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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.

ZeroTolerance Mon 09-Sep-13 20:55:43

I think she's lying to you about the food poisoning. Food poisoning doesn't get "treated" - it gets expelled from your body over approximately a 24hr period and leaves you feeling rough and weak for another day or possibly two. It doesn't go into a second week and definitely doesn't come back because it wasn't "treated"! hmm

Ruggles Mon 09-Sep-13 20:58:37

Hello! You don't sound too demanding to me either. In fact, I don't really get the judge-y sort of implications of 'too demanding'. It's how you want your house to run with your DCs and it sounds quite normal to me and your nanny should be happy to fit in with your way of running your house! I think you have been unlucky with your nanny as there are lots of great ones out there. Good luck.

Hiphopopotamus Mon 09-Sep-13 21:06:12

yoghurt pots in the fridge covered with clingfilm? Is this a thing that people do?
(I'm not being snotty - I'm genuinely wondering - because it's not something that I ever would have though of blush

Mintyy Mon 09-Sep-13 21:06:13

Food poisoning such as salmonella can take weeks or months to resolve.

AMI88 Tue 10-Sep-13 07:51:54

Part of a nannies role is to do light housework, this obviously differs from family to family, but I am shocked that people have called you demanding on here! When I was a nanny I was asked to do an awful lot more and my children didn't even sleep!

Talk to her about her absences and lateness, but please don't think of yourself as demanding or picky, I really don't think you sound that way at all!

Helpyourself Tue 10-Sep-13 08:07:58

I'd forget about the housekeeping and concentrate on the flakiness- illness, lateness, unpaid leave requests, wrong dates for holidays and not sure whether she's got the keys would be enough to to get rid.
She sounds exhausting and not someone I'd be comfortable leaving children with.

elah11 Tue 10-Sep-13 08:22:05

I think she sounds disorganised and unprofessional tbh and not up to the job.

whois Tue 10-Sep-13 08:37:56

I think she's lying to you about the food poisoning. Food poisoning doesn't get "treated" - it gets expelled from your body over approximately a 24hr period

That is not correct.

valiumredhead Tue 10-Sep-13 09:03:14

That is not correct, in fact it's utter rubbish. Food poisoning can be very serious and can hang around for ages, or come back even when you think it's gone.

OP-if I knew I was going to be even 20 mins late I would ring my employer to let them know.

Wrt not answering texts-always ring her so she had to answer.

Food-not sure, depends how high your standards are, she's either really lax or you're super fussy, can't really tell from this.

I think more than anything is the fact you don't have faith in her to cope in an emergency. I think that should be the number one thing when employing a nanny and everything else can be negotiated.

Is she on probation still? See how it goes for another couple of weeks then review?

TwoStepsBeyond Tue 10-Sep-13 09:44:15

She sounds like a bit of a nightmare to me. I don't know how the notice thing works with nannies, but I'd be looking at finding someone new - its not your responsibility to look after her and her sibling, its hers and she hasn't shown great commitment to this job so far.

However, I think it sounds a bit controlling to specify which bowl things were in and how they should have cling film on etc. If dishes have been washed and left to dry then saying they could also have been put away is a bit petty, she is a nanny not a cleaner, so I would prefer she spend the time playing with my DCs rather than tidying the kitchen.

Ok things should be relatively tidy, but picking on those things makes you sound a bit obsessive. (Not judging as I am the same, but the problem is, DP doesn't help me as much as he could for fear of getting it 'wrong' so if you are employing help, you need to allow them to get on with things).

DCs drinking each other's drinks really isn't a big deal as long as they don't mind. You could make things easier by getting them their own drinks bottles if it really bothers you.

Do you have a little book to use as a diary, rather than just asking her to write things down, if you have a specific place you can use it to communicate, leave her notes and she can fill it in throughout the day.

But tbh, does it really matter what time feeding/naps happen? If you're not a parent it must seem very odd that anyone should care exactly what was eaten and when, it would seem sensible that if a child is hungry you feed them, especially at an age where they can tell you that themselves.

Mamafoof Tue 10-Sep-13 13:40:49

thanks for all the responses. I went home last night, thinking perhaps I was being too picky and so I haven't mentioned the little things. I said I wanted to extend probation as she had only worked 8 days in the month (one of which she was 2.5 hours late). She is from abroad but speaks excellent English and so there aren't really any cultural differences. As for diary, I had to print out some sheet asking her to give brief details of the day. I don't think this is OTT as my kids are still young and I would like to know what they ate and how much. Plus naps dictate roughly what time I put them to bed so the info is useful.

This morning, she asked me if we can just do v brief handover as she has to rush off to stufy. I was taken aback a bit as I come home 15 mins early anyway. Plus I like to have a quick chat as to how things have gone on, especially as I feel disconnected as I don't do school drop offs and pick ups. I think I will try to be quick when I ask her stuff but it's not enough to just look at the sheet, as she is so vague.

I haven't really raised the late morning thing. I don't want to seem like a witch, if it was the trains' fault. As for how I would feel if there is an emergency, I don't feel that comfortable yet, which is worrying me.

Mamafoof Tue 10-Sep-13 13:40:56

thanks for all the responses. I went home last night, thinking perhaps I was being too picky and so I haven't mentioned the little things. I said I wanted to extend probation as she had only worked 8 days in the month (one of which she was 2.5 hours late). She is from abroad but speaks excellent English and so there aren't really any cultural differences. As for diary, I had to print out some sheet asking her to give brief details of the day. I don't think this is OTT as my kids are still young and I would like to know what they ate and how much. Plus naps dictate roughly what time I put them to bed so the info is useful.

This morning, she asked me if we can just do v brief handover as she has to rush off to stufy. I was taken aback a bit as I come home 15 mins early anyway. Plus I like to have a quick chat as to how things have gone on, especially as I feel disconnected as I don't do school drop offs and pick ups. I think I will try to be quick when I ask her stuff but it's not enough to just look at the sheet, as she is so vague.

I haven't really raised the late morning thing. I don't want to seem like a witch, if it was the trains' fault. As for how I would feel if there is an emergency, I don't feel that comfortable yet, which is worrying me.

valiumredhead Tue 10-Sep-13 13:43:24

A quick ten min handover is perfectly normal as is keeping a diary. I've always done both in all my jobs.

Mamafoof Tue 10-Sep-13 13:43:28

Helpyourself - she is exhausting. I dread getting a text from her (unless I have asked her something) in case she asks for leave, tells me she is sick. It's only been a few weeks!

And thanks to those of you who think I'm not being too demanding (as well as those of you who do - good to get a perspective on things)!

valiumredhead Tue 10-Sep-13 13:48:05

I think this early on she should be on best behaviour. If you are dressing phone calls already I think your answer is to find someone else. Do you actually like her?

valiumredhead Tue 10-Sep-13 13:48:15

Dreading

Mamafoof Tue 10-Sep-13 13:56:07

I like her - she seems genuinely nice. Just a little flaky. Basically, sometimes I feel I have hired a really fun playmate for my kids. Oh, just can't bear the thought of finding another. Especially, if I'm overreacting - hence this thread.....

valiumredhead Tue 10-Sep-13 14:03:08

It's good you like her and she seems nice. Is she is probation atm?

MissStrawberry Tue 10-Sep-13 14:10:12

If your child was taken badly ill or had a serious accident are you 100% sure she would know what to do and be able to do it?

I used to be a nanny and this just is not how a professional nanny works. Nannying is so different from many other jobs. It isn't just about a means to an end, a way to pay the bills. You get close to the children, maybe become genuine friends with the parents, and hopefully feel like you want to make things as easy and drama free as possible for everyone.

To me, she sounds like it is an inconvenience to make notes, do a handover and doesn't understand what you miss when at work and want to know that Johnny ate more than usual or tried a new food, etc.

valiumredhead Tue 10-Sep-13 14:13:09

I agree miss strawberry, part of a nanny's job is to fill the parents in and let them know what you have been doing. Also making things easy by being organised.

Is she experienced?

Mamafoof Tue 10-Sep-13 14:15:18

ok thanks. She worked for three years with another family - but older children and think she just got on with stuff as parents worked really late. I think I am prbably quite different to previous mum but perhaps because my kids are younger.

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.

I don't understand this? If big pots don't they come with a plastic lid, and if little pots what are you doing scraping together half eaten yoghurt. I don't understand the bit about labelling drinks really. If that stuff is really important to you then I think you definitely need a different nanny. She doesn't sound organised enough for you.

The rest of it, if you're not that bothered about dry plates being in the wrong place etc. She may have had a nightmare first couple of weeks. It does happen. So I'd give her longer but not too long to see whether theses were just a run of one-offs.

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.

I don't understand this? If big pots don't they come with a plastic lid, and if little pots what are you doing scraping together half eaten yoghurt. I don't understand the bit about labelling drinks really. If that stuff is really important to you then I think you definitely need a different nanny. She doesn't sound organised enough for you.

The rest of it, if you're not that bothered about dry plates being in the wrong place etc. She may have had a nightmare first couple of weeks. It does happen. So I'd give her longer but not too long to see whether theses were just a run of one-offs.

NomDeClavier Tue 10-Sep-13 14:43:29

If you want a log and you want a handover, and you've come home early to facilitate that, then she should definitely be respecting your wishes there. That is by no means demanding.

I think what would irk me is not so much her housekeeping competence, which is what stuck out for me at first but it seems you're getting a handle on that but her general attitude to it all. It doesn't matter to her if she's sick/late/needs extra holiday to her, and that means she's putting her needs way ahead of yours. Not that I'm am suggesting a nanny's needs should always be subservient to those of the family she works for but work sometimes needs to have a higher place in the pecking order than it seems to here. A professional nanny respects the trust placed in them by the family and appreciates what their role is. A professional nanny may be sick or unavoidably late but communicates that and will usually do their best to ensure their employers don't experience too much disruption.

Add that to the flakiness and I can see why you might have concerns around general safety, security and communication. It's a pretty fundamental attitude problem.

Mamafoof Tue 10-Sep-13 21:21:33

So I got home today. Pasta from lunch in the pan on the hob (with cling flm on it). So I had to clear it all up and put it in fridge. Then I walked past sink and brushed past a dish balancing on top of a pile, which smashed on floor. I don't think I would bother with this so much usually - but it's a snowball of irritation now. I fear I may have gone past a point of no return as fr as resentment goes. Oh dear

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