Father's Helper.. A Lame Gig

Taylor Price
Hi, A question and a rant, maybe. I don't know.

Background: My best friend and I were both looking for summer nanny jobs together. I ended up taking my job first, and it was for a mother's helper at $12.00 per hour.My friend got her job two weeks later and it is a nanny job at $18. an hour. I took the first job I was offered because I wanted to work.

As it turns out, we are 15 minutes from each other in towns on the Hudson River. I work from 7-6:30. She works from 7-6. My first complaint is that I do more, not less than her for my money. I am a mother's helper or father's helper. Whichever parent is with the kids, and it is mostly the mom, I am her right hand. I cook, clean, toilet, make beds, do laundry, play games, read, run, swim, etc. My friend does all of the same but without a mom staring her down the whole time and for $5 more per hour. I'm just saying, mother's helper jobs are a scam and a half.

Now I can do the work and do the work without complaint. It isn't this family's fault, I have a great job to compare my job too. The kids are sweet. We're doing lots of fun things.

I do have a problem with the father. He takes the mother's helper role to the extreme. He is always sending me for something. Literally told me to "go fetch the sunhat from the trunk" and he said that in front of people. Also, he is a bit overweight and hairy and he wears what look like football under shorts for his swimsuit. I can clearly see the outline of his wiener, as can everyone. I mean, I can see veins, it's that clear. I'm hoping that August ushers in a new swimsuit or I might just have to spend some of my pitiful earnings and get him something from Target.

Another problem with the father is that we go to the beach a lot. He doesn't communicate well with me at all. Like he will take one child in the water for a far out swim and not tell me.. or he will set out with two children to go the snackbar and send one back, and meanwhile, I wasn't expecting it or looking out for the child.

The father also has asked me every day to put lotion on his back and it isn't the spray stuff. He hands me a tube of banana boat and says, "Laurell isn't here, so I guess you're up, go crazy". It's just weird. And usually other people are around.

Lastly, when with the father, we meet up with other families at the beach. And if someone like needs to take their child to the bathroom, he says to them, "let the nanny do it". That would be me, taking a strange child to the bathroom. I said as much as, "I don't know this child, I think that would make her uncomfortable" to which my boss said, "oh Nina's been through so many nannies, the kid won't even care". and then I find myself doing it, which is wrong on so many levels.

My job goes through labor day. I have let this go on too long. Rather than involve the mom, I would like to handle this directly with the father and practice being assertive. Any ideas of how and when to start the conversation? We are also going away next weekend for a Thurs/Fri overnight at Hershey Park. I feel I need to address this in advance because his brother and sister in law are also going and I can just see myself shepherding 5 kids!


Lacy said...

You need to have a sit down with both parents about this right away. You need to tell them you are uncomfortable with rubbing lotion into his back. If his swim shorts are white and simi-see threw-- I'd ask if he could wear darker ones because again its uncomfortable (but that is tricky water to treed in). I would also say, that you were hired to help them with their kids-- not any more. Next time you are , asked to help with more kids, just say "that is something I can not do". I'd also look for a new job. I've had mothers helper jobs and they pay me well, and I never have to do the same work as a nanny because I am being paid a little less-- as in 3 kids in the family I only have 2 "jobs" at a time (one kid and chores or just 2 kids).

Former Nanny said...

While I'm sure it's frustrating to think that you could have maybe had your friend's better job, her job description/pay has no bearing on your position.

While it would be easier confrontation-wise to just wait it out until the job ends after Labor Day, I think it's great that you see this as an opportunity to develop your assertiveness. I've had to have the talk with parents about extra responsibilities/pay in the past and I found it to be pretty uncomfortable but things can often end up improving because of these conversations. I would come up with a list of the issues and extra responsibilities you are encountering and address them one by one with BOTH parents present. Certain things you are not comfortable with at all- such as putting lotion on the dad's back, not being warned when he is taking a kid out of sight (or sending them back unexpectedly), being asked to take strangers' children to the bathroom- need to stop. Others can maybe be negotiated. Ask if you will be expected to provide care for the cousins on the trip and if so tell them how much more pay you expect for this task. I've read enough horror stories on here about trips gone wrong to know you need to get all the details ironed out beforehand (particularly pay).

As for what the father is wearing at the beach, I don't think there's anything to do about that. I also don't see any problem with him asking you to run back to the car for the sunhat.

Olivia Sheppard said...

Oh man, I hate mother's helper jobs. They seem like they'd be easier but I've never had one where I was happy with the position.You sound pretty new to the nanny game, so one thing that is super important to learn early on is, if you're uncomfortable with something, you need to speak up immediately and try to give an alternate suggestion. "I am uncomfortable rubbing sunblock on your back, I would be more than happy to run to the shop (most beaches are near at least a convinience store) and pick up some spray sunblock!. About the see-through shorts, I don't think there is anything to do there, sorry. I would definitely have a sit down with both parents and tell them that you would like to go over the roles of your position, remember to always begin and end with a positive!
Best of luck!

Stephanie said...

I cannot do jobs where either parent is home all day. Mother's Helper jobs just don't intrigue me I want to work on my own and definitely would not appreciate being told to "go fetch". Im not a dog!

Anonymous said...

$18-$12 is $6 difference.

Kara Ivy said...

I think it's the manner in which he asked her to get the sun hat that she has the problem with. I would too.

Me! said...

Yea, but op accepted the low wage because "she needed the work ". I made the same mistake eight yrs ago. I accepted a job and then found out they paid their previous nanny more money.I quoted my rate at interview. Lesson learned. I've since learned to wait for them to say we pay x. If it's too low, I quote my rate and we can come to an agreement.

Hopefully op sees this as a lesson and her next job is better.