Tuesday

Am i being unreasonable?

I am a recently college graduate that has held several nannying positions throughout my college years and i am currently in a relatively happy position for the last months 4 months, with the verbal commitment to continue through the summer and next school year. It is a bit of a unique situation, as the mom is a young widow (less than a year) and has hired me to help out full time with the 3yo and 7 month old so she can get things done around the house. Pay is $15/hr which is the most I've ever made in a nannying position, although I have been somewhat underpaid in the past. It's a very laid back position and I have relatively few complaints aside from a few differences of opinion with discipline of the 3yo and other "small" issues for another day.

One area that has taken some getting used to is that she seems to have no concept of personal space or personal questions about my private life. She shares everything that's going on in her life with me, and seems to expect me to do the same. Often when I leave for the weekend she will chat in a very friendly way and ask what my plans are for the weekend, where I'm going, who I'm hanging out with, etc. Many mornings she will ask how my night was and if I did anything fun, you get the picture. It's all in a very friendly, chatty manner and I know she doesn't mean any harm by it. I have had a hard time keeping my personal life and "professional" life separate with her since she's so nosy. I feel as if she is expecting me to become a part of the family while I am seeing it as a dependable job (at least for now; I've definitely become part of the family in some past positions).

Here's my problem: 2 or 3 weeks ago she asked me to accompany her and the kids to her in-law's lake house a 5 hour drive away for a long weekend (Thursday afternoon thru Saturday night). I told her I would think about it and she also asked for my thoughts on how to handle compensation as neither one of us have worked a situation like this before. She described it as a fun weekend/vacation for me, as I would be able to go water skiing for the first time and just generally enjoy a weekend on the lake. I asked for clarification on what my duties exactly would be, and she said she pretty much just needed help keeping the kids fed and happy on the drive there and back, helping get the kids in bed quickly when we get back late Saturday night, and maybe an extra hand with baths at night while we're there, and she and her in-laws should be able to handle the rest.

I have no idea how to calculate this type of nanny vacation pay, so the only thing I could think was to estimate the hours I would be working/on duty. I came up with roughly 20 hours, at my usual rate of $15/hr, which comes out to $300. Even if I don't "work" a full 20 hours, this still accounts for any hours over my normal 40 for the week that I might be accumulating, as well as compensating for time that it's keeping me away from my home and personal responsibilities that I won't be able to attend to during that time.

I proposed this to her, and she seemed to find that unreasonable. The way she sees it, I am getting an all-expenses-paid weekend at the lake and should see it as a purely fun trip, with only a little bit of helping out in the car on the way there and back.
I explained that while that is true, it is still taking away a lot of my personal time (Thursday evening, Friday evening, and all day Saturday). She presented the scenario to her other part time (evening) nanny and other close friends who apparently agreed with her that I should just take the free vacation (even citing past a past nanny who went to the beach for a week, willing to be unpaid, but the family gave her $300).

I realize that it will be an enjoyable time, but it is still not the same as having my own free time to do as I choose. It's not like I will be hanging at the lake with my friends; I will be making polite small talk with her in-laws who I've only met in passing. Not to mention, if I choose not to go, I will be missing a full day and a half of pay (Friday and half of Thursday). I think that at the minimum I should receive pay for that amount of time ($165). I'm thinking of rounding up to $200 just to compensate for my time away from my own responsibilities, even if I don't do much actual "work" while I'm there.

Am I being unreasonable here? I honestly don't know how to approach or resolve this situation. The trip is coming up soon, she's wanting to get this nailed down, and I don't know what to tell her.

11 comments:

Traveling Nanny said...

It is so annoying when families think that THEIR vacations are fun for you. You are not unreasonable to expect compensation. I make my regular hourly when I travel with my nanny family. In addition, I receive a 100/day per diem for each travel day to compensate me for the inconvenience of being away from home and for expenses related to the trip (sometimes I have to get a cat sitter, special clothes for a trip, or food for myself in odd places). I wouldn't travel with any family without being well compensated. Believe me - you will not be on vacation.

hannah said...

Run!!!! If she is not willing to pay you the $300, do not go. You will feel under appreciated and end up resenting them when you end up spending the entire time taking care of the kids and having awkward conversations with the family members.
I tried that once, and Never again!! Going on vacations with family's is never a vacation for the nanny in any way. If anything, you will be working more because the family will take advantage of you being there, and use you more while they take off to dinners, etc...
When I go with family's on vacation, I charge my normal rate while the kids are awake and I'm taking care of them, plus another $30-50 a day for the traveling and being away from home. I expect the family to pay all my travel and food expenses as well.
Having a nanny to go on vacation with you is a luxury. You are a professional and this is your livelihood, you deserve to be treated as such.

I would sit down with the mom and explain that even though they will be on vacation, you will obviously not be since you are expected to provide childcare. I would be nice, but firm in telling her that this is your profession, and you expect to be compensated for the vacation.
If she says no, then you can always try asking her to pay for the days your missing of work, since it is unfair of her to ask you to miss out on wages because they are going on vacation.

Trust me, you don't want to go on vacation with a family for free. They will expect all future vacations to be nannied for free as well. It's never a good situation.

Good luck!

Unknown said...

This thread is amazing. And the response to the situation is right on par!!

Anonymous said...

You're not being unreasonable at all. Any time I travelled with my nanny families (whether it was fun or not) I was compensated. You're giving up your time, you should get paid. End of story. And if her other nanny thinks she shouldn't have to pay you, then her other nanny should go for free...
As for the "personal" questions, they're really not. They sound more like friendly banter to me. I always appreciated when my MB would ask how things were. It's up to you to share how much or how little you want.

Jessica said...

I actually charge much more to travel. No matter the destination. I would never do it for my regular rate. I even charge my hourly rate -plus 4 per hour- en route. Traveling by car with two kids would be hellish. And you're not on vacation. You will do MUCH more than she explained. And you're not in the comfort of your own home. You have to give up your life/friends/bf or husband for the duration.

Don't do it. It will suck!!

Browsing Around said...

When you first start working for a family, don't be afraid to tell the family YOUR expectations.

Colleen McDermott said...

If she is not willing to pay you, at least what you would make if you were working a regular work week DON'T Go. Because as Hannah said she will expect it for other situations as well.

Colleen McDermott said...

If she is not willing to pay you, at least what you would make if you were working a regular work week DON'T Go. Because as Hannah said she will expect it for other situations as well.

Anonymous said...

Check your grammar in your post, starting with the first sentence. Totally annoying to see fundamental grammatical errors in the first sentence, and be expected to read 500 words further. Not saying you're stupid, but please check your first sentence, if you don't check any others. It's not that hard. Laziness is not really an excuse.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, no value added, and very pretentious.

Smh.

Anonymous said...

They are on vacation you are there to work. You are also away from home and I wouldn't expect that much downtime. Yes, you might get to enjoy a new location and some fun activities but you'll still be working.