Not a Job Requirement! By: Alexis S.

I recently found myself in a very strange situation. Something I never thought that I would experience, let alone need to have a conversation with my employers about.A bit of background- I have worked for a family for 8 months now. They live in an affluent neighborhood in California (Bay Area) I am paid very well and I work side by side with at home mom. I do all the driving as she is visually impaired and cannot obtain a drivers license. The father works in the government.  And they often host dinner parties to entertain judges, politicians and other high profiled people

My job consists of helping the mother care for her 4 children. Two school aged, a preschooler and a baby.

It started out as a normal work week morning. The rush of-
"Where are my shoes?!"
 "Have you seen my library book?"
"Did you put your lunch money in your back pack?"
And "Don't forget you have chess club right after school in library!"

MB and I dropped the older children off at school together. Took baby to a quick check up at the Drs.

Then it began:

A subtle, "would it be okay if we stopped by the grocery store and I just jumped out really quickly to grab a few things?" -MB

"Sure"- I answered

She was in and out of the store in a matter of minutes. And as she exited the store, in her hands she carried a heavy stack of bottled water, bottles of sunscreen, and a big box of energy bars.

She got in the car and asked," Would it be okay if we swung by (such and such place) on our way home?"

"Okay" - I replied (though it was not really on our way home)

When we pulled up to (unnamed building)
There I saw a large crowd of people, all holding large signs above their heads, marching up and down the sidewalks, chanting together in unison.

I then realized MB had purchased the water, sunscreen and bars, as a way to show her support; for the group of Picketers, as well as, for the cause they so loudly roared about.

MB got out of the car and she began unbuckling preschooler.
"Why don't you grab "baby" and come with, it's a hot day and I don't want you guys sitting in a hot car." -MB

We all approached a table strewn with slogan stamped signs, empty paper cups and boxes of uneaten donuts. MB began talking with the sign holders and passing out the bottles of water, and energy bars.

She returned and spoke,
"I want "preschooler" to march for a few minutes with me. I used to do this all the time with "school age child A & B." And they loved it!" She grabbed a sign, handed it to "preschooler," took her by the hand and off they marched.

There I stood holding "baby" in my arms. Extremely perplexed by the situation I found myself in.

If someone I knew were to drive by, I could only assume they would believe I stood there in support of the cause. And maybe think I was even more involved, as I was left to stand next to the table with a number of propped up signs.

"Preschooler" lasted only 15 minutes of marching up and down holding her sign and "baby" began to get fussy in the heat of the day.

We all started back for the car together. MB with a little more bounce in her step.

"I am so glad we got to do that, aren't you sweety?" She asked preschooler. " Bring all of those people something to drink. That made them so happy.
And just think- all of those people will do that all day long. When we are home eating lunch, they will be marching. When, you are taking your nap, they will be standing in front of "such and such building". When "school aged child A & B" come home from school, these people will still be chanting" -MB said to preschooler.

"But why mommy?" - preschooler

"Because they believe that this will make a difference." -MB

"Why will it mommy?"-preschooler

"Because it will help other people know about (such and such cause) and then it can change for the better." - MB

"Why is it better mommy?" -preschooler

"Because things are wrong and it is our responsibility to fix them and make them right." -MB

"But wh......" preschooler

"You know what sweety! I have a good idea! Let's go home and make our own signs! We could decorate them with glitter and stickers and come back again! Would you like that?" - MB

"Yeah!!!" -preschooler

Meanwhile I am thinking the whole drive home, "gotta love that "why?" stage."  And "Uh, Not while I am on the clock!"

This was wrong! Am I right?
I shouldn't have to accompany MB and her children to a political gathering.

Now I get I wasn't forced to hold a sign, or March, or chant. But It is not a job requirement for me to support MB and DB's political views....

Maybe I am over reacting. But I do not want to do that again.

I think I need to have a talk with MB and DB

Any advice advice on how to have this conversation?


OTNanny said...

Yeah, that's weird. And weirder still that she views taking her preschool child, who isn't old enough to understand what is going on, as something "fun" to bond over. I'm all for having your political views and supporting them and whatnot, but parents attempting to push their agendas through their children irk me to no end. However, I have a feeling that if you express your discomfort of the situation, it may not be met well. I guess I'd wait it out and see if she asks you do something similar again.

Alexis said...

Thank you for responding. I don't know what to do.
I too feel it is very uncomfortable watching parents push their agendas onto there children. And being their nanny this is even more uncomfortable. I feel this is even more so Particularly because of this cause, but I didn't feel comfortable stating it in my post, for fear it would be too specific to my family. But let's just say if you googled top protest speech topics, it would be there.
You feel I should not say anything to MB and DB?
Do others also support this idea?
Thanx again!

Anonymous said...

I probably wouldn't say anything, either. If she feels this strongly about it, she probably wouldn't take criticism well (even if you weren't being critical and that's just how she interpreted the conversation). I also totally agree with you that you shouldn't have to support a cause you don't actually support. Was there nowhere else you could wait? If it were to happen again, I'd look around for somewhere (anywhere) to point to and say, "We can meet up over there." A bench, a spot in the shade, a coffee shop...anything to visually distance yourself from this group.

Leigh Raymer said...

Once i had a "situation". I sent a childcare provider into a large park gathering we were hired for. I did not grasp 2 things -1. "Kloe" was super religious, i am religious also but have learned tolerance over the years. And 2. - the event was a large "gay pride" type of gathering. I was dealing with a nice person on the committee and the nature of the event never came up.

OMG! "Kloe" could not take it - her aversion to gay people was so strong she collapsed at the job and we had to send in someone else and she tore me a new toosh for persecuting her for her religion. our professional relationship did not survive.

i am assuning it's the usual stuff - right wing? left wing? pro abortion? anti abortions? elections? death penalty?

I would have a big problem if it was NAMBLA or ANYTHING that hurts children but - otherwise, you are being paid well and are happy with your job - just because you are taking care of children does not mean you support a cause

If you want to keep the position you probably should just - do your job and say nothing - but if your conscience will not allow that - then you may want to look for other work - their dime, their wheelhouse

KnoxvilleNanny said...

It sucks this family is pushing their political views into their children so much. In truth though, all parents do, even just through exposure. Since it IS her child, I definitely wouldn't make any comments about feeling like it was inappropriate for the children.

As far as your role as the nanny though, I do not feel like it was appropriate for her to take you there in just s sneaky way. She should have mentioned it before the day of and let you decide if it's something you're comfortable with. Furthermore, is it in your contract that you are her personal driver? I'd assumed your driving her is supposed to be limited to dropping off/picking up school children and any child-related outings. I'd be taking issue with the fact that she had you drive her to the store for personal supplies (not child-related), then take her to a event not related to the children.

Leigh Raymer said...

KN wrote someting i was trying to figure out - how to get out of it by contract - not political opinion. And the personal driver issue is good. Make it all about child-only activities/driving. Offer to call her a taxi. I don't know if this will help but 2 words/phrases i think work are : "alternatives" and " comfort-level"

" Here are some alternatives on personal drivers" and " my comfort - level is driving the children specifically to their activities" Don't make it about their beliefs as they seem to be very committed.

Alexis said...

I hear what everyone is saying. And I get the advice of pick your battles... *sigh
I appreciate the advice to try to distance myself. But with the baby I don't know how easily I could get away with that. I am thinking maybe I bring a hat and big sunglasses and keep them in my car as a sort of disguise...
I never thought I would feel the need to hide myself in my job.

Alexis said...

Thank you for your advice . I plan to keep a hat and big sunglasses in my car in case the situation comes up again. Currently the family is all down with a cold and the situation has not happened again...wish me luck

Alexis said...

Thank you Knoxville nanny!
Yes, it did seem very sneaky! Super passive aggressive! Right?!

I like the idea of bringing up the contract, but I worry she would say "but preschooler loved doing it and wanted to do it again and we decorated our signs" and make it like it is for the kids...
Thank you for the out of the box idea!

Alexis said...

Thank you,

I too thought it was a good idea but i worry she will justify that it is child related because he child was doing the marching and decorated her sign etc.
I appreciate the thoughts in regards to language and also believe words are strong and these alternative words could have been helpful if I felt like I could use them and could be set free of this situation.

I guess I will just have to deal with it :(
Wear a kind of disguise if it happened again and possibly start looking for a different job.

It just seems wrong to me.

Thank you to everyone who reached out in support and attempts to help!