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Nanny getting other people to drive my DD without my permission - nanny perspective please

(55 Posts)
Snoosmoo Thu 02-Dec-10 13:16:40

THis is my first ever post so apologies if I am being unreasonable (I am 37 weeks pregnant so accept that I may be being hormonal and mad) but is this normal/acceptable and what should I do?
I have employed a relatively mature and experienced nanny for the last year (three days a week, £110 a day net) to look after my DD1 3.9 and DD2 1.11. This is our first ever nanny and we have been very pleased with how things were going. But since I have been on maternity leave for the past 4 weeks things have rapidly gone downhill. The problem is that my nanny does not want me around at all and really wants me to hide in my bedroom while she is here. When I have offered to eg pick one of the children up from pre-school to save the little one a cold trip out or that she could leave her with me while she did the pick-up she has nearly bitten my head off and said she didn't want to disturb their routine. Her argument is that when she's there she should continue to do things exactly as she'd do them if I was at work. Whereas in an ideal world I would have liked to spend a little one-on-one time with my DDs before the arrival of the new baby.
So anyway today is very snowy, nanny had complained how difficult it was to get in so I said nanny should come in later and I'd take DD2 to her music class. Meet nanny afterwards as they had arranged a playdate with a local mother with a DD the same age as DD2 whose older child is roughly a contemporary of my DD1 at pre-school (although they don't know each other particularly well and aren't in the same class). I am surprised when nanny and DD2 arrive home relatively early as that's the pick-up time for DD1. Nanny says oh I asked Other Mother to pick her up. I know Other Mother always drives so I say has she got a spare car seat. Nanny says I don't know but she's got a big car (!!).
Now is this acceptable nanny behaviour? I am very pissed off at nanny.
1) I would happily have picked up DD1 myself but nanny would get in a sulk about this
2) I do not want relative strangers picking up my children without my permission unless there was some sort of emergency
3) it is important to me that she always has a proper car seat and is strapped in safely

I went out to meet them when they arrived and my DD WAS in a car seat. But only because the Other Mother had (v kindly) put her own DS in an ordinary adult seatbelt and let my DD have his normal one. But the mother said my DD had been very upset at pre-school to be picked up totally unexpectedly by a virtual stranger. THe pre-school staff had to do lots of reassuring and let her bring home stuffed animals from pre-school to even get her to go in the car.

I would like to speak to the nanny about this and tell her that a) I'll pick DD1 up if the weather's too bad for nanny to go b) I expect her to do the pick ups herself unless agreed with me in advance c) car seat issue

Am I being unreasonable. I am a bit scared to talk to her about this as she has been quite difficult over my mat leave (I raised the issue of my spending some one-on-one time with my DDs. She basically said it was a terrible idea which would only make them upset. I know it's important not to have 2 adults around doing the same thing but don't see why it would be such a terrible thing for me to take one eg swimming while the other one is at a playdate with nanny.

What do you think?

Page62 Thu 02-Dec-10 13:27:53

Good lord.
I would have given a verbal warning or at the very least really pull her up on that one. Passing off my kids to someone else is a big no no unless they've asked for my permission first.
You should have a nanny who adheres to your wishes, not the other way around. You are the employer. What you are requesting is not unreasonable. There are PLENTY of good nannies around, the minute you fond yourself tip toe-ing around someone when it is your house and your kids, it is time to reassess.

Summersoon Thu 02-Dec-10 13:36:57

What Page62 said and more:
I think that you really need to regain the initiative here. I would talk to her about the driving but I would also tell her that you are not happy about her attitude since you went on maternity leave, maternity leave will not last forever but, while it does, you would like to spend some time with your DCs and you would like to enjoy this time and she needs to work around you. Don't take any nonsense about your children being upset by tis - what a ridiculous idea! I would be very clear on that.
I can appreciate how difficult the situation is: I once had a nanny who really wanted complete sole charge, which she had initially and this changed when I moved to pt work. Eventually she quit (also because she liked looking after newborns and toddlers, rather than pre-school children) but to this day I wish that I had been more assertive.

Strix Thu 02-Dec-10 13:41:45

Your nanny has lost sight of who works for whom. You need not ask if you can take your own child somewhere. Just inform her of the decision.

I'm pretty relaxed about my nannies doing kiddie swaps with parents or carers from school. But, I would be very unhappy with a stranger picking up a 1 year old. (my children are both school age and everyone at the gate knows everyone else at the gate so it's a bit different than your situation).

Incidentally, I am 36 weeks pregnant with dc3 and can safely say you are not being hormonal... but your nanny is. Having a strop because you want to see your own children? What the Hell is that about?

I would sit down with the contract and have a formal review and remind her where her place is and where yours is. Then I draft notes and document the content of the meeting. You can't have this continuing through maternity leave. And if does, you may need to prove a previous warning on the behaviour.

PS Hello Page62!!! How's you weather? smile

callaird Thu 02-Dec-10 13:44:03

Jeez! Who is the employer here?! I am a (mature) nanny and yes, having a mum around does make life a little difficult, especially if she doesn't back up the nanny but at the end of the day, my boss pays me to work, I am her employer so if she wants to spend time with HER children, who the hell am I to argue!

Getting someone else to pick up your child is completely out of order, unless in an emergency! I agree, this should be a verbal warning. She should be told that under no circumstances should she allow someone else to pick up your children from anywhere, unless she has spoken to you and there is no other alternative.

You should NOT be scared to address this. She is your employee, she does as you ask, within reason!

ChildrenAtHeart Thu 02-Dec-10 13:50:12

I'm not a nanny and haven't employed one so dont know the protocols here (I'm a childminder) but I would say yanbu and she is the one out of line here. It's a lovely idea to want to spend a bit of 1:1 time whilst you have the opportunity and whilst routine can be important its not everything and children are flexible.
I would also say that the preschool were acting wrongly to let your DD go with someone not authorised by you. The nanny cannot authorise this and the preschool should have contacted you for permission.
I would sit down with the nanny & re-establish the ground rules -YOUR ground rules not hers!

nbee84 Thu 02-Dec-10 13:51:58

I 2nd what everyone else has said. They are your children and the nanny should be making your life easier, not more difficult. You should not have to tiptoe around your own house and with your own children.

She needs a talking to and reminding who is paying her wages!

Notquitegrownup Thu 02-Dec-10 13:53:34

The fact that your nanny sees the children's routine as more important than the chance to spend time with you, speaks volumes really. Yes, it is probably why she has been so efficient, but how important is routine vs a little flexibility for you and for your children?

Good job you are on maternity leave and have had time to find out her attitude to car safety . . .

Hope that you don't have to find another nanny this week. Hopefully you can deal with this sensibly and restore a sense of balance back into this working relationship. She has perhaps had a lot of freedom in the last 12 months (which means that a review is due now). Time to reflect, for you both.

jendifa Thu 02-Dec-10 14:00:25

I'm a nanny, and have arranged other parents to pick up etc (but with school age children, parents know each other etc). I also understand things can be harder when MB is around, especially as she is not usually.

However, I think she is being unreasonable. As others have said, have a chat.

jendifa Thu 02-Dec-10 14:01:18

I'm a nanny, and have arranged other parents to pick up etc (but with school age children, parents know each other etc). I also understand things can be harder when MB is around, especially as she is not usually.

However, I think she is being unreasonable. As others have said, have a chat.

HollyTwat Thu 02-Dec-10 14:09:00

I think you may have inadvertantly hired <whispers> Gina Ford.

Ebb Thu 02-Dec-10 14:13:28

I would be fuming at your nanny for asking someone else to pick up your DD without knowing whether they had an appropriate car seat or not. The other mother was very generous to put her own child at risk to make sure yours was strapped in securely.

Definately time for a talk with the nanny. Maternity leave is a great time to spend one on one with your other children before baby arrives. Yes, it's good that the children are used to going out with the nanny so it's 'normal' when baby arrives but they're your children and what you say goes.

I've mainly worked for sahm's or wahm's and it's always made sense to leave the baby at home whilst I've done the school/nursery runs etc if the parents want that. I don't have any problem with parents being around and long as they back me up and we work together as a united front.

amidaiwish Thu 02-Dec-10 14:26:07

i'd be having more than a bloody chat.
you are in charge here, not her. you need to tell her so. if you can't then you need to change her to someone you can be in charge of (maybe someone younger?)

you have very little precious time to spend 1-1 with your children before the baby, for her to "not let you" is outrageous.

why exactly was a stranger picking up your child? if you were at work would you have found out about this and how upset your dd was? You're employing a nanny because you want personalised care for your child. she is not doing you a favour. i am really quite mad on your behalf!

Novstar Thu 02-Dec-10 14:35:58

I have had a few nannies in the past and have always written in my contract that "delegating the care of the children to another person without prior agreement from employer" is a gross misconduct.

frakkinup Thu 02-Dec-10 14:36:28

Not unreasonable at all.

1) As a nanny I pick up my own charges unless I have express or blanket permission from their parents to allow other (named) people to pick them up by prior arrangement/in an emergency. Incidentally, childrenatheart I've always been able to authorise someone else picking up because the parents wrote notes to school/nursery saying I was allowed to make that kind of arrangement but I don't know whether that would have been necessary as I've picked up other nanny's charges on their say so without their employers giving direct consent for them to organise it.

2) No-one drives my charges unless I have my employer's permission for that to happen and then only if they have carseats. I would go and pick up/drop off myself for a playdate to avoid the possibility that they or another child might be travelling without a car seat.

3) They're your children. If you're on ML and you want to spend time with them you get to do that. I understand that she doesn't want to interrupt the schedule too much if they have regular groups etc that they go to and you want them to continue going after the baby arrives but she works for you.

Have a chat, lay out what's going to happen and do it. It's your right.

Page62 Thu 02-Dec-10 14:41:48

Sorry for temporary hijack but waves at strix.
Weather awful, snowed in, very I'll with hyperemesis and no nanny. Kids slightly going crazy. Snow go away!!!!

Laquitar Thu 02-Dec-10 14:42:55

The first issue - you being around - i can see both points of view tbh.

The second issue - Oh mama mia! I would be mad at her! In fact i have this in my contract, noway my dc's will get in another car unless pre-arranged with me.

'I am 36 wks pregnant and can safely say that you are not hormonal'. Strix this made me grin, its not very re-assuring if you are also pg isn't it? grin
I'm only joking, congratulations!

OP you should not be scared of talking to her about such serious issue. This is not like 'nanny chats on the phone' or 'nanny ate the last slice of bread'. This is about your dc's safety.

ItalianLady Thu 02-Dec-10 14:48:58


I used to be a nanny and no way, never ever ever would I have someone else drive my charges without asking the parents permission. When my car did break down I phoned the mother I worked for but was at home to come and get the other child as I knew that would be fine but that is a whole different ball game.

She is out of order in so many ways.

She doesn't get to dictate you hide away.
She doesn't stop you picking up your own child.
She has no right to send someone else to get your child and I would be also having words with the nursery for letting her go without your permission.

Laquitar Thu 02-Dec-10 14:55:15

Yes i agree with italianLady.

How the nursery let her take your dd?

My own mother was not allowed to take dd without my concern. They had to double check. In fact they drove us mad.

Snoosmoo Thu 02-Dec-10 15:09:54

Thanks for all the replies. You are all completely right and I will definitely have a serious chat with her - although probably not today as feel really tearful about the whole thing and there's no point me trying to seem all business-like and then just blubbing everywhere.

frakkinup Thu 02-Dec-10 15:16:55

Write it down - it will help you get your thoughts together and if you feel like crying during the chat then you can refer to your notes.

TBH I'd advocate talking to her at the end of today but if you're not up to it then that's understandable. The longer your leave it the less of a big deal she will perceive it as.

You are in the right here.

ItalianLady Thu 02-Dec-10 15:24:32

It does need to be done today if you can manage it as the issues have happened today.

Strix Thu 02-Dec-10 15:25:20

I would, upon arriving home tonight, mention to her that I would like to have a chat in her last 30 minites of work tomorrow so please have all the work with the kids wrapped up be then (fed, bathed, in pjs, etc. whatever her normal duties are by usual clock off time). Also gives her a day to ponder the content of the forthcoming chat.

Blondeshavemorefun Thu 02-Dec-10 15:41:05

yanbu over all points but to try and be fair to your nanny, it is hard having a parent around and still do your job - but these things need to be discussed - obv you want to spend time with your children and maybe you need to arrange a am or pm where you can have time with them,or pick up from school etc

you should not be hiding in your bedroom

while my lovely mb was on ml with her 3rd, she left me to it and i carried on as normal, but did have a day a week with older 2 (was in summer hols)and spent time doing fun things with them while i had baby

saying that, if mb wanted to pick up from school then she would, and i would be more than happy to leave younger one with mum while doing school run - no point in taking toddler out in cold snow if no need

our preschool would need a letter or a telephone call if collecting arrangements changed - without one they wouldnt hand child over, esp if not to someone in same class who they may know (may be worth asking nursery their policy)

i got a friends mum to pick up eldest from school on tuesday because weather was bad,but we often share school runs as both have children at 2 different schools - and obv at nearly 8 my charge is older and it often happens and they are good friends
but i didnt check with mb as she trusts my judgment

very kind of friends mum to put her own child at risk, tho partly the drivers fault for not saying, i need a car seat/i dont have one etc - if i was asked to pick up a 3yr i would ask about car seat, but again we have spare car seats as do share runs iyswim

it is not a terrible idea for you to want to spend time with your children, espbefore baby is born- you dont want them to feel pushed out when baby comes

i think you need to bite the bullet (hard when heavily pregnant) and discuss all you have said to us with nanny, or things will get worse once you have had baby

i have in my contract that proper car seats must be used at all times

'waves to page62 - horrible weather isnt it'

least you arent in your other house yet, my guys are totally snowed in and cant get down the hill till snow plough comes (if ever lol)and have tons of snow - glad i attempted to get home tuesday or i would be snowed in with them shock

Upsydaydey Thu 02-Dec-10 16:00:31

I'm a nanny and I do find it can be --an absolute nightmare-- a bit difficult when the parents are around. I always end up feeling a bit like a spare part and quite often the dc's end up a bit confused as to what's going on and who's in charge. However you are the employer and it's her job to do what you tell her to, not the other way round! I would say, if you and your dc's do like her and think it's worth while keeping her, have a chat about how you can structure looking after your dc's between you.

As for the other thing, I would never leave any child I was responsible for with another person while I was supposed to be looking after them without first gaining permission from the parents. I'm quite shocked that another nanny would.

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