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Genuine aibu about boundaries and benefits of a live-in nanny/au pair

(16 Posts)
Farewelltoarms Fri 02-Nov-12 08:53:49

Hello, I am finding myself irked by our nanny and I don't know if I'm being completely unreasonable and would welcome some perspective. I really don't know if I have grounds or whether I'm being like those posts you sometimes read that go along the lines of 'we're paying our au pair £50 for 40 hours work and she can't manage to clean out the oven and do all the ironing while looking after our 4 under 5'.
Anyway, our nanny is somewhere between a nanny and an au pair. She's studying so wanted to be live in while we wanted live out, so she does 15 hours a week for £90 plus a room and private bathroom, plus food, bills, wi fi, own tv etc in a central London (i.e. worth quite a bit of money in itself). Plus one babysit a week, but she usually says she's busy so we have to pay a teenage neighbour. So she's sort of an au pair's pay with much reduced hours (she's 22 but she's English speaking and has lots of experience so an au pair deal would not be appropriate).
Question 1 - what's included in live-in? I thought all food and general things like washing powder, soap etc. She uses kitty money for tampons, conditioner (gets through a bottle a week), shampoo etc. Surely sanitary wear doesn't come under the umbrella of what we pay for? I don't really mind as it's not a lot of money, but I'm curious.
Question 2 - she invited a friend over on sunday and they took over the kitchen. We had situation where my husband and I were sitting in the living room, starving, while her and her friend put the music on loud and cooked themselves up a vast risotto (with ingredients obv from our cupboard) in the kitchen. I have said to her to give us warning about friends and ideally to have them over when we're not there (which we weren't preceding and following weekend). It was a sunday night and I just wanted a bit of peace and quiet.
Question 3 - she is very free and easy with our possessions. Silly example, all my large shopping bags disappeared. Not the Sainsbury's bags for life, I wouldn't mind about them, but the quality sort of weekend ones that I use for shopping, swimming stuff, going away etc. I asked her and it turned out she was using one for her yoga stuff, one for her gym kit etc. The one she was most attached to is a very posh one (obviously so - get me, it's mulberry, but bought v cheaply in outlet). Is it really stingy of me not to want her to keep all my bags in her room so I'm left with the plastic ones?
Thoughts please and how to resolve. I'm happy to sit down and have a review with honest conversation if I'm not being unreasonable. If I am, then I'll just suck it up, because she's great with the children. But I hate being put in this position where I'm pettily noting these things.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 02-Nov-12 09:04:31

bluntly shes taking the piss

live in get food, but not toiletries, you paying for her tampax is cheeky

as is stealing using your bags

babysitting, maybe set same day each week for bs, or give 2 weeks notice of a day mon to thur

and the kitchen thing, if that was my oh and i, he would have marched in and cooked

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 02-Nov-12 09:05:53

I have no experience of au pairs or nannies, but I do not doubt for a minute that she is overstepping the mark by a long shot.

I would find alternate care for the children.

wishiwasonholiday Fri 02-Nov-12 09:08:15

All those things would annoy me too, plus the Sunday thing were the kids in bed and she had loud music on? Get your bags back she is being really cheeky.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Fri 02-Nov-12 09:24:08

No to all of it. No no no. She knows she's onto a winner and is taking advantage.

Farewelltoarms Fri 02-Nov-12 09:56:21

Ah thanks so much for this, really appreciate the confirmation that I'm not being all Dowager Duchess with the staff.
I agree with you all except the babysitting being mon-thur as we specifically said beforehand that it might include a fri or saturday but with notice. Mostly that's when we tend to go out and so if we don't include fri and sat as possibilities then we won't get any babysitting and then it really is a bit mad of us to be in this situation when we could be just paying someone £10 an hour for the hours we need (which in reality are much more like 10-12 a week but we bumped up so that we'd be giving her enough money to live off. Yes I know £90 is hardly a living wage, but actually as money left over when you've paid for everything else is more than I ever had in my 20s working a 45 hour week).
But definitely going to stop buying her conditioner and also have a word about the friends. And the fact that she keeps asking me to buy fish and then she doesn't eat it... And the fact that she told me she doesn't eat meat because it's too expensive but now puts steak on the shopping list as she's training for a marathon.
Argggh see what I mean about the pettiness?

TantrumsandBananas Fri 02-Nov-12 10:08:46

NO experience, but she is seriously having a laugh - at your expense.

Have you not got something in writing about what is and isn't included?

Like said above food yes, but toiletries and your possessions - no!

Move the tampax, and get your bags back!

I understand that people do and don't like certain things food wise, but within reason! But if she wants "special" stuff tell her to buy it herself.

Also again, shouldn't the babysitting fall under what is and isn't included - IN WRITING!!

And if she says is busy when you give her notice to babysit, say that you will have to deduct the dosh from her salary to pay babysitter. Will soon get the message.

Again, you need something set out in black and white about what is expected, and the consequences.

Put something in writing, it will make it easier to sit down and talk it through with her!!

noviceoftheday Fri 02-Nov-12 10:13:34

What Blondes said. Bloody hell she is taking the royal piss! We have a live in nanny and yes we provide everything you do, and she can add anything she wants food wise to the shopping list, but no not her personal things. And if my nanny buggered off with my Mulberry bag, I would regard that as theft! That's like having another child at home. shock

nameuschangeus Fri 02-Nov-12 10:16:00

She's a cheeky mare. I have no experience of au pairs but her cheeky-mareishness is obvious even to me.

ReetPetit Fri 02-Nov-12 10:25:10

omg shock you are not being unresonable!! she is really out of order.....

i actually seriously think you should give notice. it has got to a point where she will never take you seriously as an employer. i think it is non retrievable to be honest.

how old are your children? wouldn't it be easier to just find a live out nanny or even a childminder as you don't need a lot of childcare?

really shocked at the nerve of her actually....

SoldeInvierno Fri 02-Nov-12 10:43:11

Get a proper aupair and get rid of this scrounge. She obviously thinks you are made of gold and has not respect for you or your possesions. What a cheek!

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 02-Nov-12 11:39:46

generally live in's dont babysit on a fri/sat as part of their wages, or have one a month as a weekend in contract

if you really only need someone 10/12hrs a week, then assume you need an hour before school and 1 or 2 after school, would you be better off employing someone else

what happens when children are on school holidays?

SavoyCabbage Fri 02-Nov-12 11:49:48

grin at you thinking you might be unreasonable! Get your bags back from her. Petty cash is for taking dc swimming ang buying milk. Not tampax and conditioner! What a nerve.

she is taking the mickey

telly her kitty is for childrens things not hers - anything brought out of kitty for herself will be deducted from wages.

Tell her wages are for working x hours plus a babysit per week and if not asked to babysit then thats fine but if asked and refuses that amount will again be deducted from her wages.

Food wise explain what is normally brought and you are happy to buy one special thing a week but other than that she can buy anything special herself (sounds like you are being more reasonable then rather than saying I will buy nothing special - although I actually dont think you should!!)

Explain you dont mind her borrowing the bags when you are at work but she needs to return them as you use them at the weekend - or alternatively get them back and keep them where she wont get them.

She wanted live in when you wanted live out which is fine that you have accoomated but think she sees you as a push over and is really taking the piss

write everything down and agree an action plan and both sign it that way in 3 months (or weeks when she doesnt do it) you can draw her attention to (I would count this as first warning and make it clear to her that it is)

LadyHarrietdeSpook Fri 02-Nov-12 13:39:32

Do you really think you can continue to have this girl in your house?

Sorry, I don't mean to sound dramatic. I'm guessing she must have some strengths if you're contemplating it.

There are seriously lovely au pairs out there who won't behave like this.

I would just stop asking her for her requests for groceries. If she questions it, just say you've noticed that you seem to be throwing a lot of unused/out of date food away these days and you're cutting back. End of.

One of the babysitting nights for our au pairs does include Fridays. We pay extra for Saturdays. This is in line with what is usual for au pairs in our area - not sure about nannies as I only know live out nannies. Your expectations aren't unreasonable.

Farewelltoarms Fri 02-Nov-12 18:58:35

God I sound like such a wimpy idiot don't I? I'm paranoid about abusing anyone working in a domestic situation and ditto am craven with waitresses. I'm actually an assertive person professionally.
I'm only listing her bad points. She has loads of energy and is great with the children. Lots of initiative and nous. And her visa runs out in July so I'd rather make it work in the knowledge it's not forever.
I think there's poss a cultural thing in that she has this Australian un-uptight thing so really may not be aware that she's taking the piss. In some ways, I admire the fact that she feels so at home...
But from now on - kitty money on kids only, I veto the shopping list and we discuss the friends issue. I just needed to know I can do this with justification.
For those asking she does 3 after schools per week, plus 5 hours general housekeeping, laundry etc which she can do in her own time (and does well). In the holidays, no housekeeping, but 2 almost 8 hour days instead per week.

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