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Nanny - am I expecting too much ?

(80 Posts)
Mosman Sat 29-Dec-12 10:00:30

So we have a nanny who is not the fittest or healthiest of women and I wonder whether the job is too much for her.
She's an ex secondary school teacher, drama who I thought would be brilliant for my older very dramatic girls and she was most recently working with a family with preschoolers so my toddler seemed well catered for too.
So two months in and it's school holidays here, she's very kindly put together an activity timetable of events and stuff to do with the kids over the next month which adds up to over a grand. Her petrol will be on top and a lot of driving seems to be included to places that are really walking distance - hence my worry about her health.
The problem is once I've paid for child care I have literally a grand left in a month so I was kind of hoping quite honestly that the nanny would be the entertainment, there would be a fair bit of chilling at home, park, beach etc.
The money I have left I was hoping to spend at the weekends on family days out and things we would be doing together.
My other little gripe is that looking after the children is all she seems to be able to manage, cooking for them never seems to happen, tidying away toys never happens, I come home to unlidded felt tips all over the dining table and piles of paper. I've heard of other nanny's doing the children's washing and ironing, tidying bedrooms etc, should this be part of the role ?
I don't know whether the nanny is crap or i'm just looking for a way out, I'm not loving my job but wonder if I might if the burden was less at home.
What do you think ?

Mosman Mon 31-Dec-12 14:45:26

That's the million dollar question. I don't know right now unfortunately.

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Sun 30-Dec-12 16:58:50

Bloody hell. It's a wonder you haven't all had a nervous breakdown before now!! Far too many people involved in the day to day caring for the children - it's no wonder it's all very hit & miss. You need to start afresh.

I really believe you need to either get someone full time or do it yourself full time. There needs to be some consistency & stability. Be honest with yourself, what do you want? Do you want to do it yourself or do you want to find a great nanny & go to work?

If you want to go to work - then find yourself a good, full time, nanny. They are worth their weight in gold, so you need to work out what you can afford to pay and pay that. Once you have a good nanny in place, life will be much, much easier.

Mosman Sun 30-Dec-12 15:41:43

Long story but the nanny was working alongside my MIL who was meant to stay for 20 weeks but with less than a weeks notice decided she was going home to the UK, fair enough but it meant some pretty quick decisions were made. The au pair doesn't live with us she's literally around the corner with an elderly last who justikes company in the evening so this girl saved our bacon and we were able to help her earn some extra cash.
The nanny was meant to go full time this week but given my feelings about work and how this arrangement is going I've persuaded her to just do two days with us and two days with somebody else - she only wants to work a 4 day week - which is another problem but anyway.
There's not a lot of options in Perth for childcare, so it's almost best of a bad bunch, import somebody good but costly or take your chances with an au pair but given the little ones age I'm not comfortable with that, plus I need more than 30 hours.

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Sun 30-Dec-12 15:33:46

Mosman - is there a reason you have gone for an au-pair and a part time nanny, rather than a full time, possibly live-in, nanny? I think one person doing 'the job' is better than 2 part time. Part-time nanny is quite a hard job, things aren't where they were last time (especially when you have just moved), it's harder to get into a routine, the kids have 4 adults looking after them... it's all a bit 'messy' and harder to feel the same level of responsiblity for routines etc.

Also, what is the au pair doing when the nanny is there? Surely they are often both there?

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sun 30-Dec-12 15:24:10

The 12 year I'm pretty sure isn't leaving the lids off pens but if she was all I'd ask of the nanny is "hey did you forget something" type comments.

This is a reasonable expectation from an experienced nanny. Of course parents need to provide feedback too but it's the nanny who is there, in loco parentis, to provide it when you aren't. This has to happen as well.

I'm also aware that you get what you pay for

My take on this is that the OP isn't necessarily NOT providing feedback as such but there is something about the situation that the nanny doesn't see any consequences if she doesn't follow up or follow up consistently. And OP maybe a more experienced, ie. costly nanny would be a massive financial stretch? So part of the issue is how much you can tolerate relative to how much more another nanny might be?

Mosman Sun 30-Dec-12 15:17:49

The 12 year I'm pretty sure isn't leaving the lids off pens but if she was all I'd ask of the nanny is "hey did you forget something" type comments.
I don't have another 6 weeks before I'll have some sort of break down too be honest it'll be case of everyone - kids included shapes up or somebody will be out of a job and the kids luxuries will disappear with the income drop.
I don't think the nanny is mentally ill, she did leave teaching due to a break down as it happens but I do think her other experience has been in the world best job, taking two preschoolers to various activities.
I'm also aware that you get what you pay for, she's kind to the kids and you'd be surprised how many aren't.

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 30-Dec-12 14:53:35

'I can't believe there is anyone that seriously questions whether a grand is too much to spend on entertainment activities'

I don't think anyone has questioned that have they? Except to ask how long the holidays are. If they're 12 week summer holidays it seems more reasonable than if it's a week half term.

'and that the OP is negligent in providing feedback'

From what the OP has said, it's either this or the nanny is mentally ill. If the nanny is truly driving to an activity opposite the house, refusing to give the children tea despite being told every evening etc, she's got a serious problem. The fact that the OP is still employing the nanny 2 months in suggests the OP knows the problem is with feedback/communication/disorganisation and not the nanny being unstable.

I stand by the tidiness being the kids fault. A 12 year old who can't empty a lunch bag or put pen lids on! Really?

I do agree that 6 weeks is plenty of time to fix things though. Once you've made it clear what you want I would expect immediate improvement.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sun 30-Dec-12 14:41:09

THis nanny is getting a ridiculously easy ride on this thread. I can't believe there is anyone that seriously questions whether a grand is too much to spend on entertainment activities and that the OP is negligent in providing feedback, and it's mainly kids' fault re the tidiness. Sorry but to me it seems like this is what is being said. OUr nanny would NEVER have let this situation unfold and if you've got pointers up all over the kitchen with various 'tips' most would cotton on that you had some expectations. FFS seriously.

SHe is clearly very inexperienced AS A NANNY though and behaving more like an au pair. So, you will have to sit her down for a chat and then take it from there. But I wouldn't give her more than six wks to sort herself out.

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 30-Dec-12 14:27:03

I think a chat is a good idea. It'll also be good to observe what she's doing during the day and maybe pinpointing where she's going wrong with timing/planning issues. She's known your family and routine for two months, you've known them much longer I'm sure you can give her some timesaving/efficiency pointers.

I think your DH needs to take on some responsibility for dealing with the nanny, if he is the one coming home to find them unfed/not ready for bed/house messy.

A firm chat is needed with the older three children with regard to tidying up etc.

Do you have a nanny diary? That could be a good tool for communication if you don't always see the nanny. I often don't see my MB, but we communicate a lot through email (sometimes 3/4 a day). Is that a possibility?

Mosman Sun 30-Dec-12 14:01:32

She's often gone by the time I get home and they are eating tea which either the au pair has knocked up or DH has pulled something together.
It is communication of course it is, with relocating and work I've been muddling through ANC it's not really worked.
I'm off work and she's in for two days so we can have a good chat then and see what happens after that.

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 30-Dec-12 13:34:00

There is clearly a problem with communication. I don't understand how you can have got two months in and she isn't giving them their tea? That's a first day problem surely?

You've shown her the timetable, talked her through it, explained what she needs to do/where everything is.

You come home first day and they haven't had tea.

What happened next?

If you've been telling her every evening for two months that she needs to give them tea and she is just completely ignoring you then it sounds like she needs to be sectioned tbh. If you've been quietly seething about her not giving them tea, but haven't actually ever said that to her then.....

SamSmalaidh Sun 30-Dec-12 09:44:09

OP, is the nanny still in a probation period?
What duties (other than childcare) are in her contract?

OK, I'd accept that she isn't a brilliant nanny but she should be doing the basics. You need a sit-down, face-to-face, child-free meeting/review with her though!

I would ask her to:
Follow the 2 year old's routine (give her a copy)
Ensure the older children empty bags/lunchboxes after school
Feed everyone a meal at 5pm with no snacks beforehand
Get everything ready for the next day while they eat
Tidy-up with the older children at 5.30pm everyday (sit toddler in front of TV for half an hour at this point if necessary)

Tell her that at 6pm, you want to come home to everyone fed, house as tidy as you left it, and everything ready for tomorrow. Forget any other nursery duties for the moment.

As for money/activities/mileage - say no, set limits.

Mosman Sun 30-Dec-12 09:04:29

I agree with you but that's all we can afford right now, that will improve and then I guess I can pay for somebody with more experience.

minderjinx Sun 30-Dec-12 08:45:39

I don't know about Australian incomes, but I wouldn't want to look after four kids and a dog in a messy house for only 30% more than the minimum wage. Perhaps your expectations are too high for the calibre of applicant you will attract. It also sounds, reading between the lines, that you are looking for a pretext to give up work and take over - maybe this is why you are not giving adequate guidance and setting your nanny up to fail?

Snog Sun 30-Dec-12 08:40:06

what does the nanny give the kids for lunch?

Snog Sun 30-Dec-12 08:30:25

When the nanny said the toddler had overslept, what did you say to the nanny for example?

Snog Sun 30-Dec-12 08:29:36

It doesn't sound as though you communicate much with the nanny in words as to what you expect, neither does it sound as though you make her aware when your expectations are not met - this should happen on a daily basis, surely?

ohfunnyFRANKENface Sun 30-Dec-12 07:13:34

Did you say that to her though??

Mosman Sun 30-Dec-12 05:55:47

Yes I mean she commented on the routine for the year old in a whoops I've let him have more than two hours nap, so of she saw that is it reasonable to suggest she saw the lunch at 12 and tea at 4.30 either side of it ?

MamaChocoholic Sun 30-Dec-12 05:45:43

you keep talking about lists, but have you actually spoken to your nanny about these tasks?

Mosman Sun 30-Dec-12 04:56:02

There are places for the pens, the packets they came out of for example would be a good start, the paper could be piled up. It's not impossible for a 28 year old to think of this, the 2 year old might struggle where as previously he knew where the crayon tin was.
I'm not annoyed I'm concerned that this "job" is too much for anyone actually and if anyone should just be muddling through it should be me rather than somebody who I am just going to get frustrated with.

OutragedFromLeeds Sun 30-Dec-12 04:03:27

I find this thread confusing. You're annoyed that the nanny doesn't have the place tidy. We all suggest that the children tidy up. You say the children can't tidy up because 'there's limited places they can put things it is a bit chaotic right now '. So where were you expecting the nanny to tidy things up to? Were you expecting a Mary Poppins style bag with endless space/click her fingers and everything tidies itself up?

If the nanny can put the pens in a drawer. The children can put the pens in a drawer.

If there is no place for the pens neither the nanny, the children or the au pair can put the pens away!

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Sun 30-Dec-12 03:54:34

Moving so far away is hard work!

I think you need to sort the wheat from the chaff really.

Take some time out to think/get organised/decide what you want. What you want to do about your job, whether you want to be at home with the kids or working, if you want to work - is she the right nanny for your family, what storage you need etc

Decide whether this nanny can be what you need or whether you need to find alternative arrangements. I think she's probably a bit crap, but is not really the problem here.

When will you get the rest of your stuff?

Is the house permanent or just 'for now'?

How have the kids settled in at school?

Most importantly - are you enjoying living near the beach?? grin

How long are you stuck with do you have the pleasure of the Au Pair for?

Mosman Sun 30-Dec-12 03:44:38

The German au pair needed the lists. It's not ideal and I'd hoped to take them down once everyone knew what they were doing but that didn't seem to be happening.
The kids are 12,10,8 and 2 old enough to tidy up, I get that but there's limited places they can put things it is a bit chaotic right now with only having half our stuff here and not necessarily the half I need.

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Sun 30-Dec-12 03:22:11

Just tell her that you do not have the money, nor wish the kids, to do what she has 'scheduled'. Tell her she has x amount of money for the holidays and that's it (frankly, as she sounds a bit crap, I'd ask how she intends to spend it before handing it over - which I wouldn't normally do).

You are just going to have to talk to her about meals etc and walking v driving - but also, how often do you walk all 4 of them anywhere? (obviously the place just down the road is a no brainer, but given you were worried about how much petrol she was going to be using, there must be other places further away she's takes them that you think she should walk to?!).

I have to say - lists taped to kitchen cupboards is really 'odd' - no-one should need these and surely it makes the place look really messy and like a classroom not a home??

It's often easier in the holidays without the school runs and all the stuff you need to organise for school, DC being tired when they get home etc, holidays are generally more relaxed.

(How old are yours now? I can't keep up and all the MN kids seem to grow like watered weeds!! grin)

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