Grandma from Hell

I have a huge problem which landed from Cincinnati last week. The grandmother has come to see the newest addition to the family. I never met her before. The mother's apprehensive look when she told me that her mother in law was coming is now replaying in my head. Both parents work. The grandmother is not a typical grandmother in that she does not dote and she is barely passable as loving. I live out, but work M-F from 700-600. I have a routine I am in to  that works for me and the children. For example, when older child is on the bus, I put the baby on the floor for tummy time and make myself breakfast. The grandmother sidles up to me and asks me what I am doing. She makes comments like, "it must be nice to eat on the job" and "where do you keep your 'nanny food' so I don't eat it". I told her I don't have 'nanny food' and anything in the refrigerator is for anyone. She asks me how much of my salary goes to pay for my food. Stupid comments like this all day long. She does crosswords all day long and watches me. It took a while to get in my routine. She has asked me to make her lunch, help her start a laundry (and then transfer it) and then bring it to her to fold. I could grin and bear it but she has arranged to have some work done on her home in Ohio which is to be completed by Memorial Day. I don't even know that if I talked to my boss (mom), anything could be done. She is really imposing and unapologetic. She suggests housekeeping tasks for me to do. I am not a housekeeper. I nicely pointed that out and she says things like, "well if you have time to sit around reading an US Magazine, certainly you have time to clean the mirrors in the house". Help. I need my job so I can't quit, even though on a daily basis, about twenty times, she has me want to scream, quit and cry. In closing, let me just say that my boss has been extremely complimentary to me about my job performance, specifically that I adapted to the house and she can return to her professional field with focus because she knows things are well handled at home. She has even given me what I would call bonus gifts of appreciation. Part of me fears if I say anything, it will come across as angling for a big gift or something, but it's Friday night and the thought of returning Monday is making me sick.


nononanna said...

Look for a new job, and then once you find one, give MB proper notice. I doubt grandma is going anywhere, and even if MB is understanding, that won't make grandma stop with the passive-aggressiveness and undermining of your routine. I would never take a job where there was a grandparent home all the time - I absolutely HATE when they come to visit my charges, as it is. I know you didn't sign up for this, so I'm not blaming you, but I would get while the gettin's good.

thatsucks said...

You have two options: Number one is grin and bear it for 4 weeks until her house is complete and she leaves. This would be what I would do if you have otherwise been happy in this position.

In those four weeks, get out of the house as much as possible (if your employer allows it). I don't know this woman or her motivation. My guess is that she either disapproves of her DIL working or, and you do have to consider this, your MB has complained to her about you eating on the job and reading magazines instead of cleaning.

Which leads to option #2: you can also request to meet with MB on off time, away from grandma dearest. Let her know with two or three concise examples and exactly how they impact your efficiency and/or the well being of the children. Let your MB know that you love working for her, but you are starting to wonder if there are any issues with your performance that you need to be aware of. If you have any solutions, bring them up. Be prepared that this meeting might not end well, even if MB sees your point, she is likely going to be unable to do anything.

RBTC said...

i agree with thatsucks, you can take anything for a month!

but...what i am going to say is easier said than done..but - how about you go on the offensive !It should be ok, if the parents are truly on your side ;)

whenever she tells you to do the mirrors - go get a book and say " MY grandma used to read me stories ! DC - grandma is going to read us a story! "

" MY grandma used to dance with me! DC - grandma is going to lead us in the limbo!"

put grandma to work!

also - whenever she says something rude - ask her " now when are you leaving again? "

say " now where is the granny food so i won't eat it?"

she sees that she is pushing your buttons - try to play her game

i know that's hard because you are a sweet person, but it's just an idea..keep us posted

Nanny S said...

My greatest annoyance with this blog is how quickly people are to tell someone to quit their job. The OP clearly states that she can't quit, and it's understandable.

One of the best pieces of advice I got was to use opportunities to tune your "difficult people skills". Grandma is here for a month. After that, she's out of your life. Allow her to help you to learn how to better handle difficult people.

First, you need to make the situation transparent with your employers. They are responsible for your work environment. Even if they don't do anything, they at least need to hear the situation from you. It is probable that Grandma is driving them crazy as well. As an important part of a nanny's job is to minimize the parents' stress, I personally would take this approach: "I just want to let you know some things that are going on with your kids in your home, just so you're aware. Grandma has said some very inappropriate and unkind things to me, such as x, y and z. On several instances the children have heard, and are also aware that the harmony is upset between Grandma and me, but I'm making sure to model proper behavior and am conscious of how I respond to someone who is rude to me in front of the kids."

From there, Grandma can say whatever she wants. It doesn't matter. Don't let her ruffle your feathers, OP. You don't even have to dignify anything she says with a response. Get out of the house as much as possible. Kid's nap time? Go in a different room and close the door. You don't have any responsibility to Grandma, just your bosses and your charges.

You express fear about MB thinking you're after a bonus... I don't see what that has to do with anything. Don't mention it, and it likely won't cross her mind either.

Good luck, OP. I know you can come out on top if you put your mind to it. And please update us :)

Jess said...

I have BTDT. I had a a sister in law come from out of state that would attack everything I did. (DONT USE THAT BABY SHAMPOO ITS FULL OF CHEMICALS!!!!!, You're eating... AGAIN?, So when the baby sleeps, you get to do NOTHING?) I would as positive and happy as I possible could be. It would piss her off and I loved it. (I LOVE THIS SHAMPOO SMELLS AMAZING!!!!, I'm so lucky they buy the food I love!, I love that I have a career that I get to recharge my batteries!) I had a really good relationship with my MB and i told her how SIL was acting and what I was doing. She told me i could get out of the house when ever and would apologize for the "inconvenience" Ask if you can meet her out of the house. Tell her what you told us. Breathe smile and just say you are doing your best but you need to schedule things out of the house for your sanity. An unhappy Nanny is bad for everyone. Good luck!

Nanny Meg said...

I completely agree with finding space for a conversation with MB. Whether or not she is able to do anything to repair the situation, I think it would feel good to know you've voiced your concerns. Maybe MB can even suggest some tips, or give you the go ahead to get out of the house a bit more often.

Bree said...

Since the mother gave you that "apprehensive" look, it is quite clear that she knows what kind of woman this grandmother is. Anything you talk to her about she probably will not be surprised.

God!! To think of putting up with this "Grandmother from Hell" for a months sounds like hell for sure.

I would either address your concerns with your bosses and try to do so as tactfully as you can. Without insulting the grandmother, simply bring up the issues you told us and see what the parents can do about it.

You can also nip this grandmother's behavior in the bud.
Next time she asks you to do her laundry, etc., you can kindly respond that while you do not mind helping her out on occasion, it really is not your place to do this for her. When she makes snarky comments about your magazine reading, just plain ignore her.

Sorry you are going through this OP.
This sounds like a great plot for a Nanny Horror Story submission.
If you DO decide to stick around, please PLEASE let us know how things went this month.

bethanytx said...

that sucks!

My first family's grandma visits frequently and is disabled. She LOVES these boys and helps in anyway she can. I LOVE her!

Second family's grandparents are different. I always feel superfluous when they're visiting. They try to do EVERYTHING for the kids. Even when its wrong (giving the wrong child the wrong medication etc) and get offended when the kids prefer me (they've seen me 3x a week since birth!). Little Girl is FTT and had a swallow study done. she got home ( I was home with little boy) and ran into my arms and grandparents were mad AT HER that she didn't seek comfort with them!

Sprak said...

I think I would make her a very special lunch. Perhaps a spinach and beansprout sandwich, toasted, of course and displayed beautifully on a plate wih a strawberry flouret.