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Nanny situation - need quick responses please

(100 Posts)
Tapdancingelephant Fri 03-Oct-14 09:29:07

I am a sahm, and have a nanny for various logistical reasons. I need reliability most if all (I have 2 children with ASD, and for obvious reasons messing around with routines upsets them).

We recently had a new nanny start ( 6 weeks or so). So far, she has taken one day off at extremely late notice ( post midnight notification, so I found out the next morning) for something avoidable, followed by an afternoon booked off at very short notice (reasonable but really could not have been worse timings, which she knew). We have all been ill for therapist week or so - usual small children back-to-school colds and coughs. Yesterday, nanny was feeling ill and I offered for her to go home (am happy to have offered, it was inconvenient, and I ended up with very distressed children but my call). She accepted and left, telling me she would text me to let me know how she was feeling.

I heard nothing, until I woke up his morning to a text, sent again after midnight, telling me she was still feeling ill, thanking me for letting her go home 'yesterday' (this is important, as indicated when she wrote the text) and saying she would be back on Monday.

I sent a terse reply, saying she could have at least given me better notice.

She has just replied, with a (imo) bullshit story about her phone signal dropping and the text automatically resending when back in signal. She alleges she sent the text at 5pm (so why say 'yesterday'?)

She is lying, isn't she? She has some personal stuff going on at the moment which makes me suspect she wanted extra time off, and this seems to point the same way.

WWYD? She hasn't been with us long, and should be doing her best to create a good impression.

How am I supposed to trust her with my children (who are severely disabled and cannot tell me anything reliably) if I cannot believe what she says?

WIBU to call her out on her apparent lie?

ToysRLuv Fri 03-Oct-14 09:32:56

I would confront her, and if no satisfactory reply or promise to be more reliable, just find someone else.

dinkystinky Fri 03-Oct-14 09:33:19

Its not her potential lie, its her reliability that is the issue. I would call her out on the late notice for time off and not coming in - as you are a SAHM she clearly thinks you can cope if she lets you know at the last moment. Presumably she is still in her probation period - I'd speak to her about it and if matters dont improve or if you dont trust her let her go.

FWIW our nanny has been with us for 8 years now - we communicate well and are sympathetic to each other. If you and your nanny dont have good communications between you, I dont see how it is going to work in the long term with you all working together to look after your kids.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 03-Oct-14 09:36:43

I'm not sure I understand

If she went home sick on a Thursday I would assume she wouldn't be in on a Friday as she's sick confused

Does she work weekends ?

Bouttimeforwine Fri 03-Oct-14 09:40:08

If you are otherwise happy with her work, I'd have a chat with her. Finding out in the morning, that she's not coming in that day, twice in 6 weeks isn't on, as is the lying when pulled up on it. Make it clear that this stops or you won't be able to continue her employment.

If on the other hand you are a ambivalent about her work, then I'd mention it briefly and just put things in motion to replace her.

bbcessex Fri 03-Oct-14 09:45:18

Hi there,

Having employed several nannies over the years - I'm going to tell you to cut your losses right now.

A good nanny understands how important their reliability is to the family; it's important to be understanding and flexible as an employer, but this nanny has only been with you such a short time and is unreliable already.

Most newbies in any job are on 'best behaviour', so if this is how she is now, it won't get better.

You haven't helped yourself by 'suggesting' she went home when she was only feeling under the weather. Unless the illness is really bad / D&V etc., nannies understand that they're crucial and needed and plan the child's day around that if needed. You've made a rod for your own back by sending her home, and you're right - the text WAS sent today so she's misleading you about 'text signal' rubbish.

She's not for you - if you're offering a good package and reliable hours, I'd make it clear that you expect her to be reliable and that you're giving her a last chance.

If it doesn't improve - give her notice and look for someone else.

StitchWitch Fri 03-Oct-14 09:47:22

The post-midnight notification for a day off for something avoidable is her being unreasonable.

YABU to expect notice earlier than the morning of her being too ill to work. There's often no way to tell until you wake in the morning, unless you've been sick or something. I would generally see a post-midnight text as too early, not too late. However, I agree that she probably didn't send it at 5pm - to call it 'yesterday' probably indicates she'd been asleep since she got home and just woke up to realise she wasn't going to be better for work. She then got flustered when called on it (whilst ill) and lied - many people would in that situation.

I would probably give her notice anyway and find a new nanny because she's unreliable and you're (probably?) within a probation period. I know how important routine is to children with ASD.

Tapdancingelephant Fri 03-Oct-14 09:51:55

Yes, I am wondering whether me being a SAHM is a factor. I can, or course, pick up the slack if necessary, but I don't like it when people take the piss.

I am a laid back boss, which again has contributed I think.

Nanny is nice enough, but nothing out of the ordinary, and I was already going to be having a word re: a couple of corner-cutting things which are going on

Hmm, not looking good, is it?

Reliability is the major factor, yes, but lying (especially about something so small - I mildly rebuked her over late notice - surely the only correct response is 'sorry. Point taken'?) is a massive no-no too.

Yerazig Fri 03-Oct-14 09:57:25

Yes as a nanny myself think it's right that you give her notice asap. She's clearly not that reliable. My current job I've been in for over two years literally had two days of with a stomach bug other then that I've just dragged myself in when its been the usual winter colds dosed myself up and had a quiet day and got on with it. Yes it may have been true about the signal but realistically it's not.

Tapdancingelephant Fri 03-Oct-14 10:28:35

We are within a probation period - that makes it worse, imo. As another poster pointed out, surely she should be on best behaviour at this point?

I disagree I WBU to call her on late notification. She went home at 10am yesterday (I completely accept it was my call - I would not have offered if I hadn't meant it. I don't see it as muddying the waters, though, more being understanding. I don't expect people to take the piss when being shown kindness) saying she would let me know. She also knows how difficult the evening would have been for me, given the 'wrong' person collected the children from school. Given this, I would expect notice before the following morning of whether she will be in work.

I am trying hard not to build is up into something bigger than it is, but the facts are:

I need reliability, and 3 days off in your first 6 weeks is not great going, is it?
I am left not being able to take what she says at face value
She is supposed to help make life easier, not more complicated. Un reliability definitely makes everything much harder, as I get all the stress of complicated school runs and toddler tantrums, plus ASD meltdowns at list minute routine changes.

Bouttimeforwine Fri 03-Oct-14 10:31:34

Cut your losses and get someone else. I'd tell her that the late notice was concerning but it's the lying you can't get past. Hopefully that will help her in her next job.

Bonsoir Fri 03-Oct-14 10:33:26

She's not committed to her job with your family. Get rid.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Fri 03-Oct-14 10:36:15

What everyone says, if she's behaving like this now, she is unreliable. Nannies' behabiour rarely improves with time. Get rid asap.

CarmineRose1978 Fri 03-Oct-14 10:36:24

But how is she expected to know before the morning whether she is fit to work that day? I agree with a PP who said she sent it too early, not too late! My boss would be unimpressed if I told her the day before that I would be too ill to be there the following morning... After all, I might very well feel fine after a night's sleep.

I don't think YABU to get rid though... The other absences show she's unreliable.

Tapdancingelephant Fri 03-Oct-14 10:37:24


I really wanted to be told I am being completely and utterly unreasonable. We are in a nanny black spot, so recruiting can be tough. And we have just about got the children settled with her.

Oh well, back to the drawing board, I suppose.

NoSquirrels Fri 03-Oct-14 10:38:26

If you let her go home at 10am yesterday, then no, it's not unreasonable for you to have assumed she'd let you know by the early evening how she was feeling.

No, she shouldn't have lied.

I think you need a sit-down on Monday morning to calmly spell it out very clearly:

1) routine and reliability is the crux of her job - it's not looking good so far. Why? Has she assumed you're more flexible than you really are?

2) You need as much notice as humanly possible (because of the routine and reliability issues around ASD) and fair enough sometimes you're too ill on the day when you wake up, but that's not the case for a low-level cold.

3)You need absolute trust in her, as your children and more than usually vulnerable (communication-wise) and her text citing text msg signals and 'yesterday' made you consider that she wasn't being totally honest. You can't work without good communication and honesty, no matter what.

Good luck.

heraldgerald Fri 03-Oct-14 10:40:11

I agree with what others have said. Has she had experience or training wrt asd needs before? If not I really think she is unsuitable for the post.

Tapdancingelephant Fri 03-Oct-14 10:44:07

Carmine - I can see you point there.

But both 'late' notification times, she has sent the text after I can be assumed to be in bed, and well before she could possibly know whether she will be ok the next day.

The first time, she cried off because she wouldn't be getting enough sleep and so wouldn't be fit for work - which, in a text sent at midnight, is up for debate, tbh. Benefit of doubt given, only for it to happen again.

My point is, if she knew at midnight last night she wouldn't be fit for work today, she probably knew a few hours earlier, and could have given me more notice so I could make other arrangements (eg, if I had actually known last night, dh could have arranged to go in slightly later this morning, and I could have avoided a hideous 2 hour+ school run round trip with a. Fractious toddler. Given I only found out this morning, whe dh was about to leave the house, we couldn't jig things about. And dh can't just rearrange on a possibility - hearing nothing at all, given she had all day to rest, I could reasonably assume she would be back in he morning).

Tapdancingelephant Fri 03-Oct-14 10:47:05

NoSquirrels has it in a nutshell (wink grin)

That is a fair summing up of the situation. There are a couple of things going on in her life which make us suspect she will not be massively reliable over the next couple of months - if everything else was hunky dory the. We could make allowances, but as it is, it will potentially just be building up resentment.

Castlemilk Fri 03-Oct-14 10:47:47

I would absolutely let her go simply because of the 'yesterday' comment - she is lying.

That's just such a bad start, I don't think this will get better.

Unprofessional in the extreme, at the point where (on probation FFS!) she should be busting a gut to demonstrate her talents, reliability, enthusiasm.

Don't wait until the probation period is up to experience exactly what she's like when she's safer in the job. Not great, will be my guess.

Sounds like you, above all, need reliability. Don't compromise, if so.

Tapdancingelephant Fri 03-Oct-14 10:47:55

She does have prior experience, yes, although not necessarily as severe as one of my dc is.

WhereDoAllTheCalculatorsGo Fri 03-Oct-14 10:52:13

Ah, drip-feeding OP!
'Wouldn't be getting enough sleep to be fit for work' is outrageous so based on that you are completely reasonable to get rid of her asap!

Tapdancingelephant Fri 03-Oct-14 10:52:33

Castlemilk - exactly. I have (honestly) been a. Relaxed and laid back boss. I am happy as long as e children are ok and sorted, and the general jobs are done. I don't like micromanaging or breathing down anyone's neck. Despite being a sahm, I don't interfere with how she does things in the day with the younger children.

Yet, despite this, she is still being unreliable and lying. That's just taking the piss, and unnecessary. And not going to get better.

Castlemilk Fri 03-Oct-14 10:53:09

She cried off at midnight because she wouldn't have had enough sleep?

That takes some cheek really. I would absolutely let her go.

NoSquirrels Fri 03-Oct-14 10:54:57

She doesn't sound right for you.

I couldn't send an email to my boss (office) at 12 midnight and say "Sorry, I haven't had enough sleep to come in". No. That is Not On. A text at 5 am saying "I have been up all night due to (unavoidable) X/Y/Z" is one thing, but otherwise the solution is to go to bed and suck up any tiredness the next day. She shouldn't be making it your problem. Coming in to work is not "optional" in that sense.

Is she young?

You need someone who, in a similar circumstance (low-level cold/fatigue) will be there to do the school run come hell or high water but asks you if it would be OK if they have a break/go home for an hour or so to sleep before the afternoon school runs. And that would be if you were a generous employer with flexibility who can allow that. But you won't feel like making those allowances if she can't understand that certain parts of your day are non-negotiable other than for limbs hanging off.

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