My Nightmare Nanny Job

Nanny Horror stories I’m writing in hopes to get closure. Maybe if I get this off my chest, I’ll feel better. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of them or something reminds me of them. I don’t want to think of them anymore. I want to forget all about them.

Last fall I left my management job to become a nanny to three kids. I thought being a nanny would be so fulfilling. I imagined taking them to museums, parks, zoos, out to lunch. I finally got an interview and I fell in love. I loved the parents, I loved the kids. They hired me a few days later. During my interview I made a point to ask if I would be allowed to take the kids on outings. The mom said yes after some trust was gained. Which I understood but in my mind I’m wondering why she would even hire me if she didn’t trust me.

My first week went great. I watched the twins while the oldest was at school.

Soon did I find out that this job was not what I signed up for. My days were full of screaming terror. These kids (almost 3 years old) cried at the drop of a toy. Cried if they couldn’t get their socks on. Cried if I cut their food the wrong way. And by cried, I mean SCREAMED. They fought constantly. Hit each other all the time. I know kids do things like this (I have 4 younger siblings) but it was out of control. When the oldest came home, I dreaded the 45 minutes I had to spend with him. He was the meanest kid I have ever met. He had the look of pure evil in his eyes. As soon as I turned my back, he would hit the twins, pull their hair. And the oldest, let’s call him “P” would scream and cry and throw temper tantrums over the most miniscule thing. One day he came home and was fine. 15 minutes later he’s throwing himself on the ground because he wasn’t allowed to have two popsicles at snack time at school. He was especially rude to me. Not listening when I discipline him, sticking his tongue out at me and my personal “favorite” laughing at me as I disciplined.

That was just the kids. The parent’s would leave at 7 am and not return until 4:30 pm. A lot of the time not until 5 or 5:30. Once it was even 7:30! We had discussed a 4:30 end time in my interview and I was fine with that. But that isn’t my complaint. My complaint is that when it was time for me to go home, the awkwardness never went away. I thought during my first few weeks the weirdness would just fade as time went on. It didn’t. If anything it got worse. There was something about them I just didn’t trust. I felt like they were into weird things. Super-natural things. Their demeanor and the way they were led me to think this way. I don’t want to give too much away but their choice of clothing and their kids names (which were totally weird) didn’t help their case.

I was never allowed to leave the house with the kids. Ever. Our only breath of fresh air came when we were allowed to play in the backyard. And like I said, it was fall so it was getting really cold. They never took the kids out either. The only time they left the house was to go to the doctor. My job quickly became very isolating and lonely. My brain had turned to applesauce. Talking to no one over the age of 7 all day really took its toll. I was depressed all the time, always tired. I DREADED getting up every day. I thought about getting into fender benders just to get out of working. I daydreamed of falling down the stairs with the laundry basket in hopes of breaking my leg.

The parents were so over protective it was nuts! They would wash their clothes every day. It didn’t matter if they were only wearing that shirt for a few hours and there was nothing on it. They wore different socks to bed and when they woke up, they went right into the laundry pile. The dish washer broke one day and one of the kids had diarrhea. They assumed it was from me not washing the dishes properly. I know how to wash dishes, I have never owned a dish washer in my life.

This family had already gone through 3 other nannies and I didn’t want to follow them. I didn’t want to let them down. I still liked them, given how weird and strange they were. But when I started crying because I had to go into work, that was when I’d had enough. I put in my two weeks and that was that. I have nightmares to this day that they have me locked in their house and won’t let me leave. I think about them just about every day and I want this to stop. This job was extremely scarring.

I feel a little better having told my story, whether people read it or not. My apologies that it’s jumbled and choppy. And I know it doesn’t sound as bad as it was. I will never be a nanny again.
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That's a Good Question...

opinion 2 Hi there, I have a question. I am a nanny in the city of Chicago. I work 50 hours a week with two children, ages 2 and 4, (a third arriving in November). I try to find a fun learning activity for them every day, make them eat healthily, have them get plenty of exercise, learn to be polite, and turn every "why?" into a real learning experience rather than just saying "because I said so" or "because that's just how it is." But I am always questioning whether I am doing a good enough job. At 50 hours a week, I think it's safe to say that I'm a huge influence in raising these children. So I was wondering if you and/or your readers could say what they think makes a great nanny and what makes a bad one. I think it'd be an interesting post, as well. Thanks so much for your time!

Nannying 101: How Do I Negotiate Fair Pay Without Sounding Greedy?

opinion 2 I live in the Seattle area and have nannied and sat for children in both Seattle and the East side for the past five years. I was recently hired for a position for a 4 year old and 1 year old by a doctor and computer engineer. This is for when the father is out of town and the mother will be working odd hours.

I provided 4 references to this family, 3 of which paid $15/hr and my last steady position I held for one year paid $16.50 for the first 8 hours, then x1.5 for hours 8-12 and double time for hours 12 onward. This family even paid me the same rate while their children were in school, as I was "on call". I realize I was very fortunate with this family, but nonetheless, this was the rate at the steady position I was leaving (as the family was leaving the country).

Now, family #2 had listed their rate being offered as $13-15/hr. I consider a fair wage based on this area and my experience/hourly history to be $14-16. They are offering to pay $15 while the children are awake, but want to play a "flat rate" while the children are sleeping. I have had two negative experiences with this before which resulted in me leaving both positions after a short time, not because the wage wasn't fair, but because the tone from the parents was that they didn't appreciate nanny's work, sleeping children or not, and made several comments alluding to me being greedy and overpaid.

I am also in school and have 8am classes all year, so when the hours are 1pm-1am (children go to sleep around 8pm) I would really not feel properly compensated being paid for 7 hours and then not being able to leave for 5 more, but at a significantly lower rate. I realize I am in the higher end of wages, but really don't feel I should cut down my hourly and would really like to avoid a flat rate at all costs as in my experience, it only leads to the employer gypping the nanny. What are your thoughts on this? How do I negotiate without sounding greedy?


Why Didn't Somebody Help Ame?

Ame Deal, Arizona 10-Year-Old, Killed By Family For Taking Popsicle - The family of a 10-year-old found dead in a trunk outside an Arizona home initially claimed the child died while playing hide-and-seek. But investigators now believe Ame Deal suffocated after her family locked her in the box because she took a popsicle from the freezer without permission.

Phoenix police claim Deal's grandmother, aunt and two cousins regularly subjected the child to horrific treatment, ultimately culminating in her July 12 death.

"This child died at the hands of those who were supposed to love and care for her. This case has turned the stomachs of some of our most seasoned detectives," said Phoenix Police spokesman Sergeant Trent Crump in a statement posted on the city's website. (continued)


Your Thoughts?

in the news
Riders Fight as Baby Stroller Rolls Off Subway Car - NY
Heat or not, something seemed to get the better of two women who fought over a seat on a L, and it didn't seem to matter that one had some pretty precious cargo. A baby stroller holding a sleeping baby didn't seem to stop the much bigger babies from going at it.

The fight was all caught on amateur video and uploaded to YouTube. It appears the woman in blue didn't think twice about leaving the child she was watching behind to take a swipe at the woman in white for supposedly stealing her seat. Passengers took cover as the two went at it, locked up like two cage fighters but instead using the crouched confines of the L train to settle their childish dispute... not even realizing the baby that one was watching had rolled out of the subway onto the platform, where complete strangers had to run to the rescue.

No word on the condition of that baby and it is not yet known if either of the women was arrested.

A baby is Dead. Was it a Crime? - VA
She did it before.

The first time Karen Murphy left her son, Ryan, alone in her minivan, a call from day care and cool winter weather saved him. The 2-year-old was strapped into the vehicle alone for less than 30 minutes in January, according to news reports.

The second time Murphy forgot to drop Ryan at day care, she drove to her veterinary office in Northern Virginia and did not see her 2-year-old for about seven hours. Her husband went to the day-care center to pick up Ryan and discovered that he was not there. By the time he called home, by the time Murphy raced out to her minivan on Gentle Shade Drive last month, Ryan was unresponsive in the back seat.


Mamaroneck Public Library - Mamaroneck, NY

bad nanny sighting I was at the Mamaroneck Library with my two children today. In walks a nanny (young, black, very short hair, jeans, some kind of cream colored flowy top, jamaican? accent) with her charge who couldnt have been more than 2 years of age. She was on her phone (black IPhone), plopped him down in front of some blocks, then proceeded to walk away. TWENTY minutes later, the little boy (blond hair, black track suit pants and a black windbreaker jacket with a G, like the Rye Garnets emblem) gets up looking for her, so I followed him to make sure he didnt go anywhere where he could get hurt or worse get kidnapped by someone. I said to her, "Maybe you should get off the phone and pay attention to him". Well, she completely flipped out and started cursing and asking me who the F&*K I was and I should mind my own business and that she was watching him. I said, "No you were not, he is looking for you and he is a little boy, he shouldnt be left alone". She again completely flips out, while still on the phone and complaining to whoever she was on the phone with, that some b&*ch (me, I am assuming) is asking her why she isn't watching the little boy. I then realize that I had seen her before at the Rye Y, and the boy was crying and screaming in the stroller and she completely ignored him, except to tell him to be quiet (that was at the circle). She was quite horrendous. The nanny/babysitter is there to take care of the child, not abandon them and talk on the phone the entire time.

Sunnyside Gardens Park - Sunnyside Gardens, NY

bad nanny sighting I saw a Nanny at Sunnyside Gardens Park in Sunnyside Gardens, NY. A black woman from an "island", maybe Jamaican, with two little kids, both caucasian children, a boy about 4 or 5 and a girl about 2 1/2 - 3. She was on the phone for most of the time I was there and would watch the two kids hurting each other. I walked over to the kids because the boy was hitting the girl with a wiffle-ball bat and the girl was protecting herself with a stick. She shooed them and didn't stop it, just continued with her phone call. By the time I came over he had a graphite bat in his hand and I grabbed it away and she finally interrupted her call for a second and said thank you. I was appalled. The nanny immediately went right back to the phone call.


Southridge Recreation Center Pool - Highlands Ranch, CO

bad nanny sighting
Location: Southridge Recreation Center Pool, Highlands Ranch, CO
When: Tuesday, July 19/ Thursday, July 21/ Saturday, July 23 AND some days in the previous two weeks
Time: Early to mid-afternoon all days

I apologize in advance for not knowing whether this woman is a nanny, but her consistent behavior just makes me nervous enough that I think someone should know.

The woman in question is extremely short, probably 4'10 at the very most. She has short-ish, sparse black hair and has a bald spot. She wears glasses, and looks to be anywhere between 50 and 60 years old. With her is a girl, probably about 10 years old (taller than the woman, light brown hair, colorful one-piece swim suit). Sometimes other girls come with them too, sometimes not. I've never heard any names mentioned.

I work at the facility and see these two quite often. The woman is extremely overbearing towards the girl, who is an excellent swimmer and often just wants to swim by herself. She can't go around once in the lazy river without the woman marching to the side of the pool to yell at her for something. There is a lot of shouting involved, and the woman is very in-your-face and gestures with her hands a lot. Once, the girl looked a little angry at the woman and said something to her on the pool deck, then jumped into the water. The woman got red-faced and started crying, arms crossed. I have never seen the woman smile, and every time she's in the water with the girl, she seems to be harassing her about something.

On Thursday, much of the pool was closed because of a "sanitation issue" and the woman accosted a lifeguard and yelled at him, again getting red-faced and hysterical as he explained to her why the pool was down. Then she turned and grabbed the girl by the arm, quite roughly, and led her away to another pool.

I realize this isn't very specific, and I wish it could be more so. I'm on duty whenever I see this woman, so I've been unable to watch her more closely. Something about this lady just screams "unsafe" to me. Regardless of who she is (nanny, grandma, aunt, etc.), I just can't understand why a child was left in her care, especially because of how hostile she is towards the girl. I know
there are a lot of nannies in this area, and it would be great if the parents could see this. If she were my kid, I would want to be aware of how she was being treated.

Pregnant Nanny Doesn't Want to Lose Great Job

opinion 2 I am a nanny and am looking for some advice. I started a really great job two months ago and just found out i'm 4 weeks pregnant. I met this family through other nanny friends and pretty much got the job on the spot. I LOVE this family, the father is only in town one weekend a month (he works elsewhere as a surgeon) the mother is a nurse practitioner and only works 2 12 hour shifts a week (all day tuesdays & wednesdays) The kids are awesome - 9 yr old boy and 11 yr old girl, so they are in school most of the time i'm there and I just run family errands and do basic organizing/laundry. Basically I couldn't be happier working for them - I work 2 full days and occasionally a week night if i'm available. I obviously want to stay with this family and would like to work up til I no longer can. I'd also like to return to work after a maternity leave of 6-12 weeks depending on when the baby is born since the family will vacation across the country next summer anyways.

Do you think this would be a problem or that they wouldn't want to keep me? I would not bring my child to work with me once he/she is born unless the family suggested it - my mother and sister's would be happy to care for the baby the 2 days a week I work. Do you see any of this as a problem? I really don't want to lose this job. I really appreciate any input I can get.

The Waiting Game

rant 1 After living in a college town for approximately four years, I recently began to see the childcare profession as extremely competitive. Parents need childcare, and there are providers everywhere you look-the daycare center, the stay-at-home-mom, and the nanny. Childcare options are everywhere. Out of the three types of caregivers, the most competitive I found was the nanny. Some parents prefer the comfort of a nanny inside their home, whereas others prefer their child to attend a daycare center, as they may not be able to afford the luxury of a nanny. In either case, I never thought that finding a nanny job in a college town would be so difficult. My competition? Twenty something university students with little experience in childcare.

That being said, I have applied for jobs listing the following qualifications: "must have experience with our child's age group, enjoy interacting with children, and own transportation. Early childhood education students encouraged to apply". I meet all the "qualifications": I exceed the experience with children, as I have worked with all ages, I love working with children, I have a car, and I am a student majoring in early childhood ed. Aha! I don't attend the prestigious four year university by choice. I am beginning to wonder if parents even read resumes-one family who listed these qualifications sent me a reply telling me they had over a hundred applicants and one was chosen. They signed the reply with best. I was livid. How could they list basic qualifications and send such a snotty reply? Did they really count every reply to the position, or did they look at my resume, understand that I exceed their qualifications, resulting in a feeling of fear that I am well-qualified to babysit their child, even though I am not a university student or grad?

"You have great experience and a background and we really like you. Unfortunately, you do not attend the university and are experienced, and therefore, we feel that you aren't qualified enough to work for us, based on the name of your school".

I can hear them saying this as I send my resume to prospective families in town. Most of the time, I don't even get a reply. It's rude, frustrating and childish. I am beginning to wonder if parents even know what a qualified babysitter and nanny look like. I am giving some consideration into building a website for myself, highlighting my background, experience, and education. I plan on opening a nanny agency within the next year, and I feel the website would be a great way to introduce me to the community.

Last week, I decided to apply for a nanny job because I am frustrated with my current job. That being said, I applied for a job with a family who is willing to work around my school schedule. From the way the mother was talking, she made it seem as though I got the job, and even discussed insurance with me via email. I sent her a reply about the insurance and mentioned I was looking forward to coming over Saturday to hang out with the kids, and haven't heard a response from her about that or a start date. She loved my work agreement, and wants a copy of it, however, I have reservations about sending something like that to her without a formal offer. I don't consider myself with a job offer until I hear back from her about a start date.

In the meantime, I guess I will sit patiently and wait until I find a family that is everything I am looking for....

Is Honoring Two Weeks Notice Worth the Price?

opinion 2 I am first time nanny who moved around 30 hours away from my home and life to do this, hoping to find a family to spend several months to even a year or so with. I was excited to try being a nanny for the first time, and the family, especially the mother, seemed so welcoming and accommodating in the beginning. However, things quickly began to change as her true personality came out. She was 9 months pregnant when I arrived, and I was told I would have little to no responsibilities regarding the baby as I was very clear that I had no experience with them and was uncomfortable dealing with a newborn. I was told this was completely fine, that I would rarely be left with the baby for even five minutes, and she was taking work off to help out with the house and the children. Shortly after he arrived the baby was often left in my care for hours as the mother did things around the house (personal, not cleaning), clearly hearing this baby screaming in my arms and knowing full well my discomfort regarding this. On top of this, I had a 2 boys to look after at the same time, older, but emotionally stunted and needed far more attention and hands on babysitting than other children their age. Fights, often culminating in screaming and slamming doors were common between them, and being rather new I had yet to figure out what works with the boys and how to best deal with them. While I had discussion with the parents about tactics, nothing seemed to work.

Around a month and a half after giving birth, the mother returned to work. Her returning to work coincided with the boys getting off school for the summer, so I was left alone with them for the majority of the day. I was told I would be working 30 to 35 hours a week, and would have 2 days off. I was not told that I would be working 50 to 60 and given no time off on weekends for myself. Furthermore, any time I did have to myself was resented by the family, and I began to feel guilty for going to my bedroom between 9:30 and 10 pm if the boys were still awake. I had no defined limits as to what my days were and it was beginning to take a physical toll on me. I was expected to be up and ready for 9, and would often be left alone with the boys until 11 or later on weekends. Furthermore, the oldest child is beginning to develop anger issues and had begun to lash out at me verbally, making my days stressful and emotional roller coasters.

I believed I could deal with all this, except around the 2 month mark my relationship with the mother changed, I lost any support system that had existed before, and felt isolated and taken advantage of within their home. The mother brought the child with her to the salon that she owns, but began to take the frustrations of her busy days out on me. She would return home from a days work, and find minute problems with the house, or things I had done wrong. Often, she'd lay out laundry lists of chores for me to do (cleaning and tidying the entire house, maintaining the boys rooms, caring for the 3 large dogs they own) all while keeping the boys entertained. This was very difficult, because as I mentioned before, the boys did not get along and could not play with each other, and were starved for attention; they could not play alone or keep themselves entertained without my constant input or involvement in their games. Also, the house itself was isolated within the countryside, leaving me with little choices of entertainment if I did not have access to a vehicle. The only thing that could keep them quite and entertained for more than ten minutes at a time was watching tv or playing on the computer, and these were limited to an hour a day before dinner. This always bothered me as whenever the mother was home, the boys were constantly watching tv, but as soon as she left, she was extremely critical of it and was very harsh if she found out I had let them watch a movie during the day. Therefore, I began struggling getting the chores done in the time frames and specific ways she requested, and instead of opening a dialogue, my concerns were either treated as lame excuses or brushed aside with useless suggestions of what could be done.

She often gave me very detailed instructions (to the point of being condescending) but I accepted that this was her house and followed them to the best of my ability. However, if one towel out of the 50 I had folded and put away was not as perfect as the others, this was pointed out to me, discussed at length, and then further discussed in a one person conversation she would continue under her breathe, while I was still standing infront of her! This emphasis on my flaws rather than strengths was a common theme, and permeated into all aspects of my day, whether it was something I'd done around the house or with the boys, it became a huge deal. A well done or thank you was a rare thing for me to hear, yet the smallest of mistakes was brought to the entire households attention and despite having been discussed, and then in my mind dealt with, would keep being brought up in mocking and belittling ways for the rest of the day. Also, I'd like to point out that I was not making mistakes constantly. Instructions were very muddled and would begin very detailed, and end with "well whatever, you do whatever you want". This confusion left me second guessing everything I did, as I realized she wanted it done a certain way, but, since I am unable to read minds could not fully deliver to her.

The final straw came about 5 days before the new nanny arrived when she began making backhanded comments about my work and began raising her voice to me. At this point I had already told them I would like to leave early, and had arranged to stay a little over two weeks until another nanny could come. However, after belittling me in front of the boys, and straight up yelling (something I have rarely experienced within my childhood and never in a work environment) at me over something I had not done that day, although when she told me about this task, she had voiced it as something to be done on a rainy day when I had time, giving the impression that it was not something urgent I went to my room and packed my things, and waited until the next morning when the house was empty and left, leaving to stay at a friends house (this was on my day off so I did not abandon the children or anything like that). I sent an email to the mother outlining some of my reasons and thanking them for the good times we had (as there were some) but explaining it was for the best. My health had gone downhill living in such a stressful environment and I had actually begun to start losing hair. It was at a point where staying was worse than leaving, and I had to stand up for myself. Honestly I don't think I could've lasted those last 5 days without experiencing some kind of emotional breakdown. I don't regret losing the reference, and I have never been so happy to be returning home.

Obviously my nanny hopes did not turn out as I would have planned, and I have realized that being a live in nanny is not a chance I will take again. I do feel bad about leaving the boys as I did, as they are good kids and I will miss them, but I am not a servant or a mind reader, and I believed that enough was enough and I couldn't stay in such a toxic environment anymore. However, what all this explaining and buildup has led to is a question, would you leave abruptly in circumstances like mine as I have done? Do you think I'm a terrible person for doing this to the family? I'd really like to get some more experienced nannies opinions, I know what's done is done, but I'm still haunted my lingering guilt, I'd like to get some discussion on if you believe honouring two weeks notice is worth the physical and emotional price staying would have taken.
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First Park - 1st. Ave. and 1st St., NY

bad nanny sighting Hi, I am a SAHM that lives in the East Village. I also babysit here too. I am not the type of person that likes to interfere with people's lives, but when I see something related to children, it really makes me feel like it is my responsibility to get involved. I mostly see great caregivers at the park, but every once in a while I see one that should not be working with children. I will say what I have seen and people can decide what they think. I do not know the child's parents, but I'm hoping she/he reads this. I do not want anyone to lose their job, but I don't think it's fair that this child's parents are out there working hard thinking their child is fine and what they really have is a sub par Nanny.

The park is First Park. Located on 1 st. and 1st ave. I usually go there week days between 10am-12 noon. The Nanny and child are there when I get there and are still there when we go home. It seems like they must be there for a few hours. The Nanny appears Phillipine. Today she was wearing a striped dress. The toddler is around 2 years old, baby short blond hair, blue eyes, she is on the tall side. Today she was wearing a white dress with a yellow sash and flowers on it. She was barefoot the whole time I was there. In fact she is always barefoot. Which is not safe because the rubber mat gets very hot. The Nanny sits on the bench the entire time texting. She allows this baby to roam the park barefoot while she barely glance up from her cell phone. I hear people asking this baby,"who are you here with?" The baby never responds. What really worries me is that this young child is getting on really high climbing structures sometimes without this woman so much as getting off the bench to make sure she doesn't fall. Other parents, Nanny's (including me) "rescue" this little one. In my opinion this baby/toddler's safety is in jeopardy.

Not to mention that she does not engage or interact with this child in any way. I see other Nannies talking and playing with their charges. All this women does is offer her food if she happens to toddle over to he bench where she has firmly planted herself. This little girl has such a vacant expression on her face all the time as she wanders through the playground. I do not know the child's name or Nanny's name either. In hopes of finding her Mom/Dad I took a picture of the child on my camera phone today. If you think it might be your little girl get back to me. I was contemplating not doing this, but if it were my daughter, I would want to know.


Speaking Up Helps Another Helpless Child

bad nanny sighting A few days ago i had to take my charge to the doctors. In the UK if you don't have an appointment set up but need to see the Dr that day you can go and wait in the Drs office until he/she can fit you in between patients. So we went to wait, knowing it would take anything up to two hours and settled down with our books and toys etc. There was another little boy about three years old doing the same thing, waiting with his nanny.

The waiting room was full of people waiting to be seen and we were sitting directly opposite the boy and nanny. I assumed she was his nanny as he was very dark skinned and she was white. Every time i glanced up from what i was doing the boy was sitting in the same position, hands folded on his lap, not moving or talking or looking at a book or holding a toy. The nanny was sat next to him but was kind of turned away holding a childs backpack in her arms.

As i watched, he started swinging his legs back and forth and she immediately hissed at him to stop it. I was so shocked at her tone of voice and the way he went completely still again. At this point i thought maybe it was the nanny who was ill and waiting to see the Dr and she was just too sick to handle anything. Two minutes later the boy reached up to rub his head and again she told him to stop it. By now he had been sitting for half an hour without moving, with nothing to do or look at or play with.

Next he very timidly touched her leg and asked for his bag..she reacted as if he had burned her, she pulled her leg away from him and glared at him with such anger and contempt, as if she actually hated him, and just said no he couldnt have the bag, which she continued to hold in her arms. I was so concerned about what i was seeing. No three year old can sit still like that for so long unless they are too scared to move and he was obviously scared of her. She sat there for the entire time with a face like thunder.

I was thinking of what i should do when the nannies phone rang. It was the mother checking on if they had seen the doctor yet. She must have asked to speak to her son because the nanny passed the phone to him. He said he wanted to play with his toy which the nanny put the bag onto his lap..he looked at her with such mistrust it was heartbreaking..he started asking his mother to come and pick him up. She must have said she couldn't as he then asked if his daddy could come and pick him up. The nanny took the phone off him and as she was ending the call with the mother the boy started opening his toy bag. As soon as she put the phone away she whipped the bag right out of his hands again and told him to sit still. He had barely unzipped it and again she held it on her lap.

He went back to sitting still, occasionally rubbing at his ears or head and straightaway being told to stop it. I was so upset to think what it must be doing to this child to be left with someone who has zero interest in him and who does nothing but make him feel he disgusts her. Thats the vibe she was giving him. We sat there for two hours and her terrible treatment of him continued the entire time. It was a very hot day and the waiting room was like an oven but she never even offered him a drink of water from the cooler they were sitting next to.

Finally she took him in to see the Dr. I went to speak to the receptionist and said i was very concerned about the little boy and could she please call his mother and give her my number. Fifteen minutes after we left the Doctors office the mother called me. I told her what i had seen and why i was so concerned. She said the nanny had only been with them for ten days and that the little had said he didnt like her and that she was mean to him but they had put it down to the fact she was new and he wasn't used to her. The mother was very upset and said she would deal with it and thanked me profusely for intervening. She called me the next day and said she had spoken to the nanny who had been angry and aggressive. She was fired on the spot when she tried to justify her treatment of him by saying at least she had never beaten him even though thats what he needed. I am so glad this powerless little boy no longer has to put up with being treated so badly by someone who should have been taking good care of him.

UPDATE: Nanny hailed for saving toddler from path of Streets and Sanitation truck

hero nannies Woman Severely Injured in Gold Coast Crash Speaks Out CHICAGO — Jen Anton, left in a wheel chair after a car crash, spoke at a press conference today. It was her first public appearance since the crash in the Gold Coast in May.

The nanny was pushing 20-month-old Tyler Jones in a stroller when a truck driven by Department of Streets and Sanitation worker Dwight Washington ran her down along with several other pedestrians at the corner of Rush and Cedar.

Anton pushed the stroller away, keeping the little girl out of danger. Her hip and pelvis sustained severe fractures. She can't feel her right foot and has since had eleven surgeries.

Dwight Washington was found to be intoxicated at the time of the crash. Jen and her mother, who hasn't left her side, are hoping to hold him and the city responsible in court.

Jen had taken care of Tyler since birth and the little girl has visited her often at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Jen is devastated to be unable to work or most everything she enjoyed.

The long term impact is substantial. Aside from her medical problems she's facing financial ones as well. She's currently on her parent's insurance policy, which will expire this fall when she turns 26.


Two-For-One Deal: Nanny/Maid

opinion 2 I am a nanny and would like your advice. I most recently left a position after a day, yes one day {!}, but felt there were too many red flags for me to stay. I have done this recently w/a few other positions as well, the longest lasting six days before I realized I couldn't take it any longer.

Well here is the story, I meet a family via, or At the interview it is discussed that chores pertaining to the child will be expected, but ONLY pertaining to the child and I agree. Then once I am on duty, I am asked to do certain chores such as vacuum the whole house, mop all the hardwood floors and dust all the furniture, etc!! WTF??!! When I diplomatically say that those chores do not pertain to the child directly, their response is that they do. They say they need all the rooms vacuumed/swept/mopped on a daily basis since the child crawls and may put something in his mouth. They say all the furniture needs to be dusted since if the dust lingers, the baby may get allergies from it and get sick. I could go on and on, but you get the picture, right?

I feel so guilty leaving these families in the lurch, I mean I work one, two, six days, etc...then do not show up one day because I get so fed up. I feel like they deserve it since they are trying to get a two-for-one deal with me, i.e., Nanny slash Maid. They are trying to use the baby to get me to do chores that are not even really child-related, but if they put their own spin on things, they can make ANY chore sound child-related. must take out the trash since the baby may reach in and find a needle or dead battery and hurt himself, you must make the beds or the baby may get caught under the blankets and suffocate, etc...

I do not mind doing child's laundry, washing dishes/bottles and cleaning/sterilizing toys/pacifiers, etc. during nap times...but I resent families who ask me to do typical household chores, then try to make it look like it relates to the child, when it does not.

I feel horrible not showing up for these jobs the next day, part of me feels so guilty without giving a standard two-wk notice, but honest to God..I cannot stand being taken advantage of over and over...even for another day is unbearable so I leave and never return. Many families get angry with me over this, even when I explain my reason.

I want to continue working as a nanny, I love educating and caring for children, it is my passion..yet I am getting mighty discouraged by these families who take advantage of me. Where are the good families?? I know there must be some out there!!!!!!! What should I do? Is this the reality of working as a nanny and should I just suck it up? Or should I continue on and hope for a decent family to appear? Your thoughts?

Arrogant Boss

opinion 2 Hi everyone I have a situation at hand: The father of the twin charges that I am a nanny for is very arrogant and thinks he know everything. There is only so many incidents that can happen until I finally say "Hey!!! Enough with your smart comments and 101 questions."

I have recently purchased a used car and with purchasing a used car you have to fix it up. I came across with a problem with my car one morning (6:00am) on my way to work and had to call the mom (who I prefer speaking to anyways) and letting her know that my car had just over heated. She said for me to take my time and let her know what was going on. I had to wait for a tow truck to take it the mechanic (doesn't open until 8am) and I was letting them know everything that was going on every half hour. There were several problems with the vehicle, there was air in the system, the filter and spark plugs hadn't been changed in a while... These are things the mechanic seen when inspecting the system for the proper fluids and doing the check up.

I arrived at work at about 11 and he began with 101 questions, and telling me that the spark plugs or filter doesn't have anything to do with the car over heating (Mind you, I just told him that they found problems that didn't even have to do anything with the overheating as well). He just kept going on as if he were a mechanic (He knows absolutely nothing about cars).

The following day I come to work and he is right there again asking me what the dealership had said. I told him that they stated that it was an "AS IS" vehicle and that it had no warranty. He then asks the dumbest question as if the first answer wasn't good enough: "Well are they going to fix it?" I then told him in a very annoyed voice "It is "AS IS, NO WARRANTY"... He must have noticed the aggravation in my voice and left it at that. This is not the first time something like this has happened. I write notes daily on what is going in the day (Willingly) so that when they get home I can leave and they can read what happened through out the day and not waste 20 more min off the clock of my time. Well, that is what the mothers does. However the father will sit there for 15 min reading and then waste another 15 min of my time questioning me as if Im going to give him a different answer than what is written. He acts if I'm lying or something. His "I know it all attitude" is really starting to upset.

He also lied about telling me something that he never told me about. He does that on occasion. His wife would tell him to tell me something and he never does. She knows he doesn't because I would text her and the question being asked is something he should have told me about. I really don't know how to tell them that this is really bothering to the point where I just want to quit... The mother and charges are great people and I enjoy them, the father however, is someone where if we were on an island for months and he needed my help I would turn the other and let him fend for himself. I really don't like arrogant people.... Advice is greatly appreciated.


Mariner Playground, Central Park, (85th & Central Park West) NY

bad nanny sighting
Friday, July 15, 2011
Mariner Playground, Central Park, (85th & Central Park West):

I arrived at Mariner playground around 1pm and sat next to the nanny who was chatting with her friend, another nanny. It looked like they were there a while already. They were settled there, their stuff spread out, already deep in conversation. The canopy on her stroller was pulled all the way down so I thought her charge was napping. As I sat putting my son's sandals on, there was movement in the nanny's stroller. The nanny's charge was actually awake and squirming around. Suddenly, the nanny violently flipped up the canopy and observed her charge trying to get out. She picked her up, threw her back into the stroller, then flipped the canopy all the way down again in disgust. It was very disturbing. It looked like she actually felt contempt for her charge. She threw the toddler back into the stroller like a sack of garbage that she couldn't wait to get rid of because of the stink. I thought how sad for this child to be taken to the park, only to be kept in her stroller because her nanny would rather talk with her friend than allow the child to play around the playground. The toddler did not look old enough to just allow to roam around. She would most likely have to be monitored closely. But the nanny was too lazy to carry on her conversation while following and looking after the toddler.

Anyway, my son and I left our stroller and made our way to the sandbox. From the sandbox, I was relieved to see that the nanny finally let her charge out of the stroller. It was a little girl, maybe 2 or so, blonde or light hair, wearing a light or white dress and pink sandals. The little girl seemed excited, hopping and skipping. But I was disappointed to see that after 5 minutes of hopping in the area right in front of her nanny and her stroller, the girl was put BACK into the stroller again! After about 30-40 minutes, my son got hungry so we went back to the strollers. As we sat and had a snack, the nanny was yelling at her charge to sleep. She shouted at the girl, "Go to sleep Emma! It's nap time!" The nanny was very angry that the girl was getting whiny and interrupting her conversation with her friend. She was very cross and continued yelling at the girl, "Take your nap! Don't look at me Emma!" This was really bothering me by this point. The poor little girl was taken to the park where she was NOT allowed to play. Now she was being forced to nap in her stroller in the 85-90 degree heat. The girl became quiet. After a while, the girl said something again and then suddenly the nanny flipped up the canopy, smacked her two times and then whipped the canopy down again. I could not help but glare in utter shock at the nanny. Soon after, the nanny and her friend left my side and walked to the benches on the other side of the fountain. At this point, I took a picture of the nanny. She was wearing a black shirt dress. Dark skin, black hair, and black rimmed glasses. She had a hot pink protective skin on her iPhone or cell phone. She had an orange trim City Mini stroller, and matching orange trim diaper bag hanging in the back. My son started playing in the fountain. After a while, I could see that Emma moved or said something and then the nanny smacked her again. This time, Emma started crying loudly. The nanny ignored Emma while she cried. After a while, Emma finally fell asleep.

I feel very sad and worried for this little girl. Based on the fact that she tolerated it quietly until that last smacking, it seems she is regularly treated this way and used to it. The girl knows not to cause much fuss. If the nanny smacks her in public for whining about being kept in the stroller all afternoon, I can't imagine what she does in private for really challenging behavior. I hope Emma's mom or someone who knows Emma informs the family. Emma is not being cared for properly. The nanny does not even take care of basic needs. Forget about playing, teaching, or caring! It seems the nanny actually has contempt for her. I arrived at 1pm and left at 3:30pm and the nanny did not interact with or look at Emma, or even lift up that canopy except to smack her, and let her out for 5 lousy minutes. All the yelling was through the canopy. At no other time did the nanny speak with Emma, offer her a drink or snack, check her diaper, or check to see if she was sweating or had her neck straining while she slept. If I ever saw my nanny treat my son this way, she would be fired on the spot.



Webb Park, Hartsdale NY

bad nanny sighting
Webb Park, Hartsdale NY
Mid-June 2011
2 Nannies (black, with Carribean accents)
Their charges: 2 little boys, Andrew and Hunter (2-3 years old)

I'm not sure this is "bad" nannying so much as lazy nannying, but if I were the parents of these two little boys, I'd like to know.

This took place mid-day on one of the really hot, humid days we had in June. I had brought my daughter to play on the swings for a little bit, and noticed 2 little boys playing on the bigger play structure (for 5+ year olds).

Their nannies were lounging in the shade under some trees about 100 yards from the playground. Occasionally they'd just yell out something to the boys about not playing on the play structure, but the boys ignored them. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the boys could have used closer supervision.

What bothered me the most was that one of the nannies finally came over after she saw me looking over at her repeatedly and started interacting with one of the boys by pushing him on the swing. At this point, the other boy looked extremely overheated--he was very sweaty and flushed. The nanny just ignored him while making small talk with me--ignored him to the point that he wandered in front of the swing she was pushing and was kicked in the head by the other boy.

Anyway, not really bad nannying. More just a bit lazy and not really paying good attention to how hot the little boy was.

As a parent, I'd like to know, so that's why I'm sharing.

Bad Parenting at Newton Center Playground - Newton, MA.

rant 1 An unfortunate sighting today at the Newton Center playground. Newton, MA. A man (the child's father) was yelling loudly and caught the attention of almost everyone in the park before leaving. The father tried to gather his child and tell her it was time to leave. He came on a bicycle with a yellow bike trailer and a silver mountain bike. The child became upset and wouldn't get into the trailer and the father became infuriated with the child. He was yelling in a very abrasive way "get in there" "right now", loud enough for people to notice. I am usually pretty reserved, I let people use their own discipline methods. But he was picking the child up, throwing them forcefully into the trailer, the child was screaming. It was not a normal management of behavior. A few times, the child's feet would be thrown backwards over her head. I didn't get a good view of what she was wearing but many witnesses were watching, and the man was dangerously agitated. He upset many other fathers, mothers, and nannies at the park. Someone asked him to quiet down and he sped off in his bike toward Newton Center, cursing at the person and his child. So sad if he was keen to act that abrasive in public, I fear for the behaviors at home.

Outing Ideas?

opinion 2 I just began a new position in San Rafael, CA, as a nanny for one just-turned-six year old boy. Being new to the area, I am looking for ideas for outings. We have a small window (2-3 hours) in the afternoon between camp pick up and dinnertime. Since we are working on weaning him from the computer, the more natural the better. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks so much.
in the news 3
Police: Babysitter caught smothering baby with pillow - A Gainesville woman accused of smothering a baby she was babysitting Tuesday night has been arrested on an aggravated child abuse charge, Gainesville Police Lt. Mike Schibuola said. Arrested was Tiffany Long, 21, of 6029 NW 53rd Terrace, according to an arrest report.

Schibuola said Long was babysitting at a home when the baby's mother came home early and saw Long smothering the baby in her crib with a pillow.

Young woman testifies against babysitter who allegedly raped her - At first, the young woman testified, her former baby sitter "was fun to be around." The man, Barry Lee Rhodes, would buy her clothes and coordinate games, she told a local jury Wednesday. But shopping and puzzles soon turned to sexual abuse — and eventually, rape — the young woman said. "I'm trying to forget everything," she said on the witness stand. "But you can't really forget about it."

Rhodes, now 61, is on trial accused of 25 sex crimes, including rape of a child. Prosecutors allege Rhodes assaulted two sisters between 1999 and 2001.


Bruce Park in Greenwich, CT

bad nanny sighting Bruce Park in Greenwich, CT...I've seen it myself and I have had friends tell me the same thing, always nannies there that do not take care of/watch kids. Last yr I sat under pavilion, saw nanny with infant girl in stroller sit for a good 30 min and didn't even look at her. Little girls was just moving her little arms and legs, as infants do. It was sad. This past week little boy near swings, a lady helped him on and he was on for 20 min and same women helped him off while nanny sat nearby and then was like "oh I was watching". Wtf?! As a mom I would never sit on my ass and let a stranger take care of my kid and then say oh I was watching.

If you have a nanny in the Greenwich area and you know they go to Bruce Park I would recommend doing some surprise visits if u can.

Being Paid Fair for a Nanny Share...

opinion 2 Hi, I have been working for a family with twin 2 yr old boys since Dec 2010. They have told me about a nanny share they would like to do with the neighbors downstairs. The neighbors have a newborn and will be 3 months when I start to care for her. I am already being underpaid for the first family, only 11/hr for both boys. I am highly qualified, have great references, I'm bi-lingual, and I am college educated. I have just presented them with the nanny share rate. I have explained my reasoning for the rate per family as well as getting a pay cut for the first family because it is a nanny share. I have asked for $850 a week which is a 48+ hr work week, for 3 children. I get the feeling that they think that I am asking for too much. I don't think they actually know how hard it is to take of children, they are always making comments like "oh, thank god ****** is here" or "HAVE FUN!!!" or "this one is a bully and the other one wont stop crying" or "I am so glad to be going back to work, unlike most people I look forward to Mondays." I think that all of these comments are unnecessary considering the fact that they are with them for a total of 3-4 hrs a day and the rest of the time they are sleeping or with me. Also, they only have them two days out of the week for full days. I'm not sure if I should reduce to the rate or not. I don't want to feel as if I'm being ripped off. I also don't want to put in twice the work for only half the pay... Advice anyone?????

Cutting Hours

opinion 2 I am currently very 'gainfully' employed as a nanny of one preschool child in a single parent household. I have been with this family for almost two years and have yet to experience any serious issues. I am a nanny-student whom also lives in my own residence with my significant other. Currently I am required to work Monday/Wednesday/Friday 8:30am-5:30pm and Tuesday/Thursday 9am-9pm.

The current schedule lives little time for my personal life during the week as well as affects my school work & relationship. My contract shall expire at the end of August and in renewal I would like to request that:

A.) I no longer work evenings at all [parent would have to switch work schedule]
B.) That I only work one evening a week [Tuesday OR Thursday]
C.) That the child go with the other parent during the evenings I work and thus switch parental visitation schedule

Note: My employer works for a family business and thus has flexibility regarding scheduling at the work place, however, did not like the idea when I had suggested it.

I am in desperate need of advice as I do not want to lose my job, however, I can no longer continue working such long hours.


Salvation Army on Central Ave - Pawtucket, R.I.

bad nanny sighting I just need to post this. I was at the Salvation Army this morning on Central Ave. in Pawtucket around 10:15 - 10:35ish. Anyway as soon as I came in there was this lady with two young kids. A boy around 6 and a girl around 4. Really cute kids. She yelled at them the whole time. And I don't mean like she yelled because they were acting up, but for instance... she was trying to make them stand at the front of the store and not move while she went down the aisle to look. They did stay there and were really good but they giggled and were talking so she told them to shut up. "Didn't I tell you not to move!?" She then grabbed the girls arm and twisted it while pulling her down the aisle she was in and the little girl fell and she was like, "There how does that feel, I told you to stay still and keep your mouth shut!" Then for the next 15 min all she did was tell them to keep their mouths shut when they would ask her if she liked something, that she was busy, and needed them to leave her alone. "Shut up I don't like that." "Why can't you just be good and shut up?" It got worse as she just made these two children feel like they were useless pieces of crap. And they did nothing wrong but try to help her. Well within time a lady in the store finally spoke up, I wish I had the guts to do it. Come to find out she was just the babysitter of these children. What a shame, I feel bad for the kids and the mother for not knowing how rotten her children are being treated by someone she probably trusts to take care of them. The only good thing is that this lady isn't their mother. I really wish I knew who she was because how she emotionally and physically was treating these children was sad. And it isn't like she tried to talk to them and all. She was yelling nastily at them. I really wish I had only gone out and got her license or something. After the customer in the store stuck up for the children she promptly left. Hopefully after the incident she rethought what she did, but I doubt it since one of the employees was outside and the lady walked out saying how the other lady needed to mind her own business. If someone reads this and might know whose children they are, please let their mother know. The children looked like they might have a white mom and black dad or a white dad and black mom. They had a mixed skin tone and curly, brownish color hair. They were skinny kids, not overweight. And soo adorable. I just feel bad. This babysitter was really cruel and the sad part is, the mother probably doesn't even know. :(

Nanny Needs Ideas on Being Organized

opinion 2 I have interviewed and completed a trial day (paid) with a family. They are interested in hiring me after running my references to verify my experience and character. I got very lucky - given the state and market it is hard to find a well paying position.

The family wants me to:
-manage light housekeeping (we've established the details of what that entails) and they are hiring a weekly cleaner.
-do the family laundry (I don't mind) and take care of dry cleaning
-care for an infant
-care for and pick up the toddler from full time daycare
-cook for them

They very much want me in an assistant position which I love. I have a good amount of nannying experience but I really want to be even better than I've always been. I would like to have a weekly planner with breakfast, lunch, and dinner items set up for the week. Meal planning. Activity planning. At home planning. Basically a very organized system so that they can see all I do and so that we can work together and be in sync.

Does anyone know of an online system that displays these things and help you set things up in a neat format? Or have any other idea?

Madison Square Park - NY

bad nanny sighting Caught this Nanny OUT COLD napping while in charge of two young girls at Madison Square Park on Tuesday afternoon, July 5th, 2011.


What Should I Do?

opinion 2 I'm currently a full time nanny in a share. I found out today when I came into work that the toddler had a seizure over the weekend and was hospitalized overnight. His parents are home today and tomorrow to help with him since the affects of the medication given to him haven't worn off. My concern is that we share with another family who has an older infant. She is very laid back but since the toddler needs so much attention, I haven't been given her much. I have been with the toddler since he was an infant and we just started the share 6months ago. The infants family is very nice and have always stayed home if the baby is seriously sick. I was wondering if I should tell the toddlers family that I believe it's better for me to only care for the infant at her home until the toddler is back on his feet? I feel like biatch suggesting this because he has been a handful so far today and I wouldn't want to leave his parents stressed out but I feel bad about the baby not getting as much attention. Also, he will be entering preschool soon and they will no longer be employing me but I will continue with the infant. So I guess who should I feel obligated too?

Maintaining a Relationship When the Job is Over...

opinion 2 Hi, I was wondering what kind of relationships you guys have with your charges/their families after you stop working with them? I have been babysitting N since she was 5 and I was 17. When i was in high school and in college i would pick her up a few times a week after school, and also babysit as needed in the evenings when her mom went out. Now I am 23 and she is 11. I am graduating from college, and will be looking for a full time job in my chosen field (not childcare, babysitting was just a good way for me to make some extra money) so I won't be babysitting N anymore, plus she is getting a little bit old to need a babysitter.

I really love N and her mom, and we have always had a nice relationship. They are considerate and kind, and we have literally never had any conflicts in the six years that I have been working with them. I know that I am for sure invited to N's bat mitzvah, and also N's mom recently took a new job that will involve some traveling, and before she took the job she asked me if I would be able to stay overnight if a business trip comes up, even if I am employed full time somewhere else. I said that that would not be a problem.

But the business trips and stuff would probably be once every six months or so, and I really love N! she is like a miniature friend, we go get manicures and frozen yogurt together and now that shes 11 she often confides in me about all of her preteen angst. I told her she can call me whenever she needs to talk to me. But i was wondering if, given my previous relationship with this family, would it be weird if every so often i had lunch with N, either alone or with her mom too? I wouldn't want to be paid or anything, but you know, after six years of spending time with her, its gonna be really strange not seeing her regularly. So any ideas about maintaining a relationship with a family after you move on professionally would be welcome!

"The Help"

check this out 2 Hi Jane and MPP,

I've attached (and pasted below) a brief review of "The Help" and some information on a National Nanny Night Out event that will take place the weekend the movie opens. Thought it might spark some discussion and that the movie event might help nannies find a local peer group!

Nanny Deb
Professional Nanny and Postpartum Doula
Member of: INA, PNA, MAN
Blogging at:

The Help is set in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, and focuses on 3 women and the changes that take place in their lives when they collaborate on a secret project with explosive implications.

Aibileen and Minny are black maids, whose work cooking, cleaning, and raising the children of their white employers allows the lives of the women they work for to run smoothly. Aibileen is raising her 17th white child, and while she still accepts her place as an unappreciated gear in the cogs of her employer’s life, she is also growing bitter after years of coping with blatant and ignorant racism. Minny doesn’t suffer fools gladly, which means she has been fired from multiple jobs before she finds work with a young married woman who is an outsider among the young white socialites that make up the “in crowd”.

Skeeter is a new college graduate who stepped outside the proscribed roles for women of her age by not simply marrying and having children after high school. When she returns to Jackson, she discovers that the maid who raised her, Constantine, has disappeared. Skeeter’s search for meaningful work and her desire to find out what happened to Constantine combine with her growing discomfort concerning the way her white friends treat their maids and lead her to a life changing decision. She’s going to write a book about the help.

Skeeter tries to recruit the maids in Jackson to tell their stories about what life is like for them, and meets plenty of resistance. The story about how the black women of Jackson decide to take the risk and tell the truth, and how the relationships between Aibileen, Minny, Skeeter, and multiple other characters develop and change over time as the proposed book moves from dream to reality is an amazing, heart wrenching, and eye-opening tale.

The Help was published in 2009, and a movie based on the book is being released on August 12th of this year. Nanny Biz Reviews is coordinating a National Nanny Night Out event for opening weekend, to encourage nannies across the US to go see the movie with their local nanny peers and then enjoy dinner and discuss the movie. To find an event near you, or for help coordinating your own event, you can find more information here: Or, feel free to check Facebook for updates, by searching for “The Help: National Nannies Night Out”.

Have you read “The Help”? What did you think?

Should Nanny Receive a Goodbye Bonus?

opinion 2 Not a tip but question. Is it expected to give nanny a bonus at completion of employment? Our contract ends the last week in August with school starting. We give holiday bonuses but I don't know if something is expected other than a thoughtful thank you gift when contract is completed. If so, what is an appropriate amount?


NOT GUILTY: What are your thoughts and opinions?

Photobucket Prosecutors were unable to prove Casey Anthony guilty of capital murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Marie, a 12-member jury found this afternoon.




Go the F*ck to Sleep!

Rebecca Nelson Lubin
guest column
I have a favorite new book about children that is not for children. It’s called, “Go The Fuck to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach and it truly captures the unbelievable agony that certain children will put their adults through as we try our best to sooth them to sleep. Now, in my nanny career I have often patted myself on the back for my prowess in getting children of all ages to sleep without a lot of drama, glasses of water or unnecessary chatter. I have sleep trained three sets of twins, stuck to nap schedules like a drill sergeant and even counseled my friends with real live children of their own on sleep discipline. Once I was catching up with one of my oldest friends from New York over the phone mid day in California as I cradled my cell in the crook of my neck and held out two bottles to the twins I was caring for. They slurped down their milk and I said to my friend,

“Hold on a sec. I have to put the boys down for their nap.”

I put my phone down, carried the babies to their cribs, kissed them and whispered good night, and returned to my phone and my friend.

“Okay,” I said, “Where were we?”

He, the father of a year old daughter said, “That was it? That’s how long it takes you to put them down for their nap?”

I asked, “How long does it take you?”

He sighed and said, “Two hours.”

I have heard of those types of children. The poor sleepers. The little lambs for whom bedtime becomes a both a battlefield and a test of wills. I have heard my own relatives regal the rest of us at family dinners with tales of long grown up cousins who simply refused to sleep and wore out their parent’s patience as they put them back to bed for hours on end, contemplating the ethics of slipping junior a tiny bit of Benadryl. And then, of course, we have the parents who gave up and allowed their child to fall asleep in their bed just this once and now can’t get the kid back to his own room. I remember being a child and longing to sleep in my parent’s bed. I would lie under my red and blue Mickey Mouse quilt, steering up enough courage to tip toe the ten feet from my room to theirs. I would tap on my mother’s shoulder and tell her I needed to sleep next to her. She would firmly, but not unkindly, send me back to my room. Back then I thought she was unfeeling. Now that raising children is my business, I think she was a genius.

The four and a half year old I care for once was an excellent sleeper. His mother and I co-parented him well through his infancy, read the same books, and stayed on the same page with sleep training and keep him to a rigid nap schedule. I encouraged her to let him cry it out, and stay with his same sleep schedule even when he resisted naps as he hit certain milestones, such as standing up and speaking. (We still laugh at the memory of him at nine months old, standing in his crib and calling out “Hi?? Hiiiiiii????”) At three years old he still stuck to an excellent sleeping routine. When I put him down, I would read him two books, sing him two songs, rub his head briefly, and say goodnight. It was perfect. And then he learned how to climb out of his crib. And we were shit out of luck.

The day I found him out of his crib with a huge Cheshire cat grin was one of those days where the entire game changes. Looking back over the last year and a half, I think I should have immediately gone out and bought a larger crib, something steel and industrial like that you might find in a government run orphanage in Romania. Either that or a discarded monkey enclosure from the San Francisco Zoo. We should have thought to keep him contained at night. He climbed out of his crib and out of our control. We have yet to reclaim it.

My employers hosted a political fundraiser in San Francisco last week and even though I was invited, I offered instead for them to make an entire evening of it, stay over in the city and enjoy sleeping in the next morning. I would stay overnight with the kids. The twenty-two month old baby was a joy to put to bed. I rocked her in her chair with her bottle, sang her two songs, laid her in her crib and kissed her goodnight. At 7:30 pm I took the four and a half year old into his parent’s room with me as his older brother watched a movie downstairs. (As a special treat, we were all going to have a “slumber party.”) I read him two books, I sang him two songs and I rubbed his head. He said he was thirsty. I passed him a Sippy cup filled with water. He said he was hungry. I passed him the buttered bagel I had remembered to bring upstairs with me. He wanted to talk about theology. He has a theory that God makes people in heaven and then flings them down to earth like Frisbees and they land in their mother’s bellies. He wanted to talk about it. I muttered the first of many “Go to sleeps.” He flopped onto his stomach. He flopped back onto his back. He rolled to the top of the bed. He rolled to the bottom. I whispered the first of many “Lie still.” I decided that my presence must be distracting him and got up and told him I was going to go downstairs and do a little work.

He asked, “What kind of work?”

I said, “I’m going to do the dinner dishes and then fold the laundry.”

He asked, “Then who will be with me?”

I said, “You’ll be fine! Go to sleep.”

He asked me to turn on some strategic lights to ease his isolation. I did and crept downstairs and began loading the dishwasher. Five minutes passed before the first pitiful cry came from upstairs.

“Betta? What are you doing down there?”

He was out of bed and standing at the top of the stairs, looking incredibly sad.

The forth time I went upstairs and put him back to bed seemed to have stuck, as I got through folding an entire basket of laundry without a peep from him. I moved onto preparing the boys lunches for camp the next day. At 9pm I gave the 11 year old a thirty-minute warning for bedtime and went to check on the four year old. He was not in bed. He was not in the room. I called out his name and he came sauntering back in the room, looking sly in his footsie pajamas.

“Somebody left the TV on in the media room.” He said.

“Nobody left the TV on.” I said.

“Maybe I turned the TV on.” He said.

I put him back to bed, and lay beside him, running my finger along the bridge of his nose like you do with an infant to lull them to sleep. His eyes would grow heavy and close, and then they would pop back open. At 9:30 his older brother came in.

“He’s still awake?” He asked.

“Yup.” I said.

“How long have you been putting him to bed?”

“Two hours.” I said.

I lay there and thought about Adam Mansbach’s book, and wondered how many children he had, and how long it took him to get his kids to go to sleep each night. Only someone who had spent some serious time in the sleep deprived trenches could write such a painfully honest and hilarious book. I’ll leave you with the words from my favorite page:

“The cubs and lions are snoring,

wrapped in a big snuggly heap.

How come you can do all this other great shit

But you can’t lie the fuck down and sleep?”
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at

Join The South Bay Nanny Playgroup

check this out 2 I'm a nanny working in the South Bay Area and looking for new nanny friends and company for my charges. I work privately (not through an agency) so I don't already know other nannies and despite tons of searching, I haven't encountered a single playgroup geared towards nannies and the children they care for.

I've begun a group on for nannies working in the Silicon Valley. If you're in Los Gatos, Campbell, Saratoga, Santa Clara, San Jose, etc. and are interested in joining a playgroup, this is the link to the group:

The South Bay Nanny Playgroup

If you're uncomfortable with signing up for a (free) profile on the above website, you can contact me via email at, and we can discuss it there.

I currently take care of a 13-month-old boy and a girl who will be 3 years old in September, but I don't want to limit the opportunity solely to nannies caring for children in that age range. Any nanny is welcome to join, regardless of the age of your charges--as long as you feel that it will be a great opportunity for both of you!

Thank you for your interest and I look forward to meeting you!


We Are Finally Caught Up!


If you have any Questions, Sightings, D.I.T.L. or Nanny/Employer Horror Stories... send them in!

1) E-mail:

2) Leave as an anonymous comment HERE.

3) Use anonymous instant message with MEEBO on the main ISYN page.

Broadway between 110 and 112 - Manhattan, N.Y.

bad nanny sighting Thursday, July 30th, around 3:30pm on Broadway between 110 and 112. Young African American nanny wearing a strapless denim dress, pushing a small dark colored stroller with a young girl, about 12 to 14 months, screaming and crying for 3 blocks, other nannies stopped her to ask what was the matter, she walked away visibly very angry towards Columbus. The screaming was very upsetting for everyone in the street, alarming!

Baldwin Hills Ruben Ingold Park - Los Angeles, CA.

bad nanny sighting Monday, 6/27/11, late morning around 11:30 ish. Latina nanny with dark hair, maybe 40-50 yrs old wearing green top and black pants, with three african american children - two boys maybe 3 and 5 or 4 and 6 yrs old and one little girl (maybe two yrs old) in red pull wagon. Baldwin Hills Rueben Ingold Park - overlooking La Brea and Kenneth Hahn. Both boys on scooters. Nanny was distracted (all the time I was there - an hour) looking out toward overlook while her back was to the boys who were both on the jogging/walking path and on the side walk right next to street/cars. At one point both boys were right on curb and looked like they were going to cross. One lady called out to them to stand back and it seems they were waiting to leave the park/cross the street but they were waiting for nanny - half the park distance away. I also asked them to stand back for safety. The other woman reprimanded the nanny once she was close enough to hear her - something to the effect of - are these children with you? They are too far away from you. Nanny dismissed her and yelled something. It seemed to me the children were quite used to this and trained to wait, however I am absolutely sure that the nanny having her back to those boys for that extended amount of time and allowing them to be practically on the street - they were waiting at the curb handicap ramp (no barriers) - endangered their safety and was irresponsible.

The Art Farm - N.Y.

bad nanny sighting It took me a while to decide weather or not I should try your blog. The more I thought about it, the more I felt I need to say something. This past Monday, June 27th, my son and I went to The Art Farm for a class that began at 2:30pm. There was a little boy named Max there with his nanny. At first she seemed attentive and caring. As we were leaving Max was strapped into his stroller in the hallway with all the other strollers cry his little eyes out and yelling mommy. My heart broke immediately. My son and I went over and began to play with him. I was looking around for his nanny, she finally came out of the bathroom. I couldn't believe it. Maybe I'm crazy, but I would NEVER leave my son that way or have him turn red in the face from crying and calling out for me. Babies are SO forgiving and it drove me crazy to think she would do this to him. I hope this finds it's way to Max's parents.

How Hard is it to Just Tell the Truth?

opinion 2 How hard is it for parents to just tell you the truth? I applied for a position through one of those online babysitting sites. The mom e-mailed me, and we set up an interview, to meet her and her kids. We met, and I think it went well. The mom said she would e-mail me with a few days and times to do a trial run, that night. Well, that never happened. I e-mailed her, after a few days, to tell her I was still interested in the open position, and asked about setting up that trial date. If she didn’t want to hire me, fine, but don’t tell me you are going to set up a trial run, and then go M.I.A. Even if she didn’t want to tell me face to face, at least tell me she will think about it, and then e-mail me later that she doesn’t think it will work out. How difficult is it to tell someone the truth, rather than lie, and then disappear? I guess I should be lucky I even got an interview, being a guy, even though I am a teacher, and work in the nursery most Sundays…

What Do You Make of This?

opinion 2 My hours at work are insane. I never have time for me. So imagine how thrilled I was when I was told that another nanny would be coming in a day a week to give me an extra day off! So they hired a very qualified woman and I got to meet her one day to show her the ropes. She asked me why I was moving. I'm not moving. Then she proceded to tell me other things that my employers had told her that were not true.

The first incident wasn't a big deal to me but then....

The new nanny works Thursdays, I work Fridays. The very first Thursday she worked I was told that something really gross had happened to her. My employer basically told me the two year old had soiled her diaper sooooo bad and woken up and taken its contents and proceeded to put them all over the wall, herself, and the bed. I felt BAD! Ewwww. I mean on her first DAY! So today I ran into the other nanny and I talked with her about the kids. I then brought up the "incident" and told her it wasn't normal for that child and so on. She looked at me with an odd look and said "what are you talking about". APPARENTLY the whole gross incident NEVER happened! Why would my boss make up this junk? I would love nanny and mothers' takes :)