Primping Nanny Trying my Patience

     I am a stay at home mother of three children under 5. I have a live-in nanny that I think I treat very fairly and offer her very fair hours, 40 hours per week, always the same. Evenings at over time, with advance notice. I say this as preface to my complaint.
     First, about me. We have two homes, one in Brooklyn and one in Westchester. My husband works full time and is never around during the nanny's hours. When the day starts in the morning, she takes over at 8, while I go to my room and shower and get dressed. I'll be honest, I don't rush. I know a lot of people. I work in fashion. I don't care to look like a schlub.
Denise Van Leeuwen
     Our nanny is pretty great, but over the past three months, I feel she is adapting her behavior to do more what I do. I am the mother. I have a nanny full time so I can be on my phone when I want or need to. So I can get up and go send an email, so I can take time to get ready to go out with the children or to blow dry my hair. Given the nannies very fair hours, I am losing patience with nanny needing to primp. I was a nanny when I was in my early twenties. I guarantee you no one was waiting for me to blow dry my hair and apply make up while we were leaving the locker room.
    I don't know if this is something that can be discussed or if it just a sense of entitlement that she has taken on. If she is primping in the locker room at the club, I am not. I am running around after three little children. Is it horrible to have hired her to make my life easier?
    All of this primping also adds time to our very busy day. Even in the morning, when she comes to start in the morning, she will be often wearing something like workout clothes. After I return dressed and ready to get on the day, she will say, "just give me five" and go and take a shower and put on make up. I have no problem with her wanting to wear make up, but many nannies start before 8. She has until 8 to be fully dressed. The reason I take an hour in the morning is because I have been up since 530 with my husband, making breakfast and entertaining/dressing/playing with three children.
    Before I address this with her, I want to hear from nannies about the fairness of this. There was an incident in the locker room of the club where I had one child run out of the locker room while I was wearing only my bikini bottoms and I yelled for her. She seemed very miffed and later said she "hoped her hair didn't turn green" from not getting time to shampoo it.
    In the beginning, when she started, I might have been too nice and too accomodating, but I think she is taking advantage. I'd really prefer her not to dress/shower/primp during work hours and to limit tablet and phone time to a minimum. I don't care if she checks an email or texts a friend. But like I said, my children are all under 5.


Anonymous said...

You're paying her to be ready to work at a time you agreed on. That's on her if she's not ready to roll at 8AM.

However if part of her job requires her getting dirty or needing to clean up (ie. swimming), it would probably be a good idea to work out something where she is allowed to do that. But otherwise, she shouldn't be expecting to "take 5" whenever she feels like.

nannyrobot said...

I agree with the above poster. She should be ready before arriving at work. There's no reason for her to be showering while on the clock but if you go swimming, she should be allowed to wash her hair. She's human too, but she needs to know the limits. You should have a talk with her where you set aside a scheduled break or two every day where she is off duty. Those are the times that she can be on the computer/phone.

melissa said...

I don't agree with the above poster and the break thing. I worked 10-11 hour days and I managed to get through the day without a scheduled break. Anyway, I do agree with both PPs that if her day starts at 8, it starts at 8. If she didn't live-in, she wouldn't expect to show up unprepared for the day, so I don't understand why since she does live with you she can't be ready. 8:00 is a generous start time. I'd say something to her about 8:00 being her start time, and that means she needs to be ready for the day. As for the swimming thing, sure, let her wash her hair, but she doesn't need to put on a full face of makeup along with it. Honestly, when I took the kids swimming, I usually put my hair up so I didn't have to get it wet.

Jean said...

She SHOULD start the day already dressed if she is really starts work at eight. If she were a live-out, she'd come in with her clothes on, hair and make up done. If, however, she does things with your kids that get her dirty (swimming, beach, sweaty etc...) then she should be allotted time to clean up. Chlorine in hair can be damaging and no one wants to walk around feeling gross. She sounds like she's comfortable with you and getting lax. You should have a talk with her to check in and make sure you're all on the same page.

RBTC said...

you sound completely reasonable. as the owner of a co, it's not easy confronting people with this type of sense of entitlement - let us know what happens

Anonymous said...

Agree with most. As for the makeup...she has a right to put her face on. As with washing her hair, shes human. However, give her a time limit. I put mine on in the car...after the kids are strapped in, music on and they have their toys/books, we conversate or sing songs if they are older (No, I'm not in move mode of course). Takes me 5mins to do full face. If she's with you and you're driving, she can do it then.


Anonymous said...

A swim cap wouldn't hurt

Heidi said...

In the morning, she definitely needs to be ready before her job starts. I believe she probably thinks you don't mind at all, so you certainly should speak up. As for showering after swimming, you guys should have opposite shower times so that one of you can be 100% with the kids while the other person is showering.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to figure why you have a nanny when you stay home.

Anonymous said...

For god sake stop judging Stay at home moms.

Some of them have 5 children and genuinely need a nanny to help keeping the family balanced and happy !

In other cases she has a new born which ask tons of attention yet she also has a toddler that ask tons of attention too. So instead of putting him in a corner everytime she feeds baby or something else, the NANNY will entertain, stimulate, cuddle, the toddler giving the mother peace of mind.

If some mothers are fortunate enough to stay home and have a nanny, why juge them? Jealousy perhaps?

I get it, you do have some lazy stay at home mums but you also have the one that genuinely need it and can afford help which is fair game !

nannyrobot said...

Just because you worked 11 hour days without a break doesn't mean your nanny shouldn't get one. First of all, the law says that employees deserve a break. Second, if your nanny never gets a break, she will get tired and burnt out very quick, especially when it comes to the nanny in this post. That's a lot of children! Not all nannies can have scheduled breaks but in this case, the mom is home so she can schedule breaks (preferably during nap time).

Leah said...

It never stops to amaze me how incapable women make themselves to take care of their own kids. Yeah, I'll give birth, it oh my I need 24/7 help. I just wonder how my mum, auto, grandma a d zillions of other women manage to be the only mother a child has... Sorry for off topic but I've read so many sahm lullabies, I can't really take them seriously... And yes, one part of me judges sahm, because I know it's possible,but you are just spoilt. If you didn't have money, you'd be so very able to me a mum, not a mum paying someone to raise her kids. I'm sorry, really, and my opinion of you doesn't mean I support nanny's bad decisions or behaviour. But you wouldn't have those problems if you took care of your own, or depend on someone else.