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Am I over-catering for our nanny?

(210 Posts)
sushigate Tue 01-Dec-20 20:11:40

Cross posted from the Nannies thread as no response there although ready with my hard hat here in AIBU. Eek

We have a live in nanny/housekeeper (not as grand as it sounds. My husband and I both work full time and we have a spare bedroom so it was cheaper than live out help)

She is our fourth nanny over the years - we have always had great relationships with previous nannies and remain in close touch with all of them. When we interviewed her we explained that our nannies have always cooked and eaten with the kids. We explained we were happy to provide all ingredients required. She is a slightly older lady - not a young aupair.

I like to cook and somehow during lockdown she slightly inveigled herself on us making clear she'd like to eat the food I was making (albeit in her room) so I've found myself cooking every night and then sending her a message to say that dinner is ready at which she comes down and picks it up. Not once has she ever offered to cook for us and some evenings I feel the pressure of getting a meal ready at a consistent time when I maybe would have just made a snack for us. It's obviously not a huge difference most days to make an extra portion but on special
occasions when we splash out on a steak or something similar I'm starting to resent the cost and expectation that I will cater for her and when I order takeaway I feel it's even more of an imposition. In the past I've shown her a menu and she's ordered the most expensive item (more than we would spend on ourselves).

She wants to go and visit her family in her home country for a few months at the start of the year. She positioned it as wanting to return to us after but at that point we will almost certainly call it quits.

So what do I do in the meantime? Do I need to offer her a takeaway menu when we order for ourselves? My husband is going away for a few weeks and I don't want to feel like I have to cook every night. Should I just tell her to cater for herself whilst he's away? What about when he's back? I want to be able to be spontaneous and not be worrying about whether my nanny is sitting waiting for a meal!

I'm not the shy and retiring type but somehow this has got a bit out of hand and I'm struggling to respectfully work out the right way to get things back on track.

OP’s posts: |
mooncakes Tue 01-Dec-20 20:16:31

She probably doesn’t want to eat at 5pm with the kids.

Maybe give her a time slot in the kitchen - say the kitchen is free between 6.30-7.30 for her to make her own meal.

sushigate Tue 01-Dec-20 20:19:49

We made clear she can use the kitchen at any time so I'm not sure that's the issue

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Writerandreader Tue 01-Dec-20 20:20:49

Honesty is your friend. Explain you are a working parent and just too tired to always cook. Say that you need to revert to previous nanny plans. And either she eats with kids or cooks for herself.

I think eating in her room. Every single dinner is pretty revolting tbh. I wld hope she would sometimes eat with kids as its nice for them.

It's not a big deal I think you should just explain you are tired of all the cooking

ItStartedWithAKiss241 Tue 01-Dec-20 20:21:15

I’m also thinking that you shouldn’t cook for her but also she can’t cook for herself while you are in their making your dinner, but probably doesn’t want to eat with the kids x

Ilovesugar Tue 01-Dec-20 20:22:31

I sometimes love to eat cereal instead of cooking. If you don’t want to confront her, maybe text and say I’m having a bowl of cereal, kitchen is free if you want to cook yourself something?

formerbabe Tue 01-Dec-20 20:22:52

I think if you're not having a full meal yourself to tell her that and say shes welcome to make herself something instead

Nottherealslimshady Tue 01-Dec-20 20:23:58

Tell her that as DH is going away you wont be cooking meals so please cook yourself whatever you fancy from the kitchen (or whatever you do in terms of buying or not buying her food). Then when he's back just don't start cooking for her again.

singtanana Tue 01-Dec-20 20:24:00

Tricky one. I’m assuming you’re paying her at least NLW and she is on a contract that states accommodation included? If so then perhaps it’s a chat about what was initially agreed. If she doesn’t want to eat with the kids (maybe too early?) is she able to use the kitchen when she likes to prepare a meal later? Or would that be challenging because you’re cooking? Is her accommodation sufficient enough that she can live an independent life without joining in family meals? Sorry, lots of questions! I think it’s hard to have someone live with you but not expect them to join in with your general life unless they’ve got their own kitchen etc.

mooncakes Tue 01-Dec-20 20:24:45

sushigate

We made clear she can use the kitchen at any time so I'm not sure that's the issue

She can’t use the kitchen if you’re in there cooking dinner though.

purplejungle Tue 01-Dec-20 20:25:51

The issue is how long this has been going on, so I think you need to address it head on and explain you're not happy for the current situation to continue

Diverseduvet Tue 01-Dec-20 20:26:17

Tell her when she cooks for the kids to make a portion for herself, which she can reheat and eat when she wants.

Whynotnowbaby Tue 01-Dec-20 20:28:40

I hate it when I get into situations where people come to expect something that was only ever supposed to be a one off or occasional thing. As pp have said though, I think you have to tell her you won’t be cooking for you both while dh is away. Reiterate that she is welcome to use the kitchen whenever she wants to and perhaps even ask her what time she would like to use it so she knows you are genuine about being happy for her to use the space. If you did get a takeaway and wanted to invite her to join I would phrase it as “do you want to go halves on a takeaway tonight) it’s then clear this is not a freebie. I had exactly the same experience with a lodger and it is surprisingly stressful to get rid of expectations that you had no idea you were fostering!

TillyTopper Tue 01-Dec-20 20:29:08

"I'm going to cut down on cooking whilst DH is away. Feel free to cook yourself something or cook extra for the children and reheat it when you're ready". Then stop cooking for her.

sushigate Tue 01-Dec-20 20:33:32

Lots of good advice. Thanks. I think the extremely expensive takeaway item pushed me over the edge! DH being away probably does give me a great opportunity to get this back on track (nice wording @TillyTopper!) and yes need to reflect on how I got myself into this position in the first place but essentially I think I felt sorry for her in lockdown and then it just got out of hand

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P999 Tue 01-Dec-20 20:35:02

Have you given her notice yet? If you dont want her back after her trip to her home country? If she is effectively leaving at the end of the month, perhaps its not worth it for the sake of good relations for only a short period of time? Has she otherwise been a good nanny?

Icanseewhyichangednyusername Tue 01-Dec-20 20:39:19

mooncakes

She probably doesn’t want to eat at 5pm with the kids.

Maybe give her a time slot in the kitchen - say the kitchen is free between 6.30-7.30 for her to make her own meal.

Good idea. That’s what I didn’t when I lived in. Or I would make extras of the kids food to have in peace when they went to bed.

I think stop offering her food

liveitwell Tue 01-Dec-20 20:40:31

I think it's fair to say she either eats with the kids (I understand why she wouldn't want to though) or cooks something herself later.

But you need to understand that she may want to cook at the same time as you. She may also request that you buy the food she wants to eat (if meals are included).

Personally I would still cook for her most nights. And on the nights you don't want to cook for her, let her know in advance that you won't be able to cook for her.

If you want to end the contract then serve her notice. You don't have to feel guilty about that. Maybe it's just not a good fit.

sushigate Tue 01-Dec-20 20:41:31

P999

Have you given her notice yet? If you dont want her back after her trip to her home country? If she is effectively leaving at the end of the month, perhaps its not worth it for the sake of good relations for only a short period of time? Has she otherwise been a good nanny?


She hasn't given me a date yet for when she wants to go. It was going to be before Christmas but Covid got in the way and has made it harder to plan due to rules in her home country. She's not an amazing nanny but not terrible either. That said I've cut her a lot of slack as it can't have been easy unexpectedly having us home all the time. It wasn't the plan when we hired her.

OP’s posts: |
Clymene Tue 01-Dec-20 20:43:28

I want to know what she ordered off the takeaway menu

Yes, just say you're not cooking now your husband is away but she's welcome to use the kitchen.

flaviaritt Tue 01-Dec-20 20:44:53

Firstly, is she paid as a nanny, or an au pair? Secondly, does she have access to food in the fridge, or are you (were you) expecting her to eat what she cooks for the kids? Thirdly, when you say you provide all the ingredients, is this a full, adult, varied menu?

sushigate Tue 01-Dec-20 20:46:04

@liveitwell we said at the start we'd be happy to buy any ingredients she'd like. The telling her in advance is part of the problem though. I don't want to have to plan every day in advance. Sometimes it gets to the evening and I'm exhausted and don't feel like cooking I think I need a more permanent solution. I hear what you say about calling it a day but given we could be 8 weeks away from her leaving anyway it seems to make sense to find a way to come to a reasonable solution for the next few months.

OP’s posts: |
Butterymuffin Tue 01-Dec-20 20:46:22

Surely you need to give notice now, or soon, if you don't want her back after her trip home. That would be fair to her but also frees you up to stop having to do things 'her' way once the end is in sight for everyone.

Audreyhelp Tue 01-Dec-20 20:47:39

Actually as soon as husband goes away . I would say great no need to cook every night . Can you just sort your own food out .... then don’t start it when he comes back .
She is cheeky to be honest and a taker it would be lovely to have a meal cooked for you sometimes,

sushigate Tue 01-Dec-20 20:49:01

flaviaritt

Firstly, is she paid as a nanny, or an au pair? Secondly, does she have access to food in the fridge, or are you (were you) expecting her to eat what she cooks for the kids? Thirdly, when you say you provide all the ingredients, is this a full, adult, varied menu?


She is a nanny not an aupair. We said she could add any food she likes to our shopping order. Not food the kids eat but whatever she wanted to cook for herself. This is what our previous nannies have always done.

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