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Nanny trouble

(36 Posts)
carolinedd Wed 20-Nov-13 10:19:45

We've just hired a nanny for the first time after my return to work as it's the only sensible (and cheapest) option with a three year old and one year old twins.
She's great with the kids as far as I can tell but really lazy or oblivious when it comes to the house. It's in her contract to do kids laundry, tidy up behind them and help with the nappy washing (I use reusable nappies). Came home yesterday to find she'd done a huge load of kids laundry but just chucked it in the tumble dryer and left it there. And both nappy buckets full of dirty nappies. My oldest had been at preschool for 6 hours and the twins still have two long naps a day. She didn't even empty the rubbish out of my sons preschool lunchbox. The worktops and kitchen floor were covered in crumbs, and there were toys everywhere. Am I wrong to be annoyed or am I expecting too much? Thanks.

drinkyourmilk Wed 20-Nov-13 10:36:11

How long has she been with you? Is it possible she had a crummy day, twins missing you, eldest being defiant, feeling a bit under the weather herself?
Or is this typical from her? I wouldn't hesitate to point out she needs to keep things tidier and keep in top of laundry.
I'd be friendly about it first time I said something and see if it improves.

Katiejon Wed 20-Nov-13 10:40:25

What have u put in a contract with her?
Ask her why nappies not cleaned.
Make it clear 2 her what u expect her 2 do.
Dirty nappies r unacceptable - very unhygienic.
Would give her 1 more chance then warn her that she will lose her job.
Seems unaware of hygienic practices.
Not a nanny in my view, more a babysitter.
Is this her first job?

Karoleann Wed 20-Nov-13 11:16:20

I think some nannies just need a bit more organising than others until they get into a routine. Sometimes you need to be quite prescriptive
Leave a list for tomorrow -
1. Please put on a load of washing, take out of dryer and put away
2. Please can you put some nappies on to soak and wash and put away
3. Can you empty out ds' lunch box and wash and put away
4. Could you please wipe the surfaces after dinner

Mention that you've left a note too in a friendly way.

Everything you've mentioned is standard nanny stuff.

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 20-Nov-13 12:52:03

It's stuff that should be done, but I wouldn't be annoyed yet. It's a lot to take on and she's probably still settling in, getting into a routine etc. Remember everything takes longer when you don't know where things are and how things work. I would have a gentle word and see if things improve. As she becomes familiar with the children, the routine and the house everything will become quicker and easier and I would expect that stuff to be done.

nannynick Wed 20-Nov-13 13:41:23

List jobs to be done.
Create procedures if necessary such as a routine for dealing with the reusable nappies, such as what needs to be done daily and what can be soaked and done every other day or whatever your procedure is.

Does she know how to use the tumble? What quanity it will take. Are there other ways of drying clothes such as a rack/airer?

Pick up on things now so that they don't become a major issue. Perhaps a task got abandoned mid way through.

Noteveryday Wed 20-Nov-13 13:47:37

Ok of the above things, the lunchbox, sweeping the floor and the nappies are things I probably wouldn't do until after the children have gone to bed. The toys she should have got the preschooler to help tidy at the end of the day. The crumbs on the surfaces she should have wiped down. You say your twins have 2 long naps during the day, but maybe things all kicked off once the preschoolers got home and that's when the mess was made. I wouldn't be too uptight about the cleaning if she's great with the kids, unless she continually leaves the worktops in a mess.

Novstar Wed 20-Nov-13 13:55:15

I know exactly why you're annoyed - because you're having to clear up after your nanny when you come home exhausted from work. I think they're standard jobs so it's not surprising you're ticked off. You're using strong emotive language like "lazy", but don't get annoyed, at least not yet, until you talk to her. Take it from me as a many-times employer: being annoyed when starting a conversation with your nanny is not going to be helpful in getting what you want. Talk to her calmly, friendily and assertively, just focus on the tasks that need to be done and don't make comments about her capability or personality. See if it improves in the next 2 weeks.

Optimist1 Wed 20-Nov-13 14:05:08

First thing I'd do is find out if she'd had a terrible day. If the twins didn't sleep for some reason, and needed to be entertained or comforted it's quite understandable that she got behind with all the household duties.

Katiejon Wed 20-Nov-13 14:36:13

Agree with writing out list.
Have to do this for AP.

NomDeClavier Wed 20-Nov-13 14:42:39

You can't reasonably expect a nanny to jump straight in and do your role as well as you do it. In time I would expect a nanny to be able to do everything you list but in the first week unlikely.

How long has she been with you? Did you go through your daily routines/jobs at handover?

carolinedd Wed 20-Nov-13 16:04:49

Thanks everyone. She had three full days with me here to settle everyone in and my kids have had a fairly strict routine since the twins were born which I have also written down for her. She's three weeks in and told me that the twins had a really good sleep in the afternoon, they are both placid girls and not at all bothered about strangers. If she had a bad day and could nt get things done I would be ok with that but I would expect her to communicate that to me? I just wasn't expecting to have to spoon feed her :-(. I'll have a gentle word and see if things improve.

surpriseme Wed 20-Nov-13 20:21:41

Has she had experience with 3 children before? Theres a big difference between 2 and 3 children(much bigger than going from 1 to 2 imo) and some people enjoy that and others don't do so well. Yours are close in age and it does take a few wks to get settled.
I would chat to her. The laundry, if it only happens occasionally I would prob assume a busy day and let it go but crumbs all over the sides is not on. Its not hard to get into the habit of cleaning as you go, rather than leaving it til it gets overwhelming

carolinedd Wed 20-Nov-13 22:17:28

Get previous job was twin babies and an older sibling, that's part of reason we chose her as she knew exactly what she was getting herself into. She does three days for us and my school does 8:45 to 3:30 in preschool on two of those. I genuinely wouldn't mind coming home to mess if she'd an awful day but I don't think that's been the case. Anyway, maybe I'm worrying too soon.

carolinedd Wed 20-Nov-13 22:19:04

Arghhhhh, iPhone autocorrect! confused

Katiejon Thu 21-Nov-13 04:16:51

Keep an eye on things.

NomDeClavier Thu 21-Nov-13 19:16:57

Hmm, doesn't sound great. Usually by 3 weeks you can at least keep your head above water on a daily basis unless everything's fallen apart.

The only thing I can think of is she might not be used to balancing nursery duties with childcare, especially as you use cloth if she hasn't before. I was a nanny (and pretty on top of everything) and I was quite shocked how much reusables added to the workload until I got into the rhythm of it.

Working with her to actively find strategies will probably go down better than waving the contract and saying she should be doing it. Also helpful hints like 'I don't mind you leaving the twins in their high chairs while you tidy the kitchen' might job her memory.

MaternityNanny31 Fri 22-Nov-13 08:17:47

It may be that she is lazy, it may be her level of "clean and tidy" is totally different than yours, some people are different. But obviously she needs to be at your level for it to work.

As a Nanny/Maternity Nurse what I would do is….

Type out a list of all the "jobs" on a A4 piece of paper titled checklist and laminate/plastic wallet and pop it behind a cupboard door.
Then politely and cheerfully one day say I've made a little checklist of everything that I would love you to do by the end of each day and during nap time if you could just get on top of these jobs then feel free to watch some tv/chill out after…. Make the emphasis on how you'd really appreciate it and how it will make your life much easier, if she does it praise her and if she doesn't within a week I would give her a warning.

I happen to be an incredibly tidy person, and parents always loved this. and I think its incredibly easy to put a wash on & fold clothes whilst looking after the children. But I know from families I worked for that other nannies feel cleaning is beneath them! I see it as I am being "mum" for the day and therefore need to do mums job, which may at times mean multitasking and emptying the dishwasher whilst child plays in bouncy chair… She may be overwhelmed by twins, or worried she will get told off for ignoring them whilst cleaning?

Hope this helps. I just think a note and a constant checklist will be far better than constant nagging/reminder and will have a better relationship between you all.

Good luck

carolinedd Thu 23-Jan-14 20:27:39

Thanks everyone. Unfortunately this was actually the least of our problems as as time went on we realised that there was a real communication problem too, and we also noticed that she never seemed to do any activities with our son and was feeding our kids pretty poor quality meals.
We had a good natured meeting two weeks ago and emphasised nutrition and the importance of communication with us about the childrens day.
Although things seemed to be going better since, I noticed at bath time that one of the twins had calpol spilt on the front of her tee shirt. There was also a spoon with calpol on sitting in the kitchen. Why would she not tell me that my daughter had calpol??? I know it could have slipped her mind but so many things seem to slip her mind that I have lost all trust.
I think this might be the final straw. Am absolutely dreading having to give her her notice, won't it be really awkward afterwards? Oh well, I guess I'll have to get used to being an employer and making difficult decisions.

2plus1 Thu 23-Jan-14 21:09:53

If you are not happy with the care provided and she has had adequate warning then let her go. It is unacceptable for you to be clearing up after work things that the nannies expected to do. Not notifying of medicating your children would be a major issue for me as it would be easy to unintentionally overdose a child. It will feel awkward as it felt the same way when we let our nanny go. She may have an outburst or tears. She may wish to leave straight away or work her notice, however the house can become toxic during their notice period so you may wish to pay her notice and ask her to leave asap. Be strong in your decision, you need to be sure of your children's safety as utmost priority over hurting your nanny's feelings.

carolinedd Thu 23-Jan-14 22:22:16

Thanks 2plus1, did you line up a new nanny before giving notice? We don't have any family around to bridge the gap for us if she decides to just leave straight away.

2plus1 Thu 23-Jan-14 22:36:27

No we hadnt sorted out a new nanny so hubs and I juggled the childcare for a few weeks with leave/reduced hours at work. This coincided with ds having surgery at that time so i was on compassionate leave. We needed the nanny to work her notice to bridge 4weeks but it was toxic after she had a shouting match at me in front of yhe children. I totally lost my respect for her at that point but shortened the notice by including her unused leave. I would have liked to have shown her the door tbh. We actually decided to use nursery care after she left as I changed my working hours to better suit but otherwise would have advertised once notice was given.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 24-Jan-14 04:40:08

She's been with you 3 weeks - 2 weeks ago you had a chat as feeding your kids crap food - so basically after a week?

Unless food is specifically discussed (and I do ask) then what one defines as 'poor quality foods' another might not

Ie some parents don't mind chicken nuggets and chips - or jacket and beans - where some want proper meals like chicken casserole or fish pie

Same with cleaning / tidying up after self - average nanny should do it - but some have a diff tidyness level

Agree a list put on wall may help

Washable nappies - I personally hate them and have turned down jobs with them - had the odd temp job and nightmare using them. A lot of extra work with washing them - was this discusses at interview?

In the end as I put on another thread here - has trust and communication broken down and - it is only 3week 3 but maybe still finding her feet

MissPryde Fri 24-Jan-14 05:35:55

Giving a child medicine without notifying the parent is a huge red flag for me. I'm a nanny myself, and I would dismiss a nanny immediately for doing that. If a child in my care needed this - Calpol is a fever reducer, correct? Tylenol in the US? I would have immediately notified the parent, by phone or text, what symptoms the baby was showing, the temperature of the fever and what action I was taking, such as giving medicine. The fact she didn't even inform you later is unacceptable.

NicknameIncomplete Fri 24-Jan-14 06:25:42

Blondes. - it hasnt been 3 weeks. Read the dates.

I think if i was you OP i would give her notice as soon as. She doesnt sound very good at all.

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