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To be cross with my nanny?

(260 Posts)
Maria101 Thu 18-Aug-11 09:51:54

I have my own internet business and work from home. I have a part time nanny who comes three days a week to look after my 1-year-old. She's generally great, however, at the start of the summer holidays she mentioned (didn't really ask) she might have to bring her 6-year-old son along some days. Tbh I didn't mind this, as she made it sound like an occasional thing, and my daughter likes him and likes having other children around.

However, she started bringing him every single time. During my baby's nap times instead of cleaning the bottles/high chair, making meals etc, like she did before, she would sit and read to him on my sofa while I was working in the next room. Also, all their activities would involve going to the park etc, instead of going to playgroups (presumably because he would get bored). Other things bothered me, such as once my daughter messed her nappy just as the nanny arrived with her son, who wanted toast. She said to me, 'You deal with that (the nappy), while I make him (her son) some toast'. Stupidly I did, even though she had technically started work.

Last week I told her not to bring her son anymore because it's too distracting having him here in the house while I try to work. She was OK about it, and didn't bring him, but today I got a text at 8.30 (she's due here at 9) asking if she could bring him because her sister couldn't have him. She suggested picking my daughter up and taking her to her house. But surely this is childminding? Plus, I had purposefully left some jobs for her to do in nap time (make a shepherds pie). I said not to worry so now I don't have any childcare today.

I'm fuming. My main problems are: a) I don't want her son in my house when I'm trying to work, but equally I don't want my daughter out every single day (her initial solution to my finding her son too distracting). b) I want her to work during my daughter's nap times, and not play with her son or do her own housework (which she'd probably do if my daughter went to her house). c) she treats our arrangement like a casual agreement between friends, when I'm paying her to do a job. For example, there was no apology this morning for letting me down and making me work tonight after my daughter has gone to bed (if I don't work during the day it has to get done at some point).

Should I a) just cancel our contract and look for another childminder/nanny? Tackle it head on Monday morning and then have the awkwardness that would follow?

Sorry for the rant, but I'm furious! PS, I know part of this is my fault for being too laid back with her in the first place but for the most part she's a good nanny but she seems to be getting worse and taking the pi**.

kittensliveupstairs Thu 18-Aug-11 09:55:06

I am not sure what a nanny's duties are, so can't make a proper judgement.
Can you tolerate it a couple more weeks? her DS will be back at school then and you can have a proper talk.
If you are happy with her generally, it makes sense to me to try to keep her and avoid unsettling your DD.

MajorBumsore Thu 18-Aug-11 09:59:27

She is taking the piss IMO. She will no doubt have to bring him with her during half term and other holidays too. She should have been upfront and made this clear to you when you agreed her contract. It is not fair on you or your daughter-persumably you are paying a premium to have a qualified nanny. If I'm working, I have to get childcare for my DCs.

azazello Thu 18-Aug-11 10:02:28

Do you pay a reduced rate on the basis that she may need to bring her own child? How is this reflected in your contract?

How long has the nanny worked for you?

Meow75 Thu 18-Aug-11 10:03:06

Do you have a written contract?! If not, it sounds like you need one drawing up. Make sure it includes a clause about your expectations if her son is off school and she can't get a babysitter.

I would also do as the PP suggested and hold off for another couple of weeks, Boy Wonder will be back at school and your life can return to normal. But in the next couple of weeks, if her son does come to work with her, remind her that she still has Jobs X, Y and Z to do.

Also, did you agree to feed the Boy Wonder? She should be bringing him a packed breakfast/lunch!!!

Maria101 Thu 18-Aug-11 10:04:09

There's no mention of a reduced rate in her contract because I'm paying her for sole charge nannying. For example if I had another baby, I would re-negotiate. But for now it's just sole charge. She's worked for me nearly 10 months.

annababy Thu 18-Aug-11 10:36:50

Yanbu,you are paying for a nanny to look after your child.As all working parents have to do she needs to make provisions for her own childcare,and if it isn't possible then she should be discussing this with you earlier and maybe making a compromise in terms of payment.
If you wanted a cm type arrangement then I'm sure you would have looked into it.
She may be a good nanny but I think occasional occurrences that turn into regular shows that this probably isn't going to go away,as a previous poster said,what are the arrangements for half term etc?
I have had to take 2 weeks holiday now as my cm is on hol,not really when I wanted to have my time off as dp is working but I don't have anyone who can look after my dts for 2weeks so I have to deal with should she

Tenacity Thu 18-Aug-11 10:38:35

There appears too be an issue with boundaries here. She is pushing them, and you are accomodating her.
Surely being a nanny is like any other job, there has to be a job description, rules and regulations that have to be abide by as part of a contract. Is there a contract, and what does it say? If there isn't one, then maybe your nanny does not know the expectations of the job, and therefore not really to blame here.

SurprisEs Thu 18-Aug-11 10:48:45

I'm in two minds here.
She is obviously too comfortable and doesn't understand you are the boss and she is in your house getting paid to work.

I feel for her as I may be soon out of work due to not being able to work Childcare around ployment and lack of flexibility from my manager.
It is so hard to cope when the resources aren't there and the understanding isn't there either. I'm sure she'd rather not bring her son but has nobody to stay with him.
Maybe let him come but on your grounds?

lesley33 Thu 18-Aug-11 10:53:18

I think you need to be honest with her and tell her that she can't bring her son with her during any future holidays periods. You are paying for sole care and so this is what you want. I think its unfair to just end her contract without telling her what is wrong and what you want her to do differently.

By not telling her before that you were unhappy with this, you have kind of allowed it to happen. I know you told her her son was distracting, but she took that at face value and tried to come up with solutions. So just be honest and tell her that you do not want her to bring her son to work and that she needs to make childcare arrangements for him.

TeacupTempest Thu 18-Aug-11 10:53:28

YANBU to be unhappy but perhaps its an issue of communication and her not understanding her job description.

As a former nanny I am very surprised that she assumed it would be fine for her to bring her son along.

Re the not going to playgroups could be that these are shut during the holidays. When I nannied the summer hols were always a bit more tricky as several of the local toddler groups would shut down for weeks on end.

lesley33 Thu 18-Aug-11 10:57:41

Surprises - I actually think the OP is kind of forgetting as well that she is the boss. In a normal workplace, if your boss didn't want you taking your son to work, you would soon know about it. It sounds as if the OP maybe hasn't been clear with the nanny.

For example, the nanny mentioned she may have to bring her son along some days. The OP assumed that would be occasional days. In most workplaces if you said this, your boss would be clearly asking how many days and setting down what is acceptable e.g. 2 or 3 days during the holidays as a whole when childcare is difficult is fine, but no more than that.

Nannies need to be managed like any other employee. It is unfair not to.

lesley33 Thu 18-Aug-11 10:58:36

Also agree that where I live, toddler groups shut down for the summer. So ask her why she is not going to these, rather than assuming.

SurprisEs Thu 18-Aug-11 11:09:10

Lesley33- I agree she should be treated like any other employee.

I was just saying that things should be talked through as maybe she was desperate and didn't know what else to do. Expectations need to be clear.
Has anyone thought that maybe she was reading to him at nap time because she was trying to keep him busy and well behaved? Not necessarily because she wanted to take the piss or do whatever she felt like.

I'm not saying it is acceptable I'm just saying that I kind of see her side as I am having childcare difficulties myself.

porcamiseria Thu 18-Aug-11 11:12:40

she is taking the piss, big time. most women cant just take their kids to work in the summer holidays FFS!

your call what to do, but I dont thuink she has any respect for this role, and I think that your relationship wont be the same after this pisstaking


jugglingwiththreeshoes Thu 18-Aug-11 11:20:08

I think a nanny/ mother relationship is different in some ways from normal, out of the home, employment.
I think you need to work for a win- win situation for you both.
I would expect that if she brings her son to your home, then the material rewards (pay) would be less.
I worked as a nanny when my DD was little and took her with me (she was same age as youngest child who I looked after alongside my DD ) An older child was cared for by the au-pair they also had.
I'd say I was paid slightly less than the going rate for a nanny not also looking after her own baby. But I had lots of experience and he had a little friend to play with.
I can see it isn't working so well in your situation, so you need to talk with your nanny. Perhaps agree that she could bring him with her either once or twice a week, and her DS could perhaps go to her sister on the other days ?
I think you need to be generous enough to talk with her about her childcare arrangements, as well as, quite rightly, considering what your needs are.

RitaMorgan Thu 18-Aug-11 11:21:20


As your nanny has been with you less than 12 months you could just give her notice and find someone new.

If you like you nanny though, I would have a formal meeting with her - outline your concerns, and give her a verbal warning. Make clear it can't happen again.

Janeymax Thu 18-Aug-11 11:31:23

State what you need/ want from a nanny - in your home, jobs during day etc. Explain that having her son there means you don't get what you need. If you are happy for her son to be there occasionally define how much ie, no more than once a month. Ask her if she is still interested in this job and is up for doing it the way you want it done. Depending on her response, make your decision about what to do. Good nannies can be hard to find wink

jugglingwiththreeshoes Thu 18-Aug-11 11:48:07

Also, I think the term "sole-charge" means full responsibility for that child/ children - compared with say being a "mothers help" where mother would also have substantial input.
But you could have "sole-charge" for two or more children eg. with siblings.

hocuspontas Thu 18-Aug-11 12:05:32

When you are let down over childcare like the nanny seems to have been, you do the best you can. Some jobs it would be relatively easy to take holiday to cover childcare-less periods, the nanny probably thinks you would prefer her to be there, albeit with her child as well. I definitely think you should agree a reduced rate when he's there.
The relationship between you is for you to manage, you seem to be cross with her but are letting the situation develop. What do you think she should have done this morning? I understand you would want an apology, but to her it was your 'fault' that she couldn't come in.
As has been pointed out the holidays are nearly over and if you want to keep her, sit down and thrash out a new working arrangement. Good luck!

milkinabottle Thu 18-Aug-11 12:11:43

Your nanny was let down in her childcare arrangements, but instead of letting you down she proposed a pragmatic solution that allowed both children to be looked after. I'm not sure what the problem is.

minipie Thu 18-Aug-11 12:14:13

YANBU. You are paying for one thing - sole charge - and getting something less - nanny who brings own child along.

I think the first thing to do is to work out what you want.

Do you want a sole charge nanny who you pay at sole charge rate?

Or would you be happy with a nanny who brings her own child in return for a reduced rate.

Then, once you've decided, discuss with her whether she is able to offer that. If not, you'll need to work out what happens in the transition period while you find someone new.

CustardCake Thu 18-Aug-11 12:21:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CustardCake Thu 18-Aug-11 12:24:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pandemoniaa Thu 18-Aug-11 12:25:31

It's all about boundaries. I don't think it is the most unreasonable thing in the world to be flexible about the childcare responsibilities that people you employ have. Equally, it is taking the piss to assume that "occasionally" means "every day". If you are happy with your nanny in every other way then don't sack her over this, instead, do what every other employer should do. Be fair but set out clear conditions and expectations. If she cannot agree to your requirements then your arrangements will have to come to an end. But it is better to deal with this in the way it would be done in a professional workplace. That way you are fair and she is under no illusions.

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