What about nannies making personal phone calls? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The nanny-reading thread made me wonder about this one: how do you feel about nannies making personal phone calls while at work? Running personal errands?

When I was a nanny I NEVER made personal calls, unless my boss was going to be late or something and then I would call my husband to let him know- no longer than 1-3 minutes max. Maybe if I had a call to make that could only be made during the day (like calling the doctor to make an appointment, etc) I would do it during the nap, even then I would note it in the journal.

Same with personal errrands- none. Although if I were going to the grocery store for the family anyway and knew I needed vanilla extract at home I might grab some (paying separately, of course!). But only if I were going anyway for the family, I wouldn't do a grocery outing for my own needs. Ditto with mailing something, if I were walking to the park and had a bill I needed to stick in the mail I wouldn't refrain from putting it in the mailbox on the way, but I really made an effort to never alter our schedule in any way to accomplish personal tasks.

Now as a mom, when I hire a nanny I will not permit these things. Especially NO phone calls while driving!

What are your standards?
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#2 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 05:52 PM
 
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Right now, my boys are home with their daddy. They enjoy (most of the time) a fairly varied menu of kid-focused activites like parks, library, children's museum, zoo, etc. and some adult-focused errands like post office, grocery store, dropping off paperwork, going to the bank, etc. The mix is about 60-40 tilted toward kid stuff, depending on what needs to get done.

I figure if that's what they're used to, I have no problem with the nanny doing what we're happy with their Daddy doing. I guess I'd prefer it to be more 70-30-ish with a nanny... but I also realise that this is their JOB. At my job I make personal phone calls and occasionally dart out to the PO or the Bank because I'm considered a professional who can manager her own time. I figure I owe my nanny the same consideration. In the same vein, I can't STAND to be micromanaged, and would also want to offer that same consideration to my nanny. As long as the kids are thriving and learning and having fun, and as long as basic safety and discipline are being maintained, I think that's fine.

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#3 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 05:52 PM
 
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oops, double post

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#4 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 05:55 PM
 
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No phone calls while driving. I don't either.

I think it depends. My babysitter works for us 25 hours a week and works three nights a week in a restaurant. I think that leaves her enough time during business hours to take care of her personal business. If she worked for me full-time, I would expect that she would take care of some of those errands with my children in tow.

I prefer that she not have long or frequent personal phone calls while working (when children are awake).

For these things, I feel like if she's in a pinch, she can do what she needs to so that she can take care of her business. But as a regular thing, I'd expect her mostly to be taking care of our family's business while I'm away.

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#5 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 08:14 PM
 
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As a nanny yes I do these things. I was a live-in nanny for 2 years for a family. And if I had to wait till 6:30 to make phone calls its hard b/c places are closed or people are busy at that time. My boss had no problems with doing errands with child in tow. It was just me and one child. We did everything together. And whenever we went out we made sure to do something for her too. But some things like going to the bank, or paying for a ticket (Not open on weekends) and some things have to be done during business hours. My employer never had a problem. She'd say if you're doing this errand can you do mine too? Of course I didn't mind.

I know that SAHM's run errands with their children and I would take my charge with my sister and her 2 kids and run errands together. When else was I suppose to do it??

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#6 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 09:03 PM
 
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No phone calls while driving for anybody. That's a huge safety thing.

I babysit a bunch of 2yos, and bring my 2yo daughter with me. I'm also a student and will someday be working FT -- so I can see this from both sides. Now, when I'm sitting, occasionally I take a call on my cell -- never a really long one, but if the kids are all happily occupied and I'm sitting on the floor in the middle of the group, I really don't see what the problem is.

I can understand not wanting your nanny to spend her entire workday texting her boyfriend or whatever, but I think to totally forbid personal calls during the workday is kind of crappy. Child care workers have to make dentists appointments/check in with their ailing parents/say "Hi-I'll-call-you-back" to a friend, too. To expect otherwise is a little dehumanizing.

Re: errands: It depends on what it is. Going to the mall -- not okay. Walking to the post office across the street -- well, it's a pleasant outing for a child too, no big deal.
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#7 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 09:18 PM
 
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I was just wondering what was wrong going to the mall. I use to have playdates at the mall. We had lunch in the food court and rode the carasoul. And if we needed to pick something up we were already there? Or do you mean just going to the mall to shop?

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#8 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 09:28 PM
 
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Oh, I mean just going to the mall to shop -- in that glaze-eyed, kid-stuck-in-stroller way. Not that I would never do that with my own kid (okay, if I could get her to sit in the stroller), but I can see not wanting to pay somebody to do it.

What you describe sounds fun, especially in the dead of winter or the fug of summer when it's not so nice to be outside.
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#9 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 09:44 PM
 
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Not while driving of course.

For me it really comes down to responsiveness. If my child is playing happily and she's on the phone for a bit while keeping an eye on him, no problem. If he's hanging off her wailing for a snack and she keeps talking, or she parks him in front of a dvd - then no.

For errands I have no problem with it as long as again, my child's needs are first - if he's having a bad day, don't set him up for a meltdown. Also I think I would want it to be more a "once in a while" thing than an "everyday" thing. Also I always wanted a general idea where they might be physically, just in case, so I would want to know about it.

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#10 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 09:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree that I would not absolutely forbid these types of things, but on the other hand, I don't think there is anything wrong with saying "my general expectation for the job is that your time is devoted to caring for my children and I expect personal phone calls and errands to be conducted outside working hours (barring while kid is napping/in a lesson/etc)." These are the same expectations that many jobs have for their employees. It's different than an office job- a nanny position is more like a customer service job. I understand that an office employee can run to the bank and come back and get her work done, but that's because there is x amount of work.

Obviously, reasonable exceptions can be made. If my nanny's mother were in the hospital she could make a call to find out how surgery went, or if she had to call a utility company during business hours that is okay too. But I draw the line at chatting with friends. In fact, I think it is acceptable for an employer to give the nanny a cell to be used for nanny-employer communication (and job-related calls) and request that she leave her personal cell phone off while at work.

But I'm kinda picky that way....
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#11 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 09:51 PM
 
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I was a live-in nanny for a family for about 2 years and my personal phone calls were kept to a minimum. I'm not a very social person so I was rarely on the phone anyway. As for personal errands, I didn't do them with the children. My situation was a little unique in that one of the kids had autism and thus needed my full attention at home and I couldn't take him on errands with me, personal or for the family.

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#12 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 09:54 PM
 
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It wouldn't bother me unless they were putting off the kid's immediate needs to do it, though I definitly agree with the no cel phones while driving.

I used to babysit(don't know if that's considered the same thing). the parents knew that their kids were fitting into my life which meant if i had to do something they came with me. I took them shopping all the time, they came with me to my dr appointments, etc. We did other things too, but not all the time. On paydays my shopping takes 3 hours minimum, those kids came along with me the entire time. My neighbor & I go for walks, mostly just for exercise the kids walked/rode along with us. They were 2 hour walks. I had some kids that came with me to my kids school field trips, I wasn't going to miss out on it just because I had extra kids with me that day. I paid their way. If they were of age to need carseats they either brought an extra or removed theirs.

If a parent had a problem with this I didn't care for thier kids.
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#13 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 10:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by therdogg View Post
IThese are the same expectations that many jobs have for their employees. It's different than an office job- a nanny position is more like a customer service job. I understand that an office employee can run to the bank and come back and get her work done, but that's because there is x amount of work.
See, the thing about that is, even customer service folks get breaks and lunch. Nannies don't -- especially if the kid no longer naps, or doesn't take lessons. Or if there are multiple kids and they don't end up all napping at the same time, etc. etc.


[QUOTE}In fact, I think it is acceptable for an employer to give the nanny a cell to be used for nanny-employer communication (and job-related calls) and request that she leave her personal cell phone off while at work.
[/QUOTE]

I can see giving an employee a work-devoted phone. But if I couldn't trust a child care worker to prioritize important personal calls without having to totally leave the phone off, I don't know that I'd want that person caring for my child.

This is icking me out a little bit.
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#14 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 10:12 PM
 
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I make personal calls while watching my kids, thus I wouldn't mind someone who was watching them to do the same. None of my calls as a mom get to be very long or chatty, because it never works that way when you have four kids, so I imagine our babysitter's wouldn't be either.

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#15 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 10:26 PM
 
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As for me, I am one of very few SAHM in an overwelming nanny population. The philippino nannies chat among themselves (at the playgroups) and are very stressed from their job that requires feeding, cleaning, cooking and taking care of the children for about $300 a week (yes I agree that they came here on domestic visa by their own free will). The only nanny (whom I befriended) that carries her own cell phone, chats with her husband and friends whenever she wants, shops, goes out every afternoon for coffee and generally loves her job and the children she takes care of is white (she refuses to clean but she does cook for the kids). Taking care of children is an extremely important job, one that we cannot dehumanize either. We choose the person most qualified for the job and who adores our children and we try to establish a fair working relashionship for all.

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#16 of 91 Old 04-10-2008, 11:15 PM
 
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Taking care of children is an extremely important job, one that we cannot dehumanize either. We choose the person most qualified for the job and who adores our children and we try to establish a fair working relashionship for all.
YEAH to the THAT.

Also, I am able to arrange/demand reasonable working conditions as a privileged, college-educated white woman -- and never lack for work. That makes me an exception among child care providers -- and it makes me feel all the more strongly about making sure that we as mothers (particularly MDC mothers) respect and value the people we entrust with care of our children.
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#17 of 91 Old 04-11-2008, 03:31 AM
 
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The nanny-reading thread made me wonder about this one: how do you feel about nannies making personal phone calls while at work? Running personal errands?
For one thing - it can depend on how long a shift the nanny works. There are nannies who normally work 50-60 hours/week. In those cases, it is probably best if the nanny is allowed to make some personal calls and run her own errands.

One thing to remember - nannies do not get "breaks" - official breaks in their day. For nannies who work long shifts, it is the equivalent of the SAHP who is with the kids for hours and hours and hours at a time.

Also - as a nanny-employer - I can say from my own experience that having a nanny take time to herself during the day - telling the kids that it's "Nanny's Break Time" is a good thing. For a child to be constantly entertained by a nanny all day long just sets up the parents for a demanding child on the weekend. Children need to learn to respect everyone else's time and need for a break - everyone in the household, including the nanny.

"Family Quiet Time" is a good thing, including the nanny in that as well.
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#18 of 91 Old 04-11-2008, 07:42 AM
 
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As a nanny, I've made...one, maybe two, personal calls in the past few months. At the time the child was very occupied and completely supervised (last time I made one she was strapped into her bike and enjoying being pushed and watching the squirrels). I was on the phone for maybe 3 minutes, and it wasn't really a pleasure call, I was calling someone back who had a question for me.

I would do it again. I would also have no problem with my nanny making calls. To me, it's not a huge deal.

However, I also respect parent's wishes, and if a parent said no calls, I would make no calls.

Errands also would depend on the parent. I may run into this situation this summer, and it would totally depend on the parent.

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#19 of 91 Old 04-11-2008, 07:45 AM
 
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One thing to remember - nannies do not get "breaks" - official breaks in their day. For nannies who work long shifts, it is the equivalent of the SAHP who is with the kids for hours and hours and hours at a time.

It is in so many ways a harder job than many others. We don't get any sort of break- lunch break, bathroom break. We are essentially the parent while we are on duty, and therefore, we occasionally need to tend to personal needs.

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#20 of 91 Old 04-11-2008, 08:46 AM
 
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I thought I posted this last night, but I guess it never went through.

I was a nanny last year and while the situation was not in ANY way ideal, I'd have quit MUCH sooner had the parents said that I was not allowed to make personal phone calls/do personal errands with the kids. I was a full time nanny and full time student. I got up with the kids at 6:30am, took them to school by 8, got to school myself by 8:30, had classes 4 days a week without a long enough break to get anywhere in town, picked up the kids at 2:45, and the mother wanted me there 10 minutes early "just in case." I then watched the kids (there was 5 kids, mind you) from 2:45 until 9pm, when they went to bed, during which time I was also supposed to both make dinner and clean the kitchen. The parents often didn't get home until around 7, sometimes as late as 10, and I was not allowed to go downstairs to my room, even if all the kids were asleep, until a parent was home. I had one day off a week - from 9:00pm on Thursday until 7am on Saturday. I watched the kids from 7am until 10pm on Saturday, and 11am until 10pm on Sunday. I had the time that they were at church "off," though I had to be home when they got home. And even then, the mother would often ask me to do some kind of errand while I was out, and any gas I used on my time off was to come out of my own expenses.

So, if she had ALSO said that I was not allowed to make any personal phone calls while I was "on" duty, or that I wasn't allowed to take the kids along on an errand I had to do? I'd never have been able to get anything done whatsoever. As it was, half my fridays were packed with things like meetings and stuff, because I could never have them any other day. So yeah, when I was at the playground with the kids, I'd call my girlfriend, or my dad, or my grampy. Or I'd bring a book and not feel bad about telling the kid, "no, we've been playing almost constantly for 6 hours. I'm going to read for a few minutes and you can play with the other kids. I'm right here and I can hear you if anything goes wrong." I also had to attempt to do any school work at the same time as watching kids, or I had to be up until 2 or 3am to write papers and study art history and learn about other things.

Just make sure you're remembering that your nanny is your nanny, but your nanny is also HUMAN. Maybe your nanny is working on her degree at night, or maybe you realize your nanny works 4 days a week for you, but also 7 days a week somewhere else too, and is tired. We're allowed to get tired. We're allowed to have family problems. In the course of the year I worked for the people I worked for I got four important phone calls while I was on duty, and I certainly wouldn't have been able to wait until 10pm to respond. My grandfather died. My mother attempted suicide. My little sister got herself in a bad situation. And I got accepted for transfer to my top choice school.

What if your nanny's grandfather was in the hospital - if she has her phone off and she's not permitted to give the nanny cell phone number to any of her family/friends, how does that work then?

Your nanny is not getting a break. I didn't get a break from all the kids for around 15 hours on Saturdays. And I'm not even allowed to pull out a phone and call my best friend when I just need a few minutes to cool down? That's just rude.
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#21 of 91 Old 04-13-2008, 10:44 PM
 
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Our au pair makes phone calls on the cell phone we provide her and takes the kids on errands. Frankly, they love going to the grocery store/drug store with her.

We have the rule about no talking on the phone while driving, ever. Other than that, as long as it isn't excessive (2-4 10 minute chats during a day, that is one thing, 3 hour calls, another), we are good.

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#22 of 91 Old 04-14-2008, 05:10 AM
 
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Hmm. Now, I don't have an earthside kid just yet, but I have to say that I'd kind of EXPECT that a person charged with caring for a child for eight hours straight, with no official breaks, during normal business hours make a few phone calls. It seems unreasonable to expect otherwise. Some stuff needs to be done during business hours. Just thinking of calls I've had to make during my breaks at work... Calling the billing department at the doctor's office to straighten out an issue, calling my bank to make sure my name change had gone through, and calling my mother at work to remind her to go pick up a certified copy of my birth certificate before the office closed. Personal? Yes, but necessary to my existence in the modern world.

But many nannies don't get breaks in the traditional sense, so it stands to reason that they'd do what a SAHM would do... pick a time when the kids are least needy and make the call then. If they're young enough to nap... great. That's problem solved.

In very few professions do we expect that a person be "on" for 8 hours straight without a break.

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#23 of 91 Old 04-14-2008, 05:43 AM
 
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I agree that this is a PT/FT issue.

I had a 20h/wk nanny for my daughter for about a year -- rather, we had a few nannies. It hadn't occurred to me that a young woman would decide that a 4h/day job was an opportunity for continual personal-call time. The phone was never off. We had a few other issues with her, and eventually I had to fire her. After that I made emergency-only calls the rule. I also said no to boyfriend-visiting.

I understand that a nanny might have other obligations which keep her from making calls in her non-nanny time, but really, that's not my problem. I was paying 3x daycare rates so that my daughter could have someone giving her one-on-one attention instead of being in daycare all day. If I'd wanted lots of benign semi-neglect for her, I could've saved a lot of money. Once you get past that 4-hour mark, though, I think you really do need to build in breaks.

As for family emergencies...well, I understand, and you gotta do what you gotta do, but I gotta make deadlines. I had one girl who seemed reliable at first, but her folks split up and suddenly she was cancelling frequently or just not showing because she was off taking care of her dad. I wasn't hiring nannies so I could go play tennis -- I'm a single mom, and I'm the breadwinner here. My bosses are not interested in hearing that the nanny has frequent family emergencies. So I was sorry to do it, but I had to let her go. She was very upset about it. I understand, but again, there are certain realities.
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#24 of 91 Old 04-14-2008, 08:23 AM
 
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I would expect any nanny of mine to live as they normally would, but be mindful of the child they are being paid to care for. If I came home everyday to find the nanny on the phone and a bunch of messages waiting(meaning s/he was on the phone for hours) then I'd have issues. I would't mind calls to friends and family here and there though. Nor would I mind 'the nanny' doing personal errands, so long as the nanny was safe with my child- although Id prefer if nanny could stay at home with the kids so that I knew where they were at all times

Try not to forget that nannies are people too.

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#25 of 91 Old 04-14-2008, 10:28 AM
 
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I agree that this is a PT/FT issue.

I had a 20h/wk nanny for my daughter for about a year -- rather, we had a few nannies. It hadn't occurred to me that a young woman would decide that a 4h/day job was an opportunity for continual personal-call time. The phone was never off. We had a few other issues with her, and eventually I had to fire her.
See, this seems like the extreme case compared to what a lot of us are talking about (and absolutely understandable that you would fire someone for that). But I think there's a big difference between quickie calls here and there and nonstop talking. I can see how it might be good to specify what's okay (for me, that would be brief phone calls re: life-administrative stuff, quick hi to sister on phone with a call-you-later) -- although I would stop short of saying EMERGENCY ONLY. Even for a part-time person.



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I also said no to boyfriend-visiting.
My gosh, I would too. I can think of a million reasons that would be SO NOT OKAY.
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#26 of 91 Old 04-14-2008, 11:12 AM
 
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I felt bad about having a friend drop off a book for class once. I'd never have a visitor.
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#27 of 91 Old 04-14-2008, 11:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by blizzard_babe View Post
Hmm. Now, I don't have an earthside kid just yet, but I have to say that I'd kind of EXPECT that a person charged with caring for a child for eight hours straight, with no official breaks, during normal business hours make a few phone calls. It seems unreasonable to expect otherwise. Some stuff needs to be done during business hours. Just thinking of calls I've had to make during my breaks at work... Calling the billing department at the doctor's office to straighten out an issue, calling my bank to make sure my name change had gone through, and calling my mother at work to remind her to go pick up a certified copy of my birth certificate before the office closed. Personal? Yes, but necessary to my existence in the modern world.

But many nannies don't get breaks in the traditional sense, so it stands to reason that they'd do what a SAHM would do... pick a time when the kids are least needy and make the call then. If they're young enough to nap... great. That's problem solved.

In very few professions do we expect that a person be "on" for 8 hours straight without a break.

I agree. You can't expect her to take care of your kids 8 hours straight with no break(like with regular jobs), to not make personal calls, she does have a life and business to conduct outside of taking care your children. Business, quick personal calls should be okay. What do you do when you take care of your kids all day? Do you stay off the phone then entire time? I highly doubt it. While I would be irritated if she used the phone while driving my kid around, I am trusting her to care for my kid so she should be able to make good decisions. I assume you never use the phone when you are driving? Excuse the sarcasm, that isn't my intention. I'm just trying to point out that you are trusting this person with the very thing you love the most, so if you don't trust her judgement, then why is she watching your kids?
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#28 of 91 Old 04-14-2008, 11:24 AM
 
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OOPS- Double Post! Why does it do that?
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#29 of 91 Old 04-14-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamasaurus View Post
For one thing - it can depend on how long a shift the nanny works. There are nannies who normally work 50-60 hours/week. In those cases, it is probably best if the nanny is allowed to make some personal calls and run her own errands.

One thing to remember - nannies do not get "breaks" - official breaks in their day. For nannies who work long shifts, it is the equivalent of the SAHP who is with the kids for hours and hours and hours at a time.

Also - as a nanny-employer - I can say from my own experience that having a nanny take time to herself during the day - telling the kids that it's "Nanny's Break Time" is a good thing. For a child to be constantly entertained by a nanny all day long just sets up the parents for a demanding child on the weekend. Children need to learn to respect everyone else's time and need for a break - everyone in the household, including the nanny.

"Family Quiet Time" is a good thing, including the nanny in that as well.


I agree with all these points. I was a former nanny (both live-in and live-out) and worked 50-60 hours a week. If a parent tried to tell me "NO PERSONAL PHONE CALLS EVER UNLESS SOMEONE IS IN THE HOSPITAL (or similar)" I would have told the parent to take a hike and found another job (and I did do this by the way).

It amazes me how crummy people treat their nannies. I saw it IRL and I see it on here, too.
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#30 of 91 Old 04-14-2008, 01:50 PM
 
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[/QUOTE]

I can see giving an employee a work-devoted phone. But if I couldn't trust a child care worker to prioritize important personal calls without having to totally leave the phone off, I don't know that I'd want that person caring for my child.

This is icking me out a little bit.[/QUOTE]





Yeah, I'm icked out, too. Micromanaging your nanny to this degree is certainly setting the relationship up for failure. A parent who does this is going to lose out on the great nannies, this is for sure.
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