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Is this nanny going to work out? Advice please..

(30 Posts)
MammyT Mon 15-Aug-11 13:03:37

We have a nanny who has been with us some months. The hours are p/t but we pay 10 hrs extra for nanny duties in term time. We pay a good hourly wage, all declared and above board.

I'm not sure our nanny is working out. None of the problems are in themselves big issues, but all combined, I don't think she is the right person for us. She brings the kids for 'coffees' twice a week and doesn't even combine this with the playground or visiting friends. She buys them all types of tat - plastics bits and bobs for a quid or two and yet more bracelets/trinkets. I don't object to the money but now my kids are asking for things all the time when we're out. She seems to run around in our car on little errands (supposedly one-offs), goes to parks we don't know but can't tell me the names or where they are afterwards, is very unforthcoming when asked what the kids did/ate. Even though we're paying her to do nursery duties, only the basics are done and she won't do any kids' ironing if there is adult stuff in the pile (i.e. won't sort through).

That said, the kids seem to like her but don't actually spend much time doing things with her. I get the impression she lets them run around and play in the house but doesn't guide them much. They say she's "texting" - this may not obviously be true as kids are quite unreliable witnesses.

I had hoped that in time, other parents would allow p/dates in our house but there's no chance of that as she doesn't try to relate/talk to the parents.

We've been giving active feedback on all of the above, one at a time, and that particular thing is more or less sorted.. But it's a slow process. On paper, she had a lot of experience. She is not qualified though well educated. One of the references came back to me and was positive though said she's better with kids than parents.

Should we cut our losses or keep up with the active feedback? Has anyone else turned around an 'okay' nanny into a brilliant one? My husband's view is that the kids are happy so leave it.

MammyT Mon 15-Aug-11 13:05:24

To be fair to the nanny, I'm sure she'd say I'm neurotic as I like the kids to eat good food, do homework, limit tv etc. I do all of the above myself when around but do accept I may be a little fussy.

Novstar Mon 15-Aug-11 13:17:00

Your kids may be happy but you're not and with any nanny, you should be happy too. I wouldn't be happy with any of the above either especially if I've been feeding back for months and was still not happy. I had a nanny like that once, who basically took the kids around her social life like handbags, and my God do I regret keeping her on for as long as I did. I would let her go before hitting the 1 year mark and before she announces pregnancy.

xaf Mon 15-Aug-11 13:27:52

I have been a nanny for 20yrs and the one thing i would say to you is communication is key,if your thinking one thing and your nanny is thinking another but your both thinking that ur thinking the same things theres going to be disruption,more so for you rather than your children as you say they like her,
i think you should set aside some time each wk mayb an hr if you can spare it and go through the weekly activies,duties and any issues you may both have and then talk about them so its all out of the way and clear to you both when nanny finishes for the night,there is nothing worse than going to bed with negative thoughts of the day or worse dreading the morning due to your nanny or her work-does she think anything is wrong?
I do not think from what you have said you are neurotic my charge eats homemade good food,doesnt watch much tv,although 1 point i will agree on with your nanny is the ironing,im terrible at ironing so i dont do it and im lucky that my family are fine with this!!

I wish you luck with your nanny and please remember that if this one doesnt work out all nannies are not the same and you will find a great nanny who fits your family!


nannynick Mon 15-Aug-11 13:32:31

You have raised the things with her... so is she still doing the things you object to? Ultimately you have control, so if you want to know where the children have been, what they have eaten, you can ask for that information to be written down each day.

You may never find someone who does things exactly like you would do, but you want to find someone you are happy with.

Kids may be happy but you are not. So have a talk with them about what isn't going right, issue a written warning so that it is clear that if it does not improve you will be looking for someone else. Then see how it goes for a week whilst you start the process of looking for someone else. Either you get a dramatic improvement in that week, or you don't.

xaf Mon 15-Aug-11 13:35:32

@Novstar:I read ur answer with some interest and was quite disheartened at your negativity on the subject and your perseption that all nannies want to get pregnant???i do not want children and i have worked with babies and children for 20yrs,im sorry you did not seem to have a happy situation with your nanny but not all nannies are out to get maternity pay from there bosses:-/I hope that if you had another nanny it worked out better for you.
I do hope this wasnt rude in anyway it is just my PERSONAL oppinion only on the subject

xaf Mon 15-Aug-11 13:36:54

@nannynic i totally agree with everything you have written,good advice hun!

MilkNoSugarPlease Mon 15-Aug-11 13:38:32

"and before she announces pregnancy." er, WHAT?!

Strix Mon 15-Aug-11 13:38:51

Get a nanny diary and use this as a tool to govern and communicate. Make general feedback of the day (where they went, their general attitude, what they ate, etc.) a requirement at the end of each day. We have one and to be honest nanny / au pair is much better at writing in it then I am. But it's there if I need it.

Strix Mon 15-Aug-11 13:41:53

I agree that I would cut my losses before she hits the one year mark. If the employee/employer relationship hasn't found harmony in a year, it probably never will.

TheOriginalFAB Mon 15-Aug-11 13:45:15

I used to be a nanny and would always act if the mum asked for changes. Wouldn't have crossed my mind not too and would have expected to be let go if I didn't. It is time to give her another talk, maybe a warning.

Novstar Mon 15-Aug-11 13:45:48

xaf: I'm not saying that all nannies want to get pregnant, I've never even had that experience. And anyway maternity pay comes from the government, not the employer (as I am sure you know).

My point was that, from an employer's point of view, giving notice to someone once they are pregnant, and/or someone once they stay for more than a year, leads to a totally different set of problems, so if you have performance issues then you need to act timely (as I'm sure you also know).

Yes I had a crap nanny once and I am still extremly negative about her, but I have been very very happy with all my nannies since then, thank you.

xaf Mon 15-Aug-11 13:52:49

@Novstar,i am glad u went on to have a happy and productive time with your nxt nannies.

I think you can aslo give the same argument about giving notice when pregnant to any employment as it all applies,its just the way you wrote it made it sound like you had had a bad experience with this subject.

Being a nanny is a vocation not a job and most nannies out there unfortunately shouldnt be nannies,its a shame but true!

Novstar Mon 15-Aug-11 13:59:32

Really? "most" nannies shouldn't be nannies? can't say that agrees with my experience, most of them have been hard working and competent. If a little clueless about tax...

Strix Mon 15-Aug-11 14:01:40

Having a pregnant nanny costs a lot more than maternity pay, which is reimbursed by the govt but is still an admin pain. But, the real hassle is having to keep that job open for a year and pay an inflated temp nanny rate to cover. That is unaffordable for many people. So, whilst the comment was not ideally worded, as an employer, I do understand why one might wish to avoid the potential situation.

xaf Mon 15-Aug-11 14:07:53

I meant as in some nannies are nannies because it might fit in with there life hrs,pay that sort of thing or there traveling through,but childcare is so badly paid that people wanting to train at college to be a carrer nanny are few and far between and in my experience change carrers after afew years as there circumstances change to fit in with there lives.

I have only done 2 things in my life and both are a vocation as there mostly badly paid,i choose to be a nanny and a caterer both of which i adore and i couldnt see myself doing anything else!!!I love my job and my boy!

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 15-Aug-11 14:08:58

if you havnt told your nanny then you are not happy/dont want her to buy things etc, then how is she meant to know

us nannies are NOT mind readers and maybe she did that in her ex job and her mb was happy with it

your kids are happy, that means a lot imho

so have a chat over a glass of wine and see what happens a month on

Strix Mon 15-Aug-11 14:12:02

In my neck of the woods, childcare is not a badly paid professsion. hmm

xaf Mon 15-Aug-11 16:17:48

@strix....Lucky u hun!

nannynick Mon 15-Aug-11 16:35:30

Xaf - are you saying that most nannies are not nannies for very long. I must be doing well in that case having been nannying 7 years.

Strix Mon 15-Aug-11 16:36:01

You have obviously had a bad experience, xaf. But there are lots of people out there paying a small fotune for childcare. So I don't really get this childcarers are poor paid song and dance. I get a bit fed up with giving most of money over to childcare only to be told I don't pay enough.

xaf Mon 15-Aug-11 16:45:06

Ive had bad,ok,good and exelent jobs throughout my 20yrs nannynick and my current family are amazing,have been very lucky this time.
I think some bosses take the mick when it comes to paying fairly,or not paying tax or only half tax,ive worked for very,very rich people and not so rich so ive seen a wide spectrum but i do think you pay for what you get!!
At the end of the day if you look after your nanny she will look after you and your family!:-)

MammyT Mon 15-Aug-11 17:17:08

Thanks for all the opinions..

I can assure you that we pay our nanny well and are fully declared for tax etc. This is particularly generous given that while she's doing the extra 10 hours of 'nursery duties', she is not minding children as well. I think she has a good deal tbh.

We have spoken lots on every topic but after an incident today, we'll have to reconsider. I don't want to post details in case she or I are identified but extreme lateness which would have gone unnoticed in the normal course of events became obvious.

Thanks again to all who posted.

xaf Mon 15-Aug-11 17:23:20

Can i just say thank you ive enjoyed chatting on here today,informitive and helpful and looking at other links i have found some interesting things!


fraktious Mon 15-Aug-11 17:24:53

OP sit down, raise the issues, agree strategies and a timeline for improvement. If she fails to improve at all then get rid, if she makes token efforts repeat the procedure.

You have to tighten up if you want her to improve. She sounds like she's taking miles when you're giving inches and you want quite a drastic turnaround.

So make it clear the kitty is not for tat, trips are to be local, kids are to eat at home, playdates replace expensive outings, mileage oz to be kept to a minimum. Mutter darkly about money and belt tightening if you don't want to address it head on.

This may work. However my feeling from what you've said is that you fundamentally don't gel and it's difficult to make a reactive nanny into a proactive one.

It's easier to get rid before a year, if you go over that year then your chat will count towards initiating disciplinary action.

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