Friday

The Meeting

   
     On Tuesday, my new nanny asked if we would have time to have a meeting some time this week, just to 'catch up' and see 'what's working and what isn't'.  I suggested Thursday night. (Tonight). This meeting was her idea. She knew when I would be home. However, the kids were running around demanding my attention and hers. Had she planned better, she might have had them set up with an activity or even a movie.
     Once I got the children engaged in a project I sat across from her and asked 'what's on your mind?'
     She then began to go on at length about what the boys were eating for breakfast and how she tries to follow a paleo diet and she could leave me a grocery list so the boys could be sent off to school with whole grain waffles adorned with pears and blue berries. I smiled politely, but I was cringing inside. You see, we're just not that family.
     She also made some organizational suggestions, particularly with morning and afternoon routines. Some of these were interesting and will likely be time saving. I thanked her.
     She then said that..and this is with a big build up...that she could not any longer, in good conscience give my boys cow milk. She offered three solid minutes of explanations and two solid minutes of alternatives. I looked at her, suppressed my irritation and said, "do they ask for milk" and she said, 'yes, but only because it is all they know'. She then went on at length about how she would at her own expense bring in soy or almond milk and let them try it. I'm looking across the table at this girl and this really means something to her, so I suggested that she take some of the house money and buy a half gallon of what she thought best.
     I smile and ask if there is anything else on her mind. She says, 'there is, but I just can't bring myself to bring it up'. I suggested that she could. The kids were stirring and coming to us for evening snacks. She tells me, 'The timing is all wrong. I'm sorry.' Then she gets tears in her eyes. I ask her if she is okay and she says, 'I'm sorry, yes, no everything is fine.' I have one child climbing up my leg and I say as nicely as I can, 'we'll talk more tomorrow, okay?' She nods, gathers her things, says good bye to the kids and leaves.
      What was that? She's been here three weeks. It was the oddest conversation I've ever had, certainly the oddest I've ever had at my own kitchen table. I was a little perturbed, but I was very kind to her and I believe I always have been. She seems to like the children and they like her. I'm sitting here thinking I've hurt her feelings. And hoping I can remedy that in the morning, if that was the case. What else could it be?

19 comments:

Me! said...

To me. It sounds like she wants to quit. Her ideals re:nutrition and lifestyle sound very different from your own. Neither is inherently bad or good. Just different. I, for instance, believe in a healthy diet, but would never give kids soy (it's estrogenic.) If I were you, I'd talk to her and see if she's happy. Express your appreciation of her healthy mindset, but be clear about what's ok for your kids.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest taking your nanny out to lunch/dinner without the kids. Lay everything out on table. Make sure everyone is happy with the match.

Michael said...

get her out of the house to find out what is what. This is what it is like for us guys to have a conversation with a woman. Enjoy the experience. Seriously, get her out of the house and one on one to find out what is what.

coco said...

I can see where she is coming from with the dietary suggestions. It's a caregivers (parent nanny) responsibility to keep a child in good health and give the best options for food. Maybe you should research inorganic cows milk and learn about what your feeding your child. It could help you see things from her perspective.

I think it's kind of her to offer to cook for them in a more nutritious way and allowing her to practice something she's passionate about could lead to a happier nanny and happy healthier children.

The tears are awkward because you don't know why they occurred but I think the food stuff isn't so bad in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Your kids, your choice on what they eat. I'm a nanny and yes I love that my current family wants their children to eat healthier. They do allow some not so heathy choices here or there and I don't always agree however their children their choice. It's not a nannies place to have you change your whole way of living. If she wants to suggest something's and maybe have the kids try things with your okay that's great to expand their food experiences.
Definitely sit down with her tonight. Maybe call ahead of time and tell her to put a show on for them so you guys can talk without interruption. Be honest about how you feel and what you expect and give her a chance to express how she feels. Maybe this isn't the right nanny for your family?

Anonymous said...

Girl! Just fire her!! You know what's best for your family and your children and if she does not agree she can very well leave - she's evidently not happy with your nutrition choices for YOUR kids, I just wonder what else is she freaking out about ??? Get a grip nanny !!

unicornnanny said...

I think its perfectly acceptable for a nanny to suggest more nutritious foods. Might I suggest meeting in the middle with the milk issue by using organic cows milk? There's nothing wrong with suggestions. I have personally made nutritious suggestions that the parents have always been very open to. As far as the crying goes, you never know. Try a private sit down without the kids. For those posters saying fire her... That's ridiculous. You should have respect for your nanny and listen to her concerns and suggestions. She's the one who's with them all day. We are not servants without opinions. It is ultimately up to you, but you should still consider what she says and try to meet in the middle.

Katherine Nelson said...

I'm a nanny who loves healthy foods. I would NEVER sit down with my momboss and say hey.. Stop giving YOUR kid that. I sometimes suggest hey can I give your kid sweet potato to see if they like it, or can I try quinoa with them. But it's never without the parents permission and never presented in a way that says hey.. I know better. Us nannies are smart and full of knowledge but we are brought in to raise your child the way you want.

Snalltownnanny said...

I'm all for suggestions from a nanny to the mb or db but it goes too far when you are saying you refuse to give them cows milk. I think if the nanny is that serious about it then she needs to find a family that has that sort of nutritional beliefs. I would even think it's fine for the nanny to offer it to the kids and if they like it and want it to go ahead with it but to tell a parent that you won't give the child something just because you believe it's not good not the parent thinks it's fine is straddling the line of being too much.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha alright alright alright !! So what else are you unhappy with nanny?? How can I make you more comfy?? My GOD!!! Why just don't you do your job and let me handle my kids nutrition THANK U!! Oh wait maybe your not happy with the school I'm sending them and our family religion believes UGH! Give s break!!!!

props to the nanny said...

Yes, nanny. Take your boss out for lunch. To where? Subway? Bahahahahah

Clearly you hurt her feelings. She wants to feel her work is important. It isn't that hard to make her feel important.

Danish Nanny said...

Your description of the way your nanny behaves make me think that she's very young. Honestly, I think she sounds unprofessional...

I wonder, since she feels this strongly about nutrition and cow's milk, why she didn't bring it up at her first interview. When I'm interviewing, I always make sure to tell the parents the things I just won't do - we all have those things. For me, it's letting the children run around with food or pacifier or anything in their mouths / ignoring tantrums / spanking.
I mean, if you fed your kids nothing but sweets and ice cream, I could see her point, but again, if she cares this strongly, why wasn't it brought up at interview???

It also sounds very weird to me that she suggests a meeting and then does nothing to occupy the kids / get their evening snacks ready beforehand / etc.

I don't know, maybe it can be fixed. It sounds like you need to speak to nanny without kids around. If this is not possible, maybe suggest that she takes them to a playground or something and really tires them out, then come home, make a snack and put on a movie, and then you can talk for the entire movie? If you suggest that, maybe she will feel like you take her seriously and want to listen to what she has to say.

I hope it works out for you, because it sounds like you're a good employer who really cares about her nanny... But maybe you two just aren't a good fit...

docmom said...

Oh dear. Seriously, I know several people like this - the strange food fads go on and on, mainly based on junk science. Its difficult to have rational conversation with any of them - they are anti-science and fanatical about whatever their current diet is, until the next one. :(

I would not recommend exposing kids to high estrogen foods like soy. Stick to a balanced, varied diet. The children should be meeting growth milestones; if you are concerned, refer to your pediatrician for advice.

Sounds like you were kind and respectful, however, your nanny may be very invested in her food beliefs. She may have additional beliefs as well - perhaps she is opposed to medication your child takes, to vaccines, to household products you use. If she cannot separate her personal beliefs from caring for your children, then you have a problem. That she can't even discuss her objectives without crying is worrisome.

If you can, meet with her again, while the kids are occupied elsewhere.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I say "Take it or leave it" today is the milk, tomorrow the way you do your laundry and the next god knows what - Way complicated - I will start interviewing right away to replace her- crying and making a scene out of the blue tells me somethings up with this nanny - I will not want some sort of food fundamentalist pointing out everything i do wrong and crying about it on top of it!!!! your nanny has no boundaries and its time for you to take action - if you keep her she will always question you and judge every move you make in the kitchen - God forbid you have a cookout at your place that she does not approve - get ready for child services to knock on your door! just saying....

this_nick said...

She sounds well-meaning but possibly a bit too high maintenance (that's for you to decide.) This might seem like an odd question, but are your children African-American? I ask because I actually have read reports on studies that say cow's milk is not necessarily a healthy option for many of this ethnicity (something about increased lactose intolerance, maybe? I can't quite recall.) So if she's coming from a place where she has a valid reason other than she's vegan or whatever, I could understand that. If it's just that it clashes with her particular belief system, that's more concerning, since she could want you to change other things, too. I feel like there must be something more than a simple nutritional issue going on for her to be that emotional. As a nanny I have only cried in relation to my charges' hospitalized illnesses; I can't imagine welling up over a discussion of their diet. If her feelings have been hurt by something, it can't be this. If it IS this, your nanny's too emotional to be a nanny lol. Being a calm, level person is pretty important in this job!

Good luck!

Angi said...

The only thing I want to add is DO NOT let the drink/eat soy, especially without educating yourself. Soy mimics estrogen, its why menopausal women take soy pills. Soy also impacks the thyroid.

Angi said...

Reeeeeealy wish there was an edit button here. Sorry for the errors guys, onmy cell.

Alice said...

I don't think it's her place to say she simply WILL NOT allow them to drink milk. Wtf? That's wrong. It's YOUR CHOICE, your kids.

I also don't think it's any of her business if your kids eat 'healthy waffles', or want sugar-coated cereal in the morning. They're kids. They want what they want. Who is to say they'll eat what she wants to make them? And if they don't, they'll be left hungry from a lack of breakfast. :(

I would probably start looking for a new nanny. Gosh, she sounds super high maintenance.

Beth Bartylla said...

Please tell me the writer is going to come back and tell us what she wanted to say at the end!?