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Am I asking for too much? Tidying up toys...

(27 Posts)
DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Fri 30-Aug-13 22:51:20

I really don't know if I'm being a crazy demanding evil boss or not? I'm not meaning to be so break it to me gently if I am please!

Background, am disabled single mum so have 3 people working for me (2 part time, 1 full time), and the role is a souped up mothers help (nanny + housekeeper + fetching, carrying & organising bits and pieces).

The issue am struggling with is that the full time nanny really doesn't do tidying well, and I'm relying on the two part timers to tidy up after her, which is working out v expensive and just messy and dirty to my standards...

The bottom line is it causes problems due to my health - slip hazards, tripping over stuff, and if I try to do something, like make a drink, I can't cos I can't find a clean cup/ where the sugar is, where a tea spoon is etc, so instead I try for 5 mins then go back to bed without drink and really upset)

I had a word with her several times and made her aware if the problem and she said she d improve, but she doesn't (can't?) really. Then i had to make it serious and official verbal warning, as she didn't leave the vital things I needed for the night (water for me, nappies so I can change ds overnight), so I had to get up in the night, fell over a bag that was left between bed and door... And had bad concussion for two weeks plus dislocations sad

I thought it might be a wake up call but it's actually got a lot worse. I asked her to focus on a few things as she just can't seem to do it, but it's not really working...

Are my standards too high? Or significantly higher than a normal nannying job to the point where it's impossible? I know things like leaving specific stuff ready for the night, and moving trip hazards out of the way are, but actually the thing she really just cannot get her head around is the toy tidying:

I am after her being able to tidy all toys up as she goes along/ at end of day, into a state which means you can just pull the toys out and be able to play with them.

I mean, put all bits in the same game / set back into the right box/ bag together, rather than leave missing bits scattered around the house, under sofas, behind bookcases, down back of sofas, in another toy box etc...

This is really important to me practically as it's rare for me to play with the toys but when I do I frequently find we can't play whatever he wants to play and it ends in tears from him, or injury from me if I've searched the house for the pieces... And then I've run out of energy/ pain free movement to do the playing after all that.

I don't get that this is a awful, too hard, mean
Thing to ask???

Surely when playing with a preschooler you play with stuff and after a while of getting various toys out, you then do some tidying up with the child putting things back do there is room for the next activity? So if items are missing they are spotted at the time, and found then or at the end of the day whilst having a quick last tidy?

She doesn't even notice when things go astray, and then shrugs when I mention it, says she ll look for it, comes back shrugs again and says 'noooo I can't find it sorry'. And in her head that's it, and in my head, she's just damaged/ broken a toy... Yet again, and offered to solution or seems bothered in the slightest.

I feel it's actually very careless and rude way to treat someone else's belongings. I'd never go into someone's house, mess it up, lose stuff, and not give a shit...and she's teaching that possessions can be destroyed and lost and that fine, to my child!

It's not just occasionally, it's almost every day! I know I can't live like this, the amount of money I've spent on replacing stuff over and over again, the strain on me, and i don't get why someone would be like this???

I should say she's a very good employee in other ways, and I really really don't want to get rid of her. But I need her to get up to speed on this as its becoming a deal breaker...

Some examples, all sound silly but imagine it everyday, most of the toys...

Eg. There is a pirate ship w captain hook, Peter pan etc, and some pirate treasure. My ds adores Peter pan but it gets lost, for weeks at a time, until I turn the house upside down and find it again.., I bought another one, and she 'lost' that too. Why is it do hard to put it back in the ship when they've finished playing with it???

And a bus game, needs cardboard buses, passenger cards and a spinner... Again spinner lost for 2 months, only for me to find it half under the sofa, half in another toy box (dressing up box)... How would she not notice the game is unplayable without it, and why did the pieces end up all over, it's not a physical game where bits get everywhere...

And my last example, raa raa the lion player, my ds knows all the characters (6 of them), every bloody time he plays it with her... At least 3 get 'lost', he loves these so much he takes them to bed and gets so upset when he can't find them.

These are just a few examples, but nearly everything is like this, tennis rackets but no balls, etc etc etc

I should say, he's not a messy child so it's not like he's a horror a d shes going behind trying to clear up his mess.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 30-Aug-13 23:11:31

Get rid of her. She's a nightmare! I hope you have someone to help you find a better help?

PrincessScrumpy Fri 30-Aug-13 23:23:54

I'm not disabled but that would drive me nuts - it's part of the job, and you've made that clear. Perhaps try a written warning with very clear explanation and examples plus a3 week trial period for her to improve or just get rid? You shouldn't have to apologise for asking her to do her job

Charotte31 Fri 30-Aug-13 23:30:53

That is part of her job. To tidy up after herself and the children in her care. She's sounds like a nightmare! Find someone else. Lots of good nannies out there. Good luck!

Cluffyflump Fri 30-Aug-13 23:48:28

I've not (yet) employed a nannie, but I know a few and they do tidy toys away. This is for able bodied people!
She needs to do her job of find herself a new one.
Your are in no way asking too much.

OutragedFromLeeds Sat 31-Aug-13 02:06:58

I think this might sound a bit harsh so apologies in advance.

The nanny sounds like a nightmare, in fact she sounds like such a nightmare that I'm struggling to believe that she's that bad.

I remember several of your other posts about nannies/carers/nurses all of whom seem to be verging on the psychotic their negligence is so bad. I wonder if their view of the situation would be very different to yours. Is there any chance you're letting this become a bigger deal than it needs to be?

I don't understand how something can be lost for two months (bearing in mind your DS plays nicely and doesn't throw his toys around). Do you live in a mansion? If he's playing nicely with it, why is it down the back of the sofa in the first place? It just doesn't make sense go me.

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 31-Aug-13 08:56:33

Maybe your dc is taking toys and hiding them or losing them in bedroom if takes them to bed - prob not a good idea to do this as then yes toys do get misplaced sad

Yes after a game /activity is done the nanny /adult should tidy up with help of child

Not sure how you can't find a single cup or teaspoon etc in your kitchen

Depending on role of job - is she a nanny or a cleaner or a housekeeper ?

You seem unhappy with her so I would issue another warning at the next thing she does and then you can then give her 4 weeks notice

Imnotaslimjim Sat 31-Aug-13 09:07:04

She sounds an absolute nightmare!

I'm an assistant to a lady in a wheelchair, and her house is lovely - being in the chair means everything has a place, and lives there, or it gets run over, or is simply in her way

I'm voting for sack her and replace her, life is too short (and too difficult for some not so able) to have someone in your life that hinders rather than helps

Mrscupcake23 Sat 31-Aug-13 09:11:35

If she is not making your life easier I would replace her. However I can't see how so many things get lost if your son is so tidy.

Also surely she can't use all the teaspoons and cups in the house?

lovelynannytobe Sat 31-Aug-13 09:47:12

I would spell it out to her and ask her to change the way she works. I would ask to tidy up immediately after finishing using or playing with something and involve your child in the process. TBH I suspect it's not the nanny misplacing toys it's the child who plays with them. You must be very specific and explain everything like you did here telling her why these changes must be made. She may just not realise how upset it makes you.

ReetPetit Sat 31-Aug-13 12:59:14

agree with outraged tbh...

Either she is a nightmare (but i also remember other posts of yours about other employees).in which case you need to let her go (surprised she has lasted so long)

or - your expectations are unreasonably high and you should perhaps look at employing a special needs nanny - maybe through snap agency or somewhere similar?

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 31-Aug-13 13:23:12

its probably a tricky job to fill, as a snap nanny is trained/wants to help care for disabled children - not adults/employers

maybe hire a mature mothers help/young nanny who can care for 3 yr and look for a carer for yourself?

rather then try mixing/sharing roles iyswim

i also rem the hassles you had trying to find someone, not sure how long this nanny/carer has been with you, but think in may and august you posted about finding someone, is this the same person?

Sunny25 Sat 31-Aug-13 13:35:16

Maybe you can suggest to your nanny that you are trying to encourage your son to tidy his toys away properly. Let her know what you want her to prioritise more. For example I work for 2 families my main family are messier and the kids rooms always look better when I'm around. However they don't want me to spend much time cleaning instead they prefer I'm out and about with the kids. My other family are very tidy, so I always stop play or outings a little sooner then I would with my other family to make sure things are clean and tidy the way they like. I am flexible and understand no 2 families are the same. As long as you have reasonable expectations of what your nanny can do in the time she has. Are you happy with the care she gives your son, if not, find a new nanny!! If it's just cooking and cleaning I hope you can get her to change some of her habits. Tell her what you told us, especially as it concerns your safety. I agree with the comments above your life should be easier not harder with her in your life. Good luck!

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sat 31-Aug-13 18:11:54

Will reply later but just wanted to answer ReetPetit as im not quite sure what you are implying?

I have had hideous trouble finding the right people yes, and some of the stories I've written about on here should explain why I'm so knackered and desperate about it. Unless you think I should put up with stealing / shouting at me/ burning my child or humiliating me? Or maybe you think I'm exaggerating, which I find rather sad but totally understabae as before I became disabled I wouldn't have thought the care industry would be so consistently awful. But I assure you, it is.

I'm very good at trying to make the best of things, thinking this is all I can expect, I'll manage somehow etc. which is why I've excepted truly awful treatment in my own home. I have had to learn how to protect myself and stand up for myself against people who are abusive or just take advantage. I've had to learn this at the same time as going through physical hell where all my defenses and indeed humanity have been stripped away by the pain and decay of my ruined body.

I've used the sensible souls of mumsnet to steer through this horrible time and learn new skills. And again I'm asking mumsnetters to help me nuance / work out what's ok to expect and what's not.

I'm sure I'm being needlessly sensitive about this, but your rather ambiguous post seems to hint at something though I'm not sure what.

I have now got 3 carers, who are in the main really good. One has been with me since last dec, one a month but seems amazing so far fingers crossed, the the one I'm asking about, from last September. I havent exactly rattled through carers firing them at every turn. Ive had 3 people its not workee with this last year, and ive needed the slunding board of mumsnet to come to the conclusion that i need to get rid as im pretty confused and shaken up by the agency experiences i had before that. Please remember that I'm not duty bound to come back and tell you when things do work, or just give a life update when I'm not in need of people advice and expertise.

But as I was saying to someone in rl today, it's really hard to know quite what to think / react when in comparison to the hideous humiliation of before, the person is a lot better, but compared to my expectations that I would previously had had as a fully able person (& inexperienced at employing people in the house)... not meeting my needs / expectations.

It's a matter of what is my measuring stick.., compared to before, this employee is wonderful. And yet compared to my ideal / my unfettered by bad experiences viewpoint, she is under performing.

So I am utterly confused about what is an acceptable boundary/ expectation, and what isn't. Hence my posts. Sorry if you consider this to be suspect or unreasonable in some way. Sorry if I should have everything perfectly sorted. But when you live life like this, nothing is easy and battles are hardwon and constant.

For example two weeks ago I was in hospital being told I was going to die at any point in the next few days. They've revised that due to more positive test results, but still being investigated for something that may or may not kill me in months / years rather than days.

All I want to do is say to the carer 'ffs you are forcing me to spend my last moments searching for fucking toy parts and a clean cup instead of making memories with my boy'. Trying to be a good employer and have the right expectations is kind of hard under these circumstances. Sorry I have to ask for advice to get a 'normal persons perspective'

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sat 31-Aug-13 18:39:48

Sorry meant to say RP and others but the 'and others' got iPhone deleted.

I probably was over reacting but I wasn't expecting to find such a 'menory' of me/ my previous posts and a critique / disbelief of me on here.

Ps I looked at snap but can't afford the £1000 + payment esp as they've said they mostly don't have people who've said they want to look after nt child plus disabled adult.

I haven't had to look for someone else either as it was a friend of Carer 2 who seemed perfect for Carer 3 job and fingers crossed is getting on fine. This was after Carer 1&2 said they really needed me to get rid of original Carer 3 as not only was she not good for me, she was leaving work for them. So looked round a bit with friends of friends/ other people and came up w the current carer 3 who is just settling in.

So this is why I'm not keen to get rid of Carer 1 as apart from tidying she is v good, but tidying is a big issue. Oh dear.

forevergreek Sat 31-Aug-13 19:02:43

I think the problem is they must be untrained/ inexperienced for the price you are paying. You say £1000 is too much a week but realistically that's the cost min of having a full time nanny and 2 additional carers

Roughly £500 net ( £650 gross) for nanny
And £250 per carer min

I can see how it might be annoying and unhelpful when you can't find things, but I do think by the sound of it you may contribute just as much. Even if nanny puts figures away, surely they are getting lost when you let child take them to bed with him?

I think you really need to split up who does what.

A nanny - cares for child ( they will do 'nursery duties' ie cook for child ( and you if ask nicely but not usual), change childs bedding/ sort childs clothes/ tidy up mess he created ie cutlery from making his lunch

Cleaner- cleans house - can get in just a few hours a week to Hoover/ clean kitchen/ your bedding and washing
Carer- looks after you, and anything related to you

longjane Sat 31-Aug-13 19:10:25

Have you any money left for cleaner?
As what I think is happening with the toy is your son likes to play with them and does not put them away .
And any toy taken to bed will be mislay
So you need a weekly deep clean.
If you can't find the money for cleaner you need get your careers to do one .
Deep Clean means moving all furniture.
I would also have some toys and games that only you play with son with. So you know all the bits are there and you and tidy away afterwards.

Re cup and stuff I get your self you own cupboard in kitchen which is yours .which you put drink making stuff .
That carers make sure is this ready for you before they leave.
You do need to check this every night.
If you can't check then you need to remind them every night and check when you can. Even in morning.
You should have your cups that no else uses .

MGMidget Sun 01-Sep-13 22:28:36

I don't think you are asking too much for her to tidy up toys in the right place, put sets/parts of same toy together when they have been played with whilst she is with your DS who is only pre-school age. Yes, he can be encouraged to tidy up with her (and its good for her to get him into this habit) but at this age she needs to take responsibility for getting the right toys/pieces of toys put back in the right places. To me it sounds like laziness - probably just shoving things into any old box so the place looks tidy on the surface but toys are hopelessly disorganised. Also some of the other things you mention, trip hazards etc, are unforgiveable given your situation. Given that she is full time and, from what I can gather, only looking after one child, how hard can it be for her to be responsible for the things you are asking of her? Is your DS particularly complicated?

I don't think this is at all about 'deep cleaning'. Toy sorting and tidying needs to be done by someone who is involved in playing with the toys/supervising the child playing with them so they know where things go. Deep cleaning, in my view, is done by a professional cleaner whose focus is on cleaning not toy sorting!

Also, its hard with a pre-schooler to segregate toys that only you and he play with unless you keep them under lock and key somewhere!

Unfortunately you've had a bad experience with previous carer so this one seems good in comparison. I can't say whether its harder for you to recruit a good nanny because you are disabled (maybe some nannies have a view on this?) but there ought to be plenty of nannies looking for work at the moment so I would have thought there would be a good selection.

Mummyoftheyear Mon 02-Sep-13 05:26:57

I have read your post and your responses / comments on the thread. My heart goes out to you. I'd definitely get rid of her. Sounds like she's made a decision only to play with your son and not to take responsibility for tidying, looking after property (toys), cleaning (cups) or looking out for your welfare (allowing mess to accumulate that has, and could again, cause serious harm to you.
I'd not want or trust someone in my hike with such blatant disregard for these things. I think its kinds more than keeping things tidy- although that in itself would drive me nuts!

Mummyoftheyear Mon 02-Sep-13 05:32:17

I hope that you can read beyond the spellos!

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 02-Sep-13 11:12:43

Quick answers, thank you for your suggestions:

- one bedroom flat, so tidying so key as its harder to keep a small space tidy than a big space - that rules out an au pair unfortuneately. Mess shows up quicker in a smaller space.

-my ds doesn't chuck toys around, he's not that kind of player (at the moment anyway), im not saying hes a saint but he actually enjoys tidying, and goes behind people closing doors / stair gate when they don't. but he's 3, so can't be held responsible for keeping the lounge clean on his own, particularly when the main day carer is showing him a bad example in her behaviour. . Not sure exactly what is happening, as am mainly bed bound. This is why its yaken me this long to work out its more down to this carer than the ithers.

I suspect things go under sofas as part of playing (slippy wood floors), but they go unnoticed and unchecked. Things end up in sofas as she often has him playing on a sofa next to her, and again, no checking or retrieving toys when they go astray. Also she picks stuff up and puts it anywhere to get it out of the way (I suspect she thinks of this as tidying rather than adding to the chaos), so bits of things end up on mantle piece, book shelves, corners of any surface etc. she will also half clear away into one box, then the next day / week etc, will clear away a bit more into a different box.

- I paid the last of my savings to an agency and have nothing left. I genuinely need all the hrs help i get (well more actually but nevermind), so i cannot save any by using less. The agency fees are on top of the employees wage so it's not like I can not pay someone for a month to pay an agency fee.

Am working with the other carers to slowly bottom out the flat, and get rid of clutter and over whelming build up of mess.

I am going to write a check list of essentials for morning / evening, and ask them to go through it every single day. I'll do it with them at first but can't keep it up.

I used to keep a few toys in the bedroom so considering doing this again, but I can't stop the problem by just doing this as its beyond just a couple of toys that need keeping safe, it's every single toy that's more than one piece.

I'm going to have to go through each room and say exactly what's acceptable and not, where things go etc. there was a folder with all this stuff in it but it never really got used and is out of date. I don't want to redo unless I can actually get them to use it...

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 02-Sep-13 11:13:26

Ps already have a cleaner 2 hrs every week!

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Mon 02-Sep-13 11:19:38

Thinking maybe to have a meeting with all 3 of them there, and say now I've got a good team working for me (well, loads better anyway), that we need to really move beyond some of the habits and constraints of before. Then go through the 'new' routines and tidying.

I wonder whether it will dilute an awkward and defensive thing that will happen if I try and talk to her on her own about it. She's very defensive and it gets stuck on 'but I didn't do that, I washed up that cup yesterday and it was fine, I did clean it blah blah blah... and it's just beyond me to have to battle through the individual nonsense to get her to take on board the bigger point...

Shes on holiday and am dreading her coming back as I'll have to resolve this and I really want it to work.

MGMidget Mon 02-Sep-13 11:35:58

And I also think nursery duties do legitimately include a bit more than cooking for a child. Obviously, it helps if you discussed what you expected at the interview and listed duties in the contract, but typically I think nannies will expect to tidy up mess created during the day, keep child's bedroom tidy and at the very least fold and put away child's laundry. Many will do the child's laundry too - I've always stipulated this as part of the job so if they don't like it they don't need to apply. Nannies have always changed DS's bedlinen without being asked (and put it in the washing machine, hung up to dry, put it away...). No need to feel embarrassed asking for these things but to avoid any dissatisfaction best to make the expectations clear at interview/job description stage.

MGMidget Mon 02-Sep-13 11:46:58

DoubleLifeisALifeHalved, sorry your posts appeared whilst I was writing my last one and I didn't see them!

Yes, it sounds like you need to try and make it work as can't afford another agency fee. At least you've got a good idea of where things are going wrong. Good luck - perhaps a bit more micromanaging initially will get things on track.

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