Employer Questions the Legitimacy of her Pet Peeves

Harmony by Alima Newton
There are a few things that nanny does that get on my nerves. Given the caliber of nanny I have, I could probably just deal with these. My question to you, is since we are coming up on her one year anniversary and (I hope) giving her good news  (accolades) and cheer ( a raise), would it be possible to address any of these things?  I am looking for advice from nannies. She is a live-in and no doubt I do things that get on her nerves too. I know this.

1.  Nanny wears over powering cologne, daily.
2.  Nanny does her nails in the house and I don't like the smell of nail polish remover and have already told her once.
3.  Nanny eats rice cakes all the time, but doesn't seem to realize all of the crumbs she leaves everywhere. Even on the sofa. I know it's her because no one else eats them!
4.  Nanny drinks coffee, usually has the last cup of coffee and does not wash put or remove coffee grounds.
5.  Nanny bakes and makes a lot of unhealthy foods, like chocolate chip cookies, rice krispie treats with whole chocolate bars in them, strawberry shortcake, chocolate cupcakes.
6.  Nanny is big on recycling. When she finds something in the garbage that should not be, she takes it out, which is fine, but then tells me EVERY SINGLE time. (Shaming?)
7.  Nanny likes to shop at thrift stores for herself. She is very thoughtful when it comes to my kids, but I don't want the kids wearing clothes from thrift stores. I am afraid of lice, mites, bed bugs and I don't think that is unreasonable.
8.  Nanny drinks lots and lots of coke products, in front of my children. (Coke and rice cakes, all day long, I kid you not!)  I have told her that they may not have sofa, but I believe they have had atleast "sips" and now they request soda all the time. If it's just from exposure, than I am similarly displeased.
9.  Nanny is agnostic or atheist, I am not sure. We are Catholic. We are not excessively religious, but if anything close to religion comes up, the nanny says, "yes, some people do believe in/celebrate/ X, but many don't and I am one of those who don't."
10. The nanny lets the dog on the sofa. The dog was never on the sofa before but now comes up all of the time. Oldest child tells me nanny holds the dog on the sofa when watching television.
11. Last summer, the nanny and children were outside daily. Swimming in our pool, etc. Most afternoons I came home, nanny was still in her bikini top with a pair of shorts. I'm not a prude, it just seemed odd,especially since many times, the children were already redressed.

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HM said...

I'd say most of the pet peeves are legitimiate, but I'd stick to your top 5 or 6 when it comes to addressing them. The ones I'd leave out: smell of nail polish remover; buying from thrift stores; respectfully explaining her religious beliefs; wearing bikini top.

LAWOMAN said...

I am an employer and I think the thrift store comment would hurt her feelings, the bathing suit bikini top comment makes you seem insecure, the crumbs seem nitpicking. I have asked my nanny not to eat unhealthy foods in front of my children. I believe that she adheres to that. Soda is a very poor habbit, diet or otherwise. I would be a stickler about that. The religion thing is not even an issue, because it is a bridge to teach children to respect other people's religious beliefs. Sounds like your nanny doesn't believe. Some people do believe, but don't believe in Saints. It's a fact of life and we need to be less sensitive about it. Embrace the beauty of your own beliefs.

I would say to your nanny how much you like her and tell her specifically what you like about her. Since she is a live in, maybe ask if there is anything that is bothering her and tell her, I have a few things I am persnikety about, I'd like to mention them and if you can adjust them, I would be grateful and willing to accomodate you much in the same way. The coffee thing would bug the living daylights out of me!

Sarah said...

As long as she is good with your kids... None of this should matter. Well, maybe cl w aning after herself. Tgat would make me nuts..

Ashley said...

As a nanny these are what I would expect from my bosses
1. Unless someone is having a physical reaction to the scent of the perfume it's probably not worth bringing up.
2. Since she is a live in nanny I think it will be hard to ask her to do her nails somewhere other than the house. Maybe tell her to keep it to her room if it bothers you that much.
3. This is your house and she should be cleaning up after herself. It's common decency.
4. Same as above applies.
5. Since she lives there it's hard to tell her she can't eat what she wants. As long as she isn't feeding it to your kids then I'd let this one go.
6. She could be trying to let you know certain things are recyclable but if you're sure that isn't the case just let her know you're working on it and make the effort. Recycling is good!
7. They are your kids and she can do as you please but you can make a rule saying anything bought at a second hand store for the kids needs to be washed and dried in the dryer on high heat in order to kill anything. If she's a nanny she's sure to understand that kids can carry all sorts of things.
8. Again since she lives there I don't think it's fair to tell her she can't drink coke. Just explain you really don't want the kids drinking or even trying any. Let her know the kids have been requesting it and you're not sure if it's that they see her drinking it or that they've tried it. Either way you'd just like to make sure they aren't having any. She's drinking coffee in front of them too and they aren't allowed that, same concept applies. Just tell them it's a drink for grown ups only.
9. For me this depends. Is she bring it up every single time religion is brought up or only every so often? If it's every time then maybe bring it up but if not, she's probably only trying to show them different people believe in different things. I myself am not religious but nanny for a religious family and I respect how they want the children brought up so I pray with them at night and give gifts that relate to teaching them about their parent's religion (they are too young to totally get the concept). Either way there needs to be mutual respect.
10. Your house, your dog, your rules. If the dog isn't allowed on furniture, that should be the end of the discussion.
11. This is iffy. Do you have upper elementary boys you don't want exposed to that? Or is it bothering you for an unknown reason? If it's the latter then I'd let it go. It could be she trying to get a tan or maybe she's running around and busy with the kids that she doesn't think about stopping to change or throw a tank top on either way it's not a big deal. However if it's an exposure thing and you have older boys then by all means talk about it.

Lacy said...

I am not a live in nanny for many reasons. But it is your home, you should be able to set house rules; I've lived in many housemate situations however and some had strange rules.

She is caring for your children, your children will learn much from her; with that said its reasonable to tell her no junk food eating or soda drinking around the children. The children will want it.

Her making a mess of crumbs, just tell her she needs to clean up after herself. Tell her the same about the coffee too.

The dog, remind her of the rules, end of discussion.

I do am atheist, I respect my families religions. Her response sounds very straight up, mater of fact, and not disrespectful. She isn't shamming any religion. I highly doubt she says it often, and it seems to only be a response to the kids.

Nail polish and baking; its her home too... but your House. Tell her those things are to only be done on her off time. THe nail polish, you can tell her only in your room with the door closed until the smell goes away.

Her cologne, did you not notice it on the interview? I too am sensitive to that. I don't think you can tell her to ton it down, you should have made that clear in the interview/ contract.

Anonymous said...

1. I would CERTAINLY mention this. I, my mother and my younger sister are all extremely sensitive to scent and I wish more people would realize that just because you can no longer smell it, does not mean you should add 5 extra sprays! It is NOT unrealistic of you to mention it as, maybe you have a bad reaction to it and would appreciate it if she wore something that was a little less intense. You could buy a few scents that you don't find overpowering and give them to her as a nice gift. ;)

2. Perhaps ask her if she could please at least turn on a fan, and/or open a window and put said fan in it while doing nails so as not to disturb your sensitive nose.

3. I'd sit her down and let her know that the new rule in the house is we eat at the table, not on furniture, etc.

4. Think it's respectful that she clean up after the last cup, as you or hubby would if you took the last cup.

5. So she has a sweet tooth. Um, again, I'd omit this. Who doesn't love cookies and such??

6. I'd politely tell her that while you're big on recycling too, it doesn't bother you if occasionally something slips through the cracks and you'd appreciate it if she didn't feel the need to shame whoever let a plastic into the trash bin.

7. I think it's rather unreasonable, personally, since everyone I know shops at second-hand stores and have never had lice, mites, or bed bugs from things properly washed before use. But if it's that big of an issue explain it.

8. I would certainly say as a parent you can ask her to please limit her consumption of soft drink products around the kids, as they are beginning to request it regularly and it's becoming problematic.

9. Is it wrong to teach your children that other people celebrate other things? Maybe she's doing it because repetition = how children learn most effectively.

10. Tell her the dog is no longer allowed on the sofa and if it continues to be a problem the dog will be kenneled until it can learn to once again respect the no-sofa rule.

11. If kids are dressed, nanny should be dressed, but honestly it doesn't really seem like a big deal to me. Would you feel uncomfortable if you chose to be in a bikini while your children were dressed? If not, maybe step back and ask yourself why this is bothering you?