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Advice needed - nanny friends/working arrangements (long)

(67 Posts)
bluechik Mon 08-Jul-13 19:06:30

I need some advice. I have just hired a sole charge nanny to look after my two children - DC1 2.8yrs and DC2 16 months. The nanny is working 3 days per week and my partner and I are covering the other days between us. Up until recently one or other of us has been at home full time with the children so this is our first experience of any formal child care, and our first time hiring a nanny. We have had our nanny for 3 weeks so far and we are all adjusting to the different world of both of us working full time and having someone else looking after the DC.

When we interviewed our nanny she made a point of checking whether or not we minded her seeing other nanny friends while looking after our children. We said that this was fine, but this is where problems are arising for us, as we presumed this would be occasionally but it seems to be practically all the time.

Our nanny seems to be spending the majority of her time with another nanny who works up the road. This nanny also looks after two children. The two seem to plan their days together; they go to the same groups in the morning, have lunch together with all the children and then spend the afternoon together in the majority of cases. On two occasions we have come home to find them all in our house - last week, my partner came home at 5.45 to find the two nannies doing dinner in the kitchen. Dinner is usually round 5 and our nanny normally finishes at 6 so the day had obviously run late. The other nanny's mindee was sitting in DC2's high chair and DC2 was sitting on a corner of the table being fed by our nanny. DC1 was outside. The children were all being fed the same dinner which had been prepared in our kitchen. Today I came home a bit early, at 5.30 and saw a strange woman come up to our door with an empty buggy. She turned out to be the mother of one of the other nanny's mindees - they had all spent the afternoon at our house in the paddling pool. The mother thanked me for having them all - I didn't want to tell her I had no idea. All the children had eaten lasagne for dinner which once again must have come from our freezer. On another occasion our nanny mentioned that they had all spent the afternoon at her friend's place - she has a flat. It had been the most beautiful day and I knew they had been to an indoor playgroup in the morning so I asked if her friend had any outdoor space - she said only a roof terrace.

I have thought carefully about this. I have no problem with the concept of our nanny having playdates with other nannies and their mindees. I do have a problem with not knowing who is in our house and when; not knowing when our children are spending lots of time in other people's houses; and having the children share food - in particular regularly feeding other mindees in our kitchen, without me knowing. I also worry that if the nannies are always together then the priority is not spending time and focusing on the children, but rather planning time socially as a priority. In addition it seems tough in our first month together to have the children get used to not just a nanny but all her friends as well. It feels like a nanny share by default. I also worry that the days are massively stimulating for the DC with no opportunity for quiet one to one time or activities just planned around them.

Am I being unreasonable/unrealistic about this and if not then how to address with the nanny? In other respects she seems great - friendly, experienced, and I really want this to work.

cansu Mon 08-Jul-13 20:19:06

Well tbh it sounds like your nanny is doing age appropriate things and your dc are socialising and learning to share with other dc. The only thing I can see is that you may wish your dc to have a nap in which case you need to communicate this to your nanny. It sounds as if your major beef is that the nanny is enjoying looking after your dc a bit too much by socialising with her friend at the same time. If you were looking after your dc would you perhaps socialise with other mums, or with a relative? as regards the food that really depends on whether you can afford to feed others or not. If you can't then it would be fair enough to tell your nanny this. in the end it boils down to two things for me - are the dc happy and well cared for? Do you trust your nanny? If the answer to these two questions is yes then for me this would be a non issue.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 08-Jul-13 20:26:27

I wouldn't be happy with feeding lots of other people and having lots of other children round my house without either my knowledge or consent.

If you are sure you want to hold on to this nanny, you have to be Frank and say that you are pleased that she is providing good social activities, but you would like to see more of a mix with other, more focused activities, like the library (or whatever). You could also say that you want to be asked before the other nanny comes over with her charges for dinner.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 08-Jul-13 20:27:09

frank, obviously!

sweetsummerlove Mon 08-Jul-13 20:35:20

Um- she asked in the interview if it was ok to arrange activities with other nannys.
She did not ask if they could visit your home. ..or feed them fro. your kitchen.

I ask each and every time If I want to invite anyone.

Nip this in the bud asap.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 08-Jul-13 20:46:27

Yes you may have fed extra children but sure another day they will go to theirs - so swings and roundabouts with food iyswim

I would object to your dc not being in her high hair if she needed it - but fine for another child to use it of had finished tea iyswim

Nannies do meet up with other nannies and mums and arrange play dates

It is lonely seeing no one and also good for your children to share and play with new toys

Having all at yours can be daunting and it is hard to let go and have strangers in your house - but if your children were happy and well cared for then try and relax

You could suggest a play date in either am or pm and then quiet time / at home the other time

grabaspoon Mon 08-Jul-13 21:01:08

I am a nanny - over the course of the week I may have nanny friends over for 2 out of 10 meals a week and go to nanny friends houses for a further 2 - however some weeks we don't have anyone over.

My bosses trust me with their children and trust that when people come over its for the childrens benefit, and it is - the children make friendships, learn new skills, have more 1on1 attention etc.

Over the course of the week/month meals all work out as the meals we serve to friends are meals that we then eat at their homes so it doesn't mean 1 family get left with a large shopping list and the other children eat for free.

ChippingInGoAndyGo Mon 08-Jul-13 21:01:09

Your nanny has a particular 'style' of nannying, not all nannies are the same - as far as she is concerned she asked you about this before you started, however, it might not be quite what you thought it would be.

Happy kids & a happy nanny are worth their weight in gold - so think carefully about what you want to happen before you talk to her.

Re the highchair - if the other child was a baby it makes sense for that one to go in the highchair and the toddler not to... the same way you would do if you had friends visiting.

I think, that sometimes if nannies are more relaxed/social than you are yourself then it's hard to accept this style of nannying and you might be better to find someone who is more like you in 'style'.

I think it's hard to 'find a balance' if you are polar opposites - and you all have to be happy.

Good luck

bluechik Mon 08-Jul-13 21:06:26

Thanks for the replies. Cansu, it is not correct to say that I have a problem with the nanny enjoying herself too much. I would like to think that she is enjoying the children. It is true that I would socialise while looking after my children, but I wouldn't socialise all day every day. Firstly, I think that would be too much for them. Secondly, tbh my own experience is that while it is always nice to spend time with friends, it is actually quite hard to socialise with another adult and still give the children the same quality and level of attention.

Families and Sweets, yes, I am not comfortable not knowing who is in my house when, or when my children are in someone else's house, and would prefer to be asked each time.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 08-Jul-13 21:33:30

Asking permission each time isn't always possible - ie say a friend calls up and says can we come round/come to ours etc - would you really want your nanny to contact each time and call you at work

If you trust your nanny then trust her judgement in who she sees

Maybe have a coffee morning at yours and work from home that day /go on late and you can meet some of her friends and children

It is hard to let go and not know where your children are

You can have a diary but plans can change

Maybe your nanny can text you so you know where she is going but not need to wait for a reply?

ChippingInGoAndyGo Mon 08-Jul-13 21:43:10

When I read these threads I always think 'You either trust your nanny or you don't'.

What difference does it make if you meet Sarah/Kate/Jane/James or not, you still wont 'know' them?!

What difference does it make if you know that they are at Sarah/Kate/Jane/Jame's house or that they are at yours?!

Knowing something is happening doesn't change what happens when they are there...

What are you trying to achieve by getting your nanny to ask permission?

mikulkin Mon 08-Jul-13 21:51:18

We all are forgetting that this nanny has been with the family for 3 weeks only. I find it a little bit too much to ask OP to trust her nanny fully after 3 weeks to let other children to come to their house any time.
Cansu, it is not about whether OP can afford feeding other children or not, it is about nanny feeding other children without permission.
I would find nanny's behaviour fine if she has been with the family for some time, made OP comfortable about delegating all such decisions to her and actually gradually introduced the other nanny and her mindees to the family.
Blondes, I appreciate asking each time can be difficult to arrange but maybe that is the clue - she shouldn't be arranging this so often at least in the beginning. I'm sure after a while Bluechik will be fine with her doing things without asking but I can understand she is cautious now.

BlackSwan Mon 08-Jul-13 22:02:18

Nannies do this so that they can share the load with others. It's a more communal approach I suppose. It appeals to nannies because the kids entertain eachother and the nannies take turns (get a night off) cooking. Personally I wouldn't like this happening a lot, but a communal meal once a week would be fine. It's different if it's a play date with one other family's kids. When the point is for the nannies to get to hang out (with kids your children don't know well) then it's not quite the same thing to my mind.

bluechik Mon 08-Jul-13 22:02:28

Hi everyone, thanks for all the replies and there is food for thought here. To those asking about the food/highchair, my DS2 is the same age as the other mindee and they were both still having dinner. I have no problem about playdates with other children and agree that it it great for socialisation and sharing/etc. What I am questioning is whether it is appropriate for my nanny to socialise for the majority of the time that she is caring for our DCs. Also, whether it is normal to have an open door policy in our house, without any communication with me, with other nannies/children/parents spending significant time in my house without me knowing? I would like to set some reasonable boundaries but without micro-managing or cramping our nanny's style. We have asked our nanny to keep a brief diary outlining activities etc but she is not managing to fill this in.

With respect to the trust issue, I hope I can trust our nanny, and we did the best we could to find the right person at our interview. However, I think real trust grows over time and we will probably need more than 3 weeks to establish it.

I think/hope the children like our nanny but it is still early days. They are both unsettled at the moment - the younger is very clingy, and the elder has been asking me to stay home instead of going to work sad

2plus1 Mon 08-Jul-13 22:03:10

I can see where you are coming from as this something we are also finding difficult to accept with our nanny. Our nanny always spends time with another nanny. We feel our children are not necessarily getting the same level of care one to one activities would provide. Yes our children can share and have all their lives as multiple birth children do. However more of an issue to us is the time spent out of the house with preschool am then pick up in the car to go and spend time at other nannies house before getting home just in time for bed. The routine has been relayed many times but things slip again. Additionally we have annual passes to things locally ie zoo, beach, farm, parks etc but our nanny wont use it as the other nanny doesn't go there, yet the children enjoy these places. We have also found our car being used to ferry everyone around too which was a step too far for us. I appreciate it can be lonely but I also want my children to come first. Taking them out and having someone else mind them while nanny pops off for 10mins or goes on a ride etc is surely pushing boundaries?

ChippingInGoAndyGo Mon 08-Jul-13 22:23:11

Blue

As an aside, did you ask her about the 'nanny diary' before you employed her? I know for some nannies this would be a 'deal breaker'.

How long has she been a nanny?

How old is she?

Did you personally speak to any of her referees?

It does seem like she has gone from one job to another, keeping her schedule the same, just swapping children.

It doesn't seem like she has really taken any time to get to know your children and to get them to know and trust her (before introducing a lot of new people into their lives)... which I wouldn't like.

This 'style' of nannying wouldn't be the one I would choose if I was a parent, but I think it's horses for courses - for some families this would be perfect, just not for me (and quite probably, in all reality) not for you.

The fact that your children don't seem to be settling with her isn't a good sign - especially the older one.

2plus1 - I would be fine if the nanny was going to the loo, ordering lunch or popping into a shop for something quickly - but not to go on a ride or something like that. Is your nanny very young?

Ihatepeas Mon 08-Jul-13 22:25:41

I'm a nanny and I must say it all sounds very normal to me. I think you need to learn to relax and trust your nanny!

wouldliketobethere Mon 08-Jul-13 22:26:42

I would suggest that you deal with this in the early stages - at the end of the day they are your children so whatever other nannies might do it is up to you if you are happy with it and if not, best to sort it out now. I would have thought a "one month in" review would give you both a chance to chat over any issues. I would say you are not happy with so much socialising with the other nannies and although you said it was fine, you were thinking of no more than 50% (or whatever you think is acceptable) of her time being spent in this way. The children need some time just for themselves and some time to relax with their own things or their own outings and to have a nap etc.

bluechik Mon 08-Jul-13 22:44:00

Chipping, we did not mention the diary because we hadn't thought of it. But we have been on a mutual months' trial and we suggested it at the beginning of the trial period - she doesn't seem to have a problem with the concept but is not finding the time to write in it. We specifically said we didn't want masses of detail but just to know in outline the key events of the day - a few dot points or a paragraph only.

I think you have hit the nail on the head when you say 'it does seem she has gone from one job to another, keeping her schedule the same, just swapping children... and it doesn't seem she has really taken any time to get to know the children and to get them to know and trust her (before introducing a lot of new people into their lives)' - yes! Thank you, that is exactly the worry that is underlying my feelings about all this. That doesn't mean that she isn't a good nanny at the end of the day, but I suppose I was expecting her approach to be tailored more to the children, and what they are like as individuals.

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 08-Jul-13 22:44:15

I wouldn't be happy with this either. First of all, I would expect my nanny to get to know the dc and settle them in according to the dc's own usual routine, before making massive changes - lots of new people, new groups, new timings.

I'm afraid I also wouldn't like the almost shared care with another person I haven't hired/checked and don't know.

I would have a think about what you want - maybe this lady is just not going to be the nanny for you.

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 08-Jul-13 22:46:11

Blue, we had a nanny who just tried to deal with my dc in an identikit way - there was no attempt to understand individual personality or tailor care, which is surely the whole point of having a nanny. My DH called her approach 'nannying by numbers'. It did not work out.

bluechik Mon 08-Jul-13 22:47:48

I should add that she is about my age, so neither old nor young, and has about 15 years' experience as a nanny. She has worked in this area usually and wanted to stay in the same area although she doesn't live here - I presumed that was because she liked the area but actually I'm realising it's because her friends all work here. We did speak to her referees who were glowing.

lechatnoir Mon 08-Jul-13 22:48:30

Not a nanny but a cm so do sympathise with her in that it can be a lonely job & sometimes another nanny/cm can bring fresh activity ideas to share with the DC so not always true about not being as focused on the children, BUT, seeing nanny friend all day every day, eating your food etc just sounds a bit too much of a jolly IMO.

If she's working 3 days a week with you I don't think it's unreasonable to ask that she keeps the odd day or a couple of afternoons free from meeting her friend and does some more structured activities with your DC or a little 1:1/quiet time which wouldn't be possible with an extra nanny & 2 children on the scene!

Speak up now or this will grow from minor niggle into major resentment.

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 08-Jul-13 22:51:30

The identikit nanny we had also had glowing refs!

LatinForTelly Mon 08-Jul-13 22:51:32

I wouldn't be at all happy with this.

I think it's fine in moderation, but what you've described in your OP isn't that.

Play dates are great for socialisation and sharing, but for me, with those ages of children, I would be happy with a couple of hours, a couple of times a week, with maybe a shared meal once a week, particularly if they're going to toddler groups etc as well.

I've not had a nanny, but have had au pairs. I assume one of the reasons people choose nannies rather than childminders or nurseries is that the children would get lots of settled home-time?

I think you need to think about what level would be right for you and set it out very clearly in some sort of trial period review, as other posters have suggested.

PowerPants Mon 08-Jul-13 22:53:11

I would be concerned about this. What would happen if the children don't get on - would they still be forced to socialise because the nannies like each other?

I am all in favour of nannies meeting up and enioying playdates together but this is too intense - I would limit it to twice a week.

LatinForTelly Mon 08-Jul-13 22:54:31

Blimey, forgot she was only working 3 days! I'd want fewer play dates than I said in last post!

2plus1 Mon 08-Jul-13 22:57:07

Wouldliketobethere I think you have read my mind, as you say the children need their own space, time and outings too. I just didnt convey it aswell! Ours now spend 75-100% of days with other nanny so has increased from the initial days. OP I would have a review with your nanny so you can put your thoughts to her about this. She must be coming to the end of probationary period so a good time to have a chat. I would also watch your eldest being unsettled. Could be nothing but one of ours have a severe dislike of our firstnanny and worryinf things have since come out.
Chipping our nanny is not young but likes theme parks which is an issue with young ones and only a 2 to 1 ratio on rides so who looks after child 3?

PowerPants Mon 08-Jul-13 22:59:15

Good point Latin, am advising once a week now grin

Your nanny should also be bonding with your children on her own if she has only been working three weeks.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Mon 08-Jul-13 23:09:03

Agree with the posts above about scaling back the joint time/outings. Plus I personally would want to know who is going to be there when I walk back into my house at the end of the day. If it's my DC and my nanny fine. If it's another nanny as well and a set of extra kids, then I wouldn't feel it's quite as much my home; I would feel almost like I was entertaining visitors, and that's not how I want to feel at the end of the working day. I want to be able to relax in just my family's company.

Nannyowl Mon 08-Jul-13 23:12:28

Hi another nanny here. I think that's parents employ nannies to give bespoke care to their children in their own homes. The children should be kept in the routine the parents dictate. Obviously this may be relaxed a little but generally what the parents wants re naps structure of the day. They could send their children to a nursery or childminder but choose instead to employ a nanny. Spending all day with other nannies/ and their charges is something that should happen occasionally, and I personally would always consult the parents first. Attending one activity each days eg park, group to meet other nannies/mums is reasonable. But spending the whole day is over the top.
I think it is very disrespectful to invite other families and raid the larder without first seeking permission. It is not a question of trust but just good manners on the Nanny's part.
Sorry if I offend other nannys but this is just my opinion. I appreciate it can be lonely working without adult company but it has to be a balance.

bluechik Mon 08-Jul-13 23:13:38

Thanks for all the replies, this is really helpful and there are some good suggestions about how I can approach this constructively with our nanny. Snazzy, that's true and that's actually how I felt when I came home today.

bluechik Mon 08-Jul-13 23:33:29

Nannyowl, thanks for your perspective. It's true that we did choose a nanny because we wanted care that was bespoke to the children. It has crossed my mind that we might be better off with a nursery as at least in that setting the focus is on the children rather than the interaction between the nursery staff, albeit at less favourable staff/child ratios.

2plus1, it sounds as though you are working through very similar issues - hope you find a good resolution.

ChippingInGoAndyGo Tue 09-Jul-13 00:02:27

Blue - I (obviously) haven't met your nanny or her friends, but I think this 'we might be better off with a nursery as at least in that setting the focus is on the children rather than the interaction between the nursery staff' is a bit, misguided.

You don't know that the nannies just ignore the kids - your two might not have her to themselves but they, in turn, have the other nanny's attention too.

Also, they aren't just taking them to Starbucks every day, they are going to toddler groups etc

I think that as the nannies see each other so much, they are less likely to just 'chat & ignore the kids'.

It would not be at all unreasonable to give the nanny a time of day when you want everyone else to be gone - so the earliest you are normally home for instance... most people don't want to come home to a housefull. If this means there isn't time for a shared dinner - then so be it.

I don't know - you need to work out if you have a nanny who is only really interested in seeing her friends and getting paid for it, or if you have a nanny who loves kids and is just a 'more the merrier' type of person.

Her 'style' wouldn't be for me, but, I think you should spend some time thinking about what your issues actually are and seeing if they can be addressed with this nanny and if you couldn't resolve things to your satisfaction with this nanny, you could get a nanny who is very different and that would be much better than a nursery. It is mad to choose 'nursery' in order that your childs needs are met, when you can afford a nanny - just sort things out with this one, or get a new one smile

I know it's hard at first, but when you have the right nanny, it is brilliant.

bluechik Tue 09-Jul-13 00:48:34

Chipping, yes, those are very valid points. In regards to the quality of care I really hope that things are as you suggest, and acknowledge that this is a real possibility. It's just that (especially with our working relationship being so new, and the children being unsettled) that I fear that things are being organised to facilitate the nannies' social contact rather than the focus being on the children.

What we would really like is to work things out with this nanny, who on a personal level I like enormously, and I think your thoughts about styles are relevant here - it may be that her style is not something that will work for us, in which case you are right about the long term options, but hopefully we can find a middle ground that works for all of us.

MissStrawberry Tue 09-Jul-13 07:40:38

Feeding my child while perched on the table would have annoyed me.

I also wouldn't like to come home from work to find the kitchen full of strangers.

I was a nanny and am now a mum and I do find it strange how many people seem to give nanny complete free reign to do what they like.

I would always ask before having any one over for lunch/tea. I wouldn't just assume the parents were happy to feed other children. Some jobs people would just come to play, others for the odd meal. I was focussed on what was best for the children and sometimes having extras over at meal time wasn't the best idea for that particular day. For me it was about respect for the fact it wasn't my house.

A nanny works for the mother and father and should do what they want them to do. A nanny doesn't have the right to dictate to the parents imo.

Socialising all day every day is too much. A child needs time to just be in their home without other people there.

The OP's children could be feeling unsettled because this nanny is wrong for them, could be too many strangers around too often or could be just getting used to the new situation but with the nanny going in full on so quick it will be hard to know.

Trusting a nanny to look after your children and keep them safe does not equal giving them free reign to do anything they want.

MissStrawberry Tue 09-Jul-13 07:45:33

Saying she can't find the time to write a few lines in the diary is ridiculous. I kept a daily diary for all my parents and would usually write an A5 sheet each day. It would list all meals and sleeps taken. Where we went, what we did, who we saw and if they particularly enjoyed anything that day. What it wouldn't say is if they took their first steps or said their first word. Once they were talking more than a few words I would write new words in.

nkf Tue 09-Jul-13 07:53:35

When she aske if she could get together with other nannies, that was a red flag. Lots of nannies do this. Endless plsydates that.suit their need for adult company. If you don't like it, then you have to be clear. Only so many playdates a week etc.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 09-Jul-13 08:37:14

Asking to see other nannies isn't a red flag imo - she was checking

I've had friends who employers said yes go out then change their mind and nanny is lonely and leaves

Op you say you are happy for nanny to see people - that's good smile you don't need to limit and say can only see xyz once a week - but make clear you would like some home alone time just the 3 of them

Your eldest could be unsettled as not used to you going to work and having a nanny - but is she happy? many children say to parents they don't want to them go to work etc

Not filling in a diary seems weird - takes a few mins and may make you feel happier as know what your children have done

The late tea may have been as children playing and having fun in the garden etc - and least you have met one of her friends employers but agree nice to come home and have house to self - tho if you arrive early and a friend there then not a problem ie come home at 4pm instead of 6pm

Have a chat and see if you can find an equal balance of seeing friends that have similar ages children and time at home with the nanny

ActionLog Tue 09-Jul-13 08:49:22

OP I wouldn't feel comfortable inyour position either. Some socialising is fine but in the way you've described I would be unhappy.

Lavenderloves Tue 09-Jul-13 08:59:46

I'm a sahm, two days a week my life is like your nannys. It's great for the children, great for me/ your nanny. My DH pulls his face at all the fun we have twat

Maybe talk to her about balancing it out with some quiet/ home time. What does she do at home with them? Do they do lots of craft with her?

I wouldn't want mine at playgroups/ activities all the time, it's not enough one to one attention. They can also be stressful for little ones. It's all about balance.

Lavenderloves Tue 09-Jul-13 09:09:32

Are like!

MissStrawberry Tue 09-Jul-13 09:22:43

What is your husband's problem with you having fun, Lavenderloves? He sounds like he is no fun himself!

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 09-Jul-13 09:51:50

'it does seem she has gone from one job to another, keeping her schedule the same, just swapping children... and it doesn't seem she has really taken any time to get to know the children and to get them to know and trust her (before introducing a lot of new people into their lives)

^^ this

I think it is very disrespectful to invite other families and raid the larder without first seeking permission. It is not a question of trust but just good manners on the Nanny's part.
^^ this too

And the fact she's been with you all of three weeks and this is the state of play.

YANBU NOT wanting this to be the way things are run at your house. I woudln't go into a detailed explanation of why her way may or may not be fine/more beneficial to the children/etc etc. Just explain how you'd like things to go and leave it at that.

bluechik Tue 09-Jul-13 10:25:41

Thank you everyone, this is very validating. I don't want to be unreasonable or unfair to the nanny but I am not comfortable with how things are at the moment. Another small issue is that the other children are both the same age as my DC2 - 16 months - so DC1 who is nearly 3 will be spending all day with 3 babies and I feel that the overall level of activities will necessarily be tailored to them and this could be a bit boring for DC1. I would actually be happier if the other children were DC1s age. Anyway I have scheduled a monthly review with our nanny on Thurs, I do dread these kinds of conversations - don't want to make her unhappy but feel I must set some boundaries.
I will try to keep the conversation constructive and focus on what we would like to have.

MissStrawberry Tue 09-Jul-13 14:02:39

Don't worry about making her unhappy. She is there to do a job and if she doesn't want to do it the way you expect then she can freely look for another one. If she is made unhappy she goes.

ReetPetit Tue 09-Jul-13 15:35:52

I don't think you are being unreasonable op. she sounds like she is taking the p*ss tbh. it sounds as though, as someone else has said, she has gone from one job to another and has kept to that schedule, which is more about her and her social life than the children or their routine.

I don't think you are being unreasonable in not wanting an open door policy. feeding other people's kids from your kitchen on a frequent basis is out of order. she sounds like a bit of a free loader and as though she's doing the job for easy money and just to hang around with a mate.

Us childminders get a bashing on MN (very unfairly I think) and threads like this should bring it home to parents that paying more for a nanny does not guarantee you a higher level of care. I very rarely have anyone over to my house when I am working. My time and energy is devoted to the children. The only time I get to 'socialise' is for 2 hours at 1-2 playgroups a week - and when I say socialising, that is just a case of our mindees mixing and us getting to catch up while still the emphasis is very much on the children.

I really think you need to set some ground rules - I can see this getting out of hand and harder and harder to address. even worse that she has another parent picking up from your home - it sounds like it's becoming the local nanny hang out - nip it in the bud now while it's still early days imo.

ReetPetit Tue 09-Jul-13 15:41:37

not bothering with the diary is significant too. I am a cm and ALWAYS do the diary (with up to 6 children here at various times of the day of various ages and needs - and on my own all day)

it is very important and shows that she understands the importance of you knowing how your child has been/what they have eaten/how long they have slept etc.

I even list nappy changes! Not doing this shows a real 'can't be bothered' attitude imo.

(BTW, I know some cms/nannies don't do this but if its something which has been discussed and agreed and is then not done I think something is up - how long does it take? 5 minutes max?)

If she doesn't have time for this, what else doesn't she have time for?

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 09-Jul-13 15:56:25

I really think you need to set some ground rules - I can see this getting out of hand and harder and harder to address.
^^

Yes absolutely correct.

bbcessex Tue 09-Jul-13 16:06:48

I wouldn't be happy with this either.

A nanny is supposed to be your children's primary carer whilst you are at work; if your nanny is with her nanny friend all the time, no wonder your two are a bit unsettled; they could well not know who their actual nanny is confused. Especially with the other mum coming and going.

Your home isn't a commune.... it's great for nannies and children to socialise, but socialising doesn't mean being joined at the hip. What would your nanny do if you asked her to start taking your children to an activity that the other nanny didn't attend? Would she agree or would she want to fit in with her friend?

If it really is all day, every day, I would say what another poster has said; You'd like your children to have some quiet time on their own in their own home during the day. This is a very reasonable request (seems stupid to even say 'request'!). If your nanny is unhappy about it, then she's not the one for you....

bbcessex Tue 09-Jul-13 16:11:16

And to add... with very few exceptions, I HATE to come home and find my nanny mid-way through an activity / chaotic game / craft with my children...

I always let her know what time I'm leaving work, when I'll be home etc., and then text to say that I'm on the train... I expect things to be calm when I get in, tea done, kitchen tidied etc. That's part of the job imho...

If there were random others there, eating MY food, messing up MY house, I'd go bananas!
<insert mad raving mother ranty icon grin>

MGMidget Tue 09-Jul-13 16:28:36

Socialising with other nannies (and the children) is fine in moderation provided that the children are of similar age and get on. The focus should be on organising playdates for the children and if that means the nannies get to meet their friends as a result then fine. If they eat in your house one time then they should be eating in the other's house the next and hence there's a balance and you aren't eaten out of house and home. Diary important for accountability so you know what's going on and perfectly reasonable to expect it. Our previous nannies did this (we don't have one now). I became aware, over time, with our last nanny, that the focus was more on what suited her and her social life than our son. Definitely you need ground rules here as soon as possible especially since this is how she is behaving in the first three weeks!

MissStrawberry Tue 09-Jul-13 17:11:31

For me it is about having the maturity to realise this is someone's home and not just her work place and making sure the house is just occupied by children and nanny when the parents get in from work.

wouldliketobethere Tue 09-Jul-13 17:37:12

I am glad you are going to talk to her OP. There is no point in seething quietly with her totally unaware you are not happy. For example if you were friendly with the mum who turned up to collect her DC and didn't say anything when you came home to find your baby sitting on the table to be fed, she will (reasonably) assume you are totally okay with it all. She may well be telling her friends "oh you can all come over here - my employer doesn't mind at all". So unless you speak up, things will get worse. You need to be quite specific about how much "socialising" you ARE happy with and then see how she responds and if things change.

bbcessex Tue 09-Jul-13 17:40:47

completely agree with wouldliketobethere.. Have the discussion, be specific about what you'd like / what is/isn't okay, then take it from there.

She's not a mind-reader. I know you don't like 'confrontation' but most people don't like conversations that they feel are awkard.. however, they get easier with practice(!) and it's your children / your home / your way (which if she's not in agreement with, is fine - she's not the one for you).

ZenNudist Tue 09-Jul-13 17:41:38

Agree with lots of other posters that you should come back to a quieter house. A diary I think well I'd rather time were spent with the kids not writing up what they did... Mind you I'd still want a sleep, toilet & food update at the end of the day.

If you like your nanny then you could let her down gently by acknowledging that maybe the excessive socialising is just due to the good weather, hopefully come colder weather other nanny will go elsewhere.

sunshinenanny Tue 09-Jul-13 18:12:51

I think if your nanny talks to you at the end of the day then the diary isn't a problem and remember a nanny could write whatever she wanted or thought you wanted to hear. I know a nanny who did just that! I do think it is important to put it in writing if the children are ill or medicine is given or the details of any accidents.

It does sound as if the nanny is putting her own social life first and I would never think it all right to feed other children on a regular basis without asking the parents fot permission. You must talk to her about it before you let it grow into real resentment. Think carefully about what you want to say and be matter of fact and calm.

Good Luck

MissStrawberry Tue 09-Jul-13 18:26:32

Few nannies want to spend 15-30 minutes giving the parents a low down on the day and I suspect few parents want the nanny there for ages after they get in. A diary solves the dilemma of getting the messages across without taking family time.

Xenia Tue 09-Jul-13 18:30:05

I think we kept our nanny for 10 years because we never objected to that mind of thing.

In fact with the last nanny I was so pleased she went out with them almost every day to other nanny friends because I think worked from home I positively encouraged it. Yes, the children then have different influences but I am not God and others are often as good with my children as I am and their ways can be just as good if not better so I always thought the fact a nanny had a different view or friends did was good for the children as long they were not smacking the children or anything like that.

nkf Tue 09-Jul-13 18:33:29

I would have thought that the diary business is how many families start off and then it tails away once trust and face to face communication has been established.

You are not there, yet. I would have thought that her priority at the moment is to connect with the two very young children in her care.

She's not making a good start and I agree with others that you need to discuss it. Some nannies operate like this. They prefer group activities. Some parents do too, but that's beside the point.

redcaryellowcar Wed 10-Jul-13 07:01:41

Hope your conversation on Thursday goes well.
Just wanted to add that I have a friend who has a nanny and not be100% happy with her, but she feels stuck as nanny is looking after her children and children like her. I think her issues are similar to yours although she tends to like to take children on long journeys to facilitate meeting up with nanny friends .
I am sahm and work my days around a rough timetable where we usually do something in the morning back home for lunch and a sleep. Afternoons usually spent having a play at home, once a week we might have tea with a friend. If I employed a nanny in order to go back to work I would expect that a similar pattern was maintained. I do take ds on longer days out maybe once every three weeks as I have family who live about an hour away but I realise that two hours in the car isn't much fun for him do limit this and tie in with trip to beach or park etc.
Think what I am trying to say bit longwinded is I would hope a nanny would do what you usually would and perhaps even better as not trying to juggle other household tasks too, just focussed on the children!

Nannyowl Wed 10-Jul-13 13:34:34

Redcaryellowcar
I agree with you, as a nanny I try to keep to parent's routine. Admittedly I only work a couple of days per week and am happy to not have adult company, as have this at other times.
I do find more time to do children's activities than I would as a stay at home mum. Because even though I do children's housework and cook/prepare meals I don't make own telephone/emails or do other household stuff/Internet shopping etc.
As a parent I would not be taking my own children on long car journeys so do the same for my charges.
I suppose it depends on parenting styles. A lot of posters are correct; when you pick a nanny you need one with similar parenting style to yourself.
Hope the OP can reach a compromise with her nanny, as the children sound well cared for just a bit more respect needed for parent's home.

Ragusa Wed 10-Jul-13 14:06:56

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all. It's a really difficult adjustment period for you - leaving your kids for the first time and going back to work etc - and I would expect a good nanny to be sympathetic to this. It'll be a big change for the kids too, and it would have maybe been kinder to them to stick with their routines for a while before introducing changes and lots of new people.

The fact that you discussed the 'meeting up with other nannies' at interview thing....well. It's good she asked, but just because you said yes it doesn't mean absolutely anything goes. If you don't think it's appropriate, then there has to be some sort of compromise. Your understanding of 'meeting up' might have been totally different from hers - no-one's fault but it needs sorting.

The thing that concerns me most is that she started doing this from the off. She really needed to get to know your kids and for what it's worth, I think it's true that you can't give them full-on attention with adult friends around. With babies this mightn't be a problem but IME 2-3 year olds need lots of one-on-one, unless they're very chilled out.

On the other hand, I can see advantages in having a nanny who socialises a lot and has a close, trusted friend - e.g., the socialising for your children providing the socialising is age-appropriate and one child is not bored of course. Also, if you get to know your nanny's friend, you might have ready-made sickness cover if you can agree it with the other nanny friend's client.

We have a childminder and so aren't paying for care in our home so I can't comment on that bit. Our CM does sometimes look after additional children on an ad-hoc basis, and also meets friends but this tends to be occasionally, rather than all the time. Usually, it's age-appropriate too. I think originally, she asked if meeting up with others would be OK, and I said yes, no need to inform in future, because she's generally sensible and I trust her.

I've never been totally sold on the diary concept. We used to get one from DD's nursery and I often wondered wehther it was largely fabricated grin. It wasn't a crap nursery, not at all, but I couldn't see how they could have time to do it meaningfully with so many kids to care for. same goes for childminder, but the main difference is my two children are old enough to tell me what they've been doing.

NomDeClavier Wed 10-Jul-13 15:59:09

One of the things about a nanny-employer relationship is you can say you don't want as much socialising. You're not in the same position as a parent using a childminder - even if it's a nanny share you still have a greater degree of control which is why many parents choose a nanny.

It also means you can match your parenting style and therefore replicate your home environment more accurately. Your house, your routine, your rules. Any good nanny should a) appreciate that and b) know not to take a job where the parents don't have the same style.

That said she did ask about activities, it's the fault of both of your for not defining what that means. Happy for her to meet up with friends can mean once or twice a week or it can mean whenever she likes. Maybe in nice weather, given that the other nanny only has a terrace (IIRC), they might be at yours more often. I'd also be inclined to trust her judgement when it comes to people if you, and by extension who comes over and where the DC go unless you have a reason not to.

As for diaries it takes 2 seconds to note down when you changed a nappy, 1min max to write what they ate/whether they liked it, 30 seconds to write 'went to toddlers then the park, met Mindy and Mandy, went to Mandy's for lunch, home for nap, painting in the afternoon'. All meaningful and valuable info to parents of pre-verbal children.

sweetsummerlove Wed 10-Jul-13 18:01:03

just read the bit about the diary. Whaa! I manage a quick low down at the end of tje day but still find time tojot down a daily diary...they slept at 10...enjoyed this and that at park..visited xy and z for afternoon. Tea was..charge has been happy/cuddly/etc. I usually perch on the toilet while they are in the bath to get it done lol. Takes ten minutes max.

I think the way you found your children during a visit speaks volumes. Why was the other nannies charge in your dc chair while yours perched on the table? im not liking the sound of this.

Yes, it can be lonely but I find I get to see a few adults at groups and classes so cope. She is taking the piss imo.

im surprised how many say this is normal behaviour. .I reckon id have been sacked by now!

Murtette Wed 10-Jul-13 21:37:28

When we were interviewing for nannies we tried to really ask them about this as a couple of friends have really struggled to get their nannies to do the routine the parents wanted rather than the routine the nanny wanted to do. One nanny we interviewed had no hope after saying "well on a Tues morning I always go to X with my friends and on a Weds afternoon we always do Y" as it seemed as though she'd completely disregard whatever we might have wanted her to do.
I think the issues I'd have with this arrangement are:
(a) the fact that your DC1 doesn't have any similar aged playmates - yes, that might be the case at a childminder but you have chosen the bespokeness of a nanny
(b) the fact that the children are always at your house. Not only are you hosting but the children and always at home so not going to the park, farm etc or even getting to go to someone else's house and get to play with some different toys (although query if your DC1 would have suitable toys at this other family's house). I emphasised to the nannies we interviewed that we wanted them to go out so, if we have a weekend spent mainly at home, the children haven't spent days and days at home
(c) the fact that she's not having any one on one time with your DC1 whilst DC2 naps.
If I was in your position, I wouldn't be happy and would definitely have a word.

sunshinenanny Thu 18-Jul-13 17:29:53

It is perhaps the most important part of hiring a nanny to make sure you have similar parenting styles.

I have always been very careful not to take a job where I didn't agree with the parents views on child care.

Don't mean to be rude nomdeclavier but your idea of a diary sounds a bit like a Janet and John reader.hmm Nanny changed babies nappy, baby has puried vegetables for lunch, nanny and baby go to the park. Sorry it doesn't take 15 minutes to talk to the returning parent and good verbal skills cannot be replaced by a list of ticked of tasks grin

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