Leaving my position...General Rant

This is a general rant about why I am leaving my nanny position. I welcome any input or requests for more info as I have no friends who work as nannies, so I would love to discuss.

Around the end of last year I made the decision that I wanted to be a full time nanny, ideally for an infant. I am in my early 20s with an AA degree in Early Childhood Education. I spent about two months looking for a position and took a few part time positions until I found my ideal family to work for. Unfortunately, I picked the wrong one.

Two girls, now 6 (D) and 1 (M). The parents both work full time, one in the home and one outside the home. From my perspective, the job seemed great. Pay wasn't wonderful, definitely on the lower end, but since it was my first nanny job I was fine with it. I was really shocked that I was able to land a full time position with an infant as I am young and didn't have ample experience. My responsibilities included basically everything for the baby. Laundry, keeping track of supplies, keeping both girls rooms tidy, and what was specified as making sure there are no dishes in the sink at the end of the day. I was specifically told I was not responsible for the family's dishes or for emptying the dishwasher. They have a housekeeper, but she only comes once a week.

My schedule was originally mon-fri from 8-5. I get paid salary, however I am asked to come early or stay late generally once a week. About a month after beginning the job, the parents approached me about lengthening my hours to 8-6 because "there's no way we can be ready by 5." Because of the way they worded it and my lack of experience, I felt like if I didn't agree my job would be in jeopardy. We came to an agreement of only an extra $50 a week for the extra 5 hours, "with the understanding that I would not always be needed until 6 and Thursday's specifically I would almost always leave at 5."

My first red flag should have been the dishes. This family loves to cook elaborate meals which yields a lot of dishes, which would all be left for me. I once overheard the parents tell a family member not to worry about doing the dishes because I could just do them in the morning. This occurred at least 6 months into the job. I know, I should have stood up for myself sooner. I feel like a lot of my issues with this position can be chalked up to classic rookie nanny mistakes.

It took me about a month to work up the courage to say something. After I came inMonday to an overflowing sink and dishes literally growing mold since they don't even rinse them, I finally did. I was very respectful, explained how I was told I would not be responsible for the family's dishes, but have become the only one who does them. The response I got left me stunned. The mother got very flustered, telling me they NEED me to do the dishes, and "if I'm not okay with that then we need to have a serious conversation." It was at this point I realized this was not the position for me. I am not okay with doing adults dishes and I am especially not okay with the fact that the parents didn't even offer to try and help with the dishes sometimes, they basically just threatened my job.

I also never get to leave early on Thursdays as promised. Almost every week one parent is done with work early on Thursday, but I am still kept until 6. Sometimes I am told at5:50, "hey you can just leave early if you want." I am not even exaggerating about that. I have also been told if I come in an hour early for three days straight, on the last day I can leave early. I did not leave early and the parents claimed they forgot. I was barely even given an apology.

Our parenting philosophies also differ greatly. They believe in pushing their children, even pushing a baby to crawl or walk who is bawling to the point where it can only be traumatizing the baby not to crawl or walk. When I met M at 3 months, she was the baby who never napped. It took me a few months but I got her on a great schedule, that was never followed on the weekends. I was so proud of getting her on a schedule since I had no experience doing so. When I tried to suggest scheduling doctors appointments and activities around her schedule, I was asked, "well, why can't she just be on a schedule where she naps whenever we want?" Again, not making this up. D is constantly throwing tantrums, throwing herself on the ground crying if we don't have the snack she wants or if her meal is cut in a way she doesn't like. The parents will go to the store and buy the snack, or make her a new meal and cut it the way she wants. I am even seeing signs of this affecting the 1 year old, she also throws herself on the floor crying when she gets upset. She has actually been doing this since she was about 8 months, to the point where she's hurt herself. I actually just made the connection that she is clearly mimicking her sister.

The parents are not at all interested in what I have to say about how the kids days went. They will ask, and then pick up their phone as I start responding, or interrupt my response to start discussing something else. We discussed sitting down and doing formal reviews, which I was excited about because I really wanted to hear ways I could be a better nanny, but that never happened.

There are quite a few more issues I haven't even touched on but this is getting long. Maybe I will write another post some time. I know, I should have gotten a contract. Classic rookie nanny mistake. I have actually learned so much from this site. I have already given my notice and my last day will be in less than a month. I've overheard them interviewing new nannies and promising the same things they promised me. I wish I could warn them. They even went as far as to actually let me leave early on Thursday for the first time. I later found out they had an interview and I am pretty sure they let me leave early to show the potential nanny that they do let me leave early on Thursdays. This is sickening to me, they are fully aware that they are promising things they will not do. I feel no regret leaving this job, but I will miss the baby very much.


KnoxvilleNanny said...

I'm glad to hear you've decided to leave this family. They are absolutely taking advantage of you. The dishes situation especially is completely disrespectful.

It sounds like you realize you made some mistakes. We all learn as we go, and that's okay. The biggest thing I see here is a lack of communication on your end. You have to be willing to stand up for yourself. Part of that is creating a contract with the family so you have something to reference when these issues arise.

Jessie said...

Unfortunately unless you do a lot of research prior to becoming a nanny you will make a lot of silly mistakes. It is a learning curve. There's also a gut feeling you get after a while, and learning to say 'no' takes practice. I always say it out loud if I don't agree/like something - if the family decides to fire me, fine - I have enough saving to survive 1-2 months, and nanny job offers pour in weekly even though I'm not looking.
Good luck with your new nanny job!

Anonymous said...

First of all, welcome to the world of Nannying :)

Don't worry, your case isn't the only one at all... All new nannies lands on that kind of families that takes advantage of them at least once. It's not a hasard they hired you, they knew what they were doing ;)

I did even worse than you when I was new to the field. The worst one was a chinese family that was making me work 30 hours per week + 2 times a week babysitting and all that for 150£ per week! yep! didn't have a contract either. That was my very first nanny position and didn't know how the market rate was.2 month later I gave my notice.

Another family I was working as a live in 40hours per week for only 120£ per week. The room was as small as a storage room while the guest room upstairs was nice and and full of space but the occasional guest coming from time to time had more value than me. It didn't work out with this one either. I met a group of nannies at the park that was shocked when i told them how much I was getting paid for the hours and duties. kids had behaviour problems as well and the parents were permissive while i am authoritative.

Another one was as a live out. The family? rich, living in a town house with super sophiticated equipment,home cinema and everything. Yet they were cheap too. Paid me 9£ per hour which was ok... until I realised they weren't going to pay me when they go away which I understood was going to be ALOT of loss and I started panicking regarding how I would get by while they were gone. The Kids also had behaviour problems. The parents were cold and treated me like crap. it didn't work out. there weren't any contract.

Another family, was o.k but due to all my previous positions, I wasn't able to save so I was a very unstable accomodation and was moving from home to home causing me to loose important stuff and being clumsy, I was also depressed due to the precarity I was constantly in. I Ended up being poched to work for temporary position in a Wealthy Russian family for 2 month. The salary they offered was not refusable and I knew that working for them would mean I would come back with considerable savings and FINALLY able to wait for the right position instead of taking the first one coming which always resulted with me taking crappy positions with families that enjoyed taking advantage of their nannies and not valuing her.

I came back and then I knew exactly what kind of family I wanted to work for. I looked for 2 positions: 1 the mornings and 1 the afternoon since my experience would't allow me yet to find a decent permanent full time, I could definitely find 2 decent permanent part time. I went to many interviews. This time, I was VERY CLEAR with the potential families. I wanted a written contract, being declared legally,consistancy, a FAIR wage for the city with guaranteed hours, 4/5 weeks holidays per year + if the family went away to cover me no matter what since it would be THEIR choice, same discipline philosophy and to have an excellent communication at all time. I learned that all of those criterias are the receipe for a healthy start, a long term stay and a happy ending! In short, I became a master in negociation haha!

As you can guess, the bad families were turned off by a candidate being so scandalously "demanding" but it allowed me to eventually lend on the good families i've always wanted to work for.

I am now happily employed for over a year from 2 families and EVERYTHING WORK AMAAAAZZZIIINNNGLLLY :D!!!

You need to speak up for yourself. Since your not very experienced, you won't have an astounding position of course although you are graduated in childcare (im not) so you will definitely be able to find a descent position with the criterias most nannies with decent families have. Same as much money as you can as it will allow you to turn down the offers from the not attractif positions and wait for the one made for you.

I wish you luck, and keep us updated ;) sorry, I wrote a book...

nc said...

I'm glad you learned from this position, especially standing up for yourself, as not everyone does that. Best of luck with your new job!

NannySharp said...

We have all been there OP. It happens to the best of us. You learned a lot and are now moving forward. So glad you have found a new position And even more happy that you felt comfortable enough to share this with us! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

It always drives me crazy that people trust you with their children's lives but then turn around and show no respect or appreciation. It makes me sad that some families don't realize what a tough job this can be and take advantage every chance they get. Good for you for leaving!