Today's Rant from a Nanny/Babysitter

So I had a funny situation with babysitting this weekend. There is one family I babysit for that is only date nights. Only sometimes date night is til 3 am on a Tuesday.

Anyway, they have normal day care/ nannying IDK what for their 3 year old normally during the week. I was hired because I specifically don’t care how late they stay out. I have insomnia anyway and the kids asleep the whole time, so I just write and watch TV etc.

When they hired me the MB balked at my normal rate and since it had very little actually babysitting and was so close to my house I settled for a $17 an hour rate she usually pays $15 I guess. The problem is after the first couple of visits they would show up at 3 or 4 in the morning, hand me a pile of cash and put me in an Uber, and it was less that my usual rate (in fact maybe actually a mistake, I just really doubt it)

Anyway since i usually only sat for them once a month and I didn’t want to burn any bridges I would just let it go. I’ve said things to Moms who I have issue with in the past and especially if it’s just an occasional thing you’ll never hear from them again. Some Moms need to be told that it isn’t ok to book a sitter for anytime they might possibly need you and then cancel at the last minute as needed. I mean once or twice because of an emergency--- I’m not going around shaking down people for money, but when you’re pretty much trying to have someone on call (like booking me for a week and only needing an afternoon, but only pay them when you absolutely need them…it's disrespectful to the point that it bothers me to even have to point it out.

And I totally understand how somebody would think it’s a lot of money to pay someone who barely sees your kids and catches up with the Kardashians (they know this, it's late, they’re asleep I’m not like secretly neglectful), but like, my rates are my rates and not everyone is going to be cool with the coming home at 3 am on Tuesdays. Surge pricing or whatever..

Anyway recently I started sitting for them a bit more often. Their kid is seriously one of the best behaved I’ve even encountered, and so cute and sweet. But they kept shorting me my already reduced rate and sometimes only having be over for like 3 hours or less with no warning and I’m just not in the business of having my Friday nights booked for that little money. I told her one time 3 hours is the minimum, but that’s really with my normal rate and usually at the very least 4 hours.

Anyway now she pays me via venmo, so they’re a receipt and I can pay taxes and everything’s on the up and up which is great. She booked me for this Friday, and I assumed it was going to be a late night and that even with her extra reduced rate I would be coming up with enough money to feel better about not having a fun Friday night, but sure enough her husband comes home 2.5 hours later, acts like this is a good thing and puts me in an Uber saying his wife will Venmo me.

So kinda pissed off I went home and went to sleep only to wake up to no payment from her. So I sent her a request via Venmo, and since I got booked for a Friday night for something that if I knew how little I would be making I would have never even agreed to--I sent her my rate, not my actual rate, the rate we agreed to but she only sometimes actually pays. (Which by the way when you’re only there for 3 hours is like a 5 dollar difference. And she doesn’t pay it for a a couple hours. I had to send her a reminder, and when I did she sent me a text message that I found really insulting.

Accusing me of being dishonest and trying to sneakily overcharge her or something, and empathizing that I was only there for 2.5 hours like that’s a good thing, and charging her a fee, and to be careful this never happens in the future.
I responded telling her the rate we agreed on was $17. I did not mention that she’s the one who hasn’t been paying what they should, or that when dragging people out for money that isn’t worth the trip, giving pointers for “moving forward” is kinda ridiculous-- especially when I have to remind you to even pay me at all. I’m somehow more annoyed by this text message than by her gradually not paying me what probably adds up for a couple hundred dollars. I’m

I’m even more mad that she straight up ignored my text.I tried to be as polite about it as I could, especially I’ll probably never hear from her ever again. It’s fine of course. I’m sure I’m perfectly replaceable too. Maybe if they settle for someone younger, with no experience, who is irresponsible or something they’ll even be able to get their rate down to $10 or something. It's a relief really. I am very aware there are people who had much harder jobs than me and get paid a lot less than I am complaining about getting.

I know it’s partially my fault for not saying something a lot time ago, or to keep going over there, especially if it annoyed me enough to write this much about it The normal family I work for during the week never ever messes up my paycheck, and they treat me nicely, the pay me a lot more. Their children are much more of a handful and I do a lot for them, and thankfully I never have to worry if someone’s going to short me all the time. I don’t want to be in a position where I have to choose between the two bad options not saying anything and letting people walk all over you (me) or having to call someone at 4 am when I finally get home from their home because they “forgot” to my pay my full rate. I am tired of feeling like I’m somehow not entitled to money for what I do--- even if it is sitting around watching TV in someone’s house, I’m actually making it possible for parents with a toddler to stay out til 3 am on a Tuesday without judgement. I have sympathy for parents who complain that childcare isn’t affordable, but what these parents use me for is a luxury and just like everything else in New York, more expensive than most other places.

I remember she reached out to me to babysit on New Years, and I lied and said I couldn’t because I just didn’t want to have to have a conversation with her about how much I would have to charge, I just didn’t want to hear someone trying to haggle with me or something. I’m a good babysitter, but I’m not a charity. I am pretty sure the only way to get what you know what you’re worth is to ask for it I am going to try and start doing that.



Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you continue to work for this family. They consistently short you money (and in my opinion, you are WAY overcharging) and don't seem to respect you. Why go back? Stories like this one are frustrating to me. If you don't like the situation, change it. And I mean that as nicely as possible.

Leigh Raymer said...

This was a great rant! It goes into detail about something that comes up on this site ALL the time and that is good hearted nannies ( it can be the moms too ) who know whats right and find it hard to confront wrong. I was never good at confrontation but I have had to learn to. The OP was very wise to realize and verbalize that she was down to making a choice - keep making the extra money - or -confront them and possible lose the job

NOW - would be the time to do something that is a if not THE biggest theme on this blog - put it in writing - everything, the discounted rate,say how cute the kid is, a minimum amount of hours - just etc and say " I need to be able to have my comfort level in business" , leave the door open and do not be abrasive.

You are darn good at yoiur job and they will be back - I would bet on it

Nannyoftheyear said...

Wow, this is a tough one. If the parent agreed to pay you that much then it is completely wrong for them to not do what was agreed to. Was that payment agreed to ever in writing or even in s text or anything that can be seen and proved that was the rate agreed to? I do honestly think that's a crazy amount to charge for babysitting when the children are asleep the entire time. I know charging at night when a child is sleeping is always a big debate over what's enough.... But $17.00 an hour is more than I make being a nanny with two children during the day, although I do love in smaller city than New York city. Question to parents....would you pay a good amount more to have an extremely qualified nanny there with your children while they are sleeping or is experience a little less necessary than s decent rate when you know it will be unlikely your child will wake up? What's the average rate most pay a babysitter (because if it's a few hours a month at night then I don't consider that a nanny job)? I am pretty shocked that you actually find families to pay you that much for evening care, op do you have other families you do date night care for with their children asleep the whole time that actually pay you that rate?

Lacy said...

I live in Bay Area, her rate for her experience sounds very reasonable. Sitter rates very on where you live. If the parents agree'd to any amount, its their responsibility to pay up that amount. If the parents don't like that sitters rate, they can choose to stay home or find a new one.

OP: stick up for yourself. Get things in writing: Pay is X per hour, you require a 3-4 hour shift minimum OR if your booked for __ hours they will up hold to that. In babysitting its reasonable to tell a family to uphold to their booking time (as a sitter you are turning town other opportunities). For these families, I would be honest tell them Your rate your hour minimum, and that if they keep coming home early you will be force to cancel a booking if someone else requests it. I mean really, why would you take their 6 hour booking, knowing your only going to work 4 hours; when another family requests you for 6+ hours at your normal rate!?!

Anonymous said...

@nannyoftheyear, That's both an idiotic and unhelpful response. Even if her rate were 100 per hour, she should get paid the agreed upon amount. The parents agreed before hand. If they cannot pay, they cannot afford to go out. They're more than welcome to hire a school kid.

OP ignore the jealous/just found out they're being underpaid nannies. For this mom, bring it up. Send her an invoice for the unpaid hours. If it were me though, I'd move on. They're cheapskates.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the coffee and put it in writing, however I think you should put in that in case of a cancellation you should get at least half the amount per hour with a min of four hours. Yes I know that this is not ideal, however, would you rather get paid for the inconvenience of the situation or no pay at all.

Or set in writing an amount that if they cancel so many times that they have to find another sitter.