Tuesday

Why I Am Leaving the Nanny Business

As my title suggests, this here is a big decision. I am feeling quite sad, but also very certain of my decision, as I write this, because I have been a nanny for 6, going on 7, years and have been close to every child I have ever nannied for, but my most recent situation sealed the deal for me that I am just not cut out for nannying anymore. I highly recommend that you go back and read my two posts on this blog that will help you understand some more details of my situation. They are Bad Cookies and Questions About Overtime Pay and Hours Banks. The rant that follows below might not make much sense if you don't have the background info ... haha.
I am leaving the nanny business. This has been a long time coming I fear, despite my love for working with children and the good memories and amazing opportunities I have had as a nanny. I am leaving for a variety of reasons. I am leaving because I have never, not once in 6 years, nannied for a family that hasn't sucked at least on some level. I know that suckiness kind of goes along with the job, but unfortunately I have just never found that dream family. I know there will never be a "perfect" job, in any career field, but I have reached my limit for how I am willing to be treated as a nanny. I no longer feel like I can put myself forward to be disrespected day in and day out. I'm tired of being texted at 11 pm about the next day's schedule. I'm tired of families who think of the nanny as the help, as someone less than a human being, whom they can take full-advantage of because they're paying me. I'm tired of families who have the attitude of "you should feel so lucky working for us because we're so rich and amazing." I cannot deal with families wanting to pay me under the table anymore. I am in my mid-twenties and have had a tiny number of jobs since I was 18 that paid me on the books. This makes it insanely difficult to prove to anyone that I have an income. I'm tired of job creep -- one day waking up to find yourself knee-deep in laundry you volunteered to do once because mom was just SO SWAMPED and now it's part of your daily duties. Like, how did I get here?? I'm tired of not being thought of as a real employee. That my time, my salary, my time off, my vacations, my sick days, are "less than" a "real" employees needs. I'm tired of hearing stories about nannies calling in sick with a horrible flu they don't want to pass on to the kids and being let go because poor MB or DB had to spend one day with their kids. I read this blog regularly, and what I see on here just disgusts me. Seriously, the way some people are treating the people who are taking care of the most precious things in their lives - their children!- is just absolutely shocking. In short, I am completely burnt out on nannying. It makes me sad because in the past when I have been on short break from nannying, I miss is sooo much and it makes new nanny jobs so wonderful. Unfortunately, that feeling never seems to last long. Maybe the kids are super messed up from an insane divorce. Maybe the parents have completely unreasonable expectations. Maybe they go out of town all the time, and while they pay you for the time they're away, as per your agreement, but when you quit they seem to think you owe them 4 straight weeks of basically unpaid work because they paid you "for doing nothing" while they were gone. (Like it was my decision for you to go on vacation???) I cannot deal with families who cannot comprehend that this is how we make our living. Hello, I'm not babysitting your children for 10 hours a day as community service. I have bills to pay. I'm tired of being unnecessarily stressed about leaving a job because it's not like leaving a "regular" job, there are children's emotions at stake here and sometimes that means staying in a job you're miserable in for their sake, when really, you just need to get out. Anyway. I could go on. Like for hours. I'm sad, miserable, burnt out, and still fuming from the most recent job I quit. (Read my past posts and you'll see why...) Anyone else feeling at the end of their limit ...?

9 comments:

Taleia said...

Good luck! It's a tough job and easy to get burnt out. As someone who has never nannied for anything less than "dream" families, I can't relate to almost anything you've said, and I still experience periods where I feel overstretched - everyone in the house gets sick at once, family members with issues come to visit, the kids go through the smearing-poop-everywhere stage, etc (lol). It would be miserable if I didn't know my MB and DB had my back and were awesome people!

Come back and let us know what you end up doing!

Janice said...

Just weighing in to say this is a great post. Exactly the kind of content I love to read here.

I can understand how nannies get burned out. Just a reminder: there are families who value what nannies do! Hope you find new work soon that fulfills you.

Leigh Raymer said...

Please share some more details about exactly what happened at your last job. I hope you don't give up completely, maybe you just need a break and can find the right family

this_nick said...

It is a good post but I'm not sure that a break would help. Nanny families will often (probably usually) do to you what you'll allow. If you accept these kinds of employer transgressions the family assumes they can continue with them. This is not a criticism of you, just a fact of life in this profession. Not everyone has the personality to say "no" or even the security/safety net do so (meaning, for example, a nanny who would otherwise stand up for herself can't because she could be made homeless.) There is no shame in deciding this isn't the gig for you. Good luck with whatever you do next!

this_nick said...

And reading on my phone I now realize I thought the previous two comments were part of the same response, so if my opener makes no sense that's why lol.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I've had the EXACT same experience as you describe and I recently quit my last nanny job as well. I've worked for this terrible woman for three years and only the last year did she start paying me over the table. Annnnnd the reason I quit was because she denied my vacation time, vacation time that was stated very clearly in an email contract. She said that because she had given me so many one off days off because of the families travel that those days equalled a "vacation" even though the contract clearly says "a whole week" and not a few days here and there. On top of that the family treats me like a maid, I come to work with toys and food all over the floor a sink full of dirty dishes, etc. When I asked for my vacation time my employer was so offended, she said "how dare I abuse their generosity". I almost vomited, it was sickening to hear her call herself generous. Hearing those words, all I could do was decide to quit the biz. I almost walked out on the job, but for the sake of kids gave a formal notice.

Corina Yildiz said...

Is this the same family that tainted the cookie?

Anonymous said...

OP here. Corina - yes it is the same family! They were so horrible. I quit a few weeks ago, so they're out of my life now. But it's been really hard for me to mentally and emotionally move on after such a terrible experience.

Anonymous said...

OP here again. To the Anonymous poster above - that's a horrible situation!! I have had very similar things happen to me regarding family vacations vs my open personal time off. With the family I just left (and the main reason I am leaving the nanny biz) they took multiple weeks off in a span of 6 months and then when I quit, seemed to think I was "cheating" them out of the money they paid me while they were gone. It was 100% in our nanny agreement that I would be paid if they went on vacation, but I in turn agreed to take unpaid time off if it was longer than 3 days. I was totally fine with the agragement but was FURIOUS that they accused me of "stealing" time from them because I quit without "fulfilling" those extra hours. I would have ended up working for almost 2 months straight UNPAID if they had really thought that I "owed" them that time. What's even worse, they were always asking me to work overnights and weekends, and now I realize that then intended for me to work overnights and weekends FOR FREE because I "owed" them hours! (I always said no because I have A LIFE.) It's absolutely insane what some families will try to pull on their nannies. It never fails to completely upset and bewilder me. What's SO insane to me is that bad families seem to be the NORM when it comes to nannies families! WTF is up with that?? When did you give notice after the vacation conversation? Was it immediate?