Note: Please bear in mind that this is a discussion board, not a place to advertise childcare vacancies or recruit childminders/nannies etc. We don't mind the odd mumsnet regular mentioning that they're looking for a job/mindee (although you're probably better off in MN Local) but repeated job "ads" and posts from nanny/babysitting agencies aren't fair to people who are paying for small business ads. Do feel free to report any you see. Thanks, MNHQ.

Very odd nannying experience + fired in week 1 - AIBU?

(49 Posts)
magd2579 Sat 13-Jul-13 23:04:47

Hello all, first post so sorry if it's a little long. I'm a 25 year old with a background as nanny/mothers help, including a longterm live out (but full-on) job with a lovely big American family in London which I loved and made me realise I wanted to continue as a nanny. I don't have formal qualifications but first aid certificate, CRB, and I have 2 degrees, with a background in tutoring kids for exams/UK curriculum. I'm also from a huge family myself and was always going to be a nanny or teacher, just love it really.

Anyway! After my lovely job finished a couple of months ago (they moved back home), I had 2 interviews for then got offered what seemed like a great job with a VERY high profile family (not something i had any experience of incidentally). Nanny to one little boy who seemed like a cherub on my trial (2 hours with the kid, mum was there for about 1/2 an hour). It was made clear in the interviews that mum was into a VERY "holistic" parenting style including a 'parenting mentor', following specific guidelines in a book etc, which nanny had to be sympathetic to. I stressed my lack of training in this area but it apparently wasn't a problem. I was to be paid £8net ph (in central London, live-out position) which was actually a sizeable pay-cut from my last role, but the family seemed like an interesting one to work for (needless to say they could MORE THAN afford to pay a higher rate! ).

Anyway it turned out to be a 10-hour-per-day role, and there was no handover or any guidelines provided whatsoever. Mum was barely around but I just assumed I had to hit the ground running. I was pretty shocked at the little boy's extraordinary attitude issues even at such a VERY young age. Very superior to the household staff who he described as 'servants', refused to walk even short distances eg. to the park down the road, taking the tube etc was out of the question - "I only take taxis"- (despite us being sent out on a lot of outings which required transport across London, I was never given any kitty money whatsoever for snacks, taxis, etc). He also screamed and cried whenever his friends wanted to play with his toys, and on my 5th morning on the job he greeted me at the door by throwing a dart directly at my eye (!!)- it missed by literally an inch. I was pretty shaken just out of the shock, and went to the bathroom as composed as possible to dry my eyes. By the time I came out he had worked himself into a frenzy, Mum magically materialized and called me into the next room, and proceeded to say she didn't think she felt I had been on top of things this first week. She didn't seem remotely worried about her little boy aiming darts at faces, which disturbed me a little. Anyway she had decided to let me go effective that evening (but could I still stay til late as normal, because she had an event that night and needed the little boy sorted....) Cheeky, I thought, but stayed til the bitter end. And then never looked back... until now really. My confidence got pretty knocked I guess, and I really did freak out after that horrible day wondering whether she was right about me. Thing is she was literally hardly there and I felt every day that I'd done a genuinely good job- healthy meals, lots of outings, making up millions of stories, doing about 3 huge Lego projects, playdates, a birthday party where he needed some handholding. There were some MUCH older adult siblings in the house who seemed to be living off mum and dad's largesse and would sit and watch me play with the little boy, which made me a bit uncomfortable. The whole parenting mentor/program thing actually never came up, which surprised me- the job seemed so much less structured than she described it, but i really did think I did OK. Certainly a 5 day trial seemed a little short without evidence of gross misconduct or something, which there clearly hadn't been.

And I guess I wonder if it sounds like she was being unreasonable. I really thought I could have a future in nannying even without getting formal qualifications. I had no experience of that celeb type "world" and still have no idea if her decision was a normal one. If I'm honest I really have lost confidence and not sure how to feel about starting nannying again. Argh! Any thoughts on the situation? Thankyou so much for any input!

aftermay Sat 13-Jul-13 23:08:03

Put it down to bad experience and move on. Good luck.

mrswishywashy Sat 13-Jul-13 23:10:55

Ah we've all had a wacky experience in the nanny trade with unusual families. Sounds like they're the type to have constant nannies on trial so they don't have to pay agency or worry about legal implications, poor child.

It's hard when your confidence takes a knock but don't let this experience stop you as generally families are good to you.

Flojobunny Sat 13-Jul-13 23:13:47

I think maybe stay away from celeb nannying and find someone kinder

UnrequitedSkink Sat 13-Jul-13 23:17:43

Can't believe you were willing to accept such a low salary - my friend is a nanny in Herts and she charges more (slightly) than that per hour. They were talking the piss from the get go. They sound like a very odd family - fortunately you weren't with them long and don't need them for a reference. Don't lose your confidence, it wasn't you it was them! Go on, give us a clue who the family are...

SofiaAmes Sat 13-Jul-13 23:18:10

This is not atypical of high profile families. Money and fame can corrupt people. Please don't take this as a reflection of anything you did. You can't satisfy people who are unhappy within themselves. You sound like a wonderful nanny and I'm sure you will find a new job soon enough as there appears to be a real shortage of good nannies from what I read on mumsnet. And please don't settle for a pay cut just to work with someone famous. As you said, they can perfectly well afford to pay you at least the going rate. (And take the learning experience of asking in advance how outing are to be paid for!)

bickie Sat 13-Jul-13 23:19:17

I have had a lovely and excellent nanny come and look after my children after a stint with a celebrity family - and she had a similar odd experience with spoilt children and unhinged mother. In the interview with me she was very discreet, just said the celebrity lifestyle didn't suit her - but later described the working situation and i was gobsmacked. Don't worry about it - be glad to be out if it and go and find a nice normal family.

FannyFifer Sat 13-Jul-13 23:24:47

Who was the celeb then?
Gives a clue.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sat 13-Jul-13 23:27:17

I have had nannies and that set up sounds bonkers op. you are best off out of it and tbh on the strength of 5 days she couldn't know much about you.

Poor child sad

Sounds like you had a very lucky escape, staying would have turned into a nightmare. Please don't let it knock your confidence, you sound like a great nanny and I'm sure a lovely family will snap you up soon!

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 13-Jul-13 23:30:42

Are the first three letters of OPs name a clue?

magd2579 Sat 13-Jul-13 23:32:46

Thankyou for your input everyone. i think as someone who's not a mum I really did wonder whether it happens that mums can want to get rid of someone doing an OK job after such a short time - my own mum always seemed to want to see the best in the CMs/APs we had as kids. additionally, I had no experience in that celebrity/big money arena and I doubt I will again!
Slightly nervous about discretion but suffice it to say they were very closely connected to a huge film franchise.

magd2579 Sat 13-Jul-13 23:33:22

And no, name is not a clue onesleeptilwembley smile

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 13-Jul-13 23:39:40

Good, cos obviously you never really know, but I think she's lovely --girl crush--grin

Mimishimi Sun 14-Jul-13 01:08:42

I think you've had a lucky escape rather than it being something you've done. And they were paying you very poorly for a live-out position.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sun 14-Jul-13 07:17:24

I went to Uni with a very nasty dd of a celeb - I think fame and money bring out the worst in some people. I had a nanny who was truly awful which I'm sure you weren't and it took 6 weeks for us to decide it was not working out and then she resigned anyway saying she couldn't cope, so tbh their behaviour is ludicrous.

If your child attacks someone the correct response is a grovelling apology.

BlackAffronted Sun 14-Jul-13 07:36:57

Did you ever get papped while out with the chilld? Ive always wondered how nannies deal with that when working for a celeb family.

Cathyrina Sun 14-Jul-13 11:11:04

Oh this sounds horrible, better stay away from those kind of positions. Not all celebrity families are like that though, I've heard from Nannies working for some 'VIP' families, some are nice, some aren't - just as 'normal people'. I would say this was just very bad luck and you should try again. Don't give up, there are some very lovely families out there. This has nothing to do with you or your experience... I had no experience at all when I started my first position (only first aid and some babysitting and temp. nursery internships) and they were so lovely I stayed for almost 2 years and they were very said when I decided to go, but we are still in touch. The key is to ask as much as possible, stay as long as possible for interviews, ask for a second interview and a trial day, speak to previous nanny etc. to get to know them a little, set a trial period of a few weeks and if you don't feel comfortable then just be honest to both the family and yourself, tell them, give notice and leave. This is about YOU feeling comfortable in your job and if you don't then you have to start something new, whether they seem nice and interesting or not. Good luck!

NomDeClavier Sun 14-Jul-13 20:59:17

They seem very odd. Most families aren't like that! Okay so VIP/HP nannying is a different world but not to that extent.

Wrote yourself a lessons learnt memo and move on!

As for zero notice in the probationary period, it depends if you're in the job or just on trial. If you're on trial then they can end it at any point and agencies wouldn't be able to do anything if that's what is agreed. A probationary period indicates a longer term intention and the notice is often 1 week then.

ExNanny Sun 14-Jul-13 21:10:47

Have name changed for this post.

What a lucky escape! I once worked for a high profile family, and one of the main reasons I didn't walk out after the first week (and many times later) was the pay.

£8ph seriously???? They were having a laugh. You have been paid for the 5 days, haven't you?

I'm guessing the mother went on the feedback of the child. I bet if you'd let him watch TV and eat sweets all week you would have been asked to stay on. grin

And I've worked for low profile parents in London whose precious DC couldn't possible take the tube ever. Did they not offer you a car? And I'm shocked that they gave you no kitty. Would they have provided a debit or credit card? Sorry, I think I would have left after 5 days. You've had a LUCKY ESCAPE!

Was it a family with a surname beginning with W? If so, I think I know who you mean. I used to go to Uni and live with one of the older siblings you talk about. He'd be about 25/6 by now? (Wee bit younger than me.) Very spoilt, lived off Daddy.

NachoAddict Sun 14-Jul-13 21:27:34

I also think you had a lucky escape, they sound a bonkers family to work for. Dying to know who it was.

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 21:41:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

magd2579 Sun 14-Jul-13 21:45:14

Meerkat, surname didn't begin with W, but now I'M curious! Any more clues?! I guess there actually is a little (Freudian slip!?) clue in line 12, para 3 of the original post... smile

Exnanny, no car/debit/credit card though it had only been 5 days. The last family I was with sorted this within the first couple of days of my arrival though. Definitely no kitty or mention of one- despite her apparent focus on DC, I got the feeling mum was too busy with herself to think of the practical stuff! Never got a handbook, any contacts info for usual doctors, dentists etc, any handover except from the housekeeper- a Filipina who inexplicably had it in for me from the start, insisting on "showing me how to unload the dishwasher/peel potatoes/plate the little boys food" although I tried to explain I was perfectly capable of all this and more. got the feeling she had been doing a lot of the childcare between "nanny trials"and felt territorial about the house/child/kitchen etc.

Should probably also mention she still hadn't actually checked my references before that 5 days was up- I had given her the contact details and she never got round to it! And yet I was in sole charge of her under 5 DC for a week! Again, I don't have kids, but that seems a little off. Feel a lot better for reading all your thoughts! I definitely don't wish I was still there. Just hate that confidence knock!

magd2579 Sun 14-Jul-13 21:46:58

Marykatharine- is that "plowed the field" a clue at all?

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 21:48:36

Yes

MaryKatharine Sun 14-Jul-13 22:11:02

I have reported my own post as I think I was a little too obvious and I wouldn't want to cause trouble for my friend's sister in her new job.

NachoAddict Sun 14-Jul-13 22:13:27

I couldn't get it from tour post, I am rubbish at these crowns things though.

Now I want to know who it is. I can assure you not all VIP's are like this. I know the nanny of a very famous singer and she has been with the family ever since the oldest child was born. I have met them and they are all very lovely.

Wickedgirl Mon 15-Jul-13 11:46:33

I work for a HP family who pay me very well and treat me very well too. You have been really unlucky but at least you can learn from it and hopefully the next family you choose to work for will be lovely

valiumredhead Mon 15-Jul-13 11:52:35

One bad family does not a summer makewink

Don't presume anything that happened was your fault or that you could've have done anything differently.

Deep breath and move onsmile

yamsareyammy Mon 15-Jul-13 11:59:27

Agree with Cathyrinas post.

From my experience, nannies should be "interviewing" prospective employers as well as the other way round. Especially for live in positions.
Amd think about working for an agency. Some of the things that happened to you would have then been avoided. and also, the family you nannied for would not have stayed long on the agency books, after you gave the agency feedback, I wouldnt have thought.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 15-Jul-13 13:09:46

Bad experience. Every nanny gets at least one nutty family if not more

Things should have been discussed before you started

But it happened - so forget about it and move on

PErsonally I wouldn't want to work for a HP family

Just like nice normal families but who can afford me and not begrudge paying my salary each week

Strix Mon 15-Jul-13 13:44:02

The mum is a complete nutter.

Cathyrina Wed 17-Jul-13 15:12:24

Oh and about the whole not having a kitty for outings thing, if I was you I'd explain that if nobody covers your expenses to take him out to his activities you will just stay in and don't bring him anywhere - and will only be happy to do so once mum will cover the expenses. I was in a similar situation a while ago but this solved my problem rather quickly...

hettybetty123 Wed 17-Jul-13 22:46:16

Ooh, do the initials DH for the dad come in to this? I love mysteries!

Sleepyhead33 Sun 11-Aug-13 19:50:29

Guess HBC and TB

Sleepyhead33 Sun 11-Aug-13 19:50:59

Sorry, I am guessing HBC and TB???

ChippingInHopHopHop Sun 11-Aug-13 20:02:32

Sorry you had such a crap time - it sounds like you are well rid!!

Don't let it knock your confidence! (and no, you don't need quals to nanny for a lovely family).

EugenesAxe Sun 11-Aug-13 20:09:21

I'm not a nanny or anything but she sounds like a complete fuck up and to be honest, I think you're better off out of there.

You sound very kind and like you would do well by any child; I don't think you are the problem at all here. I expect she was trying you out because you were cheap and then fired you when it seemed her experiment hadn't worked. I think she was wrong to do this and would hope a normal family would be nurturing and work with you to get up any learning curve you might experience.

EugenesAxe Sun 11-Aug-13 20:15:27

With you Sleepy! But I hope not... I've always quite admired her.

Sleepyhead33 Sun 11-Aug-13 20:37:20

I hope not too-always been a fan of them both!

Anyway, I agree, you seriously wouldn't have wanted to work for them more than a week.It sounds as if you would have been out of pocket as well if you have to pay for snacks etc. Madness.

IrisWildthyme Sun 11-Aug-13 20:46:07

They sound like a terrible family to work for - YANBU - don't let it knock your confidence, just shake their dust off your feet and don't look back, you'll find a much more enjoyable position with less nutty people and be very glad you didn't get sucked into that awful lifestyle permanently.

I doubt HBC and TB, they have 2 DCs and no adult ones.

RW and DC? (Thats DPs guess btw.)

I doubt RW and DC too as Op says surname doesn't begin with W. also her DC is 7 and he only has one adult child. This is hard.

I think that it seemed like you did everything right Op and I'd just write it up to experience. It's hard for most of us go understand but some parents don't care that much and just want anything for an easy life, including allowing themselves to be used as target practise.

EasterHoliday Tue 13-Aug-13 16:52:57

oh god do be careful, there's almost certainly a confidentiality clause in your original contract and it will survivi termination of the contract, quite apart from which they may claim some of this is libellous. Not worth it.

SunnyIntervals Tue 13-Aug-13 19:26:34

Op I think you should get this thread deleted.

eurycantha Fri 16-Aug-13 19:11:03

Don't worry .Just a bad experience you did everything right .don't give up wanting to be a nanny .Most employers are great.Only a few are absolute nutters!I bet we all have afew crazy employer stories.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now