Our nanny quit... (v. long post) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 90 Old 02-24-2008, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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...and the story is fishy.

She's been watching DD (2.5 yrs old) for just over a year and we just signed a year's contract w/pay raise, vacation provisions that she wanted (2 weeks off in a row which we can handle because my mom lives nearby). We were gone on vacation for a week and the first day back she gives us notice, she's got a new job. Her explanation was "It's for twins and I've always loved twins." She said the new job is "right around the corner" which DH and I took to mean right by her house (35 min away). On Friday we find out that it's right around the corner from US.

I feel like I've been dumped and I don't know why! She has never said that there was any problem w/us or DD. DD really likes her and it's going to be quite hard on her especially since the nanny wants to continue to hang out w/the other nanny friends and kids in the neighborhood who are DD's main social interaction.

Our house is cluttered (she's not responsible for picking up except DD's stuff), and we have had some difficulty in the past month getting home on time (like 10 min late one day a week) for which we have paid the overtime stipulated in our contract. We are considered a little "weird" b/c DD doesn't watch TV or have battery-powered toys. But she never said that these were a problem for her.

I think we need to sit down and talk about whether there was some problem so we don't drive off another nanny. And we have to come to some kind of agreement about not gossipping to our new nanny if they are hanging out together. DH just thinks we should end it without a discussion. I need some help figuring this out!!

Thanks for reading all this. I'm just so anxious about it.
Monica
-- for two years and counting! and (and )
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#2 of 90 Old 02-24-2008, 04:16 PM
 
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It sounds like your neighbors made friends with her and then offered her more money. I woulnd't take it personally. It sounds like she was great and the neighbors didn't want to have to search for a great nanny.

The only thing I'd possibly do is ask her if she would reconsider her decision if you increased her salary, if that is possible. Otherwise, its a job to her and I wouldn't take her leaving personally.
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#3 of 90 Old 02-24-2008, 04:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pranamama View Post
It sounds like your neighbors made friends with her and then offered her more money. I woulnd't take it personally.
I agree. It's like an issue of money, since she'd get paid more for two kids instead of one.

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#4 of 90 Old 02-24-2008, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think it's the money, because I asked her if the new family is paying her a lot more money and she said, "not too much more." I don't know, I am just having this weird vibe about it. I think we will have to sit down and have an "exit interview" and keep it as neutral as possible.

thanks for your advice

Monica
-- for two years and counting! and (and )
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#5 of 90 Old 02-24-2008, 06:06 PM
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I think that is a great idea.
It is always hard to say what was the actual cause.
If you do the exit, make sure to expect some things that you did not realize about your family.

As for asking her to keep your family confidential, it is worth a try, but I find it is difficult to control what people say, no matter how much of it is not true.

Good luck!
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#6 of 90 Old 02-24-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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Actually, I'm with your dh. Just wish her well and let it go.

Mom of two girls.
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#7 of 90 Old 02-24-2008, 06:29 PM
 
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#8 of 90 Old 02-24-2008, 07:58 PM
 
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it does seem like the money was a pull if it was an increase. I hope you don't feel that there is anything wrong with your family that made her leave, unless of course that is the weird vibe you are getting. Intuition is a good thing sometimes.
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#9 of 90 Old 02-25-2008, 11:05 AM
 
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That really sucks, I'm sorry. It does feel so much like a rejection, or being "cheated on".

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#10 of 90 Old 02-25-2008, 11:09 AM
 
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Our au pair did the same thing last year. Six months into her contract she said her grandmother back home was dying. We believed her. Several things happened afterward to make us believe that it was a big story. It is hard welcoming someone into your family, making them a part of it, and then having them be less than up front w/you.

Let her go w/love. Another (and better) opportunity will come for you and your family. :
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#11 of 90 Old 02-25-2008, 11:10 AM
 
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I hate confrontation so I probably wouldn't bother, but I guess it can't hurt to let her know you are feeling hurt and wanted a better explanation of what may have been the cause, just to set your mind at ease. I would be willing to bet it was a money issue. You never know, she maybe regretting her choice when she realizes taking care of 2 is more difficult (despite the increase in pay). That would be nice if you mom could care for your DD during the day since she is close. That is my situation.

I hear about neighbors "stealing" good nannies quite frequently. She may have developed a friendship with your neighbor while she was out on maternity leave.
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#12 of 90 Old 02-25-2008, 11:36 AM
 
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I know that having nannies brings out huge loyalty issues, but really, to them it's just a job. Often nannies have more loyalty than say, bank tellers, because they actually do come to love their charges. (I was a nanny). But really, sometimes they might change jobs for a slight increase in pay or a cleaner working environment or less domestic strife or because they get to drive a cool car. Also, if you get home 10 min late, when does she actually get to walk out the door? When I was a nanny, mom might get home on time or close to it, but I wouldn't actually get to leave for another 20-30 min, what with updates and whatnot (this was uncompensated, but I loved the family, sucked it up, they were extra-nice in other ways). Basically, nannies switch jobs for the same reasons we all do. Assuming your contract was terminable at-will, there really isn't much to be done, I wouldn't lay any guilt on at all. If your contract was for another year, or slightly under it, where you agreed to employ her for the duration and could only terminate for cause, and she agreed to work and not quit, then you can actually make her pay the difference between what you would have paid her and what you have to (after diligent market search) pay a new similarly qualified nanny, including agency fee (assuming it's higher). Really. (not that i'd go that route....)
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#13 of 90 Old 02-25-2008, 07:10 PM
 
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The only thing I'd possibly do is ask her if she would reconsider her decision if you increased her salary, if that is possible.
I wouldn't do this.

I wouldn't want a nanny staying "just for the money", KWIM? I have a nanny myself - and with some of our previous nannies I did feel like they were here for the money. It's not a great feeling, because you do want your nanny to truly enjoy her job and enjoy the children and the family.

It is a tricky sort of job - because it needs to be very professional, but it can become very emotional because it is about your children and the nanny can become very much a "part of the family".

I'm sorry this happened. My gut feeling is to just let her go on "good terms", don't try to open a Pandora's box, and for the next nanny you hire - rethink some things about your hiring process and your agreement/contract.
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#14 of 90 Old 02-25-2008, 10:55 PM
 
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I don't think you should talk to her about what went wrong or ask her not to gossip with the new nanny. That would put her in a terrible position that she probably doesn't want to be in and it would also be an insult to imply that you don't think she has enough morals not to gossip about you guys. It would be foolish of her to tell anyone that she didn't like certain things about their lifestyle and parenting because she will need to have references in the future when she goes to get other jobs. Let her leave on good terms and hope that you find someone who is more willing to stay and work with your household standards.
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#15 of 90 Old 02-25-2008, 11:42 PM
 
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Former nanny here!!!!!

First off, sorry that happened to you, that really is frustrating, and I totally get that and feel for you.

But the same thing happened to me...my employers went away for a week or so, and someone else scooped me up.

And similar to your situation, I actually did very much like Employer #1, but Employer #2 had some perks that I liked better and they offered me more $.

And possibly like your nanny, I was really young and didn't handle my quitting in the most honest and graceful way. I look back and think that was kind of schmucky of me, but to be honest, a nanny job is so different than others (you're obviously an employee, but also a part of the family, and it's so weird!) and I just felt so nervous about being honest about why I wanted to leave.

The bottom line is that she is leaving and you may run into her since she will be around the corner. I hope everything remains amiable, especially b/c she could be a good fill-in or last minute sitter (which I become for MY Family #1).

But yeah, I agree, she didn't handle it well.
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#16 of 90 Old 02-26-2008, 01:41 PM
 
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OP - a thought about you being a reference for her...

I think that it is perfectly fine for you to tell anyone she might refer to you EXACTLY how she left. It was extremely unprofessional. A decent, professional, career nanny would have given you at least two weeks notice.

When I say that you should end on "good terms", I don't mean that you have to glow about her if anyone asks about her. You can tell the truth about her leaving in a very straight-forward, matter of fact way.
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#17 of 90 Old 02-26-2008, 09:00 PM
 
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I'm so sorry for you.

And to qualify my response - I have never been a nanny, nor have I ever had a nanny.

But I am a recruiter / headhunter and I can tell you that very, very rarely do people leave established positions for more money. It might be part of the overall reason, but it is never the sole reason. That's why making a counter-offer (offering to pay more money) is never a good idea for the employer. You can change the $'s but unless you know what the other reasons are (the REAL reasons) you won't be able to improve the situation.

What I find most often when I ask people why they are looking (or are willing to leave) is that they are looking for additional responsibilities and the ability to utilize more of their skills. That's why I would say that when she tells you that twins are interesting to her, I'd tend to believe it. Twins are definitely more work than one child! Other main reasons that are less often vocalized are they leave because they don't like their boss/co-workers/work environment or feel unappreciated. I'm not saying that she didn't like you or your dd, but if she did strike up a relationship with the other mother, she may feel a kinship with her that she didn't with you. You started off being her employer, not her friend and there is nothing wrong with that.

Also - I know that when people leave, they rarely tell their employer the real reasons that they are leaving because it seems like griping. They will say that they are moving on to a better opportunity for them. If you did ask one question of her, it might be best to phrase it like "Is there anything that you would suggest we change or do for our next nanny?"

I know this is hard because it affects your dd and because she was a trusted member of the family, but I would try to de-personalize it as much as possible. There are many types of workplaces, just like there are many types of employees. You can use this experience to make sure that your next nanny is a better fit for your family, and hopefully achieve a longer lasting work relationship.

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

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#18 of 90 Old 02-27-2008, 09:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Thalia View Post
That really sucks, I'm sorry. It does feel so much like a rejection, or being "cheated on".

It does feel like that and it hurts - you almost question your parenting over it...

But for our family - it works out for the best in the end.

Not to get all hokey but my mom always said God doesnt close one door without opening at least one more..

*hugs* mamma - its hard

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#19 of 90 Old 02-27-2008, 03:58 PM
 
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If you did ask one question of her, it might be best to phrase it like "Is there anything that you would suggest we change or do for our next nanny?"
ITA with this suggestion. I would ask this question, and then wish her well and be done with it.

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#20 of 90 Old 02-27-2008, 05:50 PM
 
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And you know OP - you don't need to beat yourself up over this - wondering "what we did wrong", and "we must be bad employers" and whatnot.

She was wrong to leave with no notice. Bottom line.

Maybe there are some things about your family you could improve for the next nanny - but honestly... you are probably just FINE.

Don't obsess about it.
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#21 of 90 Old 02-27-2008, 05:58 PM
 
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It sounds like she did give notice.


I would just let her go.

Don't offer her more money. If you do that and she accepts, you'll always be wondering if she is going to quit again. If she doesn't accept, it will be even more awkward around her in the future.
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#22 of 90 Old 02-27-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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OP - a thought about you being a reference for her...

I think that it is perfectly fine for you to tell anyone she might refer to you EXACTLY how she left. It was extremely unprofessional. A decent, professional, career nanny would have given you at least two weeks notice.

When I say that you should end on "good terms", I don't mean that you have to glow about her if anyone asks about her. You can tell the truth about her leaving in a very straight-forward, matter of fact way.
In some states (NC being one of them) you may not go on about how or why someone left your employment. This is against the law and pretty rude. You can respond to "Is this person eligible for rehire?" and confirm dates of employment. Other then that you may not say a word.

Also, until employers are required to give employees notice when they are terminated, employees should not have any responsibility to the employer for a notice.



OP- though the exit interview sounds nice, I don't think there is a way to enforce this. If your nanny is uncomfortable doing so. I would just let it go. For whatever reason she wasn't happy in her job and like anyone found something she believes will make her happy. Why should you or anyone expect anything less?

And, regarding the position of Professional Nanny. Not all nannyies are classified as professional and in fact most are not Professional Nannies. Most people who care for children in a nanny-like capacity are merely live-in or live-out high-paid babysitters.

Professional Nannies respect themselves and their profession. Though these nannies are often paid very well, they are in it for the joy of working with children. These nannies are educated in early child development and most have 2 or 4-year degrees. They know children inside and out and understand the effect their presence has on the children they care for and would not in a moments notice terminate their employment.

I am saddened that your child will feel the sting of losing a loved one and that this person apparently did not take this into consideration before being swept off her feet by another family. Separation if necessary should be a gradual process where old nanny is gradually faded out and new nanny is blended in with the family.

It is indeed a shame.
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#23 of 90 Old 02-28-2008, 08:19 AM
 
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My apologies - the OP said the nanny did give notice. I just feel so badly for the OP, that I'm not reading things clearly.
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#24 of 90 Old 02-28-2008, 10:19 AM
 
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And I feel the same way.
Many people who go into childcare just don't "get" that this is more than a job and affects more than just their own little world. These are little humans whose lives we are invading and caregivers need to think long and hard about the position and if they are ready to step outside of themselves and almost become their charges co-mother because we do become like part of the family when we become a nanny. You become privy to so many intimate details not only of the child's life, but of the parent's as well. Often mothers vent to the nanny about their ups and downs as a mother, wife, friend, professional and when nannies break that special bond that families nearly immediately develop (you pretty much have to trust this new person completely) it's tramatic and painful and it IS like finding out your partner has cheated on you. You feel the same emotions and have the same questions (what else has she been keeping from us? Was she ever really happy? What did I do/not do?) It sucks for everyone.
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#25 of 90 Old 02-28-2008, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies! I have been feeling a little better about it the past few days. I am sure we will find another nanny who is just as good w/our DD or better! She has a friend who is looking for a new family so maybe that will work out. We'll at least interview several people though.

Yes, she did give notice so we are not totally left in the lurch. She was professional about it but it still hurt! I think that as LauraLoo mentioned maybe she wasn't feeling appreciated enough. We forgot her birthday in January and I could tell she seemed kind of irritated that day. We will have to try harder in that regard next time.

My mom is going to watch DD for a few weeks while we find the new nanny and get everything settled (I have some bad weeks at work coming up and it's best not to bring in someone totally new for that period). I think time with Grandma will help DD not miss the old nanny as badly. The old nanny still wants to hang out with the neighborhood nannies and kids so DD will see her. I think it'll be good to have my mom take her to some of their usual activities w/the other nannies and kids so that at the end of the activity, DD will be leaving with someone she knows and loves--maybe it won't be such a shock that the old nanny is now there and leaving with 2 new kids.

Not to hijack my own thread but my mom usually watches DD 1 afternoon a week anyway and I am thinking that the nanny finds this extra family relationship difficult, based on something the nanny said this week. She (nanny) had also mentioned that she thought my mom was too nosy and critical about 8-9 months ago. I can't ask my mom to stop coming to see my granddaughter but this might cause some stress for the new nanny as well. Any ideas to help with this situation?

thanks again!
Monica
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#26 of 90 Old 02-28-2008, 03:47 PM
 
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Thanks for all the replies! I have been feeling a little better about it the past few days. I am sure we will find another nanny who is just as good w/our DD or better! She has a friend who is looking for a new family so maybe that will work out.
Just a thought on the nanny's friend - I would try to avoid hiring her, if possible. I can't put my finger on it - but something about that idea just rubs me the wrong way.

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Not to hijack my own thread but my mom usually watches DD 1 afternoon a week anyway and I am thinking that the nanny finds this extra family relationship difficult, based on something the nanny said this week. She (nanny) had also mentioned that she thought my mom was too nosy and critical about 8-9 months ago. I can't ask my mom to stop coming to see my granddaughter but this might cause some stress for the new nanny as well. Any ideas to help with this situation?
Do *you* think your mom is "too nosy and critical"? Do you like having your mom interacting with your DD? If you do, then find a nanny who likes your mom, too.
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#27 of 90 Old 02-28-2008, 05:24 PM
 
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Or how about ensuring your nanny's boundaries and comfort level will be respected by all family members.
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#28 of 90 Old 02-28-2008, 11:44 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Potty Diva;10643690]In some states (NC being one of them) you may not go on about how or why someone left your employment. This is against the law and pretty rude. You can respond to "Is this person eligible for rehire?" and confirm dates of employment. Other then that you may not say a word.

Also, until employers are required to give employees notice when they are terminated, employees should not have any responsibility to the employer for a notice.


I don't think that this is true or against state law; i could be wrong though. I think it's usually just a policy decision by individual corporations to avoid being sued. Also, I totally disagree on the notice thing; it is really awful to show up and say "bye" - the employer can't necessarily cover that easily! Being fired for cause is different.
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#29 of 90 Old 02-29-2008, 12:14 AM
 
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Oh no it is indeed a state law.
Former employers are not allowed to share information about previous employees other than to confirm employment dates and confirm whether or not they are eligibl for rehire.

The problem is, it would be pretty hard to prove you did not get a job because a previous employer badmouthed you.

This is the statute and it prohibits a former emploer from purposely trying to prevent you from gaining employment:

§ 14‑355. Blacklisting employees.

If any person, agent, company or corporation, after having discharged any employee from his or its service, shall prevent or attempt to prevent, by word or writing of any kind, such discharged employee from obtaining employment with any other person, company or corporation, such person, agent or corporation shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00); and such person, agent, company or corporation shall be liable in penal damages to such discharged person, to be recovered by civil action. This section shall not be construed as prohibiting any person or agent of any company or corporation from furnishing in writing, upon request, any other person, company or corporation to whom such discharged person or employee has applied for employment, a truthful statement of the reason for such discharge. (1909, c. 858, s. 1; C.S., s. 4477; 1993, c. 539, s. 235; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
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#30 of 90 Old 02-29-2008, 02:42 AM
 
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the plain language of the statute seems to suggest that it is just fine to be truthful and tell the reasons the employee was discharged. there's a difference from being blacklisted "preventing" employment and telling the truth about someone's poor behavior at work.
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