New Nanny's Speed Bumps or Warning Signs?

I am a new nanny, age 24 working for a family of one child, 5 months old. I must also mention the work from home father. I have been working for this family since the beginning of October, but have hit some speed bumps along the way already, and sometimes I question if this family is the right fit for me. I will mention a few important issues, and I am in need of advice as to how to handle these problems as a responsible and professional nanny.

- I have been paid irregularly more than 5 Times. Basically I have been paid late many times, even after speaking with the father about the situation. I think I may finally have that one ruled out. (knock on wood)

- The father comes into the room I'm in with the baby multiple times a day to interrupt naps, bottles etc. Also, in a passive aggressive way speaks to me through the baby. I.E. "Is she being mean to you?" "Have you taken a nap yet?" I feel unimportant and disrespected.

-I bathe the baby Monday Wednesday and Friday. when I return to work on Mondays, the baby hasn't been bathed all weekend. And most times he smells. I feel terrible for him.

- Today tops the cake. The mother finally bought cereal for the baby to try over the weekend. When I came in today she told me to try giving it to him on a spoon. So I did and he wasn't interested. I told her I'd try it in a bottle later on. After the mother left for work, the father let into me. "Don't feed him anymore cereal. you got to try feeding him even before I did." Wow! now I feel like I'm being ping pinged between two bosses an being scolded for doing what I'm told! I am now dealing with a jealous lazy father who has the day off today and is sleeping as I type this. instead he could be hanging out with his baby and feeding him!

I realize this is a lot to take in. any advice would be great! Thank you!


Nay The Nanny said...

Wow OP...this definitely does not sound like a pleasant working environment for you. In regards to the late pay, that is simply not ok. I'm not sure whether you have a contract, if so you need to refer them to it and there should be something in there about when you are supposed to be paid. It needs to be nipped in the bud...letting it go as long as you did sends the wrong message. As far as the work at home dad, I have been there BUT the parents I have had working from home let me do my own thing without interfering. As far as the bathing, well, they are the parents so if they choose not to bathe their baby for the 2 days you are not there, sadly it isn't your place to say. As far as your DB flipping out at you for feeding the baby cereal...huge red flag. Basically, if you plan on staying with this job, there needs to be a family meeting and you need to calmly and professionally sit down and go through each of these issues, one by one. You must be paid on time, you have your own bills. If DB works from home, you don't mind him checking in but it can't be when you are doing something that requires the baby not be distracted. And both parents need to be on the same page in terms of your instructions. You do what they ask of you, but you cannot do that if MB tells you one thing and DB tells you something else. But at the end of the day, if I were in your shoes I would be looking for a new position in a healthier working environment. And if you do not have a contract with this family (I have a feeling you don't) make sure you have one with the next. Good luck OP!!!

Bethany said...

As Nay said, you can attempt to have a sit down and discuss your issues and what you will and will not accept. However, I feel like this will be a recurring issue if you stay, it is also possible they will turn against you if you confront them. Either way I would start looking for a job.

However leaving the baby unbathed so that he smells is neglect. It's not simply a parenting choice.

Do not add cereal to the baby's bottle.

You can thin out the consistency of the cereal with milk and continue to feed by food. If he is still not interested wait a week or two and try spoon feeding again. Solids aren't the most important thing for him right now so don't worry and rush it.

Most pediatricians don't suggest starting solids until 6 months if age these days.

I hope things work out for the best.

TennesseeBeezus said...

Just going to put this out there and many will disagree but, I hate SAHD jobs! I recently took a 3 day a week position with a SAHD and I will NEVER do it again!
Dad would step in throughout the day interrupting and just being too there. He basically hovered about me all day. He would watch us from the kitchen interjecting, eat and leave his plates and cups beside the sink for me to clean and on more than one occasion he asked me to organize and vacuum his office (he was home) I could go on and on. In my opinion your job has already begun to go sour and sitting down with them will most likely just be awkward at this point. I don't typically advise this, but just get a letter of recommendation and high tail it outta there! I'm sure some SAHDs are amazing but I'm most likely not going to be trying that again anytime soon.

RBTC said...

this doesn't look good - i do not think they will be receptive to a sit down,the are missing a couple of heinekins from their six pack

if it keeps up - you will become very stressed and unhealthy

you sound like a very sweet person and nanny - this is a lesson you must learn - stand up for yourself and/or extricate yourself from a bad situation

let us know how it goes

Megan said...

After reading a post like this, I always feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the families I have been employed with. I really feel for you, OP.

The late payment is just unacceptable in my opinion. I am in no way a confrontational person (and thankfully have been able to work with wonderful families who, for the most part, don't give me any reason to be), but I would definitely have made it clear the first time it happened that it wasn't okay. It sounds like you have started to deal with that issue though. :-)

The second issue is exactly why I would be hesitant to work for a family with a SAH parent. It's possible that DB isn't trying to interrupt your routine or be disrespectful (maybe he just genuinely misses the baby?), but that is a tough situation to be in. As someone who has occasionally had to care for a toddler while MB was home all day, that situation can get really ugly really fast. I know your charge is still very small, but as he grows older, it will be more important for all of you to be on the same page.

I must respectfully disagree that not bathing a five-month-old over the weekend is some form of neglect or abuse. My youngest charge is fourteen months and quickly develops fairly severe eczema when bathed too often (no matter how much lotion you apply afterwards), and skipping baths seems to be the only thing that helps. I know you are with your charge a lot during the week, but perhaps the parents have a legitimate reason for not bathing him that just hasn't been made clear to you yet? Regardless, it is only two days, and most definitely not something I would be concerned about.

And I could not agree with the PP more about the cereal issue. Do NOT add cereal to his bottle. Whether MB is breastfeeding or the baby is formula fed, milk is the most important part of his diet right now. No need to rush if he isn't taking to solids quite yet. I don't know anyone who recommends starting solids before six months anyway.

It sounds like DB sucks....

MissMannah said...

1. This would be a deal-breaker for me. If they mess up your pay again, quit.

2. Talk to him. Employers aren't god-like, they can listen to reason. And if they can't, they aren't worth working for.

3. Babies don't need baths too often, particularly in the winter time. 3 times a week should be enough. If he smells bad, they probably aren't wiping well enough when he's being changed. Check for diaper rash and bring it up with the parents if need be.

4. NEVER feed baby cereal in a bottle. It is a choking hazard. If the dad wants to feed the baby, let him. It makes your job easier and it is a big milestone he should be a part of.

Nanny Jenn said...

I am a professional nanny as well and have many years of experience. Please let me give you some advice dear: NEVER EVER work for a parent who is at home all day. As your post illustrates very clearly, this is only a recipe for disaster. Sure, there are a few reasonable families out there who grant their nannies 100% autonomy, however in all of my years, these families are few and far between. The majority interfere and disrupt the nanny's schedule.

It doesn't seem like the father respects the role you are playing in his child's life. He seems like a lazy father who likes to sit around and order others around. He doesn't really seem that invested in his child by what you stated he is doing today. Sure, as parents we all would prefer to sleep all day, but once we create off~spring, unfortunately we give up that luxury.

Regarding the late pay, that in itself is a deal~breaker to me. It seems this family is treating you as though you are "beneath" them...they probably view you as the hired help and no more.

If you can, I would give notice and move on.
Things will only get worse as time goes on.

nannybananny said...

Thank you all for your opinions and support. As you may be able to tell, I am newer nanny and don't have a lot of experience with milestones like solids etc. I have been looking for new work, but so far nothing. I guess I'll have to keep looking! It takes a lot of patience :)

Nay The Nanny said...

OP, hang in there. Be persistent, I know the job market isn't great right now but you deserve better. :)

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...


I know the economy is still in the tank and job prospects are not very good right now. However, that is NO reason to stay in a job where you are being treated less than human. You deserve to be paid on time and allowed to do your job w/zero interference.

Keep looking.
Don't give up.

I sincerely hope you find something soon.

nanny s said...

Agreed with all these comments. A good fit is the most important thing to me, and late pay and "speaking through the baby" is a deal breaker. My current employer speaks to me through her child, IE: "X, should we show Nanny how we wipe down all the dishes?!" I REALLY want to say something but I just don't know what. We have an otherwise good relationship but god, it's the most annoying thing ever.

Old School Nanny said...

Okay as for the rice cereal if the baby is not getting enough food through formula then the dr. will say to feed them cereal through a bottle. It's flakes not cheerios for goodness sake. Not feeding a starving child is the MOST ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. If it's only one child I doubt the mom heard about the cereal from anyone other than the dr so yeah moving on. If the dad says he wants to feed the baby first then hand him the food and say here baby's hungry. If he has enough time to question you then he can surely spend a few minutes with his baby. As far as the baby talk most of the time it's a joke especially if he's not confronting you about it. My last charge's mom did that and it became a joke to the point even when I did get mad at her it was brushed off as part of the game. That girl could come up with the most bewildering stories sometimes. Just answer back in a baby voice, "Yes I've been ignoring him. Yes I forgot him in the dryer or something stupid that wouldn't actually happen. Maybe he's trying to figure out how to act around you and see if you have a sense of humor. I your BOSS tells you to do something don't listen to people who probably have never hired a sitter, don't have kids and can't hold a job because they feel self entitled to have everything handed to them at a JOB. I'm old school and most of what I read here doesn't fly if you know what you're doing.