Gaining Control and Drawing the Line

I'm hoping some nannies, and possibly mothers, can help me sort out some feelings about the family I care for. I've been caring for two kids, A age 8 and T age 6, off and on for 4.5 years. I know this family through my mother and their mother, K, who work together. I assumed full care for them last February. I have them before and after school (with drop off and pick up), holidays, breaks, etc. Our families are pretty close, and much to my objection they've now started sharing all birthdays, holidays and family get togethers with my family.

My problem lies in the fact that I think the mother is a "lazy" parent. K and her ex haven't been together for about 5 years, and this guy put them through all sorts of hell, mostly mental and emotional. I think K feels the need to be the extreme opposite of the spectrum; she is very passive and let's her kids get away with murder. However, I do have to say the kids are mostly well behaved with me and I've never had many issues with them. I'm starting to resent the mother. The kids show up every morning with clothes that are way too small, A usually in high waters and T in skirts that are way too short. This is a HUGE pet peeve for me. I've tried to subtly ask K what's going on by asking if I could assist in getting them better fitting clothes. I always try to press upon the kids that they need to wear clothes that are properly fitted and that are comfortable.

This morning T showed up with her wet hair in a lumpy uncombed pony tail on the top of her head; she has just gotten over being sick. T is showing huge red flags of misbehaving in class, not turning in her work, talking back, etc. When asked if mommy ever talks to her about her behavior T said no. Also, their eating habits drive me up the wall. I have struggled with my weight since high school and recently got the gastric sleeve. K has mentioned numerous times that she was very overweight as a child, but is now a normal weight. Unfortunately, she lets the kids eat anything and everything they want. They will have a sandwich, cookies, chips, a fruit snack and juice for lunch...sugar sugar sugar. At get togethers all they want are chips, cake and ice cream and mom sees no problem with it.

K pays me once a month on the 1st. When I first started watching the kids K was in a much lower position at work and to help her out I took a very low wage ($500/mth). Now that she's moved to management and making 2k more a month, without talking about it with me, she started paying me $300 more a month (for approx the last 6 months)... mind you, this is still far less than what a daycare or other nanny would charge for 2 kids. But this month she paid me my original wage which put me way behind on bills. I know I shouldn't EXPECT the higher pay, but because it's been months so I figured this was the new norm. I'm still angry over this, and I still feel $800 is more of a fair wage. Am I wrong in thinking this? I just have so many resentful feelings towards K in that I feel I'm making better common sense decisions about her kids than she is. There's more, but this is already way too long. My family tells me I need to let this go and stop putting so many feelings into it, that they're not my children. However, they're with me day in and day out, I've become like a second parent. I don't know how to draw that line that I'm not technically their parent and to stop caring how she parents them. Help! - Anonymous


MissMannah said...

Your family is right, these are not your children so you don't get to make the choices on how to raise them. As far as I can tell, K is not a bad mother, but you're right she probably is a lazy one. Laziness does not equal abuse. Really, the only thing you should be concerned about is the pay. Do you have another job? I can't imagine how you're living off $800 a month, not to even mention $500. I'm also assuming you don't have a contract. So you probably can't change anything about this job. If the money is really a problem, I'd say look for another position and tell K that you need more money. And stop judging her so much!

Sick of neglectful mothers said...

You family is wrong. You are the one who is really raising these kid not mom. I would mention to her the amount of sugar kids are sucking up so that she doesn't have to make them a real meal. I would also mention that maybe there is something you can do to help the youngster stop acting up in school and I also would get a contract drawn up and start making a decent wage to be paid twice a month or however you want it. There is no excuse for a mother to let kids eat garbage none and no excuse for her to treat you as she does and your family thinks this is ok? Tell her you want so much per hour and vacation pay and sick pay., The problem is that because they are part of your family she is taking advantage of you with your families permission. IMO they are puting her needs before your needs . If I were you I would find another job and if my family doesn't like it to bad tell them to work for peanuts or for what ever she feels like paying you and dealing with kids full of sugarwho dont get fed right.Feeding your kids garbage is abuse and it rots their teeth and can cause child hood diabetis (sp) and make kids fat. she seems to be ignoring the red falgs at school too. Maybe the ex should raise those kids because it seems mom hasnlt got any idea how to feed them ,dress them or help them thru whatever problems they seem to be having.

nanny s said...

Those things would all drive me crazy too. I nannied for a family that ate fast food every day. It grossed me out so much that it was actually a really big part of the reason I quit. $800 is too low, never mind $500. Talk to your employer about it and figure out a decent wage. Also be prepared to be let go.

Bethany said...

I think your heart is in a right and caring place, but there really isn't much you can do especially since you,be already talked to her. I know it's hard to watch kids go without because of the choices there parents make.
I also think they are still dealing with their previous situation and that is showing up in a variety of ways
Perhaps it isn't much but she's doing the best she can and could probably use outside support.

I also think it's time to move on as this job is no longer a good fit you seem extremely frustrated and when a nanny gets to that point it's time to move on as it's not healthy for you or your charges. I would start looking for a fulltime job with a guaranteed livable wage and move on. Give at least two weeks when you find a job. Things will probably be better when you go back to just being a family friend. Good luck to you.

nycmom said...

You need to communicate with the mother. You say you are family friends, but you don't seem comfortable addressing basic employment issues such as food habits, dressing kids and your paycheck. There is no way you can continue happily in this job as is so you can either ignore it and hope it changes (it won't) or address the issues professionally and hope the mom responds professionally (she might).

How many hours are you working a week? $200 a week sound slow, but since both kids are school age it is not clear how many hours you work. Any reasonable person would anticipate the mother had given you a raise. However, most people say thank you when money or services are exchanges, especially in a one-on-one or small business setting. A simple thank-you would have given you the chance to address the raise in writing so you have a record and it is clear going forward.

No, you do not get a say in the way she parents, but you do get to decide if you are willing/able to work for a family whose parenting choices are very different than your own. Some nannies can handle this and some cannot. Either is fine, but know which you are.

Sam said...

Youre severely underpaid....what are you thinking??? FIND A NEW JOB. You should make AT LEAST $500 a week!

BrooklynMomma said...

I agree with Mannah. As a teacher, I've come across some very questionable parents but at the end of the day, they are not my children so barring suspicions of abuse, there's really nothing you can say/do to make the mom change her ways.

You wage is WAY too low and I doubt talking to the mom about it would change anything since you did in fact accept the low wage to begin with. It certainly sounds like you've reached your wits end with this work situation and I agree with PP that it may be in your best interest to move on.

In terms of drawing the line, it sounds like its too late for that. Your best bet would be to learn from this and set boundaries and expectations early on in your work relationship in order to avoid another uncomfortable situation.

Good luck, OP.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

In my opinion, the issue here is that you are being underpaid. I am sorry that your boss is a single mother, however you deserve to be paid a decent wage. It seems the nanny profession is the only profession where the employers feel they can actually pay whatever they feel like paying and that is so unfair. Us nannies are workers just like everyone else and deserve fair pay like everyone else. I would not stay. I know you love the kids, but you are being screwed by their mother. Unless you are doing charity work here, move on.

I know it must be tough to see the kids being raised the way they are, but you have to keep things in perspective. These are not YOUR kids, they are your employers kids. Her rules must take precedence over anything you might feel. It sucks, but it is life.

Good luck.