31 January, 2012

Is Nanny Obligated to Stay... and Endure Abuse?

opinion 1
I need some help. I've found myself in a pretty sticky spot and I'm not sure exactly what to do. I've been nannying for a family with 3 children, a set of 4 yr old twins and a 6 yr old, for about 15 months. Things started out great of course... and quickly went south. Since the time I started working there they've replaced their nanny of 3 yrs, the mom quit working from home and moved to an office, they've started building a new home, sold their old home before their new home was ready, then moved into a hotel for about a month, then moved into a very small apartment for the summer, then finally moved into their new home. I was, of course, heavily relied upon during this time. I did all the deep cleaning to prepare their old home to be sold, I did all the cleaning when they moved out of the hotel, I did all of the deep cleaning when they moved into their apartment as well as when they moved out. I also did all of the packing for the kids stuff in every move. I'm now responsible for all of the cleaning in their new home... vacuuming, dusting, bathrooms, kitchen etc. I'm also now responsible for all of the cooking. When my boss goes out of town I work 12 hr days with no extra pay, she just lets me go early one day of that week and calls it "even." I do all of their grocery shopping, I pick up and drop off the dry cleaning, make daily post office runs for her husbands side business... and on and on my duties have accumulated. I'm not being paid any extra for any of this.

On top of everything their oldest son has decided to take out on me his frustration with his parents. He screams at me if I come within a few feet of him. He tells me he hates me and wishes I would never come back. He tells me I'm a terrible nanny and he wishes I had never been born. He always speaks me to me very disrespectfully and condescendingly. For much of these tantrums my boss is still home and she rarely, if ever, intervenes. I've addressed the issue with my boss who tells me he's going through a phase. A couple of months after I addressed the issue I was scolded for his behavior towards me and told I need to do more to connect with him. One of the twins has also decided to take out his frustrations on me with 2 hr long tantrums. To the point where he throws up. He screams at me and kicks the door and tells me he's going to bite me and punch me and kick me and he never wants me to come back. I've informed the mother of his behavior and she chalks it up to "a few bad days."

This is only a very brief description of the things I've dealt with in the last year. They are at times very nice to me. She sometimes gives me $5 gift cards to Starbucks and gives me clothes that no longer fit her, etc. However, after all of this I was anticipating a significant raise in January. I received a $.25 raise. In addition to this slap in the face, she took away my vacation time (I used to get 2 wks of paid vacation time... now I have 3 days from January to June) and I no longer get paid for their vacation time (which I did last year). She also wants me to teach the twins how to read and write and schedule out every day with special learning activities (she says the kids don't have enough to look forward to and that's why they act up), she also wants me to take classes and do outside research on how to be a better nanny (she says she does it for her business too so its perfectly reasonable).

Needless to say, I have turned in my notice because I've decided to return to school. I gave them 3 wks out of guilt because they rely so heavily on me and my boss was out of town most of this week. My problem now is that the parents trash talk me to their children behind my back, which they've always done, but I'm just now starting to realize how disrespectful and detrimental this is. Friday morning I came in and the kids were all screaming saying "you're a bad nanny! you made daddy mad! we don't have to listen to you because daddy said you're bad! daddy was calling you naughty names last night!" They already have a nanny lined up but they want me to stay and train her.

I've explained all of that to pose this question: Am I crazy for feeling like trash talking the nanny to their kids is unacceptable? They see no problem. I feel betrayed. Since I already gave them 3 wks am I obligated to stay those 3 weeks and train their new nanny? Or can I just leave?

Opportunity Knocks... Should Nanny Answer?

opinion 1
Okay my nannies with experience in this area, and even those that don’t, should I consider this job or not? First let me tell you a bit of my background. I’ve been in education for 4 years, my primary experience is with ages 18 months to 4 years old, and to make ends meet in tough times I’ve taken on being a nanny. I’ve been looking for a full-time gig for close to a year now.

Here is the opportunity: a family is seeking a nanny for their 2 and 4 year old little girls. They also have 3 older children that do not require nanny care. The new nanny would be replacing the old nanny who had to leave very suddenly due to an illness in her family. This former nanny is well loved. They want a nanny who will do household laundry, cook and buy groceries twice a week, and travel with them at least twice a year, all that in addition to typical chores like getting meals for the little girls and transporting them to and from their activities. Pay is decent. The hours are Monday through Friday 7:30am to 5:30 pm. They are looking for someone long-term, who is fun loving, creative with just the right touch of discipline. They describe themselves as laid back.

Here are my concerns:
1. In my albeit limited experience, despite what parents say, you do at some point become responsible for all children, be it on school vacations, illness etc. I am not into caring for teens.
2. I have no problem attending to the kids’ laundry, but I am firmly against household laundry.
3. I’m not against traveling, but I have a very specific schedule at home and I don’t know for certain how flexible they will be with coordinating dates.
4. Replacing a well-loved nanny, who had to leave suddenly, almost seems an impossible task.
5. They say they want someone who can be with them for years, but I see it as only another year of one child needing full-time regular care. After that I see this position becoming part-time nanny, on-call nanny, and a whole lot of housekeeper.
6. On the plus side I am very creative and think I would match well with the personality they are looking for in a nanny, and 2s and 4s are my forte.
7. It’s a bonus the job is near to where I live and is full time.

Is it worth it or should I pass this up and hope something else comes along?

How Can Nanny Survive with Unlivable Wages?

opinion 1
Hello! I am new to the whole nanny as a profession but have cared for many children over the years. I recently accepted a position from a well off family who gets reimbursed by their employer for childcare. They said $200 a week, but in our area I am unsure of anyone who can live off of $800 a month! I am expected to care for one child for the full nine hours while the other is only about a half hour till they come home. They choose to have a nanny over regular child care so we can monitor and regulate what the youngest child eats/drinks as he is extremely allergic to many food items. We play all day long, I put him down for a nap, and cook/feed the children breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the summer I will be expected to care for both children, I would enjoy taking the kids out but I can't when I myself cannot afford to even get to work and back after paying my bills/rent! Any advice is greatly appreciated.

WAHMs vs WAHDs

opinion 1
How do nannies feel about WAHMs vs WAHDs? If the mom is working at home, it's simply annoying. If the dad is home, it can be creepy. I personally feel it is inappropriate for a dad to be at home with a younger female nanny. Any thoughts?

The Good 'ol Days

rant 1
I can't be the only nanny who has noticed the lack of a schedule for children in recent years. Back when I started, children had regular mealtimes, naptimes, and bedtimes. The last 5 years or so when I go on interviews all I hear is little so and so has no schedule and in the very next breath they talk about how hungry, cranky, or tired the child is all the time. Well gee! I wonder why that is? I'm not one for overscheduling. For example I don't think a child needs a sport or class every day of the week, but there is something to be said for dinner and bed at the same time every day!

Jumping the Gun

opinion 1
I am a nanny for a 7 month old baby and I have been here with the family since the day he was born. My bosses have been talking about having another baby and constantly ask if I will stick around when they do. I love my job and my bosses and would love to stay with them. I currently get paid 400/week for 50 (sometimes more) hours of work per week. While some may think it is on the lower end for the hours I work, I am a live in and they do pay for groceries, health insurance, car, cell phone, etc, so besides my personal student loans, I have virtually no expenses.

Would it be unfair of me to ask for more money when they have another baby? I may be jumping the gun because MB isn't even pregnant, but I am just curious. I really love this job and my charge and I consider myself part of the family and I think I would stay even if I didn't get a pay raise..but is that fair to me? Just need some nanny input..what would you do?

Live-in Cut-off?

opinion 1
For all of you live-in nannies out there...how old are you? I am 22 and am a live-in. I started this job when I was 21 and know I'll have job security for years to come because my nanny family and I have a great relationship and they are planning on having more kids...and the more kids they have, the more they need a nanny around. I am just wondering how old is ''too old'' to be a live in? I sometimes worry about my own independence and if I should get my own place because being a live in is very convenient but I sometimes feel like it's not putting me out into the real world. I'll admit I'm a little spoiled here! Anyone feel the same?

27 January, 2012

Nanny's Dream Job Becomes Heartwrenching Nightmare

opinion 1
I’m really hoping I can get some advice about a heartbreaking situation I have found myself in. I have been a nanny for 7 years and have always had fantastic relationships with all of my charges and have always been head over heels in love with them. I have stayed in contact with all of them. My most recent was caring for a baby girl from 2 weeks old until she was 13 months. The family had to relocate across the country and it has been extremely difficult for me. Normally this situation is heart wrenching, but I move on healthily and am excited for a new baby to be a huge part of my life. I never imagined I would miss her SO much after starting this new job.

3 weeks ago I started with a new family and their 5 month old son. I feel like crying every time I come home from work and before I go to work! He is the most difficult infant I have ever seen in my life and it is really starting to take a toll on me. He cries constantly, but not really crying, more like whining that turns into hysterical screaming. He shakes, sweats and is inconsolable. I have tried everything to calm him down but he doesn’t stop until he is asleep, which is extremely difficult for him to do. When he finally falls asleep he only naps for about 30 minutes and wakes up in full hysterics. There are maybe two times during the time I am there which he smiles and coos at me, and it lasts about 30 seconds until out of nowhere he is building on hysteria again. The mother seems to be in denial that something may be wrong whether it be colic or something else more serious. She always chalks it up to “oh he must miss me so much when I’m gone!” I feel there should have been some definite bonding with him since I am there about 35 hrs a week, but it’s like he has no idea who I am at all. He completely rejects any affection, arches his back and seems he doesn’t want to be held at all. He is upset whether he is being held, walked around, bounced, played music, fed, changed or sitting in a swing or on the floor. I feel like a bad nanny because I cannot in any way console this poor baby and I feel like he hates me! I have thought about quitting but I feel so awful giving up on myself and the baby, I want it to work but I can’t go on like this.

After the first week of a new job I am so used to having a baby love me and reacting positively to my affection. All I want is to be able to snuggle him and give him so much love and it breaks my heart that I can’t do that. What would you do?

25 January, 2012

The Traveling Nanny

opinion 1
Hello, I am looking for some counsel. We are an Army family currently in GA. We are heading to VA in June for 2 years. We have a great sitter now. She is sweet and loves our kids and we really like and trust her. She is a young girl, almost 20, who wants to start college. She is looking for a change (parents going through a divorce) so we told her she was welcome to come with us to VA. She can live with us and start school or just take in the sights and help us... kind of our ministry to her as well.

Here is the breakdown: We have 3 kids, 9, 6, & 2. I am a stay at home mom who might get pregnant again. That is when I would need the most help, I get pretty sick, so that might mean drop off and pick up from school occasionally if I'm too sick. But even so, we only go out on dates 1 or 2 times a month, we don't do over-nighters, or do much without our children. I may ask her to keep the youngest once or twice a week so I can run errands but that is really it. She would just be my back up if needed while she goes to school or whatever else. She sells MK and I wouldn't mind if she worked part time or took other sitter jobs... again I am a stay at home mom and do it myself. She loves art like my oldest daughter so I'm sure she would go with us to museums etc... she would have a free place to live and be included in our meals.

I'm trying to find a house where she will have her own room/bathroom and separate entrance, she has her own car already but would use ours if she has the kids. How much would be reasonable pay for this? I know it's a lot of stuff here and we always pay her as much as she asks for but we don't have a lot of extra being Army, and we could never afford a full time nanny. But we really want to help get her started in school if she wants, and she is excited about getting to travel and trying something new and I know this will be a great experience for her as well. Thank you for any help.

All in a Day's Work!

reader sbmission
This may sound like an odd question, but I was just wondering how many other nannies have ever had to deal with their bosses wandering the house in their underpants at times.

I've been with the same family for 2 years, and the parents and I get along very well. A few times MB has come to talk to me while getting ready for work and been in just a bra and jeans, or a t-shirt and pantyhose, or something similar. I always wrote those off pretty easily - I did have to walk in on her breastfeeding a few times a day for a year after all.

Then, the other day, I came in to work (at my usual time) and went upstairs where I could hear MB playing with the kids, and when I poked my head in the room DB was in there in just his boxers. We all sort of just laughed, he apologized, and we moved on, but I thought this was a funny example of the kinds of things that happen in a nanny job that don't happen with other professions - you get poop on your hands, you get puked on, and sometimes you walk in on your boss in his underpants!

Obeying the Law

opinion 1
I want to do the right thing and work on the books. How do I figure out what forms I and potential employers need? I’m taking on a part time nanny job for an infant and a toddler. Do you think $250 is a fair (after tax) weekly rate for 20 hours a week? Should I at least expect to make the daycare fee? Around here a daycare would charge about $350 for those hours for kids that age.

22 January, 2012

Barnes and Noble in Chandler Fashion Mall - Chandler, Arizona

bad nanny sighting
I have been a nanny for four years, I love my job and think it is one of the best out there. But I also think there are far too many people who take advantage of it. What I saw yesterday disturbed me so much that I had to do something about it.

I take my charge to the childrens story time at Barnes and Noble in Chandler Fashion Mall in Chandler Arizona every Friday. We love going there and playing with all of the other kids. Well, I walked in this last Friday on January 20th at 10:30 a.m. ready for story time as usual. I pushed the stroller up next to a seat and grabbed a few books off of the shelf while we waited for the story time to begin. Next to me was a young woman in her early twenties with brown hair and blonde streaks that was tied up in a bun. She was sitting on the ground next to her charge (an adorable little asian boy who looked to be around three) and while everyone else was reading books to their kids, her charge just sat there in his chair with nothing. The nanny was on facebook and checking the internet on her phone while completely ignoring the little boy. She didn't talk to him, look at him, she was so engrossed with her phone. When her charge tried to grab a book on the shelf behind him, she took it away and said in a harsh voice that he doesn't get to touch anything.

The little boy went back to sitting quietly while she went back to her phone. As the story time began, she stayed on her phone the entire time. When there was a special guest who arrived (Maisy the mouse from the Maisy mouse childrens books) all the kids got to go get a picture with Maisy. I took my charge up there and we got pictures and she absolutely loved it. When I turned back, I saw the other nanny and her charge stand up. I thought they might come get a picture like the rest of the kids, but instead she dragged him away still looking at her phone and ignoring his question to go see Maisy. She didn't watch where she was walking obviously and as she left, the little boy walked right into a book shelf!! I was so outraged that she didn't stop at all and merely spoke harshly to her charge again and left the store.

As a nanny who takes her job seriously and really enjoys what I do, this upset me so deeply. If the parents of this little boy are reading this and it sounds like your nanny, PLEASE do something. She had both her purse and a diaper bag with her. Your child deserves someone who loves him and will treat him well!

Defining "Kid-Related" Tasks

opinion 1
I have a question for your nannies about what you would consider a standard for "kid-related cleaning duties"? We have just done a 2 week trial with a nanny who we really like but she has been very clear that she is a "childcare ONLY" nanny. We said ok, fine, we don't need someone to do kid laundry or that sort of thing, but she doesn't even want to load the dishwasher or tidy the playroom at the end of the day.

My kids are 15 months and almost 3 and they both nap for a MINIMUM of 2 hours per afternoon, sometimes up to 3 hours, but usually more like 2 hours 15 min or so. I'm all for the nanny having a "break" but I feel like she could take an hour break and still have time to tidy the playroom or clean up the kitchen. She DOES prepare their lunch and snacks and rinses the dishes. Anyway, I think maybe we should look for someone who is more willing to do these tasks or really someone who is willing to throw in a load of kid laundry, sort through the puzzles and match up pieces, etc. with the "free" hour+ she has every day. Or my husband suggested we lower her hourly rate from $18/hr to $10/hr for 2 hours per day when the kids are asleep. But that just gets complicated. And she has been keeping a diary of the kids naps, etc. and honestly, she has had 2.5 hours every single day but one and that was when my daughter had a little cold and she still slept 2 hours!!

What Should Nanny Do About Mom #2?

opinion 1
Hello nannies and parents! I actually have a sticky situation that I would really appreciate your insight on. I have been a professional career nanny for the past twelve years, and MOST of the time, I absolutely love my job! I say most of the time, because I recently accepted a full time nanny position through a local nanny agency and only two weeks in I am already thinking about quitting. Before I get into what's going on, please allow me to give you a little bit of insight about what my previous nanny jobs have been like.

When I say that I am a professional career nanny I mean: I have been exclusively nannying for the past twelve years, have child development units as well as my preschool teacher certificate, have tons of experience with multiples, tons of experience with infants and toddlers, celebrity nanny experience (both in New York and Los Angeles). All three of my last nanny positions were long term, where I was seen both as a professional nanny and an extended member of their families. In my last position, I was nannying for an infant 50 hours a week and was being paid 16 dollars per hour plus overtime for the extra 10 hours per week, was given 10 paid sick days a year and two weeks of paid vacation. Unfortunately for me, the time came for mom to get a promotion at work and they ended up moving to another state, which left me scrambling to find a new position.

To cut to the chase, I ended up going on an interview a few weeks ago for a family with a 14 month old little boy. Mom #1 works out of the home, and mom #2 (two mommy family) works from home. That was an immediate red flag to me, as I am aware of the problems that can arise for a nanny when one of the parents works from home, but because I really liked the family and the baby, I decided to accept their position when they made an offer. Unfortunately, due to the current economy, I was forced to take a position paying much less than I have been making the past 5 years. I am now making a set salary of 2500 a month for 40 hours of work a week. It is roughly 1,000 dollars less than I was making before, but I really was desperate to find a position as I had been out of work for over 6 months by the time I got the job offer.

Now, if this job were easy, I would feel much better about taking a lower salary, but to be honest, it is definitely one of the hardest positions I have ever had. Most of this stems from mom #2 working from home, as I feel that she is constantly watching every move I make with her son. Some examples of this: they live in a very small one story home with the office off of the kitchen and the living room right next to it, instead of her going into her office and working during the day, she leaves the office door wide open, I believe to keep an eye on us through out the day. Not only that, but while I am upstairs trying to put her son down for a nap, she will turn on the baby monitor that is in her office just so she can hear what is going on upstairs. If the baby cries even the slightest bit, she will come rushing upstairs to ask me why he is crying, and then take him from me to breast feed him.

He is not on a consistent schedule in regards to eating or napping and therefore is an overly fussy and needy child. At fourteen months old, his daily diet consists of something like this: am-breast milk, noon-Gerber puffs or baby crackers, pm-breast milk. Due to not being exposed to many solid foods, he often pushes them away or cries when I try to offer them to him. Nutritionally, I feel like this is so wrong, but the more I encourage the moms to feed him solids, the more they shy away from the idea. As far as the napping, the moms do not believe in forcing him to take a nap, and because of this, the poor baby has several melt downs throughout the day because he is so exhausted and is fighting his sleep. Also, mom #2 has made it a habit to hold him throughout his whole nap when he does fall asleep, and she expects me to do that as well. Not only do I think this is completely unhealthy for many reasons, but it also makes it to where it is nearly impossible for me to complete the daily household chores I am required to do.

Now on to what I believe is one of the biggest problems about the position. I was very clear in my interview with the family that I am the type of nanny that does not like to sit at home with my charges all day long. I would much rather be out and about doing fun things with them on a daily basis (and even more so now that I work for a family where one parent works from home.) During the interview, they said they were fine with this, and that they would absolutely love it! I am a very organized nanny and I provided the family with a very detailed list of activities that I would be doing with the baby during the next two months (I like to plan our outings at least a few months in advance.) When it came time for our first outing to see a children's play at a local library, and then go to a local beach for a playgroup with other children around the same age, mom told me that we could only go see the play and that she wanted us back in two hours (the play itself was two hours long, which meant that we had to leave even before the play was over to make it back in time.) I was so disappointed, as I had really been looking forward to meeting up with my nanny friends again and for the kids to be able to play and build sandcastles on the beach. I agreed, and chalked it up to mom just being nervous because it was my first week. During that whole first week, several things like this happened, and it lead to me feeling more and more uncomfortable with taking the baby out of the house at all.

Fast forward to this week. It was on our agenda on Monday, to go see a puppet show at a nearby community college. Originally, I had written down that we would be there from 3:00-4:00, but then I realized that in order to get good parking we would have to arrive at least 20-30 mins before the show started, so I crossed it out and wrote 2:30-4:30 to allow for time to get there and park, and time to get home after the show. Well, to make a long story short, the first thing mom said to me when I walked in the door this morning was "why did you change your outing from 1 hour to 2?" I explained, but she told me to make it work in the me hour time frame. I found this impossible to do, so we didn't even end up going at all. =(

Anyway, I feel stuck in this position, because I really don't want to let the nanny agency down by leaving the job. I am afraid that if I do that, they will refuse to help me find another position, and that would leave me in a really bad place, as finding my own position here right now has proven to be extremely difficult. What should I do? Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated.

Super Nice Nanny Needs Advice... and a BackBone

opinion 1
I've been a nanny for 15 years, and I'm great with all the "kid stuff". I am great at saying the right things to get the reaction/behavior I want from the kids. But when it comes to talking to the parents, my employers, I totally wimp out. There are things that I look for in a job like parents who NEVER work at home, who come home on time, pay a decent wage, etc. It seems like when I go to an interview and mention these things, people react negatively. I say I want a definite ending time, they take that as "I can't wait to get away from your kid and go home." If I say I don't like it when the parents work at home, they think that means I'm going to neglect the kids or do something bad in the house. In this economy, I feel kind of desperate sometimes, so I sometimes don't mention these things at the interview. Then there is always a period of me trying super nicely to ask for things like sticking to a schedule, and usually they still come home late because I am nice about it. There have been so many times when I have been seething, looking at the clock, and being furious that it is 6:45 when I'm supposed to be off at 6. Yet the minute the parent gets home, I am all smiles, and I don't even mention it that they are late. They think everything is fine because I don't get mad at them. I feel like I don't know how to stand up for myself in a way that sounds nice, but still gets them to take it seriously. I feel like after 15 years I should be better at this. Anyone have any ideas about how I can stop being a wimp without becoming rude and nasty?

Dad Has Bad Timing

opinion 1
Just a question for other nannies and parents. I care for a 13 month old boy from 8am-6pm, Monday through Friday. I make $400 per week. MB hands him off to me in the morning, and DB takes him from me when he gets home from work. Lately, DB has been coming home late (5 minutes here, 15 minutes there, etc) or has been in the habit of coming home 5 or 10 minutes til 6 and then 'wants to change clothes' or 'get a few things done' and ends up not taking the baby until almost 630. This has been happening 2-3 nights a week. By the end of my 10 hour day, I'm ready to leave and not being compensated to stay past 6. I occasionally stick around a few minutes and chat with MB/DB about baby's day as I put on my coat and walk to the door... but how do I approach the consistent lateness? I have a personal life after work. Nannies, what have you said to MB/DB before when they've been late? Parents, how do you let nannies know you'll be late, or how do you make up for it when you are?

Reader's Request

opinion 1
I am about to give my notice at my nanny position that I have been working at for over a year. I am so nervous. My employers are insane. I plan to post the story and details after I quit and the dust settles. I am giving 8 weeks notice because I truly want the best for my little peanut that I have been caring for. I want them to find an excellent nanny who is well qualified for him and not make a decision out of desperation.

My question for my fellow nannies (& even parents): will you share your "giving notice" story? I am trying to build up the courage to leave and it would help to hear from others who have been through it! Please share the good, the bad and the ugly! :)
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Let's hear it Readers... we know some of you have a torrid ending! Leave your Story on this thread or send it to ISYN and when we have enough they will all be Posted together as a Feature!

What Every Family Should Know

rant 1
1. Paying taxes is not optional.
2. You must pay minimum wage, i.e. $150 for 50 hours of work is NOT ok.
3. Having a nanny is more expensive than daycare.
4. If you want your nanny to have a degree and 5 plus years experience with references, expect to pay accordingly.
5. It’s not the nanny’s job to scrub your bathroom, wash your underwear, walk your dog, drop off your dry cleaning, and buy your groceries.

Hire a maid, housekeeper, or personal assistant!

Expecting the Unexpected

opinion 1
In a few months I'm going on vacation with the family I work for. This isn't the first time I've gone away with them, but this trip is a little bit different. We're going to see the kids' grandparents and we'll be staying with them for about a month. We've already talked about me having some time off there to go do my own thing and I'll have my own bedroom so all of that is covered. The one aspect I'm confused about is how I should be paid. There are three kiddos and between mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa I'm assuming (probably not the best idea) that I won't really have a lot of work to do, but I'm also not really sure what to expect.

MB approached me today, asking me what I thought was fair and I really didn't know how to respond. She thought the easiest way was to just pay me like a normal month, assuming that I'll actually be "working" less hours. While I see her point, I'm also there, away from my own life, including the weekends which I usually have off. I left it that I was going to think it over and we would discuss it at a later date. I'm hoping that some of you have had a similar situation or if not, could tell me what you would ask for? Thanks!

What's the Going Rate for This Nanny?

opinion 1
How much should my rate be? I live in South Eastern Mass. With 1 year experience as a nanny and 3 years as a daycare teacher. I have really good references. I will care for infants up to age 7. I'm willing to work full-time and do some housework for the children, make their food, and take care of their laundry etc. This will be my only income. Is $450-$650 reasonable? Should I go higher or lower?

Another Kid, Another Raise?

opinion 1
I need advice. Have been working with a family since their now 2.5 year old was 2 months old. I had been gradually getting raises... starting at $175 and am now up to $230/week. They just had a new baby and I will be working part time until mom goes back to work. How much of an increase should I expect for watching both kids when she goes back to work? They are an amazing family to work for. Very flexible when I have things come up and what not. I will probably only be with them through the end of the summer as I am graduating from college, although they are trying to convince me to stay longer. Any advice is appreciated.

Call Me Godmother

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Last February my employers and I had a conversation where we kicked around the idea of making me the legal Godparent of their two youngest children. I had told them that while I had been the Godparent to several of my friend’s children in spirit, I had never been a formal Godparent in name, and I would be humbled to be offered such an honor. As the year rolled on we kicked around the idea from time to time, but it was not until my employers had to travel internationally in October for work, leaving their progeny at home in California with me, that they visited their lawyers and made it official. I spent October 1st, my first day as Guardian and Godparent of my beloved charges baking apple pies and carving pumpkins and basking in the glow of our new special status. Every little adorable sentence held a new special significance.

My Godson, I thought, as my almost five-year-old charge spoke whimsically of the irrational attitude of Angry Birds.

My Goddaughter, I thought, gazing adoringly at the little two year old snuggling down in her crib under her little pink blankie.

I’m a Godmother, I thought as I fell asleep, scooting over for more room, as both the 11 year old and the almost five year old had insisted on having a slumber party in the master bedroom with me under the pretext of missing their parents. I didn’t care. I was exhausted from a long day of carving and baking and play dates and household commotion. When I had arrived home with the pumpkins I had found Karena, our weekend Nanny, white as a sheet, standing on the kitchen island with her cell phone in one hand and a spatula in the other. She said that she had seen a rat and that it had run under the stove when she had screamed. I called pest control, but they had not found anything. I had had a sore throat all day too, and I been sneezing. Whatever. I was so happy to be a Godmother, and with that wonderful thought, I drifted off to sleep.

I awoke some hours later with two thoughts. One: It is the middle of the night, and two: I am going to throw up. I slipped out of bed and scurried to the bathroom and assumed the position. Again, two thoughts crossed my mind. One: Wow. This toilet is incredibly clean, and two: Holy Crap my employers are in Europe and I am sick! After, shaking and feeling mightily pitiful, I quietly walked downstairs for a cold glass of water and the forehead scan thermometer, which is the most accurate one in the house. As I slid it across my forehead, I heard a curious crunching sound coming from the pantry.

THE RAT!!!

I jumped up onto the kitchen island with an extraordinary spryness for someone who had just emptied the entire contents of their stomach into the master bathroom commode, and again, two thoughts crossed my mind. One: this marble surface feels divine against my feverish forehead, and two: I must close the pantry door and trap that horrific rat. Does anyone remember the movie “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind”? Remember the scene where the aliens are trying to get into the house, and the Mom realizes that they are coming down the chimney and she steels herself as she grabs for the flue, and strengthens herself as she counts to three and then slams it shut? Yeah. It was exactly like that.

I made a mental to do list as I staggered back upstairs. Call the exterminator to come back. Cancel the play dates for Sunday. Call for back up, as I had seen my fever was 102 before I had dropped the thermometer in horror at the realization of the reality of the rat.

When I woke up the next morning it was even worse. My throat ached and the glands in my neck were beyond tender and my head spun with fever and my right leg felt curiously damp where my almost five-year-old Godson was curled around me.

“I think you might have had an accident.” I croaked.

“Oh brother!” he said.

As a Nanny, I knew how I would have handled this situation. I would have called in sick and then spent a lovely day semi conscious in my very own cozy bed while addictive TV like “Keeping up with the Kardashians” droned in the background while I drifted in and out of sleep until I recovered. I might have spent an entire day like that, perhaps even two. My housemates would make a Whole Foods run for me and fetch me soup and ginger ale. My employers would send me loving texts wishing me a speedy recovery. That is how I would have handled a sudden onslaught of flu, as a Nanny.

But I was a Godmother now, and two thoughts crossed my mind,

“Get up, your Godson needs a bath.” was the first.

“This is a huge responsibility.” Was the second.

I have often wondered where parents gathered the strength to conquer exhaustion, and overcome illness and transcend tribulation to do the best by their children. I had, at times, theorized that there must be a hormone that is released upon childbirth that makes parents stronger than usual, everyday childless adults.

I do know that upon being named Godmother, I gathered myself up out of my sickbed, bathed my Godson, changed the bedding, called the exterminator, threw out everything in the pantry and washed the shelves with bleach once the rat was gone, took the eleven year old to baseball (and dozed in the car) and did what needed to be done.

So call me Godmother. I’ve seriously earned the title.
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Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a Nanny and writer who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. To see more of her Articles visit www.abandofwives.ning.com.

18 January, 2012

Low Cashflow

opinion 1
I really need help!! I baby sit Monday-Friday..7:30am to 5:30pm for $160 a week! At first this was fine for me as my boyfriend was giving me money. Now that he is jobless I do not have that extra income. I have bills that I need to pay and is struggling.. How do I go about asking for more money??

17 January, 2012

Family Devastated By Thieving Nanny

opinion 1
This past Friday I found out that my nanny of 8 years who we treated like family has been stealing checks, forging my signature and cashing them. I am embarrassed to say that she stole a ton of money. I am so hurt and my children who are 8 and 5 don't know yet. They think she will be back. She admitted it to me when I confronted her as she forged my signature and couldn't deny it. Now, we don't know what to do. We are completely devastated as we treated her so wonderfully. Why would she do this? And what do we do now??

MB Taking Unfair Advantage of Her Nanny

opinion 1
I need help. My 19 year old sister has been a live-in nanny for two and a half months. This is her first live-in nanny job, though she has had babysitting jobs in the past. She does not have a drivers license and she is nannying in a gated community that is miles from the nearest bus line. The community has no parks and the people there don't socialize with their neighbors. The Boss Mom is a single mother whose parents pay half of the nanny salary. When my sister took the job she was told that she would be paid $100 a week plus room and board and all food would be purchased for her.

After she moved in, things immediately got somewhat abusive. The Boss Mom started complaining about how much food she was eating. The house does not have a landline and my sister is required to pay for her own cell phone. My sister has not been given the code to the gate so she can not walk out of the community without the car clicker to open the car gate. She has not been registered as a community member and so she can not call the gate to let me in when I come pick her up. Boss Mom has OCD (she told my sister she was diagnosed) and so my sister is under constant scrutiny as far as levels of cleanliness. Boss Mom goes into my sister's room and cleans it, and leaves hand-me-down clothes in her closet as "gifts". She has taken all of my sister's clothes and washed them while my sister wasn't there. Also, the baby (a two year old) is not allowed to do messy things. When my sister politely asked that she not touch her personal things without asking first, Boss Mom replied, "How dare you tell me not to clean my house when you pay no rent to live here." Boss Mom is often verbally abusive and has called my sister fat (she is not even overweight, however Boss Mom is). Boss Mom also constantly speaks poorly of her last nanny.

Boss Mom began a relationship with someone who stayed with her for a few weeks. This man took my sister's gate clicker so she is no longer able to get in or out of the community on her own at all. Last weekend my sister left to spend time with friends and Boss Mom would not give her the clicker, so my sister ended up having nowhere to go at the end of the night and had to sleep on a friend's floor. The baby is often left with my sister so that Boss Mom can go out shopping after work and she is not paid overtime. My sister was invited to the family Christmas with Boss Mom and her parents and was chastised for not being the primary caregiver on that day, even though she was supposed to have it off.

When my sister approached Boss Mom about paying taxes, she said "You are not working for a business so I'm not worrying about that."

Obviously at this juncture my sister is desperate to quit. There was never any written contract and it's almost certain that Boss Mom is not going to give a reference for my sister if she quits. I need any advice I can get. Is there any legal action my sister can take or does she just have to cut her losses and move on?

Is Nanny/Boss Relationship Crossing the Line?

opinion 1
I have been an on call nanny for this family for the past two months and they have two beautiful kids. The dad works a lot and is gone most of the time and the mom is a stay at home mom. At first they were really good and made plans ahead of time, but now whenever I babysit they call me right before they want me to be there, and I feel like the mom is mad if I can't do it. Also, we are more like friends now so I feel bad whenever I can't do it.

Whenever I get paid, it usually takes a while and I have to keep asking about it. If they give me a time that they will be back, it is almost never then and they never text and say that they will be late, and sometimes it is a few hours later than what they originally said. I spend the night there several nights a week, and when I do the mom always wakes me up and asks if I can get up with the kids. I'm not really paid for this time, while she sleeps all day. I don't know if I am being taken advantage of or not, or if this is normal especially since we are friends. I am not the type of person that would take up for myself easily.

Did Nanny Overreact?

opinion 1
I was hired to care for two babies last summer and cared for them on a part time basis since last August until before Christmas. I averaged about 2 days a week. My schedule was set up week to week. It wasn’t a ton of money, but it was good job, nice family and close to my home. I was looking for another job to pay bills. I was supposed to start again the first week of this month. I emailed Mom to set up hours for the following week and got no response. I didn’t get a response until a week later. Normally I get a response quickly even if I wasn’t needed that week. I basically asked if I was going to be needed the following week or if they didn’t want me to continue working. I just wanted to know. She wrote back that she had told me about the schedule change (I think I would remember that), and that she didn’t understand why I thought they were trying to get rid of me, that they were happy with me, and that she hoped she could have used me in the future, and she was sorry to lose me. I wrote her back saying there was no mention of 3 months without work and that not hearing from her for weeks at a time even after being told to contact her with my schedule, and not having a firm time of when I would be back to work, led me to believe they no longer wanted me. I also mentioned that I would have liked to help them out, but I didn’t see how I could be available to start a new job and be their on-call sitter too, and wished them the best. I even offered to tell them if I knew of a person who could be on call for them.

My question, is did I overreact? I had a bad work situation before where my boss was very unkind to me, yelling at me, trying to ruin my reputation all overnight after telling me I did a good job. So I’ve started thinking everyone is like this secretly. I’m a very quiet person by nature and I let people get away with things. I’m trying to be better about that but I think I may have been too strong. I wrote very firm in the letter but I didn’t say curse words or anything like that. Should I apologize? It was a good job, and I miss the babies.
a day in the life 3
After school mother’s helper for a six year old (S) and four year old triplets (R, C, M) and have been working with this family for five months.

2:45: I pull up to the house and wait in my car for MB and DB to return from picking the kids up at school. All kids go inside and wash their hands.
3:00: I put a helmet on S and R and take them out for a bike ride around their neighborhood and to the “rock place” which is a small dog park area with grass and a sitting area with a slight downhill. I started taking the kids there to practice braking on their bikes and now they do that then we play on the grass (red light green light, mother may I, simon says).
3:30: I’m back at the house and put a helmet on C and M. S and R go inside, wash their hands, and play. I repeat the bike ride/rock place with C and M until C kicks M in the face on purpose and that’s our cue to go home.
4:00: We’re back at the house, I tell MB that C needs to go on time out for kicking M in the face. She asks C is she’s going to behave. C says yes. MB says C doesn’t need to go on time out (WHAT). MB retires to her bedroom with sleeping DB. Two minutes later, C hits M in face and I send her up to her room for time out.
4:05: I gather pajamas and pull ups to begin bathing children. M didn’t need bathing because he wasn’t in school today. I set S, R, and M up with puzzles in the landing upstairs near the bathroom so I can keep an ear on them. I ask S if she wants to wash first or second (R isn’t washing, C is on time out so she’s last). S says third. I ask first or second. S freaks out and runs into her mother’s room. I follow, quietly explain what happened, MB says go first and she can have a lollipop. S says she doesn’t want a lollipop as her special treat (dessert) (two days ago MB and DB decided no more special treats). MB says lollipop AND special treat. S leaves the room, I take her into her own room and explain to her that even though Mommy and Daddy are at home, I’m in charge of her and she needs to listen to what I say. She starts screaming and crying, S goes on time out in her room. S and C’s rooms are connected by the bathroom in which I watch the kids so I have screaming S on one side and screaming C on the other. Excellent.
4:15: M is undressed and in the bath. I give him about five minutes to play while I check on R who has been quietly playing with puzzles this whole time.
4:30: M is finished bathing and is dressed, C is calmed down (S is still screaming in spite of the fact that she knows time outs are three minutes, but time doesn’t begin until she has quieted down) so I take C into the bathroom to wash her.
4:45: S has FINALLY stopped crying and her three minutes have gone by without another tear so she washes herself while I pop in and out while keeping an eye on R, C, and M playing with puzzles. I have them clean up their mess, gather their water bottles from last night from their rooms and head downstairs while I dress S.
5:00: With MB and DB surprisingly still in their room (normally they are all over me during the afternoon before dinner), I take the kids downstairs and have them playing together while I do the dishes that have piled up in the sink while the kids were at school.
5:15: After a few arguments I had to break up, I have the triplets move into the living room so I can sit down at the piano with S for her daily fifteen minutes of practice.
5:30: MB comes out of her room and S runs to her. MB approaches me and asks what happened before bath because S is “visibly upset.” S says she’s mad at me because I put her on time out. I ask S why she was on time out. I explain to S and MB that she was on time out for not obeying me and throwing a tantrum. MB is obviously not very happy with the fact that I put her on time out.
5:35: MB goes back into her room, S runs after her crying again for no reason, DB is sleeping so I grab S underneath her arms to stop her from running in there loudly. I throw my back out. Excellent! I bring S downstairs with R, C, and M who are playing with Legos. I sit down and play with them for a little but and then have them begin cleaning up and washing before dinner. Clean up doesn’t happen because when I pay attention to M, R and C run away and when I fetch one of them, M runs away etc.
6:00: MB is downstairs and serving dinner. I eat with them in between fetching more milk and refilling bowls of spaghetti.
6:30: When they’re finished, I ensure the kids wash their hands and faces and DB puts on Beauty and the Beast about twenty minutes in. I wash all dishes from dinner (kids’, parents’, pots, pans, DB’s Tupperware/water bottles from work) while the kids are content in front of the tv. I collect their lunchboxes from the garage while DB awkwardly walks in from outside with the smell of cigarettes on him (found out recently he secretly smokes on the side of the house).
7:00: I get the kids vitamins and give them to them while they’re watching the movie. I clean up the play room (because it’s obvious MB and DB aren’t going to enforce me having them do it tonight [they’re watching tv, I can of course pick up after your already spoiled children].
7:20: Movie’s over, I begin brushing the kids’ teeth and refill their water bottles for bed.
7:40: I’m ushering the children upstairs, tuck them in, hugs and kisses + “I’ll see you on Monday, please behave this weekend” times four, and lights out.
7:45: Check in hand, I’m out the door.

Normally the kids don’t watch a movie, it was a big surprise that they got to because I will never put the television on for them (there are four of them, they can always play together) and it only happens when their parents are feeling lazy and don’t want them to bother them. DB is a surgeon and MB… doesn’t do anything? but spends an awful lot of time in the study “working.” Also, I don’t put tv on for them because they always want to watch Superhero Squad but the kids are generally violent to one another and MB blames it on the tv show so she told them no more of that show, which I enforce, but she stopped enforcing after two days. They each just got their own Leappad for… no particular reason so I’ve been giving those to them once or twice a week for the past two weeks. Fridays (this day) are my longest day with the kids and normally I'll take them down to the neighborhood playground instead of bike riding because it gives them more time and space to run around and it gives me more alone time with the kids to have a "picnic" snack and ask about their days, talk to them about what's going on in school, etc...

I adore the children when they’re behaving but when one misbehaves is generally means another one or two are misbehaving which is not fun. I give multiple time outs a day and it’s super stressful. I thought this was a nanny job when I began, not a mother’s helper job, and don’t really like the fact that their mom is home 95% of the time because the kids always run to her when they don’t like something I say.

Insurance Information

opinion 1
I am a retiree who is caring for the baby grandson of a close family friend at their home, which is very close to my place. I am paid on the books and I use my own car for transportation. What insurance do I need and is it expensive? I transport the baby several times a week to classes. We live in suburban NJ.

14 January, 2012

Pay Increase Irks Parent

opinion 1
Am I being unreasonable? I’ll be going back to work in February and have decided this time to get a nanny for our two children. We’ve met with a few candidates, and have one in mind that seems to fit our desires. She’s educated, experienced, good references, friendly, good with the kids, non-smoker, willing to do some chores, we’d like more, with a clean back ground and a good driver. The thing is I think she’s trying to take advantage of us. I know for a fact that at her last job she was not paid what she is asking for now, I checked into it.

We are thinking along the lines of $250 a week to $500-ish. Now we certainly can afford the increase, it just irks me that she’d ask more from us than she received from the others. I’m getting mixed reviews among my inner circle. Some think I’m on target and should question her about the salary change. Others, mainly one friend of mine who is a notorious pushover, thinks I’m being rude and possibly pushing away a potentially great nanny. What say you?

43 Hours

opinion 1
I have a question for all of the nannies and employers out there. I've been a nanny for the same family for two years now. After one year their youngest went to school full-time, we re-organized the work agreement to guarantee me a minimum pay of 43 hours per week. My job-duties changed a bit including "on rare occasions" run errands (buy milk, pick up package, etc), and work until noon every other saturday. Over the past couple of months my "rare
occasion" errands have picked up to 2-3 times per week, and my saturday work has gone to 1:30-2pm instead of noon. The parents now say that I have to earn my 43 hours. I am completely taken back by this because they came to me with this offer so I wouldn't have to get a second job as a convenience for them. They wanted me to be completely available just in case the kids get sick, and when the kids are off of school for the holidays. I feel like they are now hanging my guaranteed pay over my head. How do y'all feel about this? How should I handle it? It is definitely interfering with my personal life. Thanks!

09 January, 2012

To Report Negligent Nannies...

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PLEASE INCLUDE THESE DETAILS:
* Physical description of caregiver
* Physical description of involved child/children
* Address or venue of observed incident
* Date and time of incident
* Detailed description of what you witnessed
* Description of vehicle, bag, or stroller that may aid in identifying involved caregiver

TO SEND YOUR SUBMISSIONS:
1) email your sighting to isawyournanny@aol.com
2) Leave as an anonymous comment on this thread.
3) Leave as an anonymous instant message using the MEEBO toolbar on the right side of the main ISYN page.

* You may also send in: Questions, Your Worst Interviews, Nanny/Employer Horror Stories, Rants/Raves, A Day in the Life...

Inconsistencies Drive Nanny to Look for Other Employment

opinion 1
I’ve started looking for work. I am still technically employed by a family. I need advice as when to tell interested families I can start. I have been working with a family since August caring for twins. We got on well. It’s part time which is great for me because I’m in school. I was upfront with them from the start that I was in school part time for now, but in 2 years school would become fulltime. They were ok with that, as they only needed part time care, typically 2 days a week. For me 2 days with a nice family, two sweet babies for $200 was not a bad deal. Cut to last week when I found out that dad had lost hours at work so they wouldn’t need me as often for the next two months. That surprise I didn’t realize, dad’s hours changed so easily. While I do love part time, I need something consistent income wise so I’ve started looking for other jobs. Do I need to give this family the standard 2 to 4 weeks even though I’m not really working for them anymore, just so they know they can’t count on me to come back?

The Panda Mom’s Manifesto

guest column Written by, DaddyConfidential
Oh man. Tiger Mom was back in the news last week. Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother will be a year old on Wednesday. The book made quote-unquote Western parents feel inadequate for not being impossibly demanding – of their children and themselves.

Most people who read Tiger Mother will find it easy to despise Chua. She is uncompromising, judgmental, fairly bodacious, and enviably successful. By contrast, most parents feel compromised, judged, tired, and struggling.

Tiger Mother has even spawned copycats (and a plethora of lame-ass feline puns). Witness the Corlin twins from Hong Kong: self-described judo champs, chess dynamos, accomplished sailors and straight-A students. (They sound to me like prime candidates for a wedgie.)

The ten year-old fraternal twins have written The ROAR Of the Tiger Cubs, which is basically their Harvard application in book form. The title alone is so self-aggrandizing that with clear conscience, I can openly pray they die virgins.

Well, it’s a new year and that calls for a new parenting paradigm. 2011 was rough on 99% of us, so I’m encouraging parents to give themselves a break. This year, let’s indulge, relax, and goof off. Not 24/7, mind you. I’m not advocating that you abdicate all parenting responsibility. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that kids are supposed to be fun. They’re also supposed to have fun.

How shall we codify this easygoing approach? I’m calling it, The Panda Mom’s Manifesto.
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Please click the above link to read the rest of this Article and others cleverly written by one Dad's point of view.

The Help

guest column Written by, Rebecca Lubin
This past summer, July 22nd to be exact, (I remember as it was my younger brother’s birthday) I was at the tennis club with my then four year old charge, taking a break while he had his swim lesson, and scrolling through Facebook on my cell phone. There was a contest announcement on the Take Part page that caught my eye. “Win a trip for two to LA to attend the Celebrity premiere of “The Help.”” I glanced over the rules. I would have to submit a home made recipe and the story behind it, and the contest ended that day, at midnight. Now, like so many of us Nannies out there, I was incredible moved by “The Help.” I couldn’t read it fast enough, even though I wanted to read it very very slowly and make it last. I was so touched by the story of these women so in love with their charges, and how Skeeter described her enduring love for her former Nanny/Maid. I have always hoped to have such a lasting influence on my numerous children from over the years, and could really see myself in some of the characters, as a women so very invested in raising children I did not give birth to. I knew immediately what I would write about: My Goat Cheese Lasagna, and Parents Weekend at school with my former charge Sierra.

I had helped raise Sierra from the age of four, and when she was fourteen, her father had passed away, right before she left to attend a boarding school in Santa Barbara for her High School education. I had been driving down twice a year to attend her Parents Weekends over the years so she would feel supported and not as sad at the absence of her Dad. We had, over time, made some very fun rituals out of Parents Weekend. I cooked my Goat Cheese Lasagna, we poured through the old family albums and talked about all the good old days. I thought that my recipe/story could be a good contender in the contest. After work was over, as it was a Friday and I knew that once I arrived at my boyfriend’s house I would forget to write my entry, I quickly wrote it out on my laptop before leaving for the weekend, and submitted it, with fingers crossed. The following Wednesday I received an e-mail from Participant Media, who along with “The Help” also produced “Waiting for Superman”.

“Congratulations!” It began. I had won. I couldn’t believe it. I had never won a contest in my life, and now I was going to be flown to LA, put up in a hotel for two days and get to attend the premiere of the movie adaption of a book that I felt touched me to my very core. And, they wrote, if I received her mother’s permission, I could bring Sierra with me. I didn’t stop jumping up and down for five minutes. I was beyond excited. And the entire trip was only a week away. I stopped jumping. What the hell was I going to wear to a Hollywood premiere?

“Should I wear my prom dress?” Sierra texted me.

“Can I take two and a half days off?” I asked my employers.

The next few days were a flurry of excitement as I overnighted to LA release forms for me and parental consent forms for Sierra so that our names and photographs could be used in promotion of the contest. I tore through my closet looking for a fabulous dress. I bought really expensive shoes. I grew giddy with each update that Jonathan, my contact at Participant Media sent me about the trip. We would be staying at the Thompson Hotel in Beverly Hills. We would be treated to dinner at Spago. We could actually WALK THE RED CARPET at the premiere. It all felt like a fairy tale.

The flight from San Francisco to Los Angels is only an hour, but I had butterflies the entire way. The driver who met me at the airport to take me to the hotel was of course, also an actor. He gave me his business card which actually read, “Voice artist - Driver.” Sierra met me at the hotel, and we checked into an adorable, sleek, cool, modern little room that within minutes we had covered with outfit choices for our big dinner at Spago. We had a little over an hour to groom and change and catch up with each other on all that had happened to each other since our last visit together over Parents Weekend in April. Sierra was just heading into her senior year of high school, and getting ready to apply to colleges. We were still discussing the pros and cons of Bard when we arrived at the restaurant and gave our name to the hostess. She led us to a huge, comfy banquette and smiled warmly at us as she handed us our menus.

“Have a wonderful time,” she said.

I think she knew we were the country bumpkin contest winners. As did our waitress. She poured over our menus with us, suggesting her favorites as well as the signature dishes that Spago was famous for. I ordered the goat cheese and beet cakes (Oh boy!) and the Sonoma Lamb (Oh my God!!) and a sinfully decadent glass of Pinot (Holy Crap!!!) There was no check presented at the end of the meal, only another warm smile and well wishes for us to have fun on the rest of our adventure. I had been briefed by Jonathan that there would be no check and that the gratuity would also be taken care of, but I still slipped two twenties onto the table before we left.

After a brief hangout at the rooftop pool back at our hotel, with a soda for Sierra and another glass of Pinot for me - not bad, but nothing like the wine at Spago - we crawled into our cozy beds back in our room, falling asleep with visions of hollywood premieres dancing in our heads.

We had an appointment the next morning at Participant Media as we actually going to be interviewed for their online blog about the relationship between the nanny and her charge, just like the relationships in “The Help, ” as we were a nanny and her charge, and we had won the contest to see the movie about the nanny and her charge. Jenny, the staff writer set a tape recorder down on the table between us and asked us questions for over an hour. Seriously, it was like therapy.

“Rebecca, have any of the families you’ve worked for ever been really difficult?”
(Uh, YEAH.)

“Sierra, was it strange for you to have an adult have a hand in raising you who was not a parent?”
(Uh, YEAH.)

Afterwards, we cabbed to Melrose for brunch and reflected that being interviewed was totally cool, and that we should definitely go back to the rooftop pool and hang out in the sun until it was time to go to the premiere. We had been walked through the schedule while at Participant Media. We were to arrive at the theatre no later than six thirty to pick up our tickets at will call, and yes, we could walk the red carpet. And yes, we could bring our cameras and have a picture taken. On the red carpet!

“It’s called step and repeat,” we were told.

“Oh yeah,” I said, “Like on reality TV!”

I planned that once inside the Samuel Goldwyn theatre I was going to become a fly on the wall - literally - I was going to glue myself to one good viewing spot and people watch as if it were an olympic sport. Sierra however, being a typical seventeen year old, was positive I was going to humiliate her, and had her own plan to enter the theatre with her head down and scoot to our seats like she was in witness protection, lest I throw myself at Emma Stone screaming my undying love for her. She also wanted to sneak into the theatre around seven. I showed her the email from Disney that reiterated our schedule and she relented. And off we went.

There was a huge crowd in front of the theatre, simply mayhem, with police barriers set up with the cheering fans and paparazzi on one side and the storied red carpet set up on the other, except it wasn’t all open as I had imagined. It was draped with a huge covering, so it looked like a city block long canvas tent. We picked up our tickets - our seats were assigned - and we were waved towards the opening of the long canvas tent. I don’t know how Sierra was feeling, but I was so excited I was having trouble taking deep breaths. As we walked up to the red carpet, we could see camera flashes, and see incredibly thin women dressed in incredibly amazing outfits posing and smiling. I didn’t recognize one of them. Our toes were practically on the red carpet when we both suddenly glanced at each other and shook our heads no, and veered sharply to our left and bypassed the entire circus. It was the best moment of mental telepathy of my entire life thus far. We were the contest winners. Red Carpet? Who were we kidding? We made our grand entrance via side door, and it felt entirely appropriate. In the lobby we ran into one of the producers from Participant Media who asked us if we were having fun, and offered to take our picture, so Sierra and I posed in front of a huge poster for the movie, and then went upstairs, picked a good people watching spot, and looked for movie stars. We were sorely disappointed. We saw several actresses from television shows that we recognized, (Look - it’s that girl from that thing!) but seriously - not one cast member from the movie! The lights were flickering to let us know it was show time and we had yet to see anyone. I even walked incredibly slowly to the ladies room and back in hopes of a star sighting, but nada. We took our seats and I immediately craned my neck to case out the back of the theatre. (We were seated in the second row, stage right. All the way right.)

“I see Sissy Spacek!” I whispered to Sierra.

“Turn around!” She said in her best you-are-embarrassing-me-seventeen-year-old-tone.

“Bryce Dallas Howard just walked in. And she’s pregnant!”

“Stop staring!”

“Everybody is staring,” I pointed out, and it was true. Everyone in the front rows were watching the back of the theatre.

“Mary Steenburgen!” I hissed.

“Oh, God,” Sierra groaned.

Then the movie started, and I was riveted. I was moved. I was laughing. I was crying. I was.... really really hungry. We had only had brunch earlier in the day and in all the excitement of grooming for the premiere, eating had never crossed my mind. Now, at almost ten pm, as the credits began to roll and the audience cheered for their friends and contemporaries my stomach began to growl like a pissed off tiger. I comforted myself with the thought that judging by the less than zero sizes of the majority of the actresses I had seen as we walked in, most likely everyone in that room was very hungry.

“Let’s go downstairs and check out the food!” I said to Sierra.

We had been told that there was to be an after film buffet.

We descended the huge staircase back to what had earlier been the lobby, only now it was totally transformed into an epic Hollywood party. The room had quadrupled in size as they had broken down several walls while we watched the movie, and huge buffets dripping with food lined the perimeter with an enormous one stationed smack dab in the middle of the huge space. Music from the movie soundtrack blasted, and the walls were lined with mannequins wearing the actual costumes from the movie. I looked over the buffets, salivating at the spread of the poached salmon, friend chicken, cornbread, salads and desserts. I spied a wine tent with a huge banner that read “Wolfgang Puck” and let out a little sigh, remembering that unbelievable Pinot from the night before. I nudged Sierra towards the closest buffet.

“Let’s get in line!”

She said, “Actually, we could we, uh, like, leave now?”

I said, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?”

She said, “It’s just that we don’t know anybody here.”

I said, “of course we don’t know anybody here. It’s a hollywood premiere. Oh look - Jessica Chastian is standing right there!”

And she was. Dressed to the nines with a torso the size of a toddler’s and perfect hair and impeccable makeup. She was a picture of perfect intimidation. I immediately understood exactly why Sierra wanted to leave.

“Twenty minutes.” I said. “One plate of food, I get one glass of wine, we do one lap around the room and then we go. Okay?”

She said, “Can we do that in ten minutes?”

Here’s the thing, I understood exactly how Sierra felt. My teenage intimidation moment was not at a hollywood premiere at seventeen, but at a Long Island Bat Mitzvah at sixteen. I knew very well that adolescent feeling that you just don’t measure up. Of course in my opinion, Sierra at seventeen, almost six feet tall, blonde and a total badass was decades hotter than any size minus starlet could ever hope to be, I could completely comprehend what she was feeling at that moment. So in spite of the fact that Ted Danson was standing right in front of me scoping out the buffet I said, “Let’s go.”

I had won the contest by writing about having Sierra’s best interest in my heart, and I left the party with her best interest in my mind. And I felt totally fine about it, even if I never saw Emma Stone.

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Is This You?

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I just saw this disturbing post on another site called UrbanBaby.com. There is a MomBoss who is considering firing her nanny, and I think the nanny deserves to know what her employer thinks of her. Here's the story:

The MB was at a funeral on Sunday, January 8th. The nanny came in to work so her MB could go to said funeral. Part of the nanny's job is to walk the dog (an old black lab/shepherd mix). The nanny went to put the leash on the dog to take it outside, and the dog bit her. The nanny cleaned herself up and took the dog out, but when the MB returned home, the nanny told her about it and said she would no longer be able to walk the dog. The MB doesn't think she should do anything to make sure her dog is not a danger (even to her own children!). She doesn't think it's the dog's fault. She is planning to fire the nanny if the nanny will not walk the dog any longer. She also speaks very rudely to the other posters when they tell her how out-of-line she is, and demonstrates how little she thinks of nannies. Her words and attitudes are extremely telling.

If this is your MB, you deserve a MUCH better work environment!!

08 January, 2012

Holiday Bonus Feature 2011 Part II

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Bonus this year (2011): 0 dollar bonus
Weekly salary: 640 before tax
Supplementary gifts: Pandora charms (2 charms, one representing each child), 50 dollar iTunes gift card (super sweet because I just got an iPhone), 65 dollars to my nail salon (I get my nails done biweekly), some candy and a gorgeous picture of my babies.
Length of time I have worked for family: 10 months.
Location: Western north carolina
Comments: My family is amazing. They treat me so well and just generally care about me. I had only been with them for a month and they bought me a nook color for my birthday. They found out I needed some maintenance on my car and they offered me (without me asking) to advance me the money for it and will not deduct it all at once from my upcoming checks, choosing to deduct small amounts from the next 3 months. I have worked for families who have been difficult to work for, and this family is not like that. They are so wonderful and I am so lucky.
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Bonus this year (2011): $4000
Weekly salary: $1550 net for 50 hours + overtime.
Supplementary gifts: Baking equipment.
Length of time I have worked for family: 2 years 10 months.
Location: Manhattan, NYC, NY
Comments: Very thoughtful additional gifts; my employers know what I like to do in my spare time.
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Bonus this year (2011): I received a $1,000 Christmas bonus.
Weekly salary: I get paid $15/hr about 30-40 hrs/wk and take care of 3 boys.
Supplementary gifts: I also received these cool gloves that have a special finger tip so I can be on my iPhone and these wonderful pjs. Both gifts were very heartfelt especially since the 6 yr old picked out the pjs and I couldn't have made a better choice.
Length of time I have worked for family: I've been with the family for a year and a half.
Location: They live in Greenwich Ct.
Comments: I received the pjs first and the gloves and my bonus in their adorable christmas card the following day. I was pretty shocked. I've had a crazy year and a lot of personal/family emergencies but I love my job and I love the kids so I was so grateful and felt so incredibly appreciated, I almost cried. Happy holidays everyone!
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Bonus this year (2011): $1500 before taxes
Weekly salary: $750
Supplementary gifts: A sweet card "from" my charge.
Length of time I have worked for family: 11 months.
Location: Atlanta, GA
Comments: I am one of those odd nannies who has chosen not to have a bonus requirement in my contract and I also don't plan my budget around bonuses. I think they're terrific to receive, and I am always pleased with whatever I get from employers at the holidays, since I don't set my expectations so high that I am then crushed to get "only" a card, a gift or two, and a small check. But, all that said, I am SO thrilled and happy to have gotten such a generous gift from my bosses. I love working for them, adore my charge, and feel glad that I have, once again, found a truly good family to work for.
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Bonus this year (2011): $6000.00
Weekly salary: $1450.00/45hrs/2 kids
Supplementary gifts: iPod touch, various gift certificates (Starbucks, my fav!, Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble)
Length of time I have worked for family: 3yrs
Location: NY, US
Comments: I know I'm blessed to have a family that cares so much and appreciates what I do. This was definitely more than I ever expected to receive and am still in awe!
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Bonus this year (2011): $1500
Weekly salary: $600 (before taxes)
Supplementary gifts: A great new camera and an amazing stocking stuffed with perfume, beauty products, a $100 Amex giftcard, itunes giftcard, etc.
Length of time I have worked for family: over 4 years.
Location: NYC metro area.
Comments: So very thankful for their generosity!
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Bonus this year (2011): $200
Weekly salary: $510 before taxes, going up to $637 in Jan.
Supplementary gifts: a nice box of chocolates, 2 well-chosen books, a gift card to my daily coffee stop from the kids, nice moisturizer from their grandmother, cards from parents and kids, and a raise :)
Length of time I have worked for family: a year in Jan.
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Comments: I wasn't expecting anything, and have been feeling a little unappreciated at work. Their thoughtful gifts are much appreciated.
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Bonus this year (2011): $500
Weekly salary: $500 (30 hours/week)
Supplementary gifts: a little ornament "from" the baby.
Length of time I have worked for family: I have worked for this family since April 2011.
Location: Manhattan Beach, CA
Comments: I was very happy with my bonus, as I was unsure if I would receive one. A month ago, I told them I was leaving after the new year to work for a new family (they've known that I've needed more hours for a while now.. I had been working 50 and they cut me down to 30 with little notice). It was fine and they understood, but I still felt really bad so was unsure if I would receive a bonus, especially since my last day was a week before Christmas.
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Bonus this year (2011): nothing, although the parents both bragged about their $1500 bonuses (each! They work for the same company.)
Weekly salary: $250 for 50 hours; I am paid for any sick days when they go on vacation as well as all holidays.
Supplementary gifts: none.
Length of time I have worked for family: 6 months.
Location: Kentucky
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Bonus this year (2011): $170 (weeks pay)
Supplementary gifts: nice box of candy.
Length of time I have worked for family: worked for family for 1 year.
Location: greenwich, ct
Comments: this is a very part time position.
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Bonus this year (2011): $400 bonus for our PT nanny (1day/week)(8hrs)
Our Nanny's weekly salary: $120; will be raised to $130 starting Jan 2012.
Supplementary gifts: collapsible tupperware set (good for travel) and $20 dunkin donuts giftcard.
Length of time our Nanny has worked for family: nanny has been with us almost one year.
Location: NY, NY (upper west side)
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Bonus this year (2011): $500 cash
Weekly salary: $880
Supplementary gifts: items for our upcoming beach vacation, a very nice bottle of wine, two very special cookbooks.
Length of time I have worked for family: 3 years.
Location: Denver, CO
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Bonus this year (2011): $500
Weekly salary: $650
Supplementary gifts: They paid for my plane tickets to go home for Christmas, new UGG boots, perfume, gift certificate for indoor skydiving, Bridesmaids DVD.
Length of time I have worked for family: 6 months.
Location: Pinehurst, North Carolina
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Bonus this year (2011): $2040.15 (3 weeks salary)
Weekly salary: $900 before taxes, take home $680.15
Supplementary gifts: package of classes for Hot Yoga, package of classes for Pilates, movie tickets, candle.
Length of time I have worked for family: 16 months.
Location: Wheaton, IL, USA
Comments: I work close to 60 hours a week with 4 kids; it's crazy but I love doing it, and the parents are amazing to work for! They gift me throughout the year with bonuses and packages of classes like the Pilates studio one (my Momboss and I often go to classes there together).
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Bonus this year (2011): $20
Weekly salary: $250 a week
Supplementary gifts: none.
Length of time I have worked for family: Worked for family 3.5 months caring for their infant twins part time.
Location: Mass., south of Boston.
Comments: Don’t know if it counts but I received a Merry Christmas call from a previous family. It was a surprise and brightened my day a little.
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Bonus this year (2011): none.
Weekly salary: at least $450, more with more hours.
Supplementary gifts: Yes, a whole huge bag, with a nice card, two of Supernanny's books, a fuzzy blanket, a thermos with two packs of hot cocoa in it, a box of peppermint bark and three mini cupcakes.
Length of time I have worked for family: Nearly 5 months.
Location: Well, I work in Durham, North Carolina, USA, but I currently live in a town north of there.
Comments: They are the best bosses ever, very nice and thoughtful. The huge gift bag was very generous and they listened and saw what I liked and remembered.
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Bonus this year (2011): $500 bonus
Weekly salary: $500 for 30 hours.
Supplementary gifts: huge gift basket from Lush.
Length of time I have worked for family: I've worked for the family for 4 years now.
Location: suburbs outside of Washington, D.C.
Comments: I'm very happy with my holiday bonus/gift this year!
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Bonus this year (2011): $40
Weekly salary: around $200
Supplementary gifts: No gift.
Length of time I have worked for family: Worked for family last year for 3 months, was unable to work 6 months due to school, have been back with them since June of this year.
Location: small town in the south, population ~5000.
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Bonus this year (2011): none.
Weekly salary: $600 (before taxes)
Supplementary gifts: $50 gift card to Trader Joe's, $50 gift card to Target.
Length of time I have worked for family: 1 year.
Location: Minnetonka, MN, USA
Comments: DB also pays half of my health insurance and I get 55¢ per mile I drive. I was glad to get the gift cards, as I thought they would give me nothing, but a cash bonus would have been preferred as we need the money for infertility treatment.
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Bonus this year (2011): job 1: 50$ job 2: 140$
Weekly salary: job 1: 380$ (30 hours weekly) job 2: 100$ weekly (approx 10 hours a week)
Supplementary gifts: no other supplemental gifts.
Length of time I have worked for family: length of time at job 1: 2 months job 2: year and 4 months.
Location: Main Line area outside Philadelphia PA
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Bonus this year (2011): $3000.00
Weekly salary: $1200.00 for 42 hours
Length of time I have worked for family: just over a year.
Location: NY, NY
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Bonus this year (2011): Family 1: none. Family 2: Check for 425
Weekly salary: Family 1: Weekly salary of 700 for 4 days a week...pd 52 weeks a year with 4 to 6 weeks off. Family 2: I work about 15 hours a week at 18 an hr.
Supplementary gifts: Family 1: a nanny vehicle and a 100 Starbucks card and a pair of boots I had admired of the mom I work for..they cost 440.
Comments: I am treated so well. I am truly blessed to be working with such kind and wonderful families.
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Bonus this year (2011): $100 cash
Weekly salary: $600 a week for 40 hours.
Supplementary gifts: Cooking supplies from William Sonoma and a nice card
Length of time I have worked for family: Since June 2010.
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Comments: Not much to say...Kind of suprised.
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Bonus this year (2011): 1000
Weekly salary: 875
Supplementary gifts: purse.
Length of time I have worked for family: 2 years
Location: new york city
Comments: satisfied.
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Bonus this year (2011): half week's salary for a nanny who has been with us half a year. We go up to a full week after the first full year.
Our Nanny's weekly salary: $750 for 50 hours a week.
Supplementary gifts: Gift was personal; nicely bound book of the kids that cost $75.
Length of time our Nanny has worked for family: 6 months.
Location: tri-state (NY)
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Bonus this year (2011): $200
Weekly salary: $700
Supplementary gifts: none.
Length of time I have worked for family: 14 months.
Location: Charlotte, VT, USA
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Bonus this year (2011): $250
Weekly salary: $495 / $11 hr
Supplementary gifts: Toiletries set & Wine Glass.
Length of time I have worked for family: 2 1/2 years.
Location: Orlando, FL
Comments: I absolutely love the family I work for!! Little C is a sweet heart and his parents are very nice people : ) MB takes us out to lunch at least once a week and their home is my home. I’m Live-Out and work 45 + hours a week. I was hoping for a weeks pay bonus but I’m grateful for what they gave me.
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Bonus this year (2011): $50
Weekly salary: $250
Supplementary gifts: nothing. nada. zilch.
Length of time I have worked for family: 16 months.
Comments: I can't wait to find another job! This economy sucks.
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Bonus this year (2011): $750
Weekly salary: $800
Supplementary gifts: some delicious honeys for tasting with nice cheeses.
Length of time I have worked for family: just complete my third year.
Location: Cambridge, MA
Comments: So blessed to be starting my fourth year with this wonderful family. We have a great relationship with excellent communication and they are extremely supportive. Looking forward to seeing what 2012 has in store!
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Bonus this year (2011): $650
Weekly salary: $625 for four days with one baby.
Supplementary gifts: No.
Length of time I have worked for family: Less than two months.
Location: Fairfield County, Connecticut
Comments: I honestly wasn't expecting anything just because of the short amount of time it's been since I started. I've had a few longterm and temporary positions over the last few years and this is by far the best situation I've been in. Absolutely don't feel overworked and definitely feel appreciated which I've learned, isn't something to be expected! =)
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Bonus this year (2011): $600 plus a week off with pay.
Weekly salary: $600
Supplementary gifts: cookbook for me, gifts for my daughter that added up to probably at least another $100.
Length of time I have worked for family: almost 6 months.
Location: Redmond, WA USA
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Bonus this year (2011): $4000
Weekly salary: 1000, about 35 per hour.
Supplementary gifts: nothing.
Length of time I have worked for family: 5 years.
Location: Outside NYC
Comments: Glad to get it, long time in this weird situation.
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Bonus this year (2011): $200
Weekly salary: $760
Supplementary gifts: A nylon Marc Jacobs bag, retails
around $200.
Length of time I have worked for family: 2.5 years.
Location: Boston, MA
Comments: The past two previous years they have given me a gift priced around $300 and a bonus of $500. Everyone is hurting from the economy this year I guess.
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Bonus this year (2011): $3,000.
Weekly salary: $1,200.
Supplementary gifts: I received a high end camera and theatre tickets from the parents. The children asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I told them I wanted them to make me something. From the 10 yo budding artist who loves to paint, a framed painting of my cat. It is a caricature (unintentionally) and quite whimsical and funny. I love it. The younger 3 made clay tree ornaments. I think MB helped here. Their names are on the backs of the ornaments, so when they have outgrown the nanny years, I will have these reminders of them every year when I trim my tree. They also each made a card with a gift card enclosed, Starbucks, Barnes&Noble, Michaels, Modells.
Length of time I have worked for family: I have been with this family for ten years.
Location: Located in NYC
Comments: I really appreciate the salary and bonuses in this economy, and treasure the cards and handmade gifts, but even more importantly I wake up in the morning looking forward to going to work and seeing my cares. I am so lucky to have a job I love with a wonderful family.
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Bonus this year (2011): $1000
Our Nanny's Weekly salary: $550
Supplementary gifts: little things from kids (ornament, cookies)
Length of time our Nanny has worked for family: 2.5 years
Location: Chicago IL (USA)