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AIBU in not wanting to deal with this(40 Posts)
I can't believe I am writing this here.. Bear with me, this is going to be long. We both gave up work to look after dc who both have disabilities. We have been looking after them for about a year when we decided to hire a SN nanny 10 weeks ago to look after DS1(ASD) and DS2(CP) so we can get a break from therapy and go back to being parents rather than therapists
Her duties were to include normal nanny duties, look after both dc and to carry out physiotherapy for DS2 who has mild CP and global developmental delay. She gets weekly training by a physiotherapist and our Applied Behaviour Analysis consultant, both paid for by us. The job is daily 7AM - 7PM Monday to Thursday to make sure she has enough time to recover at the weekend. We made it clear to her at the interview stage that we need her to be very flexible as we have a very unorthodox arrangement as both parents are at home. She was happy with that, but here comes the problem or rather a number of them.
She has shown herself to be incredibly rigid, she needs the same routine everyday otherwise she falls apart. We can't ask her to do anything different in the day as she starts to panic. Every time we talk to her about it, she starts crying saying how overwhelming it is for her to remember everything.
Now to put the above quote in context, she was initially contracted out to look after both DC and cook for them, clean after them, their laundry and transport them to school/therapy centres etc as well as therapy for ds2.
As it turned out, she is only looking after ds2 and is only responsible for his physio/ABA, feeding him, looking after him all day and taking him on social outings. She is not looking after DS1 at all (Ds1 is fed by us and he is on an ABA program for 7.5 hours a day out of the house so she is not involved with him), not cooking for DC or their laundry either because we wanted her to focus on ds2. She is only doing about 40% of her contracted duties and even that is me being generous. Surely this is not too overwhelming for a nanny, especially one who knows what she was letting her in for as it was made very clear in the job description and at the interview.
Another thing is that we have been prepared from very early on his life that ds2 might have ASD. We have made plans, put therapies in place to make sure that if he does, then he has the best support available. The nanny has grown really attached to ds2 and revealed that she would be devastated if he were to have ASD. If he was diagnosed, then I have enough on my plate already. I will have to deal with the fallout from the dx myself, support my wife and make sure both dcs are supported. Call me selfish, but I really don't want to have to support the nanny as well.
For the reasons above, I am thinking of letting her go as it has not really worked out to the plan, we are still having to do the same amount of work with no rest so whats the point. Please give me your honest opinions, AIBU in thinking about this or am I being too hasty.
I don't want to drip feed but I realise that this is already a very long post so please ask me anything you think might be relevant and I will try to answer as best as I can. Oh and the nanny knows how we feel about her rigidity and we have also had talks with her about being too emotionally attached as it was affecting the way she was interacting with him.
Thanks everyone. We have had a chat today where I have made it very clear about what our expectations are. She is hardworking and capable, but she has listened and going to make a conscious effort to adapt. we are going to have a review meeting in a month and made it very clear that she is here to alleviate stress for us and it that is not the case, then we will part ways.
I am going to ask to delete some of my posts on here as they are very identifiable so there will be some missing posts on here.
Thank you very much everyone. You have been a great help. I wonder how we ever managed without MN.
I'm not an expert on this and it seems like a very complicated situation that you are all trying to manage but I am wondering about your pints about rigidity/changes to routine.
I wonder if your nanny is finding it hard having you around for parts of every day and possibly with no set pattern which is making it difficult for her to plan her time with your dc2 and to feel like she has control of it.
from your timetable it seems like a fairly standard nanny job, with the exercises and extra considerations that need to be taken into account, but I think my nanny could manage that but still be a bit more autonomous.
for example, I almost always work on a wed morning and dd and nanny go to a group together that nanny found (and I never bother when I am off). I rarely work on a Tuesday but the nanny has had her 2 weeks now and arrived and said "oh, its sunny, I thought we might go onto the bus to town/ go visit dd grandad in care home and take a picnic" and she comes up with something. if I wanted to be present for some of the time i'd have a chat and fit it around her thoughts. it might help her to be more flexible if she can drive it more?
I know you have a routine with ds1 and it would be harder to fit this in but maybe it would be worth considering?
I'm afraid I don't have a lot of practical advice, but I wanted to say that if your nanny is adding stress to your life, rather than alleviating it, that's a perfectly valid reason for making a change. We had many problems with our nanny - even without any SN issues - and we allowed it to drag on for many months. I eventually "let her go" and although it was a real hassle, our new nanny has been simply wonderful. A friend told me that in 6 months' time I would look back and wonder why we'd waited so long. She was right!
Also - you shouldn't feel at all apologetic about paying for the support you need. If you can afford 10 members of staff, it's your prerogative to have them. We live in the US and all of my family are back in the UK (I am British). We have a part-time nanny who also cooks, and a weekly cleaner. If we have more children (we currently have two) we would consider a live-in nanny. It really does take a village - it's just that some of us have to pay for ours!
Whether 7-7 is a long day or not it sounds like a very full timetable for a 20 month old!
I look after a soon to be 2yo and we are not out every morning and afternoon. If I were you I'd relax the timetable a little so she can get to grips with including his physio and sleep/mealtimes routine and then gradually build up extra activities from there, 1-2 playgroups plus maybe 1-2 other outside activities either morning or afternoon is more than enough for a 4 day week, so maybe be out mon morning then at home mon afternoon and tues morning then out tues afternoon and weds morning then at home weds afternoon and so on and remind her that playing with his own toys at home is as important as being out socialising and exploring and also being at home doesn't always need a specific activity such as playdoh etc.
7-7 is standard for live in but if live out then maybe the early starts are proving more tiring than she expected? I'm now live out and have to get up at 6am every day to get to work on time for 7.30 and it took me about 3 months for my body clock to adjust so that I wasn't feeling tired and emotional all the time.
Thank you all. You have been very very helpful. It really helps to see it all written down. I really can't fault her in her commitment to work. She is extremely hard working, eager to please and genuinely loves the children. Its just the stubbornness/rigidity sometimes gets in the way and undermines all her hard work. As we employed her through an agency, we have some time before our refund guarantee runs out. We are going to have a talk and give her couple of weeks to settle. I really want to give this a go because if this works that means I can go back to work. If it doesn't work out, then we will part ways but we would have tried everything.
Blondes If this doesn't work and we can't find another suitable candidate, we have backup. We will employ ds2's old maternity nurse who is still available to do the general nanny duties, cooking etc and I will revert to carry out therapy duties for ds2.
if moving the sleep till after lunch would affect the nanny so much then she really is in the wrong job - regardless of your ds's having sn
Children's routines are always changing as they get older esp sleep patterns
And you saying you would keep your cook /hk over your nanny says it all
Maybe you need to accept respite care that's available to you rather then try to cope by handling it yourself ie employing a nanny
I still think it is avery long day for the nanny. Even if she prefers it like that it may not be the best plan.
I can't see that the work involved is too onerous in itself it just seems like a long work day with a child who seems to have a busy scedule.
Does your nanny live in?
If she just has to reheat the food can't she hurry up the feeding and bathing part of the evening and leave your 'bed ready' DS for you to put to bed later. It may be possible for her to then finish work an hour earlier.
I know she has breaks during the day but they are not the same as not working, it's not relaxing if you know you might have to go back to work at anytime.
It sounds like you and your wife have a lot on your hands. I hope you find a solution to make all of your lives easier.
Sympathies here, I wish it wasn't so hard for either of us.
I think keep trying to find the right person. You will find a gem eventually.
Thanks ariane5, rundontwalk Thank you for your kind words. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it must be to deal with 4 NT Dc let alone with SN. I am in awe of you. Yes we do get DLA and direct payments for dc1, I have applied for dc2 as well. We chose not to apply for respite as we think we are well covered in that area with the support we have.
Nannynick The cook is not physio/ABA material, otherwise that option sounds very appealing as both dc adore him.
You won't get anyone on here calling you spoilt,at least I certainly hope not. Ariane beat me to it-have you looked into direct payments/fair access to short breaks/dla? Really hope you can get this sorted.
Does DS2 like the cook? Thinking outside of the box a bit... I wonder if you could train up the cook to do the physio and ABA. Then recruit a nanny to do general playtime, kids cooking, laundry etc.
I really really sympathise with the situation you are in. I think you were probably expecting the nanny to alleviate a lot of stress for your family and make things easier but it seems to be making things more complicated.
7-7 is a long day. Maybe it is all too overwhelming for her. On the plus side it sounds like she really cares deeply for your dc2 which is lovely.
Do your dcs get DLA? I have 4 disabled dcs and it is hard hard work and exhausting. We recently found out we qualified for direct payments which can be used for agency carers from ss. Could this be something you could apply for? Your dcs need to get middle or higher care part of dla to qualify. It is worth looking into. We were desperate and on the verge of dh giving up work.
I really hope you resolve the situation.
Schobe we are pretty tired after dealing with ds1 so the idea was that we could bring in somebody who is fresh and able to carry out the therapy without any emotional baggage that goes with is he ASD/isn't he ASD? But I can see now it probably not going to work. You have just described pour situation pretty eloquently much better ton I ever could have. Thanks.
Thanks Schobe, that makes a lot of sense.
I've been thinking about this one as I guess I understand a bit from the perspective of having one DS doing aba albeit with a sibling who is NT (but older). So nowhere near your set up but I do know how draining and disruptive the aba part of it and dealing with the child with ASD can be.
I can only talk about our household, but bringing in a nanny would be very difficult I think. It's basically just quite a distressing scenario and an understanding of normal nannying and a special school would probably give you, ooh, about 20% of an insight into 24-7 with severe ASD.
So perhaps all the goings-on surrounding your DS1 are affecting her and how stressful she is finding everything. She may be 'just' dealing with DS2 but it is against the back-drop of DS1. Perhaps this is reflected in her comments about the chances of DS2 having ASD.
So it's a difficult job but, having thought about it while reading your thread, my gut feeling is that she is just not up to it. Maybe you were asking too much at the start, but I just feel you need someone calmer, more realistic/experienced/accepting about life with SN. 10 weeks seems to me plenty to be able to see if she is progressing and settling into the role.
I do realise that we sound very spoilt, but we have no family in the UK so these people are the ones keeping us sane. We have enough to worry about with two dc with SN and we chose to invest our emotional energy in finding the best therapies/support for dc rather than the daily grind so please don't judge us.
The cook is Asian and is not used to the food dc normally eat but it works well for us as he also helps out a lot with the housework. To be honest, I value him more than the nanny, so he won't be going anywhere. He is learning though so he can take over the cooking soon.
blondes thanks for the suggestion. This is the kind of thing that would really upset the nanny as it will mean her routine will change. Time to have a talk I think.
It sounds like sole care of a SN child is too much for her emotionally. Its a very different set up to working in a school with a team.
id let her go.
Blondes Yes you are right, DS1 is looked after by us full time.
DW spends time with ds2 in the morning.
I spend time approx. 30min, sometimes more with ds2 in the afternoon.
We spend probably about 30min together after dinner where all four of us are together after kids dinner and she is getting the bath ready for ds2 and tidying up the toys etc.
She does not spend any time with ds1.
She has a rest when ds2 is having a nap in the morning. During the times we are with ds2 at home, she is free to do whatever she wants.
If the cook doesn't cook and just bungs stuff in the freezer, then you should be looking at getting shot of her/him too.
If you have a cook, why does the nanny do the cooking and why do you cook for DS1? What does the cook do?
crossed posts, can ds2 have lunch then a long nap after lunch as thats roughly normal for his age rather then a short am nap - may make afternoon go quicker/be easier for nanny
so between you and dw you look after ds1 99% of the time as at therapy/at home having lunch between therapy till 5.30pm
does nanny then have dc1 7/8.30am and 5.30/7pm while you and dw spend time with dc2 as you havnt seen him all day?
nanny only has dc2 and he has a nap in the afternoon and ds1 at therapy so she can take a break then, and i mean a proper one, not 5 mins iyswim, providing ds2 sleeps, plus you or dw are at home as well in pm - assume not both of you are at therapy?
but yes she should be able to cope/play/look after dc2 for that time
Let me give you a typical day for her and tell me what you think.
7.00 - 7.30 AM wake up ds2 and start preparing breakfast for ds2.
7.30 - 8.00 AM - Feed breakfast to DS2 only
8.00 - 8.30 AM - Stretches for his legs
8.30 - 10.30AM - Play / social outing / break etc.
10.30 - 11.30AM - Nap time
11.30 - 12.00 - Prepare lunch for DS2 only
12.00 - 12.30PM - feed Lunch to DS2 Only
12.30 - 1.30 PM - Lunch for her/ prepare for outing etc.
1.30 - 4.00 PM - Softplay/swimming/Social group/ play therapy (this is what is planned Mon to Thur)
4.00 - 4.30 PM - Stretches
4.30 - 5.00 PM - prepare dinner
5.00 - 6.00 PM - Feed dinner
6.00 - 7.00 PM Bath and bedtime.
When I say prepare food for lunch and dinner, it is taking out food from the freezer and re heating it.
Blondes This is the bit that upsets me. Every bit of the role is exactly as advertised and described to her in detail at the interview. If anything we have significantly lowered the expectations as we understood that the role was too demanding looking after two dc with SN.
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