29 February, 2012

A Moment of Truth

opinion 1
I've retired from nannying and moved on to the real world, but it was something I did for several years while I was a student. One thing I will never understand is why parents would EVER treat a nanny poorly... when that person is the one essentially raising their children.

I once worked for a mother who would send texts to her friends complaining that I was eating their food and making fun of my weight. It was at that moment that I stopped caring about her baby. I, of course, would never have done anything abusive to him, but I had no problem putting him in his crib and letting him cry himself to sleep (don't get your panties in a bunch -- plenty of people let babies cry to sleep and defend it as a parenting choice. I think it makes them shitty parents, but it's hardly abusive.) And when it was time to get up, you bet that I didn't rush up to comfort him. I did the bare minimum of my job, met his needs, and never harmed him... but I stopped caring. On the other hand, when I worked for parents who were kind to me, I LOVED their children, cared for them gently and lovingly and as though they were my own.

So, parents... ask yourselves... why ever would you be rude or unkind to someone who you are entrusting with your most precious possessions?

MB Wants to Show Her Nanny Appreciation

opinion 1
I love this blog! As a mb, it has given me great tools and insight of what we needed to do and what was good business sense when hiring a nanny.

We recently made a change from a live in family member (foolish, I know) to a new live in nanny. Things are going very well, and while we are on a budget, I am really wanting to do little extras to make sure she knows she is appreciated and valued.

Currently she works from 6:20-5pm, Mon-Fri. We pay her a salary, along with any and all living expenses. The evenings and weekends are her time and she often heads out to be with family and/or friends, but when she is home we try to invite her to come out to eat or bring her something back from the restaurant. We pay for her food, but it doesn't seem like she eats anything. Is there a way to mention it without seeming nosy? No biggie to us, but we don't want her to feel awkward about eating or worry that it bothers us.

I have thought about offering to pay for nail salon visits, Starbucks cards, etc... anything that seems cool to a 19yr old in my mind. I want to be careful that she realizes it is an extra thank you, etc... because I would hate to not be able to afford it 1 month and have her feel cheated. Any input would be great!

Nanny's Time Scammed by Game-playing Mom

opinion 1
I recently posted a few ads on websites and in the area looking for families in need of a part-time nanny. In my ad, I was adamant about working for a WAHP or SAHM due to my current class schedule, and my need for three full days a week in the summer. Earlier this week, I received a promising email from a family who lived near me, with a WAHM. After a few emails back and forth, she and I agreed to meet, and she wanted a time/day that worked best for me. I sent her an email stating what day worked best for me, and didn't hear back from her. I followed up with another email, giving more dates I could meet with her, and she emails me back telling me that she was looking into placing the children in an in-home daycare, since the kids were loud and the house rather small.

After reading her email, I gathered that she had had a bad experience with her last nanny, so I sent her an email telling her that having a nanny while working from home could work, and not to be discouraged. I explained to her that the more activities a child has to do, along with outlets to release pent-up energy make working from home for a parent a bit easier and less stressful for the child, the nanny and the parent. I also told her that I understood and respected her decision, letting her know if she changed her mind, to let me know and that I was still interested in meeting her.

She sends me an email back telling me that I was right about her previous experience with a nanny, and that she would like to meet me. She told me to pick the date, time and place. I picked a date, time and place, and waited for a confirmation. I get another email back, wanting to know how many hours I would need in the summer. I sent the number of hours desired for summer, and she sends me an email telling me that while discussing the opportunity of having a nanny, she said her current daycare provider is able to watch the children and that she has a backup nanny in the neighborhood in the form of a SAHM.

How can a family not know if they need a nanny? Why take the time to email a prospective nanny and tell them you don't want a nanny, then email them back and tell the nanny you want to meet them, only to tell them you don't want them again? I felt like my time was wasted, and I was "scammed" in the terms of the games she played. Has this ever happened to you? Is there a polite way to let a family know you, as a nanny, don't appreciate these games?

Don't Cut Corners on Child Care

opinion 1
I have been a nanny for a family now for about 8 months. They have one child who is 3 and is typically behaved. While he is not potty trained and still uses a pacifier religiously, he has had few temper tantrums and is easy going. My biggest problem is with his parents. When I began this job I was desperate. My last nanny job I had for over 2 years.The mother decided that she was ready to become a stay at home mom and I was no longer needed. I loved this family but I was very hopeful in finding a great job again and quickly. I have been a nanny for over 6 years and I have awesome references! Things didn't quite go so well and I settled working this job with a "something is better than nothing" mentality.

- First of all they pay me $6.00! I live in long island NY. I know the going rate just about anywhere else in the country is higher. I could probably make more at Burger King. But my college degree that sits in my dresser drawer screams for me not to do that just yet.
- I am not a live in, so every week the mother will text me my hours for the week. I'm not sure why, but she always gets the times wrong and then blames me! Last week she told me to come at 6:20am, so I did. As soon as I came in she told me I was supposed to be there at 6:15 and that that was what the text said. I didn't have my phone with me that morning (I totally regretted not running back into the house for it) but I wanted to scream! She's done this to me at least 12 times. And it makes me feel crazy.
- That same morning at 6:20 am she calls her child into the kitchen to give him a huge bag of candy! Thanks. This just made the breakfast I was making void.
- A few weeks ago after working 11 hours the mother asked me if I would please, please, PLEASE come back and babysit while she went out for a few hours with her friends. I being kind, and mostly just a huge pushover, obliged. She came home outrageously wasted, to the point where she could hardly count the money she owed me, and I'm surprised she didn't break her neck coming up the stairs. On top of that, when I came back over I was ready to put the child to bed. I had been there all day and he had napped very early on about 12:30 so I knew he had to sleepy. (it was now 9pm). But when I tried doing so, he said "I just woke up! Mommy made me nap!" That means she let him nap while she got ready to go out! I was hurt. I was doing a favor and it tossed back at me like it was nothing.
- Their home is messy and very small. I am not a clean freak, but house work was NEVER part of the $6.00 deal. It has however become that, as I can not stay in a place surrounded by crumbs, garbage bags on the floor, and dirty dishes a mile high.
- The child has begun cursing! He cursed very loud at the library and said "God damn it" several times. He also said "stupid bitch". Now I know he doesn't know what these words mean, when I mentioned this, it was thought of as cute.. I did time out, but I'm sure it won't be handled this way by the parents.
- There is more but I feel I could already be identified as is.

I interviewed for another job yesterday, so I am really hoping I get it. I went on one last week and they shockingly wanted to pay me $6.00 as well! I casually said I would have to see, but I'm no fool! I do wish that I had more of a back bone, but what I really wish is that parents didn't try and scrimp on their childcare! Find deals on clothing or microwave meals! Scour the endless adds for cheap used cars or search the shelves for dented cans, but please parents, don't cheap out on your nanny or sitter! They're taking care of your little one while you are unable. Are you only worth $6.00?

On the Move

opinion 1
Hello Everyone, I was hoping for some advice on my move in Sept. A fellow nanny and I are planning on moving from Boston MA to Portland Oregon. We would like some information about the area, nanny opportunities and cost of living/nanny pay rate. Any advice would be great. We were also considering Chicago and Newport Beach CA. Many thanks!

How Do I Punch Up my Resume?

opinion 1
After a good number of years working as a nanny, I am getting ready to leave my current family and go into an industry that does not involve children at all. I know I have good work experience and references from my nanny families, but I'm not sure how to translate skills I developed in this job into skills that employers in other industries will like.

Obviously an office work environment won't care how fast I can change a diaper or how many babies I sleep-trained. So how do I make my time in domestic work sound like something that will benefit me in a traditional workplace?

26 February, 2012

Glen Rock, NJ Park

bad nanny sighting 5
This has been bothering me - so I wanted to share.

Sighting Date: Thursday, Feb. 23rd
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Glen Rock, NJ Park (next to Glen Rock Pool)
Nanny: Neat appearance, about 5 feet 7, reddish/brown straight hair, short bob cut. Asian eyes. Pea Coat, knee high leather boots.
Child: Boy, about 12 months to 16 months, looked like a new walker.

As I was pushing my charge on the swing I saw a lady, who I assumed was the nanny (sorry, I guess when the child and adult look nothing alike we assumed she was a nanny since her demeanor appeared such as she was not the mother and she seemed really uncomfortable and rather detached from the child, like a robot.)

She walked into the park with a little boy and put him on the rocker (which I think is supposed to be a turtle?) The little boy was on it and the nanny was rocking it - but so much - that the child's head was whipping from his chin to the back of his neck. She did this for about 7 shakes and then stopped, looked around (but not in my direction) and did it again for about 7 to 8 rough shakes. I was thinking I should go over there and say something but she then took the child off and he toddled away but looked a little dizzy or like a new walker.

I saw her follow him inside the paved path that goes around the playground, but she kept looking around like she was uncomfortable, and then I lost track of her as my charge was on the go and I had to follow behind.

About 10 min. later I saw her walking with the child in the stroller through the wooded area behind the park. She was only at the park about 15-20 min.

The image of the child's head whipping from front to back haunts me. She clearly has no idea how to interact with a toddler.

A Polite Reminder...

opinion 1
Hi MPP! I am a huge follower of ISYN, as is a group of nanny friends I have. There are about 12 of us that have been working in close by wealthy neighborhoods, our youngest of the group is 21 with her first nanny job, our oldest is 54 and a career nanny. We have been going out together Friday nights to a wine and dessert bar in our area for about a year now, just having fun with people who we relate so well to.

Anyway, we all read ISYN, have read years and years back if we get bored and there aren't any new submissions, I think it's safe to say we've read a least 3/4 of the entire ISYN blog from the beginning to current. I want to tell you that I think your blog is wonderful (we all do) and a really great tool. BUT none of us have EVER wanted to post P&O, bad sighting, good sightings, or anything. This has to do with your followers, most of the people that reply to P&O, good sightings, ect.. are hateful in their reply. Maybe 1/3 actually give decent advice, the rest just use it to their advantage to either brag about a situation similar that they handled, scorn to OP without giving any kind of helpful advice, and basically just act like an ass. Some of the posters deserve that, I recently read one where the soon to be step mom wanted to fire the beloved nanny. That situation deserves the posters to be jerky, but for the ones like the new mom who was creeped out by nanny showing up at the park all the time, calling all the time and such, she CLEARLY wanted to get advice! She didn't say that she was going to fire the nanny definitely or anything, she just wanted advice from more experienced people on how to handle it. She got so much unnecessary and unhelpful comments from posters.

I use those two as examples only because I just was browsing around and read them, most of them are like that (with the OP wanting advice and just getting jerky responses) anyway I just wanted to let you know that if a group of 12 nannies would never post on the site (regardless of how much we love it being there as a resource)... how many other people follow you but won't partake in the blog because of unkind and extremely rude posters? It's one thing to be blunt, but be mean and rude to someone just looking for a little guidance or just wanting to do their part by keeping an eye on good/bad nannies, is a little bit ridiculous. Have a wonderful day!!

Moving on

opinion 1
i have been with a family for a total of 6 months now. i generally work for them 2-3 days a week, anywhere from 5 to 10 hours a day. the mother is home the whole time watching tv, shopping online, paying bills, stamping letters, or partaking in other light activities. the only time she leaves to run errands is during the child's 2 hour nap. when i accepted the job, i didn't know she would be home so often and it has been problematic more times than not (child knows her mother is home and wants to see her, cries when mother tells her to go to the playroom, etc) it's very frustrating. the mother is also very difficult to talk to (only on occasion will she engage me in conversation that isn't geared towards her child) and when i am unavailable to work on certain dates, she seems to give me an attitude about it. also, the job is incredibly boring, the mother doesn't let me allow the child to watch movies or television when i'm there, so for anywhere from 5 to 10 hours, we only play with toys. it gets very monotonous.

in addition, the mother has strange/unorthodox rules for me to follow. for example, she wont let me use the tap water from the sink or the fridge because she "doesn't trust it", and she also wont let me use the ice machine from the fridge, instead i must open the freezer and manually retrieve ice for her childs drink. the weirdest, however, was when her child had moderate diaper rash and she asked me to wipe her child with a cloth towel when her child pooped, and then flush the towel down the toilet. not sure how i was supposed to do this because the towel was as big as a hand towel you would find in a bathroom!

i have decided i do not want to continue working for this family, but am having a hard time finding an appropriate and professional way of quitting. should i call her? write a letter? just say it face to face? (although i've tried this and just cannot get the words out). i'm planning on giving her a months notice so she has AMPLE time to find someone else, but i'm still concerned about how she'll take the news. i want to help this family out as much as i can, but at the same time i need to live my own life and move on. any advice on how to quit would be great!

Job Creep and Being Cheap

opinion 1
I have been a nanny for 15 months and I have two lovely charges, 19 month girl (S) and 5 year old boy (R). I'm a young nanny, yes. But I have a surprising amount of prior children experience. The MB and I get along for the most part, but sometimes she does things that really irk me. For example, when I started, I was told I could sit and relax during baby nap times. (R was in preschool.) A few months into work, MB would bring a bit of laundry and ask me if I could “Please, please fold it.” I always said yes, because 1) What else am I supposed to say? And 2) I didn't mind. It wasn't too much.

As time went on, though, she started having me do more and more. She has been job creeping like crazy! Yesterday, she posted a written list of chores I need to do daily on the inside of a cabinet. She now says that during S's only nap time in the morning, I need to be cleaning and doing my “chores”. If I get them done, I can rest. Of course, I never get them done before the baby wakes up. Another thing I can't stand MB doing, is whenever she comes into the room and S goes running to her, all she does is plop S in her highchair and give her food. S cries, food. S laughs, food. S runs, FOOD. It's like MB's only solution to the children is food. Not only that, she's constantly giving S candy when I've requested numerous times for her not to do that. S has become very whiny and aggressive, and all the food people shove down her tiny throat don't make it any better. Especially not the candy. MB gives S suckers when I've told her it makes me uncomfortable. I don't think 19 month old children need suckers.

When R gets home from school, we eat lunch and have to go out on some activity. He has some behavioral issues, so on nights when the family is going out I like him to take a nap. MB knows this and agrees. Yet, she often questions why I put him to bed and if I'm going to do useful things while he's in bed. When I started, my job was THE CHILDREN. Now I have to do dishes, grocery shopping, laundry, clean the kitchen/bathrooms/living room/basement and the children's rooms. I don't mind cleaning things or grocery shopping as long as it's for the children. But I think it's ridiculous all the jobs she expects me to do.

Not only that, but I only make $300 a week. My work day is 7am-5:00pm, M-F. And I almost never get out on time. MB has never paid overtime and never pays a babysitting wage on weekends. And she almost never reimburses me for what I spend on her children while we're out. DB is always on business trips and R just wants his fathers' attention. Whenever DB goes on a trip, R loses self control for a few days. Doesn't listen, is very aggressive and says terrible things to myself and his sister. We've tried a lot of different methods to help him, and the only one that works is constantly occupying his time with anything and everything. His favorite distraction is when we have a “Dance Party”. We go into the basement, turn on music, and dance for almost two hours. He loves it, and then we snuggle up on the couch for a nice movie.

The parents and I have an excellent relationship, but I often feel a little odd. They don't treat me like family, friend, or employee. It's something that I honestly can't put my finger on. We have great communication, but MB often tries treating me like a child. I am basically raising her children, and she doesn't respect it.

Wednesday's the children have a swimming class after 5pm. R has a class first, then S and MB have to get in the water together. When we go to swimming, I'm supposed to pay attention to R while MB and S are in the pool. Instead, she puts a screaming-for-attention S in my arms during R's class, and talks to the other mom's. The other mom's are obviously uncomfortable with me and my position, as well as MB ignoring her daughter, but instead of saying something they all cold shoulder me and pretend I don't exist. Then, she never even pays me for the two hours of overtime. I'm much too nervous to ask for any.

I know this jumped around a lot, but I just had to vent. I love my job, but sometimes it makes me want to pull my hair out! Any suggestions on how to approach MB for paying overtime or how to help R during DB's business trips?

25 February, 2012

Drawing a Line in the Snow

opinion 1
Here's the background. I work for a family with a toddler. I'll call her Sam. She is about 15 months old, and has a health condition that causes her to be about the size of an 8 month old-a skinny one. She is a normal active happy child, just very small. There are no day-to-day issues with her health. Yes, I am being vague about her condition, and no, I won't clarify. I bring it up because her size makes me worry more about cold weather. Cold does not affect her condition, my worry is that but she feels cold more because she is so small and has very little body fat.

Her mom wants her to spend lots of time outside every day. When I started in September, this was great! We would often spend two or three hours on a walk. There are lots of parks, trails, etc so there is lots to do outside and Sam was always happy when we were outdoors. I would sometimes take her high chair outside for lunch, and we would walk around the yard looking at rocks and trees and things. When winter came, there were days I would skip our walk and play inside the house (MB doesn't allow anyone to drive Sam, which I am ok with, I don't mind being 'stuck' in the house) because I felt it was too cold. MB was upset when she came home to find we hadn't gone out. Even one day when it was 25 degrees and snowing! MB insists that if I just bundle her up enough, there is no problem.

MB is a skiier and snowboarder and wants Sam to love snow. MB has no problem going out in 15 degree weather, even with wind. She doesn't seem to understand that not only do some people hate the cold, but a baby is much more sensitive to cold than an adult. She has giant snowsuits for Sam. When I put one on her she cries because she can't move or keep her balance. If I take her out in the snow, she will scream if I try to set her down. If she even touches the snow she shakes it off her hand immediately. If I strap her into the stroller with layers and layers of clothing on, she is uncomfortable and will start crying after a few minutes. It seems ridiculous to spend all that time bundling Sam up while she is getting more and more angry, then go out for 5 unhappy minutes, then come inside and unwrap her. One day MB insisted we go to the park, we stayed a total of 3 min because the wind was so cold, every time a gust blew, Sam jumped into my arms and hid her face. I took her home when she started crying. The wind hurt my face, I can't imagine how it felt for a little one.

I am always 100% in favor of kids playing outdoors, I fully understand the importance of it. In this case, it is making the child miserable, and I am not sure if this is healthy for her. I don't want to criticize MB, nor do I want to lie and say I took Sam out when I didn't. March is usually our snowiest month, and I am wondering how to manage this. There are a lot of cold, snowy, windy days ahead. Am I overreacting, or should I be concerned about Sam's well being? Moms, if you had a child who fits comfortably into 6-9 month clothes, would you want her out in the cold? Where would you draw the line? How cold is too cold?

Stressed Nanny Doesn't Want to Invest More Time

opinion 1
I have been working for a single-parent family for since last August. I first started out as her laundry lady, then her personal assistant and now I also watch her 3 boys. The kids are very busy with school, sports, drama & tutoring. This has been the most stressful nanny job I have ever had & I have been nannying for the past 10 years. I am paid 10/hour while the kids are at school and when they get home i earn 15/hour. I do only work 3 days, but they are the most stressful days.

I originally was supposed to be off work at 6pm, but then it was changed to 7pm. I RARELY am out the door by 7, which disrupts any social or family plans I have, much less study time. I am a full time student & have had many other job offers that pay more by the hour & I would be done working by 4pm. I really want to quit, but feel very invested in the family & I do not want the boys to be left with nobody to take care of them. Any advice on how to talk to her & how long I should give her to find a new nanny/personal assistant/housekeeper?!

Sad Ending...

rant 1
I never planned on being a nanny. A twist of events in my post college life leads me to this career. If someone had told me 10 years ago I’d be spending my days up to my elbows in diapers, reading stories beneath a blanket tent, singing “Baby Beluga” so many times the words lose all meaning, tracking down a lost boot, favorite doll, or pacifier, turning the family room into an art gallery to display finger-paint art, library music time, scrubbing bottles and enjoying every minute of it I would have laughed in their faces. Sadly, I think my nanny days have come to an end. I am unable to find work. Rather, I am unable to find work that will allow me to care for myself.

Families, at first, are thrilled to find a nanny with great references, years of experiences that really love what she does until they learn I can’t work for 50 plus hours a week for $250 under the table. I can’t work under the table at all. Yes, I know times are tough, and if I could I’d work for free. But, I have bills and needs. Unlike many of my nanny friends, I am single. I don’t have the benefit of being able to depend on the solid income of a husband so I can’t as they say “just take the job.” I’d consider part time jobs, but I can find none that would allow me a consistent enough schedule for another part time job. So I have decided to turn back to daycare. I have nothing against daycare, it’s where I got my start. However, I will miss the personal interaction of being a nanny that gets lost in a classroom full of children.

Seattle Prattle

opinion 1
I may be doing an overnight for two children (5 years and 16 months). It would be from Friday around 11am through Monday evening. I am just a part time babysitter for the kids, working between 8-20 hours a week. The family pays me 12/hour.

I am not sure what to charge for the overnight. They are very well off (beach front property on a lake). I have a feeling the mom will inform me what she will be paying me and I want to be prepared to accept or refute and then offer something else.

My free time is very valuable to me and the kids aren't the easiest to manage. The 5 year old is sassy as all get out and the 16 month old has severe separation anxiety.

Do I charge them for all awake hours? Like 7am-8pm? So essentially 150 a day for waking hours plus a flat rate for the overnight? What is fair? They live near Seattle. Thanks!

Input on at-home Parents

opinion 1
To work for a "work at home" parent... or to not work for a "work at home parent"... that is the question. I've received numerous job offers from families where one (or both!) parents work from home. This is uncharted territory for me, and I'm wondering if it's a nightmare in the making or if it could actually be just as easy as working for "out of the home" parents. The main concern I have, is that there are infants involved who are too small to go anywhere yet, so I would be tied to the house for the most part.... which means being with the parent(s) all day.... I would love to hear from nannies who work with parents who are home... and their input/feedback.

Abstract Contract

opinion 1
I would like to know what benefits other nannies are negotiating in their contracts. Do you get holiday pay? Sick days? Vacation time? Do you have medical benefits? (I would also love to know what part of the country you are from in your reply!) It's a huge spectrum (I'm learning) and I want to make sure I'm getting what is fair, without pushing my luck.

Debit Diss-Card

opinion 1
I'm a 22 year old full-time nanny to a 14 month old boy. I was hired just over 6 months ago to a great family with two working parents. When I was interviewed and hired, the family and I had verbal agreements regarding pay and responsibilities, but no formal contract was ever written. I agreed to $400 per week for 45 hours (when baby was napping 4+ hours per day) with promise of a raise and 2 weeks paid vacation, with compensation for any days the family takes off. During my first month, my set hours were 8:15-5:30, and I was compensated at $375 for the trial basis. Shortly after that ended, a heap of new responsibilities and 5 hours more per week were added, with no change in compensation aside of being given the $400 I was originally promised. That brings my hourly rate down to $8, and we live in a state where minimum wage is $7.70. My Christmas bonus was $100, and I was promised some clothing from the company MB works for, which never happened.

Here's a run down of my current situation: I work 8:15-6pm Monday through Friday (MB/DB are typically late or arrive at 6 and want to change clothes/make a phone call/etc, and I don't get to leave until after 6:15/6:30. I'm not being compensated for the extra time). Baby is on a new schedule and naps 2 hours per day, which I use to do chores and have a break. I am responsible for 3 meals and a snack for baby, running and unloading the dishwasher, keeping common areas (kitchen/living room/playroom) clean, let the dogs in and out, baby's laundry, and occasionally running an errand related to baby (Dr's appointment, picking up more diapers, etc.). The family has also asked me to begin preparing dinner for MB/DB, but leaves me in a house with no groceries to do so. I've asked that either they leave me $ or have a debit card in my name added to their account so that I can grocery shop for meals, and am always met with 'make a list and we'll pick up whatever you need'. It never happens. Aside of that, they agreed to provide me with a few groceries of my own, but have recently dropped the ball on that as well. I frequently walk in on a Monday morning to find a disaster zone of clutter/dishes from the weekend, and am expected to pick it up. It's also expected that I will feed the dogs twice a day, take out any trash, make MB/DB's morning coffee, and handle the compost bin and recycling, even though these duties were never discussed. I've been told numerous times that we would work out a deal for gas compensation and outings for baby, but DB has never actually followed through on any agreement. Any activity outside of the house, or learning supplies that I bring for baby come out of my pocket. DB also talks frequently about the family restructuring their budget, which makes me nervous about bringing up additional compensation.

Because I'm at the 6 month mark with this family, I'd really like to bring up the idea of creating a formal contract to address my concerns. I just don't know how to bring it up, or what fair amount is to request for a raise/gas and supply compensation. Ideally, I'd like to have a work debit card with an allowance for gas/activities for baby, that they could add money to for things like grocery shopping (which I'm happy to do). I'd also like some sort of 'late fee' for nights that I'm unable to leave when my day is technically supposed to end. I don't want to come across as unappreciative or negative about my position, as I love my nanny family VERY much and really value the relationship I have with MB/DB. What's the best way to approach this? Thank you so much for your advice!

What's Cookin'?

opinion 1
Nannies that cook, what are your go-to websites or books for simple & healthy family meals? I'm talkin' 30 minutes prep tops.

24 February, 2012

ISYN Readers

My apologies for getting behind, I have been dealing with a Family emergency. For those of you that sent in a Submission the past week, I will try my best to catch up by morning. Thank you for your patience. ~ MPP

18 February, 2012

WWYD?

opinion 1
I've been illegally demoted! I've been working with the same family for a year and a half. Three kids, 4 and under. It's great, but at times- its absolutely crazy.. but for the most part, I'm happy in my position.

In December, I found out I was expecting- which was a very welcomed surprise... Because MB only works 1-2 days a week, she was one of the first to know... While I never threw up, the nausea was obvious.

In early January, I was playing with the kids when suddenly I felt blood dripping down my leg. I called MB home from her hair cut and went to the ER immediately (my 1st sick day in a year and a half of employment.) I assumed I had lost the baby. Baby was still there, bouncing around and I was sent home. When I arrived to work the following day, my boss informed me she didn't feel comfortable with me caring for her kids in my unknown condition. I told her I understood, but doctors reassured me that I should be ok. About a week later, she went back to work for two days and things returned to normal. Great. Fine.

Earlier this week I learned I was being demoted. Instead of my salary of $825 a week, I will be working 2-4 days a week at $165 a day, while I work along aside another FT nanny. I am due in August, while new nanny begins in March... So I'm out no less than $700 a month until baby is due. After my maternity leave, there will be no set schedule and I will work random days with, or without other nanny- leaving me no room to get a supplemental part-time job. I'm extremely hurt by this.

When MB went on bedrest at 30 weeks, I worked 12-14 hours a day for 4 months, with no extra salary and I watched my relationship crumble away because of sheer exhaustion and lack of motivation. My life was non-existent, but I stayed because they needed me and I wanted a healthy outcome for all. Now, my job is going to become nothing. I feel like they're only offering me the 2-4 days because they'd rather pay me than pay my unemployment. They will continue to bump my days down to weed me out. If I eventually do get let go, my unemployment will be no big deal since I will have been working such small hours. Unfortunately, we have no contract. We did my first year, but when we got past that, they decided I no longer needed one. So my stock pile of vacation, sick and personal days can't be used for my maternity leave, or to even out the days I will be missing.

Now, here's the big WWYD question. In my state (WI) it is illegal to discriminate against me because of pregnancy. That includes being fired, demoted, laid off, etc. I cannot lose hours or wage because of my child. I've only slightly talked with a lawyer, who confirmed my suspicions of it being against the law. I'm not sure how to go further or if I'd want to. Before it gets suggested- I cannot find a new job. I'm 15 weeks and obviously pregnant. No one will hire me. Yes, I did use bcp. I'm 28, so I'm not stupid... The pill failed. I've been a career nanny for 10 years, all over the country... This is the first issue I've ever had with an employer. Please help! Wwyd? Thanks!

The Super Annoyed Nanny

opinion 1
I have a few issues at hand that I would love everyone's opinions on. First let me start with some background info. I had up until September been working as a nanny in a nanny share for almost three years. Originally when I started there were two different families that I was employed for. The original contract stated that the families would cover three different taxes. I'm not positive but state, Medicaid, and unemployment seem like this was our agreement.

For 2009 I received a w2 from one family (who I no longer work for) from the other family whom of which I stayed with for the three years did not in fact give me a w2. I then had to claim as if I owned my own business and my tax return was 2000$ less when everything was all said and done. They were 2 months late even giving a number to report in 2009. I let this tax issue go even if they had broken our contract. Of course since they took advantage of me with this they clearly didn't value me as an employee so things got even more frustrating as time went on.

I was sexually harassed by a family friend that they knew had a tendency to treat younger women disrespectfully. The father who worked from home and kept his door open was in my face all day long and anything he said was questioning my actions. You guys wouldn't believe how overbearing he was. So my main mistake in this shortened story was that I was ready to quit on
numerous occasions because of this stay at home father.... I made the huge mistake of talking to my other employer who was at this point a friend (she was the other family in the share). I told the mother that I was struggling with the DB and he was rude, a micromanager and that he made me feel as tho he didn't trust me. He also would do weird things like pick up my phone and read a text (when I would never even go near his phone.) He would take my lunch even tho my name was on it and he would eat it right in from of me. When the family that I loved told me that they were going to look for another nanny to watch their new baby and that they were going to put their older child in a center for interaction with other children I was devastated. They were amazing communicators and were always appreciative of the little things.

So after not much thought I approached the awesome MB and asked her if they would think about keeping me on as their nanny and leaving the current nanny share. Obviously the awesome DB and MB said yes. So now I am happily in the new nanny share. I gave the family that I had been with for three years a 4 1/2 month notice to find a new nanny. They didn't take it well at all! The dad walked away and slammed his door. He did not pay me for the next two weeks. He did not talk to me for the next two months and barely even after that I was told by the wife MB that I was unprofessional, ruining their marriage ....etc. It was unbelievable.

The hard part was the mothers (the two MBs) talked the day after I gave my notice. I would have NEVER told the original MB or DB how I felt about the DB. But for some reason the (awesome MB ) told the other MB that I had an issue with the overbearing DB the day after I gave my notice! Awesome MB had NO right whatsoever to tell my other employer anything. She should have said talk to the nanny. I obviously shouldn't have gossiped about my employer to anyone let alone the other family in the share. Trust me I have learned my lesson! The awesome MB never apologized to me for her telling the other family that I was having a hard time with the DB. The 4 1/2 notice was a nightmare because both of the overbearing MB and DB were so mad at me.

Now they still haven't fixed my tax issues months later. I have a contract that they broke. They never filed for 2009 and I got my w2 for 2010 and it was incorrect. I feel as though I am untitled to this money. What do you all think? My other question was my new contract with awesome MB states that I only have 3 paid days. The days are either sick days/personal days/or vacation days. I feel as though my last contract was 5 paid vacation days and 5 sick/personal days. I am a bit offended since I left my job for them and also if it wasn't for the MB I would have most likely have a good reference from the other family. The main reason they were upset with me is because the DB was so embarrassed about people hearing that he was rude, overbearing and a micromanager. What do you all have for vacation time? I am super annoyed and feel that I should have triple this time.

Feeling Guilty

opinion 1
Does anyone else feel guilty turning a family down when interviewing? I mean, this is such a personal job... how do you not expect a family to take it personally when you choose not to work for them? I always have such a hard time, especially when they want me to do a "working interview"... telling them that I don't think that they are the right fit for me. I have been a professional nanny for over a decade, and it never seems to get any easier.

Standard Request?

opinion 1
Is it standard to have a parent request you don't wear make up or nail polish? I don't anyway but I just wanted to know if this was common.

Do "On-Calls" Count?

opinion 1
Hello I am looking for some advice/opinions. I am a nanny working in Munich, Germany. I work in a family with 3 children aged 2, 3 and 4. The children attend day-care from 9-4 every day and my work hours are 7am-9am and 4pm-9pm daily with a few additional hours for babysitting in the evenings, swim classes one evening or if someone is home sick. My contract is 30 hours a week and anything over that I am paid hourly for.

My question is regarding 'on call' time, which I have never used before, such as the day-care calling the mom if someone gets sick. Next month the mother will take a one week vacation to the USA and the father works long hours and does not play a role in the child care during the week. During the week when she is gone if one of the children is sick at day-care I will be called to collect them. For those days i am 'on call' - I cant go too far from the kindergarten and I will need to be close enough to home to return and collect a stroller in case I should need to go and collect one.

So, my contract has nothing about 'on call' hours and the parents are very approachable but I would like to know what I should expect here or ask for. I was going to suggest 50% of an hour would be the 'on call' time. So for example 4 hours 'on call' would be 2 hours work. This is likely to take me over my 30 hour working week should I use this for 5 days plus the regular hours (see above) meaning they would be paying me overtime that week. Or do 'on call' hours not get counted at all? I certainly don't want to appear greedy or rude as I know that I am not 'working' with all the children out of the house. Thanks in advance.

13 February, 2012

Making Friends...

Not sure if this type of post is allowed...but I figured I'd give it a shout. I am a nanny in NC and would love to meet fellow NC nannies...how many of you are out there and where in NC are you?

12 February, 2012

appropriate
Are we allowed to report posters? I feel as though certain posters have crossed the line with their recent post gone from internet crankiness to making threats. Perhaps a reminder from you of appropriate behavior is needed.
________________________________________________________________
Certain names in this Submission have been deleted to protect the "snarky"... however, most of you free-thinkers know who you are. To the poster, I must respectfully admit ISYN does not condone censorship.

Unemployment Benefits vs Misunderstood Finances

opinion 1
I recently started training for a family that I found on Care.com. They needed someone to start right away and I needed a job right away (I'd been unemployed for five weeks at the time) and that's all I really knew about them at first. It turns out that we had a huge misunderstanding about what I was going to be paid. Mom thought one thing, Dad thought another - and Dad is the one who is in charge of finances. It wasn't either one of their faults. They aren't able to budge on what they can pay me because Dad is a contractor and doesn't have reliable or steady work. I can't live off of what they are offering unless I get a second job - and since it wasn't easy for me to find a first job - I doubt that's going to happen.

The obvious solution to this problem is to quit, before I get too involved and before they do too. But the problem is that they just had a nanny that quit after a few weeks and they were pretty upset about it because they really liked her, and Mom had to take time off of work to show her the ropes, and then immediately after had to take off time to show me. I don't want her to have to take off even more time to find a replacement for me, and I don't have another job lined up - but unemployment finally accepted my claim and they would be paying me pretty close to what she is paying me so I wouldn't be completely down and out. It's also painful because I know that she really likes me, and they've made various references to the fact that they'd like to keep me on with them forever.

I was thinking about explaining what happened with the misunderstanding and explaining that it just won't work out for me and that I'm very sorry, but I'd be more than willing to help them find someone else and show them the ropes before I go - which gives me time to find a new job and they won't be out either. I'm sad because the kids are really great and well behaved. They are my most favorite ages - 3 and 5, and they only go to school a few hours a day so I am still able to work full-time. They have lots of activities so I've never felt bored with them and the time passes so quickly because we have a lot of fun. They are extremely well behaved and have good manners. I think any nanny who could afford what they are paying would be lucky to have them - unfortunately I live in an expensive town with an expensive car and a lot of credit card debt, so that person isn't me. What would you do?

On-Call Compensation

opinion 1
Hi, I'm a first time poster and want to see what both nannies and employers think about this. I'm looking at working for a two doctor family and in addition to normal work hours during the day (6-6 M-F), would be asked to be on-call some nights and weekends because as doctors, they would be on-call. How should I be paid for being on-call? Would there be a flat fee even if I don't get called? Plus time and a half if I do get called in? (it will be on top of the 60 hours I'm already working for the week.) How would you all handle this? Thanks and looking forward to your answers!

11 February, 2012

Train Trip Derails Nanny

opinion 1
Hello, I am a young 20s female nanny in manhattan, nannying for a 2 month old and a 20 month old. I need some help with traveling compensation.

When I took the job, I agreed to travel with the family on their various trips. I had never traveled with a nanny family before and didn't know how much work it actually was. My family and I are leaving for a week long trip this week and I am not looking forward to it and feel like I am being taken advantage of. Here is the situation-

We are traveling by train because the parents think its fun and what not, but it is a 30 hour train ride. I will not have my own sleeping room but rather will be sharing a room and bunk bed with the 20 month old. It's not a huge deal, but I am married and privacy would have been nice. Then yesterday when I asked a bit more about the hotel situation (we are staying in a three bedroom penthouse) I found out some shocking news. They are having company stay with us the whole week and I am expected to share a bedroom with the 20 month old the entire trip! Which means that I will basically be working 24/7 with no extra compensation. They don't seem to find it a problem at all. They claim I will still be working my normal 45 hours and that I will have time to myself. They also haven't told me if they will be paying for my food and other expenses. When I expressed concern about sharing a bedroom and not having privacy I was simply told not to worry about it because the hotel is pretty big. And when I expressed concern about the train ride they said that it would be fun. I don't understand why they think this is a vacation for me too!

I will be away from home and my husband for seven days and sharing a room with the child for six nights. So my question is how much extra should I ask for? I feel so frustrated that these things were never communicated to me and that I am just expected to go with the flow. I am so nervous with how exhausting it will be- I feel like I won't have any time to recharge myself and or I won't have any privacy. Help please!

Death and Taxes

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guest column
So, January is gone in one of those blink and you’ve missed it spurts of time. I love January. I spend the entire month of January full of New Year energy, eating well, working out more, removing credit cards from my wallet and attempting to hide them from myself as I have once again resolved to be Debit Not Credit for a full year. (Last year I made it until April when I broke down and bought really good concert tickets.) And, my favorite part of January, I get to file my taxes.

I love filing my taxes so much that this year on New Year Eve at the Furthur concert during the countdown spectacle – which was a woman in costume riding a huge, glowing, growling, smoke spewing dragon from the rafters of the venue down to the stage as The Rolling Stones “Start me Up” blasted from the sound system with thousands of people chanting “THREE…TWO…ONE…HAPPY NEW YEAR…” and then the band launched into “Sugar Magnolia” and I kissed my boyfriend heartily – a very small part of my brain was actually thinking, “I wonder how long it will take for my W-2 to arrive in the mail?” A larger part of my brain was also wondering when the bar outside our section would be closing soon and if I should fetch myself another drink to keep my perfect New Year’s buzz buzzing along for the third set. But let the record show, it was only several strokes past midnight on January 1st, and I was excited to file my taxes.

During the tenure of my nanny career, I have had those interviews where the family tries to convince me that paying me under the table would be to my great advantage. They would be able to afford a higher hourly rate, they would point out, if they did not have to be saddled with the huge burden of paying the amount of monies it would cost them to cover payroll taxes. Seriously, they make it sound like a fee imposed by the Mob. I have this theory about those who employ a Nanny. As it has been pointed out on this blog, having an educated professional come to your home to watch your child is the most expensive form of childcare, and as with dining out in a fine restaurant, if you can’t afford to do it right, don’t do it. I would never go out to eat, and then smile at the waitress and say, “Everything was excellent, but I cannot afford to leave you a tip. I’m sure you understand!”

If you are not being paid on the books, you are not paying into your social security or Medicare, there is no hope of ever receiving unemployment should you lose your job and there is no Workers Comp should you get injured on the job. Furthermore, your employers are not contributing to our nation’s economy by engaging in Black Market policies - yes - I did say Black Market, for if you are not reporting your income or paying taxes on your employee you are breaking the law and committing a crime. Wanna sleep well at night? Pay your taxes.

Now, about those pesky employers who suggest that you simply claim your own taxes by filing a 1099, I will retort with the argument that a Nanny is not an Independent Contractor, a Nanny is an employee. Independent Contractors use the 1099 tax forms. Employees do not. Independent Contractors generally set their own hours and decide their workload and tasks for the day. Does that sound like the general life of a Nanny? My employers sets my schedule and responsibilities, therefore, I am an employee. I spoke at length about this topic with a good friend of mine who is also an excellent accountant. He described one grey area to this argument. If I myself were to open a Nanny Agencies that ONLY placed Nannies on short-term assignments - say just for one day or one evening– at tax time those Nannies could file an entire slew of 1099 forms for all the jobs they did, as I had placed them as Independent Contractors. Additionally he explained, Employees who wished to file a tax return independent of that vexatious employer who is refusing to withhold taxes, they should turn to the schedule C section on the 1040 Unincorporated Business tax form, not the 1099. The Wikipedia website gives this quote regarding the 1099 tax form on their website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRS_tax_forms:

“Form 1099 series is used to report various types of income other than wages, salaries, and tips (for which Form W-2 is used instead). Examples of reportable transactions are amounts paid to a non-corporate independent contractor for services (in IRS terminology, such payments are nonemployee compensation)”

Over the years as I evolved from the 1040ez form procured from the Post Office to doing my taxes online with Turbo Tax, I have learned several pointers about filing my taxes as a career nanny that result in a larger refund, and I would like to share them with you on this blog to assist my fellow Nannies during tax time.

Keep a car/gas log.
What is one of the oldest complaints here on this blog? That the nanny does not get reimbursed for gas, repairs and wear and tear on their personal vehicle that they use for their job. If you were to begin a car and gas log right now and keep it for the entire year, next January you will have a record of exactly what you spent on gas for your job, and how many miles you drove for your job. With my position, I am incessantly on the go in my car. As the Nanny/ House Manager / PA for my family I am driving constantly, from picking up dry-cleaning to dropping off children picking up groceries to shuttling pets to picking up the children again. The Turbo Tax program walks you through your deductions, and the better records you keep, the better your tax return can be for you and your bank account. Look over your log and figure out the percentage that you are using your car for work. Save each and every receipt, for there are sections to report not only gas and mileage, but also oil changes, registration fees, and other general repairs. Keeping a log for your vehicle that you use for work will keep all your data accurate. Turbo Tax gives you the option as well to ask for a standard deduction for your vehicle, and my accountant friend suggests that this, as well as trying to get your employer to refund you for gas is a wonderful way to go. However, for the employee who does not get reimbursed, it is very good to know how to handle it for yourself. And, as we all know from reading the rants on this blog, a lot of nannies never get reimbursed.

Receipts, receipts and more receipts!
What have you purchased in the last year to use for your job? Has your employer sprung a dress code on you? Did you procure a cell phone for your job? A computer? Finger paints? Lesson plans? Keep those receipts Nannies. A proper tax program will assist you in itemizing your deductions, but you’ll need to make certain that you’ve done your part in filing away your receipts in an organized fashion.

So, my fellow Nannies, I wish you all a wonderful and prosperous 2012, where everyone is paid on the books, properly reimbursed, maintain their receipts in an OCD fashion and has a proper W-2 in their fist next year. Let us all make a resolution to be treated like the professional that we are.
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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.

Comments Raise Concern Over Nanny Cam

opinion 1
I've been working for two families that I love, keeping their two infants. One family brings their baby over to the other family's house each day. So for a while now I've suspected that they have a nanny cam because of certain comments they've made and I think it could be apart of their security system because there are motion sensors in every room. The one in the room we stay the most in is far out of my reach and doesn't seem to work as a real motion sensor. So I just don't know what to do about this, I take great care with these babies and the parents talk about how valuable I am, but I am not ok with being filmed. It's just creepy to me even though I'm in their house with their babies. I would feel very violated if I found out they did have a camera and would want to leave because I've had several other job offers, but I love these babies. Please any ideas would be appreciated.

MB Scrutinizes the Scraps

opinion 1
I recently started a new job and so far it is going great. The little girl just turned one and is easygoing and adorable. The MB (single mom) is really nice. We easily agreed on pay, hours, job duties, etc, and so far we have both stuck to it. There is only one thing, not a big deal at all, but it is making me a little bit uncomfortable. This MB, like many others, told me to go ahead and eat anything I wanted. She also said she would buy food for me if I tell her what I liked. I told her I wasn't picky, I would be happy with whatever is here, which is true. I also said to let me know if something was off limits. She said all food was fair game, I should feel free to eat anything in the house. I don't have a very big appetite, so I don't eat much when I'm at work. First she started asking me if I was getting enough to eat, I said yes. If I made a can of soup or pasta or whatever, I put the leftovers in tupperware and in the fridge. I clean up after my meals completely of course.

The weird thing is that she started commenting on what I have eaten. She looked in the fridge and said things like, "Did you leave your food here?" or "Where did this come from?" It seemed as though I had done something wrong in her eyes, so I apologized (without knowing what for) and she said "Oh, no, it's no problem at all. Eat whatever you want." She then continued to question everything I ate. I thought maybe she didn't like the leftovers sitting there, so I asked if she would rather I throw the leftovers away. Again she said it was fine to leave it in tupperware. I can't understand what the problem is, she keeps saying it's all fine, but if it were fine, why does she keep commenting on it every day? I feel like she is trying to drop a hint that I'm not getting. I prefer honest communication to hints, but I haven't worked for her for long, and everything else is going so well that I don't want to rock the boat by forcing a frank conversation when really it isn't a big issue at all. I just don't want to feel like every bite I take is under scrutiny, and if I am doing something that she doesn't like, I wish I could figure it out.

The Haughty Nanny

opinion 1
I just started a job for a wonderful family. The kids are an infant, a 12 and 11 year old. The pay is great and the family is super layed back, encouraging outings and even personal shopping trips so I can get out of the house. The neighborhood has 2 other nannies. I have went on two outings with them and it drove me nuts! I've always had annoyances with other nannies but I always give it a shot. Something about them just always gets to me. Idk what it is but i have never been able to stand it. Does anyone else steer clear of other nannies or am I just stuck up?

Structuring a Fair Arrangement

opinion 1
Hello, I found your site and wanted to ask for some guidance. My question is how should I structure a financial arrangement for a housekeeper/nanny?

I have a lady that has been working for me for about 6 months. She is from Mexico and understands English very well but does not speak it as well. She has two school age children. She is very recently separated from her abusive husband and is going to be moving into our apartment in the back with her two children. We have been paying her $10/hour to babysit/clean. She works from 9-3 now because she has to pick up and drop off her kids at school. Right now she is working 3 days a week. I want to put her on full time, 5 days a week. That will change next year when they switch schools. We do not use her yet on the weekends but would like to have her start sitting one weekend night so we can go out. We have two children at home now, 3 and 1, and my wife is also at home. L is not a nanny but more a caretaker/babysitter.

How do I work out rent and pay so that it is fair for both of us. We will be paying utilities so there are no bills that she has to pay for housing.

Making a Pitch for More Pay

opinion 1
Ahhhh, money. The most uncomfortable part of working as a nanny! I've been a nanny for 7+ years, taught preschool and have a background in education. I've worked for my current family for about 2 years and they are nothing but wonderful. I truly love them and enjoy being at work. I get paid alright and it's all on the books through a payroll company which is amazing. Here's my "issue"--aside from caring for the families 4 awesome children I do the kids laundry, ensure that the house is looking neat (I don't do any deep cleaning, ever) just pick up when things are out of place, dishes, load/unload dishwasher, pick up toys, organize pantry/closets/fridge when there is time and I grocery shop and cook dinner for the family about 3 nights a week. I also ensure that there is fresh food for all to eat throughout the week, cut up food, poached, steamed, etc. so it's a grab and go kind of fridge. I don't mind doing any of it as long as there is time during the day which there typically is. Monster #1 is at school full time, monster #2 is at school part time and a very helpful, independent child and monster's 3 and 4 are mine full time. #'s 3 and 4 are now walking and not taking their typical 2 LONG naps a day. We're more on a 45 min short nap and a 2.5-4 hour long nap (on a good day) in the afternoon.

Ok so my question--how do I ask for a raise? I feel like I do a LOT and while I truly don't mind most of the time I don't usually find time to sit down most days unless monsters 3 and 4 are crawling all over me. Although I feel like I am paid alright I know that from the work I do it's kind of low. I'd be open to something other than a dollar amount raise (like health insurance paid for, paid sick days/time off) but I just don't know how to approach the subject without sounding greedy/rude/needy/etc. ANY advice from parents or nannies out there is greatly appreciated.

{I know that the family can afford to do this so it's not a question of funding being there it's just a question of parents being pulled in 7 million directions between 4 kids and 2 jobs and not thinking of these things} Thank you in advance for any kind words!

Navigating the Nanny Career Path

opinion 1
I have a question for all you nannies, and I'm sure it's one that's been brought up indirectly here before. I am a nanny in my mid/late twenties. I have a college degree (BA), live in Boston, own a car, and have been a full-time nanny since college (including part-time while in college). Now, the reason I continued to nanny after college is because I honestly wasn't really sure what I wanted to do once out of college, as a career. I am at the point where I have now been a full-time nanny for 5 years. I do like being a nanny- it's a fun gig if you are with a good family, the pay is very good (in my area, and again, with the right family), the jobs are usually flexible, and it's a pretty active job. I didn't want to be a nanny as a career though. And i still can't see myself being a nanny past the age of 30 (not that that's a bad thing, I just never saw myself being a career nanny).

I don't want to go back school for a couple different reasons, but I also know if I try to enter in a new job field, I'll have to start at an entry level position, making a VERY low wage. I am making $18/hour as a nanny, so doing that is very unappealing to me. I am not currently on the books, but am finding a new job soon, and plan to find one that is on the books with benefits. What have other nannies done when they are in my situation? Being on the fence about staying in the nanny field. What about when we have a baby/kids of our own? What about when we get older? Or, what have other nannies done when they decided they were done nannying (and didn't want to go the school route). Any suggestions, opinions, advice, and stories would be great. Thanks!

Pros & Cons

opinion 1
Nannies & Parents: what do you look for in a nanny placement agency, babysitter website, or job ad? Likes and dislikes?

The Beverly Hills Nanny

opinion 1
I have a question... I was a live in nanny for the last 7 years in Beverly hills. I had 3 children under the age of 8 and was making 60k a year. What should I charge for one child 15months with the hours of 730am-630pm m-f... And does it make sense to obtain an LLC for tax purposes?? Thank you.

10 February, 2012

Stepping Stone Museum - Harford County, Havre de Grace, Maryland

bad nanny sighting
Stepping Stone Museum, Tuesday, 2/7, 3-5 pm - A large black woman with her hair (greyish dreds) pulled back into a pony tail, possibly wearing glasses, watching a boy about 18 months old with brown wavy hair was totally ignoring the little one in the slippery wet area as he struggled. She later yanked him by the arm and yelled at him "you gotta walk" - this was at least an hour later. She then yanked him up by one arm and lifted him up to her shoulder all in one motion and headed out. The kid looked like his shoulder went out of the socket! I observed her through the time I was there as she ignored him and yawned. No nuturing for this young child - so don't think oh how great she takes him to the museum.

07 February, 2012

I.R.S. = I'm Really Screwed!

opinion 1
I posted a while back about the nanny job that started out ok, but soon turned into an illegal-wage, overworked, bad situation. I was paid under the table by this woman ($550 every 2 weeks), I know it was stupid to not be on the books, it was my first time ever not going by the books and now I am regretting it. She sent me a text message tonight asking for my social security number for taxes. Taxes were NEVER discussed, she did not take taxes out of my checks. Do I need to give her this information? My husband and I have already done our taxes for 2011 because I knew I was not getting a W-2 from her, obviously. Will I get screwed if she puts me down as a "household employee" on her taxes? Will I end up owing taxes? If I don't give her my info could she take me to court? I am so pissed off. Thanks in advance for any advice, I'm not sure what do here.

The Nanny Plague

rant 1
Now before any Moms that are reading this get insulted-I am in NO WAY generalizing all Moms out there and saying they are all the same. I am just going to point out something I have experienced with Moms I have had encounters with in my area personally. Why is it that some Moms don't seem to want to associate with a nanny? My previous job was complete opposite--all of my MB's friends loved me and would gladly plan playdates/outings with me and my charges. But with this job--maybe it's the area I'm in--I feel like I have the nanny plague!! I take my charge to music classes, swim classes, to the park, etc., and have had many conversations with many mothers. More often than none, they stop being interesting in talking to me after they find out I am the nanny--then, after that encounter, they never interact with me again.

What is so bad about us nannies that Moms just don't want to be around us? I don't understand. Has anyone else experienced this? Again-I am NOT generalizing and saying all mothers are like this..I know they are not. Just wondering if anyone else has had the same issue. It's insulting to me. I'm extremely friendly and outgoing and always trying to meet new people because I know NO ONE here so it kind of hurts me when Moms act like they don't want someones nanny thrown at them.

You Lucky Duck!

opinion 1
I work 7 hours a day, Monday through Friday. I just returned from 5 days of traveling with my nanny family. Here is my question...I can be compensated any way I like. Before we left I mentioned to them that I would just like to trade for a paid week off to attend a family vacation out-of-state this summer (in addition to my regular vacation week). But at that time, I thought my traveling work hours would be the same as at home. We all thought that. As it happened the parents needed a lot more from me.

The breakdown:
Normal work week: 5x7=35

The traveling week:
Mon. (at home) - 7 hours
Tues. (driving with child and family) - 8 hours
Wed. 7am - 10pm - 15 hours
Thurs. 8am - 7pm - 11 hours
Fri. 7am - 5:30 pm - 10.5 hours
Sat. (childcare) 7am - noon; then driving home until 6pm

61 hours Plus, 4 overnights away from home but not being responsible for children while I slept.

My nanny family was very accommodating, giving me carte blanche with a debit card to decide on outings, eat meals out, whatever I wanted with the children. They brought me a beautiful gift from the conference one night, and they always asked me to choose the restaurants when we shared meals together. Before we left, they even sent me their top 3 rental choices at the beach and let me pick the house I'd be most comfortable in. It was an enjoyable week as far as work goes, but it was exhausting to be "on" for so many hours by myself. It becomes hard because there is a double bind. I want, as a dependable employee, for the parents to be able to relax within their work and not to worry about the children. I think that is a huge part of my professionalism as a nanny. I stay upbeat, tell them about fun hi-lights in the day and let them know that the children were really great (because they were)..But it seems to slip easily into the mindset of "Look how much fun this is, a nice vacation for the nanny too." And while it is fun, it is exhausting and not what I would be doing if I wasn't working.

That being the outline of the story, bottom line, they have asked me how I want to be compensated for the trip now, considering the hours were more than expected. I would love some ideas on how you would handle the situation. Of course, I want to be fair to all of us. Moms? Dads? Nannies? Ideas? Thank you!
- Lucky Duck on a Beach

Wash, Rinse, Repeat...

opinion 1
I'm interested in knowing what other nannies have covered in their contracts. Who writes the contract? Is there a good website to download one from?

05 February, 2012

Park in Downtown Southern Pines, NC

bad nanny sighting
Park in downtown Southern Pines, NC--young nanny, maybe early 20's...blonde. Kids were calling her Katie. She was driving a white mini van. Kids were playing on the playground and kept asking her to catch them down the slide and she would say no...while she stood by the van smoking a cigarette. I heard her call one of the little boys Riley. She eventually went over to the slide to help one of the boys--with her cigarette in hand. Hope this post gets seen by the right people!
beware 3
I was just looking for a site to report a very bad Nanny. Patricia K. in Andover Massachusetts. She would take care of my 3 year old daughter on weekends. She was abusive and mean to her. I don't believe this person is licensed at all. Don't leave your children in her care.

Nanny Bothered by Brothers' Inappropriate Behavior

opinion 1
Hi there, I really need some advice. I recently started working with a family of two boys. At first, I really enjoyed my job, and the money is decent, but lately things have been getting not only hard, but very weird as well. I am chronically ill and my health is deteriorating. My employers know of this, and although they seem to care, they don't seem to understand the seriousness. I'll be having surgery to repair some back problems and also a knee surgery in the next 5 months. I have been trying to imply that I am too sick to work any longer, but my comments fall on deaf ears. MB is one of those "fake nice" people who will say something that seems harmless but definitely has some rudeness behind it. She has judged my parents (having never met them) and my upbringing, questioned my diagnosis's, and practically ignored my concerns about the children.

Since I started working there, I've noticed that the boys (4 and 9) are extremely close. No arguing, fighting or rough housing. Instead they cuddle, sit on each others laps, dance together, and kiss. I was a little suspicious at first, but the parents assured me "that's just how brothers are." I have nannied for several families before this, and have several cousins and a brother, and I have never seen kids act like this. Yesterday, I was talking to the 4 year old, and he told me some very disturbing things that his brother makes him do, if you know what I mean. I got physically ill and could not look the older child in the eyes. I have never had to deal with anything like this before. I was absolutely shocked. I struggled for hours about what to do next. I decided to tell DB about what the child told me. He didn't seem concerned whatsoever, and he made it seem like he didn't believe me. I was very upset.

Today I found myself watching them very closely and keeping the young one around me at all times. I just feel horrible. The older one told him it was "exercise" and that it was a secret. I asked my mom for advice, as she has been around children her whole life. She told me to get the money they owe me and quit immediately. I do want to quit for a few different reasons, but I can't seem to find the words (or guts) to do it. I'm so conflicted because it's not necessarily the parent's fault, and I know that younger kids do experiment as they don't really know what they're doing. But the oldest is 9. He should know better. DB made alot of excuses for what might be going on... "boys will be boys" "it's probably a silly game they made up" "completely harmless." I honestly don't feel that way, and I know in my gut what's been going on. It's very obvious and like I said, I had some initial concern.

What would you do in this situation? It's a very strange environment, and I'm extremely uncomfortable working there now. I am in my 20's so I don't have too much insight on this situation. Any help would be appreciated.

The Sibling/Surrogate/Sitter... and her Undisciplined, Devilishly-Cute Niece

opinion 1
For starters, this is my first post to ISYN - and I'm not what you could really qualify as a professional caregiver. In fact, I'm not really a nanny at all - except when I'm called on in the case of my sister's only child, a daughter, S. But even this sort of on-call whenever-you-need-me type of babysitting has given rise to some trouble and some questions, and I really don't know if I'm being unreasonable or not. So, I thought it might not be such a bad idea to ask the professionals and see.

A little detail: I'm a twenty-two year old full-time college student, currently in the process of finishing my BA (after sort of back-tracking to get my AA first) and unemployed. At the time this all started, I wasn't doing much during the day, because I was between semesters, and didn't have much activity - other than to stay home, sleep, write a little and generally laze about. I have an uncomfortable relationship with my stepmother and my family is what you might call extended, with my oldest sibling being closer to forty and my youngest only eleven; Daddy has been married twice and had a few extra-matrimonial kids too so while most of us siblings haven't lived together very long or at all, we're still family. That being said, if I've ever been close to any of my elder siblings, it's always been my sister, who's ten years older than myself, making her thirty-two. That might seem like a lot of unnecessary background information, but I want to make sure I explain this right.

My sister, who I'll call N, was a bit of a party girl; drinking with friends all night, going out every night of the week and weekend, working with a hangover and generally living for herself. She got pregnant a few years ago and though the relationship with her baby-daddy didn't work out, she did decide to have the child and I now have a beautiful, albeit moderately troublesome and undisciplined niece. My sister lives in an upper-average sized 1-1 apartment in a semi-nice neighborhood, just her and her daughter. She works one job full time and another part time, for a few hours, on Sunday afternoons. My niece is three now and a real handful; she's also unbearably cute, sweet-looking and manipulative. She's quick to throw a tantrum, but even quicker with the tears; my sister is only vaguely stern with her and only very rarely - for the most part, she just let's her daughter run wild and threatens her with 'pow-pow' when she's getting unruly. My niece is usually good after that, for all of a minute or so, and then it's chaos again.

So, my problems start here. Originally, my sister would call me every now and then (when my niece was still only two years old) and ask me if I wanted to get away from my stepmother for a day or two, maybe come over and have some wine with her and watch a chick flick. I jumped at those opportunities - who wouldn't? And we would do just that - spend that whole night hanging out; that was great. But, as things would go, it always seemed like the next day, my sister would tell me she'd love to have me stay another night - and then would casually tell me that she's thinking of going out with so-and-so for a few hours and would it be okay if I could do her the super-easy favor of watching my niece for a few hours while she went out for drinks. She would offer to get S to bed herself before she left and told me basically all I had to do was make sure she was safe while she slept. It seemed like an easy enough task to do for my sister helping me out of my house for a few days, so I agreed. Again. And again. And again.

It started to be a sort of routine thing. Pretty soon, N stopped calling me to ask if I 'wanted to get away'; now it became 'hey, will you come watch S for me?' And even still, I'd try and do my part and agree - but more and more, she pushed it. She'd call me with barely any notice at all - "Hey, I'm around the corner. Do you mind watching S for me tonight? And tomorrow afternoon?" I said yes, most times, because I felt pressured and trapped - and this is my big sister, who tries to help me out whenever possible. I thought I was being pretty accommodating, though I never complained. Even when I had plans already, my sister would wheedle and beg and I would agree, because I was trying to be helpful and all that. She even had me cooking meals for my niece, cleaning up after S, washing dishes and giving her a bath, putting her down for naps, straightening up, etc. The most I ever did was ask her for dinner-money (which sort of dissolved since we usually ordered pizza anyway) and maybe like, twenty-bucks, flat - as a total for both days. I didn't think it was too much of a big deal, asking for a few bucks, when she knows I'm unemployed and could use a little money. The girl who used to babysit my niece for her, another friend of hers, lived in her apartment with her and slept on her couch - and still charged her two-hundred a week, while my sister was also paying baby-daddy's mother to watch her during the day, instead of enrolling her in daycare. Compared to all that, my twenty-dollars seemed paltry, I thought.

But my sister thought otherwise. The whole comment started an argument about how ungrateful I was to her and how she'd done so much for me throughout my life and how low and shitty it was of me to request any kind of payment for babysitting my own niece. I tried to tell her it wasn't about babysitting my niece or not - my own mother used to give me twenty dollars to watch my little sister on date-night. I tried explaining that to her but she blew me off and told me something like, "Pssht, fine, I'll give you twenty bucks. But you're staying both nights then." And even though I felt she was being really unfair and kinda snotty, I agreed and stayed the two nights. And both nights my sister went out at ten (after barely putting S to bed) and came home at dawn; my niece got up (and gets up, regularly) at eight in the morning and proceeded to bug me into waking up, when I'd only gotten to sleep when my sister came home. She got to sleep in and I got to pull the equivalent of a double.

S is an absolute nightmare most days, which is sad because she's such a sweet-looking little cutie. She's a mommy-clinger so if my sister goes anywhere, S has to go too. She's also very independent and anal retentive, even for a three year old. No one can turn on the faucet for her, she has to do it herself. No one can open the door for her, or hand the key-card to the gate guard, or turn the door knob or hand over the pen, etc. She has to be involved in every movement that's done within her sight. She's also a finicky eater, and even though my sister still has her sitting in a high-chair, she flings her food to the floor and laughs about it, and giggles and shoves her plate off again if I try to pick it up. She has a bad habit of writing on my sister's bedroom walls with my sister's wealth of make-up - in eyeliner and lipstick - and will often do something bad and then come out with a sweet smile to tell you she did so... and then run for cover and giggle the whole time you try to discipline her. She has a whole wall of the living room lined with toys and when she feels like it, she'll throw them at the walls, the windows, me and anywhere else she wants to; I tell her to pick them up, she says no and runs off so I can't catch her, then cries and screams if I do. If I pick up the toys myself, she kicks them over again and runs away. I think she's secretly a little ADHD, but my sister won't get her tested or anything like that and says I just need to "play" with her more. And trust me, I try. But S's favorite activity is watching and re-watching the same three or four Disney dvds and never leaving; I'm not allowed to take her anywhere either. So all I can do is try to read to her (which she refuses to sit still for) or watch her movies with her (over and over again, and even still she gets listless and causes chaos).

She really has no concept of being truly apologetic, because my sister is so lax with her - she tells S, "No, don't do that" but she smiles a moment later and my niece writes it off entirely. The only time I've ever seen her actually take heed is when my sister gives her a light smack on the tush, or a three-count spanking. Then she pays attention and goes to sulk in a corner and cry - which only lasts so long because my sister inevitably goes over to cuddle her and hug her. Which I understand. As a soft-hearted person, I hate seeing her cry too - but my sister's attitude toward discipline makes it really hard to deal, because she won't let me give S a little swat on the tush or discipline her in any forceful way at all. Which I know sounds terrible, but she's a really difficult child and not even being allowed to verbally discipline her actions makes dealing with her impossible. I never really believed in corporal punishment with children, but when I was a kid, Daddy only ever spanked me twice - and I'll be damned if I didn't remember to behave. He only ever did it twice, but I learned my lessons. Partly, I think S's problems are because she doesn't have a steady influx of fatherly stern-ness. Her father only gets to see her every now and then and so when he does, he dotes on her endlessly and spoils her. And my sister is no better; S is her buddy, not her child.

All of this, mind you, is her normal "good day" behavior. Bad days - don't even get me started (this email is long enough already). Now that I started school again, I have far less time and availability then before - which is just fine with me because it gives me a much needed excuse to keep from having to babysit. It's gotten to the point that, whenever my sister calls to ask if I'll babysit while she goes out to party, I tell her I'm busy or just ignore her call flat out. (And a lot of the time, I am legitimately busy, with school or friends or my own life.) I've started to feel abused by her, and her expectations. She never wants to hear "no" from me, and makes a great big deal out of it every time. Her comments range from "come on, please, just this once" to, "what, do you want me to pay you something more for it" to "that's your niece and you're so ungrateful, what kind of sister are you". I've gotten tired of it. So most days, I just avoid answering her calls and focus on school and my own life.

What really motivated me to post to ISYN is this: I was at a friends house, watching a movie, planning on spending the night - taking a night off from school for the first time in weeks. My friend tagged me on Facebook and almost immediately I got a shitty message from my sister - "It's amazing how you never have time for me when I need you, but you have time to go hang out with your friends. SMH. You're fucking amazing. Some sister." And I'm not going to lie, I was absolutely hurt and shocked, pissed and confused. I didn't understand why me going over to visit a friend should provoke such a nasty reaction from my sister, especially when she hadn't called to ask me anything in over a month. I told her politely that I don't recall her asking me to come over to babysit and she told me to go to hell, that I was ungrateful and a shitty sister and a bunch of other things. I won't transcribe the whole nonsense for you guys, but it was ugly and she's still not speaking to me.

So I guess, to wrap up this TL;DR post (for which I sincerely apologize) I guess I'm just wondering... am I unreasonable in my feelings that I'm being unfairly treated and maybe just a little abused? Is it too much to ask, to be paid such a paltry, courtesy amount like twenty dollars for my total time babysitting, even if the kid in question is my sibling's child? Isn't it a bit crippling, not to be able to verbally discipline a child, but be expected to look after her and keep her in line? Is my sister a bit assuming and harsh or is it just me being ungrateful and lazy, like she says? Where do you draw the line between helpful sibling, surrogate mother, or disciplinarily-crippled nanny? I'd really appreciate anyone's insight or input, even if this is kind of off-topic. Is she being unfair or am I expecting too much?

Lack of Communication from Parents Leave Nanny Feeling Anxious

opinion 1
Hi all. This is my first time posting to this forum. I have read it quite a bit in the past. I am finally writing because I could desperately use some advice/support. I am a first time nanny to a wonderful baby. Now though this is my first nanny job it is not my first nanny experience. I have had a hand in caring for many babies and so have a bit of experience. My struggle isn't actually with my duties as a nanny. The mom is a first time mom, which alone makes things a little trickier.

For the most part we get a long fine, however I am having a really hard time because communication is not an easy thing between us. This week has been tough. I just moved last weekend and am starting to adjust. This week was also tough for the baby. He has been quite fussy. It can be frustrating, but I believe everyone would feel frustrated with a baby so young when they are having a particularly cranky day. Despite those minor frustrations I am quite able to handle my job of caring for him however this does not mean it isn't difficult sometimes.

The thing is, what is really making it hard for me is that the the parents have a way of making me feel as though I am doing something wrong. I am good at what I do. I am attentive, and nurturing but it is impossible to keep a baby from ever fussing and everything at this age is trial and error. Lately I have been carrying more anxiety to work with me because of this feeling. I know it is partly that I am a very sensitive person, but it is getting very difficult for me. I don't want to leave because the sad truth is that if I did decide to it wouldn't be because of the baby but because of the communication difficulties. I am truly at a loss here.

Child Care is Back-Breaking Work

opinion 1
I was wondering if any of you fellow nannies out there are dealing with what I'm dealing with. Back Problems. I have always had a bad back, and caring for a high stress infant is probably not the best job for me... but I love it. The baby is seriously unhappy unless she is being held constantly, in motion, walked around or out for a stroll (and even then she gets annoyed and wants to be held) Her parents and I don't let her "cry it out" because they feel she is too young and I definitely agree. I love to carry her but sometimes I am afraid my back will just give out, as it has before. I can't lose work because of this and I also can't stand to hear her scream all day. Do any of you use a special sling for baby or a specific back support/brace/thing? I'm desperate! Every time I come home from work I think I may break in two. I have tried to be very careful in my movements and bending from my knees but it is still so difficult. She is not a small baby. She is quite heavy and tall for her age so it is always a bit awkward having to make sure her head is supported and lifting properly. Any advice is so greatly appreciated! Thanks.

Compromising a Car Contract

opinion 1
This question is for both Nannies and Moms about the use of the nannies car. I have been a nanny for a while, and that includes jobs where I have used a family car, jobs where I haven't driven at all (public transportation or walking everywhere), jobs where I used my car but only rarely, and jobs where I used my car a LOT. I am wondering what the standard is for gas reimbursement, wear and tear, car insurance, and lastly - the messiness that kids leave in the car (even with us trying to be on top of them about food, mud, etc). I am starting to get frustrated with using my car. I know, I know, I shouldn't have accepted the job knowing that I was going to use my car so much. I am not looking for advice as to what I should do, because this job is only temporary so it's not worth it to me to go through the motions.

But, rather, I am wondering what other nannies and parents think about this. Do some nannies have a seperate "car" section in their contract? I think it's great when families offer a family car to use for the nanny at work, but obviously not all families can do this. Some families offer gas money, and that's great too. If that's the case, do you write down every single mile you drive and go from there? Or, do the parents just throw you $20 at the end of the week? Also, do you change your insurance around? I am wondering for the future, as I feel like I would want to instate a "car" section in my contract, stating guidelines for gas, insurance, wear and tear.. and do I dare add in a interior cleaning of some sort? Any advice/stories/suggestions would be awesome.