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I'm a Nanny

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  • I'm a Nanny

    ...who is at my wit's end with the family I have been with for over four years now.

    I help care for three boys, ages 6, 4, and 20 months. I am Red Cross certified in lifesaving skills for adults, children, and infants. I first began working for this family shortly after I graduated from high school. I was there three days a week, for a total of 15 hours. Fours years later, I'm working 40 hour weeks and have only gotten a one dollar/hour raise since the beginning, and that happened right around the time the youngest was born.

    Basically, I am completely unclear as to what I'm doing there. I put off college (originally it was only for a year, but time has snuck up on me) to work for this family, and now they (the mother, specifically) fully expect my assistance for a few MORE years!

    Let me clarify, here... the mother tells people that I am nothing but her babysitter. I do watch the boys when she's at work (only 3 days a week, max), but I also provide much more than she gives me credit for. I've taken the kids to and from school; I feed, clothe, and sometimes bathe the boys. When the youngest was born, I literally stayed at the house with the other two, and the dog, for 22 hours a day for almost 4 days. I also drove him daily TO her at work so she could breastfeed him (which she failed at, and blamed it on her husband and myself for not "holding off" the newborn when he was hungry until she could get there to nurse him....I feed infants when they are hungry, not when it is convenient for the parent.). More often than not, one or both parents are in the house while I am there.

    I am also apparently the housecleaner now. The elderly woman who has been working for this family for decades has recently taken a leave (for surgery) from which I know she will not return. She is the one person who can relate to the feeling of being an indentured servant, which I've been experiencing. I've since somewhat taken over her duties (she came once a week), but I REFUSE to put the cleanliness of the house ahead of the 20 month old, who I usually have myself most of the day, or any of the children, for that matter.

    I work 8 hours a day, and I do not get any defined "break." I am allowed to take the youngest (and the middle, and I can only assume the eldest) out in my reliable, child-friendly toyota corolla for a bit if I need to, for some reason, but I do get passively reprimanded if, for example, a certain number of loads of laundry aren't done, or if I forgot to put the clean dishes away and reload, wash, and put away the next load.

    Also, I have a diabetic cat who needs her blood glucose tested, and the appropriate amount of insulin administered every 6 hours. I've worked a schedule out so that I only need to leave work once in the afternoon, and I can take the youngest with me if Mom's at work. I live on the same street as the family I work for, by the way.

    Basically, I need to know what I should and should not be putting up with from this situation. There are some things that I feel that I deserve but have never gotten, such as vacation, overtime, and respect. I also have no idea how to make it clear to this woman that her children, as much as I love them, are not the most important thing in my life, and that MY family will ALWAYS come first (I bring this up because I do not get holidays, of any kind, off, unless I request them well in advance and say that I have plans all day. Even then, I find myself "making up" for a day off by working a saturday night.).

    Any advice is GREATLY appreciated here. I am undeniably burned out.

  • #2
    I think you may need a vacation. Did you ever have a contract with these parents? If not then i suggest you make one! In my eyes there are 3 differents type of Child care......A. Babysitter-this is what my 15 years old is, she babysits on rare occasion. B. Child care provider- this is what i am, This is my career, this is what i have chose to do for a living is take care of children, if i wanted to clean houses i would have went to housekeeper school and made a career out of cleaning homes. And C. The nanny- someone who not only takes care of the clients children but also does "extras" for the family.... I.E, cleans house, makes dinners for the family, does laundry etc.......! And if you don't want to be the families nanny say something. Suggest that you watch the children in your home as opposed to theirs or ask for a raise.....Maybe say something like, I have noticed that i have been doing a little more than just taking care of the children, I really didn't sign on to do the laundry or the dishes and for me to continue doing these things i will need X amount of dollars. If its one thing i have learned in this biz is that people will take advantage of you. Wether they mean to or not. So maybe she just doesn't reailize that you are feelings.


    • #3
      Uh...time to move on?

      I don't understand why you think anything would help change this woman's behavior... She had a maid working for her for many years longer than you've worked for her and it sounds like things never changed for her. She rolls over you simply because she can. It's sad but it's true, some people are just that way. The way I see it you have 3 options.

      1. You can continue the way things are now, be degraded and underappreciated and just stew over it later.

      2. You can put your foot down and hope things get better if she understands your rules and boundries (i.e. i'm not working a weekend to make up a day. The laundry's not my job, the children are. Etc...)


      3. Move on! You have more options than this woman's children! Yes, you may love them, but you have to take care of you, because no one else is going to! You can start your own daycare, you can work at a center, or even better, get your cookies back in school and do something with your life so that you don't end up a senior citizen in surgery taking a leave from the same woman's house that's been mistreating you for the last 18 years!

      If you start your own daycare, you set your own hours, your own days, and you can work your school schedule out around it. If you need to take a day off, you let the parents know in advance and you don't "owe them" another day. This woman sounds very selfish. If I were you, I would politely give her notice so you don't burn any bridges, and if you leave on good terms she'll probably even be a good reference for you. Best of luck in whatever you decide, I hope things get better for you.


      • #4
        you should....

        give notice and quit. you DESERVE so much better. and trust me, YOUR education, that you put off, is the most valuable thing you can do for yourself. once you are gone, she will realize all that you have given, sacrificed and endured when real life childcare costs hits her azz in the face. take care and take care of YOU.


        • #5
          To Nanny

          Make a contract. Write up what you want as days off, Holidays off, Holiday pay, Freedom to take the children with you on errand, personal or not. Start with your pay increase. Are they paying you cash, or do you report your income for taxes? Find out what the going rate for child care is in your area by calling some daycares and finding out what they would charge for the ages of children you care for. Make sure to write that it is for the first 8 hour of the day, then time and a half after that.
          If they want you to do chores unrelated to child care make sure you get paid for it. Cleaning the kitchen after meals that you have prepared for the children should be part of your duty as a nanny, Doing the families dishes, laundry of any kind, cleaning the house(besides the children's things that you have gotten out) are not your obligation, unless they want to pay you more. Leave the contract open minded so that you and the parents can work out something that makes everyone happy.
          And if you want to start school, well if mom only works 3 days a week, then that leaves 2 days for school, ad if you would like a third day, then there are always day cares and babysitters that you and the parents can share the cost of. Decide what you want, and then tell them. I am sure that they would rather have a Happy Nanny then a girl who feels like she is being used.

          GOOD LUCK


          • #6
            I currently make $7.50 an hour, and it is untaxed. That's probably why I've passively put up with so much of this for so long.

            Lately, I've been putting my foot down in certain areas. For example, a few weeks ago, there was a day when I forgot to do the dishes (this means emptying out the dishwasher, refilling it, running it, and then putting that load away), and I got a disrespectful sarcastic comment the next day that implied that I had failed to do one of my "daily duties." My response to her was "well, I'm just the babysitter."

            Yes, she has never called me anything beyond a babysitter.

            Also, I absolutely refuse to multitask when one of the kids needs my full attention. For example, the youngest boy was very sick for about three days straight, and he felt so terrible that he just wanted to be held all day, and take random catnaps. During that time, I did no laundry. I did dishes only during the time I was feeding him.

            I am certain now that I need to establish my job title as a nanny, and make it unquestionably clear to this woman that I am not her servant, and I am not expected to do two jobs at once. I will take a few hours to clean house if and only if she takes the kids out and I have none with me.

            It's extremely difficult to bring my concerns up in this situation because she seems to always have a sob story that instantaneously makes me feel like I have some kind of obligation to her, and only later do I realise that I was, yet again, behaving like a doormat.


            • #7
              Something to think about...

              I have been following this post and completely agree that you are allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. I also second the comment regarding getting your education, this should certainly be your first priority. In looking over your response that you make $7.50 an hour non-taxed, it occurred to me that you don't realize what your services SHOULD be worth. Perhaps as a babysitter $7.50/hour is acceptable, however you are providing services outside the realm of babysitting and should be paid accordingly. It seems she has found a way to get a maid and a babysitter for the price of 1. Working well for her, not so good for you. Granted, if you opened an in-home daycare in your home you would have to pay taxes, but you would also have the potential of making a bit more money while having the ability to make your own schedule etc. Since I do not know what daycare expenses look like in your area, I will use the prices charged in my area for reference. I pay $400/mo. for in home daycare (which I consider to be quite reasonable, some are up to $500/mo. for full-time care); this does not include meals which I pack myself. If you chose to open your own daycare (not saying you want to, but again just a reference), even caring for only 4 kids would exceed your current income and anything above that is icing on the cake! It sounds like you are a very valuable worker, but only if the person you work for appreciates it Best wishes to you...