crap, are being abusive and taking advantage of your situation. there is no denying that. I'm sure that there is tons of lawyers out there who could help you and the best thing is that the consultations are FREEEEE. you could also google organizations in your area that help workers who are being exploited like you are.

Unknown said...

Hello.. I'm kaytie, i just emailed this story to i had no idea it'd be posted.. :')

I'm so .. happy to have seen this posted.. thank you so much everyone..

And to answer the question,

the husband is a phD scientist (drug discovery) and is basically the boss.

and to add some other things,

i'm a very hard working person. i'm graduating early and with more credits than i need. i need money for school and hopefully i can win or earn some scholarships!!

i understand some of you think i should leave.. but if you knew my position, theres no way i could leave. i need a paying job..

so now i have some job offers as a maid..

if anyone would like to talk with me, or help me out with some advice,

email me at

again.. i never thought my story would be posted.. :)

thank you so much everyone..

Kaytie Gilmore said...

Oh!! and to add the my comment ^
I go to alternative school, because people were really mean and bullied me alot and my ex and his friends said they'd kick my ass if i even thought of going to there highschool (after middle school)

So i go to school 7:30 to 10:30.

so i just want you all to know, and GED will never be accepting to me, i have to have a diploma. :)

and yes, my boyfriend does babysit on wednesdays, trust me, it'll be harder for my boss to find someone who will be paid that much.

my boyfriend works the same 8:30-6

and guess how much he makes?

fml! hah..

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kaytie Gilmore said...

it's okay.. she wont ever see it.

today, she yelled at me because the boy's closet was a mess..

in my head.. i was like "im a nanny.. not your maid" and she said "did you even vaccum the kitchen and living room?" which i did..

i was watching her two kids, and another kid all at the same time. it was very crazy..

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yes you Can said...

Kaytie- You CAN quit. You choose not to, and I understand you don't see other options. They are there. You do not deserve this abuse. It is ABUSE.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
No more nanny said...

PumkinSpice: "what matters is what the job commands in the current job market.", let me add "by paying accordingly to the fairness of what is done".
To you, Dear Young Nanny, I believe you have more experience that some family will appreciate and give you a fair fare. Cut the trap you are in, start looking for another job. Best wishes!

Laci said...

OP, I agree that getting an actual HS Diploma is a much better option than a GED even though everyone says they are one and the same. They are not.

Anyway, I truly hope you can find a resolution to this situation.
I cannot believe they are paying your BF only five dollars an hour. Are they stuck in some time warp? It is not 1987!!

This family is getting a great deal with you both and think they are getting a free ride.

Beezus said...


You're right it's not 1987 and a high school diploma means less and less everyday . A GED is not the end of the world. Not having a high school diploma or a GED however, is a HUGE problem.
Don't think you're awesome because you attended the 12th grade.

Kaytie Gilmore said...

Thank you everyone. Its hard to quit because my mom snd her are buisness partners so theres a family-friend conmrction all the time. But NO one in the buisness (estate sales) likes her! Everyone complains! Shes so rude and inconsiderate of everything. Shes bossy and stuck up. Ive gotten 3 cleaning jobs so far, im making better money. If i can keep these jobs on a regular basis, i will be able to leave this terrible nanny, or should i say "servant" job!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yes You Can said...

Kaytie- I am very relieved to hear you sounding so strong. Keep it up! Don't look back. Update us, we're worried about you!

Kaytie Gilmore said...

So my boyfriend texted her and told her he cannot work the following wednesday (4 days notice) because of a priar engagment. she went off on him for no reason! she flat out said

"you guys can't just stop working"

i was so upset.
i told my boyfriend to tell her this (and he did)

"i'm giving you 4 days notice. if you need me, i'll accept $10hr. if not than I cannot work for you anymore."

My boyfriend is unemployed (21), except for the 1-2 a week nanny job. so that's why I cant live with him, because he lives at home helping out his parents. He's trying so hard to find a job. We both apply to 7 maybe 9 jobs a week! even re-applying to onse we already applied for! hate this economy..

Kaytie Gilmore said...

Oh oh oh, and my boyfriend drives there in the morning, and drives home. With no gas money rembursment, it wouldnt be so bad if she wasn't paying him 50$ a week. Gas is $4 a gallon!

MissMannah said...

OK, I'm finally going to put my 2c worth in here. Kaytie, the reason you aren't making a typical nanny salary is because the mom doesn't see you as a "real" nanny. Or, more likely, she doesn't see nanny work as worthy of a decent salary. Quite honestly, you are not going to find well-paying work as a nanny at 16 years old. You'd really be better off working retail or fast food, because then you would at least be guaranteed minimum wage, often more than that. Or if you want to stick with childcare, work as an assistant at a daycare.

I didn't understand what you were saying about your boyfriend, are you and he both nannying for this family? If so, you both need to leave and find good jobs. It isn't that hard, just learn how to say the word NO.

To everyone who is saying the GED isn't as good as a high school diploma, you are wrong. Most people would say it is just as good, if not better. I know I wouldn't be able to pass the GED test anymore, there's a lot of information on it to study for. Also, every job application I've filled out says "high school diploma/GED". There isn't a separate blank for it, which tells me employers view them as the same thing.

anon reader 12 said...

(re-post for anonymous)
Honey, you should be making $15-20 p/h. You are being taken advantage of and there are child labor laws in the US. You do not have to work for these pathetic excuses of human beings. Please find another job ASAP. Just do not go with someone worse out of desperation. Get a trusted adult to help you.

that's what i say said...

Hi Kaytie, you should just quit and apply to jobs at places like Traget, Toys r Us, etc, because Thanksgiving is coming and they will be hiring.

Your mom works with her but that doesn't you need to stick with this woman because she doesn't respect you and she pays you whatever pleases her.

The car problem isn't a big deal either. You are making everything more difficult because you are choosing to stick with this job. Nothing will change until you quit. Nannies don't make minimum wage, nannies make above that. She should be paying you at least $12 an hour. She WON'T, so time to quit.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yes You Can said...

Cmad- You're missing out on a lot of excellent and loyal workers with your GED problem. The choices kids make are for circumstances that will (hopefully) change over time. Deciding who' someone is based on a choice between a GED and diploma or Certificate of Proficiency is just plain silly.

A person's goals, risk taking, hard work, heart- this is worth so much more than a distinction on a piece of high school paperwork. Some of the SMAREST kids QUIT high school or find alternative ways to exit. We could be doing far far better in our instruction and many kids could graduate earlier than they do.

OP- with the amount of work you do, you are a perfect candidate for graduating early. Your local community college or Altetnative Highschool is a crucial resource. These options are not only for losers. You can make it all the way and you've outgrown HS from what I can tell. Go farther than you think you can. Because you can!

Yes You Can said...


concerned said...

Am shocked at the number of people actually telling her to either dump the job or the car and/or telling her that an attorney can't help her. The situation as described entails some pretty gross legal/civil rights violations. I can't believe someone would tell a young girl to run away or to go to a boyfriend for help when what she needs is encouragement to stand up for herself and get vindication for what she has suffered.

This is a criminal matter.

Concerning the car:
1) As someone already noted, pretty sure that this was done to ensure indentured servitude. It was not done out of any generosity on their part.
2) Fact that she has a bad home life & her mom works for employer. They KNOW this and clearly took advantage of a needy teenager.
3) Once she has appropriate assistance I am sure that it can be ascertained that her UNPAID WAGES HAVE PAID FOR THAT CAR SEVERAL TIMES OVER. Not to mention the interest.

If you are reading this please go to labor board, legal aid, even call an employment lawyer from the phone book, if you have to. And please don't post using your real name & email address. Even if they don't go online, they might have friends who do.

And yes, you can find another job. You can start with telling the story to your local Human Rights Office. Please do.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yes You Can said...

Running away *can* be one of the best decisions of one's life. This situation sounds very close to eligible. Running away is an ultimate expression of being strong.

Kaytie Gilmore said...

I dont understand why some of you are commenting about the GED. Ill never settle for it. Diploma is the way to go.. Haa.

And ive applied to more jobs, and hoping to get some call backs.

I sent a long text (cause i wasnt there) to my boss explaining i was a nanny not a maid, and that when the car is paid off ill accept 12-15 an hour and more after awhile. I said if not, then i cannot work for her anymore. I told her i felt degrated and treated badly. She said

"how disaponting. We give you love and a car and you go and do this"

I told my mother, she was pretty pissed off that she holds the car over my head. My mom wants to pay off the car, and me pay my mom back.

The husband called and said we can talk about a raise after its paid off. I felt really sad. I said i make 180 a week, more or less. 20hr or more. I take away 60 for car payments, 95 for car insurence, 20 for gas to get to there house and home. And whayever is left is what i have for the week... It sucks because i use my car to get everywhere and im spending 20$ on gas. (4$ where i live) i explained that and he was like ohh im sure your not spending that much ect.

So im going tonstay with the job untill i find a way to pay the car off, THEN if i make 12-15 an hour, ill stay. If not ill try living with no money or a job. :( i hatevlife! It sucks because im graduating early and since no one has called me for a job, ill end up living with my shitty parents forever and getting loans for school.