advice on managing the nanny (or: help me have a spine) - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 49 Old 07-23-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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I've read the whole thread and I think you did the right thing. Trust in a relationship with your caregiver is so very, very important. I would not have been able to overlook the obvious boundary issues that this nanny had. After this experience, I do think that you will be better prepared when you hire the next nanny. I babysat a lot in college and was a part-time nanny three days per week for one year. I was always relieved when parents spelled out their expectations. I did not like not knowing whether something was okay or not (can I eat this?, take the kids ____?, feed the kids ___?, use ___?). I'm a rules person, though, so maybe that's why.

Anyway, I think the more you set up in the beginning, the better the relationship can be. Good luck finding another nanny and enjoy the extra time with your kids.

Mama to DS 10/04, DD 12/06, and DD 11/09 my baby
Missing DS 10/08
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#32 of 49 Old 07-23-2008, 10:13 PM
 
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I have a theory. The way someone bheaves when you let them go, reflects their true character. Someone who goes gracefully or even with mutual understanding is a mature professional. Someone who exits in the way that she did, underscores how correct your decision was. She lacks maturity, judgment and good manners. Having this type of person with your kids for many hours a week would have been a very negative thing.

I think this would have turned out so much worse if you had kept her.

Good for you, for doing what was right!!

 
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#33 of 49 Old 07-24-2008, 02:27 AM
 
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Hey KK,

Sorry the firing went so poorly. You were smart to get your key back asap. And to keep the pay until the library books come through. It really bothers me when people recreate the truth to defend themselves, and she clearly did that. I'd like to think that she'll learn some important lessons here, but her more recent behavior makes me think she probably will just blame you. Too bad for her.

I do think that courtenay has some good ideas for adding to your "book." You can keep YOUR food that _you_ bring on shelf b in the fridge. Here is the place to keep any of YOUR extra clothes in case you need to change. As courtenay said, having a clearly defined space for her stuff eliminates the need for borrowing your stuff.
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#34 of 49 Old 07-24-2008, 07:57 AM
 
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Hi
I just read through your thread, I guess you have experience for next time! The caregiver shouldn't be giving you this much stress! I do think it's great though that she is spent so much time at the library with your kids, aside from the book borrowing thing.

I remember when I was babysitting when I was in HS I would eat their junk food after the baby went to bed (we didn't have junk food at my house). (This comment doesn't necessarily apply to you, I do realize....)

I don't have a nanny (don't have a child earthside yet!) but I am concerned that your plan to hire a college student might be hard on you too. Would it be possible to get a college/grad student from an Early Childhood Program from the local college? I have heard bad stories from friends about college student-caregivers who watch tv with the child or -I couldn't believe this one- smoked nearby the child. I don't mean to worry you more than you already are! Just wanted to tell you to get the education major over someone else if you can and definately have a contract with a lot of boundaries in place.

Happy dissertationing!
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#35 of 49 Old 07-24-2008, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We've had good luck hiring college students as babysitters in the past. We live in a town that has the state university and a Buddhist university (mostly grad students), and I'' place an ad with both and with craigslist. I have wondered if part of the issue with the nanny was because she was older than me (she's 50) and felt she didn't need to listen to me.

I forgot to share this, I think it's telling... when she was leaving, she took a baggie out of her purse and handed it to me. It was full of my/my daughter's hair clips. (Remember that I had asked her not to use them?) I knew she had ignored that request (because she took the clips which were my favorite to use on our respective heads; I just couldn't find them and it was driving me nuts), but to have them in her purse, in a baggie... it just seems so "screw your request, I'm going to keep using them anyway." And for her to hand them to me like that (without saying anything--I think "I'm sorry" would have been appropriate) seems to mean she knew she was in the wrong.

Shrug. Four of the library items have been returned. Five have not.
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#36 of 49 Old 07-24-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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Wow, I didn't check back in for a while, but it was even worse than I imagined initially. I'm glad you let her go! Good luck finding a better nanny!

mama to my August boys ('03 & '06) trying to figure out what to do after 5 losses
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#37 of 49 Old 07-24-2008, 03:45 PM
 
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First, you have library books at your house that are on her card, right? I wouldn't return them until you have all yours returned.

Second, I was a nanny (though admittedly, I was live in). I think the employer SHOULD be providing all food for the nanny, even if she arrives at 9:30 - the food supply should be free to be used. Partly because I think it's the right thing to do, partly because if you don't allow, say, chips in your kids' diet, and she has to bring her own food, and loves chips, (a) you aren't providing her food and so have no right to tell her not bring them, and (b) it exposes your child to foods you don't want them to have.

I get the "your house, your rules", but if you don't open your food supplies, then it only counts for allergenics, alcohol and nicotine. Sorry.
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#38 of 49 Old 07-24-2008, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I realize that I could have held the things which were on her card captive, but that seemed like overkill. I returned them yesterday. I think withholding pay (in case I need to cover replacements) is sufficient.

Irishmommy, I don't agree with you at all re the food. I think it's perfectly reasonable for me to expect that if she has agreed to start working at 9:30, that she actually arrive at 9:30 and be ready to go. That wasn't the case. I was paying her $4/hr more than her previous family (in part because I have 3 kids, not 2), and she was ecstatic with what I offered--I actually think it may have been the most she ever made (and we are by no means wealthy, and I'm sure that other families she has worked for had/earned more, I was just trying to be fair). After a few weeks, she started talking about money a *lot*, how tight things were, etc. She would arrive, late, and make herself an enormous breakfast and not get my kids, eg, to the library on time for story time (which was *my* initiative, not hers). (She also ate all the ice cream that was left in the freezer after my oldest's birthday party. The kids didn't get any.) Honestly, I think she was trying to consume all/most of her calories at my house, to minimize the food she was having to pay for on her own (I'm positive that she didn't eat breakfast at home so she could eat at my house). I'm *not* paying someone to come to my house and sit down and *eat* from my fridge when the kids have to be somewhere. I can sympathize with money being tight (been there, done that, and dh was out of work for almost 6 mos last year, and I'm paying out of state tuition to finish my degree, so it's not like we're rolling in it), but it seemed to me also that she was a little frivolous with her money (in terms of buying herself expensive treats at Whole Foods, in terms of her clothing shopping). I'll be perfectly honest... part of the reason I fired her was that I was starting to check for things disappearing, and I have enough on my plate without having to worry about someone stealing from me.

I think considering that I am the employer, I am free to set whatever rules I want regarding food. If I wanted her to bring all of her own food, I feel that I could have done that. If I want any prospective caregiver not to give my kids certain things to eat (even if she's bringing them and eating them herself), that's my choice. But I will be clearer about it in the future, that's for sure.

Sorry, continuing to blow off steam, obviously still cranky about it. Feeling foolish about feeling hoodwinked.
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#39 of 49 Old 07-24-2008, 04:17 PM
 
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I think it's perfectly reasonable for me to expect that if she has agreed to start working at 9:30, that she actually arrive at 9:30 and be ready to go.
I never disagreed with that. In fact, I'm 100% behind you on it.
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#40 of 49 Old 07-24-2008, 04:19 PM
 
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part of the reason I fired her was that I was starting to check for things disappearing, and I have enough on my plate without having to worry about someone stealing from me.

Again, I totally agree.
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#41 of 49 Old 07-24-2008, 04:21 PM
 
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I think considering that I am the employer, I am free to set whatever rules I want regarding food.
To an extent.

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If I wanted her to bring all of her own food, I feel that I could have done that.
This is where we totally disagree. She's a nanny. There are different rules for nannies. I would not have worked for someone who expected me to bring my own food to their house.

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If I want any prospective caregiver not to give my kids certain things to eat (even if she's bringing them and eating them herself), that's my choice.
Totally agree, it's your choice what your kids eat. But you should still be providing for your nanny.
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#42 of 49 Old 07-24-2008, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, we can agree to disagree re breakfast. I think my thinking is along these lines... if you are working a shift over 6 hrs, your employer must give you a lunch break (and you get other breaks for however many hours worked). I do think that it's fair for me to feed the nanny if she's feeding the kids and since it's not exactly the kind of work environment where you get a guaranteed "break" at lunch. But if she's hungry enough that she has to eat *immediately* after arriving at my house (amounting to a break, IMO, esp if it makes the kids late somewhere), shouldn't she just eat at home? If she's a live-out, pt nanny, *why* do I have to provide her what amounts to a bonus meal when we've *all* already eaten and the kids are ready to go somewhere? In my world, breakfast doesn't happen at 9:30 (or 10, often, because she was late.) I felt like she was abusing the privilege, and that's what you're not addressing, that's where we disagree. And she wasn't eating "breakfast food"--she was getting frozen salmon out... I really feel like she was gaming us.
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#43 of 49 Old 07-25-2008, 07:03 AM
 
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While I was an undergrad, I worked as a nanny for about 20 hours a week during my last year of school. Honestly, I am appalled at some of the things she did. In a million years, I would have never thought about arriving late and cooking myself a breakfast out of the fridge. These are people who I was friends with before I took the job and am still friends with now....and yet I always felt like the time I was there....I was there to do one thing and that was take care of the children. When you were describing the person who was wearing your clothes, I thought you were already talking about a teenager.....I can't beleive this is a 50 year old we are talking about. Very strange....indeed.

I still don't understand why she didn't have her own library card? Seems like such a simple thing she could have done on her part.

You absolutely did the right thing by letting her go. I can't imagine anything getting better. You might have mentioned this before, but have you advertised with the university itself? You are bound to find a studen twho would love to work for you!

Tricia, married to DH. 2MC's & 4 yrs ttc...finally mom to Andrew6/06 and Benjamin 10/09. Adopted bro & sis 2002. My 2 fav. words: Spay and Neuter! I'm an Ultimate Viewer, 2010!

 

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#44 of 49 Old 07-25-2008, 09:22 AM
 
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Well, we can agree to disagree re breakfast. I think my thinking is along these lines... if you are working a shift over 6 hrs, your employer must give you a lunch break (and you get other breaks for however many hours worked). I do think that it's fair for me to feed the nanny if she's feeding the kids and since it's not exactly the kind of work environment where you get a guaranteed "break" at lunch. But if she's hungry enough that she has to eat *immediately* after arriving at my house (amounting to a break, IMO, esp if it makes the kids late somewhere), shouldn't she just eat at home? If she's a live-out, pt nanny, *why* do I have to provide her what amounts to a bonus meal when we've *all* already eaten and the kids are ready to go somewhere? In my world, breakfast doesn't happen at 9:30 (or 10, often, because she was late.) I felt like she was abusing the privilege, and that's what you're not addressing, that's where we disagree. And she wasn't eating "breakfast food"--she was getting frozen salmon out... I really feel like she was gaming us.

I never said that arriving at 9:30 and eating was appropriate. I said providing food for the nanny is. I've agreed all along that at 9:30 she should be working.
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#45 of 49 Old 07-25-2008, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have posted an ad at the university, and I'm starting to review applicants. We've gotten great babysitters that way in the past, but we've always used them as babysitters, never during the day. We just sort of backed into the situation with the former nanny. She *did* have her own library card (that's what the 8 things that were at my house but not on *my* card were on). She blamed the whole mix-up thing on the librarians, and it just ain't so. I've gone in with a pile for me and my 2 younger ones and a pile for my 7 yr old and his card, and they don't mix it up.

Irishmommy, I'll try to explain. She was supposed to be working 9:30 to 4:30, 2-3 days/wk. She would arrive and immediately cook herself a large breakfast and eat (and she was often 15-20+ minutes late), even if my kids needed to be somewhere by 10 (and as a result, they were often late). The breakfast thing started after I told her it was fine for her to eat lunch with them. IMO, if you're arriving at 9:30, you should have already eaten breakfast. (You said in an earlier post that you thought that if she was arriving at 9:30, I should be providing breakfast, and I strenuously disagree.)

I try to be a generous and flexible person, and some of the things she did just stunned me into silence. As in... why on earth would she think that was okay? We've never experienced anything remotely like that with a babysitter.
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#46 of 49 Old 07-25-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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I've read this thread with my jaw dropped!

I was a nanny, f/t and p/t, for many different families. I can't believe what this person was doing!

I felt weird about grabbing a cup of juice at my family's homes...I'd never think to eat their food! I mean, it's a job and I'd bring a sack lunch to any other job so why not this one? The family was paying me with money, not food.

The hairclips, clothes, and books? : I can't even imagine how someone would begin to think that was okay. I brought over a hand full of tampons to replace the tampons I used when I got my period while working!

Maybe it was just an immature woman with little experience dealing with others in a work environment?

Nanny jobs can be really intense with the attachment between the nanny/kids/parents. There needs to be really good boundaries.

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#47 of 49 Old 07-25-2008, 02:33 PM
 
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wow - i am so floored this is a 50 year old we are talking about! i would have guessed 17, maybe 18. (especially the hairclip thing.) that makes the argumentative dismissal make a little more sense though. most 18 year olds don't have the self-confidence to debate that kind of thing.

i just came back to post about adding your expectations re: outings from the house to your rules/expectations list. our nanny has worked for my old coworker who got mad one time that she took the kids out. i personally encourage her to take ebin out on walks. people feel differently about having someone else OUT with their kids. (i think you obviously want your nanny to take the kids to the library, etc.) i would outline your expectations about what you dont' think constitutes an appropriate outing.
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#48 of 49 Old 07-25-2008, 07:23 PM
 
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Sorry I mis-understood that she did indeed have her own library card. Still a very strange situation. I think you are a lot better off without her. It is just plain weird.

Tricia, married to DH. 2MC's & 4 yrs ttc...finally mom to Andrew6/06 and Benjamin 10/09. Adopted bro & sis 2002. My 2 fav. words: Spay and Neuter! I'm an Ultimate Viewer, 2010!

 

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#49 of 49 Old 07-25-2008, 11:29 PM
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wow - i am so floored this is a 50 year old we are talking about! i would have guessed 17, maybe 18.
whoa! I missed that....
If she was 50 yo, nothing you mentioned could be excused.

Having a nanny is a delicate balance. Ds had one for the first 18-20 mo of his life. It's a juggle, and i sometimes felt like there were boundaries that had be be uncomfortably defined, but ultimately ds LOVED her and she LOVED ds, and well... you can't find that in everyone.

Our nanny also ate alot, and had a high metabolism (esp for someone in mid-life!), but I felt that if she was working for us then I couldn't expect her to bring her own foods when our frig and shelves were well stocked. We had one conversation of "when there are 2 steaks in the frig, please don't eat 1 b/c they are for dinner" and she kind of got an idea of what was ok and what was not after that. I also made a point of buying things I thought she would like, and letting her know they were for her.

GL on finding a replacement! and lots of hugs! Worrying about childcare is just not ok in functioning well as a WOH/WAHM.
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