ISYN 2015 The Quittings

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       We hired a nanny in February. She seemed lovely. We needed someone pet friendly. During the interview, we introduced her to our dogs. We have a Husky and a miniature Dalmatian.She professed to be a dog lover. Then she started making strange claims like the Dalmation was growling when she tried to leave the laundry room. She also claimed that our 3 year old was terrified of the dog.  One day I came home and she told me I needed to do something about the dog because he was "showing his teeth at her" and she "worked in fear". I kind of chuckled because the dog is 18 lbs soaking wet. That night her husband calls me and says that his wife will not be returning because I am ignoring her safety concerns. He also tells me he will be there at 8:30 in the morning to pick up her check.

     My nanny quit because I was late. I was late the first day because it was my first day back to work. I apologized for that. The next week, we had a great deal of rain and my train was late. When I came that Thursday after being late Wednesday (less than 20 minutes). I apologized for being late and told her the trains were a mess. She told me. "That's not my concern. I have plans and a life and this is the third time in two weeks. I can come tomorrow if you need, but I am quitting."

     My nanny quit after only 3 weeks because of the sound the kitchen chairs made on the kitchen floor. Seriously. Her nanny quarters are in the basement underneath the kitchen. She not only quit, but didn't come back at all. She texted me Friday at around 10PM. Her text said, "Um, you might want to LIKE totally reTHINK your kitchenette set up before you drive your nanny insane with BIG people rolling all over the kitchen at night and hyper kids all weekends. They do make, YOU KNOW..CHAIRS WITHOUT WHEELS. Some people should YOU KNOW not have LIVE IN NANNIES."  <---That is exactly what she sent. I saved it!

     I have never worked full time out of the house. I am a production assistant on a news show and had the chance to work on a feature which was going to keep me away for long days for four to seven
Katie Berggren
weeks. My third child was 3 months and we practice attachment parenting. We interviewed. We reference checked. We created a job description. I was wearing the baby during the interview. I showed her the different baby wearing options. She starts work and things seem to go fine. The older kids like her, but I realize I see the baby in the swing a lot of the time. I verify this by popping in mid day. My husband does a pop in and asks her where the carriers are and why she isn't wearing the baby and says, 'this is very important to my wife and we thought you understood that'. The nanny said, and I will have to paraphrase, "I know, but I'm not going anywhere." My husband was probably not as understanding as he should be when he explained to her the premise behind what we were doing and how it affected the child and etc. etc. The next morning she arrived and stood in the kitchen with her arms folded. She didn't even come in. She said, "I am not working for you. No baby needs to be carried around all day long. I'm supposed to walk around all day with that 'thing' strapped to me? No thank you. I have back problems." And she didn't say any of this in a kind or gentle way. I couldn't get her off our porch fast enough.

     We hired a Brazilian woman to nanny and do light housekeeping. Only, she wasn't in to the nannying but was heavy into the housekeeping. The kids would just be sitting on the floor in a pile of blocks or dolls while she cleaned, with what seemed like the inability to stop. We saw this on nanny camera. And she used bleach on the kitchen table and counters and floor and everywhere. I tried to redirect her by saying that we wanted her to focus on the kids and not worry about the house. I explained just picking up, making their beds, cleaning up after their meals. She told me she could not work in a pig sty and if I didn't make cleaning a priority my kids were going to be sick all of the time. I told her the kids were a priority. She told me, "I won't take care of sick kids or work in fifth."

    My nanny had been working for us for three months when she quit. She was not friendly with me, but polite and quiet. My children are school aged and reported that things were okay. She wasn't personable but she was efficient and most of the job involved organization and driving to and from activities and homework help, etc. We were planning to drive to Vermont for the weekend and I was trying to get things ready. I went to her and said, "I know we have two portable DVD players, but I can't find them anywhere. Might you know where they are". She want psycho on me and started saying, "Don't you charge up to me and start accusing me. I never took nothing that wasn't mine. I won't be questioned like that." I told her she worked for me, she organized the children's areas and I had the right to ask her if she had seen anything. She said, "Oh no. I am not going down this road with you. Hell to the No." She walked to the hall closet. Grabbed her coat and keys and walked out the door. She never called for or asked for her check. It was the strangest thing. I eventually found the DVD players, so still scratching my head about this one!

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trishie said...

I work in an animal hospital and notice it's the smaller dogs that are a lot nippier. Regardless the weight of the dog they can cause damage with their teeth. We've had under 10 lb maltese bite through a stranger's hand. Please take any signs of aggression seriously.

Anonymous said...

I'm in agreement here. Dalmatians are known to have aggression and biting issues due to improper breeding following the explosion in popularity after the Disney movies. Any dog who feels that they are "protecting" their home can be easily worked with, however, to be conditioned to a accept the new pack "member". Dogs can also smell fear and that will sometimes escalate the situation. I would recommend you get eh dog in some training classes at the very least.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the cleaning nanny: We had that issue with one of our nannies. I solved in by hiring a house cleaner once a week so the nanny could feel better about her working conditions (she was an otherwise fantastic nanny).

Different people have different standards of clean. I felt as if my home was clean "enough" (and definitely not unsantitary) but it wasn't immaculate. A little extra cleaning never hurt and now I have more free time!

Anonymous said...

I practiced attachment parenting with all three of my kiddos (now ages 6, 4, and 2 - I still wear my 2 year old from time to time). I whole heartedly endorse it and my nanny certainly supported and practiced it with my children when they were infants. However, if the baby was happy when in the swing or playing on the floor, there is nothing wrong with that. And at three months, you shouldn't be wearing the all of the time anyway. They need to be practicing their mobility and getting socialization. Also, did you explain your definition of attachment parenting/baby wearing to the nanny? She may have thought you meant to wear the baby out of the house (instead of using the stroller) and at fussy times. Attachment parenting and baby wearing aren't the same thing, either. Attachment parenting means making the child feel secure by meeting their emotional needs immediately. Baby wearing is a tenant of that philosophy, but so is bed sharing, extended breastfeeding, and many other things. My guess here is the nanny didn't understand your definition of baby wearing and attachment parenting. My other thought is that you felt pretty awful being away from your young infant.

I know that I did. I had been a SAHM with my first two. We thought we were done, so I returned to work (also due to go needing health insurance my husband's company just didn't provide) and then unexpectedly got pregnant with #3 (#1 and #2 were IVF babies after years of infertility). While I was thrilled by our unexpected blessing, I was still new at my job and couldn't take an extended maternity leave. I had to return at 11 weeks post partum and at 13 weeks, I had to travel for a week. It was, bar none, the hardest thing I have ever done. So I know firsthand how it feels to have to leave your baby. It made me a little nutty. For example, I expected my nanny to watch all three kiddos (newborn, 1, & 4) AND make homemade baby food. I was irritated when she pushed back (respectfully) a little bit.

I'm just saying that I understand your side. And, ultimately, as the parent, it is your way. BUT sometimes, I think it is also important to understand what lies beneath those needs. In your case, your baby was perfectly happy in the swing. So was it the baby's need or your need?

In my case, it certainly wasn't my son's need for homemade food. It was mine. So I learned to make his food ahead on the weekends. I actually found this soothing. And for foods that I couldn't make ahead, he got jarred food. It really is important to be realistic about what we are asking our nannies to do and why we are asking them to do it.

Sara said...

*Lol! The dog issue: nanny probably hates dogs and or is afraid of them. Don't know why she'd agree to work around them. Unless she thought they would be elsewhere during the day(some other part of the house).
* The cleaning nanny should just work as a housekeeper. Unless your house really was a pigsty.
* I'm guessing the nanny in the basement was really young. It'd be annoying to live underneath the kitchen. It's usually the noisiest part of the house. This is why I don't work as a live-in.
* The lateness nanny? Completely 100% right! I haaate lateness with a passion. Did you inform her that you would be late? Did you text or just show up late? More importantly, did you pay for her time? We do make plans and have lives after work. If you're late habitually, it can cause major issues (missing shows, dinner, movies other plans that are time sensitive etc). And three times in 14 days is alarming to a new nanny. She'd worry that this is how it always is. Quitting in the beginning is easier emotionally than getting attached to the kids and then leaving.
* The DVDs nanny. Most likely terrified of any accusation/assumed accusation of theft and freaked out! Holy overreaction, Batman!
* The baby wearing, she didn't understand OR agree with almost exclusive wearing. I've interviewed with a lot of moms who were wearing the baby but who also didn't expect me to wear baby all the time. I wouldn't wear baby constantly either, but I also wouldn't work for parents who wanted me to. Different views are ok as long as both parties are clear about expectations. This nanny was dishonest and wouldn't admit to her differing views until challenged. Hopefully the parents learned to be crystal clear regarding their expectations.

That's all I can remember. Funny posts. Many of them unprofessional nanny behavior but several legitimate concerns.

Corina said...

I live in NNJ. We all know how crazy traffic can be. Instead of always worrying about running late. In the future change the hours you need a nanny. For example when looking instead of say from example 8-6. Make it 8-6:30. Even if you more likely will be most nights at 6. Better to play it say and not stress yourself and nanny over time.

I don't blame the live-in nanny about chair situation. I can't imagine trying to sleep in on the weekends. Then hearing screeching noise. Things dropping, etc from kitchen table. You may want to invest in something like a " white noise" machine. . A lot of therapy centers use these outside the door. When speaking to clients. We personally use a Hepa machine in our son's room. Helps him sleep.

Corina said...

Opps I wish I could correct some errors in my comments. Better to play it safe.

Anonymous said...

ATTENTION PARENTS--- Did you ever think you may just be a jerk and THAT'S why your nannies quit?