Used and Abused?

I am a new nanny and I have been working for a family for the past 7 months. I watch 3 kids (a set of 6 year old twins and a 4 year old). I work for a wealthy family and I make $17/hr. I also work 60-65 hour weeks that sometimes turn into 70 hour weeks. I love the kids like they are my own and I have a very strong bond with them. My problem is with the parents. They are always late (sometimes an hour or more without notice) and I don't get any overtime. I gave them 9 months notice for a 4 day vacation and they said that they will try to work it out. I don't take sick days and although I was promised federal holidays off, I usually end up working those too since the parents like to go out when they are both off. 

The father is a nice guy, but the mother likes to "job creep.". At first, I just took care of the kids and their needs. Now I do the parents' laundry, their dishes, clean the house and any other errands they need. I take the kids to their daily activities and I get to use the family car. I am always begging for gas money since the car is on empty at the beginning of the week. I sometimes have to use my own money to gas up the car. I don't get paid back. 

I dread coming in on Mondays because the house is destroyed. The dishes are piled, the laundry is everywhere and the kids toys are all over. I don't have time to play with the kids because I am always doing housework. 

I feel like I shouldn't be complaining, but I live in NY and I have a degree in childhood education. I can't find a teaching job because of the economy. I make good money, but something seems off. Am I being used? I made a huge rookie mistake and didn't sign a contract. That will never happen again.


MissDeeLovesChicagoFire said...

You just answered your own question. Yes you are being used and abused, because there is a difference between nanny and housekeeper. Apparently this family doesn't understand this, or they do, and without a work agreement, the line was blended.

Create a work agreement. IMMEDIATELY. Then sit down and talk with them about your hours and how they have been treating you. Explain that you have no time for a life because they are always late, and that you would like to have time to yourself, along with time for family and friends. I would also let them know you have no time for the children, because of the amount of chores that need to be done. Tell them you are not happy with the way things are going, and that they have changed from when you first started.

If they have an attitude, I would begin looking for a new job. If you do end up with a new family, USE THE WORK AGREEMENT. Be clear on your expectations of the family with regards to child related and/or light houskeeping. Also be clear that when the clock reads 6p or whatever time you are done, that you are done, and no, you will not stay later because it is your time, not theirs.

If M and DB are willing to work with this, do not let them take advantage of you anymore. For example, if they leave a pile of their laundry to do or other housekeeping tasks that don't involve the children, explain to them you don't have time to do it because your priority is the children. When they are late, ask them if they have a friend who can watch the children because you will be leaving as it is time for you to go. If they don't bother to check in and they are late, call them immediately and tell them you will be bringing the children to them, as you have to leave and will not stay later.

Good luck and let us know what happens....

michigananny said...

You are definitely being used, especially because you know they are wealthy and could definitely afford overtime and gas money, for instance.
I'd try and talk to them, explain what your needs are and see how they react.

Siriusly_James said...

The money's good, and there's no other job in the horizon for you atm.

You already know it was a mistake not to have a contract, but since it seems as if you like this family, why not make a contract?

Make up your mind about what is okay for you. I currently work as a nanny/housekeeper because the family and I agreed in the contract that it would be a combined job. So, if you're fine doing some kinds of housework, then there's nothing wrong with combining housework and nannying.

You can write down what you want to go in the contract. Then ask for a sit-down with the parents and explain that you like the kids etc., but that you feel you're overworked. Explain everything in a nice way and offer the solutions you've come up with.

I hope they will listen to you.

BKmommy said...

You're being taken advantage of BIG TIME. In NY, the hourly wage for a nanny caring for three kids is more along the lines of $25 per hour.

Since you have a degree in early childhood, I suggest looking into private preschools for work. The pay will be comparable to what you're making now with no ridiculous household duties.

nanny s said...

Everyone is saying to find a new job, and that's easier in a lot of ways. If you start out on the right foot, it's much easier because there is an agreement that makes everyone happy and there is recourse for when one party does not uphold their end.

I am curious why you say you make $17/hour but are not paid for when they come home late. This is solvable if they're reasonable people. Start keeping track of the times they come home. Then next pay day you say that they came home late and that you need to be paid for it. That can open a discussion. Personally, I don't mind if parents come home late as long as there is open communication and I am actually compensated for it. It seems funny that some parents routinely come home late and think their nanny neither notices nor minds. Uh, we notice! Anyway, decide what you want in advance and just tell them. Either you don't want to stay late, you don't mind staying late as long as they can let you know ahead of time. I don't think it's possible to do in this situation, but I am all for the OVER TIME rate. Once the clock hits 6pm or whatever, your overtime rate, usually time and a half, starts. That is great incentive for parents. But these parents sound kind of cheap, if you have a degree and are being paid well below the market rate, so it sounds to me like it's likely they'd just fire you and get someone new.

As for the job creeping. UGH. I am with you there. I think, I have a degree, I am not going to clean your house. If you're not happy with it, you need to talk about it. Open the conversation by saying, I am your nanny and I am starting to feel more like your housekeeper. I am happy to do cleaning up after children and myself--that's part of the job, but just because I'm in the house doesn't mean that it is part of my job to be folding your underwear.

I am actually going to say that having a contract with this family is a bad idea, simply because they seem to be takers. A contract could hold them accountable and they might see that as a bad sign. This also means they're crappy employers, btw. But to circumvent this, I would start communicating in email and summarizing in person conversations. After these discussions, I would write an email and say, "Hi MB, I have been thinking about our conversation this evening and just wanted to make sure we were in agreement and everyone was on the same page. We discussed x,y and z and agreed a, b, and c. I'm sl glad we were able to talk about these things because they've been on my mind lately and now I feel I can do a better job blah blah blah. See you tomorrow."

Then, she will either a) write back and say she agrees b) write back and say something else and then you have the email communication of whatever you guys decide, or c) not write back, in which case it would seem as if she saw nothing wrong with what you said. If there is anymore trouble about the issues you discussed, you can kindly forward her your emails. Good luck to you. PLEASE update what has happened!

Anonymous said...

The salary for a "ny nanny" varies depending on where you live. I live in long island.. and there is no way you'll be able to find a job for $25 a hour. In manhattan-yes. Other parts.. not a chnace

I ate ice cream for dinner said...

It's never too late to make up a contract or get a new job.
Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. You can be polite and assertive. Best of Luck!

Nay The Nanny said...

Aw are absolutely being abused. I feel for you. Sounds like your MB is totally taking advantage. It is so hard because you love the kids, but if I were you I would look for a new position, give your two weeks and treat this as a life job, get that contract and specify what your work duties are. This really gives MBs and DBs a bad name...I cannot imagine working for parents like that.

MissMannah said...

OP, there's an easy way to end job creep. Just Stop. Who cares if their house is a mess? It isn't your house, so don't clean it up. Of course, you might want to have a new job lined up if you try this tactic because your boss-parents probably won't like it. They're getting free housekeeping from you right now, they'll push back if you try to stop or try to get a contract in place.

Anonymous said...

You are Definitly under pay $17 for only taking care of the kids might be ok but for all the extra housekeeping work you are doing you Need to be pay Extra same with when they are late. If the housekeeping part wasn't mention in the interview then is not your responsibility unless they ask and offer a compensation. Look for another job this people are only taking advantage of you specially when you said they have money

neva_eva_always said...

OP you have a lot of NERVE complaining. If I was mb or db I'd say fine we'll cut your pay to suit YOUR SELFISH needs but we will pay you a reasonable minimum wage. You're not changing diapers, bottle feeding, hand feeding or any necessities so get over this used and abused. You deserve less then minimum wage for what you want to do. You're getting paid the big bucks for what you're actually doing. Don't let the young uneducated nannies who don't know the real world of nannyhood (if you've nannied less then 10 years you're a child care provider PERIOD). You should've gotten a contract asking for minimum wage to sit around on your butt doing nothing but playing games. If that's all you want to do then that's what you deserve PERIOD.