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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.
You are expecting too much from one person. You are basically expecting her to do most of what 2 of you were doing.. looking after 2 SN kids, cooking laundry and driving them around thats far too much. She will get emotionally attached to them as she is only human! If she didnt care then that would be more of a worry.
have to agree with orea, you are asking normal duties from a nanny, but not one who is looking after and caring for sn children
ie they need more attention and you acnt leave them to play by selves while say put the washing on/change beds etc
plus they need therapy each day, also time consuming
doing 7-7 is a long day, does it have to be so long as both of you are there, maybe 9-5 would be easier
saying that, she is meant to be a sn nanny and if thats what you need 7-7 then look for a new nanny, one that is happy with what you ask her to do
devastated is a bit of an over reaction imho from the nanny, but does mean she cares and maybe she knows being a sn nanny, plus with you already having a sn child, what it will mean having 2 sn children
Thanks Oreocookiez. I knew that which is why we agreed early on that she will be responsible for looking after ds2 only, she does not look after ds1 and we are not expecting her to either. Her daily duties are carrying out his physio, feeding him, playing with him, taking him to playgroups etc, bathing him and putting him to sleep. That is all, no cooking, no laundry etc.
DS2 (20 month) has SN, but very mild, it is only his right leg that is affected mainly. He is fairly independent, able to sit up/stand up unaided, can crawl around and for the most past fairly neuro typical. The physio we are asking her to do should take no longer than 1 hour a day, the rest of the time is for activities based on play therapy, for eg. Playdough/paint/swimming/playgroups/feeding him etc.. Do you still think that is too much? I will happily accept I am being unreasonable if you think she should feel overwhelmed with that amount of work.
Blondes We already have two dc with SN, ds1 has ASD and ds2 has Cerebral Palsy. We asked for a normal nanny who had experinece of looking after children as their therapy aspects are covered or she would have been trained for it. All of the points you raised were made very clear during the interview process especially the bit about being flexible.
We need 7-7 as ds1 has therapy from 9.30 - 5.30 so the only time he gets with us is first thing in the morning and late in the evening, so we need help during those times.
I know about the emotional attachment thing. I feel like a bastard bringing it up, but it really does affect her as she panics at the slightest sign of ASD behaviour from ds2.
I know it's only a four day week but 7-7 is a very, very long day. Would a five day week with shorter hours work better for her.
It is a very intensive job in sideways and I can imagine it could be a bit stressful. Obviously, she should be perfectly able to cope with it but, in practice, I could see that it may be difficult for some people.
How old is your nanny?
Does she have any other things going on at the moment. Maybe she is tearful because she has recently moved and is homesick? (Or something similar)
I think that 7-7 is too long, can she have some time off during the day if you are both at home?
Doing an hours physio is quite demanding too, if she isn't qualified on top of a full days activites.
If she's not happy, I think best to let her go and when looking for the next one make sure she knows exactly whats involved and how flexible she/he needs to be.
We need 7-7 plus she also wanted to do four days 7-7 as it would allow her more free time.
I don't doubt for a second that she has a very stressful job, Hence we dropped so much of her daily duties to make it easier. She is 29 years old and has worked as a nanny in the past and also at a special school so we thought she might be able to handle the pressure.
I don't think she has other things going on at the moment. She has needed constant reassurance from the start. She has just come back from a holiday.
to be blunt if she is not helping you and your family then get rid of her, but just make sure that your new nanny knows the role
being rigid and not coping with different situations seems to be hard for your nanny, maybe she is worried that she may forget something vital like medication/therapy etc
i still say a 7-7 is long day let alone with sn children - maybe she can have a proper break during the day if both of you are there?
I don't have much experience of sn but can imagine it must be difficult for you all.
I agree that 7am-7pm is too long for one person. Is she live in?
Could she just be nanny for ds2 and then you get a cleaner/housekeeper if you need that as well?
I don't mean to be rude but what are you both doing all day? Are you both working all day from home? She may have thought she could cope with that but it hasn't worked as she thought.
It sounds as though she has bitten off more than she can chew and that your expectations are a bit too high. If the 2 of you struggled, why do you feel it would be easier for her, just because she has 'some' nannying experience? Working in a special needs school does give her the experience I know but not at the same intensity.
If she has nothing to do with DS1 then I'm not really sure why you need her for such long days. If ds2 has very mild SN he could just as easily go to a childminder - some are very experienced and can do an hours physio.
I think you need at least 2 people, one for the child/children and one for the house (if neither of you can take care of the house)
She does have time off during the day. We play with ds2 during the day so we can get to spend some 1-1 time with him as well. This allows her to have breakfast/lunch etc.
do nannies do cooking and laundry or is that more of an au pair?
tbh looking after a 20 month old for 12 hours is pretty strenous even without the physio
but presumably he naps after lunch - what does she do in that time or is that when she has her lunch?
I know I said I wouldn't dripfeed but I did. but I didn't want to come accross as boasting so didn't mention that. I apologise for that. We do have a live in housekeeper who does all the cooking, laundry and cleaning the house.
DW is up all night with ds1 who is a terrible sleeper so she has a break in the morning. I feed ds1 breakfast get him ready and take him to the therapy for the morning sessions which is from 8.45 to 12.30. Then my wife feeds ds1 lunch and takes him to the therapy sessions for the afternoon 1.30 - 5.30. We have to stay there during therapy. In the afternoon, I spend some time with ds2, catch up with paperwork/appointments, look for work as I want to go back to work and prepare tea for ds1 as he is on a special diet. Then we spend some time together as a family, bath and then bed time.
I am very aware that we are very fortunate to have that support and need it to make sure that we are coping well as a family.
Reetpetit She is a nanny just for ds2, she has no housework to dal with.
Blondes She is generally very good at medication/ following rules etc. The rigidity causes a problem if we change something during the day, such as move an appointment from morning to afternoon or to a different day.
Thanks everyone. It is really helping. Maybe we are expecting too much. She is really hard working and we do let her know that. We appreciate that it is a very hard job so we will take a step back, give her time to adjust and see where this goes.
With regards to the 7-7, she chose this position as the hours appealed to her. I will speak to her and see if she wishes to do a shorter day.
Captainsweatpants The cooking and laundry only applied to cooking for dc, not for the family.
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.
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.
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
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
If you have a cook, why does the nanny do the cooking and why do you cook for DS1? What does the cook do?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks Schobe, that makes a lot of sense.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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