As I am thinking about this topic and ways to phrase all my frustrations, in the back of my mind is end of The Nanny Diaries movie. If you haven’t watched it, you should.

I am one of those nannies that sometimes slack. I admit it.

There are days, even weeks in a row that I don’t like my job, I don’t like seeing where my life goes and I don’t like repeating one and the same thing over and over again.
On occasion I have to remind myself to push harder, to browse on Pinterest ideas how to entertain child and make better meals. Sometimes I take a nap when kid does too, and I don’t take her to park when I know I should because that day I really, really, really don’t feel like it.
But also I am one of those nannies that care deeply. Doesn’t matter what happens and what my day is like I love the child I take care of and I care. I want the best for her and I am doing the right thing and raising her in a good way. I just feel, for being a nanny, I lack the privilege to be tired, grumpy, sad, sick or just have lazy days, or days dedicated to only chores – my chores.
9 things your nanny wants to tell you
In my years of being childcare provider, there is one thing that I learned and I try to remind myself constantly.
It is not child's fault. When I hate my job, when I want to quit, when I spend all day on couch pouting and texting, I am not angry at kid, I am angry at the parent.
And again, I feel I don’t have privilege to be angry at the parent because it is such a personal connection. It’s not company, it is not franchise. It’s another human being that I disagree with and there is nothing I can do to fix it, but to remind myself – it is not child’s fault. She doesn’t need to feel the consequences of their parents treating me as a maid or not giving me sick days.
In order not to take it on a kid, I will write it here. A list of things that I wish I could tell my employers. Things that would not just make my life better, but maybe even theirs, and definitely their kid’s.

I agree fully that getting a pet is a preparation for children and it teaches you in many ways how hard it will be. But having a child is not like having a pet. I can’t have my days planned around her 2x a day walks.
I understand that being part of the higher class and living in part of the city where you can’t see house worth less than a million, you have certain reputation to maintain, but she is only two. I can’t teach her how to read, her manners can’t be perfect. You can’t get upset and give me new ways of handling her every time she misbehaves. I am expected to make her perfect robot kid, and you can’t handle 5 minutes with her without being done?
She is amazing. She is smart, cute and since I became her nanny, her manners and behavior are absolutely awesome, so why don’t you see that and you keep asking for things can’t be reached yet? We are getting there, but forbidding her to read books that are “not good enough for her” will not make her better. She will become obnoxious snob without imagination and sense of humor. She will not know how to have fun and enjoy simple things. Let her be two, please. She is amazing.  Why can’t you see that? Why is that not enough?
I know every nanny complains about this, but let me explain.
If I, out of respect to you as individuals that work so much, on occasion do your dishes or pick up your mail, that doesn’t mean that I don’t notice how little by little you leave every chore to me? Basically, in last 3 months your bi-weekly maid and I are doing everything in the household.
You can run your own dishwasher 3x when buying new dishes and put it away, and I don’t see how it  is my job to vacuum living area on Monday morning after you had guests over weekend.
I don’t need to be paid extra and I don’t need your thank you, but it’s not ok for you not to clean her peed-on clothes over weekend and leave it for me. It is not ok when after your day off “you didn’t have time” and you made me chore list that has nothing to do with childcare. You can’t expect me to be ok with that and stay as motivated childcare provider for your child.
My goal was and still is to make your life better, easier. Don’t make me resent you over silly things.
It is funny to me how you try to cut my paid hours for at least 30 minutes every single week. If  my 12$ will make a change in your budget, then you can have it, but don’t think of me as stupid for not mentioning it. It is ridiculous to me.
I am an adult with my own family and plans, you can’t ask me to work 13h day and then not pay overtime, or even better – give me only 10 days of vacation that you pay me less than promised and you tell me when am I allowed to take it.
Also, when I come 5 minutes early so we can discuss day and talk little bit so you don’t have to be late for work, and two of you leave to garage to maintain conversation for 20 minutes with barely saying hi to me- not okay!
Nothing left to say. If you hired me, checked my references, if you believed I was capable enough to take care of your child, then why need for cameras? I can’t relax in your house and I spend every single moment hiding in a corner that camera doesn’t reach.
Check my post on this topic here.
I know you like your privacy and you made it very clear there are boundaries, but when you don’t tell me when kid’s birthday is – that is messed up!
I don’t need to know about you, and your plans, your life, but I spend 10 hours a day in your home with your child. If you don’t remember to send me text on Christmas Day or tell me how was her sleeping schedule over weekend so I can prepare, how can you expect me to enjoy my job and do it properly? Or you don’t care do I like it, as long as I am never late? Which btw that one and only time I was late for 5 minutes, is nothing comparing to your every single day coming later than what I’ve been told.
I have so many problems with this. If you force me to potty train her when she is not ready, and I manage to do it, why don’t you follow up? Why is she in diaper as soon as I leave the house, but every morning you tell me again to reinforce it?
If I need to force her to take a nap every day, why do you give in on her crying and don’t even try? That is the reason why she is that way with you, because she can.
If I am not allowed to have TV time with her, how come you give her movies every weekend?
I would be ok with all the rules if you followed too, or I would be ok with this if you didn’t have chore list for me to obey to.
The way you treat me when I try to share my tips and ways how I get her to do things, makes me feel humiliated. Saying you don’t need my advice, you just need me to what you told me to, is not ok.
This adds up to several previous issues. Taking several vacations in a year and not bringing her with on any of them, waking her up at 6 am because you wanted to go to Farmers Market first thing in the morning and many other ways you expressed and showed that it is pain in the ass to have her with, makes me really sad.
Makes me sad for you and for her. I feel you have her to show her around when necessary and then shove her to me or your mother when you are done. You already work 50-60 hours a week and never see her, you never play with her. Why do you need additional time away from her, and even better, why did you have her if you were not aware of commitment it would demand?
I can not express how much I dislike this part. I don’t need daily chart of chores, I don’t want you to tell me what I need to give her to eat for every meal.
I don’t want to text you every AM what are we doing and where are we going, and if nowhere, why do I think it is a good decision. I don’t like lack of trust in every aspect of my job. I am capable, I am doing this job for years, and even in the time with you I showed you I am dependable and capable, so why don’t you let me show you how much better I can be if you leave me alone?
I am required to have monthly, unpaid, meetings with you about our progress and situations we are dealing with. I am constantly being observed and it bugs me a lot. I know you are a parent, I respect that and I want you to be included in every way, but I need some freedom. I am not 12-year old next door girly babysitting for you. I can do this. Just trust me. One of the reasons why I feel frustrated is because I know if my employers were not satisfied with me, they would fire me, they would tell me, they would make me go over contract again. If I was the bad one, they would not hesitate to fix the problem, so every single day I ask myself – Why am I not doing the same?

Why do I respect them? I saw the way they treated former nanny, I know I am not a family, I know as soon as I leave, I am forgotten, so why do I still try to make their life better?
Is that making me good nanny, or just na├»ve one?
Djana is a former aupair and current nanny in Portland, Oregon.
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this_nick said...

This is a laundry list post on some pretty bad employers (not to mention - parents) that I'm sure many nannies will relate to, particularly because many feel trapped in that losing their job would have catastrophic financial consequences for them, or they may not be legally in the country and fear an employer's backlash for speaking up.

I'm not in that type of precarious position, and any nanny who's not should definitely speak up. You don't respect the employer, and they don't respect you - what's salvageable here? Perhaps you stay for the chid's sake, and that's valid; I'm glad you're there for her. Eventually, though, things are going to come to a head in an ugly way unless there is some sort of resolution.

I honestly don't think these employers will be interested in anything you say, since they clearly don't respect you. Time to move on.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I for one- if I'm able to help out- I will. I will go above and beyond as long as the family respects me. Knowing the parents can come home and just be with their kids is pay enough. I'm sorry if some of you don't agree-but its not always about making money.

Anonymous said...

It's a job. It should be about money! It's also supposed to be about mutual respect and professional behaviour. I'm with Nick on this. What's left in this relationship?

this_nick said...

I'm thinking you're not replying to my comment but just replied under it by mistake.