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New nanny - unreasonable?

(74 Posts)
Mamafoof Mon 09-Sep-13 12:07:26

I really need some perspective here as each little thing that is happening with new nanny is starting to snowball and I am worried I am becoming resentful and unreasonable!

I'll start off by saying nanny started 3 weeks ago. She is very fun and likeable, Seems like a genuinely nice person. She had a difficult start in life but seems to have pulled through. My kids are 4 and 2.

She worked one week with us which was ok but not great. The place was an absolute mess on first day but after I mentioned to her the issue, the place is tidy when I return – not perfect but fine. She seems to lack common sense though. Dishes piled up dry on the kitchen counter – she doesn't think to put them away. Tiny bit of leftover pasta in a massive bowl which doesn't fit in fridge so she leaves it out and I have to deal when I come home. Open yoghurt pots in fridge – not cling filmed. She doesn't label kids' drinks so they end up drinking each others' which isn't ideal.

She texted in sick for whole following week with 45 mins notice. She was ill – bad case of food poisoning so we had to deal with the inconvenience (and we paid her half pay – as we felt bad to just give her statutory but she had only worked with us for one week). Then when we were expecting her to come again on Monday, she texted again on Sunday to say she couldn't come in as she was ill again. Apparently, the food poisoning wasn't treated properly. So she missed a further three days.

Generally, she is not responsive to texts, emails and calls unless she is requesting something. I find this very annoying as I really do value quick responses. She is getting better but it's still not great.

She also requested holiday, which I then had to request at my work and then she told me, she got dates wrong so I need to cancel and reapply with my work. I get the feeling she is not very organised, just by the questions she asks. She runs out of the door telling me 'she thinks the keys are in the bag but not sure'. She doesn't give me great de-briefs of the day and tries to remember times of feeding, naps, despite me asking her to write stuff down.

Then today, she was 2.5 hours late. The trains were terrible (I checked) but she waited 1.5 hours on the platform before deciding to take a bus so she could have been a lot earlier. It worries me that she lacks common sense. She has also asked for 10 days unpaid so she can study – this is over and above all her holidays. I feel like I am fitting my life around her at the moment and we wanted to get a nanny to make our lives easier.

Am I being too picky? I need to raise this with her but the common sense point, is something I think will be hard to change? I don't want to overwhelm her but am getting v frustrated with all of this.

CaptainSweatPants Mon 09-Sep-13 12:12:14

I'd get rid
She sounds a nightmare

runningonwillpower Mon 09-Sep-13 12:15:42

So, in the course of three weeks, she has had six days' sick leave and has negotiated 15 days' holiday/unpaid leave?

How can you organise your work around this?

cathpip Mon 09-Sep-13 12:18:46

Yep, I'd get rid as well, she is supposed to be making your life easier and she is just creating more work...

Mintyy Mon 09-Sep-13 12:19:22

I think you are never going to get on. You sound quite demanding (tbh!) but I am sure you could find a nanny who would suit you better.

culturemulcher Mon 09-Sep-13 12:23:58

I'd worry much less about the yoghurt pots, labeling drinks (which are v. small issues) than about her time keeping and organisation skills.

Did you negotiate a trial / probation period with her when you took her on? If so, I think it's time for a formal 'let's see how this is working out' chat. Outline your concerns clearly and give her clear steps as to what she needs to do to ensure that she's kept on after her probation. Then, if things don't improve you can let her go in the knowledge that you gave her fair warning and a chance to put things right.

AMI88 Mon 09-Sep-13 12:43:53

Please don't judge all nannies by her standards, I was a nanny for a family for 2 years, I never once was late or called in sick!! It is worth having a really frank discussion about what you expect and what she is willing to do, although as she is paid to look after your children she should really do things your way so to speak.

Lack of common sense can't be fixed, she seems like she is not very bothered working, I would let her go!

I'm based in London and know a lot of nannies, if you are in same area and need some names/good agencies, let me know!

Mamafoof Mon 09-Sep-13 13:02:20

Thanks for your comments. I worry though that she is having a really bad bout of bad luck in the first few weeks. But I agree it's cheeky to ask for unpaid leave this early but i did know she had study commitments so should i have expected this? I think she was genuinely ill and the trains were late. I was more annoyed she didn't give me more notice (she was v sick on sat and she told me on MOn am) and she could have got a bus on Monday. Here refs said she was rarely sick and always punctual. She really needs the job to fund her study plus she looks after sibling. Plus we have specific hour requirements which suited her study pattern so not sure we will find someone quickly.

Mamafoof Mon 09-Sep-13 13:12:34

Mintyy - out of interest, can i ask what in particular makes me sounds quite demanding? I am inclined to agree with you but was wondering which bits were unreasonable so i know not to focus so much on those things. Thanks!

Theresadogonyourballs Mon 09-Sep-13 13:17:33

I'm afraid I'd get rid, and I speak as a nanny! I've worked for four kind, understanding and reasonable families. Not one of them would have put up with this sort of nonsense, I would have been out. I don't think you'll have much trouble finding someone else, there are more nannies than jobs at the moment, and even the really experienced ones are having to accept part time/funny hours. She'll drive you mad in the end. If you really want to give her the benefit of the doubt however, I'd give her a written list of the issues you're unhappy with, and a set timeframe for her to buck her ideas up, (and I know she can't help being ill, but she certainly can help not keeping you properly informed). Best of luck!

Mamafoof Mon 09-Sep-13 13:20:43

ok, thank you! Yes, we will sit her down and chat things through. Her probation runs out soon but may ask to extend it as she's only worked 7 days in the month!

WeAreEternal Mon 09-Sep-13 13:22:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 09-Sep-13 14:18:09

I'm not sure.

The sickness, if true, can't be helped, but she should have been much better at keeping you informed.

The lateness is unacceptable, but as a one-off it does happen.

Booking holiday and requesting unpaid leave is fine, she's giving you as much notice as possible by doing it straight away which is what she should. You're free to turn that request down if you wish.

The rest of it just sounds like needless picking tbh. You do sound hard work.

Dishes piled up dry on the kitchen counter – she doesn't think to put them away - she doesn't think or she doesn't have time?

Tiny bit of leftover pasta in a massive bowl which doesn't fit in fridge so she leaves it out - really?

Open yoghurt pots in fridge – not cling filmed - and?

She doesn't label kids' drinks so they end up drinking each others' - does one of them have the plague?! I have never, ever been asked to do this by any parent ever.

Generally, she is not responsive to texts, emails and calls - what do you mean not responsive? At all or within 10 minutes of receiving it?

She runs out of the door telling me 'she thinks the keys are in the bag but not sure' - why is she running out? Are you home late?

tries to remember times of feeding, naps, despite me asking her to write stuff down. - are they 2 and 4 months old? If they're 2 and 4 years old surely an approx. time is fine? Why do you need to know exact feeding times? Again I've never been asked to do this for a child over the age of 1.

AMI88 Mon 09-Sep-13 14:37:26

I think you're being a little harsh Outraged, I don't think it's out of order for a parent to ask times of sleeps and naps, even if the child is a little older, they are the parent, they have a right to ask about their child's day.

With regards to how nanny leaves the kitchen, they may sound like little things, but again, when you are in someone's house they have the right to ask for things to run a particular way, you don't want to come home from work and have to tidy up!

As previous posts have said these should be easily fixed with a frank conversation, but I don't think it is at all out of order to expect certain jobs done how parents want them done!

OutragedFromLeeds Mon 09-Sep-13 14:46:45

AMI the OP asked 'out of interest, can i ask what in particular makes me sounds quite demanding?'.

Those things all added together sound demanding to me. It's just my opinion.

AMI88 Mon 09-Sep-13 14:58:00

No I understand, and it's definitely interesting to see what others think, when I was a nanny I got asked to do quite a lot, so this mom sounded easy to me in comparison!

MissStrawberry Mon 09-Sep-13 15:04:50

She doesn't seem to be bothered about giving a good impression.

I was a nanny and always eager to please and do the right thing, especially as I knew I wouldn't have a job if mum/dad didn't have theirs. and without each other we couldn't do our jobs.

Mamafoof Mon 09-Sep-13 15:32:16

Outraged - thanks for feedback. May possibly be OTT but i never had one issue with my previous nanny who did all the above - basically, she was really on top of everything and organised so i expect that from the next one. And no, I'm never late home. She is generally quite a flustered person. Often saying 'I'm so confused - haha!" which doesn't inspire confidence. As for texts, sometimes she doesn't respond and when i ask her if she received it she just says yes, oh sorry. Not very professional.

IMO, I think she has had a run of bad luck and I feel bad for her. But I do feel a general unease at her common sense and general chaotic demeanor. So if this continues, then maybe she's not for us.

NomDeClavier Mon 09-Sep-13 15:47:55

As a nanny she should be working with the parents. If the parent wants drinks labelled and a log kept then that's what should be done. If that's not something nanny is happy with nanny is within their rights not to take the job. Because nannying us such a flexible arrangement there's room for all sorts, and one nanny's demanding is another's perfectly reasonable minor adjustment.

Sickness: okay, terrible luck, she had a good record so just be vigilant in future.

Lateness: this is bad luck compounded by a lack of common sense. There's no real way to mitigate it.

Unpaid holiday: why can't she use her paid holiday for this? Was it discussed at interview that she needed these days? What was your position then? On the other hand it's unpaid so although you have to source an alternative you're not paying double.

Tidiness/food hygiene: none of those are deadly sins assuming you're in the UK not in the tropics. If tidiness is important to you then you need another nanny. I don't think it's something which naturally improves more than it does after the first reminder and usually results in an uncomfortable nanny. Uncovered yoghurt is not the end of the world unless you've got a fridge full of Petri dishes.

Upshot is if you're happy the children are safe and thriving in her care, and you can reign in your standards a little (not that they're necessarily unreasonably high but higher than mine, say) then keep her. If this is just going to make you more stressed or you feel the children are genuinely going to be put at risk (and sharing drinks and uncovered yogurts isn't really what I mean) then get rid.

If you do keep her then definitely extend the probation to get an accurate reflection.

sameoldIggi Mon 09-Sep-13 15:55:47

I have no experience of nannies but I would not want to leave my small children in the care of someone with this catalogue of silly behaviour. How much sense would she display in an emergency?

Mamafoof Mon 09-Sep-13 16:27:08

thanks Nom. All good points. Thanks Same. I guess that's my issue - not wholly comfortable with the albeit 'small' stuff - but i do wonder if she would have sense in an emergency. I guess i need to give her a chance.
she has used her paid leave by booking those dates too. i agree at least we're not paying but that does leave a lot of time when she is not working and we need to find alternative solutions. i do feel like we are running around for her at the moment but hope it's a phase and she'll settle down.

Ebb Mon 09-Sep-13 16:52:01

I don't think you're being too demanding but then I can't bear things put in the fridge or left on the side without cling film. A nanny is supposed to make your life easier. I wouldn't agree to the unpaid time off as it means you have to sort out cover. One of the reasons for a nanny is continuity. As she's only been with you 3 weeks, I would get rid. In the first few weeks of a new job, most nannies bend over backwards to make you feel like you've made the right choice.

If you're feeling generous though, I would sit her down and go through the issues with her and make it clear what you expect. I'd definitely extend her probation period too.

Wickedgirl Mon 09-Sep-13 19:50:15

As a nanny I would say get rid of her. You need someone that you can rely on in any circumstances and it doesn't sound like you have that at all.

Laquitar Mon 09-Sep-13 20:46:03

You don't sound demanding to me.

- Food, dishes etc you could write down few things and she must read and follow the list.

- Feeding times etc she must keep a diary.

- 2.5 hours late is too long! If she has no alternative routes i would be get rid off her pronto for that reason alone. If there are other commute options for the days when trains are very late then she must find them out and make sure she uses them next time. Is cab very expensive?

Give her a second chance if you wish but do make clear to her that she has to improve.

Laquitar Mon 09-Sep-13 20:49:33

Is she very young? She doesn't seem to understand professionalism. Or, perhaps from another country ?

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