The Microwave - by Marilyn Sharp

I arrived to work one morning, and to my shock and horror, it was gone!
The microwave!
I love the microwave! I will admit it! The microwave is one of my best friends! As a nanny for an infant and 2 preschoolers. It has become something that I have come to rely upon in my daily routine.
No! I do not use it when heating up the baby's bottle! I know that is unsafe and creates hot spots; and we have a bottle warmer for that.

But I do use it regularly when trying to feed two picky preschoolers (twins) who have different likes and dislikes when it comes to everything! Especially meal time!

And the morning is such a time crunch! I arrive to work at 7:30am. That gives me just about 1 hour to-
Unload the dishwasher(so there are clean dishes to eat off of), make breakfast, pack school lunches, feed and change baby and dress two squirmy preschoolers in time for preschool.

Mealtime predicament-
One wants bacon with breakfast the other wants sausage! One wants chicken noodle soup in his thermos the other wants Mac n cheese packed in her lunch box. This use to be manageable, with a microwave in the household, but now....

And I know some readers would suggest solving the problem by saying "don't give them the choice of what to have at meal time!" and if they were my own children I wouldn't, however this is something the parents do and I am expected to also do the same.

Some may recommend that I request a change in my hours to accommodate the new amount of time it will take me to make meals. However, there is no flexibility there as I commute to work daily. (Live out)

The microwave is such a help to me during my work day and to have it taken away without a thought as to how it would effect me creates one disgruntled nanny!

I thought - maybe it broke!? And we will get a replacement soon.

To my dismay this was not the case.

The explanation: A dismissive - "We are sick of the radiation."

This situation brought me back to an encounter I had in the past:
I had interviewed with quite a few families in the Portland area, one such family was upfront about having a "minimalistic" approach to life.
"We use cloth diapers and do not have a dishwashing machine nor do we use paper towels" these were the examples given during the in person interview.
More power to you "go green family!" Saving the world one hand washed dish at a time.
But, I knew right away this family was not a good fit for me. No dishwasher! No paper towels! No thank you!

Okay, I am ready....

Bring on the judgement!
I am destroying the world with every paper napkin I pack in the preschoolers lunch box, every disposable diaper I push into the Diaper Jeanie, and I am apparently slowly killing myself with radiation every time I push that,oh so missed, "30 second" button on my microwave at home.

I am not looking for advice. I will deal with it. It's not my household, nor are they my children.
Nor am I looking for judgment, but I know you ladies are just itching to lay it on, as recent content has been low on this blog, so go right ahead, I can take it.

The point is, can anyone else relate?

Have you had to deal with your families "going green" or Big changes in the household that effected your daily routine to the extreme?!

Thank you for taking the time to read!

And if this is the type of post you would like to see ladies. Speak up and give some positive feedback for a change!


MissA said...

I can relate. At my first nanny job, when I didn't know any better, the parents were deep in to nutrition and there was no microwave in the house. I struggled mightily, but in the long run it really contributed to my (still developing) cooking skills. The kids were young, so there wasn't any need to pack their lunches, so I tried to encourage them to play at the kitchen table while I cooked. I must admit, too, that the girls ate quite a few almond butter and honey sandwiches my first few months. Thanks for sharing, OP, and for respecting your nanny family, even though it increases your work. Admirable.

NannySharp said...

Thank you for taking the time to read and for sharing your own experience. It is nice to know I am not alone in this. I do have reasonable cooking skills. The predicament more so lies in the fact that the preschoolers are extremely picky eaters and would rather go hungry than try something new, and being a short order cook in a time crunch.
Though more importantly, to me, I appreciate the positive feedback and your encouraging words .

Taleia said...

I've thought about what I'd do if this happened at my nanny house; my MB is also really into nutrition, and while it's not something she's mentioned, I could see it happening. Luckily she seems to realize that the microwave is a lifesaver for me (not for the same reasons as you - I couldn't function in an environment where I was supposed to let everyone do their own thing, and actually my MB and DB have told me they've felt a lot more freedom to enforce rules/boundaries after seeing how I do and how much the kids still love me). When she prepares food, she usually uses the stove, and when I do, 99% of the time it's the microwave.

Like you said, not much you can do, and good for you respecting that! Good luck!

Taleia said...

One last thought - if the kids are such picky eaters, could you try fixing familiar foods in advance, so you're just reheating instead of cooking? Like, bake fish sticks/chicken nuggets, fix the macaroni, soup, etc in advance and then just pulling from it as you need?

NannySharp said...


Thank you for relating with me and going a step further- imagining yourself in my shoes!
You sound like you have a good relationship with your MB and DB :)
Yes, my thoughts exactly. This was what I did pre-loss of microwave. Make the Mac n cheese the night before. Heat it in the microwave and throw it in the thermos that morning. Like Miss A mentioned above- these kiddos are going to get a lot more sandwiches.

Anonymous said...

You are not a good person OP like other posters have stated.
Packing a paper towel in their lunch box everyday is SO wasteful! And judging other families and trashing their life choices when THEY are trying to do right by our planet!
Stop being ignorant. The planet cannot withstand our ever growing population and realize your choices effect everyone and future generations. Reduce your carbon footprint!

Janice said...

Yes, this IS the kind of content I have always loved reading on this site. Personal stories and issues are so interesting. And, though this post had an unedited look, it was quite readable. I am actually not a nitpicker and though I am a professional writer, I am a terrible proofreader of my own work. So glad to see first-person stories again.

And by the way, I can relate. I am not a nanny and I do not own a microwave, BUT I do have some personal preferences that aren't the most environmentally friendly choice, but do make my day easier. For example, I like to buy the small, portioned bags of trail mix at Trader Joe's, to keep in my purse. The packaging is more wasteful than if I bought one large bag, and it also costs more this way. However, when I have those pre-portioned bags I am much more likely to eat this small, healthy snack, instead of getting too hungry and grabbing a slice of pizza or a giant Starbucks cookie.

ss4857 said...

Anon, you are NOT A GOOD PERSON! Is there anything you won't complain about?

Anonymous said...

I have a ligitamate point and and the op WAS extremely judgmental
"Go green family" "saving the world one hand washes dish at a time"
How much more disgusting could she be. The microwave is a lazy way to prepare food!
And she is just another inconsiderate consumer. Who admits to being wasteful and judges others who choose to be proactive in the green movement.
You know I am right...your only come back was "you are not a good person"
Which were my own words. Couldn't think of anything original or a litgitment statement in her defense.

Lacy said...

Cloth diapers, no problem, but I know what the diaper services charge my pay goes up 2/hour for cloth (if responsible for washing). No microwave what ever... but if the parents play short order cook on the weekend and expect you to do that in one hour while doing so many other things at once-- UNREALISTIC... you need a sit down with the Boss's. If the parents are going to take the microwave away after the job was going, the job needs to be re-negotiated.

I work with families with or without a microwave. I also only make one meal, period. Kids will learn to eat new things. Try making a schedule: Monday Pancakes, Tuesday Ham and egg scramble, Wednesday oatmeal, ect; do the same for packed lunches. Simple, let the parents know that without the microwave that is how you will do it. I do it, and I have culinary training. I am not about to do hours of dishes.

No dish-washer no problem, I will do all the dishes near the end of the day. Each dish will be rinsed after use and lightly scraped if needed. But, I will only wash and put away the dishes the kids and I used, period. Dishwasher, I will unload the clean load.

Anonymous said...

My goodness some of the comments are so negative. Lighten up peeps :)

Anonymous said...

$2 per HOUR extra to wash cloth diapers? Only if you're expected to wash them by hand! It's really no different from washing and folding any other load of laundry. I assume any child wearing cloth diapers is still napping a minimum of an hour...plenty of time for a 30 min break and assembling clean diapers. Any nanny who does kid laundry should also wash cloth diapers (if applicable).

NannySharp said...


Thank you :)
I too enjoy reading personal stories. And it was definitely unedited. Written in between nap times and sitting In the car waiting for school to let out. I am glad you were able to follow it. And thank you for sharing your own personal story in relations to my posting. Yes, packaging is a big one too! I try to use washable containers in the children's lunch boxes but often times they take up so much space that I find myself reaching for plastic sandwich baggies.
Thank you for reading And replying :)

NannySharp said...


Thank you for your response in my defense. I will not dignify anon with a response (I expected this predictable behavior)

Thank you for the read and reply!

KarmaRose said...

I could not live without my microwave! And yes, this is a great post, the kind I come here hoping to read :)

NannySharp said...


Thank you for the read and reply. And for considering what you would do if this was going on in your life.

NannySharp said...


Thank you for the read and reply.
I have never used cloth diapers and have no experience with them. Dead of the unknown for me.
Perhaps you could enlighten the rest of us of the ease and benefits of their use. Do they need to be washed separately? Do you have to dispose of the felcal matter before the wash? Where do you do such a thing? Toilet? How absorbent are they? Have you also used disposable diapers? How do they compare?
Thanks again!

NannySharp said...

Fear* not dead

Anonymous said...

It depends a bit on the type of diapers. They have cloth "pocket" diapers now and most infants not on solids yet don't need the poop rinsed off prior to washing. Once they start solids they can use a flushable liner or diaper sprayer (attaches to the toilet) and then diapers either go in a wet or dry bag that can be put into the wash. After using cloth I'm genuinely grossed out by disposable diapers (gross plastic beads for absorbency) and I don't consider myself all that "green"

this_nick said...

The post is fine minus the passive aggressive whiny bit about judging. It's not necessary to scold your readers or instruct them to only leave positive feedback - is this a blog or a police state?

To the post itself - I could get by without the microwave, but I can imagine how a major downgrade in having the needed appliances to accomplish the routine would suck. Since you want no advice on the issue I'll just say good luck!

Jessica said...

Totally random, but I have missed you around these here parts!

NannySharp said...

This is fascinating!
I had no idea their were so many options ("pocket diaper" "liners" "diaper sprayers")
I wonder what the cost difference is between cloth and disposable.
Thank you for your response!

NannySharp said...

Karma rose

Thank you for your post! It is so nice to hear that someone else also has a love affair with their microwave!
And I appreciate the positive feedback.

NannySharp said...


I will admit this does have a passive-aggressive tone to it.
Just my way of trying to put out fires before they begin, I guess.
It does suck, thank you for your sympathy.
I also appreciate your respecting that I was not looking for advice.
I was hoping to learn if any other care givers had similar "go green" experiences with their families. Or if a large decision was made in the household, without their consideration, which effect their job in a big way.
Thank you for the well wishes :)

well paid for all the bs said...

I'm not allowed to use the family's microwave to heat Little's meals. She has everything heated in cast iron. Have you ever cleaned scrambled eggs out of a cast iron pan? Goodbye, twenty minute lunch break and nails. They also don't allow TV, "kid food" (cheese sticks, crackers, pb&j, grapes, pirate booty, granola bars, mac n cheese, chicken nuggets, you name it she can't have it), plastic toys, items made in China, non-organic food, clothing, or bedding, "commercial" products (nothing Disney branded, for example), etc. I didn't use to see this psychotic standard of child care much (been a nanny 15 years), but sadly more than a few of her classmates are subjected to similar draconian restrictions. You should see this kid salivate over the illustration in a kids book where they are eating juice and goldfish crackers. She'll want to spend ten minutes discussing the picture, which has nothing to do with the plot line. This is how you get major neuroses later in life! But hey, who am I to judge? No, the judgment is clearly the exclusive domain of sanctimonious modern parents who never consider the true work involved in setting up these elaborate systems because they don't have to follow through (guess what she's allowed to eat, drink, and watch on Sundays when nanny's gone and they are at their wit's end trying to ebb her needling and whining?!). I call them "sanctimommies" and they are, I believe, the primary source of nanny burnout. And many, many facepalms.

NannySharp said...

Well paid for the bs,

I too have been instructed to use the cast iron pan and have had the pleasure of experiencing the scrubbing that goes along with it :)
What fascinating limitations! And yes, I also think that such extremities can lead to neurosis later on in life.
And yes, holding the nanny to different expectations (no tv when nanny is there, but bubble guppies plays non stop all weekend when mommy and daddy are home) can cause a lot of confusion/frustration.
Sanctimommies! You should reserve rights for that phrase! Brilliant!
I would love to here more from you! PLEASE write more about your experiences this topic!
Thank you for the read and reply

Lacy said...

I find an extra $2/hour reasonable for cloth:

Most parents leave the weekend's diapers for me, the night before's also for me. Essentially every diaper that baby wears I am washing it. Now to wash a cloth diaper after a baby switches from only breast milk goes as followed, with NO disposable parts: scrape the solid material into the toilet, rinse and soak all diapers, do a pre-wash of diapers, actually wash the diapers, line dry the diapers, put all diapers 'together', put diapers away. Then comes travel, outings, ect... I have to carry a wet bag, have a larger diaper bag, haul soiled diapers with me until I get home.

I kid you not, every one I have 2 loads plus of diapers. Every day I am there I do one load. Plus sometimes the poop leaks out, so I also have more clothes then normal. I am responsible for all child laundry and house towels. I do 2-3 loads of laundry a day. Yes this is worth $2/hour. Diaper services here charge more then that over my week.

NannySharp said...


Wow! I had no idea.
You painted the picture very clearly and I must say, after learning of the lengths in must go to accommodate a family that prefers cloth diaper use I am even more frightened!
I agree, 2$ more does not sound unreasonable.

Thank you for the read and reply!

this_nick said...

Jessica I promise - you're the only one! LOL

OP, no problem, hope it's working out for you.