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advice please... nanny keeps giving unhealthy food to my children...

(78 Posts)
LadyLotty Thu 28-Feb-13 00:49:52

I need some advice I think so any helpful thoughts are appreciated..

Our part time nanny looks after our 2 toddlers 2 full days a week and usually I ask her to take them to play groups and children friendly venues in the morning. I always cook and provide a healthy packed lunch for the children. The deal has always been that the nanny provides her own lunch (she is fussy what she likes to eat).

The problem is our nanny always brings less healthy things such as sweets and sausages to "share" with my children and my little ones end up eating none of my cooked food. This is becoming a regular thing. To the extent that I get brought back everything I pack.

I am a great cook and my children have always been easy feeders until recent months.. Now they demand sausages and crisps and sweets.

Have already suggested not sharing food with the nanny but she insists. I also have told her not to buy food for the children but today despite my specific instruction she bought chips for them. Said its out of her own pocket as a treat for the children. I really don't want her to treat my children, I actually feel quite offended and undermined. Or am I just being unreasonable? I would really like to keep tight control over my children's diet and treat them myself once in a while. Instead of worrying about their regular diet. Last week she fed my children peanuts and one of my child is allergic to it!! Aaargh!

Any advice?
I dony want to fire her as the children do like her loads - probably mainly as she always gives in to the

LadyLotty Thu 28-Feb-13 00:54:39

PS regarding the peanut incident - just to point out that nanny has been with us for almost a year now. She is aware that my children have various allergies (special fotmula milk etc). However since the deal have always been that I make and provide my children's food I doubt she put much thought into what exactly my children are allergic to...

KatieMiddleton Thu 28-Feb-13 01:10:45

Wtf?! No that would not be acceptable. You have asked her to stick to the kids diet and she isn't. Her job is to follow reasonable requests and instructions.

You need to sit down and tell her that she is only to feed the children the provided food and Xxx and Yyy is permissible when out but on no account Aaa or Bbbb or Cccc should be fed to them.

Ordinarily I would not be so prescriptive because you need to be able to trust your nanny's judgement and a few rules and guidelines are usually sufficient but it sounds like you've tried that.

I would be seriously thinking about a new nanny after the peanut incident.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 28-Feb-13 01:19:40

Last week she fed my children peanuts and one of my child is allergic to it!

W. T. A. F.

Your nanny flat out refuses to stick to your rules around food, even though those rules aren't making her life any harder, and then she fed them nuts despite a nut allergy.

Get rid. I honestly thought this would be one of those hilarious "my nanny fed my children home made chicken and lentil stew with no organic chicken " threads, but no. That's ridiculous.

Mogandme Thu 28-Feb-13 07:32:28

I would speak to her again and give her a written warning.

Your nanny is ignoring your wishes and this is putting your children at risk. My boss is laid back about food much more so than me.

However my charge is NOT my child so I have to be mindful of snacks etc. while my boss wouldn't mind juice and biscuits my charge has milk or fruit. With the occasional treat Costa, home made cake etc. When we go out for dinner I try to buy something healthy but there have been a few times. we've gone to pizza hut (not as junky as McD's and more of a meal)

nannynick Thu 28-Feb-13 08:40:19

Are there any cultural factors involved, such as your nanny for some reason having to share food they eat, or why they could not eat food you provide?

It is tricky, your children eat well and healthly now but over time things will change. A child I know ate really well age 2 but by age 5 was a lot less keen on veg. It becomes frustrating at times when you know they ate something a few months back an now flatly refuse to have it anywhere near them, yet alone in their mouth.

You have told your nanny not to do something yet they continue to do it. They have given a child peanuts knowing the chid is allergic. Very dangerous and you must clamp down on it.

MGMidget Thu 28-Feb-13 09:40:41

She put your child in serious danger but feeding an allergic child peanuts deliberately when she already knew about the allergy. I am not sure that a warning would be enough for me. How badly allergic is your child? Do they carry an epipen? If so this was a very serious incident. At the very least a written warning but potentially gross misconduct.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 28-Feb-13 10:10:13

Your nanny is flatly ignoring your wishes regards food - let alone putting your child in danger giving peanuts shock

I have looked after children with a nut allergy and can be fatal sad we had to carry an epi own with us - just in case

Tell her bluntly to not give any of her food to your children or she will be given a warning - 2 warnings and she is dismissed

If your nanny wants to eat junk good then needs to do it when your children are asleep

She should be sitting down and eating the same as your dc to show a good example

seeker Thu 28-Feb-13 10:16:42

You should explain very clearly what you want. Possibly write it down? And say stick to it or you will have to find someone else.

But also. Maybe lighten up a little? It is only 2 days a week. The peanut thing is a real worry, however - how bad was the reaction? Might that have shocked her into doing what you ask?

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 28-Feb-13 11:10:42

Maybe your children are fed up of packed lunches and sandwiches

Why do you do packed lunches and always having lunch out of the house? Though I do think some meals eaten out are good so children get to try different tastes etc

Can she not take them to the playground then come home for lunch - maybe sitting at home round a table may encourage better eating habits

And can all eat salmon pie / casserole / lasagne etc

Does your nanny eat anything normal apart from sweets chips and sausages

Could you do sausages mash and veg at home?

ZuleikaD Thu 28-Feb-13 11:25:34

She fed your peanut-allergic child peanuts. Give notice.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 28-Feb-13 13:08:25

I'm confused about the peanut incident.

On the one hand you say 'just to point out that nanny has been with us for almost a year now. She is aware that my children have various allergies' which would indicate she knowingly fed an allergic child a peanut. Then you say 'however since the deal have always been that I make and provide my children's food I doubt she put much thought into what exactly my children are allergic to'.

Does she know he/she is allergic to nuts or not? It's not really up to her to guess what the children are allergic to based on what you give them. Have you said 'he is allergic to nuts, he must not eat nuts'?

The rest of it I'm on the fence about. She should do what you say, they're your children, she is your employee, you are her boss. On the other hand, she gave them a bit of sausage not arsenic. Maybe lighten up on the food front a bit?

BettyandDon Thu 28-Feb-13 13:17:20

All I would add that I think it's a slippery slope with food. Once children have access to treats and junk often they can IME grow to expect it and hold off till they get it. Then you're in trouble!

I would give another warning and state just how important it is to you and that you would consider ending her job if it can't be managed.

It's not good for her not to eat with the kids or at least eat healthily with them if not the exact same items.

forevergreek Thu 28-Feb-13 16:54:17

I'm confused. Is she a nanny in your house, or a childminder at hers?

lechatnoir Thu 28-Feb-13 19:06:55

Aside from the shock peanut incident which warrants a formal warning IMO I'm confused why your nanny can't make a healthy lunch for her & your DC to share - she's got 5 other days plus before & after work to eat crap surely she can manage 2 meals a week? Is she actually an au pair as I know lack of cooking skill is a common problem? I'd really feel a nanny isn't up to the job if she can't come up with 2 healthy meals a week whether home cooked or packed lunch.

MajaBiene Thu 28-Feb-13 19:12:30

If your child is allergic (anaphylactic?) to peanuts and your nanny gave that child peanuts, then that is gross misconduct and I think you need to sack her immediately.

So you have given a verbal warning regarding the food - I think you at least need to give a formal written warning to feed the children only what you have prepared and not to share any food.

If it happens again, final warning. Then find someone else.

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 28-Feb-13 20:44:52

Only if she knows the child is allergic to peanuts Maja. 'Not being psychic' isn't gross misconduct.

MajaBiene Thu 28-Feb-13 21:10:25

If a parent leaves an allergic child with anyone without informing that person about the allergy, I would call that unbelievably negligent!

OutragedFromLeeds Thu 28-Feb-13 21:49:56

I would call anyone deliberately feeding peanuts to a severely allergic child (or adult) attempted murder!!

I think from the tone of the OP though that the child's allergy is quite mild, perhaps why the OP didn't specifically mention it/the nanny didn't realise.

LadyLotty Thu 28-Feb-13 23:53:07

Gosh thank you so much all for your helpful thoughts and comments!

yes when the peanut incident occurred I was v disturbed and shaken. I seriously considered changing nanny. I spoke to her about the seriousness at the time, in the nicest possible way. But she said she saw me give it to my children before. Needless to say this is totally untrue. My children have been tested for allergy so its completely red alert for me at all times. I have also specifically told our nanny this, as well as written it on paper and stuck it on the kitchen fridge as daily reminder - along with `keep sweets to minimum, no chocolates` etc for the initial 6 months that she worked for us. As said, since i prepare childrens food (nanny can't multi task) I guess she didn't really take in the instruction s. I don't think she did it deliberately. It was just thoughtless. My children dont carry any medication on a daily basis.

Anyway. I was v concerned and thought about changing nannies. But it is so difficult in london trying to find a decent nanny whom my children can rreally bond with. We really come to rely and love her. I saw how my children love her and are so used to spending time with her. I told myself to look at the bigger picture and let it go.

I should point out that our nanny is a part time nanny - she is only with us 3 full days a week. For those days that she is at our house, and whilst she looks after the children she cannot cook or do any other duties other than just playing with them (no multi tasking there), so I do the cooking, laundry, toy clearing up etc etc.

I don't give packed lunch in the form of sandwiches ever.... I give freshly prepared hot food in a thermal flask each time - beef stew with mixed root veg, or fruity chicken and veg curry with rice, or pasta bake with tuna and veg, or oven baked tomato and basil salmon with couscous etc. You get the idea - varied, balanced, fresh food that my children would usually devour. As well as finger bits on the side and fresh fruits for self feeding.

I don't really want to bring cultural difference into the discussion, so let's just say individuals have different preferences regarding food and she really likes the types of food i want my children to avoid (fried, processed, high in sugar and salt etc). I do see her point of view that if she is eating something different and the children want some, it is difficult to refuse them (though not impossible). On the other hand I have tried offering my food and making extra for her, she just doesn't want any of it. I cannot advise her on what to eat of course. I cant tell her not to eat sweets, biscuits either.

MajaBiene Thu 28-Feb-13 23:58:47

You need to formalise your requests and start a disciplinary procedure I think. Either that or let it go and accept she will give your children whatever.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 01-Mar-13 00:01:10

i should point out that our nanny is a part time nanny - she is only with us 3 full days a week. For those days that she is at our house, and whilst she looks after the children she cannot cook or do any other duties other than just playing with them (no multi tasking there), so I do the cooking, laundry, toy clearing up etc ete

Don't employ a dog but bark yourself

Ie if you Employ a nanny then make sure she can do the basic duties that a nanny should be quite capable of attending to

I'm also assuming from your comment

I don't really want to bring cultural difference into the discussion, so let's just say individuals have different preferences regarding food and she really likes the types of food i want my children to avoid (fried, processed, high in sugar and salt etc).

That your nanny isn't of British origin?

In the end you need to weigh up the fact you say your kids adore her (whose wouldn't if fed with chips and sweets) wink against the fact she gives food you don't like - compared to the hassle of finding a new nanny who will do as you ask and actually behave like a professional nanny and also cook and tidy up after them

No brainer to me

annh Fri 01-Mar-13 00:08:07

Your children love this nanny at least partly because she is giving them sweets, chips and chocolate. It is not difficult for children to love a new nanny who is fun and will play with them so please don't hold on to this one because you think you don't have a choice. It is also shocking that your nanny cannot multi-task and is therefore incapable of both looking after your children and preparing some lunch. I think it is crazy that you are preparing all this food, presumably as well as working. A nanny is supposed to make your life easier, not leave you wondering what is going on while your back is turned! What was the interview procedure for the nanny? Did you realise when you interviewed her that she could not/would not cook, clear toys, do laundry? This is not normal!

annh Fri 01-Mar-13 00:11:02

I think Blondes and I are saying the same thing! grin I had a horrible thought about the packed lunch thing while wondering why your children are eating out every day? Is this lunch in thermos flasks actually lunch that your children eat at home which you have prepared in advance because your nanny can't even heat up food???

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 01-Mar-13 00:14:14

I think if you made it absolutely clear about the peanut allergy then you need to think about finding a new nanny. That's really not acceptable.

There are loads of good nannies in London, many of whom are looking for work.

steppemum Fri 01-Mar-13 00:24:47

I agree with all the other posters, but would add that it is perfectly reasonable to say in my house with my kids NO sweets, NO crisps. At All.

It is your house. If you want your kids not to be fed those things that is your choice, they are your children.

Also when out with kids, no chips, Macdonalds etc etc. (for her as well as kids)

She is welcome to make lunch for herself from your fridge or bring her own, but she has to not eat sweets and crisps in front of your kids. She is unable to set any limits over this, so there has to be a zero deal.

Pretty much all the kids I know will eat crisps in preference to beef stew. But if no crisps are offered and only beef stew, they would then be delighted to eat the stew. It is totally undermining to sit there and eat crisps.

Suziesweets Fri 01-Mar-13 00:28:16

Hi, by giving your child any nut product is the equivalent to offering your child a cup of bleach

If your nanny doesn't understand that, WHY ARE YOU even thinking of letting this person care for your child??????

Ease for you and risk your child's life??!!!!

Ditch her NOW!!!!!

Graciescotland Fri 01-Mar-13 00:46:14

I've been here. It is incredibly annoying when the toddler who normally wolfs down veg won't eat meals because the nanny is constantly feeding him junk food. I decided to get rid and find someone who's viewpoint matched my own or was willing to work within my guidelines.

The lack of willingness to do anything else whilst with the children is ridiculous, my 2.6 year old helped me with the laundry by passing me stuff up to hang, helped wash veggies for tea then once I'd peeled/ chopped them put them in a pot, unloaded dishwasher etc. Children don't need to be "played with" all the time; they should be kept involved with age appropriate tasks for the small amount of time it takes to do laundry, cook or tidy up toys.

rockinhippy Fri 01-Mar-13 00:52:28

Get rid, she is lazy & seemingly unwilling & unable to do the actual job you are paying her for & risks harming your kids - & this is just in the ways you can see, I would also be wondering what else she is not doing properlyhmm

Time for a new nanny

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 01:31:18

Op I am struggling with this. You can't find a nanny in London? Seriously? Are you not paying market rate or something?

The person you have now is not a nanny. At least not in the sense of being someone you would trust to do the role. She's not doing most of the job. The peanut incident I was giving the benefit of the doubt over until I read her response. She hasn't taken any responsibility!

I would be giving notice after such a shitty response to such a serious incident.

AmberLeaf Fri 01-Mar-13 01:40:03

Is she a qualified nanny?

aufaniae Fri 01-Mar-13 02:51:14

Yes, the response to the peanut incident is telling. If I had given peanuts to a child who had an allergy when I was a CM I would have been mortified and full of apologies if subsequently told they had an allergy. (Giving her the benefit of the doubt there - possibly underserved though! - that she didn't know already!)

That she tried to fob you off shows that she doesn't take it seriously nor respect your opinion. There is nothing to stop it happening again - you need to check labels carefully to avoid exposure to nuts. She is not doing this, is she?

Have a look at I should say, don't know what it's like for nannies, but we've found two absolutely fantastic CMs through that site, and I know nannies advertise there too.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 01-Mar-13 03:25:38

annh I think we are smile

Op - there are tons of good nannies in London - could almost understand if you lives in middle of nowhere

So should easily find one

Can I ask what you are paying your nanny?

seeker Fri 01-Mar-13 06:11:24

"I don't really want to bring cultural difference into the discussion, so let's just say individuals have different preferences regarding food and she really likes the types of food i want my children to avoid (fried, processed, high in sugar and salt etc).

That your nanny isn't of British origin?"

This strongly suggests to me that the nanny is of British origin and the OP isn't!

Callthemidlife Fri 01-Mar-13 06:21:30

i can't tell her what to eat

Yes you can. She is being grossly negligent. She is undermining you.

Here's the written warning; give it to her, stick by it and prepare to dismiss her. If it were me she'd be gone already, but that's your choice. If you can't face giving this to her then you will need to accept that you will continue to be walked over.

Nanny, this is to notify you in writing that your behaviours with regard to feeding the children are totally unacceptable to e and need to change immediately. You have received clear instructions with regard to food, which you have repeatedly ignored. I attach again these guidelines. Any feeding of food outside of these guidelines may lead to instant dismissal on the grounds of gross negligence.

As you seem unable to resist giving the children titbits of your own food, I will require you to agree to eat at a different time to the children and whilst they are otherwise distracted. I will require you to sign a written declaration daily that you have kept strictly to my guidelines.

I m saddened to have come to this the but it is vital that you realise that these children are to be minded according to my clear instructions and that any deviation will not be tolerated.

Callthemidlife Fri 01-Mar-13 06:25:39

FWIW, next time add this clause to the contract. (It's in the contract I use)

Crisps, fizzy drinks, sweets and chocolate are considered party/holiday food and are not part of the children's daily diet. As such you will be required to avoid eating such food yourself in the presence of the children.

nannynick Fri 01-Mar-13 06:30:46

Same nanny you were going to give notice to during her probation period (May2012)?

ZuleikaD Fri 01-Mar-13 06:35:48

She's not a nanny. She doesn't do normal nanny duties (such as cooking for the children etc), she doesn't follow your instructions and she can't remember to not give them peanuts. Are you paying below market rate?

Finallygotaroundtoit Fri 01-Mar-13 06:49:27

As an employee she should follow your instructions.

However you seem very tightly wound up about controlling exactly what food your dcs have. Perhaps she thinks you need to lighten up a bit.

Re the allergy - your child doesn't need an epipen and presumably came to no harm. Are you worried about an allergy that doesn't actually exist?

Is the nanny trying to bring more 'normality' to attitudes to food? Even so that's not her job.

annh Fri 01-Mar-13 10:00:33

Finallygotaroundtoit, regardless of whether the OP is over-controlling on food or not (and I don't think she is - she said occasional treats are fine but not a daily diet of junk) it is not up to the nanny to decide that she is going to disregard clear food instructions. Surely, if a CM had fed a mindee peanuts having been told verbally and in writing that s/he was allergic, that would be grounds for a complaint to OFSTED? Why should a nanny get away with it?

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 11:13:40

FFS hmm why do some people on MN always have to pick apart the op's story? This is MN not Columbo.

It wouldn't matter if the op has self diagnosed some bollocks allergy or not. The fact is the "nanny" was told to follow a diet and it isn't her place to disregard it.

If the "nanny" had been told to give the child things to eat that are potentially dangerous or even just likely to cause long term health issues then it might be appropriate to refuse or even to contact the authorities but this is so far removed from the scenario painted above.

With regard to warnings, you cannot just give a written warning without some sort of disciplinary process. You can give notice without any reason depending on length of service (one or two years depending on start date). You can also put in writing your instructions again in a memo but that should just be factual and not personal. A written message as per callthemidlife's suggestion is just likely to cause upset and is possibly unlawful. Op you should also be very careful about expressing any judgements about her behaviour being "cultural" because that is straying into the realms of race discrimination as per the current legislation and race and personal preferences do not affect a person's ability to follow reasonable instructions. It would be different if you were asking a kosher nanny to prepare shellfish or similar where some greater consideration as to what is reasonable needs to be given, but it seems from what the op has posted that there's no religious food issues here.

BobbiFleckmann Fri 01-Mar-13 11:21:49

the nanny hasn't been with her a year yet, she can shred the disciplinary procedure and simply dismiss. Which is what I'd do before she gets employment protection since she has such a careless attitude to a really fundamental instruction by the parents.

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 11:24:52

Yes I said that although it was buried in some other stuff and maybe wasn't clear.

I'd also probably go for that option if less than 1 year service but the op seems very casual about actually doing anything other than having a moan.

nannynick Fri 01-Mar-13 11:51:27

OP does not want to change nannies. This is possibly the second time that the OP has written about issues to do with this nanny and if it is the same nanny the she decided to give the initial issue more time to be fixed and presumably it was, as this is a different issue.

Sure the nanny can be told not to do something but what the nanny then does when their employer is not around is another matter. So is it a trust issue? Can the nanny be trusted?

The cultural difference may or may not be relevant. Up to the OP to decide if it is relevant to this particular issue or not. The match between nanny and parents needs to be a good one, does then nanny have the same views about things as the parents? Will they override the wishes of the parents when the parents are not round?

Unless the nanny will do as their boss says, this issue can not be resolved in my view. The nanny needs to accept that her boss is in charge.

kalidanger Fri 01-Mar-13 12:08:45

But it is so difficult in london trying to find a decent nanny

I don't even have DCs but this can't possibly be right?! It's London - surely it's packed full of nannies looking for jobs?? It's packed full of everyone else looking for jobs hmm

Callthemidlife Fri 01-Mar-13 12:08:53

KM - disregarding dietary instructions in toddlers known to be allergic would be grounds for dismissal for gross misconduct, and as such going straight to a final written warning without disciplinary first is perfectly legal. As a CIPD professional I thought you would have known that.

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 12:22:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 12:26:48

Argh! iPhone gone crazy, froze and posted too soon. Will try again... I'm missing a bit about warnings and disciplinary proceedings!

Fillybuster Fri 01-Mar-13 12:33:30

OP, it looks like the responses are pretty consistent. Why do you want someone who you can't trust, who doesn't listen to you or respect you, who undermines and ignores everything you say and who puts your dcs at risk (wittingly or otherwise) to look after your dcs ?? I just don't understand.

FWIW, I live in London, have 3 dcs, and have never had a problem finding childcare.

Yes, its a pain in the backside sorting out a new nanny.

But imagine this...

Your new nanny is capable and listens to you. She is able to multi-task (as I would expect any childcare person to do) and can cook or at least warm up healthy meals for your children at home. She thinks up interesting and creative activities for their time at home so that they are not solely dependant on playgroups. You come home to a spotless house every evening. You discover a massive weight of constant worry has been lifted from your shoulders...

Just to finish, I would have no respect for anyone who kept their nanny in light of your OP. On that basis, I suspect your current nanny doesn't, either....

Fillybuster Fri 01-Mar-13 12:37:24

PS My 20 year old aupair (with no previous childcare experience) manages to cook a fresh dinner most evenings for my dcs, whilst also looking after 7yo ds, 5yo dd and 2.5yo dd2, helping with homework, supervising play etc.....the house is tidy and the children are fed, bathed and often even in bed when I come home. If a 19 year old can manage this, surely your 'nanny' can cope with making some fresh lunch and tidying up some toys?

KatieMiddleton Fri 01-Mar-13 12:47:34

Are you perhaps thinking about summary dismissal callthemidlife? In those cases you can dismiss without a disciinary process but there are some significant risks associated with this and it is extremely difficult to do this if you have not specifically detailed what summary dismissal is in the contract or associated policies. It would be a foolish person who would give a written warning without disciplinary proceedings because that is likely to be in breach of the employee's contract and can possibly give grounds to dispute if the dismissal was fair or not (depending on various circumstances). Or maybe you are thinking about if an employer can go straight to written warning without a verbal first? That's also fine but again, a disciplinary process should be followed to avoid future problems. You may want to have a little read here if it was summary dismissal you were thinking about and also for some information about the potential problems of failing to follow a process:

I'm sorry but I have no idea who you are so I don't know what you do/don't know so apologies if I'm telling you what you already know.

I wasn't posting to give specific employment advice so i haven't actually mentioned my background. I'm flattered you looked me up. But you are not quite right, I am an HR professional (I don't work for CIPD) and as such in my working life I am primarily concerned with avoiding problems and doing things in such a way as to avoid giving grounds for any action by a disgruntled employee/former employee. I'm on maternity leave at the moment as it happens. Just in case you want to update your spreadsheet.

As this is not my thread and I have a poorly baby to look after I'm going to duck out now.

LadyLotty Fri 01-Mar-13 22:35:29

..hmm certainly making me rethink now as to whether to keep employing my nanny, food for thought...!

I know what you mean Blondeshavemorefun - I really dont want to cook, clean, tidy up etc etc whilst employing someone, plus then worry about whether my children eat properly after all my hard effort!

And annh you're right - i go to great lengths preparing balanced meals that my children would otherwise eat at home, becuase with 2 children on her hand my nanny will not heat up food/clean after the mess of eating etc. Because I work from home in my own office, if the children is at home too then i'll be roped into feeding, playing, clearing away mess... Please dont get me wrong - I love my children and wish to devote my time to them, but I need to get my work done too. I already take on quite a bit of the 'nanny assisting' roles , I just can't afford to spend more time 'assisting' further.

At the interview stage - and we went through over a hundred CVs, a lot of candidate interviews - we concentrated on nannies that our children took instant likings to. Our nanny demonstrated that she is able to cook and clear up after herself etc (did trial days etc), but to be honest over time efforts just got cut back. I'm not sure whether other mothers of multiple young children would agree with me here - and this is especially the case with finding part time nannies with experience handling 2 or more young children - the general pool of candidates in london in our experience is just very very mediocre. So I resigned myself to finding someone whom my kids adore and I make up for the shortcomings. I really do like my nanny on a personal level very much and appreciate her work, I just wish she is (much!) more thoughtful and careful.

Anyway. I had a chat with my nanny today - in the nicest possible way, that I would like to see serious cutting back of treats (chocolates, sweets, chips, crisps, biscuits) and no more sharing of food. Said its so that my children can get used to my cooking and and eating healthily. She neither agreed nor disagreed......... (deep sigh)

LadyLotty Fri 01-Mar-13 22:58:16

Thanks all - yes I sense the (overwhelming) suggestion here to consider get rid. I'm going to have to put some serious thought into that, as well as how to go about doing it the correct way...

Thanks for the tip re., I also searched long and hard on that site...

p.s. Just to clarify and not that it is going to change the discussion much - but I accept some background info is helpful - i am british but nanny isn't; it really is not a cultural issue; I pay £10 net per hour (the going rate in London); the nut allergy was diagnosed and confirmed by a paediatric allergy specialist from Cromwell hospital along with other allergies (diary, white fish etc) after blood tests.

MajaBiene Fri 01-Mar-13 23:35:49

Why on earth are you having nice chats about what you would like??

It seems you are totally failing as a manager I am afraid, which is why your nanny is not doing her job/following your requests.

LadyLotty Sat 02-Mar-13 00:07:35

hi MajaBiene - because it will have negative repercussions on my children if I am blunt/firmer. But also as I think Nannynick is quite right - underlying problem is that my nanny doesn't take instructions, it's more of a trust issue, so it's not quite a matter of spelling out specifics to her.

... am calling nanny agencies next week

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 02-Mar-13 00:24:43

Bluntly your nanny isn't doing her job properly as she is disobeying your orders

Have you asked her to cook tidy up / do nursery duties - if not then tell her - they are standard duties for nannies

You are exhausting yourself by trying to do it all and working

Though you may work at home you need to make it clear to your children you are working - so dont interfere come out when should be working - gives nanny and children mixed signals

Maybe this is why your nanny goes out all day / for meals

Sit down and make clear you expect

1) home cooked healthy meals
2) general nursery duties
3) nanny not to give 'her' food

Or find a new nanny or carrying on 'woofing' wink

mathanxiety Sat 02-Mar-13 04:27:21

Glad you are going to start looking for someone else. When I nannied (for one baby from 2 months to age 2) I was responsible for all the baby's and the father's laundry and occasionally the mum's, taking care of the dog's needs including administering meds to it plus all cleanup associated with the dog (hair indoors and poo outdoors), keeping a curious and increasingly mobile baby and energetic dog from getting on each other's nerves, pureeing and freezing fruits, veggies and meats, and choosing the baby's food daily with good balance of various vitamins and minerals in mind and as time went on paying attention to texture and helping baby negotiate self feeding, as well as prep and proper refrigeration of bottles, initially handling expressed breastmilk properly, all feeding and bathing of baby, management of play, activities away from home and napping, cleaning up after baby and myself, indicating when we were running low on essential baby supplies, leaving the house neat as a pin by 5 pm every day (this could include cleaning the stovetop and running and emptying the dishwasher, clearing snow, hosing down the high chair and periodically sanitising the toys and board books). I also filled in a detailed journal of daily activities, naptimes, poo events... That was standard nanny job description for the area I worked in (though many families didn't make their own baby food and most didn't expect a nanny to handle frozen breastmilk).

What you need is someone who is basically You while you have to work. Not necessarily someone your kids adore but someone you know will get the job done. And you need to not feel apologetic about this enterprise and try to make it up to your children out of guilt. And you also need to stop yourself from apologising to a potential nanny for having her work - you need to be the boss here and assert yourself. No need to be abrasive or bossy, but you need to be clear about your expectations.

If you need to work for whatever reason then you need to work and the next best thing you can provide for your children is a nanny who knows how to get the job done as you would do it if a day had 45 hours. If you were a sahm you would have to get all the daily household stuff done while the DCs played or watched a DVD or however you chose to manage them. A nanny should be no different.

mathanxiety Sat 02-Mar-13 04:35:17

because it will have negative repercussions on my children if I am blunt/firmer.

This sort of problem should absolutely never come up. You should never employ or continue to employ someone who would take out any sort of frustrations on your children.

ZuleikaD Sat 02-Mar-13 06:19:46

I think it's nice that you want your children to take to a new nanny immediately, but tbh I don't think that should be your number one factor. Someone you can trust to look after them properly and in the way you want, as well as doing a proper job (I can't believe that for £10 NET this creature can't do a bit of laundry!!) is more important.

NannyGR Sat 02-Mar-13 09:06:37

I used to look after 4 children all 5 and under, 2 were at school but with two toddlers during the day and 4 after school I still managed to get all the childrens washing done, a cooked meal on the table every night and the house was tidy at the end of the day! Your nannys having a laugh! £10 an hour to not do anything!! I think you could find someone much better suited out there, good luck!

annh Sat 02-Mar-13 09:50:06

OP, in the nicest possible way, you do not have "multiple young children" (which sounds like a small army of ankle-biters!), you have 2 toddlers! Although you say you have had difficulties recruiting, I am still really struggling to see that in Central London and paying a good salary you cannot find someone better for this role. However, you can't just recruit a new nanny and get rid of this one without following correct process so as a first step, I would follow up your chat with the nanny with a letter to give to her next week, reiterating in writing that you do not wish her to buy "treats" for the children, share her own lunch or feed them anything which she does not find in your house. You also need to tackle the whole business of being unable to cook lunch for the children which is frankly ridiculous. What happens when the nanny is not there - YOU cook, do laundry and manage keep your children safe and occupied! It's not rocket science!

Tau Sat 02-Mar-13 11:04:06

Ehm... If she knew about the allergy I would fire her immediately over the peanut incident. If she thinks it is okay to feed an allergic child peanuts, she is putting the child's life at risk.

MajaBiene Sat 02-Mar-13 12:00:09

So £10 net for 3 days a week - I am guessing you are paying her around £375 gross a week? Maybe £400 if she has another part time job? So £19k-£20k a year for a part time job. You realise that is getting on for what nurses and newly qualified primary school teachers earn, and all this nanny has to do is mind 2 kids!

Tau Sat 02-Mar-13 13:06:56

Oh... for that payment I'd LOVE her job! grin
Pity that London is too far for me.... but I shouldn't think you'll have trouble finding a more sensible Nanny if you pay her £375 to look after 2 toddlers for 3 days a week.

Can I work for you My job comes to an end in a few months and I could do with a nice easy one to keep me busy Monday's to Wednesday's, wouldn't even mind the commute to London ;)

Seriously though, I agree with the others and am glad to hear that you're looking at agencies next week. Your nanny sounds dangerous to me actually. I look after children with multiple allergies and gut reactions (so not as 'serious' as an allergy but still will cause pain/discomfort/vomiting/diarrhoea for the child!) two days a week and wondered if your child/ren had the same as it seemed that way.

WRT my job: I know exactly what each of the three children can and cannot eat, what is an allergy and what is a gut reaction. How serious those reactions are and what I can do to help is they accidentally consume something. I cook meals I fancy cooking for them based on that knowledge and due to alternative treatments the kids will also have things not allowed for 24 hours so will adapt to that as well. This is because that is what my employer wants, and therefore I do it. Just like a nanny should do!

There are nannies out there that would be brilliant for you, an agency might be the way forward.

mathanxiety Sun 03-Mar-13 19:25:09

As a wohm you need to get yourself into the mindset that what you do for money is your work. You are still the mum, and everyone knows that and appreciates you for that, but you need to close that door of yours firmly behind you when you start work in the morning and stay there until you have got what you need to get done accomplished, leaving a nanny to get on with his or her own work too. If you will be seeing the DCs at some point during the day that should be scheduled and not ad libbed.

Because I work from home in my own office, if the children is at home too then i'll be roped into feeding, playing, clearing away mess... Please dont get me wrong - I love my children and wish to devote my time to them, but I need to get my work done too.
This obviously has to stop. Loving your children doesn't mean doing someone else's job with them. You are being their mother while you provide for them and for their futures. You are devoting your time to them. You need to see yourself more clearly as a loving mother and not be guilty about the time element, learn to draw a line around yourself while you work.

When you are searching for the next nanny, I recommend you seek someone who has solid experience with a family like yours where there is a parent working at home. It isn't the same dynamic as a situation where the nanny is alone with the children all day. You need to ask detailed questions of the references when you check them. You don't want someone who is not really comfortable with a parent somewhere in the background.

KristinaM Sun 03-Mar-13 20:04:33

Ive no experience of nannies but would like to comment on the food allergies.

You say your child/ren have multiple food allergies /intolerances eg peanuts, white fish, dairy. In that case I think you should prepare a detailed list of all the foods your children are not allowed to have , give a copy to the nanny and stick one up on your wall. You can't expect her to be aware of all the foods that could contain these things

I'm amazed that you have allowed her to give the children Any food at all without such guidance

annh Sun 03-Mar-13 22:09:30

KristinaM, the OP has spoken to the nanny, written the details of the allergies down and stuck a copy on the fridge. What more should she do to get the nanny to understand the seriousness of the situation?

MajaBiene Sun 03-Mar-13 22:09:47

Kristina - regarding allergies the OP said:

I have also specifically told our nanny this, as well as written it on paper and stuck it on the kitchen fridge as daily reminder

I think the nanny should definitely be aware given this guidance, and only give the children food that their mother prepared if that was her request.

KristinaM Sun 03-Mar-13 23:10:27

I apologise,I totally missed that bit

LadyLotty Mon 04-Mar-13 00:09:37

Hi blondeshavemorefun - lol "woofing" smile I should just put a padlock on my office door! I don't have a lock at the moment and my children opens the door when they get bored and are at home and the nanny then gets them out again (some times). So I arrange outings for the nanny to take the children to, to make things easier for everyone.

Mathanxiety - gosh such a good point re to look for a nanny with similar childcare arrangement experience as mine. Because the dynamics is, as you say, different to a sole charge.I know some nannies wouldn't be comfortable with a mum being at home, though i think our current nanny is a bit too comfortable and reliant..

Hey confusedpixie thanks for your post and if I am still struggling in a few months time I know who to call ;)

... Wish me luck with finding a good nanny (fingers and toes and everything else in between all crossed)...

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 04-Mar-13 00:42:06

Another one saying you need a new nanny! Or actually, you need a nanny, not the incompetent half arsed baby sitter you have!

Don't go for the one your children take a shine to, be steered by what you need first. It's not like letting your children pick a toy, or even a friend, she has a job to do and you need someone competent to do it.

Btw, a good nanny shouldn't have a problem keeping your dc away from your office door, I am at home alot in a small flat & my wonderful nanny has learnt how to head off dc before it gets to a opening my door moment.

Obviously she needs to be able to cook healthy meals, respect your choices and rules, and generally be a help not a hinderance! She needs to listen and respond positively to your needs, and I'm shocked by the way she seems to have you over a barrel on everything!

I think when life is stressful and you're only just managing, it can seem better to cling on to what you know rather than make changes for the better. But change is just what you need in this case I'm afraid!

mathanxiety Mon 04-Mar-13 01:46:43

my children opens the door when they get bored and are at home and the nanny then gets them out again (some times). So I arrange outings for the nanny to take the children to, to make things easier for everyone.

My mind is boggling.
The DCs get bored? The nanny sometimes gets them out of your office? You have to arrange things for the nanny to do with the children? This nanny is taking the piss.

annh Mon 04-Mar-13 09:02:28

OP, I'm still not sure you quite grasp the situation you have landed in. You don't need luck to find a good nanny, you need to have a proper job description and clear expectations of her role, then interview carefully and ask specific questions of her referees - I think your current experience will have given you a good idea of the ones to ask smile. There can be an element of luck sometimes in finding somebody good if e.g. you are very rural, but in central London and paying a good salary, luck really doesn't come into it!

Equally important however, is getting rid of the current nanny legally. If the current situation has been going on for months, you cannot suddenly decide that it is unacceptable and sack the nanny. If you have allowed her not to cook, clean, have let the children interrupt you at work, have been forced to create outings to get them out of the house etc etc you can't turn around and fire her without giving her a chance to change all those things. You will have to follow proper process. The issue of feeding them food they are allergic to might have been an opportunity to take stronger action but that issue has been and gone now and been "dealt" with, I don't know if you can revisit it and take stronger measures. Do you use a payroll bureau to mange payment to the nanny? Perhaps they could advise?

nannynick Mon 04-Mar-13 09:36:15

You should not arrange outings, that's the nannies job to do. I think you are near the museums, so if children get bored nanny could walk them to see something... Sure they will have been before, but children do not tire of going to the same place multiple times, least not when young.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 04-Mar-13 15:16:06

yes get a padlock grin and be firm with children, say mummy is working, go and find nanny and shut the door, or dont even open it, have a lock put in at the top of door inside your study

keep doing this and they will leave you alone, but you need to be consistent - at the moment the nanny and children get mixed signals

ZuleikaD Mon 04-Mar-13 15:41:43

When DH is working from home he just locks the door - the children are used to it now and don't even try to get in.

LadyLotty Tue 05-Mar-13 22:44:27

Yes you guys are right. I can do this. (deep breath!!)

Thanks to all of you for such support, helpful advice and encouragement, as well as making me see the situation - in clear day light!

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